News Article

Randy Pitchford Isn't All That Into Motion Controls

Posted by Damien McFerran

...despite his studio doing the Wii version of Samba de Amigo

Gearbox head guy Randy Pitchford has spoken to Gamasutra about the future of the gaming hardware industry, and has revealed that he's not all that bothered about motion control 'gimmicks':

Different people make different stabs. Some of these stabs folks make become standards. Most of the time they're temporary gimmicks. I don’t like getting behind gimmicks. I tend to like the things that feel like they can become standards, or steps towards standards.

Pitchford is known to speak his mind, but before you see his comments as an attack on the beloved Wii, it should be pointed out that his studio ported Sega's music title Samba de Amigo to Nintendo's console back in 2008, with encouraging results.

However, Pitchford feels that some motion control titles may have taken things a little too far:

In the context of what it was for the Wii, it's just fun to shake things for certain experiences. But other experiences, it actually sucks, because you're using shake to emulate something you could better accomplish with a button press or a joystick.

While he feels that full-body control is "exciting" and that Kinect is "awesome", Pitchford admits that he doesn't really have much time to think about the future of motion control. "Who knows what that is? I don't really care," he added.

As the curtain begins to fall on the Wii's period of dominance, do you think Pitchford's comments ring true to a certain extent? After all, we've experienced some pretty dire uses of the Wiimote over the past few years.

As ever, the comments section is your friend.

[via gamasutra.com]

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User Comments (32)

moomoo

#1

moomoo said:

He makes a good point. A lot of times motion feels unnecesarry. He isn't dissing them, he's just saying a lot of motion control hasn't really helped gaming, and I agree with that.
Most games that use motion controls can't be put in the same league as Red Steel 2, Zelda: Skyward Sword, or Wii Sports Resort.

C-Olimar

#2

C-Olimar said:

When it's used as well as it is in Wii Sports Resort and Skyward Sword, motion control is brilliant, far superior to buttons.

Ryno

#3

Ryno said:

I love motion controls in the Metroid Prime Trilogy and for most part the controls of Skyward Sword (as least as much as I have played so far). However, I feel that most of the games I play don't really need them.

Grodus

#4

Grodus said:

Basicially he's saying motion contol is like, I dont know, your consience, or a habit. They can make your game great, like skyward sword, or they can make your game suck, like certian minigames in the wii rabbids games. I agree 100%.

Edit: hey, can someone tell me if they can see my avatar? It's not showing up in my comments for me. Is this just because I'm new, or is it a strage glicth? Or both?
Edit: thanks @trifoecepower73 @dizzy_boy

Chunky_Droid

#5

Chunky_Droid said:

I agree with the guy.

Some games make wonderful use of motion control, like Skyward Sword and WarioWare: Smooth Moves, other games just game me the you know whats, and I prefer them on PS3, like Marvel: Ultimate Alliance.

triforcepower73

#6

triforcepower73 said:

@moomoo Which is exactly why skyward sword should have been a launch title or at least been released earlier in the wii's lifespan instead of twilight princess. Twilight princess just showed devs that it was alright to release games with weak motion implementation. If it had been skyward sword though, I have a feeling devs would have taken much better advantage of the motion. Oh well, it's all did and done now.

sinalefa

#8

sinalefa said:

@Triforcepower73

That would have been the best scenario. Unfortunately, to come to Skyward Sword a lot of trial and error was needed, so it could have never been a launch title. I am still happy that it was finally released, as it let everyone see what good motion controls could do

dizzy_boy

#9

dizzy_boy said:

@Grodus the avatar problem is being worked on, i`ve already asked about it in the help / problem section of the forums.
as for randy pitchford`s comments, he`s basically pointed out what`s been obvious for a such a long time. that motion controlls work better for certain games than others.
thing is, if nintendo had real faith in motion control gaming, they would have continued with making the wiimote interface an integral part of the way we control games on the wii u. but they`ve seemed to have taken a half step back with the wii u controller.
ok, i know the wii u controller has that screen in the middle of it. but with out it, it`s basically a standard controller with motion control, very much akin to the PS3 six axis controller. it just doesn`t seem to me like nintendo want to go forward with making the wiimote set up as a standard method of playing games, which, to me, backs up the other point the randy pitchford came out with.

kkslider5552000

#10

kkslider5552000 said:

" his studio ported Sega's music title Samba de Amigo to Nintendo's console back in 2008, with encouraging results"

With encouraging results? I didn't realize being broken was encouraging. These morons failed at porting a motion based rhythm game to the Wii that was EIGHT YEARS OLD.

Linkuini

#11

Linkuini said:

Samba de Amigo was going to be my favorite rhythm game since Elite Beat Agents. Then I played a song on hard mode and the motion controls couldn't keep up.

The real tragedy of motion control is how its technical limitations have forced developers to reel back their ambitions and leave us with control schemes that are either simplistic, broken, or both. Now motion control's more reliable (enough to shoulder the weight of a Zelda game, no less) and it's still being treated as an afterthought by gamers and developers alike. Who knows if it'll pick up steam again, and for how long. :(

shinpichu

#12

shinpichu said:

@triforcepower73
That would have required Motion Plus to be released right at launch or bilt in to the Wii remote, neither of which would have been practical because it would have increased the price of the Wii. Also, the Zelda team would basically have to have never worked on TP at all.

