Nintendo has signed a deal with Autodesk to allow the former’s developers to use the latter’s Gameware software for Wii U development. Among the Gameware tools are the Havok physics development kits. Nintendo will also be able to offer middleware Scaleform, Kynapse, and HumanIK.
These tools have been used in over 1,000 games, the latest and most notable of which include The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
Analysis: Talking to industry sources, I’m noticing a trend: most of them are saying, “What’s the big deal?” Havok is no longer a name; most of their tools have been done just as well by Bullet (used in Trials HD), which is open source. Scaleform isn’t bad, but there are alternatives. HumanIK is likely the most usable SDK in the list. As for Kynapse, it’s nice to have, but one source I talked to said that anyone of middling resources could build something similar within a week or two. With Nintendo’s resources, likely less.
This isn’t a bad thing by any stretch, but here’s hoping Nintendo didn’t overpay for a big name because there are alternatives to the vast majority of all of these, and they cost either much less or nothing at all.