Nintendo updates Wii U controller (leaked photo)

Wii U controller leaked revision May 2012Since it’s debut almost a year ago, at E3 2011, the Wii U controller has been the subject of much debate. While Nintendo seems committed to the touchscreen design and general layout, GamesRadar has uncovered that an updated version of the controller is floating around, which addresses a couple of concerns players (and developers, we imagine) had with the older design.

The shot above and below is of a developer Wii U controller, posted to Twitter by @MattBoosh, who is a Q&A tester at Traveller’s Tales Games. The image has since been removed from his Twitpic account, but we’ve grabbed it here. 

The new Wii U controller

Wii U controller leaked revision with mockup by GamesRadarBetter control sticks: The control sticks of the original Wii U were rather…flat. These new ones resemble the design on current and past consoles and should be more familiar and comfortable to gamers. Nintendo did invent the control stick, after all. There was little need to reinvent the wheel here.

Start and Select: These buttons were on the bottom of the controller, surrounding the Home button, but they have been moved to the right side, making them accessible by your right hand while holding the controller. We imagine this is to make it easier to Pause, but developers could also use these buttons for other features, like lobbing grenades or handling an overlay map, more easily now.

Mystery buttons: There is a strange square button on the left side of the controller, just under the D-Pad and another smaller square button next to the Power button in the lower right. They are completely unlabeled. What do they do? We don’t know. They could turn the controller’s screen on and off, sync the controller, control NFC or some other odd function, or do something else entirely. 

Wii U branding: This is still a developer unit, but the presence of Wii U branding is a signal that the console’s name probably won’t change. There were rumors that Nintendo might name the console something entirely new to distance it from the Wii, which has experienced falling sales in recent years

Other changes: There could be more changes on the back of the controller, but we haven’t seen it yet.

Nintendo Wii U controller angle with stylis
An angled shot of the original Wii U controller.

Nintendo is scheduled to show its full lineup for the Wii U at the E3 expo June 5-7 this year, so it is only a matter of weeks before we find out if this truly is the final Wii U controller design or if it has been changed again. Most of these small changes appear to be made to benefit more traditional games, which may utilize both of Wii U’s control sticks and need many buttons.

And, of course, though it looks fairly legitimate, there is always a small chance that this is a fake as well, though it would be a rather odd fake. E3 can’t come soon enough.

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