How Star Wars Kinect Could Be Saved
As several sites have already reported, LucasArts has taken its Star Wars Kinect game, and the R2-D2 Xbox 360 console by proxy, off of Christmas lists everywhere by pushing the release date out indefinitely because Microsoft and LucasArts “have elected to move the launch… beyond holiday 2011 to ensure the full potential of this title is realized”.
I suppose the publisher and developers found it hard to ignore the bombardment of criticism aimed toward the short demos shown at various events around the country from journalists and fans alike. I think there’s a valid concern that the title may never seen the light of day. My experience with it revealed the need for extensive improvements to the point of a rewrite. Even the addition of a recently revealed Rancor monster-stomping mode wasn’t enough to bring people’s initial excitement in getting to swing their lightsabers around in real-time back.
But maybe therein lies the solution. As impressive as Mcrosoft’s Kinect peripheral can be, expecting the console to track and process some of the more intricate and graceful (or not) full-body motions of would-be-Jedis might be unrealistic. The Rancor-cum-Godzilla mode was a good start, but perhaps LucasArts needs to take another step back in a few different ways.
Step Away from the Prequels and Embrace the Original Trilogy
Maybe it’s my imagination, but for too long now, LucasArts has seemingly disavowed Episodes 4, 5 and 6 in the scope of their games. Please, can we jump ahead to a more familiar (and arguably better received) era of the fiction? The more content creators are asked to create new weapons and vehicles to be placed in the prequel timeline, the more the original films look like they belong in the past. At this point, anything that takes place in the Luke & Leia years looks fresh.
Speaking of Stepping Away, Let’s Step Away from Jedi
I know, that’s blasphemy, but let’s look at the facts. The best selling, most remembered games in the Star Wars universe aren’t sword slashers. They’re the X-wings Vs. TIE Fighters. They’re the Rebel Assaults and the Rogue Squadrons. Let’s get Factor 5 in here and perhaps some of the former glory can be salvaged. Imagine:
- Piloting an X-Wing fighter down the ubiquitous Death Star trench by leaning left, right, forward and back, thrusting your arms forward to fire at incoming TIEs and turrets.
- Manning one of two (co-op anyone?) quad-turbo lasers mounted on the top and underbelly of the Millenium Falcon to escape Imperial entanglements.
- Snowspeeder runs across Hoth
- Speederbike chases through the forests of the Endor moon
Shall I go on? The possibilities are pretty obvious and the potential is exciting.
If I’m Going to be Playing a Lightsaber Kinect Game, I Better be Holding a Freakin Lightsaber
And by that I mean: In. Real. Life. One of the Kinect’s original prospects that has all but vanished into vaporware was the ability to scan and use props in/from the real world. Putting aside the propensity to damage one’s living room accouterments (or anyone taking up space around them), perhaps waiting until the Kinect has the ability to recognize props, even in their most basic form, is the right course of action for a motion based lightsaber game. This is one of those situations where the Playstation Move is much better suited to get the job done because of its built-in lightsaber hilt. Hell, it already glows.
I guess the point I’m getting at is that a little polish isn’t all that’s needed if Star Wars Kinect is going to be any kind of benchmark Kinect title.