Wii U Launch Developer Complains of Lackluster CPU

During the Tokyo Game Show on Friday, Akihiro Suzuki, producer of the Dynasty Warriors franchise, complained to Eurogamer about the Wii U's CPU after the site pointed out the performance of the new console's upcoming launch title, Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper.

In the report, Eurogamer claimed that the Wii U game wasn't up to performance levels of past Dynasty Warriors titles in terms of frame rate and number of enemies on the screen. The game was even shadowed by Dynasty Warriors 7 Empires, a PlayStation 3 exclusive, which was on display in Tecmo Koei's booth.

Suzuki pointed to the Wii U's CPU – made by IBM and consists of three Power PC cores – for the lack of performance, saying that it's "a bit less" than what's offered on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

"For games in the Warriors series, including Dynasty Warriors and Warriors Orochi, when you have a lot of enemies coming at you at once, the performance tends to be affected because of the CPU," Suzuki admitted. "Dealing with that is a challenge."

The actual hardware specifics of the Wii U CPU still remain unknown, but this isn't the first CPU-based performance complaint dished out by developers. Compensating for the lackluster CPU – which reportedly under-performs when compared to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 – is the console's custom Radeon 7-series GPU provided by AMD, and 1 GB of RAM – double that of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Because of this custom GPU and RAM, Suzuki said that the development team could create better visuals on the Wii U console than what could have been offered on the current-gen competitors. That said, it sounds as if the Wii U provides superior visuals, but inferior performance when there's a lot going on screen-wise.

"Developing on new hardware in itself was a challenge, and also making that launch date was a challenge," he said. "But from a visual standpoint, based on the performance of the Wii U, we knew the game had the capability of having much better graphics than games on PS3 and Xbox 360. Make no mistake, from a visual standpoint, it is able to produce better graphics. So our challenge was to make a higher quality graphics. We were able to meet that."

"While the visuals are great, as is being able to improve them, we had to deal with the lower CPU power and how we can get around that issue," he added. "Actually, we're still working on that. If you see the demo on the show floor and you try it, you'll probably feel it's not up to the PS3 level. But we're working on it!"

Suzuki said that developers are still trying to figure out how to best utilize the console's CPU, indicating that the first wave of games won't fully utilize the console's hardware.

"With the Wii U being new hardware, we're still getting used to developing for it, so there are still a lot of things we don't know yet to bring out the most of the processing power," he said. "There's a lot that still needs to be explored in that area."

 

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  • ddpruitt
    Another developer who can't. Sounds like they suck at writing properly threaded apps.

    Optimization is a lost art nowdays. People got too comfortable writing bloated apps, now that they have to deal with limited hardware they're having issues.

    Although this does make me wonder if these custom Radeons that AMD's putting out are part of the Heterogeneous Computing Architecture.
  • antilycus
    use a kernel that has the best thread management available (Linux). That will solve your CPU problems. I run clients windows server 2008 on a VM using Debian/Linux kernel and the performance differences is unbelievable. Thread management on WIndows kernels is a joke (xbox 360). PS3(though i cant stand it) had the right Idea by using Linux, it was their CELL that was problem (memory bottleneck and registers bottleneck due to 1 "core" managing all cores).

    I don't know teh O/S or Kernel used in Wii U, but if 3 processors can't get it done, your developers are stuck in 1999. They (like most programmers) need to understand writting threads, not objects.

    The CPU count is plenty high, the complete lack of understanding HOW to write threaded games, is the problem.
  • DRosencraft
    Quite frankly there's no point complaining about it now. It was announced a long time ago that the Wii U would have the same basic specs of the 360/PS3. Add to that the demand from the new controller with its screen, which you will eventually be able to use two of, and you'll start sucking out CPU resources.

    That said, Nintendo to me represents an argument that I've long held about video games; graphics are great, but not everything. That's why I don't really care what system a game is on as long as it is a good, playable, game. I don't necessarily care if it has the best frame rate or crispest character renders as long as its fun. That is something that many devs have lost a handle on. So, if they have to sacrifice a few fewer massive hordes on screen, that's all right so long as it doesn't hurt the game or something else good is added elsewhere in the game.
  • Other Comments
  • memadmax
    oh oh, thats not good.
  • antilycus
    use a kernel that has the best thread management available (Linux). That will solve your CPU problems. I run clients windows server 2008 on a VM using Debian/Linux kernel and the performance differences is unbelievable. Thread management on WIndows kernels is a joke (xbox 360). PS3(though i cant stand it) had the right Idea by using Linux, it was their CELL that was problem (memory bottleneck and registers bottleneck due to 1 "core" managing all cores).

    I don't know teh O/S or Kernel used in Wii U, but if 3 processors can't get it done, your developers are stuck in 1999. They (like most programmers) need to understand writting threads, not objects.

    The CPU count is plenty high, the complete lack of understanding HOW to write threaded games, is the problem.
  • luciferano
    Hopefully, they'll be able to get good performance out of this CPU by launch time or shortly after.