So here comes holiday 2012... and what do we have for Kinect? More shitty gimmick titles & Dance Central 3? Yep pretty much. It's not hard to see why I never use Kinect which I actually own way too many games for. Most I haven't even played. Why? I'm lazy as hell #1.... The other reason being Kinect in its current form is just a "Wii too" pull at the casual gamer market which for all intent purposes seems to have been a bit of a fad after all. Of course we all know this, "so what" right?
Well do I believe Kinect is doomed? No, Microsoft sees the big picture and whether you like it or not the tech is here to stay. I just wish Devs would quit force feeding us titles based on casual design and grow some *&^%%& Balls and actually innovate with it. The closest thing I think we've gotten to this in a core title is Mass Effect 3's voice commands. Sure great, except it made the process feel more artificial to me... Saying "Tali" then "Overload" with broken fluency doesn't bring me closer to the experience, it forces me into their mind set. Why not let us choose?
The "Powa" is in my voice... simply set up an option to record custom voice commands and then pick NPC actions based off that recording sorta like Final Fantasy 12's Gambit system. So when I say "Wrex! make some Fuc*%$ Noise"
He tosses up a fortification, charges forward with his quad and kicks some ass screaming in rage. That's just scratching the surface on how this function could work... I mean I feel like the industries been really afraid to reach out with any sort of imagination in this area... we have the hard drives to store it... Let us! And i'm sure it wouldn't take that long to implement given what one modder did with Skyrim. Assassin's Creed 3? Why not put in some whistles to call assassins... be pretty cool right? In Metal Gear Solid telling someone to "Freeze" could trigger the hold up mechanic etc. Hell even a hand sign or two when Kinect can actually read what you're doing accurately I'd welcome as well *ahem*.
In summary I feel like the real innovation is in the Voice commands and interactions during game play triggered by the in-game NPC responses. To stay on Mass Effect 3 why couldn't I engage EDI just like Star Trek aboard the ship? (I'd tell her to feed the damn fish) Break the 4th wall and put some real AI into these games where they can engage you opposed to flapping your arms around... At the root of my point why on earth do I have to say "Xbox netflix" to trigger Netflix??? What if I named my Xbox "Randy"? I should have the option to change the "xbox" trigger to "Randy Netflix" at any time!
And don't get me wrong, I'd love to see more innovation outside of voice recognition like shrugging off some zombies in Resident Evil 6 by just screaming and flailing my arms opposed to shitty QTEs but Capcom missed the boat! Speaking of zombies, you know those recordings we find all over the place in some of those games ever since Bioshock hit in 2007? Hell wouldn't it be cool to have a player recording mechanic with 10 seconds to leave a dying message ala Demon's Souls messages but with voice? Responsive vocal interaction is the future of gaming! With of course a controller. I guess this leads us to my biggest and final gripe with Kinect.
Stop putting the controller down.
Controllers have been around now for over 30 years in this industry for good reasons. I think they've got a pretty damn efficient system built in with them already. Add to it, don't take away. Sure some games don't need them but don't define the experience by taking the controller away. I think it's going to take some bat shit crazy design from the likes of Swery65 to truly break the lid off Kinect.
Microsoft tried to force innovation by taking the controller away and ultimately failed. Better with Kinect? Not yet. In my humble opinion I think we need custom voice recorded commands as standard practice when using them at all. Sure you might assign X command to a what Kinect thinks is "Fus Ro Dah" but I probably sound a lot different than most when I belt my ball crushing dragon shout out opposed to an 8 year old. This way voice activation works better! Regardless, this was my open letter to the industry to stop pussy footing around and lets set a standard that actually creates some innovation that works. Right now I feel like we have the Atari version of Kinect when we all want the Dreamcast. Yep I said it.