Natal to have dynamic 'play spaces,' but no patchable support

Kudo Tsunoda says forthcoming motion-sensing technology will use infrared light to custom-size in-game areas--but is too complex to add to existing games via software updates.

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At last week's Tokyo Game Show, Microsoft Game Studios' Kudo Tsunoda revealed a few new details about Project Natal. As part of another dodgeball-like "Ricochet" tech demo, the creative director revealed that the Xbox 360 motion-sensing technology's camera sees only the infrared spectrum. That allows Natal to work in all lighting conditions and to adjust the in-game playing area to fit players' game dens.

"We can configure the play space around your living room," explained Tsunoda. "Let's say you had sofas that were squeezing in this way, we can automatically move the walls of the [Ricochet] court in. If you don't have a wall that goes back that far, they can move the wall up. So we can totally customize the play area to the dimensions of your personal play area."

Tsunoda also explained that Natal's multiparty microphone could distinguish individual voices from multiple players in the same room.

Although Natal-ized versions of Burnout Paradise and Beautiful Katamari were on hand at TGS, Tsunoda said existing games couldn't be updated to support the technology. He told game blog Destructoid that the motion-sensing technology would require code changes more extensive than any software patch could provide. Existing 360 titles could conceivably be rereleased with Natal support, much like Nintendo's New Play Control! program rereleased GameCube titles such as Pikmin to work with the Wii's motion controls.

Microsoft pulled out all the stops to promote Project Natal at TGS 2009. Besides Tsunoda's demonstration, the company trotted out three of Japan's most respected game developers to talk about their enthusiasm for Natal: Sega's Toshihiro Nagoshi (Super Monkey Ball), Capcom's Keiji Inafune (Dead Rising 2), and Konami's Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear Solid Rising).

In addition, Microsoft revealed which publishers are "actively working" on games using Project Natal, which will go on sale sometime next year. They include Activision Blizzard, Bethesda, Capcom, Disney, Electronic Arts, Konami, MTV Games, Namco Bandai, Sega, Square Enix, THQ, and Ubisoft.

Discussion

143 comments
dannelly23
dannelly23

so there talking about that they couldnt fit into other games like call of duty

shawn_mitchel
shawn_mitchel

Tom Cruise will not be the only one controlling images/infomations on screens with hand gestures as in the movie- Minority Report.

okassar
okassar

Kudo Tsunada is such a stud muffin,lol,and Natal looks promising,hope they don't mess it up cuz the Wii took motion sensing into the "gimmick" zone,but that was mostly because almost EVERY game for the Wii revolves around the motion sensing and ends up cheap trash developers hope to make a quick buck off of. we already know that can't happen with Natal,because,of course,the 360 will not REVOLVE around it (motion sensing) like the Wii did and this motion sensing is much much better and can even be used PARTIALLY in "non-motion sensing" games (example:turn on option for ability to turn in head in Gears by turning head irl,bad example but you see what I mean).

WTFitsPauL
WTFitsPauL

Stop mimicking Wii, Make Better Exclusives!

Notebook_holder
Notebook_holder

well in theory this could work... not saying that it would be a flop but it really is aiming towards it.... I would rather use the PS3's glow stick that looks fun... This is well a repeat

HerioMortis
HerioMortis

I fail to see how this could be implemented well in normal games. It's basically an Eyetoy and we all know the limitations of using your body as the controller. And really, tacking on stuff like leaning with the NATAL in FPS/action games is utterly pointless. I mean really, who cares? It doesn't enhance the experience or make the game more fun to play. They haven't even shown any proper application of the NATAL, just BS vids like the one with that kid. When will we see functional gameplay vids without guys in orange suits or standing in empty white rooms playing minigames?

shawn_mitchel
shawn_mitchel

A new experience,........definitely a new way to play future games.

