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Will Pointer/Wii U controls make 'AAA' FPS games any more appealing to you? [roundtable]
 
I know we have a lot of current FPS haterz around here (I might even include myself in that category), so I have a question for these folks: Supposing that the Wii U actually GETS the big FPS games that are coming to the other consoles, will Pointer/Gamepad controls make you any more likely to give them a shot?

Watching a Borderlands 2 preview (on X-Play) started me on this train of thought. What I played of the first game was decent, but I think that I would honestly have much more fun if I could actually aim and shoot my zillion weapons with the Wiimote. AND if I could seamlessly take care of all of the inventory/map/quest/customization shit on a nearby Gamepad-on-a-stand. We already know that Gearbox is open to Nintendo consoles. Hell, on that episode, Randy Pitchford pretty much did a PERFECT run on World 1-1 of Super Mario Bros. This seems like a natural fit to me, and a real enhancement, honestly. Of course, dual analog could be an option.

I mean, FPS games never really got much of a shot on Wii. The system had some decent ones, but none of the exclusives were unqualified successes, and the ports were never at parity with their big brothers. This could be the pointer-based FPS genre's real chance to make a case for itself. As far as I'm concerned, it already has, because, although I didn't LOVE any of the Wii FPS games, I DID think that the controls in many were near-perfect. With customization. And I genuinely believe that, with enough robust customization options (for example, I often set the vertical speed to almost zero, disabled scrolling, expanded the bounding box to the whole screen, reduced it to nothing, etc.), almost anyone could find a fun, intuitive control scheme which would be perfectly tailored to their playstyle. Even Stephen.

Back to the topic, RE6 could definitely hit the system, eventually. Would you wait for a well-done Wii U version? I personally never even considered getting the 360 version of RE5, partially because I thought the demo was abysmal and partially because of the existence of the Move-enabled PS3 version.

And then there's the biggest elephant in the room: Black Ops II. EVEN THOUGH the single-player demo of Modern Warfare 3 that I just played on 360 was utter horseshit, I still have some interest in this game. For all of the talk about the Vita version, Treyarch might have just given Wii U something of a killer app. A huge, free online game at launch with full Wii controller support and tons of modes, including a sweet co-op mode where each player has his own individual display of the action. Plus, Treyarch is saying the right things about the changes that they've made to the formula. AND they already have tons of Wii development experience. I'm actually... kind of considering it? That might just indict me as a fanboy, once and for all, but I really think it could turn out to be something special. Possibly even the best version of the game. Maybe even the preferred one? (Seriously, for how long are people going to be happy to pay for online play?)

But what would REALLY get me on board is a Nintendo-published/funded/resurrected TimeSplitters 4 from the remnants of Free Radical. My wishes for Nintendo to get Monster Hunter and support from Platinum have already come true. Just one more recommendation to go...

Seriously, I think that would be a brilliant move. It would be the most unique, robust, and well-suited-to-the-platform FPS game that they could pick. And if Bayonetta 2 caused such a ruckus, can you IMAGINE the tsunami of fanboy tears that the announcement would cause?

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Posted: 09/24/12, 03:52:26  - Edited by 
 on: 09/24/12, 14:19:26
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@Zero

It's funny that so many people just don't seem to be care about verisimilitude in their video game controls. Or at least, it's funny when juxtaposed with the fact that many of those same people desire graphical realism so much, and say that graphical realism is a huge key to immersion. To me they go hand in hand, or they don't go at all. A game that looks picture perfect but is controlled with a controller with two sticks isn't going to immerse me much.

Luckily for me, I don't think of gaming generally as aspiring to that kind of immersion, but instead as a fun distraction and so I'm fine with primitive graphics and control if it's part of a fun game (VVVVVV comes to mind).
Posted: 09/25/12, 00:16:54
They do and have. The only reason I've bought Call of Duty games on the Wii is because of the controls, however I wouldn't buy them at all if there were better shooters available. Hopefully the Wii U will have something better than Call of Duty and The Conduit, but if not I'll still get whatever's available. I gots to haves my shooty-shooty.
Posted: 09/25/12, 00:49:08
@Mop it up

Did you pick up GoldenEye at all? We had some regular matches going for a while, there was about half a dozen of us who used to tear it up online.

