News Article

Peter Molyneux 'Not Really Decided' on Wii U GamePad

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

One screen too many, perhaps

There have been plenty of opinions about Wii U since E3 attendees have had a chance to try it on the show floor, and one participant who's unsure about the console and its GamePad controller is well-known game designer Peter Molyneux.

Much debate around Wii U has focused on the games lineup or technical specifications, but Molyneux has expressed doubts about the core concept of the GamePad controller and its role in providing an extra screen.

I am not really decided about Wii U. I watch people playing and they sometimes seem to be confused about which screen they should look at when they play with the tablet.

I also feel that monitoring both screens turns out to be a bit demanding, as some games make it necessary to change your view from time to time between both screens.

We'll be sharing our hands-on impressions of Wii U titles in the coming days, but do you think having two separate screens to view and use is likely to be a problem?


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User Comments (83)



tat2 said:

Two different screens weren't a problem on the DS and 3DS, and since this isn't fixed it'll only make things easier, if anything.
It's really about the game design, though.



steveex said:

I love that both Molyneux and Microsoft are saying using two screens at once is a problem, yet Microsoft are pushing Xbox Smartglass which would have the same problems.



mshope10 said:

i hate when people say it to hard or they dont understand how to do it.when really he meant i just hate nintendo.

i must be a genius cause i understand everything about wii u and i never played it yet.when i play 3ds i never have a hard time knowing what screen to look at.but i'm over the age of 3.i say that cause my 4 year nephew plays and understands ds fine so he should even be able to tackle the huge challenge of wii-u's two screens lol!.

this is like on wii. people would say i dont like motion controls cause they dont work or i can't understand how to use it with certain games.but again my 4 year old nephew and me must be at a genius level cause everything from wii and ds,3ds we both never had problems with.and we understand the benefits of having an extra screen so we must be smarter then peter man it feels good to be a game genius!lol!



rjejr said:

@tat2 - but those screens are next to each other. Go sit in front of your tv and look at you iPad or smartphone screen and quickly look up at your tv and back and forth, it's a different focal length (IAN an eye Dr., so whatever its' called). It would be fine for watching tv but reading a lot of txt in an RPG could be a problem.

I'm trying to figure out how Nintendo couldn't easily dominate E3 w/ a new home console launch and I think this is part of the problem. How will this work? Also, there really is nothing new here like there was w/ Wii. HD graphics and online are nothing new. PS3 has had them for years. Touchscreens? Everywhere. It's a new console, but nothing is new. If this came out instead of the Wii 6 years ago people would have been blown away. I'll still buy one, but I'm in no rush.



47drift said:

I sure hope he decides against it. The less of his mediocre overrated games that exist, the better.



Morpheel said:

I have been handling 2 screens without problems for quite some time now. What year was the DS released again?



C7_ said:

If a game requires you to look at both screens at the same exact time, it's the developer's fault for bad game design. We have seen this for years with the DS handhelds, and it never really seems to be a problem in major titles (or recently at all) because most the time it's a choice to look at either screen to see different views.

@steveex This is an excellent point; games are design specifically around two screens, but Smartglass was advertised as showing bonus content for TV and Movies, where the main focus is on the big screen and you might actually miss something if you look down to read a map or character bio.




Millions have been doing it since 2004 worldwide. I thought HE was renouned for his imagination! Also, what exactly will SmartGlass be doing.



metafaniel said:

I don't find the problems handling 2 screens! The DS, DS Lite, DSi, DS XL, and 3DS have had 2 screens from a long time and, of course all these consoles exist because the concept of 2 screens introduced with the original DS WORK.
I consider WiiU an extension of that concept to home consoles, so I don't find the problem.

Of coourse if you have a FPS for example and a sidescroller in the GamePad at the very same time for the very same game and needed to be played perfectly both at the same time, OF COURSE it will be confusing...
But for ideas like seen in Batman: Akrham City, I don't think they'll be uncomfortable or confusing... Those ideas are innovative, perfectly handleable and immersive!!!



