The Wii U will not revolve around the U pad. The Wii U is a controller neutral console which we haven’t really seen since the NES. Reggie, I believe, said this during the E3 convention speech. It was missed by many.
The U Pad and its functionality is shown off a ton because it is the ‘new thing’. Nintendo has little reason to show off the Wii-motes or the Classic Pro Controller since we know how those work with gaming.
What is one difference between Super Mario Brothers 6 and Super Mario Brothers 5? Super Mario Brothers 5 *had* to use the Wii-mote as a controller. No other controller was allowed. The Wii-mote was more uncomfortable than the original NES controller. But someone put in tilt gameplay which required the Wii-mote. Super Mario Brothers 6 looks to be fully playable without touching the U Pad. The U Pad seems to be used only for other functionality such as that new mode or playing the game on the little screen.
Pikmin 3, it appears, will not be requiring the U Pad at all. A Wii-mote and nunchucka can be used.
Nintendo Land appears to require the U Pad. But no one should be surprised by that.
Nintendo could have gone for a cheaper way to make the Classic Pro by plugging it into the Wii-mote or Wii U. Instead, it is completely separate and doesn’t require the other controllers to function. It’s a sign that the Wii U is going to be a controller neutral console.
The N64 forced us to use the N64 controller. The Gamecube forced us to use the Gamecube controller. The Wii, for the most part, forced us to use the Wii-mote. The SNES never had much controller diversity.
Everyone keeps writing and commenting that the Wii U’s U Pad will have a similar relationship role as with previous Nintendo consoles. It doesn’t appear that way at all.
This wouldn’t be a bad question for a journalist to ask Nintendo. But it appears that you can play the Wii U without ever touching the U Pad. I’m amused by some journalists, trying to imagine the U Pad’s role in gaming, by saying things like “I am not convinced, Nintendo. I have to move my head and gaze to see the inventory displayed on the U Pad. This requires more work than the old way of just using the TV screen. Listen to me, for I have amazing opinions.” Everyone is assuming the U Pad will have the same relationship to the console as previous Nintendo controllers. This doesn’t appear to be the case. It seems highly likely that the ‘everything on TV’ displays will still be there. It has to be if the Pro Classic controller is to be used.
Usually, Nintendo takes a vertical enhancement with the controller meaning it is ‘upgraded’ and ‘evolved’ and you have to use it. But the U pad looks to be more of a horizontal enhancement. It is an additional option, an additional tool in your arsenal to get enjoyment from games.
If this is the U Pad’s relationship with the Wii U, then I must say I like it. I can play 2d Mario with a Classic Pro Controller if I choose. Someone else could use the Wii-mote if they prefer. And yet someone else could use the U Pad.
We have a choice, my friends. We have a choice.