Wii U: PAL backwards compatibility doesn’t upscale to HD

Wednesday, 5 December 2012 13:12 GMT By Dave Cook

Wii U backwards compatibility functions have been thoroughly tested by the boffins at Digital Foundry. While the site champions Nintendo’s handling of classic Wii games, it has found that while NTSC titles upscale to HD resolution, PAL games will not. Get their findings below.

As part of a detailed analysis into the matter on Eurogamer, Digital Foundry reports that when playing original Wii games, the Wii U console will revert to Wii mode, complete with classic menus and options.

However, the site explained, “Important AV options are omitted from the Wii menu, with the PAL console unable to upscale to HD resolutions or run in progressive scan over component – an issue that doesn’t seem to impact NTSC hardware.”

The report added, “The results are intriguing. On a PAL unit, where 480p and PAL60 were supported in the original games, Wii U automatically opts for this set-up on HDMI – whether the user wants it or not.

“While we think it’s a logical way to proceed, the fact is that some Wii gamers prefer to utilise 576i. PAL-optimised titles may take a hit to frame-rate, but they make up for it with around 17 per cent more resolution.

“What is clear is that the choices users had on their older hardware have been taken away from them on Wii U when there’s absolutely no reason that the software couldn’t have been designed to keep everyone happy.”

So it seems that PAL games are being locked into a particular resolution, regardless of options available within the original title. The report also discusses the long and drawn out process of transferring data over from your original Wii to Wii U.

“Other back-compat issues surface when dealing with the Virtual Console. For starters, transferring purchases across from the Wii to the Wii U is a bizarrely involved procedure.

“The process involves downloading the transfer tool on both your Wii U and the old Wii. You then have to prepare the SD card (with at least 512MB of space on it) on the Wii U and then insert it into the old console. The transfer tool then copies all of your data (Miis, purchase history, downloads, save games) to the SD card.

“You then have to put it back in the Wii U and copy all of the data back over. Weirdly, you need to have internet access in order to complete the process.

“One of our colleagues was hugely frustrated by always failing at the last stage of this drawn-out operation, with the Wii U itself offering no explanation whatsoever for what the issue may have been, and network issues turned out to be the problem.

“Also a little irritating is that despite shipping a console with 32GB of flash, onboard Wii storage limits are the same palty 512MB we had to put up with on the original hardware.”

Sounds like a nightmare doesn’t it? Have you dabbled in either of these issues? Let us know what you think below.