JustAnotherUser said:

If apple would have done this people would be saying "This is genius! Only Apple could have done this!" and their stock would rise another 100%. (Just wait until the Apple bubble bursts.) - I want it to go on the record that I have nothing against Apple. I love their products.

It's not difficult if the developers know how to make games.
Just have a map or a HUD on the bottom screen.



Ducutzu said:

We are talking about a developer that have a special relationship with Nintendo's competitor. And reading some of the headlines on Xbox sites, you would think that SmartGlass technology has already buried Nintendo.



Samholy said:

its not for the gamer, and its only a matter of getting used to it. just like the 3d effect on the 3ds.

but devs will have headaches hahaha



The_Fox said:

I like how he says "I'm not really decided about WiiU" and people instantly insist he's directly attacking Nintendo. "Not really decided about WiiU" probably describes the opinion most people have about the system at this point, you know.



New_3DaSh_XL said:

It won't be a problem. Think of how many people own a DS or 3DS, or even watch a movie while surfing the web or playing a game.



nfzeta007 said:

I get what he's trying to say but as above comments have said if a game's experience is dulled by having two screens then that's most likely a fault in the games design, like in a game like COD where the mini-map is used a lot mid-game you shouldn't put that on the controller, however things like switching classes could be placed on the controller screen and it would just make it smoother.



nfzeta007 said:

Sry for the double post but AKA this is just another example of people nitpicking at Nintendo because its Nintendo.



shimage said:

I think it will be a problem for some people with some games. I pretty much don't use the map when playing racing games on my DS because it's too hard for me to pay attention to both screens at the same time. On the other hand, I think that that difficulty can be beneficial at times. The game doesn't have to pause when you go into your inventory, and that seems more realistic to me. I think that sort of tension will have a significant positive impact in games like ZombiU and maybe even Arkham City.



komicturtle said:

They said the same thing about DS.

Hun, you need the skills you so lack and be more adaptive.



Koos said:

People still look at their controller all the time. Most people don't remember where each button of PS is so if you do a combo in Mortal Kombat, you still look every once in a while to make sure where the triangle or the square is. People have been playing for a while on DS, I think they can handle two screens. There are always two screens - it can be a radar, a map or your inventory - it's just clatter on the screen but you still move your eyes.



accc said:

@47drift "I sure hope he decides against it. The less of his mediocre overrated games that exist, the better."

I agree with this comment. Did everyone see his latest "genius" idea for a game? It's an iphone "game" (I use that term loosely) where people simply chisel away at a diamond for hours to see what's inside the diamond. And the worst part of all: as DLC, you can buy an item which lets you drill apart the diamond quickly, if you pay a (real-life) price of $80,000. (No, I'm not making this up.) Nobody should pay attention to what Molyneux has to say about the gaming industry..



hYdeks said:

No offence but I don't care about Peter Molyneux's opinion He's an old man whose games promised so much, and yet fable one felt like a bad zelda.

I trust in Nintendo, and I can see having this style of controller to be the demanded standard for controllers in the future.



C7_ said:

@The_Fox This is true, but if he had said a legitimate reason for being undecided then he would've gotten at least less criticism (I'm not gonna pretend Nintendo fans wont bash a mainly microsoft developer on a Nintendo site). Say "I don't have enough information on the online capability" or "what about games after the immediate launch", not something that was not even a problem 7 years ago.



SteveW said:

Heck, if people can text and drive at the same time... this should be easy



FonistofCruxis said:

I can actually see where he's coming from as with the 3DS and DS, they're screens are connected so there's no problem but its different having to look at the TV screen in front of you and then quickly look down at the screen on the Gamepad and then look back up but if its used correctly, it could work.



Alienfish said:

The best use of that extra screen I can think of is to simply have a full sized map right there to look at whenever you want to. I play a lot of GTA IV online in the Mafia Work mode and it is generally really helpful to look at the full map so I can see exactly where my objectives are, but I also lose precious seconds every time I open up the pause menu and then I have to accelerate my vehicle when I'm finally done glancing at the map.

