By Jared Newman | Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 2:54 pm
When Nintendo releases the accuracy-boosting Wii MotionPlus peripheral next month, it’s possible that game developers won’t force players to use it, and those that do may consider it a gamble.
I get that impression from recent comments by Jason Vandenberghe, creative director for Red Steel 2. Speaking to Nintendo Power magazine (via Nintendo Dpad) , Vandenberghe said making MotionPlus mandatory for the hack-and-shoot game is “a huge risk,” but there’s no way around it.
“We have no idea what the penetration rate for Wii MotionPlus will be,” he said. “We assume high. We would like it to be high. I would love to say to you that it’ll be compatible with just a regular controller, but the gameplay simply isn’t there without MotionPlus.”
Given the Wii’s 45 million lifetime unit sales, I understand not every game maker wants to limit their product to a subgroup of players, but I always assumed the concept of MotionPlus would reboot the Wii and terminate the era of gimmicky gesture controls. Now, I’m not so sure.
Some game makers will try to have it both ways. Producers for EA’s Grand Slam Tennis, one of the first games to showcase MotionPlus, will also let players use a standard Wii Remote at no disadvantage against players with the peripheral. The intent is good — Wii owners won’t have to spend $20 more on each controller — but it reminds me of the way Mario Kart Wii allows you to use a thumbstick instead of steering the remote. If more accurate motion control isn’t a crucial part of the game, is it really an improvement?
Red Steel 2, meanwhile, will reportedly feature “more comprehensive tracking of a player’s arm position and orientation, providing players with an unmatched level of precision and immersion,” CVG reports. That sounds a lot more interesting than merely replacing static crosshairs with a moving pointer, as previous shooters have done, or relying on a limited set of pre-determined gestures to simulate swordplay.
I’m glad the producers of Red Steel are taking the leap. I hope it works out, and that other game developers follow suit, wholeheartedly.