If you’ve read our review on Mass Effect 3 or have already experienced the game with your Kinect then you’ve already touched on the amazing capabilities of our favorite peripheral. Bioware’s executive producer Casy Hudson offers a few words on how the Kinect fueled a different perspective on core gaming with the Kinect.
Those of us who have had the fortune of playing Mass Effect 3 with a Kinect know that the voice controls aren’t useful 100% of the time. So we end up pressing the A button so we can activate a console or open up a kit of medi-gel. But that’s the beauty of the integration – there’s no trouble switching between using either one. Another case where the voice integration is most useful is that moment you’re sprinting toward an enemy and you want to go close-quarters. Stopping the game to choose your shotgun will just interrupt the flow of a firefight, so the greatest part is just saying “shotgun” and have Shepard get the weapon ready to show you the inside of your enemy.
This also goes for moving a teammate. During a shootout you want to be able to control your teammates without having to feel uncomfortable. But letting go of your left thumbstick to tap on the d-pad is risky, because let’s face it – those Cerberus henchmen are sneaky and you might need to break cover immediately. “While you’re busy with the controller, you can tell him to do something that you’re not physically able to do, because your thumbs aren’t free” says Casey Hudson. So just calling out “James, move” and going right back to the fight saves precious seconds making Shepard all the more lethal.
The integration of the Kinect into Mass Effect 3 was serendipitous, but luckily for us it made it into the game. “It happened almost by accident,” said Casey Hudson. The developers weren’t set on making a Kinect-integrated title. One of the programmers experimented with the Kinect and it worked so well with the game that they decided to include the peripheral. The only thing the developers had to do was map actions that were already in the game to a phrase.
BioWare gives you a connection to your character by importing saves and customizing the first name and look of your character. They break another player-avatar barrier by letting you speak to NPCs and companions in the world through your Shepard. Casey says, “Once you start doing that, you realize you’re using different mental pathways to interact with the game. You’re not pressing buttons to talk, you’re talking to talk”. Thanks to the Kinect’s ability to isolate noise in the room, a player is able to speak Shepard’s dialogue choices in a conversational tone so it doesn’t look like you’re just screaming at your TV.
BioWare chose not to use the motion control features since it’s somewhat of a barrier for now. But using the Kinect and the player’s voice to communicate with the game makes it seem like “the future of interactive storytelling.” We can only hope other developers see the potential of Kinect integration into core titles. The Kinect is becoming more and more of a catalyst for a new era of gaming.
Source: Official Xbox Magazine UK