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Gearbox loves Wii U controller, teases online functionality, much more

Posted on May 18, 2012 by (@NE_Brian) in News, Wii U

Gearbox Software has been one of the biggest supporters of Wii U since its unveiling at E3 2011 last year. The studio is working with SEGA to bring its hardcore first-person shooter, Aliens: Colonial Marines, to the platform in the near future.

In a new interview with GameSpot, Gearbox president Randy Pitchford once again threw a ton of praise at the system.

Pitchford first commented on the console’s tablet-esque device, which he believes is the best shooter controller he’s ever seen from Nintendo.

“Nintendo’s Wii U is gonna come out soon and we’re really excited about this platform because when we got briefed on it and I got to play with it, and I got my hands on the controls, I was like ‘Wow, this is the best controller I’ve ever had from Nintendo for a hardcore first-person shooter’. Forget about the Wii, it’s the best shooter controller I’ve ever played with from Nintendo. So we’re really excited that the platform is coming and we’re really excited that we’re able to bring out game to it.”

Pitchford went on to discuss how the Wii U is definitely a next-gen system. He repeated an older comment in that the best-looking console version of Aliens: Colonial Marines will be on Nintendo’s system, but assured fans that the content will be the same across all platforms.

“The Wii U is a next-generation system. It is coming now, it isn’t even out yet, and we’ve had out 360s and our PS3s for awhile. So it’s natural that it’s a very powerful system. Now it’s up to Nintendo to talk about their system and they haven’t revealed all of the details yet, but so far we’ve been thrilled with it and it’s pretty clear to us that the best-looking console version of Aliens: Colonial Marines is going to be on the Wii U. Having said that, we wanted to be careful – we don’t want to have completely different games, right? It is the game experience, the campaign, the competitive game. It is the same game on each platform. So if you love the 360, you don’t have to worry – you’re fine – you’re going to get the game experience that’s on the PS3 and on the Wii U. If you love your PS3, you’re getting the full game experience. Now the Wii U is a more powerful machine so if you’re one of those early adopter-types and you’ve got the disposable income to buy a new console right now, you know maybe that’s something you want to look at for this game.”

Next, Pitchford talked about the Wii U’s unique controller, and provided an example as to how it can be used in Colonial Marines.

“It does have the added advantage of this new controller, which has a touchscreen built into it. And that gives us some interface options that just don’t exist, that just aren’t possible on the other platforms. Like the most obvious one of course is a motion-tracker. So like I’m playing the game and maybe I’m going into one of those suspenseful kind of sections, and then all of the sudden… [Pitchford makes beeping noises]. And I realize the sound is actually coming from the controller and I’ll look down and it’s a motion tracker in my hand, an actual motion tracker in the controller, and it’s motion-sensitive, too. So I can scan the room by like moving the controller. It’s pretty cool. And that’s just one of many kind of uses of this device.”

Lastly, Pitchford teased the Wii U’s online capabilities, explaining how it has to incorporate “functionality that we kind of expect”. If it wasn’t up to snuff, it sounds like we wouldn’t be seeing Colonial Marines on the new console.

“Now Nintendo hasn’t revealed much about their online plans yet, and we certainly are dependent upon their platform. But to the extent that their platform offers the online functionality that we kind of expect, that they’ll discuss in due course, you want to feel confident that if I get the Wii U version of the game, I’m going be able to get online and have that competitive game as well and of course, that’s gotta be a part of it otherwise it would feel unnatural for us to commit such an effort to this game on that platform. So it’ll be really nice to get online… It’s kind of cool, too, when I’m playing competitive, sometimes I like to look at the score while I’m playing, but I hate having to cover the screen with an overlay. Well guess what? I can look down at the Wii U screen and if I want to keep the score there or whatever, I can keep it down there and just have a glance and not worry about overlays or submenus or things like that. So it’s kind of neat.”

Pitchford’s Wii U remarks come as part of a lengthy interview about Aliens: Colonial Marines in general. You can view the entire interview here. The Wii U talk begins at the 7:20 mark.

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