In a previous article, I stated that if Nintendo were to upgrade their motion control at all, they would probably end up with the equivalent of the Move. This, of course, made me happy. I love the Move and feel it’s the ideal motion controller (though it’s button layout needs work) and the concept of seeing more Move-esque games made me giddy!
However, we are now seeing a number of rumored controller “leaks” and what we see is decidedly not a Move.
What we see here is probably best described as the bastard child of a Gamecube controller and a Gameboy Advance. The concept is actually quite interesting. The touch screen could be used like the number pad of the Atari Jaguar or Intellivision, giving players as many buttons for secondary actions as they need. It could also be used like the VMUs on Dreamcast or the GBAs linked to the Gamecube, giving players a personal screen on which to show secret information. Such as ship location in a game of Battleship or your hand in a card game.
However, what we see here is not a motion controller. Oh sure it may have a tilt sensor inside but I hardly see anyone golfing or sword fighting with that controller! Really though this actually isn’t a bad idea. If we’re following “Wii 2” rumors then the system will be backwards compatible with Wii games and controllers. This means that if a developer wanted to have Wii-esque motion control on the “Wii 2” then they could just use the Wiimote and MotionPlus! So hey, the “Wii 2” supports both regular control and motion control, right? Well, sort of.
You see, the problem here is that what we would have is “Wii-esque” motion control. The exact same control we already have on the Wii. Unfortunately, the Wii’s motion control is very limited to the point where I have argued that it doesn’t even count as motion control! Even with the MotionPlus, the lack of position sensing greatly hampers the controller’s capabilities.
The only reason the Wii saw so much motion control support was because it was the default controller that everyone had and developers were under the impression that slapping motion control on to anything would make it appeal to casuals. However, with the “Wii 2”, this would no longer be the case. Not everyone would have a Wiimote so designing a game around it wouldn’t be a very good idea. Tacking motion control on to games designed for a standard controller has never worked either. Couple this with the fact that there’s nothing new that could be done with the Wiimote and it won’t be long before motion control is completely abandoned by “Wii 2” developers. If we’re lucky we might see continued support for the pointer functionality in first person shooters, but I wouldn’t bet on it and chances are it would be wonky and tacked on.
As for the other systems and their motion controllers? Well let’s face the facts here: the Kinect barely works and the Move is incredibly poorly advertised. The Wii 2 is currently slated for a 2012 release and by that point all the existing Move and Kinect games will be finished and I don’t expect many more to be made after that. Once the “Wii 2” hits, there’s a good chance motion control will be finished.
That is, of course, assuming these “leaked pictures” are real and that Nintendo doesn’t have something up their sleeve. However, I could easily see this happening. In the long run, it’s not such a bad thing though. Due to how poorly made most motion controllers were, motion control usually hurt games more than it helped. By the time a decent motion controller finally came out, people forgot how to use motion control. When we first got the Wiimote we actually swang it like a tennis racket or sword but when we realized that it didn’t matter, we quickly devolved into waggling it. Now the Move hits, a controller where swinging it like a sword or tennis racket actually does matter, and most folks continue to impotently waggle it and wonder why it isn’t working. I’m serious. Look up picture-in-picture footage of people playing Gladiator Duel on YouTube and you’ll see what I mean.
So, when all is said and done, we got only a small handful of actually good motion controlled games. Did we see all it had to offer? No, we didn’t. Games like Gladiator Duel could easily be expanded upon to make an amazing game. However at this point, it’s too late.
If what I see is true, then thanks Nintendo, for killing motion control. You popularized the concept with a controller that didn’t work. Made a mockery of it with said dysfunctional controls. Gave everyone the wrong idea about it with questionable marketing of the concept. Then, when everyone jumped on the bandwagon, you dumped it. You took a potentially revolutionary concept and turned it into a clever money trap for your competitors. Thanks, Nintendo.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go play Gladiator Duel…and cry.