The new controller for the PlayStation 4 is bridging the gap between the old and the new. It’s still got the same basic button and control stick layout that Sony’s given their controllers since the days of the original Dual Shock pad. But it’s also got PlayStation Move motion-sensing technology built right into it, plus a front-facing touch-pad similar to what lines the back of the PlayStation Vita handheld.
So that’s why Quantic Dream, the developer behind Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls—both PlayStation exclusives—is so interested in figuring out how to take advantage of the new kind of controller interface. The studio’s chief operating officer, Guillaume de Fondaumiere, talked about Quantic Dream’s interest in the new controller at the Digital Dragons game conference in Poland:
“In the past we’ve made several propositions to Sony, who is the console manufacturer, to make sure that the controller is not a barrier to the experience for certain people who are not used to this controller.
On one hand, if you think of it, up until now at least, no-one’s invented a better interface than a game controller to enable [us] to interact [with] a huge variety of styles of games.
On the other hand, we see today the emergence of new interfaces such as the touchpad and you’ve seen that, for instance, on the new PlayStation 4 controller there’s going to be a touchpad-type of system so that you can interact through it. That’s very interesting and we’re looking forward to designing games that are adapted to a larger audience, but I can’t talk too much about it right now.”
The Eurogamer post from which du Fondaumiere’s comments are transcribed points out that Heavy Rain incorporated a lot of non-traditional controller mechanics, and that the developer even went back to add in PS Move support. The chances are good, then, that Quantic Dream will be one of the developers to watch when it comes to taking advantage of what the Dual Shock 4 will have on offer.
While touch-based controls aren’t always the most amazing thing ever, they have the potential to be pretty great when used well, as the mobile-gaming explosion would seem to prove. What are some of the things you’d like to see with regard to touchpad controls on console games?