Just How Last-Minute Was Nintendo’s Circle Pad Pro?

Just How Last-Minute Was Nintendo’s Circle Pad Pro?

Nintendo’s Circle Pad Pro attachment for the 3DS seemed, when it was first revealed, to be something of a panic move, made in response to the handheld’s then-poor sales and the positive reception received by the competing PlayStation Vita (much of which centred around its two wonderful thumbsticks).

But just how last-minute was the peripheral? Well, Nintendo’s own Masahiro Sakurai, director on Kid Icarus Uprising for the 3DS, has told Official Nintendo Magazine “I didn’t know the specs of the Circle Pad Pro, or what it looked like, until Monster Hunter 3G was announced, so we weren’t able to do anything big with it in the time we had.”

Monster Hunter 3G was announced in September 2011, and the attachment went on sale in Japan in December 2011. The 3DS itself only went on sale in Feb/Mar 2011.

If Sakurai is telling the truth (and the way he hedges why the Circle Pad Pro doesn’t really help Uprising’s controls suggests he is), shouldn’t he have been told? I mean, he’s one of the most senior developers at Nintendo, working on a game (with a 3D camera!) that would seem ideal for the peripheral. The fact he’s saying this seems insane.

Either Nintendo’s internal communications are woeful, or they threw this thing together real fast.

Kid Icarus Uprising works with Circle Pad Pro [ONM]


  • If I were Nintendo, and this piece of hardware was enough to secure Monster Hunter, I would have put something together real fast too.

  • The first thing I noticed when I got my hands on the 3DS was how awesome the thumbstick was. I couldn’t have been the only one, as I am sure there would have been someone at Nintendo thinking, ‘WE NEED TWO OF THESE AWESOME THUMBSTICKS!’

        • I must admit I was quite impressed with it. After using the PSPs thumb stick for many years, the circle pad feels like a dream. 🙂

      • I used my PSP probably 3x more than I used my DS and once I played with the 3DS circle pad I about flipped out over how much better it is.

        I think the thing is great… but in regards to the actual ‘add-on’ that gives it a 2nd one? All you really need to do is look at the thing to see that it was thrown together in a weekend.

    • Yeah it’s only a matter of time, I certainly would’nt but the half baked “beta” version with out the extra stick.But it’s gonna be a pain for developers having to make 2 different control schemes for games.

  • Is it at all possible to transfer profiles/games between 3ds consoles?

    If not – it’s gonna suck if they do release a 3DS with 2 sticks built in.

  • The plethora of quality free games that Nintendo has released for the handheld, coupled with 3D make this a great little handheld. Personally, I’m spoiled for choice with all the Zelda titles, and a second circlepad that ISN’T an add-on would really make this the perfect handheld in my humbled opinion.

      • Link’s Awakening DX, Minish Cap, Four Swords, Metroid Fusion, LoZ, Zelda II, SMB, Yoshi’s Island, Mario Kart, F-Zero, Kirby just to name a few.

        • Out of all the games you mentioned, to my knowledge only two of them (Links Awakening DX and Four Swords) are available to people who aren’t in the Ambassador club (bought the 3DS before the price drop) and with that in mind LADX isn’t exactly free. . . on top of this out of those you mentioned 6 of them Nintendo has indicated will never be available to those outside the Ambassadors Club.

          A lot of the examples you’ve given are free to a very particular group of people to which the ability to join has already closed. With that in mind Four Swords is a good game and a valid example, however from what I’ve played of it I can’t really say it is a true Zelda game in line with the rest of the series. . .

          • I would agree that “The Four Swords” may not fit into the series, as well it really the only Zelda that is multiplayer, what they have done with it is rather impressive as Zelda seems like such a single player experience.

            Returning to the subject of the article, it seems that 6 months between launch and announcing the peripheral, is not exactly sudden, I believe that like motion plus, the peripheral was probably planned all along, Nintendo probably just wanted to keep costs down, which brings my attention to the whole “developers will have to make two controls schemes” comment. It seems hardly likely that they will even bother when the peripheral (I really like the word today) is only a measly $20. A large KFC meal nowadays is nearly that price, so I really don’t think people are going to have an issue purchasing said attachment (ooh different word) for the system for the practical use it can provide.

            What I think will be an issue is the design of the attachment, that really needs to be worked on, as Ruen has mentioned in previous comments on the website, are there actually other colours for it to match different 3DS’s apart from the “Cosmos Black”. Also I guess it does decrease it portability, but in reality its a small adjustment for a small console at the moment, no need being frustrated for what is too come… The inevitable redesign including it, though you never know that may not happen people just might reject the attachment, and if that is the case, Nintendo is very unlikely to change the design.

  • Stupid that NIntendo didnt consider 2 analogue pads in the first place considering they were making a 3d handheld console. You’d think the extra analogue control would have been beneficial. The add on helps but looks ridiculous and ruins the portability of the unit. Thank goodness i havent bought one yet. If they remake the 3ds with 2 analogue pads built in might be worth a second look for me.

    IMO a portable gaming unit should fit in a pocket (even if its a tight fit) so you have the option to carry it that way and not required to use a bag to carry it. If you cant put it in your pocket and have to put the Unit in a bag then you might as well get a gaming laptop, after all you can carry one of those in a bag. Just my thoughts.

    • it’s not like nintendo didn’t consider dual analog, it’s more like they refused to listen to consumer needs (or saving it for 2nd revision of 3ds). Gamers have been complaining about PSP lacks 2nd analog, so there is no reason that nintendo is not aware of how much gamers want the 2nd analog.

  • My god. The trolls, who it must be said are mostly Benny, are really out in force.
    I can actually feel the virginity reeking from their mother’s basements.

  • a second thubstick on a handheld is mostly useless. for example, if i have my right hand thumb on a thubstick i can’t press any of the buttons like A,B,X or Y.

    consider a game like Gears of war 3 where using two joysticks simultaneously is required you have two left and right shoulder buttons you have access to. on both the 3DS and the PS Vita you only have one shoulder button and i really doubt a full FPS or 3rd person shooter is something i would play a lot of on a handheld.

    more games like Super Mario 3D Land is needed. i sometimes only have 10 minutes of travel time where i can whip out a handheld.

    • I think some of the PS Vita games are using the touch features on the back to try and solve this issue, it seems like a strange alternative to another shoulder button, have to try it out to see what it’s like I guess. I just hope I don’t drop the damn thing on the ground while I’m fumbling around for some crazy touchpad on the back.

  • I have gone a bit off topic, namely ambassador stuff that isn’t exactly available to everyone, and I apologise for any negativity. This article is about the CirclePad pro attachment and the timing of its release, not a redesigned 3DS console. Sorry for the mis-direction.

  • lol, the circle pad pro only makes the 3DS roughly as big as the PS Vita! So I wonder if the PS Vita is actually portable?

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