The other thing I'm interested in is seeing this thing in action in an fps game with the new Zapper. You'll get my meaning if you watch the ZombiU gameplay trailer where the player is looking down a sniper scope to take out a baddie. The key improvement to the system here is that you can simultaneously keep an eye on the action on the big screen while using the touch screen as your scope. In fact, I wonder if it would be best to just keep all ADS views on the small screen. Holy crap! I just had an awesome insight! The small screen could just be a camera like it was attached to your gun and would move like that panorama view demo while the main screen would show what you were really looking at.

Main screen = what your eyes see
Small screen = what your gun sees



OldBoy said:

I think he makes a fair point, some of the hands-on impressions I've read have said that it isn't very natural to play. DS is completely different as those screens are adjacent to each other.This can only be judged once you have played it yourself though I suppose.
Also FYI Molyneux doesn't work for Microsoft anymore more.He left several months ago.



NintendoLand said:

He's not "decided".
Why does he care? He develops for MS.

Feels like 2006 all over again!!
I remember Sony and MS developers talking down on the Wiimote saying "Pointing with the remote and moving the joystick at the same time is too confusing for the player. Like rubbing your tummy and patting your head at the same time." And bBill Gates mentioned motion control was NOT the future.

Peter Peter.... Isn't this the same guy that lied to all the MS fans by claiming Milo was a REAL game?? LOL I still remember the pre rendered video at E3 of a girl having a conversation with milo, and peter and all the developers lying through their teeth!! All the "hardcor3" fans were suddenly screaming "OMG playing with Milo looks awesome!!"

ahhh... nostalgia keep it coming peter!!



FriedSquid said:

I think it would all depend on how the screens are used and how or if the developer takes advantage of them. The thing that I think was different for the DS is that you can have both screens in your line of sight, more or less. You could focus on the top screen or the bottom, while still being able to somewhat see what's going on the other screen. With the Wii U you would have to look directly at one screen or the other at a time, which could make things difficult.



LavaTwilight said:

That really depends, was it a problem for the DS (I wouldn't know since I haven't been a handheld games fan since Game & Watch)? I don't think it's going to be a problem but it's very much like the wiimotes... If the developer uses the gamepad atrociously then the overall game experience will be atrocious. If they use it well however it will be an excellent tool! I'm surprised Molyneux as a game designer doesn't see the potential behind it.



Haywired said:

To those saying "well no one had a problem with the DS's two screens lol what a retard, etc." The DS's screens are right next to each other. They may as well be one large screen. These screens are completely seperate and will require you to look up and down and up and down and up and down again (hardly intuitive or immersive before those buzzwords get inevitably misused). You may disagree with him (because you've obviously already played with it), but his point is valid and he said nothing remotely inflammatory.



3dbrains said:

This guy is supposed to be a developer?
Why doesn't he just make a game that doesnt use the second screen at all?
If you don't like a tool you are given as a developer but are also given MANY other tools, just discard those you dont need.
Noone wants to play a game just because it uses every feature available.



LavaTwilight said:

People nitpik at nintendo because they're scared of nintendo. Otherwise if they weren't we wouldn't have Kinect or PS Move or whatever it's called. Their hypocrisy sickens me.

I've heard of so many hardcore gamers going over to nintendo and loving Nintendo but I've never heard of a nintendo fan suddenly loving any other console and not bothered with nintendo anymore...
Anyone care to prove me wrong?



FJOJR said:

It is too hard....if you have a fixed neck or eyeballs. It's tough being an action figure.



yobucky said:

I think it won't be a problem at all is it's done right in the game. Having extra screens as a controller is nothing new (think zelda four swords on the cube or the dreamcast controllers), it just depends on how they are used.

