With Nintendo’s Wii U out for a few days in North America, a lot of reviews have been cropping up regarding the system’s asymmetric gameplay paradigm. Some games are built for the GamePad, while others utilize the Wii Remote and GamePad, others just the Wii Remote, some others the Pro Controller, and even some that only work with the Classic Controller. That is not to mention things like the Wii Zapper and Wii Fit Balance Board that have yet to make an appearance yet (but certainly will soon).
But does having six different controller inputs make sense for a console, and more importantly, does it make the console better? Or does it just confuse players and show a lack of focus?
We’ll start off by saying that we think games that utilize the GamePad or Wii Remotes and the GamePad are totally fine. That control scheme is almost entirely what the Wii U was built for, so we have to assume that those are required.
But what do we make of the Pro Controller? It has all the exact same buttons as the GamePad (minus the screen and NFC capability, of course), but with Nintendo not requiring use of the GamePad screen by developers, will we begin seeing games designed strictly for the Pro Controller? In this case, the choice to create a so-called Pro Controller (it really is; check out our review here) is likely two-fold from Nintendo.
Big-N has always had trouble courting the bigger third-party developers into making the same game for their platform. In fact, it’s largely not been possible because of the massive graphical disparity between Sony and Microsoft’s consoles and Nintendo’s. Of course, that disparity is gone now, and so Nintendo has likely designed the Pro Controller to make it super easy for third-party developers to do a one-to-one port of their titles over to Wii U.
Our guess is that Nintendo has some sort of super-simple development kit that makes it very easy for developers to utilize the GamePad as a mirror image of what the television displays, or give players the choice to use the Pro Controller and go GamePad-free.
On the other hand, Nintendo’s development and release of the Pro Controller could signal its own doubts in the GamePad. They did very well in designing a product that is light and easy to hold without fatigue, despite its size. Yet somehow, they might be unsure of how it will play out going forward.
With even more control schemes available for the Wii U, we’re thinking that our piece on hardware dictating the only real gameplay innovations is becoming more and more relevant. What are your thoughts? Do we need to see new hardware to get new gameplay? Is it enough to just have new control styles like Move, Kinect, and the Wii U GamePad? Or are there other ways developers and console manufacturers can get us into the game?