When rumors circulated that Nintendo would be showing off a new 3DS at E3, many assumed the upgrade would include a built-in second circle pad. E3 came and went without a mention of it – and barely a peep about the 3DS at all – with Shigeru Miyamoto even saying that a new 3DS seems unlikely. Then Nintendo surprised everyone last week by announcing what we all originally expected in some form, the 3DS XL. Unfortunately, the system will not include that extra circle pad, but fear not, fans of the add-on, Nintendo has you covered.
While the 3DS has enjoyed the Circle Pad Pro to enhance the controls of some games, the 3DS XL will also receive its own Circle Pad Pro to accompany the handheld. Giant Bomb has a picture of the contraption in all its hideous glory. No price or date has been announced for the addition, but for those who feared games like Kid Icarus: Uprising would lose the added control they can rest easy.
Even still, this announcement sounds like the completely wrong way to go. If Nintendo has any intention of supporting the Circle Pad Pro, why not add it in to the redesigned system? As the image above shows, there certainly looks to be space on the bottom half for the extra nub. Doing this from the launch would insure developers could more frequently design games that take advantage of the more expansive control scheme instead of having them worry that some players might not have access to the accessory.
The system will already be big enough, but throwing it on a 3DS XL will likely make the system too cumbersome to play comfortably. While that is conjecture at the moment, it certainly does not look like a thrilling way to play handheld games. And if the sad truth is Nintendo has no intention of giving much support to the addition, why even bother producing it at all for the few players who upgrade and only have one or two games that capitalize on the Circle Pad Pro. Either way, it is quite the strange decision, and would make me wary of actually purchasing the add-on, as rigorous support might never come to fruition.
It is a sad start to the press for the system, as recent reports have suggested it does in fact not only retain the visual fidelity of the first 3DS but improve the 3D effect. Though skeptical at first, those reports have me considering buying a 3DS XL instead of settling for a 3DS. But if I do, I likely won’t buy a peripheral that should be included from the start, and sends a mixed message to early adopters of the Circle Pad Pro.