I hate it when people who have no understanding of how game development works try and pretend like they do.

WaveWarlock

#13

WaveWarlock said:

I'm absolutely tired of digital controls when playing 3rd or first basedtitles(just two examples) that require you to aim and the like. Resident Evil Revelation's fun factor and intuitiveness dropped by a land slide because i was forced to use analog aiming as opposed to the wii remote in RE4: Wii edition which was far more realistic andfun to use.

After playing Zelda Skyward sword i most likely won't want to play another3D Zelda ever again with digital controls...I'm passed dual analog, it's absolutelyboring to me 90% of the time. Elebits is possibly the most outstanding example of point/motion controls & virtual playground interaction aside from Metroid Prime and SKyward Sword. And for the billionth time you havetitles like Wario Land Shake it! which has basically revolutionized the Sidescroller genre back in 08' with it's implementation of tilt controls, even the money bag shaking feels more fun and satisfying then rapidly tapping a button. different strokes, but i'd die if i had to remain stagnent in an industry with only digital controls, i'd probably be done with modern gaming all together...Being stuck playing the same type of games over and over again with a new lick of paint, better graphics and higher resolutions seems stale to me at this point. Hell I've already axed the PS3 and 360. I mean I love my retro and digital controls of course, but i feel that motion controls has a massive place in many generes such as first, 3rd person based titles, stuff like Zack & Wiki, Wario Ware and much more. I just want a mix of both worlds. But i seriously hate the mentality with some of these close minded developers who feel that it's fine being stuck in dual analog analog land without even realising the insane potentional of what can be done with motion controls.

accc

#14

accc said:

So he doesn't like the Wiimote but he thinks Kinect is awesome? Sounds like this guy's head got screwed on backwards.

Capt_N

#15

Capt_N said:

@dizzy_boy: "thing is, if nintendo had real faith in motion control gaming, they would have continued with making the wiimote interface an integral part of the way we control games on the wii u. but they`ve seemed to have taken a half step back with the wii u controller." ~ I agree w/ you here. I think that part of the problem (here) is (that) Nintendo pretty much forced devs to utilize motion controls for a majority of Wii software. While Nintendo made money on the Wii, they've more than earned a rep(utation) of being difficult to work w/, although I seem to recall they have been that way prior to the Wii. They still have that rep, though. Most devs just plopped/tacked the motion controls on, w/o even trying. As a result, a different control mechanic(motion controls) is not being developed, &/or advanced. Had Nintendo not forced it down devs' throats, I feel motion controls would have, & continue to sill be received better by gamers.

@Linkuini: "The real tragedy of motion control is how its technical limitations have forced developers to reel back their ambitions and leave us with control schemes that are either simplistic, broken, or both. Now motion control's more reliable (enough to shoulder the weight of a Zelda game, no less) and it's still being treated as an afterthought by gamers and developers alike. Who knows if it'll pick up steam again, and for how long. :(" ~ I agree with you here, too.

triforcepower73

#16

triforcepower73 said:

@shinpichu I'm not saying that I know anything about game development. I don't. I'm just saying that would have led to a better situation. If they had to drop twilight princess, so be it. And I've always thought that it's stupid that they thought of motion plus after the wii came out. People wouldn't care it was only $20 more. Anyway, like I said, it's all did and done. They sold 96,000,000 consoles. They did a good job at their approach. If I were in charge of Nintendo those sales would be a lot lower than that.

WaveWarlock

#17

WaveWarlock said:

@Dizzy_boyAnd it's that 'step back' that has me less excited about the wii U.Zombi U for example IS a big step back in terms of controls but in favor it gives you Wii U Additional gamepad screen features like the bug bag, punching in codes with your finger and so fourth. But eh....The Wii U just doesn't seem like a revolution at all to the game industry the way the wii was...It's coming out in 2 + months, and i've got to tell you i'm not'that' excited for it. Hell, i'm not even ready for it.I'd be fine for another 5 months with just the wii to be honest. :p I was expecting something mind blowing...And it came off like a half way interesting mark while shredding backwards in a big annoying way. I'm still deeply annoyed that Ubisoft didn't even support pointer controls as an additional control scheme for ZombiU. I just can't take this analog aiming crap serious anymore, it's such a junky prehistoric control scheme for the genre.

Oh and at least Pikmin 3 will utilize the Wii remote plus, that makes me happy....Because whoopdeedoo, the wii u gamepad just uses it's screen as a hammy in game map. :p I can think of a dozen far more creative ways to use the game pad screen in pikmin in 10 minutes. :p

I'm more excited about the next gen nintendo graphics, HD, True Widescreen, HDMI and playing these games on a 60" plasma
rather than the new Game Pad. I cringe at the thought of using button tapping sword swipes in the next Wii U Zelda when Skyward sword just blew it out of the park with wii remote plus controls...

