Nintendo Wii U Has “Horrible, Slow CPU” – Developer of Metro 2033: Last Light Game

4A Games Debunks Nintendo Wii U’s Multi-Core IBM Power Processor

by Anton Shilov
11/21/2012 | 05:35 PM



4A Games, the developer of Metro 2033: Last Light game title, said it would not develop a version for Nintendo Wii U game console, despite of the initial plan to do so as the system reportedly has low-performance microprocessor, which will make it extremely hard for the team to port the title from the PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

“The Wii U has a horrible, slow CPU. We had an early look at it, we thought we could probably do it, but in terms of the impact we would make on the overall quality of the game – potentially to its detriment – we just figured it was not worth pursuing at this time. It is something we might return to. I really could not make any promises, though,” said Oles Shishkovtsov, chief technical officer of 4A Games, in an interview with NowGamer web-site.

Nothing particular is known about the IBM custom processor for the Wii U console. It is  was revealed that the chip is a multi-core all-new, Power-based microprocessor made using leading-edge 45nm process technology. The number of cores, exact clock-speed, or cache sizes are unknown.

Apparently, the chip inside Wii U is less powerful than triple-core Xenon processor with 2-way simultaneous multithreading technology of Xbox 360 as well as Cell microprocessor with one Power core and six synergistic processing elements. Given the fact that Metro 2033: Last Light title will have very advanced graphics, it will be impossible for 4A Games to speed up general-purpose processing using GPGPU technologies supported by the integrated AMD Radeon HD custom graphics processor.


As it appears, even though Nintendo promised to significantly boost performance of Nintendo Wii, at least some modern games will still be unable to work on the machine properly. It is unclear whether this is a general problem with the CPU itself, or just the sequel to the Metro 2033 title will be too demanding for hardware.

“We had an initial look at the Wii U, but given the size of the team and compared to where we were last time, just developing for the PlayStation 3 is a significant addition,” said Huw Beynon, a producer at 4A Games.

Nintendo Wii U is based on a custom IBM Power microprocessor equipped with 1GB of system memory as well as a modern custom AMD Radeon HD graphics processing unit with high-definition graphics and video support that is equipped with 1GB of graphics memory. The consoles come with 32GB or 8GB of NAND flash storage and an optical drive to read custom discs. 

The main feature of the game console is its unique Wii U GamePad controller with 6.2" touch-screen that also features an accelerometer and a gyroscope, a rumble feature, an inward-facing camera, a microphone and speakers that can be used to play both classic Gamecube/Wii games as well as specially designed titles that take advantage of the screen. Each Wii U console will be partnered with a new controller and can also use up to four additional Wii Remote or Wii Remote Plus controllers. The system is also backward compatible and can play all Wii games and use all Wii accessories. 

Nintendo Wii U console will land in the U.S. on November 18, then in Europe on November 30, then in Japan on December 8, 2012. In the U.S., the basic bundle will cost $299, the premium bundle be available for $349. In Europe, the basic white version will be sold for €299/£249, while the deluxe black will carry €349/£299 price-tag. In Japan, the white and black Wii U will cost ¥26250 and ¥31500, respectively.