I think the big advantages of this system will be in asymmetric multiplayer and in transferring the game onto the controller (like mario bros) so you can play while the TV is otherwise occupied. For other times/ normal single player games it should just be for secondary information you'd normally need to pause the game to interact with things like inventory or maps. Imagine how awesome a game like splinter cell could be if the pda functions were passed onto the tablet, things like the hacking game would feel a lot more real. And what about using it as a dedicated touch screen keyboard for animal crossing, like a messaging system for your online friends (that would be awesome)? Or imagine integrating the speakers and mic into an online FPS game where it replaces a headset as the means of communication. And don't forget that it could even be used as a drawing tablet in all kinds of games, like a built in U-draw tablet, except with games made by nintendo that don't suck like the THQ offerings (although pictionary is pretty fun).

I'm sure there will be some cheap and tacky uses but imagine the kind of things people could come up with if they used their imagination.
People seem so scared of change, just because you've never played a game with two screens before, doesn't mean automatically that it's not going to work, and if it doesn't work for you maybe it's because you're a dinosaur who released one half-good game and still think you know what's what in the gaming world. And if nothing else can't you at least give nintendo credit for not being happy to just stick with the status quo of how games should be made and for trying to innovate new ways of getting people involved in gaming?



shingi_70 said:

You all do realize he isn't with micrsot anymore and he didn't like smartglass either.



shingi_70 said:

Had nothing but nintendo systems but skipped the wii in favor of a 360 and haven't looked back.

And what do the other companies have to be scared of nintendo . Micrsoft at least makes a lot more money than ninty.



shingi_70 said:


Bill gates hasn't been apart of microsoft in years.

And games get cancled all the time.

Nintendo must be lair too for no project hammer.



yobucky said:

@Sony_70 Bill gates not involved in Microsoft, does he know this? Because apparently he's still making money as their Chairman, someone should really let the board know...

Oh and MS making more money has little to do with their gaming division which took a massive hit with all the recalls of their faulty crap plastic 360s that kept breaking down...



shingi_70 said:


By that he doesn't have a lot to do with how the company us run anymore.

And it does as microsoftcan take loesses nintendo can't



JohnPhilipSousa said:

I though that exact thing back when showed that thing where you shot at Miis. Except my idea would be that the GamePad would have the iron sights/scope on it and you would use it to aim down your sights literally.



BJQ1972 said:

Peter Molyneux has just announced a new game that will be played on TEN screens at once. Of course, as is usually the the case with his announcements, the finished game will actually only use one screen.

The king of hyperbole does actually have a point in this instance though - it did look to me like the E3 crowd were struggling with two screens at once, although then again, that could possibly say more about the typical games 'journalist'.




I'll have one tingle look at the TV and one look at the tablet while the others play with catmaids. I think it'll work out.



TrueWiiMaster said:

Microsoft overall can absorb more losses than Nintendo, but if they had to absorb such enormous losses because of the Xbox, they would almost definitely close down their game division. In other words, Microsoft's wealth does not translate to the Xbox surviving losses easier than Nintendo.

"And what do the other companies have to be scared of nintendo"
Unlike most other competitors, there's no way to predict what Nintendo might do next, and everything they've done lately has resulted in huge success, sometimes industry-changing success. Microsoft and Sony don't have to worry about Nintendo buying them out or running them out of business, but they do have to watch Nintendo closely to see where gaming's going next.



sdcazares1980 said:

That really depends. My impression is, as long as the TV screen still remains to be the main screen, then it should be no problem.



TheChosen said:

....yeah. I wouldn't listen much to a man who wants to make a game that has 80,000$ DLC (as mentioned early).



WaxxyOne said:

I agree completely. I am often driving my car and think "Man, having to watch the road AND the speedometer is just impossible, let alone having three mirrors to divide my attention!" Then I get confused about where I should be looking. It'd be so much easier if I just had blinders on and didn't have to worry about the rest of the world.




BenAV said:

I really don't see it being a problem as long as developers use the second screen well.
And I'm sure a lot of games might not even require you to use it at all if you don't want to.
I love how Ubisoft have incorporated the second screen into ZombiU.



