Nintendo prides itself on a wholesome, Disney-like image. Yet Nintendo also likes money enough to feature adult-oriented video games on their platforms — and the games have often been good. Later this year, Nintendo will publish Devil’s Third on the Wii U console. This one looks bad.

Developed by Valhalla Game Studios and directed by the infamous Tomonobu Itagaki, Devil’s Third is a third-person shooter and a hack-and-slash sword action game. It doesn’t appear to be a good example of either. Players take control as some dumb-looking guy covered in yakuza tattoos with a katana and an M4 and is somehow supposed to be great at both.

Sounds great on paper, looks terrible on screen.

Did Nintendo know ahead of time that Devil’s Third wouldn’t be well-received? It was noticeably absent from Nintendo’s E3 presentation and only now has the company announced a release date for American territories. Before, only Japanese and European release dates were public.

It purely could be legal mud that prevented a lock on a Western release, but it also points to Nintendo’s serious unwillingness to embrace a darker side. The last popular adult-oriented Nintendo exclusives were its No More Heroes series, Mad World, and Red Steel on the original Wii console. They were cult hits, just not commercial. What has been a commercial success? Splatoon. Mario Kart 8. The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, a remake of the Legend of Zelda game where Link is a round anime cartoon.

Devil’s Third is director Tomonobu Itagaki’s first game since getting exiled out of Tecmo and Team Ninja, where he directed the popular and extremely troublesome Dead or Alive games. Upon leaving in 2008, he founded Valhalla Game Studios and has been working on Devil’s Third for years.

Really, years. There’s an older trailer from five years ago featuring a marginally different-looking game than what’s supposed to come out this year.

But you wouldn’t know that just looking at the final game, which looks like a rush job over a weekend. Missing a console generation could do that.

Nintendo will publish the Wii U verison of Devil’s Third, but the PC version will be released by Valhalla. The multiplayer feature should be the major distinction between the two; the PC multiplayer experience will “be tailored for the platform” according to the press release.

Devil’s Third comes out fourth quarter 2015.


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