Publishers working hard on Project Natal games

by: Tina -
Besides its terrible name, Project Natal seems a step in an exciting direction. Consoles have been playing with this idea of motion sensing built into video gameplay (i.e. the Wii, and now the PS3 Eye games), but the Xbox 360 is making a bold step forward proclaiming an elimination of the controller altogether. If you haven’t already taken a look into the demos and preview at E3, I suggest do so immediately because this is one of those situations that you have to see to believe.

Xbox 360 is hosting a panel at the Tokyo Game Show featuring discussions of the new project between CAPCOM’s Keiki Inafune (Mega Man, Dead Rising), Sega’s Toshihiro Nagoshi (Super Monkey Ball), and of course Konami’s Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear Solid). They aren’t the only ones who are excited about the project; many other corporate representatives are at the edges of their seats waiting to see how this will transform the video game industry.

Microsoft gave us the sense of the excitement over Project Natal by citing the publishers that are currently working on new games for the system. These include some of the favorites: Activision Blizzard, Bethesda Softworks, CAPCOM, Disney Interactive, Electronic Arts, Konami, MTV Games, Namco Bandai, Sega, Square Enix, THQ Inc. and Ubisoft. Given the predominance of controls as a criterion in judging gameplay, it’s going to be interesting to see how these publishers are planning on incorporating it into their respective games. I was utterly disappointed by Nintendo’s Wii after the high hopes of getting to slash my enemies with realistic motions (Red Steel = flop), so I’m hoping Microsoft wont hype up my hopes just to crush them like Nintendo did. Sure, the idea is good, but we need good games that take advantage of said idea and its innovations.

All of that being said, I’m almost sure this will bring up more violent-video-game-controversy. Who else can see Hillary raising a hand in protest to the qualms of such an immersive experience? We might be forced to have to take the good with the bad on this one.

World’s top publishers pledge support for “Project Natal,” helping pioneer a new category of controller-free games and entertainment.



TOKYO — Sept. 24, 2009 — Xbox 360 today announced widespread enthusiasm from the world’s leading video-game publishers for “Project Natal,” a whole new way to play — no controller required. Developers across the globe have embraced the technology and have begun work on titles that will deliver extraordinary entertainment experiences for everyone to enjoy. Coming just three months after “Project Natal” was unveiled at E3, the announcements at the Tokyo Game Show underscore the swift industry support for the revolutionary controller-free experiences being developed exclusively for Xbox 360, the premier games and entertainment system.

Among the elite publishers actively working on games for “Project Natal” are Activision Blizzard, Bethesda Softworks, CAPCOM, Disney Interactive, Electronic Arts, Konami, MTV Games, Namco Bandai, Sega, Square Enix, THQ Inc. and Ubisoft. Together, these publishers account for more than 70 percent of third-party software sales for this generation of console and most of the world’s most recognized video game franchises.

“‘Project Natal’ gives the industry’s creators and storytellers the freedom to dream of new experiences and to tell stories never before possible,” said Don Mattrick, senior vice president for the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft Corp. “The support of these creative partners testifies to the excitement that ‘Project Natal’ is generating among the most innovative minds in the industry, and is proof that Xbox 360 not only offers the best games and entertainment today, but will lead with innovation and new ways to have fun in the future.”

Further details of publishers’ new “Project Natal”-inspired projects will be released at a later date.

Underscoring the widespread enthusiasm for “Project Natal” among the industry’s top creative forces, Xbox 360 is hosting a high-powered panel at the Tokyo Game Show featuring three acclaimed Japanese industry luminaries: CAPCOM’s Keiji Inafune, creator of “Mega Man” and “Dead Rising,” Sega’s Toshihiro Nagoshi, creator of “Super Monkey Ball,” and Konami’s Hideo Kojima, creator of the “Metal Gear Solid” series. The three developers will discuss the possibilities for the groundbreaking new experiences that can only be achieved with “Project Natal.”

Unveiled for the first time in June, “Project Natal” is a code name for a whole new way to play. Combining an RGB camera, depth sensor and multi-array microphone running proprietary software, “Project Natal” enables gamers to play in a natural and inviting new way, free from the boundaries of a controller through the use of sight, sound and motion.

Publishers, who received development kits from Microsoft in early June, used the opening of the Tokyo Game Show to voice their excitement about “Project Natal.”

“Microsoft ‘Project Natal’ could fundamentally change the way players experience sports games,” said EA Sports President Peter Moore. “At EA, some of our top development teams are experimenting with these tools with the goal of delivering a completely fresh take on genres like sports and racing.”

“Activision is encouraged by the innovation that Project Natal will bring to the industry and how it can transform consumers’ video games experience. We have development teams working on Project Natal development kits to explore the creative possibilities this new technology affords,” said Dusty Welch, senior vice president and head of Publishing at Activision/Blizzard.

“I strongly feel that ‘Project Natal’ will expand the possibilities of gaming. It’s yet another component that adds to the appeal of Xbox 360 and demonstrates to users the broad level of entertainment it provides,” said Keiji Inafune, managing corporate officer and head of Research & Development Management Group at CAPCOM. “Personally, I too am extremely excited about ‘Project Natal.’ It’s really going to stir up our creative spirits. I think it’s going to bring new ways to play and new surprises to Xbox 360 fans and help further the development of completely original content. ‘Project Natal’ is definitely something people should look out for.”

“Ubisoft sees enormous opportunities with ‘Project Natal.’ With the 3-D camera, your body can become the interface,” said Yves Guillemot, chief executive officer of Ubisoft. “Any barrier related to the use of pad controllers that may have existed for potential gamers is now abolished. Ubisoft is already taking advantage of this major evolution to design new types of gaming experiences and attract more people to play video games.”

In addition to the broad industry support, Microsoft Game Studios is busy at work creating a diverse slate of experiences that will appeal to a wide variety of entertainment interests.

“‘Project Natal’ is enabling our team of developers to create experiences we couldn’t have accomplished before,” said Phil Spencer, corporate vice president, Microsoft Game Studios. “Microsoft Game Studios will help lead the way in bringing ‘Project Natal’ to life.”

While laying the foundation for tomorrow with “Project Natal,” Xbox 360 remains the premier device for home entertainment today. Hot new titles for Xbox LIVE Arcade were also unveiled at the Tokyo Game Show, including “Toy Soldiers,” “Snoopy Flying Ace,” “Bomberman Live: Battlefest” and “RayStormHD,” positioning Xbox LIVE Arcade as the premier destination to enjoy the most innovative downloadable games.

Xbox 360 is also set to deliver the best new gaming, entertainment and social experiences for consumers this fall. Not only is Xbox 360 home to the most-anticipated exclusive games such as “Halo 3: ODST,” “Forza Motorsport 3,” “Left 4 Dead 2,” and new content from Rockstar Games including the Xbox retail exclusive “Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City” featuring “The Ballad of Gay Tony,” which will also be available for download over Xbox LIVE, it will also be the only place to watch instant-on HD in 1080p1 with Zune video, and listen to personalized streaming radio right in the living room with Last.fm on Xbox LIVE. And with new social experiences custom-made for the television, Xbox LIVE continues to offer the most ways of any console to connect and share with friends and family on Facebook, and post tweets on Twitter.
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