Terminal Reality Already Working On Project Natal Game

Microsoft has been cagey about a release date -- or even a release year -- for their entry into the motion gaming space, Project Natal. A leaked CES 2010 promotional interview with Robbie Bach, Microsoft's head of entertainment and devices, appears to have spoiled that surprise: Natal is coming holiday 2010.

Okay, sure, no one is shocked, but it's something.

The leaked video has since been ripped down in anticipation of Microsoft's annual CES keynote. It's expected the video, and by extension Project Natal, will be part of the keynote tonight.

"I think [Natal] is going to revolutionize how people think about the gaming business and actually turn it into an interactive entertainment business," said Bach. "I think we're finally going to get there where people can break the mold of gaming and get to real entertainment."

We'll find out more later tonight. The keynote kicks off at 6:30 p.m. PST.

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Terminal Reality Already Working On Project Natal Game

In addition to the "Milo" demo from E3 earlier this year, we know Lionhead Studios will be developing Fable III to incorporate Project Natal. Specifics aren't known (as is the case for much of Project Natal), but it will support the device. It turns out Lionhead is so encouraged by Project Natal all of its upcoming projects will support it, based on a job posting discovered by Total Video Games.

"Reporting to the Head of Technology, the role involves working within Lionhead's Central Technology Group R&D team to develop innovative technology for the XBox 360 Natal controller," reads the description for a "senior Natal technology programmer" position. "Our Natal tech will be used across all Lionhead projects to provide new user interface experiences for our future games.

There's a key word in there. All. But, of course, that doesn't mean Project Natal will become the centerpiece for all of Lionhead games, only that Lionhead intends to implement elements of Project Natal into everything going forward. There will be games that require Project Natal but likely many that make it optional. Until we know more about Lionhead's plans, it's unclear where they will draw the line.

Source: Total Video Games

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UbisoftDuring a recent conference call, Ubisoft's CEO Yves Guillemot revealed that his company is planning to release ten games for Microsoft's Project Natal motion control system and four to five games for Sony's as-yet-unnamed motion control system.

"We have about ten games that will come for Natal during the first six months of the launch of Natal, and we expect between four to five games for the new controller from Sony," Guillemot sad. "That's the picture at the moment, it can change in the next twelve months."

Given the wide variety of Ubisoft's releases -- it puts out the "Imagine" series, tons of family-style games as well as the core-games you and I are interested in -- it seems to me that motion control could be used mainly in multi-player and casual markets. At least, that's where I think it works best!

I've been playing/obsessed-with Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed 2 lately, and if I try to imagine playing it with a motion controller I get terrible headaches -- Do. Not. Want. But I could see Natal and Sony's thing being used to provide ancillary content to AAA, "core" games like AC 2. Maybe those art-related puzzles could incorporate the M'Soft camera system or something.

What do you think about the use of motion control in more in-depth titles?

Source: Joystiq

PaRapp The Rapper Creator Sees Musical Potential For Project Natal

Outside of touting developer support and a handful of new demos, Microsoft has kept tight lipped about what's happening with Project Natal. The motion add-on is widely rumored to be launching next fall but details remain scarce. It looks like we'll get a few more tidbits soon, however, as Edge noticed two Natal-centric sessions at Microsoft's annual Seattle-based Gamefest conference in February.

Complete descriptions of each session are below:

Read More »

Rumors About A New Xbox 360 Have Been Refuted And RevisedLast week, Stephen “Retractions are for losers” Johnson told you about supposed launch details being leaked about Microsoft’s motion-control technology Project Natal. Well, during an event last night in London for the latest Xbox 360 update, Xbox UK head Neil Thompson told GamesIndustry.biz that those leaks "weren’t accurate, they were rumors."

Thompson went on to say that Microsoft is "still very much in the baking on Natal and there’s a lot of things to get decided on it." Well, that certainly puts a lot of questions to rest, namely, "What’s the strangest way to incorporate baking into a discussion about the development of a motion-control technology?"

While it pains me to agree with Stephen "Making it hard to agree with me since 1986" Johnson, the $80 price point, 5 million units available on release date and 14 launch titles wouldn’t be that surprising in the least. That’s why Thompson’s comments strike me as a typical diversionary tactic to keep the peace until an official announcement is made, which we probably shouldn't expect for at least a few more months.

Source: GamesIndustry.biz


Rumors About A New Xbox 360 Have Been Refuted And RevisedMicrosoft’s hands-free motion-control technology Project Natal was named the fifth best invention of 2009 by Time Magazine. As always the list is filled with fascinating and “Whoa!”-inducing selections, but what’s more interesting than Natal taking the number five spot is that it beat out the teleportation of data between atoms, a telescope that can see previously invisible stars, and the first immunization that protects against HIV infection.

