Thursday, January 30, 2014

Zelda U will be the GamePad Game

With video games I enjoy options. Different controllers. Changing the button layout. Changing the visuals. Calibrating the game in a way that's best for you. But when it came to options, Nintendo was usually very reluctant to put it mildly. Usually there are only a hand full of options, if any at all. So, I was positively surprised about how, with the exception of Nintendo Land, all big Nintendo titles on the Wii U so far give you the option to play with different controllers. I've accustomed to the Wii U GamePad by now, but it's nice to play with the Wiimote here and there. Also, some might prefer the Pro Controller over the GamePad, though I personally see the lack of a gyro sensor as a big design flaw (gyro aiming ftw).

In some games it even looks like the GamePad just gets in the way, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze for example looks like it defies the GamePad as a whole, staying true to the controls of the Wii predecessor. And this instead of creating Metroid Prime 4, which probably would make great use of the GamePad. This let some to speculate that Nintendo might be thinking about a version of the Wii U, which will be sold and playable with the Wii U GamePad. However, it turns out that quite the opposite is the case...

From Iwata's investor briefing:

Our top priority task this year is to offer software titles that are made possible because of the GamePad.

We have managed to offer several of such software titles for occasions when many people gather in one place to play, but we have not been able to offer a decisive software title that enriches the user’s gameplay experience when playing alone with the GamePad. This will be one of the top priorities of Mr. Miyamoto’s software development department this year.

And we all know what game will be THE Wii U GamePad game...

In the last eight years the Zelda series has always been the forefront of Nintendo's integrated hardware and software design. Motion controls? Zelda uses them. Touchscreen controls? Zelda uses them. Microphone input? Zelda uses it. No options allowed. While Zelda games like Phantom Hourglass, Spirit Tracks and Skyward Sword made great use of the existing hardware for a unique gaming experience, they weren't really popular with players, who preferred more traditional controls. And at least with Twilight Princess on Wii there was no excuse that the game didn't offer an option to play with the Classic or GameCube controller. You had to buy the GameCube version to use the latter.

Now, The Wind Waker HD was the first ever Zelda title that gave the player options. You can play with the Wii U GamePad, but you can also use the traditional controls with the Pro Controller. They even added options for inverting the sticks. This gave me the hope that the upcoming Wii U Zelda game might aim for different options as well. Motion controls like in Skyward Sword, traditional controls with the Pro Controller, but also advanced controls with the Wii U GamePad. Each of them having their perks, but none of them being used for bad gimmicks. Skyward Swords' controls were great, but all the silly "please slice in the right direction" fights and puzzles similar to Wii Sports Resort or Nintendo Land took the fun out of them.

But it should be clear that Zelda U is probably going to utilize the Wii U GamePad in a way, where it can't be played with any other controller, because it uses the touchscreen and maybe the microphone for new gimmicks. So better get used to the big thing.

I already had the theory that Zelda U might set its focus on the bow as an item, another possibility might be maps. Like drawing on maps directly changes the environment in a way. This I could imagine for a Zelda game. But at E3 in the latest we will know, how Zelda U will look and play like.

1 comment:

K2L said...

I suppose a control settings would be the only way to keep everybody satisfied.