One of the centerpieces of last month's Microsoft E3 press event was Project Natal, the long-rumored motion sensing peripheral for the Xbox 360. Speaking with GameSpot, Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft Games Studios, revealed that two major shooter developers, Bungie Studios and Epic Games, were already playing around with Natal technology--which requires no controller to use.
The prospect of playing a 360 shooter without any buttons, pads, or thumbsticks--all of which are heavily used in the genre--was greeted with more than a little skepticism. This sentiment is apparently shared by Epic design director Cliff Bleszinski, who told British magazine Develop that his studio will probably not be jumping on the motion-sensing bandwagon anytime soon.
"Y'know, we'll take a look at Natal--no promises--but it's likely that the classic control interface is what Epic will be working on in the foreseeable future," promised Bleszinski. He then added, "But I think there's ways that you could merge the two interfaces and supplement a classic game with Natal controls to make something compelling."
Bleszinski went on to express his feeling that he thinks the shooter genre should evolve by adopting elements from role-playing games. "I had a conversation with Harvey Smith--one of the lead designers on [the action RPG] Deus Ex--and said to him the future of shooters is RPGs," the designer told Develop. "He said he completely agreed."
Bleszinski went on to praise another recent action-shooter hybrid, BioShock, and to call out another one coming out this year. "Randy Pitchford at Gearbox is an absolutely brilliant designer and business man, and I think Borderlands is not getting as much hype as it should because it really looks like a more accessible, shootery version of Fallout," he declared.