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Gearbox: Wii U a "cool stop gap" console

Brian Martel excited about using tablet controller for Aliens: Colonial Marines

Gearbox's Brian Martel has described the Wii U as a "really cool stop gap," and how he hopes to integrate its tablet controller into the development of Aliens: Colonial Marines.

"We think it's going to be a really cool stop-gap in between this generation and the next generation," the Gearbox co founder told IGN.

"We think it's really smart of Nintendo, and the fact that as a platform it's a lot more capable for hardcore first-person shooter-style gaming – for us that's fantastic."

He admitted that Gearbox was still figuring out the console's technical specifications, but said that Colonial Marines is already running on the machine, with "textures at a resolution that you haven't seen on [the current] generation."

Martel said he was most excited about the new tablet controller that streams video and information from the console.

"So the obvious thing for us is that we can do the motion tracker, or the sentry gun information – all that kind of stuff. That stuff is really sexy for us. Getting the information off the screen and onto this device is a fantastic idea, right? So can we have a HUD-less environment? Yeah, probably. That would be fantastic, right?"

Aliens: Colonial Marines was officially announced in February 2008, and has been in development since 2006.

Last week Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford discussed another major science fiction franchise, Bladerunner, revealing that while the property was on Gearbox's list of dream projects, it would have ruined the company.

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Latest comments (12)

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer 5 years ago
Im excited about the WiiU... what can I say realtime 1080p, 25gb optical disc media, full set of controller buttons and up to date processing power.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game5 years ago
Perhaps he should have used a better word than stopgap, which suggests it's good until the real nextgen comes out. That sounds far too much like one of the major criticisms, baring in mind it was meant as part of a positive comment.
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Tony Johns5 years ago
Perhaps after the upending the teatable of gaming with the Wii and the Wiimote, perhaps in a developer perspective they have gone back to the traditional controllers but also have included a few new tricks that will make the Wii U and the tablet controller more better of a controller than any of the new motion controls of the Move or the handless Kinect ways of playing games.
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Show all comments (12)
Doug McFarlane Co-Owner, KodeSource5 years ago
If games do move the HUD to the controller, I hope they include an option to also show in on the main screen like regular games. I'd hate to have to keep glancing at my hands to see how fast I'm driving, or what place I'm in, etc.

I can't yet envision how that screen is going to enrich my experience, but I have an amazing idea for that new controller (if it hasn't already been mentioned anywhere else, never researched it). If they mount a camera to the backside of the controller and pass through that video to the screen, you could have a very good Augmented Reality system!

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Doug McFarlane on 7th July 2011 6:21pm

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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.5 years ago
Doug, I've wondered the same about a rear facing camera. A lot of the demos they showed off at E3 would have been enhanced with the use of a built in camera.

As for putting the HUD on the screen, I don't think that's what most devs have in mind. Look at the DS and 3DS for examples. It's not like the top screen is void of HUD elements. Just that the bottom screen (or tablet controller screen in the Wii U's case) adds extra elements that would usually require menu access to view. Think of a Resident Evil title with quick touch screen access to all your weapons and items or the dungeon map for Zelda.
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@Doug/Jimmy: my understanding is that the controller knows where it is relative to the screen (i.e. similar to the Wiimote), and if you know that - you don't even need the camera! I guess that is how some of the E3 demos worked, using the controller screen as a window into the world. Definitely looking forward to it, I can see the touchscreen opening up a lot of opportunities.
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Well I think it looks terrible.
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Wesley Williams Quality Assurance 5 years ago
Michael is spot on. A camera isn't needed because the data from the controller tells the console exactly where it is in 3D space in relation to the screen and can thus augment what you see with any perspective from the virtual world you're playing inside.
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Doug McFarlane Co-Owner, KodeSource5 years ago
Interesting. But with a camera, you could allow the player to fly around his own living room and see a virtual plane with virtual targets / objectives. Get two controllers and then you could dog fight against a friend in any room / setting of your choosing. (But they say only one controller per console, so far. Or maybe they could talk via wifi / bluetooth?).

I'm curious how the console / controller knows where you are in 3D space. Gyroscopes alone only tell you relative movement. It may also need a proximity sensor to know the distance from the console, and perhaps an orientation sensor (gyroscope?) that relays back to the console so it knows absolute world orientation. Either way, I can't wait to try it!
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.5 years ago
Doug, I'm thinking something similar as well. The Face Raiders and Augmented Reality features of the 3DS portray the benefits of having a rear facing camera in the unit pretty well.
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Rod Franklin Business Development, CiRCLE5 years ago
All I can say is that Nintendo is far from late on this console. They gained profit with the first Wii console, and gained a wider fan base with more family friendly games. Although leaving Core gamers disappointed, the new console gives developers the ability to deliver the goods without the titles being low res versions of the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions.

The screened controller is a bonus in my opinion, so the people that have been complaining about it should stop and think about the fact that they only had their tv's and monitors to play console games prior...not a handheld device. Complaints were about the HD, that's there so anything the controller brings is extra, and we are still able to use Wii controllers (WiiMotes & Classic Controller Pro).

Maybe I will purchase a Fight Stick for the Wii U if there are a nice amount of fighting games released for it. The complaints about the name of the console don't prevent it from being a great console either, although it could have been called the "Wii Ultimate" or "Wii Ultra" or something like that to boost hype of the name but its just a name.

I look forward to this system, and hope that there are plenty of strong Indie titles.
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Joe Winkler trained retail salesman, Expert5 years ago
I always look forward to new consoles and innovations. But "Stop-gap" is a good way to describe Nintendos new console. It's a Wii in HD mixed up with a tablet. Of course this brings good opportunities to mix AR and other stuff with current gen technology. As long as the third party developers support the new features, there will be enough for core gamers this time. Time will show, if they are already to late to jump on the "current" gen technology.
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