Donkey Kong Country ignores the GamePad screen during regular play

It's just blank. A sign of things to come?

Nintendo's next big Wii U game Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze lacks any kind of GamePad functionality when playing the game on your TV.

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The title still supports Off-TV play, allowing you to move the image onto the GamePad for portable play. But, under regular play conditions, the GamePad screen will simply go black.

The ommission of any in-game use for the GamePad was first spotted by Nintendo World Report, but has been independently verified by Eurogamer.

Few Wii U games require the GamePad for specific controls, and recent tentpole release Super Mario 3D World only utilised its features in a handful of select levels. Many other titles can be played using only the traditional Pro Controller, or even just a Wii Remote (such as Pikmin 3, Wonderful 101, or Zelda: Wind Waker).

Mario Kart 8, the next major Wii U title after Donkey Kong, displays a map on the GamePad screen. Pressing it will let you sound your horn.

Justifying the GamePad has always been an uphill battle for Nintendo. The concept has failed to capture consumer attention in the way that motion controls did for Wii - and this has been reflected in the system's comparatively uninspiring sales.

Wii U is already being sold at a loss in Europe and North America - a factor preventing further price cuts, Nintendo reiterated in today's latest round of financial briefings. Perhaps the company might consider a version of the console sans GamePad to ensure a cheaper price point, similar to how the 3DS' stereoscopic 3D was removed for the 2DS.

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