Nintendo has been working on the Wii U for many years, going through several prototypes and iterations before settling on the final hardware. One only has to look at the difference between the GamePad revealed at E3 2011 and the one at E3 2012 to see how the design improves over time.
Now Nintendo has revealed some of the early Wii U GamePad prototypes, and explained how they got to the current design. In the latest segment of “Iwata Asks”, where Satoru Iwata talks to developers and hardware designers, they brought in some of the early GamePad controller prototypes.
The GamePad was actually inspired by a Wii Zapper mod Nintendo made to experiment what would happen if they had another screen on the controller itself. And this in return inspired them to add the gyro sensor in the 3DS.
You can see how the second GamePad prototype looked on the first image above. It’s basically a screen with two Wiimotes stuck to it with double-sided tape. This prototype in return led to the creation of Nintendo Land. You can check out the full Iwata Asks here.