FPS on Wii U, will Third Parties drop the ball again?

Anyone who played Conduit 2 knows how good the Wii controller feels for first-person shooters. Not because the game does anything amazing, but because High Voltage were one of the only developers to show up to the FPS party with a Wii game. Call of Duty players laughed at their primitive graphics, Halo players insulted their mothers, and Killzone players were too busy reconnecting to PSN. Not many developers were brave enough to try and sell a game on the absurd basis of “good controls”, so FPS were few and far between on Wii, with launch games Red Steel and Far Cry Vengeance still floating in the top tier of the genre after 6 years. Wii U is just around the corner and negates the graphics problem but brings a new problem: the tablet. The enticing features of the GamePad screen and it’s comfortable grip could doom us to another generation of analog stick shooting.

Randy Pitchford’s recent comment is what triggered this article,

“This is the best controller Nintendo’s ever made for making an FPS. This is the best controller Nintendo has ever given us for playing hardcore games.”

It’s nice to see Gearbox so positive about Wii U, and I’d really like to see Borderlands 2 for the console. Aiming isn’t too important in that game and the map would be a godsend. ZombiU is another game that works with the GamePad but I don’t consider it an FPS, it’s more of a survival horror game where your choices dictate the gameplay. There’s no denying that the GamePad can bring many benefits for item management and display, but for precision happy-time FPS action, the Wii remote is still the best. Wii U is exciting because it provides an opportunity to rewrite the book after third parties completely shat on the Wii’s potential. As we’ve seen, though, opportunities aren’t enough in this industry. We need actions, we need a real revival of FPS.

Black Ops 2 is the surprising ray of light here, with the miraculous inclusion of pointer controls. The Wii games did a good job with controls and nobody cared, but this development experience will prove very useful now. Western developers have been falling over themselves to copy everything Call of Duty does, so why not this time?

To make things worse, Nintendo themselves are not even using pointer controls in the Metroid shooter in Nintendo Land, it uses similar MotionPlus mechanics to Skyward Sword. It works in that game very well, but for constant shooting it’s just going to be slow and awkward like the Move controller. It seems to me that Nintendo is trying to make the old Wii remote setup look bad to highlight the strengths of the new GamePad. That’s fine, the GamePad is cool. The problem is it’s an excuse for third parties to ignore a feature and they’re very good at doing that. A large percentage of games released on Wii were poor imitations of Wii Sports, and Nintendo Land is the next candidate for focus groups.

Will we finally see the Wiimote’s full potential? The simple inclusion of pointer controls as an option will go a long way. It’ll catch on like gravy with Black Ops 2 as pointer players annihilate everyone else online. Publishers fucked up so badly on Wii that I’m going to assume the worst. Developers, please prove me wrong and set us free from these damn sticks. High Voltage have teased more Conduit is coming, but it may be a 3DS version. The market is open and throbbing, the time is now.

Other Resources:
Hey U – Give Me Real Controls
Conduit/GoldenEye Wiimote Controls

5 thoughts on “FPS on Wii U, will Third Parties drop the ball again?

  1. Yeah, as much as I’d like to see the Wii Remote finally get some more use in the FPS genre – which it is absolutely perfect for – I don’t think many developers will bother. The GamePad has dual analog; it’s an easy default option for them.

    Hopefully Black Ops 2 might kick start something, though. I mean, it’d be really nice if it showed who’s playing with a Wii Remote or not in multiplayer, just to show everyone how much of an advantage it can be.


  2. I can chalk the M+ usage of Nintendo Land to whiny fans complaining the pointer controls didn’t work well. Pointer controls were a godsend, I loved them in the Metroid Prime Collection. I might even give Black Ops 2 a shot (key word: might) with the inclusion of pointer controls. God help me though if the pre-sets suck. I suffered them once in Goldeneye Wii, I don’t want to do it again.

    And the reason I haven’t been playing much Borderlands 2 with Bill is that despite tailoring the stick movement to my needs (Southpaw), these type of games throw too many enemies at you for accurate aiming. Same thing happens with Infamous too often.


  3. Both IR pointer and M+ would be great to have as options, in general. Keep in mind the pointer didn’t start to shine until games provided detailed options to tweak the speed and sensitivity for our different tastes. We’ve yet to see these options offered for M+; Nintendo only demonstrated the minimum so far (Resort and Skyward), just like they did with the original pointer (Sports and Twilight).

    Our use of M+ is almost the same as what players originally tried to do when Wii first came out – holding our hands in the air. That method didn’t work with the hardware/software then, but works fine today. I personally want to use M+ over the pointer provided that I can tweak the camera a-la-Conduit; it’ll cut down on some of my wrist strain I sometimes get from the pointer (long hours of minute wrist movements), enables a more physically active shooting style I want, and increases the potential for non-rail shooters that actually WORK with gun shells.


  4. Well, 10 months later and the best game with pointer controls is Pikmin 3. The new Conduit is revealed to be a mobile phone port that’s already dead and buried.

    Good job developers!


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