While most developers and publishers are trying to find interesting ways to use Nintendo’s Wii U GamePad to expand upon active gameplay, the best use of the tablet controller might be simple information browsing. That’s the speculation from The Last Story lead designer Takuya Matsumoto, who says that the device is best suited for JRPGs and similarly-focused games.
In an interview with Siliconera, Matsumoto talked specifically about how the Wii U GamePad can “revolutionize” JRPG design by moving in-game menus to the secondary screen:
“I feel that the Wii U’s interface, as with other tablet devices, works best for browsing and arranging information,” Matsumoto told Siliconera.
“One merit is the ability to use a touch screen to directly manipulate information, such as looking up a monster’s weak point or, like with a car’s GPS, as a tool to understand battlefield conditions on a sub screen. This special feature will likely bring about opportunities for deep research into JRPG strategy.”
Considering that some commonly recurring complaints with most RPGs in general is menu design and how it can break gameplay flow, Matsumoto’s probably onto something big here.
In our experience with most Wii U titles, there can be a disconnect with action games, as the split attention between the main TV and GamePad screen can disrupt gameplay. However, a standard RPG or JRPG is more attuned to pauses in battle, as well as deep menu interfaces, something that could be neatly arranged on the GamePad with the right design.
After all, just imagine how much cleaner every RPG’s heads-up display and battle environment would look if all that data was moved off the center stage view and onto the controller.