Kinect’s strong start, with the likes of the evergreen Dance Central and party favourite Kinect Sports, has waned somewhat since last year, with 2011 playing host to little more than a couple of bit parts and the odd fitness title. The technology’s there, for sure, but the software support isn’t, seemingly rushed out for a busy launch but that shiny black camera rack has been left collecting dust for a good few months now.[drop]Word is, though, is that that’s all about to change. Whilst no-one really knows everything that the console manufacturers have lined up for E3 next month, there’s certainly room enough for a few guesses and in Microsoft’s case it’s almost certainly going to be based on Kinect – getting the system back in people’s faces and, more importantly, showing the world that they’re fully behind it with some killer games. I mean, they have to, right?
So what do we know? Well, we know that there’s ten (or so) Kinect games lined up – that came from insider sources a few days back – and whilst we don’t know what those games are it’s safe enough to re-iterate that one of them will be based on Forza, apparently an open world title that will feature some element of Kinect control even if (we hope) the driving aspect still allows the use of a traditional control or wheel.
Kinect’s smart enough to work with head tracking and gestures without having to take over full control of the game – a Forza title which is enhanced with the tech rather than shoehorned in (like Joy Ride) could be really interesting, and the ‘open world’ concept should have legs away from the rather traditionally track-based genre. We’re thinking something like Test Drive Unlimited, all avatar’d up, which has real potential.
What else? Well, Kinect Sports 2 is almost a certainty, the first game was a blast and adding new events and tidying up the UI shouldn’t be too much of a stretch. Likewise, expect Dance Central 2 to play a major part in Kinect’s line-up this year, and again don’t expect to see that one on your PlayStation 3 – for a few months anyway – Microsoft are surely going to ensure that Harmonix keep at least some exclusivity.[drop2]There’s the unknowns, too – Kinect Fun Lab‘s one, there’s meant to be another Rare title, a Gears of War Kinect-based on-rails shooter and a roller coaster sim, along with a rack of Ubisoft titles that’ll include a new Rabbids game. Oh, and Kinect Googly Eyes, which sounds like it might be right up our street.
Of course, non-Kinect games will feature too – Gears of War 3 will play a major part, but in terms of games we know little about, Crimson Alliance and three games that all start with a Fusion: prefix are almost certainly going to be mentioned during the press conference. Expect Microsoft to talk up their introduction of Stereoscopic 3D, too, and everyone’s expecting to be blown away by a reveal of a remake of the original Halo and a rather more predictable update to Forza.
Hopefully there’ll be lots of games we can get our teeth into – the focus on Kinect might suit shareholders but Microsoft shouldn’t forget its core market, those that simply want to pick up a pad and play ‘core’ games. We’ll be there, at the conference, so expect something fancy from us and (possibly) lots of moaning about having to stand around in a poncho. Surely they won’t pull something like that again, right?
As for Sony and Nintendo? We’ll come to them shortly.