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When bringing an existing game to Wii U, stay true to your source material

When bringing Mass Effect 3 to the Wii U, Tantalus CEO Tom Crago said the biggest challenge wasn't about adding new content or changing the game to suit the console's GamePad -- it was about not screwing anything up.
The Australian development house Tantalus is very experienced in bringing older games to new platforms. The company began its life as a conversion house for hire, and has ported games to everything from the Sega Saturn to the Xbox and beyond. While the company now also develops its own original titles, its biggest project of late has been bringing BioWare's Mass Effect 3 to the Wii U. Unlike a traditional port job, however, the team at Tantalus has had to rework the popular sci-fi title to support the console's tablet-like GamePad, and company CEO Tom Crago told us that doing so was no easy task. "In terms of design challenges, the biggest challenge, to be honest, was not screwing it up," he said. "It's a great game on its original formats and we needed to ensure we didn't break anything." The company didn't want to change the design or add a bunch of new touch screen-exclusive content to BioWare's already successful game. Instead, the team chose to take a more cautious approach and fine-tune things so players using the GamePad got a slightly more convenient experience, but not an altogether different one. "We handled the thing gently, and I feel like the stuff we've implemented gels extremely well. We made the power wheel interactive along with the level maps, and you can give orders to squad mates via the map on the GamePad," Crago said. "With Mass Effect 3 on Wii U, we're heavily leveraging the work done by BioWare. We're very proud of the Wii U-specific features that will ship with the game, but a large part of our assignment is to replicate the ME3 experience on Nintendo's new console." For even more on Tantalus' early Wii U development and its experience in the Australian game market, be sure to check out our full interview with Crago, which is now live on Gamasutra.

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