Whenever we had four of us teamed together, we were unstoppable.
Posted: 09/25/12, 01:04:05
@Shadowlink I received it for Christmas the year it came out, but never played it. The fact that is uses the Call of Duty engine is a real turn-off.
Posted: 09/25/12, 01:05:51
@Mop it up

Yeah, I know what you mean, the 'modern-ness' of the game is rather disappointing. But the multiplayer is solid enough.
Posted: 09/25/12, 01:18:25  - Edited by 
 on: 09/25/12, 01:22:26
@Shadowlink I can believe that. It was more about the circumstances that I didn't play it. I had also gotten Call of Duty Black Ops at the same time, and I knew several people with that game and so I played it with them. I didn't know anyone who had Goldeneye, so there just hasn't been a reason to play the game yet.
Posted: 09/25/12, 01:23:55
I typed up a huge post looking at putting Borderlands 2 control scheme on the Wiimote and lost it all when upon hitting the post button the site failed to load.

Anyway, the conclusion was that you can fit all the functions but you end up with some that are very awkwardly placed. The issue isn't the aiming (though putting look/pan together is problematic) it's all these functions which the designers expect to be ergonomically placed now aren't. I suppose if you are that put off by dual analog it's worth it but it isn't ideal.

The Wiimote and nunchuk was not designed to have parity with a dual analog controller. It's not a coincidence that the best FPS on the system Metroid Prime 3 doesn't do things like reload, melee, zoom or crouch. It's a different experience made for that controller.
Posted: 09/25/12, 02:11:51
I would've been interested in that Borderlands 2 post. Ctrl-C before you post next time! Also, if you hit "Try Again" instead of "Back", it can still post.

Anyway, even if you can't intuitively map a ridiculous amount of functions to Wiimote+Nunchuk, I would think that the Gamepad/2nd Monitor could free some stuff up. And for ground-up games, devs could just design around simple controls. That's not always a bad thing. Many of the best games of all time were built around simple controls.

Also, I agree with you about look/pan, but did you ever customize Wii controls to eliminate that?

Lastly, I don't really despise dual analog. It works well enough. But pointing and shooting with high accuracy is just more fun and rewarding to me. A mouse might be even more accurate, but it isn't a very 'fun' input device.

@kriswright
Suitably villainous.
Posted: 09/25/12, 02:31:17  - Edited by 
 on: 09/25/12, 02:32:43
@Stephen Yeah Prime 3 doesn't do reload, melee, zoom, or crouch... but it does do grapple, morph ball, sidestep, missiles, etc.

I mean really, when you consider the fact that the digital pad is accessible (if not the most convenient) while using the analog stick, as well as A, B, +, -, C, and Z... it actually has 10 options for "buttons" that you can use while moving, which is actually more than a PS3 controller has, because you need to stop moving to use the digital pad on that. It has less buttons that you can use while shooting, it's true. Give some, take some. I don't think it is impossible to map most dual analog shooter controls onto the Wii remote / nunchuck, especially since some stuff very well can be mapped to waggle without it being an issue (melee, for instance). And you don't even have to lose your aiming if you use the (less accurate, but ok for waggle) nunchuck.

Now, I was hoping for a redesigned motion controller this time around, but due to the tablet I think we are stuck with last gen stuff. Ah well.
Posted: 09/25/12, 03:34:37
@Stephen
I agree with you, I thought even in Metroid Prime all the waggle/tilt/shove/shake stuff was awkward and unresponsive (waggle is never as immediate as pressing a button).

Really the only thing I will concede that IR is good for is the actual aiming, which is why it works for light-gun games or RE4 (where the analog stick controls the camera), having either the camera of the movement of your character tethered to IR (either alone or especially in conjunction with other functions) is a jittery, jerky, head-spinning nightmare of elephantine proportions.
Posted: 09/25/12, 03:52:30
Conduit 2 controls are incredibly tight. This should be the model for every Wii/WiiU games.
Posted: 09/25/12, 04:06:41
@deathly_hallows I'm confused though, why do you find the camera "jittery" and "jerky"? I found it smoother, you can make miniscule adjustments with the pointer that are hard to make with analog... there seems to be a wider range of motion for the pointer.

It's fine to have different opinions but it honestly confuses me when people say things like jittery and jerky when it absolutely was not... for me. Were we playing differently? Had it set-up different? IR interference? I dunno.
Posted: 09/25/12, 04:18:22
@Zero

Too much coffee. *nods*
Posted: 09/25/12, 04:30:46
@Zero
I dunno, the cursor has always been jerky on my Wiis, even in different apartments. I even noticed that in some of the Wii U videos I've been watching the cursor seems to "jitter" and jump around a little in the menus, it's like they need to add some "steady-cam-like" anti-shake algorithm to it (in fact I think some games must do just that because some feel more stable and solid). Playing Metroid Prime 3 I ran into two problems, using the default controls I could hold the camera more steady (with a lot of effort to keep my hands perfectly still-often using things like pillows or books my lap or the arm of a chair to prop up my arm for support) but then ran into the issue of having to do the old "drag the screen to turn and then recenter the cursor to aim" scenario, OR switch the controls to "expert" (or whatever it was called) and then I'd literally get motion sick with with the way the entire camera was always swinging and jerking around no matter how much effort I went to use props to stabilize my body. Neither way worked for me. Just the idea that you had to hold the cursor up in the center of the screen to keep things stabilized always irked me, with an analog stick if you release it the camera is just centered and it's stable, it doesn't bounce around or fall off the screen or start spinning and the give you a message that it's been disconnected and you need to recalibrate.

