…Nintendo has been unable to create a new product that surpasses what they did 13 years ago.
Like many of you, we here at LevelSave were chomping at the bits to try out the next iteration in the Super Smash Brothers series. Finally having had some time with the game I noticed something quite peculiar about how important the controls are to the game, specifically the GameCube controller. Preordering the Super Smash Brothers for Wii U bundle that came with the new “rebranded” Smash controller and the adaptor for 3 more wired controllers is probably the best gaming decision I’ve made recently considering the new 8 player mode. Originally, I planned to use any controller lying around, but to my surprise I ended up sticking with the GameCube controller once again. Yes, some of you Smash players might be screaming at the screen right now saying “Obviously”, but controls have never been essential to my Smash experience. The new Super Smash Brothers for Wii U has completely opened my eyes.
Nintendo’s hardware is probably the most experimental and sometimes the most forwarding thinking in the whole industry, but that might be the problem.
Smash players across the world have been vocal since the release of Super Smash Brothers Melee in 2001 that the GameCube controller is the definitive way to play the game. Having a controller that is more than 13 years old be the only way your audience feels comfortable controlling one of your flagship titles should perhaps been seen as somewhat of a disappointment. It was quite evident that the attempt did not even go as far as masking the fact that there are old GameCube controller stock. In the photos below you can see that the “new” controller is stilled branded GameCube and even has the same product code. There is no doubt in my mind and definitely not in the minds of the masses, that the GameCube controller is a great controller. One can even argue that the reason this controller has been rereleased was to honor the hopes of fans and reiterate just how structurally sound the original design was. Another way to look at the rerelease is that Nintendo has been unable to create a new product that surpasses what they did 13 years ago.
Nintendo’s hardware is probably the most experimental and sometimes the most forwarding thinking in the whole industry, but that might be the problem. With the introduction of the Nintendo 64, Nintendo reaffirmed that we need analog sticks and rumble. With the Wii, the Japanese video game company introduced motion controls for everyone to mimic. Everyone is aware that Nintendo moves and creates standards for many elements of the game industry. However, it is unfortunate that not even Nintendo’s current “regular” controller, the Wii U Pro controller was not refined enough to become the controller of choice for Smash players. Wii U Gamepad aside, the Wii U Pro controller should have been a combination of improved redesign and a developer influenced effort, which greatly improved Sony’s efforts in the creation of the Playstation 4 controller. Perhaps by taking suggestions for a more intricate controller from vetted developers like Sora Ltd and even Bandai Namco Games, Nintendo’s Smash controller/Wii U Pro controller could have had a singular “perfect” control scheme that would work for all their flagship titles. Nintendo would then stop flooding the market with a myriad of controllers, keep the Wii U Gamepad and have a single dedicated controller for everything else. Solidify a base piece of hardware before experimenting with something new.
What do you think of Nintendo’s rehash of the GameCube controller? Does Sony’s developer involvement in controller design really work? Sound off in the comments below.
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