When you’ve got turn-based combat, sprawling battlefields, strategic decisions, and tough as nails AI, it must be Advance Wars! It’s been awhile since we have had a new Advance Wars game, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The series isn’t one that would benefit from having annual installments– the games are spaced out ever so nicely. But now that Wii U is coming around, I think it’s about time to polish off the old tanks. If Advance Wars makes the move onto consoles in the next generation, I can see some great things on the horizon. Here’s a few ideas I have to wage war on Wii U.
The jump from Advance Wars 2 to Advance Wars: Dual Strike was incredible. Having two screens is invaluable for displaying information about units, terrain, and intel, and Wii U could turn up this capability considerably with its multifunctional tablet. Imagine having a bird’s eye of the battlefield displayed on the television while your tablet screen zooms in on a particular region to display the minute details. You could use the touch screen to trace out paths for units to walk and easily manage all of the menus and information required for being a commander. The tablet can basically become your own personal command center while the television displays the battlefield carnage as it unfolds in glorious high definition.
Of course, the tablet could not only affect how we view the game, it could also affect how we play. Fog of war is one of the most interesting (and annoying) obstacles in the Advance Wars games. Your vision is only extended to as far as your units can see, while anywhere else is fair game for enemies to hide. During a foggy match of Wii U Wars, the tablet could essentially double as your recon unit. The television displays all of your units and vision, but you could point your controller at the battlefield to uncover more fog as you send out your recon. It becomes a window into the battle! The tablet could also be used to display secondary battlefields like in Advance Wars: Dual Strike. While the main battle plays out on the television, you might be forced to deal with smaller skirmishes that show up on your tablet in between turns. These could be small battles that take place in towns or forests where only a few units are involved.
Of course, the most exciting prospects for the Wii U Wars game lies in the possibilities for multiplayer. Multiplayer that delivers a different experience for each player in games like Pac-Man Vs. is always a blast, and the new Advance Wars game could go in a similar direction. Here’s one mode I had in mind: one player who holds the Wii U tablet could be a military juggernaut that the other players who are using regular Wii Remotes battle against. The television will house the primary battlefield, while the tablet will hide the first player’s intel and decisions from the other generals. The remote-wielding players will work together and share information on the television. However, they can’t see player one’s information, but he can see theirs. This mode can create some interesting strategic decisions that would be very fun to play. But if Wii U ends up being compatible with multiple tablets at once, every player could get his or her own information and balance out the playing field! Free-for-all wars where each player gets a personal screen while battles play out on the television would be just incredible.
But multiplayer doesn’t have to be strictly competitive. The new Advance Wars could have co-op as well! Think about it: the single player campaign could be played through by two players helping each other out. One player is the commanding officer who uses the Wii remote and dictates units to move and attack, whereas the second player is mission control who uses the Wii U tablet. Mission control builds units and relays battle intel to the CO, who then in turn mobilizes troops and dominates the field. Mission control could also help out on the field by giving buffs to troops or deploying special units to keep the enemy at bay in a tight spot. And although Advance Wars is normally turn-based, the cooperative mode could impose a time limit per turn in order to increase the difficulty when you have two minds working together. Imagine being in a close battle, with you and your friend barking military terms back and forth: “I need two tanks built within the next day, Lieutenant!” “Right away General! Be careful! Your Battle Copters are low on fuel!” (I don’t know about you guys, but I pretend I am an important general whenever I play Advance Wars…)
Wii U’s online capabilities are also being hyped up, which could do wonders for Advance Wars too. The Wi-Fi battles in Days of Ruin (Dark Conflict in Europe) were pretty cool, but they never really reached their potential. Online battles in the Wii U Advance Wars could go all out. Each player would have access to the television and tablet, so they could get the full battle experience. The Wii U tablet has a camera, which could allow players to send communications back and forth. One turn, you move your units to form a particularly bothersome blockade against the enemy, and you record a video before the turn ends. It moves to your opponent’s turn, and before he goes to move, your face appears on his controller screen. “My forces have cut off all access to your factories! YOUR COUNTRY WILL BE CRUSHED BEFORE LONG GENERAL! GAHAHAHAH!” Of course, this feature could be easily abused. Maybe it should be restricted to friends only so you don’t end up catching a glimpse of your opponent’s genitals after you capture his HQ.
Thinking of all the possibilities for a new Advance Wars on Wii U gets me really excited. Besides the normal upgrades of new units, maps, and terrain, a new Advance Wars on the system could be a complete overhaul of the classic turn-based strategy series. Nintendo and Intelligent Systems! If you guys are reading this, make it happen! All I ask for in exchange are royalties from these amazing ideas that will make you millions, nay, BILLIONS of dollars!
All this week at Nintendojo –