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.