But­ton fash­ion


We of­ten won­der how much thought goes into but­ton lay­outs. Not in terms of com­fort, you un­der­stand, or suit­abil­ity to the task at hand – that much is ob­vi­ous. Rather, it’s about the mes­sage they can send.

When Bungie mod­elled Des­tiny’s con­trol sys­tem not on that of its own Halo but on Call Of Duty’s, it felt in­struc­tive. This was a game de­signed to ap­peal to fans of the big­gest-sell­ing shooter on the mar­ket, that had de­signs on claim­ing that ti­tle as its own. It may not quite have worked, but it had noth­ing to do with which but­ton you hit to reload. This month’s Play crop has us think­ing once again about the hid­den mes­sages be­hind the hum­ble but­ton con­fig.

Take, for in­stance, The Leg­end Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild (p104), the first of Link’s ad­ven­tures to be set in a truly open world. Is it co­in­ci­dence, then, that its con­trol sys­tem shares an un­usual map­ping for jump – X, the up­per­most face but­ton – with an­other open-air clas­sic, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim? Know­ing Nin­tendo, yes, it prob­a­bly is, since the house of Mario has never given the im­pres­sion that it cares too much about games made out­side of its own hal­lowed walls. Yet these ti­tles share so much com­mon ground in gen­eral that a sin­gle but­ton map­ping feels al­most like a trib­ute.

But­tons can also have the op­po­site ef­fect. To put it po­litely, Team Ninja’s Nioh (p112) draws no lit­tle in­spi­ra­tion from

Dark Souls and Blood­borne. Yet it’s equally a game in­spired by its stu­dio’s own past, es­pe­cially the thrilling ac­tion of Tomonobu Ita­gaki’s Ninja Gaiden games. It’s that se­ries on which Nioh’s con­trol sys­tem has been mod­elled. Light and heavy at­tacks are on the face but­tons, not the shoul­ders, the game sub­tly telling you from the off this is no mere Souls ripoff. Un­less you head into the menus and select Con­trol Type B, that is. In that case, our ar­gu­ment rather falls apart.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.