Download limit on WiiWare titles to blame for low quality audio and textures.
Following complaints by fans over the quality of Telltale's recent Tales of Monkey Island for Wii, the developer has explained why certain aspects of the game are inferior to the PC version.
The biggest problem appears to be the download size limitation of only 40MB on the WiiWare service, something which has hugely restricted the quality of in-game audio and textures.
A Telltale Games staff member going by the forum name [TTG] Yare stated:
“The voices and textures are the way they are because we're limited to 40 megs for WiiWare titles. The PC versions of our games are usually 150+ megs, and most modern games range anywhere from 1-10 gigabytes or more. Talk to Nintendo about this one.”
Yare also added that Wii users shouldn't expect PC quality on the Wii – the console simply isn't very powerful.
“Frame rate issues will probably get sorted out eventually, but keep in mind that the Wii is just not a powerful console. An iPhone is much more powerful than a Wii, even,” said Yare.
Yare continued: “The extra RAM is really what makes the difference. Of the Wii's 88 MB of RAM, a not insignificant chunk of that is always being used by the OS and is unavailable to developers. The Wii's RAM is also split into two separate banks, each of which has different read/write metrics and you can't really spill from one to another if you need to.”
Asked to explain how titles like Super Mario Kart Wii and SSBB look so good on Wii, Yare said:
“This is like comparing apples to oranges. Mario Kart and Brawl are disc-based titles, so their resources don't have to be hyper-compressed. Uncompressed resources mean less time is spent decompressing them at run time.”
There is some hope that future Tales of Monkey Island games will be improved, though.
Posting on the Telltale forums, Telltale's Will stated:
“I'm personally really bummed about the voice quality. Obviously the game was pretty rigorously scoped for the 40mb filesize, but no matter how much you plan in advance little things creep in and add up. So when all was said and done we had to make a choice of either cutting content or compressing the voice more than usual. It was a pretty damn hard decision, but the last thing we wanted to do was cut out dialogue from the Wii version that was in the PC version. In the end I feel we made the right choice.
“Obviously, that's not something we want to happen again, so we are working hard on 102 to make sure it doesn't."