NintendoLand said:

@Sony_70 hahaha....

"Had nothing but nintendo systems but skipped the wii in favor of a 360 and haven't looked back."

.....then WHY are looking back NOW?? to troll perhaps??

"And what do the other companies have to be scared of nintendo . Micrsoft at least makes a lot more money than ninty."

.... you know what? Nevermind. I'm not even gonna reply to this one and assume you're a 12 year old inexperienced with the gaming industry.

"Bill gates hasn't been apart of microsoft in years..."

So I'm making stuff up?? You amuse me kid!

ur reeding compreehention bad?

I said "Feels like 2006 all over again!!!", when Bill Gates ran Microsoft(now chairman).
And to the non-believer:

"And games get cancled all the time.
Nintendo must be lair too for no project hammer."

You're right games get CANCELLED all the time.
The difference between Project H.A.M.M.E.R. and Milo is, Project H.A.M.M.E.R. was an actual game. Meaning it was playable, but it got(as you say) CANCELLED.

Milo on the other hand was entirely scripted. It never existed as a game!! %100 fraud!!

Come at me Sony, keep the fail coming



MAB said:

I think my gaming brain has evolved to a greater extent to actually be able to look at 3 or 4 screens at the same time.

How I do things at the moment -
I have 2 Toshiba REGZA 42 inch screens in the living room
Gaming TV on top of cabinet, normal TV programs on middle cabinet
3DS on armchair at the ready whenever I need it
Soon to be 4 screens when WiiU arrives

I will show Peter how to evolve his brain/eye/motor coordination to the next level
I am ready for my next level



RantingThespian said:

I've been playing with 2 screens for years. It's called the DS, DSi, and 3DS.

So I don't believe I will have any problems with this.



Azikira said:

I don't give a crap if Peter Molyneux doesn't like the Wii U, nobody likes him. :3



WiiLovePeace said:

I got used to the DS setup, though the screens are closer together, so I figure I'll get used to the WiiU setup too.



chiptoon said:

@mshope10 Well said! Their statements really do nothing but make them seem a bit dim. Or at least a good deal dimmer than many of us.



ThreadShadow said:

This doesn't sound like molyneux, this sounds like something a timid eastern dev would say before scurrying back to the PSP.



kurtasbestos said:

"I also feel that monitoring both screens turns out to be a bit demanding, as some games make it necessary to change your view from time to time between both screens."

What an apparently lazy, lazy man.



ThreadShadow said:

He's only in his 50's I believe, and in an interview he said he felt like he was coming to the end of lifes marathon. What a sad thing to say. Cheer up Peter, you don't work for Microsoft anymore!



alLabouTandroiD said:

Maybe that's more his affiliation to Microsoft speaking here. I mean in the end it all depends on the design of the game. If you don't have good ideas, no problem, don't use it. I'm sure many other devs do.
Personally i now think it's a very interesting idea and worth a shot. I'm looking forward to its use in single-player games as well as for asymmetrical multiplayer gameplay.



turtlelink said:

All he said was that he sees people looking confused while using the Wii U. Why are you guys bashing the hell out of him?



chiptoon said:

bad form chaps, some of you've been feeding a troll! better stop or he'll stick around.



CanisWolfred said:

He's definitely not alone, that's for sure. And he's totally right about the screen thing. I can easily see that being a problem for quite a few games. Whatever they put on the bottom screen, it can't be something you have to focus on a lot.



grimbldoo said:

Since the bottom screen will be most of the time holding info that you wouldn't even check anyway, I don't think you are going to have a problem. This would work perfect for Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker, just look down and touch the screen to change your settings since you can't pause.



Kage_88 said:

@3 - To be fair, Molyneux isn't with Microsoft anymore...but I see your point. Nintendo are always damned when it comes to new ideas (not that two screens ARE a new idea, Mr. Molyneux), but when Sony, MS or Apple incorporates similar tech to their devices - well then, they are just the bee's knees, aren't they?

