The Wii U may not be renowned for its graphical horsepower but the console still packs plenty of punch in terms of innovation. The latency of the GamePad’s screen is less than many TVs and the controller allows for both dual-screen gameplay and remote play. As far as the latter feature is concerned, there’s certainly no handheld on the market that can compete with the GamePad in terms of number of buttons and the quality of graphics on display.
Sure, the GamePad doesn’t have the beautiful OLED screen of the PS Vita or the stereoscopic 3D of the 3DS but being able to play Wii U games like New Super Mario Bros. U, Assassin’s Creed III and Mass Effect 3 without having to turn your TV on is great for gamers who are sharing a TV with family members or simply don’t have access to one. The Wii U is also small and light enough to take with you on holiday and once you’ve located a two-pin plug you’re ready to play any one of the games that support the remote play feature.
While the Wii U’s remote play functionality is a major selling point, the downside of this feature is that it could ostensibly encourage developers to neglect the dual-screen potential of the system. Certain titles such as ZombiU are incompatible with remote play due to their reliance on dual-screen gameplay that utilises both the TV and GamePad. If the Wii U’s remote play feature turns out to be more popular that its dual-screen functionality, why would developers go to all the extra effort and expense of creating a dedicated dual-screen experience when this effectively rules out remote play compatibility?
Of course, developers could always add optional dual-screen features to their games such as the ones we see in ports such as Assassin’s Creed III and Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition. When it comes to Wii U exclusives however, it would seem to defeat the whole point of what the console represents if games were purposefully hamstrung in the dual-screen department so that they would be compatible with remote play.
I highly doubt that Nintendo would omit mandatory dual-screen gameplay in potential future projects such as a new The Legend of Zelda title, but I’m a little concerned that certain third-party developers may not fully embrace the dual-screen functionality of the system because they want their game to tick the remote play box.
This whole issue is certainly a dilemma that Wii U developers must face, and one that doesn’t seem to have a clear answer at this point in time. Ultimately players’ ongoing reactions to the console’s remote play and dual-screen functionality will influence the kind of games we get in the future, for better or for worse.
Would you prefer a Wii U game to have optional dual-screen elements or mandatory ones that render it incompatible with remote play? Let us know in the comments.