Saturday, December 1, 2012

So I've Been Thinking About That MoveShock

Of course, I mean the split controller idea I mentioned yesterday and before you ask, that is my wordMine.  I've been looking around and unsurprisingly people are coming out of the woodwork to ridicule this thing that might not ever see the light of day for reasons that....well, are certainly internet reasons.  Perhaps I've over-thought this a bit as I tend to do, but I feel like people would be a lot more welcoming of this idea if it were an idea presented as anything -more- than an idea, if that makes sense.  As I tried to do, introduce it with some functionality, something to give a little taste of it, to push people beyond the initial difference of it.  Of course, that would require actually naming it as a thing that exists which is something that is likely a year off or so, if ever (basically my thinking is that it's going to be the PS4 controller or nothing at all), so for now it honestly really just has to stay a patent and a concept.  And it will unfortunately be judged a little prematurely and a little immaturely, but I really hope people remember that nobody thought the Wii was going to be a thing, and if the Nintendo apologists out there have been saying anything in terms of 'teh hardcorez gaming' as it were, Motion Controls are a thing that can work.

What's important to remember, to reiterate over and over again is that this generation's concept of Motion Controllers have been a game of sacrifice.  We actively lost input methods in the form of buttons, in the form of movement, and in the form of 'choice' for the sake of a new input that, for the reasons mentioned, wasn't implemented properly.  The Wiimote's actual motion sensing wasn't up to par to be used extensively, so much so that it required Motion+ to upgrade it, and then Nintendo never capitalized because they won't 'force' consumers to have a better product.  (Except for, well, Skyward Sword)  The Move's piecemeal sale method did the exact same thing, as most games would only 'require' that you have the wand, and not a Nav Wand (or a Dualshock 3, despite being stated as a method for input for moving around and such, basically only Sorcery capitalized if I'm remembering right) and the overall negative opinion of the thing, despite it being something seen as a positive for Nintendo, precluded it from a lot of use.  Basically, in every case save a few, it was 'assumed' that you don't have the full range of input, thus nothing used everything, leaving it all to be seen as a sort of after-thought.

So imagine motion gaming if it weren't like that, if it were directly in your hands by standard, so it could be treated as a full suite out of the box.  Imagine that you can have motion as an input without losing any other input because it's all right there in your hands anyway.  You have to imagine it because it's a first, because to this point we have not had the full range of buttons and motion controls at the same time - we just haven't.  Despite Sony's efforts, despite Nintendo's efforts, we've lost things along the way regardless, and that is the differentiating point between what we've had and what this idea can offer and that is what I am trying to hammer in because it's clear that it's something that has completely and totally gone over the heads of just about everyone that comments on a website that features this.  Which is not to say that I'm some genius who sees the potential or anything, I'm just somebody who has given it a modicum of thought without knee-jerking which is, frankly, something the internet could stand to see a whole lot more of.  You can't disagree with that, I'm sure.

Anyways, take the above Gladiator example from Sports Champions into mind for a moment, if you would.  This is sort of something that leverages the Skyrim idea I had in the last post since, if you use two Move Wands while playing that game, you're allowed input of both hands, and it's something that works quite well, according to seemingly everyone who's attempted it.  You have that much more control over where your sword goes, over where your shield goes and it opens the door for more precision in what you're actually playing.  I dare not use the dreaded 'immersion' word, but I'm sure you'll agree there's a difference between hitting square and swinging a sword that just happens to hurt a dude and swinging an object that directly damages a dude's arm.  There's a difference between pressing L1 to block and pressing a stick to stagger your foe and raising your left hand to move your shield in the path of an attack, adding a little flick that pushes your enemy off-balance.  I don't think anyone can say with a straight face after the Wii, that motion controls cannot add something to an experience that you wouldn't have otherwise, but at the same time, it's hard to imagine a scenario where it's effectively been done that way in the myriad of games where your sole motion input is aiming.

