LAS VEGAS--Nintendo held a few behind-closed-door meetings with an up-close and personal demo of the Wii U at CES 2012.
While the vast majority of demos and presentations were mostly stuff I had heard before, I was able to put together what playing a Zelda game on the Wii U might look and play like.
I had seen this quick Zelda on Wii U teaser video before, but through some generous imagination, I was able to carefully piece together how it could potentially work.
The Wii U's tablet controller's screen is very impressive, and would be the perfect platform for something like item management and selection. Nintendo suggested that such a setup would allow for a HUD-less TV experience, which would certainly be a nice change of pace compared with what overcrowded Zelda games have historically featured. In this scenario, all of Link's health, rupees, and items could be displayed on the tablet instead of on the screen.
During my hands-on time with the quick Zelda teaser, it became very easy to imagine being able to just quickly glance down at the tablet screen and observe the map or equip a different weapon. It might seem trivial, but the streamlining of these game features really came through in brief moments of clarity during the demo. I can safely say that controlling a Zelda game via the tablet controller does appear to be a superior experience over the current iteration.
I was really hoping for Nintendo to share more about the Wii U, but unfortunately CES 2012 was not the venue for such information. We still don't have an official price or even a release date (though we've confirmed it will launch before the end of 2012), and Nintendo also refused to confirm that the design of the console and tablet controller are all finalized.
E3 2012 will be the Wii U's time to shine, but unfortunately we'll have to wait until June. Be sure to check out our video First Look covering most of what know about the Wii U, and keep it tuned to CNET for the latest leading up to E3 2012.