We haven't seen the controller for the next Nintendo console. (Nintendo hasn't sent it over to us yet. Thanks for nothing, Miyamoto!) But we've been stitching together the snippets of info we're picking up from people who do know what the controller is like. So we just had to sketch it out.
Illustrator Sam Spratt took the details we've confirmed (and our direction after holding up iPhones and tablets to Wavebird controllers) and gave it three earnest tries:
(If you're new to the Wii 2 stuff, study up here. Basically, we're talking about a screen-based controller that will supplement a Nintendo console that also still supports Wii Remote-style motion controllers.)
The WiiPad: A number of our sources and those of some other gaming outlets keep referring to the Wii 2's controller as tablet-like, dazzling people with a nice big screen (6.2 inches, we've heard). We also nailed down that the system has two analogue sticks, eight buttons and a camera. So attempt number one here filters our details through an iPad-like design, mixing traditional game controller buttons with more Apple-style flat buttons. The screen would be dazzling in this configuration, but it would be hard to hold the controller in one hand while touching the screen with the other.
The PSPwii: Attempt number two is essentially a love-child of a Nintendo Wavebird controller and a PSP. We're resting the screen between traditional twin-stick controls and keeping the controller short enough to allow players to access as many as four shoulder button. For this one, we imagine the camera is outward-facing.
The Inverted Mushroom: The problem with our second sketch is that little child hands with their short child thumbs might not be able to reach much of the screen, so, for the sake of the children, consider sketch number three. We've turned the screen to a portrait orientation. That makes the controller skinnier, though now we're worried it might be top-heavy and wobbly, like a Nintendo 64 controller with a massive rumble pack bolted to it... or like a fishing pole laden with a big catch.
These are our guesses. The tablet-style unit seems the most likely, but it's all speculation no matter how you slice it.
We expect to know what the controller really looks like as soon as E3 in June or whenever Nintendo mails us one, or when the obligatory leaked photos make their way out of some factory somewhere, whichever happens first.
Illustrations by Sam Spratt. Check out Sam's official page for more great art.