The long-delayed game La-Mulana has been canceled for WiiWare, after publisher Nicalis made the executive decision not to publish on the platform. The publisher called it a "tough call," but says that WiiWare simply hasn't retained the market power that it had when development of the game began.
"The decision to cancel publishing of La-Mulana was a tough call, but waiting two years for Nigoro to finish development has made it near impossible to sell sufficient units on Wii," Nicalis' Tyrone Rodriguez told Go Nintendo. "The WiiWare market has a fraction of the players from 2008. The window for release and success of software on the platform ended in 2009 and took a very steep decline. Players have moved onto other digital download platforms."
Rodriguez says as the developer's first console project, Nigoro may have spent too much time working on the DLC for Japan, which was never approved in Nintendo's US or EU submission process. "With the Wii U in the not too distant future and WiiWare sales almost non-existent, I had to make a call today," he said. "I wish them the best. They're good game developers and good guys."
When Nigoro announced in December that the game would be coming in 2012, it already had to respond to rumors of cancellation on the WiiWare service. "But no matter what, La-Mulana will be released on WiiWare," a blog entry said at the time. "We don't want any speculation suggesting otherwise."
Paired with that announcement was word that the game would be releasing on PC as well. A new blog entry from last week claims that those plans are still progressing steadily. "We have almost finished developing it," the blog notes. "Debuggers are in the middle of testing. In the meantime, we are discussing where and how to sell it."
Steve Watts posted a new article, La-Mulana WiiWare canceled due to shrinking sales base.
Publisher Nicalis has canceled La-Mulana for WiiWare, saying that a shrinking market on Wii has made selling sufficient units "near impossible."
That's a pretty big bummer. This is a great little Metroidvania and I was looking forward to it.
But yeah, WiiWare, what a wasteland.
Nigoro is apparently porting it to PC in japan. Here's hoping there's a remote chance we'll see an english version of that over here. La-Mulana was a great game.
crazy that it's taking so long to port that.
I can attest to the shrinking market. The last two games I bought on Wiiware were Lost Winds 2 and Cavestory back in spring 2010. The service just never caught on due to size restrictions of 41MB and relatively high overhead compared to the booming iOS market.
Not only did the file size mean that things that weren't that hardware intensive (Super Meat Boy and the like) that could be ported over from PC or XBLA/PSN never made it, it also lead to an aversion to buying titles because you could only put them on the miniscule 512MB internal flash at first which filled up fast.
It wasn't until you could load from an SD card that the service was viable for consumers but by then I think it was a case of too little too late. Telltale even noted that sales of the later Strongbad's Cool Game for Attractive People episodes saw an increase after the SD card update.
The 3DS e-shop so far has seen some quality releases so far and it looks like they've learned the lesson. Get people on the store every week, push notifications for quality products and create the mindset that you can release quality titles on the store as a 3rd party developer and people will buy them. If Nintendo continues to promote the good 3rd party stuff and continue to lead by example, it should turn out to be a success.