FF_fan2004
FF_fan2004

After bashing it before in previous boards, I'll just sit back and give Natal a chance. But it doesn't mean I'll buy it though, doesn't take my fancy to be honest. It suits others, that's fine, haters don't have to buy it. End of story.

cjasko94
cjasko94

It's actually looking pretty cool. I prefer just my controller, but hey you can use both at the same time which is awesome.

XanderZane
XanderZane

Terrible video. Bad Gamespot.com!! Bad!! Why didn't they should what they were playing. We know it was that breakout ball batting game again. I really want to see some new demos. I'm dying to see a full scale RPG game where you can walk, run, right, and do everything on screen using your body. The technology has a lot of potential. I think some of the games will work with both Natal and a controller individually. While other games will be Natal control only. Voice recognition control will also be nice. "Get Sword", "Open Chest" "Stab Giant", "Run Away". lol!! We'll see what they come up with. People who are bashing it just want to see it fail and are haters.

Sammonoske223
Sammonoske223

"We have seen the technology, we have seen that it works." Um nope. We haven't seen ****. @Googlproxer: Yes, it is too complex. You can't expect games like Halo or Gears of War to work properly with Natal. It is a totally new mechanic and getting everything to work correctly to the players motion in older games is nigh-impossible. Take the new Metroid Prime collection on the Wii for example. They had to go back and make brand new games because it requires recoding of the games controls to work for the Wii.

Sammonoske223
Sammonoske223

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

googlproxer
googlproxer

fps would be interesting to be used with natal but it would still require a controller of sorts thus defeating the purpose. one thing that is a load of **** is that they cant patch existing games due to the tech being "too complex". it most likely isn't, microsquish just wants to release it on time and adapting it would just take too long.

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

@edant79 There's no chance you could build a FPS around natal. At least not what we think of as FPSs. It's just going to be a bunch of ****** casual games and racing games.

Flat_Line_____
Flat_Line_____

Omg the guy in the suit was freaking me out lol. And what's up with NO shots of the actual screen they were playing on? Looks like they were all playing the same dodgeball demo they have shown in the past. But man, If there is one thing that you can get too much of, that one thing would be Kudo Tsunoda..... :P

Telekenesis123
Telekenesis123

Why couldn't you guys show any of the on screen action in the video :/

FF_fan2004
FF_fan2004

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

jamesh-42
jamesh-42

Kbs64: different technologies. With the Wii, you've essentially got an IR camera on the front of the controller trying to track the position of the lights on the sensor bar. As the controller gives a moving frame of reference, all heat sources will appear to be moving and it will have to try and guess which one is the sensor bar. With the Natal camera, it looks like you've got a stationary IR camera trying to detect a moving human. This would make it much easier to ignore lights and other stationary heat sources. You'd probably run into problems if the room temperature was close to human body temperature, which could be a problem in warmer climates.

Kbs64
Kbs64

Please don't misunderstand this but if Natal uses infrared light, won't that mess it up? I mean the Wii uses infrared too. So if were around a bunch of bright lights or your house has a sun roof. Thats going to mess it up?

Kbs64
Kbs64

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Collin20
Collin20

I think this could be an awesome addition to a controller for a FPS. Imagine peaking out from behind cover by moving your head! This could make it so when I just want my head to show in game instead of my whole characters body I could.

rpgnutt
rpgnutt

i want it i dont care when as long as it works i want it.this is gonna change gaming forever plz tell me when can i have it.

edant79
edant79

Ok, wait a sec.... Lets say your playing a multiplayer FPS, who would have the advantage? Guy with standard controller or guy with Natal?

TheoleDominion
TheoleDominion

I really hope this realize it's full potential. Movie games (games with YOU in it) Can you imagine playing "mystery" and "horror' games with this technology? Or a Star Trek game? Sitting in your Captains seat on screen (on your sofa actually)..leaning back with a smile and saying "engage!"

namdar
namdar

This better work , or I will scream!!!!

