Why do videogame developers not allow players to remap their controller?
December 22, 2010 1:14 PM Subscribe
Help me to understand a prevalent console-based video game UI design decision : Why do so few developers allow the player to freely remap buttons on their controller?
posted by radiosilents to Technology (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm speaking specifically of actions performed in-game and tied to specific buttons ("hit X to jump", for example), often referred to as the "control scheme".
Often developers will include a handful of different control schemes to choose from, wherein the same handful of functions is performed but the buttons used to perform these actions changes (from the previous example, a second control scheme might swap the jump button from X to Y). The primary reason for this seems to be to allow players with different playing styles a control scheme that will fit into their natural tendencies/expectations, to enable them to pick up the game and play it with a minimum of "learning" how to control the game.
On rare occassions, developers will allow a player to manually assign each possible action to whichever button the player would like it to be triggered by. I would like to know why this isn't more common, from a game designer's point of view. What are the primary reasons one decides not to include this functionality?
This ability is present in some games where the developer has offered a set of preconfigured control schemes as well, so that pick-up-and-play gamers can just choose one and go if they prefer. This seems like the best possible outcome.
(I recognize that development is a complicated process and that little features hit the cutting room floor, as it were, constantly throughout the process, but the impression I have is that this is a minor piece of functionality that wouldn't noticably impact the time spent in development. Is this correct?)