The more we think about Kinect 2 being mandatory, it dawns on us how it could benefit us in the long term and aid developers to give us a bit more depth in games. Sure, there’s the fitness games and dance stuff that us couch gamers aren’t into so much, but credit where it’s due, the voice commands using the current Kinect works remarkably well on the Xbox 360 in games like Skyrim and Mass Effect 3. In terms of the latter, we loved not having to leave the action to go into a menu to change weapons, pick powers etc… In this regard our voices mimicked the actions of a PC’s keyboard, in that it offered a greater variety of input that a controller couldn’t provide so readily.
Looking at Kinect 2 though and what’s been suggested in terms of how it reads players, it could potentially do things like scale the traditional action game to our reactions – in real time! Let’s provide another example: Imagine if Xbox One’s Kinect could be used in a game like Left4Dead where the device is used to read the user’s facial expressions and heart-rate; what if the game is programmed to alter the experience accordingly; so if a player is fairly relaxed the difficulty ramps up to suit with more zombies spawning in. On the other end of the scale, those who are really suffering could see the game go a bit easier on players. This dynamic difficulty has been used before in a number of games, but having it implemented based on the player’s physical state is an interesting concept indeed.
As another example: In racing games, the heart rate increases as the pressure does. Imagine getting a boost of extra speed or even entering “the zone” when our heart beats are pumping. This would certainly add another dimension to arcade racers like Need for Speed.
Finally, and perhaps rather obvious, in games where there’s interaction with AI NPCs, with Kinect 2 their reactions could be based on the player’s state. Imagine getting a better or worse response from an NPC by mere act of smiling at them – or even a slap across the face and a loss of respect for not staring at female characters eyes and looking elsewhere.
Kinect’s mandatory inclusion with Xbox One might not gel with everyone and possibly pushes the price up a bit, but at least it means developers don’t have to scale back anything, they can go full steam ahead and use everything at their disposal – and we’re all for that.
Article by – Wayne Julian