Nintendo’s set to finally reveal some concrete details (and hopefully some real games) about their latest console in just a few weeks at E3, but thanks to a pic posted to Twitter by a game tester at TT Games (a tester who’s probably in a lot of trouble right now,) we’ve gotten an early look at what appears to be a finalized version of the Wii U’s tablet-like controller.
The biggest changes from the original prototype Wii U tablets shown last year are the controller’s shape, which now sports more rounded edges rather than the plain rectangular form that was previous shown, and the controller now seemingly sports real, raised analog sticks rather than the 3DS-style circle pads that were on the previous version.
Despite rumors that Nintendo was going to change the name of the upcoming console, the controller is still branded with the Wii U name, much to the chagrin of a lot of people (including myself,) who think that “Wii U” is a really dumb name. The Home button now also has some sort of LED light encircling it (similar to the 360’s home button,) but it’s currently unknown why it’s there. Perhaps it denotes which player you are, like the lights on the 360 controller?
Other features of the controller, like the Skylanders-esque ability to scan in data from physical objects in the real world, were also unveiled via a leaked video from Ubisoft earlier in this year. A recent patent filed by Nintendo also revealed that the Wii U controller has the ability to drag and drop objects from the tablet screen onto a TV screen using a Wii-mote.
It’s not unusual for companies to redesign hardware between the time when they’re first unveiled and when they launch: the original DS received a major overhaul between when the time when it debuted at E3 and when it hit store shelves a few months later, and the PS3’s infamous original boomerang shaped controller was dropped in favor of the more traditional Dual Shock design following a bad response at E3 2005.
Nintendo’s certainly loading up the Wii U controller with a lot of bells and whistles, but I’m not entirely sold yet — I’ll wait until I see some games designed specifically for the system before I decide if the controller really is the game changer that Nintendo thinks it is, or if it’s just an expensive paperweight. I’m still holding out hope that Nintendo will add the two features that everyone wants — a multi-touch screen and support for multiple Wii-U tablets connected to the same system — but given how unpredictable (and frequently dumb) Nintendo has been over the last few years, it’s impossible to guess at what other features Nintendo may add to their risky new system.