Over at Gamescom I got to sit down in a roundtable interview session with Kudo Tsunoda, general manager and creative director at Microsoft Game Studios. You might have caught the first part of that interview here.
If not, quick recap: he's one of the driving forces behind Microsoft's upcoming motion sensor, Kinect. That makes him an interesting chap to talk to.
Below we get into what third-party developers are bringing to the platform, what the future might hold for Kinect and the tricky issue of pricing...
You've mentioned Dance Central
a couple of times. How do you hope to see third parties approach Kinect?
So, I think it's great. We've got 15 titles that are coming out for launch. Four of them come from Microsoft Game Studios where I work, but 11 of them are coming from third-parties. I think really developers understand the potential of Kinect, and how creatively it just gives you more creative tools that get the vision in your head directly into a game.
And so, it's been awesome just seeing all the third-party developer support. It's super-fun for me, 'cause you work on this tool set that you give people, and seeing, like... when you first started being able to play games over Xbox Live - you would make a game, and there was a way that I played the game but then you go on Xbox Live and you see people playing it and you're like, 'Holy cow, there's people playing it in a totally different way than I would have imagined them playing it!' and I think that's the really fun thing - seeing all the third-party developers, a lot of great creative people in the industry, developing new Kinect ideas that I wouldn't have thought of.
But you can see now developers bringing together some really cool experiences and to see how people combine all the different creative tools we give them is super-exciting.
So, it's good to see the support, but I also like seeing that for the first time Kinect is getting a lot of people outside the videogame industry, creative people, wanting to come in and build things in this space because they can see really high-potential creative tools that they want to interact with. I think it's great we're getting a lot of industry people supporting Kinect, but it's also been just super exciting seeing people from a lot of different industries coming in and wanting to use the technology as well.
Is there a big name you'd like to see doing something with Kinect? Someone like Steven Spielberg or, Benicio Del Toro has said he's going to come and do videogames. Is there anyone in particular you'd like to see come in and do something with Kinect?
[Laughs] I wouldn't single out any one person in particular. I just think it's awesome the more brains you get in, the more creative people, the more variations and different types of experiences you're going to see. And that's the thing that I'm excited about - it's not just one person doing one thing, but getting lots of different people building a wide variety of experiences.
Have you seen a game with a good method of world navigation? Getting around in game worlds - it's not immediately obvious how you would do that, compared to an analogue stick.
So, have you played Kinect adventures? The new activity that they're showing called 'Space Hop'?
So, you're in like this zero-gravity environment, and it's super-awesome because you can just kind of like move your arms and you're floating around in zero-G and you can totally navigate through a zero-G environment both by walking around in the space and by using your arms for navigation, which I think is super-awesome. Plus...
[Looks conspirationally across at PR person sat on the other side of the room.]
You guys saw at E3 we had the Star Wars
demo? And that's a whole 3D world, like, navigation paradigm which I think is going to be super-awesome. Plus, we've got bunch of other games that are coming down the pipeline. We're obviously very focused on the Kinect launch right now, but we've seen some awesome games where you're just able to move around the world in a fully natural and fully intuitive way. The Star Wars
stuff you saw at E3 was just the tip of the iceberg with that and we've got a lot more of those kind of games coming.