OptometristLime

#18

OptometristLime said:

So his company knowingly sold a "flavor of the week" control scheme, in his eyes? I didn't buy his product, so I'm not at fault in encouraging him.

But I do think he is two-faced to sell a product he claims he doesn't believe in. So he can go suck an egg.

Oh and great points above Waveboy, I want to be excited for the Wii U but you've just voiced my nagging doubts. :/

Chunky_Droid

#19

Chunky_Droid said:

To me the Wii U still sounds like the Wiimote is going to be integral with the Gamepad in the experience, moreso in multiplayer though.

WaveWarlock

#20

WaveWarlock said:

@ChunkyDroidTrue true. Nintendo Land honestly has me those most excited out of any of the launch titles because the wii remote plus is going to be utlized the most, in combination with 1 person using the Game Pad. I hope to see more of this, because the wii remote plus was heavvvvily unsupported. :p

@TheLastLemmings
Hopefully Nintendo Land will make us believers. :p

willobee

#21

willobee said:

I think the Wii U will be great for multiple controller variations in gaming. The flaw with the classic controller was that you had to buy it separately from the system, so devs often didn't utilize it when the should've (due to the inherently smaller install base over wiimote). BUT, while the WiiU (likely) won't come with a wiimote, everybody and their grandma owns a wiimote as it is, so the system effectively has dual analog (on the game pad) and motion controls from the 'mote covered!

dizzy_boy

#24

dizzy_boy said:

i suppose the good thing is that (for those who want it) with nintendo including wiimote support for the wii u, dev`s do have the option to utalise it in their games. so motion controlls aren`t completely dead yet.
i just hope that if they do go with he wiimote that they actually think about how it`s going to be used effectively. there`s really no excuse now for motion controlls to ba a tacked on after thought anymore. especially as the controll options are open wide enough to fit the right control scheme to the right game.

shinpichu

#25

shinpichu said:

@triforcepower73It wouldn't have been only $20 more - it likely would have been at least $50* added on to the price tag, possibly more. The reason Nintendo waited to release the Motion Plus technology was that they were waiting for the price of manufacturing to go down so they could release it at a lower cost.

*Edit: For the record, I honestly don't know how much extra money it would have cost to inlcude motion plus in the Wiimotes at launch. I'm just throwing out a number, and it could have been higher or lower.

Haywired

#26

Haywired said:

I think motion controls definately have their place (and to appease Wavey I do like pointer controls for aiming...), but generally I've found all the shaking, miming and flailing rather clunky and tiresome. Generally I think a quick, simple move requires a quick, simple button press that's guaranteed to work, rather than a cumbersome charade that may not register correctly because such things are inherently too vague and ambiguous. I'll also be extremely happy if I never have to "vigorously shake the wii remote and nunchuk to shake off an enemy" ever again... If that's "intuitive" and "immersive" then I think people grossly misunderstand those words...

I also think that people who say that motion controls are superior to button controls and who "can't go back" somewhat miss the point of why video games are fun (it's not because of "realism"). I would refer them to the baseball bat and the Smash Moves in Super Smash Bros. for example. Two of the most fun, satisfying and visceral actions in video games and achieved purely with the simple tactility and timing of button presses.

NSBlueLighing

#27

NSBlueLighing said:

His team made Samba De Amigo in 2008!!!!!!!!! DO YOU PEOPLE NOT REALIZE THAT WAS STILL BACK WHEN MOTION CONTROLS ON WII WAS STANDARD? Its been 4years since that release and hes seen all the motion control shovelware and motion gimmick games....SO WHY CANT HE CHANGE HIS MIND IN 4YRS!!!???!!?

hydeks

#28

hydeks said:

As a person that once owned a Kinect, all I can say is that that thing is the worse piece of sh*t I ever bought in my life, and I bought a Atari Jaguar for god sake :P

As for motion gaming, there is a place for motion gaming, but Wii screwed up by basicly forcing developers to do almost every game in motion, even if it should have it or not :P I think the Wii U is gonna be a great mix of both, thanks to backwards compatibility to Wii Remotes, but also has a more tradional Wii U GamePad, so I think alot more people will jump on Wii U and stick with it, than we seen with the Wii.

grimbldoo

#30

grimbldoo said:

I think that the Zelda game for Wii U will probably use motion controls. Or maybe they will have an option to use either motion controls or the gamepad. I am hoping for this option because it will attract even more people (I prefer the motion as well).
Nintendo will continue to make games that use the motion controls, and we might see some good third party games with motion controls as devs wouldn't be forced to make a motion controlled game, it would be their own choice.

@triforcepower73 #30
I would have...just saying.

MeloMan

#31

MeloMan said:

Makes sense. A button press is more standard in gaming than motion controls, and motion controls used for something that would be better for motion controls is the proper way to do it, not just motion for motion's sake. Continuing to give the choice is the key though, which is what the DS had to learn in it's infancy and the Wii has come to learn as well.

Windy

#32

Windy said:

Please let motion controls die!!!!! Dont get me wrong great for Dance Dance and for Samba de amigo......Bad for RPG's and 3d shooters and such

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