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Big games slip out of Wii U’s launch window

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The Wonderful 101 (Credit: Nintendo)

Some of the biggest titles in the Wii U’s initial lineup have met with some big delays.

Nintendo today announced the delays of Game & Wario, The Wonderful 101 and Wii Fit U – which, alongside the previously delayed Pikmin 3, were initially promised to hit stores by the end of March. The company now says they’ll arrive in the “first half of the year.”

It’s a disappointment for fans of the system, since Nintendo first-party games are typically the best-selling (and often highest-rated) titles on its consoles. And it harkens back to some of the problems the 3DS faced in its early days: a distinct lack of first-party titles after the system hit shelves.

Up next for Nintendo will be Lego City Undercover, due March 18. Assuming it hits that target date, it will put the gap between Nintendo-created titles at four months.

Third-party games will fill the gap in the meantime, with Ubisoft’s Rayman Legends arriving February 26 and Capcom's Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate getting a firm launch date of March 19. A Wii U version of EA’s Need for Speed: Most Wanted is also headed for the system on the same day.

Launch date slips are common, of course, but given how fervently Nintendo officials emphasized the need to have a regular stream of good games post-launch, the delay of the company’s own entries in the catalog are surprising -- and disheartening -- for Wii U owners.

The Wii U is trying to build up momentum against the looming launches of the next generation Xbox and PlayStation consoles, which are expected to be introduced and possibly hit retail shelves later this year.

Meanwhile, current generation systems from Microsoft and Sony both have unusually strong lineups set for this spring. Console exclusives like the Xbox 360’s Gears of War: Judgment and the PS3’s God of War: Ascension lead the way, joined by heavily-anticipated third-party games like BioShock: Infinite, Tomb Raider, and Dead Space 3, none of which are planned for the Wii U.

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