Product marketing manager Bill Trinen told 1UP that the peripheral will be made available to purchase separately in North America when software exists that supports two of them.
"The launch window is all going to be single-Gamepad. The dual-Gamepad functionality, we expect to start seeing that in games sometime next year," he said.
"Our feeling is, we're not going to sell another Gamepad if you don't have something to use it with. We'll make that available as an additional accessory when there's content to support it."
The Wii U Gamepad will be available to buy separately at launch in Japan, but co-op and multiplayer games using the WiiMote and Nunchuck will be available in all territories.
The Wii U launches on November 18 in North America and November 30 in Europe with a basic model and Premium bundle.
Image Gallery - view screenshots of Wii U day one launch titles below: