For those of you who don’t know, Natal is Microsoft’s answer to the Wii-mote. The motion-sensing/voice-recognition camera allows developers to utilize the entirety of a gamer’s body for gesture/voice recognition properties to be used in-game. The technology also sports the cross-compatibility with a controller so developers can mix-and-match gameplay to allow for some controller usage and body movement. The details of how it works can be found here.
Now for a lot of hardcore gamers it's often questioned how Natal will work outside of casual titles and what would make it any different from the Wii. So, we have a short list of hardcore games that might work well with Natal and a few reasons why. So without further ado, here are the Top 5 hardcore games that should use Natal.
5. Fable III:
If anyone would have a game based around the use of Natal it would have to be Peter Molyneux. He was the first to introduce Milo as a groundbreaking experience for software interaction and he’s constantly been hinting at the possibility of Natal playing a strong role in the upcoming Fable III. For this game to be on the list is sort of a no-brainer and using Natal for it would probably consist of fighting, or making slight gestures for environmental interactivity. Let's not forget that actually talking to AI with pre-scripted events might also make an appearance in this game.
Possbility for using Natal: Very Likely
4. Crackdown 2:
Now this is a bit of a long-shot but given the 2010 release date there’s still a possibility that it could have some functionality for Natal. How awesome would it be to throw a punch or kick at the screen and watch the bad guys fly off into the distance? Better yet, players could use a heaving motion to toss objects around and based on the speed and power put into the throw would determine how far it flies. It would definitely give the game a bit more depth when it comes to combat interactivity and would make for a great experience for this open-world action game.
Possibility for using Natal: Unlikely
3. BioShock 3
We all know that a franchise like BioShock can’t exist without being a full-fledged trilogy. 2K Games has used this series as a benchmark for pushing the boundaries forward in the genre of first-person shooters, so why not push that boundary a little further with Natal? The game could easily make use of the gesture recognition technology for utilizing plasmids, or opening doors…better yet, it would be cool if the game utilized Natal for swimming, fixing objects and interacting with puzzles. However, a game like this using Natal more-so boils down to how well it’ll work as a multiplatform title while utilizing gesture recognition technology.
Possibility for using Natal: Moderate
2. Gears Of War 3
Mark Rein already shot the idea down for the possibility of Gears of War 3 making use of Microsoft’s motion-recognition camera. However, that doesn’t mean the game may not include some form of use for Natal. For Epic’s over-the-top action-fest it would only make sense to have players battling with chainsaws by making swiping motions while still holding the controller (i.e., similar to the Six-Axis) or allowing players to perform moderate melee attacks by kicking or elbowing to create some distance between enemies. While the functionality of Natal in a game like Gears of War 3 might be limited it would definitely make the game slightly more interesting and engaging as a visceral action experience.
Possibility for using Natal: Unlikely
1. Halo: Reach
If there’s one game on this list that should, without a shadow of a doubt, utilize Natal it’s the flagship franchise for Microsoft’s game console, Halo. While speculation has run rampant about Halo: Reach using Natal, apparently it’ll only become a reality ‘when it makes sense’. Nevertheless, this is Bungie we’re talking about and Microsoft will need a big game to sell Natal to the hardcore audience. Bungie could implement a mixture of controller and gesture options that give gamers the opportunity to hold out the controller and turn it like a steering wheel for driving the Warthog or piloting other vehicles, as well as implementing simple arm gestures for throwing grenades or using the voice-recognition capabilities for giving AI commands. If there’s one game on this list that Natal needs in order to breech the mainstream gaming market, it would be Halo: Reach. I’m sure Microsoft is well aware of this as much as any console-savvy gamer.
Possibility for using Natal: Likely
Whether you agree or disagree with the list, feel free to drop in your comments below and remember to stay tuned in for more gaming news, media and insight at Blend Games.