- During the E3 2011 reveal period, it was implied that the system will only support one controller. The question was on every journalists lips, and finally Iwata and Miyamoto answered to this growing concern, by saying that it may not be a technical issue but more about the price or, quoting Shigeru:
- In July, a Nintendo of Canada employee, stated again that it could be a possibility. Only a conversation though, and they talked more about bringing the controller to your friend’s house and upload to another Wii U some stored data. The core game experience was still focused on one player.
"Our basic premise is that you can use one with a system," he noted, before musing, "If we got to an idea of having multiple (controllers) it might be just more convenient for people to use their Nintendo 3DS and have a way to connect that."
He continued, "That being said, we are doing research about if someone brings their controller to their friend's house and they want to play together on Wii U to whether or not something like that would be possible."
- A few months after (august 2011), during some meetings in Nintendo offices (in this case, NOE), a document for representatives and distributors depicted their goal to support two DRC (Display Remote Controller). It was just a paper nonetheless, not a demonstration.
- A tad later (november 2011), rumors from Develop indicated that Nintendo were trying their best to make this happen.
- Some other hearsays on this subject spread on the net lately, but nothing certain.
Therefore, all was still in a vague state, in flux, people knew it could be Nintendo intent to handle 2 padlets, that they may work on it but it wasn’t sure at all that it will come to fruition in the end.
And the doubts were natural, considering that until now, third-parties built their games with development kits supporting only one controller, as I hinted at through all the Wii U speculation threads, since February:
I'm trying to find a technical reason why Nintendo seems to struggle to allow the use of more than X padlet(s), and i'm sure it's not a problem of hardware calculations/rendering capabilities. Or perhaps it could even be a marketing decision, but it would be weird.
Let's hope the future dev kits will see a change for the better in this department (more to come about the DRC situation later, this is why i'm asking you these questions, to understand the info i've got that some have guessed here and there).
+ other earlier messages
Concretely, all the projects i've heard involved only one padlet. I thought it was a gamedesign choice, perhaps these titles focused on single player. But no, it wasn’t possible, from the version 1 of the dev kits to the V4 (that they used until recently), to manage more than one controller.
In this post talking about the arrival of the newest dev kits (tagged final/near final), I teased in the final line about “one additional good news that come with them”.
It appears it's the support for 2 controllers. Beware, there are factors to take into consideration before jumping for joy.
To detail further the information:
- From the firsts dev kits to the V4 (the ones before the latest supplied, referred to in this news), studios usually plugged the DRC in a port (as you’ve seen at E3 2011/CES for the units brought, or in the leaked Rayman Legend video), because of several reasons (some dev kit weren’t wireless, convenience for the development, etc.). There was only one port to which they could connect the padlet, and an additional one (maybe wirelessly linked ?) was anyway not supported.
- In these new dev kits, it seems that a second DRC port is here, implying that developers can physically put another controller on the box.
- However, it looks like studios can’t take advantage of it for the moment. This could be tied to SDK versions (Software Development Kits, the tools to make a soft on an equipment, simply explained), they may have to wait for a new one to activate this feature.
Now, some speculation blend with infos:
1 - As summarized in the history part, we know Nintendo were busy trying to support 2 DRC. We also know that they tweaked those latest dev kits for months, with a big delay in their supply to foreign studios. Therefore, something was modified inside that allowed this implementation, that wasn’t here before. I’m sure the hardware had the guts, in terms of calculation capabilities, to manage two DRC displays at once, with at worst a minimal use of the TV and a not too intricate content rendered on the controller screens (maybe sub-480p resolution upscaled). So what's different in those dev kits, additional encoders ? more bandwidth ? alterations in the streaming technology ? It doesn’t exclude the event that a change in the components has a positive effect on this matter, as we know those kits saw a slight increase of their performances.
2 - As it’s still not accessible to third-parties, this could point toward a few scenarios:
-->Nintendo could have “future-proofed” the dev kits mass produced and sent to developers, meaning they are still working on 2 DRC support, it will come later, but at least it will be physically doable to plug two DRC, until an update will activate it. It's possible then that Nintendo may not fully announce/introduce this feature come E3 2012, if it's still not available.
