Last night, I was lamenting to the rest of the Podtoid crew that I've never found a sufficient answer to the Natal Question. It eventually gets compared to World War II, but that's neither here nor there. My point is that every developer you ask is "excited" about Natal, but I've never seen any cool ideas to convince me Natal will be a good platform for videogames.
Enter Arkedo, developers of Big Bang Mini and a new series of Xbox Live Indie Games.
On NeoGAF, CEO Camille Guermonprez posted some pages from a design document for a game called 2-Finger Heroes, designed for Natal functionality. 2-Finger Heroes was supposed to be a side-scrolling brawler. The twist, though, is that players' fingers would control on-screen characters' legs.
If that's not interesting enough, Arkedo would've included a full range of gesture-based mechanics, including certain hand gestures to grab power-ups or arm motions to terraform your environment. Here's the best part -- offensive gestures result in gameplay demerits. Give somebody the two- (or one-) finger salute and face the consequences.
Guermonprez notes that this prototype was whipped up in twelve days, no doubt all the time they could spare from the grueling one-month-one-game schedule they've set up for themselves. He also mentioned that working with Natal represents a step up from Arkedo's comfort zone: "To put it in perspective, after having "upgraded" from the DS to the Wii, we wanted to see if we could do HD games without having everyone going facepalm and telling the world we should have [stuck] to simpler games. It may sound silly, but as Aurélien and I started making games in 1999 for mobile phones, and our first games were in 96X65 pixels resolution, in B&W ... each year we [were] wondering if taking the leap of faith towards more pixels [was] a good idea or not."
Unfortunately, the design's been scrapped. Getting Natal to recognize such precise movements has been a pain in the neck for Arkedo, and "it would have been HELL to localize. Yup, what can be understood as the victory sign in France, could be a terrible insult in the UK, for instance. And we are not even talking about Italian. Oh, the possibilities..."