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Pitchford gushes over Wii U Game Pad

Aliens developer calls controller Nintendo's best ever for hardcore or FPS games

One of Nintendo's goals with the Wii U is to win back hardcore gamers who turned their noses up at the casual-friendly Wii. With the Wii U's touchscreen-sporting Game Pad, Gearbox Software president Randy Pitchford thinks Nintendo at least has the right hardware for the job.

"This is the best controller Nintendo's ever made for making an FPS," Pitchford told Joystiq recently. "This is the best controller Nintendo has ever given us for playing hardcore games."

Pitchford added that the Game Pad is perfect for Gearbox's current Wii U project, Aliens: Colonial Marines. The screen itself will be used as a motion tracker similar to the ones seen in the actual Aliens movies. As for Game Pad functionality being mirrored on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 with those systems' second-screen features (SmartGlass and PS Vita cross-play, respectively), Pitchford was skeptical, saying not all implementations of the Wii U pad would work well on the competitors' technology.

"With the Wii U, [Nintendo] committed themselves to this promise," Pitchford said. "So the link is direct, fast, and immediate. Things like SmartGlass and Vita, they appreciate the value of the promise so they're making the promise. But they're not in with such commitment."

Aliens: Colonial Marines is set to launch February 12 on the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. The Wii U edition is scheduled for the system's "launch window," which Nintendo has extending through March 2013.

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Latest comments (5)

Colin Payne game designer; artist 4 years ago
Nice to hear, But I can't imagine how it will be better than the Wiimote and Nunchuck combo, my personal favorite FPS controller, which I think has been tragically underutilised.
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Jim Webb Executive Editor/Community Director, E-mpire Ltd. Co.4 years ago
Agreed, Colin.

After getting comfortable with the Wii remote/nun-chuck combo, it became really hard to go back to using dual analogs for a FPS.
I do grasp how awesome using the GamePad as a motion tracker will be but it's still dual analogs.

Though for those not as comfortable with the Wii remote/nun-chuck combo, this is definitely good news for them.
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John Bye Lead Designer, Future Games of London4 years ago
The Wii-mote does work really well in some first person shooters (as does Move on PS3), although pointing at the edge of the screen to turn can feel a bit clunky sometimes compared to using a stick. The main problem is that you only really have a handful of buttons (a face button, a shoulder button and two triggers, essentially) within easy reach on the Wii-mote and Nunchuk. plus a small stretch to reach the d-pad.

There are no other usable buttons when holding the Wii-mote normally - 1, 2, Home and +/- are all well out of reach without shifting your grip on the controller, and in some cases they're in danger of being accidentally mashed by your palm. IMO the Wii-mote's design frankly isn't very good, it was trying too hard to look like a cross between a SNES controller and a TV remote, and the motion detection on the original model was pretty poor too.

Given Nintendo's previous controllers were the lopsided under-buttoned GameCube controller and the bizarre N64 controller with its huge prongs and centrally positioned analogue stick though, the Wii U game pad has got to be an improvement for first person shooters.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by John Bye on 2nd November 2012 1:09pm

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Show all comments (5)
Andy Samson QA Supervisor, Digital Media Exchange4 years ago
I sure hope they use the GamePad's gyros for aiming or at least offer that as an alternate way to shoot stuff onscreen with the controller. That really worked well on the 3DS.
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Cale Barnett Animator 4 years ago
The fanboy in me has his fingers crossed for Borderlands 2 on Wii U with Samus Aran as an exclusive character.
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