-->There’s still the unlikely scenario that they can’t do it in the end, but it’s really slim, I mean, why declaring it’s your intent since one year (well, at least strongly considering it), why tweaking those final dev kits for months and above all, why integrating a second DRC port, if they will not support it ? The fact that they put this port must prove that they are, at the very least, at a stage where they can say “ok, it’s nearly sure we’ll make it work with later SDK updates so let’s add one”.
3 - About the implementation of two DRC in games:
--> As Third-parties were developing their games with only one controller managed and more importantly, without being aware of Nintendo progression on this department, the chances of seeing their projects with multiplayer modes using 2 DRC at E3 are quasi nonexistent. They could have planned ahead this addition, and “emulated” the second padlet, but it's improbable as it appears they didn’t know if it was possible until a few weeks ago.
--> It’s not sure they will have time to take advantage of this support for their launch titles in the event it’s activated soon, as they will have just a few months to do so. If it’s the case, it should be for the most part limited applications, they couldn’t have built their multiplayer mode with two UPad from the start.
--> As Nintendo and first-parties were understandably a step forward in the dev kit they owned, and we know they tweaked the mass production ones (the newest) for months (at least 3), the likelihood of seeing two-DRC content from them at E3 is greater, even more for launch titles.
That’s it. Nothing really unexpected, purposely because as explained, I don’t want to ruin any real surprises Nintendo keep for E3 – besides, surprises that I’m not aware of - so I disclose vague infos & hints, or on the contrary very technical posts that only interests a particular audience, to nurture the speculation and lessen the wait. Nintendo already stated their plan to support 2 DRC one year ago, but it was just words, an intent shrouded in uncertainty until now if you believe this post, so it's still a cool [rumored] confirmation of something anticipated at E3 2012, with some precisions about dev kits, third-parties situation, etc. to spice up the anticipation in the middle of this near-total news blackout since one year and help build more hype before their conferences.
- For the techies around here, what do you think they changed in the dev kits, to allow the support of 2 controllers ? What could have been an hindrance before, that prevented the use of another padlet, until very recently ?
- In your opinion, how Nintendo will handle this, will they commercialize controllers separately, if yes, at what price ? Or maybe they'll adopt a "1 DRC per console, the sole way to acquire one" approach, and as suggested in interviews linked in Part 1, using 2 padlets simultaneously is only considered when a person bring its controller to another Wii U owner's house.
- For all, what kind of gamedesign, of implementations in your titles, you hope, want, expect to see with this feature ?
As an illustration, imagine a FPS, you play it with a friend, each has its own personal screen, like a LAN, hidden from the other. The TV displays a “spectator mode”, and you can grab some options on the floor, à la Mario Kart, triggering several interactions with the main screen, like revealing the position of your opponent on it for a few seconds, etc.
We presented many refreshing ideas on the speculation threads, but feel free to use this topic to think about interesting and fun application of this double controller support. Asymmetric gameplay with 1 DRC + X wii-motes setup sounded already original and promising, but now, a new world of possibilities opens, with symmetric configuration, 2 DRC + X wii-motes.
So, one week before the Nintendo conference, one wanted & awaited box seems to be checked, are you
PS: yeah, it's the not-updated controller on the silly picture.
DRC ? Padlet ? Subscreen ?
= Wii U controller
Who is this guy ?
I’m a former game journalist who was able to gather some Wii U informations (not groundbreaking though, and subjective) and relay a few of them on the speculation threads.
How can I believe him ?
A developer vouched partially for the legitimacy of my info, some “insiders” confirmed that I know things, but that’s all. So big grain of salt & all, you’re more than encouraged to doubt the information, or even better, bring some new light on several parts, but do it in a civil manner.
Is this secret or what ?
A large bunch is publicly available on websites like TLS Singapore or middleware changelogs (dev kit numbers, SDK revisions). There are new tidbits here and there, only second-hand knowledge mixed with assumptions and speculations, but interesting for the date of implementation of this support, just before the E3.
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Me too :D
I hate you
Been there, done that (on speculation thread). The moderators are warned of the creation of this subject since a few days, do not derail it in void personal arguments, please, its interest is to discuss this feature, why It wasn’t available before, why it seems it’s the case now at least hardware wise, and above all, what are you ideas of games using those 2 controllers.
Do you know first-party games ? Retro is making Ice Climbers X Kirby in a space opera setting ?
Don’t know a thing about first-party ! The surprises about Wii U are left intact for E3, the games, the system features (OS, functions, services, online mode, secret additions ?).