Cillerboy
Cillerboy

i'm finally startin to see some potential in skynet *ahem* Project natal. i'd love to play dead rising 2 with it that'd be awesome

ChamomileBaths
ChamomileBaths

@zealotzeus That's an incredible idea. Elder Scrolls 5 is a perfect fit! DDR could finally come to life, sports games would be a perfect match for me... But FPS.. I dunno if I want to shoot like that. I mean maybe hold a controller or something. But I wouldn't want to play Call of Duty with that much realism. On the other hand the obvious, like Star Wars games, super hero games, and fighting games would all be amazing. But that's because they're over the top, not real. A good Natal sports game I'd imagine would exaggerate our capabilities too. Don't use it for realism, unless it's a drama and you have to talk to it and it reads your facial expressions, etc.

VolcanoMan001
VolcanoMan001

Yep, we are all going to get cancer from our TV remotes we have been using for the past 15 years. (sarcasm) No, IR light is just light in the IR spectrum that you cannot see.

riariases
riariases

Looks great and all, but... doesn't infrared cause cancer?

funkymonkey4710
funkymonkey4710

Now this is the future of gaming, full body recognition and really integrating people into the game.

sbagaria
sbagaria

@ xeridae Yeah. Good point. I was reading too fast and skipped over the Activision part. lol That's what I get for reading while at work. :P

xeridae
xeridae

@ sbagaria Seriously doubt it. Usually they just say Blizzard if Blizzard is going to work on something not Activision Blizzard. Yeah they are the same company now but you know what I mean.

Zerosumgame
Zerosumgame

lol Kudo Tsunoda, you need to help them out man. ROFL!

sbagaria
sbagaria

Blizzard working on something for Natal? That sounds intriguing.

Dante2710
Dante2710

yay for those interested but ill stick to a regular k/m or controller when needed.

Beechbone666
Beechbone666

MTV Games... hmm, Rock Band 3 Natal, could this be?

brendanhunt1
brendanhunt1

this is starting to sound more expensive

alexLmx6
alexLmx6

hmm well in my office space where i play games i literally have enough space for my chair and a pathway to the door, the rest is filled with old computers and boxes :P it'll be interesting to see where this goes as long as air guitar hero never happens (which you know it will, and i know some company already made something like that) ugh

strayfies
strayfies

I think amo lang is right, this is probably more oriented to broad audiences. I don't think dedicated gamers have needed improvement on the controllers they already use, and the game selection is bound to be more narrow.

XeonForce
XeonForce

Motion Controls always bring out my conservative side... I've already had bad experiences with my Wii. >_>'

spOOoOOn
spOOoOOn

@xgalacticax Hehe. I really never ever want to see the pimplecovered face of those 13yo shriekers to be honest, gimme rambling zombies over that any time of the day.

zaphod_b
zaphod_b

I have personally had my fill of motion controls, but it really comes down to how they are used. I don't want to hold my hands out to grasp an imaginary steering wheel, or hold an imaginary gun, or wave my arms around to smack a virtual ball. Gestures might be cool to cast a spell or to give commands to teammates, but I'm not too sure. Developers just don't seem to know how to make good use of motion controls yet. Nintendo had a good thing with the Wii, and they lured everyone in with Wii Sports, but the games to follow were lackluster and I'm affraid this as the Sony motion controller will share the same fate. One thing is for sure, I will not be an early adopter of either technology. I want to see the games first.

ChidoriBoyU
ChidoriBoyU

@djrobst nth nth will happen you will just continue your game because Natal captures the player only not the people around him/her sth like that was said when GS got there hands-on Natal in this TGS 2009

swamptick
swamptick

It's going to be so awesome.

ChidoriBoyU
ChidoriBoyU

i want Natal to come fast very fast i can't wait for it

ParisSun
ParisSun

Of course they could make it backwards compatible but why do that when you can charge people for new games. It's all about the money people. When will people grow up and understand this.

chaisemon
chaisemon

i dont think natal will completly use motion technology. it might just work in first person shooter as a mic, and probably doing gesters or middle fingers. just like how burnout used playstation eye. you play the game using a controler, and natal might be used in other stuff like giving out commands. (throw grenades or punch enemies??? )