E3 2009: Molyneux’s NATAL Project Is Creepily Insane Yet Cool

By William Usher 6 years ago discussion comments
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I still feel the chills running through my arms as I type this out, because, folks, I’ve never had a problem with video games and technology before, but Molyneux has done something that is just plain scary: crossing the bridge between interactivity, real-life and everything that was once sacred.

Let me start by saying that Peter Molyneux, the head of Lionhead Studios, came out on stage during the Microsoft E3 press conference at this year’s E3 and aptly began to demonstrate what his studio was working on in conjunction with the new Microsoft voice-and-body recognition device, NATAL.

The tech demo started off simply enough: a little boy talking with a lady. Molyneux narrates the experience as the lady and the boy share a conversation. As if that’s not creepy enough, the boy can recognize gestures, intonations and movements (evolution of gaming is no joke these days, eh?). Well, the demo progresses with the lady asking the boy a series of questions and the 3D boy aptly replying. Shortly thereafter the boy asks if the lady wants to do some fishing, in which case as she gets close to the ledge of the dock, she can use her hands to interact with the on-screen water to try and grab some fish. Neat, eh?

Well, there is more. After catching a few fish, sharing some more conversation time with the boy, Molyneux moves on to narrate a rather striking revelation about the way NATAL can be used with Xbox 360 games: sharing real life data and turning it into interactive meta data. A little over your head, eh?

Real simple: The real life lady in the tech demo draws on a piece of paper and holds the paper up to the NATAL device, asking the boy to take it…the boy, in the game, grabs the paper with the drawing on it. Has anyone wet their pants yet? I should have warned you to bring an extra pair. But yes, that’s right, you can share data from real life and move it into the game when applicable. If that’s not insanely advanced for gaming, I don’t know what is.

We’ll have footage for you as soon as it becomes available. Until then, be sure to stay tuned in with Blend Games.


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