I’ve played on Kinect and was mightily impressed. Responsive and intuitive, Microsoft’s upcoming hands-free motion controller will eventually host some unique gaming experiences as well as being a brilliant party starter. I expect it to be huge. This doesn’t mean, though, that I want to play “core” games on it. First-person shooters? Most sports games? RPGs? The pad will do very nicely, thanks. Kinect creator Kudo Tsunoda – unsurprisingly – thinks I am wrong. In an interview with the game informer, Kudo suggests that “core” games can use the Kinect if it is done correctly.
The stuff we have learned about Kinect is that you don’t want to take it and port an experience over to Kinect or force it into things. You see many motion control games that put the motion technology into a random game, and that isn’t the way to make an awesome experience. So far, so good. Fingers crossed for Fable III, then. But then Kudo lets his argument slip by using the example of first-person shooters.
If you think about the way that first-person shooters evolved, they started on the PC. People, for the longest time, tried to port shooters from the PC onto the console. And people said the same things that they are saying now about Kinect – “It’s never going to be responsive enough to do this,” or “You’re never going to get a fun first-person shooter on the console – it’s only made for a keyboard and mouse, and that is the way it is supposed to be played.” And as long as everyone was porting the existing shooters over to the console, they weren’t as fun as the PC ones. Of course, they were built for the PC.
Halo did an awesome job of building a first-person shooter exclusively for the console, and now hardly anyone plays first-person shooters on the PC anymore. It’s all about the console. And I feel it is the same with Kinect stuff. If you are constantly trying to take something made for a controller and port it over to Kinect, it’s not going to be a good experience because it is made for a controller. If you take the time to build it for Kinect from the ground up, however, you can make something that is a very new experience, but lots of times even more fun than before.
Ok, he has a point. Halo did revolutionize the FPS on the consoles. No one would really dispute that. You could argue that Goldeneye on the N64 was the real trendsetter, but Halo was the first to incorporate the range of control play options that characterize the PC genre. But is he really suggesting that “hardly anyone plays first-person shooters on the PC”? Veteran shooter developer id has already voiced their opinion. Creative Director Tim Willits said:
The FPS genre is still great on the PC, the input controllers are very responsive, the keyboard allows many more choices and options, and the social networking of the PC allows you to reach out and play with your friends much easier than any of the consoles. Plus, as any hardcore FPS gamer will tell you, the mouse is still the best device for aiming.
I rarely play FPS on a PC these days. I’m lazy, and it’s just so much easier to stick on Halo or Modern Warfare 2 on a console. Plus, after a day in front of a PC, I don’t necessarily want to spend an evening in front of one. Having said that, if I were deadly serious about my shooters, then the PC would be the natural home. As Willits says, the mouse is still the best device for aiming. What about you? Is the PC the natural home for the FPS? Or have the consoles taken over?