If there is one thing that has annoyed me this generation, it is motion control.
The Wii Remote started with such vigour and promise, with Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition demonstrating that behind the waggling Wii Sports facade there was a serious control setup begging to get out. But to no avail, as the Wii struggled to maintain or even standardise its controller and how games utilised it, it became a scattershot controller that only now is being used sensibly again.
The PS Move and Kinect have shown similar problems. That is, there is software for them – but little to none of it is really worthy of interest, making these options costly and pointless. At least the Wii had the decency to come with the Wii Remote and keep the costs low; Microsoft and Sony forgot that with the added expense comes the need for high-brow support. Which they have systematically failed at.
With Nintendo moving on and the Wii-U controller being as it is, the support for the Wii Remoter built into the Wii-U is starting to look ever more pointless as the controller goes back predominantly to a more traditional setup, the only quirk being that whacking great big touchscreen.
But this comes with a proviso – a caveat, if you will – and that is that Nintendo themselves cannot afford to repeat the performance of the Wii Remote. The touchscreen will bring out the best and worst in games, of course it will. But it needs to be used – and be seen to be used – in all the games. It cannot coyly ask for games to spread the love around controller types, it needs now to focus on what it has, what it wants to sell the system on. It needs to standardise the Wii-U controller. And it needs to do this as soon as possible.
Of course, some argue that the Wii-U only currently supporting two of these controllers is bad. Or is it? I don’t mean to sound rude here, but with Nintendo pushing the online aspect, games will be taken online far more. Post-pub entertainment the controller ain’t set up for. I only have two 360 controllers – when I have friends around, we put on fighting games and its winner stays on. That’s just how it is. We all have 3DS’ and we all play Mario Kart 7 – we don’t need to be in the same room to race each other anymore. Games are becoming more social on the internet but increasingly less social personally. This has been happening for some time. I doubt any will notice the Wii-U controller restriction really.
And with this, the Wii Remote should be if not consigned to the scrapheap, then at least allowed to age and fall gracefully. It served its purpose and goaded Microsoft and Sony into two incredibly costly attempts that failed to sustain any level of excitement. It deserves credit for leading its rivals on a wild goose chase, especially since it was itself chasing its own tail for so long.
I don’t hate motion controls. Far from it, I find the latest Wii games are very good. But it’s a bit late now. The time to standardise and promote the Wii Remote is over, long long over. It exposed itself as unsuitable for certain genres and certain games. Much like 3D tech, there’s too big a margin for error for the Wii Remote to live on with the Wii-U.
The touchscreen Wii-U controller brings with it some huge implications and advances for players and games in general. That simply must be where Nintendo focus the brunt of their aim, and realise that more and more are playing online, and less and less of us are crawling back home at night with mates in tow from the pub. Partly because booze is so pricey; but mostly because we’ve all moved apart for work, family and relationship reasons. Life has won out on our four-man Smash Bros. sessions.
But the chance to take it online? Hell yeah. We can do the same old thing, even have a chat channel for us to laugh on. We don’t need more than one controller for the most part, two maximum really.
Nintendo needs to make sure the Wii-U controller sings. And for that, it needs to leave the Wii Remote to its own devices. It’s served its purpose, done good and done bad.
It’s time. It is time for it to rest, and for Nintendo to goad Microsoft and Sony into once again trying to out-engineer a simple and effective concept.
You just know they will.