@11 - I'm not afraid to say I hate Apple. To paraphrase Kripke from Big Bang Theory, they suck the big hairy meatball

@41 - Oh dear. While MS might have more money in the bank than Nintendo, the Japanese company BY FAR make more profit with its gaming hardware and software. Not to mention MS is being trounced by Apple in other fields.

Oh, and I'm surprised you didn't mention Sony...but I can't blame you



MeloMan said:

*I am not really decided about Wii U. I watch people playing and they sometimes seem to be confused about which screen they should look at when they play with the tablet.
I also feel that monitoring both screens turns out to be a bit demanding, as some games make it necessary to change your view from time to time between both screens.*

Peter, either the game will tell you, you will know already, perhaps both or another screen lead will indicate to you what is what, etc. Oh yeah, you ever heard of a Nintendo 3DS, or at least, "maybe" the Nintendo DS? It has 2 screens, and came out like, 2005? Gamers aren't exactly complaining these days about 2 screens, and... gamers are alot more skilled than you think. Remember when the SNES controller had "too many buttons"? Meh, anyway Pete, check a DS out, then get back to me on that point you made. Cheers!



MeloMan said:

Oh wait, didn't the G&W have a dual screen display for one of it's games? Zelda? Well, doesn't matter, either way it would be nice if people didn't pick on Nintendo so damn much for "good ideas". Oh well, guess that's one of the reasons I like the big N so.



Sir_Deadly said:

well, form what i have seen at the booth interviews and stuff no one has had problems with it. Sometimes the tv would say look at screen, others use the tablet for inventory. And some games are in real time soo people should have already been aware of things happening in the game as u look at the tablet and stuff. If that makes since.



3dsisthebest said:

it is incredible. one of my friends send a requst at about the release date of ac3d and the answer was wait till the next nintendo direct. you know what this means?!



k8sMum said:

it's funny seeing all the hate coming from those who are always complaining about haters.



TimboBaggins said:

In a day and age where people watch tv while using their laptops, and occasionally checking the pda or smart phone for messages all at the same time, this statement is absolutely ridiculous. I think modern people are already looking at two screens at once, if not three or four.



Sabrewing said:

So then what does he think about Microsoft and its new SmartGlass app for the Xbox?



That_Guy_from_Faxana said:

Having 2 screens CAN be a problem. I find it really tough to play Contra 4 on DS, you can only have full focus on one screen at once. If you use two screens, it should be clear which one is secondary at the moment.



hYdeks said:

Peter Molyneux is an idiot who promises alot and delivers NOTHING. No wonder he's not with Microsoft anymore, he's garbage isn't even worth Microsofts time (and that's BEYOND sad, cause Microsoft seems to LOVE over hyping stuff and releasing crap) So what Peter has to say about the Wii U GamePad is null and void, cause no one really cares anymore what the old man has to say about anything



Aviator said:

For those saying that we already have this with the DS line. Yes and no. Yes, two screens are used at the same time, but they are pretty much connected to each other. With the Wii U you have two completely separate screens, and when playing a console game I assume most of you do not look at your controller whilst also looking at the TV.

To those suggesting people can watch 3+ screens at once. While this is true, I doubt they are completely involved in the action on all three screens at the same time. I can have my TV, my laptop, my phone, my 3DS, my Vita, my DS all on at the same time, but I cannot put my full focus into all items.

nfzeta007 wrote:

AKA this is just another example of people nitpicking at Nintendo because its Nintendo.

It's also a prime example of people nitpicking at someone because they're criticizing Nintendo. Molyneux makes valid reasons behind why the Wii U may be an issue for some gamers. Yet rather than taking on board the comments, some revert to commenting on his age, his career, as if those factors reduce his opinion. A lot of people on the forums hold up the argument that we all have our own opinions, so why isn't that the case here?
EDIT: my last point isn't an attack on nfzeta, just was using what he said to turn the mirror onto some here.



MAB said:

Yes Aviator I can do this and more because my brain is at the next level one screen bores me.

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