Nicalis, the small publisher best known for releasing cult-classic Japanese indie game Cave Story in the West, announced last night via Twitter that the WiiWare port of another beloved Japanese indie title, La Mulana, has been cancelled. Nicalis cited poor sales of other WiiWare titles to justify the cancellation.
In a statement issued to GoNintendo, Nicalis producer Tyrone Rodriguez told disappointed fans that the niche title simple didn’t stand a chance to turn a profit on the more-or-less dead WiiWare shop, as “The window for release and success of software on the platform ended in 2009 and took a very steep decline. Players have moved onto other digital download platforms.”
While it’s disappointing that North American/European players won’t get to experience La Mulana (which is apparently a very good game, according to people who’ve played the original Japanese PC version,) you can’t really blame Nicalis for their decision to cancel the project. While Nintendo has already announced a number of improvements to the 3DS e-Shop and the upcoming Wii-U online service, they’ve more or less cut their losses on WiiWare: titles released on the service receive little-to-no press, Nintendo still doesn’t allow publishers to put their downloadable Wii titles on sale, and well… I’m pretty sure even the most hardcore Nintendo fanboys out there haven’t even visited the Wii e-shop in months, or possible even years. I don’t think I’ve personally bought an original downloadable title for Wii since Mega Man 9, and that was way back in 2008.
Other small publishers have already publicly complained about how Nintendo has more or less abandoned the WiiWare platform and how it’s impossible to turn a profit on the service, so Nicalis’ choice to cancel La Mulana was probably a smart decision. Here’s hoping Western gamers still get a chance to play La Mulana on another platform in the future, like Steam, XBLA, PSN, or, provided that Nintendo ever learns how to use the internet properly, on the 3DS or Wii-U.