Three Amazing Things You'll Do With Aliens: Colonial Marines on the Wii U

Illustration for article titled Three Amazing Things Youll Do With emAliens: Colonial Marines/em on the Wii U

Earlier this week we learned that Gearbox Software's Aliens: Colonial Marines is coming to the Wii U. Today the developer explained some of the really cool ways you'll be playing the game with Nintendo's tablet-like controller for their new console.

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The most important thing Randy Pitchford told us during our discussion about the Wii U version of the game with him today, is that the high-definition first-person shooter will be completely playable on the Wii U controller with the television off. That means you can play through the entire shooter on the tablet's screen while someone is watching television.

There are also a lot of very neat things players will be doing with that screen-touting controller as well in the game, Pitchford says.

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The device will, at times, become the game's motion tracker, a device in the fiction of the Alien universe that can track the location of enemies and friendlies by their motion. Pitchford explained that players may be asked to sweep their controller around them, looking for approaching enemies, which will show up as blips on the display of the controller.

The Wii U controller will also become a fully interactive map at times. In this mode, players will be able to play with a full map of the area much like we see Private William Hudson doing in the movie Aliens.

Finally, Pitchford said that players will use the display on the controller to play a mini-game used to hack doors in the game.

It was obvious that these were just some of the ideas that Gearbox have been playing around with for the implementation of the game on Nintendo's Wii U.

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"The Wii U is really bad ass," he said. "We have a lot of great ideas that we're already working on."

I asked Pitchford if we could expect to see his studio's game on the Playstation Vita or 3DS and he said that not as of now, but it sounded like the studio may still be playing around with the idea of bringing it to the Vita down the line.

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While Pitchford talked about the game as if it were an in-development title (he even mentioned that screen shots were set to be released soon), the game is officially still just a "prototype."

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DISCUSSION

If you're playing the entire game on the controller instead of the TV, then obviously the additional functionality of things you can do w/ the controller while you're also using the TV are not integral to game play.

Also, the idea that my motion-tracker and map in a First-Person shooter would not be located on a HUD that is constantly in my primary field of vision is mind-bogglingly foolish. In the time it takes to look down at the controller in my lap to figure out where the bad guys are, I will probably be dead because I wasn't watching the actual game.

Thanks to our brain's fantastic abilities for ambient processing, having additional useful game info that is in your field of vision allows you to make decisions and respond without requiring any real additional processing, that information is just there. Forcing the player to look somewhere else and actually focus on a secondary input removes all of the benefits of ambient processing.