Seeing as how 343 Industries took the time to add Kinect functionality to Halo CE Anniversary, I don’t think it would be a stretch of the imagination to suggest that the device my have its uses in Halo 4 as well.
I think if done correctly, using Kinect as Cortana could be huge. From what we’ve seen so far of the studio, I think they have what it takes to come up with creative solutions to complex gameplay mechanics using Kinect. It also makes sense that those who are working on Kinect games are sharing information with each other; at the very least, in house studios would be. It’s been a long time and fairly silent on the Kinect front so I’m hoping this is time well spent getting things ready for some announcements.
At least I hope so.
I can’t even imagine how difficult a task that must be. Like I said in my Halo Anniversary review, they can’t get away with just simply doing voice commands; something that’s been around for a very long time. Issuing your squad orders via a headset or yelling “reload” and “grenade” have all been done before and to be honest, they weren’t much fun then. Not only that but if that is the extent of Kinect functionality in Halo 4 then it would underscore the belief that it really isn’t anything new or innovative: something that MS definitely doesn’t want to happen. The combination of hardware and software is what makes it unique and that point must be driven home.
People saying “They could’ve done that with a headset, why do I need a Kinect again?” wouldn’t be good. It has to be something bold, fresh and truly innovative-something that can only be done with Kinect. If any game in MS’s stable can do that it’s Halo. Halo proved once and for all that a high quality console fps could be done. It also gave xbl the blockbuster it needed to get the upstart service really going. It validated the existence of the original Xbox, can it do the same for Kinect?
I own a Kinect and I’m a big supporter of the device. That being said, even the most optimistic of us are hungry for more compelling, engaging games. I love Dance Central, Kinect Sports is fun, Gunstringer is super cool and Rise of Nightmares wasn’t that bad but I’m ready for a full on hardcore gaming experience that proves Kinect in the hardcore space. I’m banking on Halo 4 being that game.
The likely direction going forward for the core will be controller/Kinect hybrid games and I’m totally fine with that. The important thing will be to make sure that developers don’t fall into the trap of making features that aren’t unique to the platform. If they can set some sort of standard and have developers stick to it, we could be in for a real treat. Perhaps next year we’ll get to see if the Masterchief has what it takes to save the day once again.