An area of confusion popped up within the comments section of an article related to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild a while ago, centred primarily around the use of the GamePad and whether it features a dynamic map as expected. One of our E3 previewers had, in the hubbub of the show floor, thought there was a map, and watching the Treehouse streams it was possible to miss the fact that the map was actually only present in pause menus.
In any case, it was a topic that evidently mattered to plenty of players, and came up in our "Tell Us What to Do" article ahead of our recent trip to try the game once again in the UK. Having played it and asked staff at Nintendo HQ our final impression does tie in with what was being said at E3 - the dynamic map is absent and the touchscreen is redundant. That's certainly the case in this demo, in any case.
The GamePad's screen has two options in the demo - by default it shows a button controls cheat-sheet, which is logical for builds such as this, though we'd be surprised if it's present in its current form in the final game. Alternatively it can be switched to mirror the TV screen - the confusion can arise as it can be instinctive to look to the map when it's on the GamePad screen, not least because of its presence along with the touch-based user interfaces in The Wind Waker HD and Twilight Princess HD; but ultimately the key detail is that, right now, the GamePad does not display a standalone dynamic map.
Notably, not only is the game's map part of the sub-menus, but some other aspects have shifted to a mix of button inputs. In part this can attributed to the new loop of collecting and looting items that include breakable weapons, shields, and so on. But accessing either the full inventory or quick-select on-screen menus is done with a mix of Select, the D-Pad and the right analogue stick, with the D-Pad and right stick combining for on-the-fly switches of weapons and shields. It's a version of a system often seen in adventure and FPS games on PS4 / Xbox One / PC, but may feel unfamiliar for those accustomed to tapping a GamePad screen for the same results. The controls in general, including these item select options, can take some getting used to if you have previous Legend of Zelda control schemes embedded in your mind.
So, ultimately, the various physical inputs of the GamePad are being put to plenty of work, along with Splatoon-style motion-based adjustments while aiming a bow and arrow, for example. It's intriguing to see the touch screen ignored though, and perhaps telling - Paper Mario: Color Splash makes extensive use of the GamePad touchscreen, but that's not a title that's currently pegged for a dual release on NX; as it stands it's an out-and-out Wii U game. We asked Nintendo UK staff about the situation with the GamePad, but they couldn't - or wouldn't, potentially - go beyond saying that the only builds available at present don't include a separate map for the GamePad.
Of course, things can change in final builds so we'll see how it develops. In light of comments from Shigeru Miyamoto and Eiji Aonuma the Wii U and NX versions will be largely the same experience, with Aonuma-san in particular emphasising that he considered a separate GamePad display and related features as a distraction. It raises interesting questions around the format of the NX hardware and its controls - the Wii U iteration, in its current demo guise, points to a single screen approach.
So there you have it. You asked, we checked, and the reality aligns with many of the impressions and developer comments coming out of E3. Perhaps the era of dual-screen gaming and dynamic second-screen maps and inventories is coming to an end. Ultimately we'll need to wait until Nintendo reveals more and / or releases the final game to see the final picture.