Playtonic Games announced yesterday that the Wii U version of Yooka-Laylee has been officially cancelled and that they are working closely with Nintendo to create a version for the company’s next console, the Nintendo Switch.
Playtonic cited technical issues as the reason for the cancellation of the Wii U version, although they did not cite any specifics beyond that. The Unity engine has caused issues for other developers on the platform in the past, so it is not unreasonable to believe that this was the only reason for the cancellation. That said, this was a smart move for Playtonic regardless of whether or not they could get the game running properly on the Wii U hardware.
Nintendo announced recently that production of the Wii U had ceased, and that they would only be selling through their current stock for the remainder of its existence. This essentially made the Wii U dead in the water for any new releases over the upcoming months. It would make sense for Nintendo to push for Playtonic to release the game solely for their new console, as it could help drive up console sales during the critical first few months of its launch window. Having a strong third-party offering in a genre that many gamers associate closely with Nintendo is something that I’m sure Nintendo is well aware of.
The combination of having the game running in a state that is closer in quality to the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC versions and releasing it within the launch window of a new Nintendo system bodes well for Yooka-Laylee. Although fans and Kickstarter supporters who were hoping to get the Wii U version will surely be disappointed, they can still choose to change their version to one of the others and enjoy Yooka-Laylee in a state in which the developers intend it to be.
Yooka-Laylee is set to launch on April 11, 2017 worldwide on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. The Nintendo Switch version’s release date is still pending.