The lights are on
Before we get to the bad news, let's get some positive details out there. Splinter Cell: Blacklist on the Wii U will include online multiplayer, and the DLC plans align with other platforms. In almost every way, the Wii U version of the game will be the same experience as on PC and other console platforms.
Now for the bad news. Splinter Cell: Blacklist will have an offline cooperative mode, but not on Wii U. According to an interview with Nintendo Life, the feature was abandoned in order to make sure that the Wii U edition wasn't delayed. However, the co-op missions can be played as single-player encounters so the story isn't lost to those unwilling or unable to go online.
The details come from Ubisoft Shanghai's producer on the title, Liu Jun. Ubisoft Toronto is handling primary development for other platforms. "In order to ship at the same time as the other consoles, we unfortunately weren’t able to delve into this feature," Jun said. "But we think Nintendo gamers will be really excited to get the game at the same time as other consoles."
The Gamepad will be used for strategic control, while also providing a handy chat mechanism for those that don't have (or don't want to use) a headset.
[Source: Nintendo Life]
Our TakeAs wonderful as the Gamepad can be for the user experience, it seems to be holding things back in this one little area for Splinter Cell: Blacklist. This also reminds of a host of questions that emerged when the Wii U was first revealed.
Will we ever be able to use two Gamepads? Will they ever be sold separately in North America? Have there been other features/modes have been excised in titles because of the trickiness of the different control schemes?
Nintendo has adeptly taken advantage of the control asymmetry in NintendoLand and Super Mario Bros. U, but it seems that symmetrical experiences are complicated (though not impossible, of course) by the Gamepad screen. The extra development around that was too much for Ubisoft Shanghai this time out. Here's hoping other studios have better luck navigating the Wii U's varied control options.