Considering all we’ve really seen from Natal at this point, is that it lets you have a creepy relationship with a virtual boy and can be used to flail around while rubber balls bounce off your avatar, including Natal so high on the list, and ahead of some truly inspiring inventions, seems a bit premature in my opinion. That is of course unless Natal ends up curing AIDS some day, in which case I will retract this opinion posthaste.

What do you think of Project Natal’s inclusion on Time’s list? Am I wrong in thinking that it was ranked a bit too high?

Source: Time

Project Natal

Some early details on Microsoft's controllerless control system Project Natal have leaked out of a behind-closed-doors Microsoft tour of English publishers and studios. Here's the word:

  • A sub $80 price-point. The idea is to get it as close to "impulse buy" territory as possible.
  • 5m units shipped for release date.
  • 14 games are planned for launch -- most will be first-party games from Microsoft-owned developers like Rare. Third-party games will come later.

These details are not confirmed, but they seem pretty reasonable to me, especially the price-point. While there's not much monetary difference between 80 bucks and 100 bucks, there's a huge psychological hurdle there. For instance, $80 seems like a reasonable amount to pay for a couple to have a nice dinner, but once you get to hundred it's like, "This place is a rip-off!"

Five million units shipping at launch seems logical (if a bit optimistic) as well. The question raised by this whole Natal thing (and PlayStation's motion-controller too) is: Have both of these companies entirely mis-judged their market? There's a chance -- I'm not sure how big of a chance -- that people just don't want to be jumping around and moving a lot when gaming.

Everyone has tried the Wii, and it's a lot of fun in a group, no doubt, but if you've ever tried to play a longer, solo game with the Wiimote, you have probably reached the point where the novelty of wagging the stick around gives way to boredom, and then frustration. Motion control works best with social gaming, let's face it, but I spend about 90 percent of my gaming time solo.

This is a big gamble for Microsoft and Sony; they could be be betting a lot of dough on a played-out fad.

What do you think of Natal? Are you going to rush out and pick one up on launch day, or wait for the reviews to come in?

Source: MCVUK

Developer Rare Helping Develop Project NatalBuried near the bottom of an interesting article on the history of the first-person shooter comes an interesting look into the genre's future from Rare’s Mark Betteridge. When asked how Microsoft's Project Natal and Sony's motion control system, Betteridge said,

"Right now our sights are trained on Natal, which is a great opportunity to break new ground with content and gameplay, It’s also an opportunity to exercise some genre evolution, so hopefully we’ll be able to develop something on that front.”

It shouldn't exactly shock anyone that Rare would like to work on a Natal game (after all, it's owned by Microsoft) but hopefully, if Rare does develop a Natal-based shooter, it will rise to the standards set by games like GoldenEye and the Perfect Dark games. In


Fable III Officially Announced, Fable II Goes Episodic Sept. 29

At a BAFTA event last night, Fable creator Peter Molyneux apparently dropped word that Fable III would feature support for Microsoft's Project Natal, the upcoming control system that doesn't use a controller.

Although not exactly a surprise (there were rumors of Natal support floating around for weeks), Molyneux's remarks set it in stone. We're not sure how the system will be used in Fable III, but based on Molyneux's innovations in "relationship gaming" in Fable and Fable II, I can only assume this game will make you smile at villagers... maybe literally!

Natal isn't the only new feature Molyneux teased. Fable III will also feature in-game shops to purchase DLC without interrupting your game.

How do you think Natal can be used in Fable games?


Michal Pachter: Project Natal To Cost $50, Sony's Motion Controller To Cost Around $100Industry analyst and go-to guy for all things game prediction-related, Michael Pachter, recently spoke with Industry Gamers about Microsoft and Sony’s pricing strategies for the two companies’ respective motion-control technologies being released next year.

For Microsoft’s Project Natal, Pachter believes the price will most likely come in around $50 since “it only really involves a camera (a three-lensed camera, but a camera nonetheless).” I guess that’s true, but I just can’t see Microsoft offering a “revolutionary” gaming technology for the same price as a wireless Xbox 360 controller. Natal is supposed to fundamentally change the way people play and perceive video games, and I’m sure the camera itself won’t be cheap to manufacture either (If Microsoft is smart, they won’t let that little green light on the front ever display the color red). Pachter has been known to be less than accurate in the past, so I’m going to disagree with him here, and say that Natal will end up costing around $2,400, give or take $2,300.