The limitation of the above example with Gladiator is that, if you're using two Move Wands, you have absolutely no movement input beyond your arms.  The Move Wands have the Move Button, Triangle, Circle, Cross and Square, and Start and Select buttons, but no D-Pad, no Analog stick.  Your movement comes in with the Nav wand which, as stated, nobody 'assumed' you had (nor were willing to use a Dualshock 3 to emulate this effect) and if you were using two Move Wands, you can't use anyway.  This is precisely the case of losing a lot to gain a little, but the important fact is that there is something gained.  Even with the Wiimote, all you have is a D-Pad and not a very good one at that, so two of those aren't exactly viable either.  But if you have everything that a DualShock has to offer between two Move Wands, you have the full suite of what you need and -that- is what makes it a forward step.  That's what pulls it out of the relative stagnation it went through with Wii and Move games, since it basically went from Wii Sports functions to cutting stuff ala Red Steel, to First Person Shooter to being a flashlight in Silent Hill:  Shattered Memories and your wand in Sorcery.  There was not a whole lot of progress, if we're being honest.

Here, you have your cake and you can eat it too.  You can use two inputs for both arms of your Gladiator while still being able to move him around as you want.  Walk him back and use the shield arm to deflect while your opponent is on the offensive and surge forward, swinging when you see an opening.  That's not where it stops, either.  Take a game where dual pistols is not uncommon like Max Payne 3.  You enter a room and crouch in front of the first thing you can, sizing up the room.  Then you vault and kick in the slow motion as you would normally.  But now that you have two inputs for aiming, a left and a right for a left and right gun, you take aim at a thug on the left side of the room and one at the right side.  You fire and they both go down and as Max is flying in slow-motion you slowly bring your hands back together, firing as you do to clear the room.  You land, turn Max towards the remainders and unload on them two at a time.  You're not limited by where you can aim and where you can move because you have the reticule trained with your sights, you have movement with your left stick and you have camera control with your right.

Take Metal Gear Rising:  REVENGEANCE and imagine you've built up your Zan-Datsu meter or however they're going to handle that and it's time to use it on some poor fodder.  You activate it by pulling your controller apart which prompts Raiden to pull out another blade (because you know dude's got more than just the one sword) and you're free to slice freely because, well, that's the point.  Instead of using analog sticks to determine the angle you cut how you want.  With left hand and right hand you make two parallel slices under his shoulders and above his waist.  You bring them back around and cut in an 'X' to impress yourself if nobody else with your precision and then you swing wildly to reduce what's left to itty-bitty bits before Zan-Datsu is finally finished.  Or imagine that you're in a fight where you specifically need to cut off an arm because it holds a rocket launcher or something.  If Zan-Datsu can be entered and left freely, then bam, hop in, pull it apart and slice off the arm with speed and ease, then exit the mode and fight like normally because, well, you still have all the normal controls.

Take Star Wars:  The Force Unleashed 2 and pretend it doesn't suck.  I know, that's asking for a lot, but just do it for me, alright?  Imagine it doesn't suck and that it actually matters where your lightsabers go.  Imagine that you can cut off parts of scenery or otherwise destroy it with your lightsabers (because I'm pretty sure you can), so you use your left stick (in the left controller half in your left hand) to move, jump with X as usual (with the right half, etc. etc.) and slice off a tank at the top with a motion, and then fall and slice it off at the bottom.  Imagine then that you can press one of your buttons while aiming at it to Force Grab it and flick it in a direction while letting go to use it as a projectile instead of flicking the analog sticks.  Imagine that you can grab a platform that somebody is standing on with the force and rend it apart, dropping them to their doom.  Hell, just imagine that you can grab two soldiers at the same time and use them to clean house by throwing them both at a group at the same time.

The important thing is that, with a split controller design that is literally a split controller, I can see this being a reality.  Or rather, I can't see why it -can't- be a reality, since I'm assuming the theory behind it takes in account the technical aspect of it.  If nothing else, I see this concept as the next evolution, the progression, of what we were offered in Motion Gaming this generation.  I mean, that's the point of leaping generations, right?  To refine the latter generation and update it with more ideas.  It's how we went from a controller with four buttons to controllers with eight or more without making them cumbersome.  Each generation is supposed to let you do things that you just couldn't do in the previous one.  This certainly counts as that, and as a prospect, it's exciting to me at the very least.  Nintendo has already cast their die and it rolled away from what they brought to the table, and being that this is Sony's patent, I'm hoping they actually step to the plate with it, provided it is what the tech states it will be.  Putting an analog stick on a Move Wand to let you use two probably won't be enough, it has to be standard, and that's what I fear the most, that this is just going to be an alternative that, by virtue of that, will never get used.  Done properly, it's just going to compliment what we're used to and integrate itself in comfortably, and for the sake of how much I've gone and worked myself up with ideas, I'm pulling for it.

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