While the Wii U made a splash with some of my co-hosts at last year's E3, I knew that what we had seen demonstrated was not nearly a final product. In fact, it was guaranteed that the hardware on display was possibly even pre-alpha, in that we never saw the console itself (and still have not). It all felt very Palm Pre debut, not ready for manufacturing yet. That said, this week some new photos were leaked of a possible release candidate for the new Wii U controller, and the alterations are pleasant.
One of the primary concerns we had was the analog sticks. The original handheld had the flat, rolling style, like can be found on the 3DS. On the 3DS it makes sense, as there is a cover that needs to close, and there s no other option. On this controller, however, it felt like it was done because they had them lying around, not because they are a good control. The new, altered controller has standard, mushroom-style analog sticks, which will make using them more pleasant.
For more on the changes and photos of both the original and leaked design, hit the break.
Another concern was the placement of some of the buttons. For example, the plus/start and minus/select buttons were originally found at the very bottom of the device, next to the Home button, but are now found right against the screen under the X/Y/A/B buttons on the right. Also, making the two sets of side-buttons more usable, the device is also a little wider, with more spacing between the outer rim and button sets. There are also 2 unlabeled buttons, one under the directional pad and one next to the power button, but these could just be developer programmable interfaces. We will probably not see them on the actual device.
Here are the devices. First, the original, shown off last year.
Here is the new developer device, which we will probably see in action next week.
Let us know what you think of the design changes in the comments below.