If the existence of Star Wars Kinect hasn’t already forced you to hack your Kinect to pieces with a fire-axe, the motion control element for the upcoming Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor may restore your faith in the device. Rather than using unreliable motion controls for crucial operations like movement and combat, the Kinect element will let players perform operations such as opening the hatch by standing up, pulling down to bring down a periscope, and slamming their fist down on a self-destruct button when things get desperate.
Players will not be stomping around awkwardly in their living room or waggling their arms to fire their Vertical Tank’s main guns. Instead, most of the secondary abilities – like climbing out the top hatch for a better view, using binoculars, and changing ammo types – will be done with motion control. According to the game’s breakdown of Kinect controls, you’ll even use the motion controls to fix mechanical errors, put on cockpit fires, and pacify frenzied crew members with a well-placed punch. I’m not even kidding.
Of course, the Steel Battalion series has a history of inventive control schemes, with the original title employing a massive, complex $200 controller with a full suite of buttons, joysticks, and pedals that confidently took up your coffee table space. The high cost of controller and niche appeal led to the game only breaking about even in sales. Employing Kinect instead will potentially appeal to a much wider market, considering that the device has managed to sell 18 million units as of early this year.
Frankly, this is how I think motion control should be implemented. Rather than replacing the intuitive, reliable actions of an actual controller, Kinect can use voice and movement to expand the buttons without complicated the four button, four trigger control scheme.