'Assassin's Creed 3' Wii U Controller Functionality Detailed

Assassins Creed 3 Trailer

Assassin's Creed 3 is quickly becoming one of the most talked-about titles arriving in 2012 - thanks to an intriguing announcement trailer. The Assassin's Creed franchise is one of the premiere action-adventure experiences available on consoles and the third installment is poised to not only offer a fresh new face, in the form of new leading man, Connor, the game will also bring hidden blade kills to a new platform, the Wii U.

The Wii U's nontraditional controller has been a source of controversy since it's debut at E3 2011 - and while gamers, not to mention industry analysts, are skeptical of what we'll actually get when the Wii U launches later this year, Ubisoft has been hard at work figuring out ways to implement Wii U features into their multi-platform Assassin's Creed 3 offerings.

The Wii U controller is not poised to win many awards for ergonomic design or comfort, the tech is positioned to add an additional layer of feature opportunities for modern console games. The success of these features will, no doubt, vary largely from developer to developer (with plenty of room for gimmicky throwaway applications); however, in the hands of designers with some truly interesting (and likely subtle) ideas, there's definitely room for the Wii U to provide an even richer gaming experience than what's currently available on the PS3 and Xbox 360.

The balance between gimmicky and interesting Wii U gameplay features is exemplified in the latest issue of Nintendo Power - which details a number of exclusive ways that the new controller will be implemented in Assassin's Creed 3:

  • Wii U tablet controller can act as some form of link to the Assassin’s Creed “Animus”
  • Wii U tablet Animus can be used as a persistent on-screen map and navigation tool.
  • Animus Database entries that may pop up from time to time, could be displayed on the touchscreen instead and not interrupt the flow of the game.
  • The Animus can also act as an encyclopedia of information. Character biographies and bits of information that would normally be cast aside could be displayed on the touchscreen (take a break and read up on the side story & character history while eating dinner?).
  • Easy touchscreen weapon selection during combat. Quick change from dual-wield combat to single with a simple touch.
  • Using the touchscreen as an alternate view for Eagle Vision. Using the built-in accelerometer to control the camera view while in Eagle Vision.

As mentioned, there's an encouraging/discouraging mix of Wii U feature implementations here - as the "on-screen map and navigation tool" sounds promising while the "built-in accelerometer to control the camera view while in Eagle Vision" is less reassuring - especially if it's not optional.


Epic Believes In the Wii U

That said, as more and more developers drop hints regarding how they intend to utilize Nintendo's new controller, it's becoming increasingly clear that the Wii U screen/console set-up is primarily going to act as a larger, and more powerful, version of the two screen DS/3DS gameplay set-up. Despite some cool demo features (such as the E3 "golf" demo example), the functionality of the controller itself (at least in terms of multiplatform titles) appears pretty limited - given that the upper screen (your TV) will act as the gameplay display, while the lower screen (the controller) will mostly be used for simpler actions such as touch input (quick change weapon selection), references (character biographies and environment locales), as well as navigation (a persistent map).

Hopefully, Nintendo (and Ubisoft) will take a hint from BioWare's Mass Effect 3 Kinect integration - which was entirely optional and, for interested gamers, successfully enhanced the experience without any real drawbacks - instead of the motion-control gimmicks shoe-horned into the Wii version of Tomb Raider Underworld.


Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for further updates.

Assassin’s Creed III releases on October 30, 2012 for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. A Wii U launch has been confirmed - though an official release date has yet to be revealed.

Source: Nintendo Power [via My Nintendo News]

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