Native Controller Support Deep Dive

29 febbraio 2024

Ciao, avventuriero!

Controller support is coming to New World. Choose from two pre-set controller layouts to enhance your New World experience. As part of optimizing New World for controller play, we've introduced the following new features and settings with additional functionality (such as rebinding) coming soon. We also caught up with the Development Team for even more insight into all things controller.

Nuove funzionalità

  • Aim Assist

    • Assists with aiming ranged attacks.

    • Available only on a controller and exclusively against AI enemies (PvP aim assist will be reevaluated for future seasons).

  • Target Friction

    • Reduces reticle speed when hovering over a valid target.

    • Available only on a controller.

  • Enemy Target Lock

    • Enables you to lock the camera onto an AI enemy (PvP target lock will be reevaluated for future seasons).

    • Supported by both controller (move the right stick to switch between multiple targets) and Mouse and Keyboard keyboard (Middle Mouse Button and Mouse Wheel Up/Down) input methods.

  • Freeform Movement

    • Allows running in all directions, including towards the camera.

    • Holding Block/Aim will revert to normal strafe navigation.

    • Activating Target Lock will strafe around the locked target.

    • Defaulted to "on" only while using a controller input device.

    • In addition, backwards movement has been sped up in normal strafe navigation.

  • Use Camera Direction for Melee Attacks:

    • When off, allows melee attacks and blocking in the direction of your input/character facing instead of camera facing.

    • Defaults to "off" only with while using a Mouse and Keyboard input devices.

  • Improved Accessibility

    • New radial menu for quick access to commonly used functions like emotes, commands, and camping.

    • New Shift modifiers for quick access to all combat abilities.

    • UI Help Bars and shortcut buttons provide an improved user experience while navigating the UI with a controller.

Developer Interview

Impostazioni di gioco

Adding target lock makes for some great combat gameplay; dodging and circling around is very fluid, and moving between locked targets is easy with a flick of the right stick. We think players are going to enjoy figuring out new ways to approach combat when controller support is launched.


Controller provides a greater scope of quick actions via shortcut buttons, shift modifiers (combos), radial menus, etc. that you can’t apply easily with mouse and keyboard. We’ve also added a toggle option for “while holding” buttons, such as Block/Aim.

Development process

We started by setting the bar based on games we felt were gold standards for our genres — third person action gameplay, and a complex RPG UI. That’s where a lot of the big changes like a new camera/movement mode and target lock came from. Significant work went into streamlining both gameplay and the UI. New World wasn’t initially designed for controllers.

There was a LOT of work from figuring out how to fit all the functionality onto a gamepad (thus radial menus and shift modifiers), to condensing the UI, adding shortcut buttons to every interface, and so on. With the paper design done, it then came down to building the supporting tech (for new things like haptics tied to audio cues, cursor magnetism, etc.), redesigning and implementing the UI, and finally getting the feel of movement, combat, and menu navigation right. We’re still tuning that last part, along with future updates like button remapping.

Our team has many different types of players, so we went back and forth on how “hardcore” or complex to make controls. Some of the developers have played New World for years on Steam controllers. They hoped to support every range of custom input possible: double-taps, multiple modifiers, gyros and touchpads, multiple button combos, plus everything mixable and nestable (e.g. a two-button modifier on a two-button combo double-tap), some of which is a real nightmare for UI to dynamically display (we like to have the input prompts on-screen). Limited time and resources meant focusing on what the majority of our players prefer, but we’d love to allow that level of customization in the future!


There was the matter of transferring the MANY keyboard inputs of a complex MMORPG to a handful of controller buttons (and thus the radial menus, shortcut buttons, shift modifier, etc.). In addition, we had to make changes to the camera and visual cues for controllers to read and play better during combat. That said, we did find these changes actually transfer well back to Mouse and Keyboard.

We will launch with multiple preset button layouts but trying to find the best default was a challenge. Having more player data earlier would have helped drive these decisions. Haptics is considerably different across controller types, too, which we discovered late in the process.

It was a scary moment when we realized New World’s system for generating and controlling haptics — vibration is tied to game audio — would NOT work with DualSense controllers. Luckily, as the deadline loomed and we debated either delaying gamepad support (BOOOO!), or releasing with no haptics for PS5 controllers (also BOOOO!), a scrappy developer managed to find a workaround. Whew. Haptics turned out nicely on all gamepads. For future releases, we’d like to find ways to go even further with some of the more nuanced gamepad systems.

PvP Controller Balance

For the Season 5 controller launch, we will not allow target lock and aim assist in PvP due to balance concerns. This is something we will continue to evaluate and iterate on in future seasons. Ti preghiamo share your feedback in our Discord after you try it out. Grazie per il supporto. Ci vediamo su Aeternum!