'Zelda Wii U' Controls: 'Twilight Princess HD' May Hint At A Motion-Control-Free Future

The box art for Twilight Princess HD
The box art for Twilight Princess HD Nintendo

We know very little about Zelda Wii U, when it comes right down to it. We know it’s open world and the biggest game Nintendo has ever made, and that it supports Amiibos, but beyond that, we’re mostly guessing in the dark. Still, we can look to other recent Zelda releases to get a sense of what the future holds. Specifically, Twilight Princess HD… and its control scheme. The game conspicuously does not have the “waggle,” the motion controls that made it famous as an early Wii game. Could that mean that Zelda Wii U will move beyond the era of motion controls?

Zelda Wii U Controls: Life After Wii Remotes?

Twilight Princess HD supports two control schemes: The Wii U GamePad and the Wii U Pro controller. The GamePad has some motion control support—you can use it to look around, aim ranged weapons, and things like that. But neither controller has the waggle that made the Wii famous. You can’t shake the controller to swing your sword. That was what Twilight Princess on Wii was all about, the cornerstone feature of that version of the game, and it’s gone. What’s more, most people seem to be pretty happy that it’s gone. The era of motion controls as a super-exciting must-have feature are long gone.

Instead, Twilight Princess HD embraces a more button-heavy control scheme based on the system’s two best controllers, rather than the Wii Remote, which simply doesn’t have a ton of buttons. There is no Wii Remote and Nunchuk option. Indeed, the map—which was flipped left to right for the Wii version to make the game easier for right-handed people— has been restored to the original GameCube layout. It’s almost a repudiation of the Wii version.

And these decisions on Nintendo’s part may reflect the company’s thinking for Zelda Wii U. Skyward Sword pushed motion controls as far as they could go at the time. It was divisive. Motion controls generally are pretty passé these days; just look at the failure of the Xbox One Kinect. Nintendo could rightly have made the decision that it’s time to move on from full motion controls and other relics of the Wii era.

It’s promising news. Zelda Wii U may well have some motion controls—like bow-aiming and looking around—especially if the increasingly inevitable Nintendo NX version has similar features (something we have no insight into as of yet). But if Twilight Princess HD is any indication, we shouldn’t expect yet another iteration of Wii Remote Plus, of full motion controls. In that respect, the new Zelda may just be a little more traditional.

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