A QA tester for Traveller's Tales Games tweeted a shot of the Wii U tablet controller over the weekend. Not huge breaking news by itself, perhaps, but a second glance reveals a number of key changes integrated int the controller that differ from the one we checked out at last year's E3.
The first thing to note, if this shot (which has now been removed is legitimate, is that the Circle Pad-esque nubs that adorned the Wii U controller before have been replaced by full analogue sticks. The Start and Select buttons have been shunted over to the right, and the Home button is now ringed by an Xbox-esque light. There's a mysterious little square below the D-pad on the left and one to the right of the battery light too. Finally, most interestingly indeed, the words Wii U have been branded onto the tablet itself, possibly indicating that the name is here to stay.
Here's what we said a year ago about the controller in our initial Wii U preview:
I expected the thing to be an utter ergonomic nightmare. I mean, look at it. But the Wii U pad actually nestles into the hands perfectly. It's unbelievably comfortable and far lighter than I expected. These were units that were fully wired, of course, so no doubt there'll be extra weight to come with the wireless components and battery packs, but even so it's a snug piece of kit. The triggers feel fantastic, the circle pads within easy reach. However, when combined with the face buttons and D-pad, the buttons do seem to be a bit more spaced out than usual, not too much, but perhaps enough to be a little concerned about long periods of play for those with smaller hands. Only the bumpers I found to be a bit awkward and uncomfortable, though; again, a little further away than I'm used to on my Sony and Microsoft equivalents.
Is this a positive change? Well, we'll have to wait until we get it into our hands in a couple of weeks' time. The simple elevation of the analogue sticks could make things less comfortable considering the size of the tablet, but Nintendo will surely have spent considerable resources in making sure that things are as pleasant as possible.
For the sake of comparison, here's a picture of the original tablet: