Sports Champions GDC 2010 PreviewBy Patrick Klepek - Posted Mar 11, 2010
What We Know: Sports Champions is a compilation of various activities designed to take full advantage of the PlayStation move motion controller, including archery, gladiatorial fighting, and table tennis. You can see more of the game in action by heading over to our photo gallery.
What We Saw: Sony was pitching their version of Wii Sports at their Game Developers Conference media briefing and it's a collection of mini-games called Sports Champions. Like many of the PlayStation Move games shown today, however, that's not necessarily the game's final name.
There was quite a crowd surrounding all the PlayStation Motion kiosks, but I managed to spend some time with the gladiator fighting portion of Sports Champions, which looked and felt like a hardcore version of the swordplay mini-game featured in its closest competitor, Wii Sports Resort. Like Motion Fighters, Sports Champions emphasized what's possible when developers design games with the option to have player's utilize two PlayStation Move controllers at once. The controller in the left hand moves the shield, while the right controls the weapon of choice.
Since your hands are busy manipulating the direction of the sword and shield, Sports Champions takes a cue from Nintendo's design book and does not allow the player to dictate movement of the character. You can influence what happens by jumping around and blocking, but ultimately, movement is removed to allow for a needed focus on the hand movements. There was an option in the demo that indicated Sports Champions would be fully playable with only a single PlayStation Move controller, but it's unclear how that would change the gameplay. Logic dictates, however, that in order to have the "full" experience, you'd need to purchase four PlayStation Move controllers, and while the finalized prices for the individual controllers hasn't been announced yet, it's not sounding like it's going to end up being a cheap proposition.
Like pretty much everything at Sony's PlayStation move event, Sports Collection was tagged as very early in development -- and it showed. The interface looked far from done and, again, like many of the other demos, it seems like most of the development time so far had been spent getting the core gameplay implemented, while the rest of the time's spend on everything else.
Sports Champions will most likely be a much different experience when it's shown again at E3 (where it might even be under a different name), but for now, it reinforced what seems to be Sony's message with PlayStation Move so far: if Nintendo doesn't want to do Wii HD, we will.