Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Developers, what's your issue with the Wii U GamePad?

12:00 PM on 01.28.2013 // Chris Carter

Why can't the GamePad just be a controller

We already knew that Crystal Dynamics had some issues with bringing the latest Tomb Raider reboot over to the Wii U, but they recently made light of the lack of a Wii U version again, amidst a petition created by gamers unhappy with the move.

To put the rumors to rest, Crystal Dynamics Creative Director Noah Hughes had this to say about a potential Wii U version of the game:

All three [consoles] are really trying to deliver roughly the same experience but delivered best on each platform, and I think something like the Wii U often asks you to do something unique based on a unique interface. That’s something as a gamer I love but it’s something you don’t want to do half-heartedly as a developer.

The question is: do you really have to do something unique with it to consider your effort more than "half-hearted?"

Or can it just be a regular ol' port with the GamePad as a controller, like any other port ever?

I think you know the answer to that.

Attention game designers: the Wii U is not strictly a tablet. There are buttons on the touch-pad enabled controller, because it is in fact, a controller. You don't have the same restrictions as an entirely touch-centric platform, because Nintendo gave you the option to utilize either control type, or both.

But it's not just Crystal Dynamics that seems to have this tunnel vision based design philosophy  -- other developers are also at fault. Gearbox recently came out and said Borderlands 2 wouldn't be a good fit because the Wii U version wouldn't be "OMG enough." As our own Jim Sterling perfect summed up in the same article, "there's no shame in a Wii U game just being, y'know, a normal videogame."


You want to know one smaller developer that answered the call, despite these claims from the big boys? Double Fine. Despite having zero experience with Wii U development, they brought their action-platformer The Cave to the Wii U eShop, with completely minimalistic GamePad support.

In fact, the only thing you can do with the GamePad in The Cave is control the game (with the available buttons, just like the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC versions), and tap a character portrait on the screen to switch to them (which you can do with the d-pad anyways). That's it. Done and dusted, here's a Wii U port. That's all they did, and it's still the same great game.

Now, I would be the first person to say full support for remote play in The Cave would have made the Wii U edition the best possible version of the game. But is my illusion of grandeur better than not having the game at all because Double Fine threw their hands up and "couldn't figure it out?" Of course not.

On the flip-side, developers like Rocksteady sometimes add too many options to the GamePad's functionality simply for the sake of adding it, often to the detriment of the game. In fact, the PlayStation Vita is extremely susceptible to this design pratfall as well.

You, um, really don't need to do that. The 360 and PS3 versions of Arkham City played just fine. The Wii U GamePad is perfectly capable of controlling the game just through the standard practice of button mapping. There's no need to cram every single menu ever on the GamePad for the sake of doing it.

If a game is ported from the Xbox 360 to the PS3, or vice versa, at an absolute maximum there would be some sort of Kinect or Move functionality added in as an optional control scheme. Then when the game is ported, you can just choose to not use it and play the game in the exact same manner as the other console.

Could you imagine how maddening it would be to hear that a developer couldn't figure out how to shoehorn Kinect into an in-demand port, and thus gave up on bringing it to the Xbox 360 entirely? Then blamed the entire ordeal on the Kinect?

Does that make much sense to you? Then why does the exact same thing happen to the Wii U?

Now, I'm smart enough to know that blaming the GamePad may just be an excuse for some other cost-related reason. If developers don't want to develop for the Wii U because they think there isn't a market yet for it, just say so. If it's because historically they haven't had a great time working with Nintendo on past projects, that's a fair concern as well, and should be addressed.

But developers, please stop blaming everything on the Wii U GamePad. Not every game needs to use it in some elaborate manner that will take months of dedicated development time. If more developers keep thinking like this, we'll end up losing all multiplatform support while they figure out what they're supposed to do with it.

Here's what you do with it if you can't figure it out -- just map the controls, because it's a controller. You're welcome.

Chris Carter, Reviews Director
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidChris Tips
Chris (Magnalon) has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! -----------... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

Torchman avatarTorchman
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
People are having serious anthropological discussions about video games and here I am reminding people that they have one more day to get a dumb card I painted:
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
I just finished this thing here: I'm mostly happy with my results, altough it lacks some stuff like Skyward Sword or Sonic & Knuckles [img][/img]
techsupport avatartechsupport
While I am glad I only paid $15 for it, I bought J-STARS VS+ for one specific reason: to drink some beer and kick ass as Yusuke and Hiei. And in that regard, it delivers. Beer not included.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
We can be so weird sometimes. You can easily move on from some of the stuff you might want to remember forever, but then sometimes you just can't let go of trivial things. What's up with that?
ScreamAid avatarScreamAid
I'm in the mood for some feel-good music. Hit me with your best feel-good VGM, people! [youtube][/youtube]
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
My "Thankful it's over" post is done. Editing it tonight, posting tomorrow. Will there be more last-minute entries? Will Pixie be merciful to Twilight Princess? Will Zetta add words to his entry? Why is bear driving? Who run Bartertown? Stay Tuned!
Parismio avatarParismio
Whelp since i got my ass kicked at snowboarding ive been issued a muscle relaxer today and slept the entire day. Time went by so fast. Is- is this what the phantom cigar is like?
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
What the hell is a Shantae?
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
Ok you Monday morning motherfuckers, 3 favourite fictional universes you'd like to exist in (The initial iteration of the universe had to be in videogame form) Go.
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Just ran into my first 'suicide mole rat' in Fallout 4. I'm beginning to think this may not be a 100% accurate, meticulously researched recreation of life after the apocalypse.
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
Well I just played Undertale. It's a really unique game, but the difficulty in the beginning is a tad intense. Got clobbered once they started throwing three monsters at me at a time and lost a lot of progress... where's Toriel when I need her?
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
What should I do guys?
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
[img][/img] The Freedom Planet Indie Box, for those that were interested. And it looks like a "wild cat" is there too!
James Internet Ego avatarJames Internet Ego
Just 1200 words left to go on my essays. Do I deserve a day off to play Just Cause 3 once I'm done? Yes.
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
Elite: Dangerous has some glaring issues, and can occasionally feel kinda bare bones, but I'll be damned if it isn't one of my favorite games in recent memory. Ships are fun to fly, trading is rewarding, and the sound design is absolutely brilliant.
Archelon avatarArchelon
Well, Destructoid. I did it. I jumped ahead.
Atleastimhousebroken avatarAtleastimhousebroken
Flawed but fun favorite game sorter. Post top 30 in the comments. [url][\url]
KingSigy avatarKingSigy
I am tired of random players. I need to enlist some help with Triforce Heroes challenges. Would anyone like to pair up with me?
El Dango avatarEl Dango
[img][/img] fun...
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -