How Wii Balance Board Works With Ubisoft’s ‘Shaun White Snowboarding,’ Device Counts As Two Controllers

Nintendo’s “Wii Fit” gives gamers a chance to turn the Wii Balance Board sideways and treat it like a snowboard, but it’s publisher Ubisoft that is backing the first game that makes such a feature its focus.

I was given a demo of the Wii version of “Shaun White Snowboarding” at a Ubisoft event in San Francisco, one of the first games I’ve seen controlled by the Balance Board.

If a player used the Wii Balance Board, they stand on the board as they would a snowboard and then lean toward the TV to go faster, lean back to brake, and tip their weight to their toes and heels to turn and carve. From what I saw, tricks could be activated with a spring of the legs, and bigger tricks could be triggered with a hula dance shake of the body.

Having seen other gamers snowboard in “Wii Fit,” and having had the chance to ski with in myself in “We Ski,” I’m intrigued by the potential of “Shaun White.”

While getting a demo, I asked a Ubisoft representative about multiplayer using multiple Balance Boards. She said that the game would support four player matches using four Wii remotes or three player matches using one board and two Wii remotes. Why that breakdown? I was told that the Wii reads the Balance Board as two controllers, leaving only two slots empty for extra controllers. And there go my dreams of four people flailing on Balance Boards at the same time.

The Wii version of ’Shaun White’ is being developed separately from the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC versions. All versions are slated for a Holiday 2008 release.