When Microsoft announced the Kinect at E3 in 2009, codenamed 'project Natal' at the time, they also painted a picture of what kinds of content would be made possible with this impressive new piece of technology. Initial demonstrations included a game where you would kick incoming balls just as you would a soccer ball, a cartoonish kung-fu game, a racing game where you steer by holding your hands out as if holding a wheel, and a virtual painting app. Within the next year, we got our first look at the now infamous "experiment" named 'Milo' and a myriad of sports and kids games.
It was becoming clear to all educated gamers that the Kinect was being marketed as a gateway for families and kids to the Xbox 360 brand. Even before its release, the "hardcore" gaming community took to the internet to voice their concerns that the Kinect would never appeal to gamers like themselves; people who love an immersive gaming experience with an involving story and more mature content. The feedback poured in. Microsoft responded in May of 2010 when they elucidated the gaming community on the intentions for their newly opened development studio focused solely on core, AAA gaming experiences for the Kinect, Microsoft Game Studios Vancouver.
Yet, 15 months after the global launch of the Kinect in November of 2010, there has only been one core title released for the Kinect called 'Rise of Nightmares.' It was released in September of 2011, and has since received a very mixed reception. But, the fact is that 'Rise of Nightmares' proves that core titles are viable on the Kinect. Sure, for many, there are multiple elements of 'Rise of Nightmares' that are lacklustre, but as frustrating as it’s sensitive movement responses can be, and as ugly as it’s graphics can look at times, it does work on a whole. Something to note and keep in mind before immediately passing judgement is that it's the first of its kind. It's still early days in the lifecycle of the Kinect, one that is guaranteed to last into, and possibly beyond, the next generation of consoles. And that's a very important thing to remember: the Kinect is still in its infancy!
Looking forward into the whole of 2012, the number of hardcore games on Kinect is going to multiply by at least 5-fold, and it seems that core gamers are going to have their thirst for such games quenched. Crytek is throwing their hat in the ring with 'Ryse,' a single-player hack and slash title. Lionhead Studios will be releasing a brand new addition to the Fable franchise with first-person shooter 'Fable: The Journey.' LucasArts will finally release their early demonstrated 'Kinect Star Wars.' Capcom will release a new instalment in the Steel Battalion series with 'Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor.' And, finally, the mysterious "Project Draco" from developer 'Grounding Inc.' will be unveiled and released within the year. Developers are still in the process of getting a handle on this new piece of technology, but these titles bring much promise and will hopefully legitimise the Kinect as a popular core gaming platform. The point is that we are being catered too and we will have options; the Kinect will no longer solely be for families, kids, and the casual gaming scene. The Kinect will be “hardcore.”