EA's football developers may be ushering in a third era of Wii motion control game development — a better one.
Remember when Wii controls involved swinging your arms wildly or making gestures that could more easily be inputted with the press of a button?
The developers of the next Madden on Wii are trying to rein things back in and nail what has been eluding many developers for almost two and a half years: good Wii motion controls.
The latest re-thinking, or re-re-thinking was on display at an EA games showcase in New York a couple of weeks ago where a producer for Madden NFL 10 for Wii explained the new, calmer controls for this year's game.
Last year, Madden NFL 09 All-Play asked players to shove their hands left and right to juke and stiff-arm. They had to reel back with the Wii remote when throwing a pass and then flick their arm forward, as if throwing a football.
Those controls proved both too hard for some players to remember and too time-consuming for quick plays, a Madden producer told me at the event.
So this year's game, which drops the All-Play moniker and matches title with its big console brethren, will feature simpler but still Wii-specific controls:
* The development team is offering a "point-and-pass" option which lets players point the Wii remote at the spot where they want to pass the ball, press a button and make that pass.
* Tackling and escaping tackles will be accomplished by shaking the Wii remote. It's what players naturally do with their motion-controller when they are being tackled in the games anyway, the EA developer explained.
* The game will also let players use the Wii remote to draw routes for their players.
So maybe the development of motion controls will end up like the porridge Goldilocks liked to eat. Did those early Wii games have too little implementation of motion control? Did games like All-Play have too much? If so, here's hoping that Madden NFL 10 ushers in an age of game developers getting things just right.
Madden NFL 10 for Wii ships this August.