In terms of Sony, Pachter says that, because its technology (aka "Sphere" as it's rumored to be called) requires a camera and two Wiimote-ish wand controllers, Sony will most likely end up going with a price of no more than $100. Again, this doesn't sound unreasonable, but given Sony’s penchant for consistently having higher-end price points, and the fact that a Wiimote with Wii MotionPlus (which is supposedly not as sophisticated as Sony’s wand) costs around $70, I wouldn’t be surprised if Sony ended up charging a bit more than $100 for its motion-control camera/controllers bundle.

Again, I’m not a professional analyst by any means (thank you Delaware’s twisted judicial system!), so please feel free to disagree and to offer your own predictions. There aren't any right answers at this point, so you can’t be wrong. Fun, huh? So what do you think the price points will/should be for Natal and Sony’s motion wand thingie?


Gears of War 2: Dark Corners Screenshot

There will be plenty of headlines today saying Epic Games VP Mark Rein declared all future Epic Games releases will include some level of support for Microsoft's upcoming Project Natal. Rein either misspoke or became too excited in an interview with the UK's Official Xbox Magazine, however, as Epic's business guy released a much more tempered statement to me.

The confusion stems from Rein's comments to OXM where he wavered back and forth between talking about Natal support in future Epic Games-developed products (of which none have so far been announced) and simply being part of the standard developer tools for Unreal Engine 3.

"I think any future Xbox games we make will have some Natal support," he told the publication. "We always want to have something that exploits the unique capabilities of a platform."

Rein backed off from confirming a mandate for future Epic Games (such as a hypothetical Gears of War 3) releases to include Natal features when I contacted him this morning, however.

"At this point I'm only speaking for the engine," he said to me over e-mail. "I was speculating on the kind of things I, as a gamer, could see implemented in Natal for shooter-style games. Sorry if there was any confusion there."


Fable III May Use Natal Motion Controller

Peter Molyneux is something of a gaming visionary, so it comes as no surprise that he might be toying with the idea to include Microsoft's new Project Natal motion control peripheral in the next installment of the Fable franchise. Of course, being the shrewd businessman that he is, Molyneux made sure it was very clear that this is not confirmed as of yet. Speaking to Game Kings, Molyneux clarified...

"I am going to say it's going to use a controller, but I never said it's not going to use Natal...Let me get this absolutely straight: I have not said that we're not going to have Natal in Fable 3. All I have really said is that it is a controller experience but that doesn't mean that there isn't going to be Natal in it..."

However, Molyneux couldn't resist tossing out a cheeky side comment hinting at the possibility.

Read More »

X-Play host Morgan Webb caught up with Microsoft's Kudo Tsunoda and got some info on upcoming controller-less control system Project Natal. Webb also got to try it out: Lucky!

According to Tsunoda, the biggest game publishers out there are on board with Natal. "Konami, Square Enix, Capcom, Namco Bandai, Ubisotf, Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts; That covers pretty much 70 percent of all third-party Xbox sales, so as you can see, the people making the best games are all making Project Natal products," Tsunoda said.

I was already completely looking forward to adding this to my system, (if only for the party games); but after watching Morgan try it out, I'm even more psyched. It looks like a lot of fun.


Morgan Webb Demos Project Natal with Kudo Tsunoda at TGS 09 »

Project Natal

Microsoft has rolled out a number of demos showing how Project Natal can work with existing Xbox 360 games -- Burnout Paradise, Beautiful Katamari -- but the company dashed hopes of Project Natal-enabling patches once the hardware is released. Kudo Tsunoda, otherwise known as the man who demo'd Project Natal at E3, told Destructoid this would be difficult.

According to Tsunoda, it's required substantial coding efforts on Microsoft's part to reengineer these games for Project Natal. A simple patch (as patches have size limits) would not likely be enough for games to suddenly start incorporating Project Natal controls. Already released Xbox 360 games with Project Natal support aren't out of the question, but it's more likely those will come in the form of outright re-releases, rather than downloadable updates.

Maybe there won't be a bunch of patches for existing Xbox 360 games, but is there any reason Microsoft and third-party publishers couldn't release some of the better retrofits as downloable demos included with Project Natal or through Xbox Live? You can have that idea for free, Microsoft.


You'll remember Project Natal from E3 2009, as the new Microsoft game experience that will allow you to use motion control without any sort of controllers. Since then, it seems that there has been a lot of development with Project Natal, as is evidenced in these videos from the TGS 2009 Microsoft Project Natal presentation, wherein they discuss using Natal to make games, and the freedom it represents.

First up, Yozo Sakagami from Namco Bandai.

Namco Bandai's Yozo Sakagami Talks Project Natal At TGS 2009 »

Read More »


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