New SSX Blur (Wii) info

IGN’s Matt Casamassina recently had a chance to sit down with Eric Chartrand, lead designer on Electronic Art’s upcoming Wii offering, SSX Blur. In the interview, Chartrand reveals some information on how the game plays, and repeatedly mentions how excited they are that they’ve maxed out the Wii hardware and controls.

Surprisingly, Chartrand reveals that carving (or the left and right movement of the board down the mountain) will be done by tilting the nunchuck left and right, with the analog stick being used for fine adjustments. While your left hand is busy controlling most of the on ground movements, the Wii remote will be used for in air functions like spins and flips. Move the controller left and right for spins, and up and down for flips. While you’re at it, go ahead and use those buttons you have in your left hand to tweak moves. Oh yeah, you’ll have to use A and B to finish your tricks and to make sure your snowboarder doesn’t take a nasty dive as he/she lands. Wouldn’t want to forget that.

To me this sounds like a confusing mess. There’s way too much “patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time” going on for my tastes. Wasn’t the point of the Wii to bring gaming back to the poor, confused masses who were fed up with complicated controls? Am I crazy in thinking that anything beyond Wii Sports style control is going to scare the pants off the non-gaming grandparents Nintendo so desperately is trying to get back into the living room?

Early builds of Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess proved frustrating and a bit confusing in terms of controls, but when the game finally hit retail, everything was smoothed out rather nicely. I trust that with first-party titles Nintendo will be able to streamline controls in a way that makes sense. But will button and motion happy developers who are too eager to take advantage of every bit of the Wii’s controls end up alienating people looking for a more accessible experience?

Nick Chester