My roommate at the time had the exact same problems as me but he found a solution, it was lying in bed and resting the wiimote on his lap at all times, just making tiny movements with his wrist so the camera remained steady, almost like his body was a tripod. It looked kind of funny (not at all like the commercials of people playing Wii!) but it worked for him. Unfortunately I always have preferred playing motion-controlled Wii games standing up and that's probably why I had such a hard time keeping the camera steady, I will admit that when I would sit down and rest my arm on a strategically placed stack of books or pillows it played better, but that annoyed me just on principle. Games should be comfortable to play, you shouldn't have to go to such great efforts to minimize a jittery IR sensor.

I've always wondered actually, all the people that swear my MP3s controls, if they played the game using something to prop their arm up and just made tiny wrist movements, or if other people are just naturally more steady than me and had no problems holding their arms out in front of them and aiming like a gun.
Posted: 09/25/12, 04:41:38  - Edited by 
 on: 09/25/12, 04:45:11
Hmm, I guess it also comes down to how much "expert" controls bother you with motion sickness? I used expert and never had any motion sickness. Oddly enough, I had light motion sickness with the original Metroid Prime, but only in a few areas.

I don't honestly understand how people play without expert, bounding boxes are annoying.
Posted: 09/25/12, 04:51:46  - Edited by 
 on: 09/25/12, 04:56:04
@deathly_hallows

Your description definitely sounds like sunlight interference. I know it well because we have a big window in our living room and the cursor skips around a little on the screen and sometimes jumps a lot, pretty frustrating when I'm just trying to start a Netflix movie or something and don't want to get up to close the blinds. But if I do close the blinds, it stops completely and I have none of those issues. Which means I can play Metroid Prime 3 sitting or lying comfortably on the couch.

I wonder if its sunlight, or maybe something else broken with your Wii, because what you're describing is not how it works when things are running correctly.
Posted: 09/25/12, 04:59:27
@deathly_hallows

See I don't get this at all. You say 'Games should be comfortable to play' But you deliberately put yourself into a more uncomfortable position in order to play them. IMO if you're standing up to play Prime 3, with your arm fully extended, you're doing it wrong.

Stuff like Wii Sports or whatever usually require standing to get the full experience, but stuff like Prime 3 or Goldeneye, etc....sitting down and using the tiny wrist movements *is* the most comfortable way to play. No jittering, and great smooth control.

I just don't understand why you wouldn't play like that.
Posted: 09/25/12, 05:02:16  - Edited by 
 on: 09/25/12, 05:03:43
Yeah I meant to say that but... you definitely should not be getting a jittery cursor at all. But I do recall having one way back when I got my Wii. I forget what I did to solve it, had to rearrange the room a bit or something? Or maybe it was just the blinds. This was 6 years ago...

But yeah honestly I think some of your issues are IR interference.
Posted: 09/25/12, 05:03:32
@Zero@Jargon
Yeah it's definitely some kind of interference, but I've never been able to eliminate it completely it comes and goes. It's not the end of the world, I just don't prefer IR for FPS games, it's almost too precise, for a game like Dead Space Extraction that precision is awesome (though I swear in that game it sometimes doesn't tilt your reticule when it's supposed to, which is a whole 'nother story) but when it's moving the camera me no-likey, literally makes me feel sick after a while. Of course the way to minimize that motion-sickness effect is to slow the camera down with the bounding box, and in games like The Conduit I'm able to find a sort of happy medium between the slow-turning and screen dragging of the bounding box and too-precise, camera-and-reticule-locked-together style. Either way it always feels like too much hassle and fuss and I'd rather use a good-ole analog stick any old day (even if it's technically not as precise, it's oh so stable and consistent).

@Shadowlink
I like standing and playing Wii games, it is comfy! Standing while gaming is one of my favorite things the Wii brought to the table.
Posted: 09/25/12, 05:27:17  - Edited by 
 on: 09/25/12, 05:30:57
@deathly_hallows

But...what...huh?

I don't even.

How can standing up be more comfortable than sitting down?? I don't get it :S
Posted: 09/25/12, 06:30:49
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