Unity development tools to support Wii U

The Unity game engine, a streamlined SDK for Windows, Mac, mobile devices, and all major gaming consoles, will support Wii U development thanks to a partnership between creator Unity Technologies and Nintendo.

The Unity game engine, a streamlined software development kit for Windows, Mac, mobile devices, and current-gen gaming consoles, will support Wii U development thanks to a partnership between creator Unity Technologies and Nintendo, the companies announced today.

The Unity engine has gained popularity in the past year thanks to its easy-to-use visual interface, and has been implemented in games of varying sizes; from indie hits like 10000000 and Slender, to larger projects like Wasteland 2. The engine's motto is "author once, deploy everywhere," reflected in the ease of porting Unity games between different platforms, another reason for its mounting popularity.

According to Unity Technologies CEO David Helgason, that vision won't be compromised when Unity's Wii U development tools are released.

"This is the goal of Unity," Helgason told Polygon, "that there's really only one Unity. It's not like there's a console version of Unity, and then ... an Xbox version of Unity.

"If this is a success, which I know it's going to be, you should be able to take any game that's built on Unity and put it on the Wii U very quickly, and then work with it — which might take a day, it might take half a year — just to really work with the controls and the hardware. And that's interesting work, that's development work. Not just making it run; that's the boring stuff that we take care of."

As part of the partnership between the two companies, Unity licenses (the Pro versions of which run $1,500 a pop) will be distributed to Nintendo's in-house, external, and third-party licensing partners. The goal, Helgason explained, is to combine the Nintendo development ecosystem and the 1.2 million-strong Unity developer base, providing new experiences for the Wii U platform and new opportunities for game creators.

Unity's Wii U development toolset will be launched sometime next year. If you've had a clever idea of how the console's GamePad could be utilized, you could start prepping yourself by downloading the free version of Unity from the engine's official site.

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