I love the Wii U GamePad. It's a fantastic piece of kit in terms of build quality and comfort (let's forget the crippling battery life for a moment), with a screen that should allow developers to offer new features and radical usability improvements with context-sensitive icons. Unfortunately, very few games actually use it to any great effect beyond just being another regular controller.
However, an incoming Fatal Frame sequel could change all that.
Gematsu reports that the Project Zero/Fatal Frame continuation is currently in the works at Tecmo Koei, with direct oversight from Nintendo themselves. Survival horror buffs will already be champing at the bit, but in case you don't know, it involves playing as a young girl who's alone in a ghost-infested nightmare with only a magical camera to defend herself. In effect, you're forced to look at things you'd otherwise prefer to run screaming away from.
Spoiler alert: the original and its sequel were terrifying. 'Twas the depoiler of underpants.
It's always good to see new survival horror games and... erm, Wii U games... but in this case we're mainly excited because the Wii U is the perfect platform for a Fatal Frame sequel.
See, using the camera obsura is the main gameplay mechanic in Fatal Frame/Project Zero. You have to look through the viewfinder, move the camera around then use it to detect and attack ghosts from all angles, all while desperately attempting to maintain control of your sphincter. It works well enough on a controller, but the gyroscope-equipped GamePad and its screen should allow us to actually hold the camera ourselves, using it to keep enemies in frame in a more immersive way. Its speakers will let horrors from beyond the pale shriek at us in our living rooms, not behind the telly.
Oh, and the GamePad also has a front-facing camera. Which could suddenly show ghosts attacking us in the real world. Yeah. I'd love to see a Face Raiders-inspired 3DS version take full advantage of this.
We've seen games like ZombiU and The Wonderful 101 use the GamePad effectively, but so many developers completely overlook its potential to make games more convenient, even if they don't use if for sweeping new gameplay mechanics like Fatal Frame. Even Retro Studios couldn't find a use for it in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze! Hopefully more studios will experiment with it as more games break the mold and set a benchmark.
Though, hang on, this is Tecmo Koei we're talking about it here. Sorry everyone. Nothing to see here. They'll surely find some way to screw it up.
Fingers well and truly crossed, mind.