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One of the challenges of bringing first-person shooters to console is getting the controls right. While the ubiquitous twin stick control scheme has partly solved those issues, Blizzard has found a better alternative for the Overwatch Switch port thanks to its gyro-aim feature.
In a recent interview with Vooks, producer Wes Yanagi mentioned how the Switch port of Overwatch would use the gyro-aim feature in conjunction with the traditional twin stick control scheme. This covers both the Switch Pro Controller, as well as the default Joy-Cons.
For the Pro Controller, Yanagi mentioned that players could use gyro-aim to “give a little nudge to your aim and help line-up shots.” However, its implementation with the Joy-Cons seems more exciting. Players can instead detach a Joy-Con and then use it “like a laser pointer,” pointing it directly at the screen.
“Gyro-aiming is legit,” claimed Yanagi. “Spend two hours learning it, and you may not be able to play without it.” As part of this, he also stated that one of their designers “plays this way and dominates.”
Interestingly enough, it seems that Blizzard was actually skeptical about using gyro-aiming at first. Yanagi confirmed that it was Nintendo who encouraged the team to use it. He then admits that the feature eventually “really grew on [them]” over time. Additionally, he also credited working with Iron Galaxy as making the task of implementing the controls even easier. These controls are included in the game’s slew of exhaustive Switch-exclusive control options, which let players tweak sensitivity of the gyro-aiming as well as being able to disable the stick when using tilting the console around.
Although it is unclear if the Switch Lite would be able to have this feature or not. Even though you can use external Joy-Cons with it, the handheld-only system does not have an IR sensor. It all depends on how Blizzard is achieving the laser pointer aiming so if it does use the IR sensor, Lite owners may be out of luck.
The use of the Joy-Con as a pointer is a pretty novel feature that calls back to the the days of the original Wii and games like Metroid Prime 3 and Resident Evil 4. Interestingly enough, it’s a feature that some other shooters on the system don’t seem to use. The port of the Doom reboot, for example, only uses gyro-aiming for fine-tuning the aim while on twin sticks. With a big game such as Overwatch taking advantage of gyro-aiming with the Joy-Con, maybe more developers will finally follow Blizzard and Iron Galaxy’s lead and implement it as well.