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6 ways Kinect could be used for Halo… and why each would probably be rubbish

Halo Anniversary will feature Kinect integration, according to Microsoft's Phil Spencer. But how is that going to work exactly? Despite being excited at the prospect of an HD remake of the first Halo, we've had to rack our brains to come up with the following possible uses for Kinect in the game. Then we've gone on to judge how well each one is likely to work. Clue: it probably won't.

Aiming

This would be the Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon method of aiming, whereby the player uses their left hand to point the gun (causing Master Chief to turn when the reticule meets the extremities of the screen area) and firing with… well, we suppose the 'flash jazz hands' action will have to suffice. Unless you use a control pad.

How well would this work?

Rubbish. Let's say, for argument's sake that lag isn't an issue and that you can shoot at what you want to when you want to. Answer me this: How are you going to move around the level? Hello, Mr Control Pad… oh, but now you can't use your arms to aim. Maybe you could do that with the sticks? Oh, now there's a thought…

 

Grenade lobbing

If Kinect could be programmed to tell when you're just holding a controller, it should be able to detect a large motion away from it, like lobbing a grenade. It could even let you lob to the left or right – conceivably even behind you.

How well would this work?

Rubbish. Aside from the occasional malfunction and throwing it straight up in the air, there's the simple fact that you have to take your hand away from the buttons to perform this move. Sure, you can't fire during the grenade animation anyway, but not being able to turn until you've finished throwing is a step backwards compared to using a pad.


Above: Sorry, Jeff. There was a wasp in the room. You OK mate? Says here you've disconnected...

 

Head Tracking

Being able to turn your head and look about you is another step closer to a true Holodeck experience and one that Kinect should be able to deliver easily. In fact, it's already happening in Forza 4, so this should be fine.

How well would this work?

Rubbish. If you need to turn your head to look, it would have to be just a subtle effect with the aiming reticule NOT affected by your head. Why? If you turn your head left and that becomes 'forward, you're playing with your eyes looking right. What if you need to aim more left? You can't see the telly. Instead, it would have to be a leaning action (which is pointless when you can just move left or right) or a small shifting glance, like Zelda 3D's gyroscope-enabled look mode. And that's a novelty at best.

 

Hand gestures

Again, assuming Kinect can tell when you're using a pad (we're just going to assume full aiming isn't going to happen because it would be awful), raising your hand to make arm gestures in multiplayer team games could be fun. You know, like waving someone to head off in one direction while you take another, to create a pincer attack. Granted, it would be better suited to Ghost Recon (something Ghost Recon doesn't do, so there's even less chance of it happening here), but as fun for nothing, we'd like to see it.

How well would this work?

Rubbish. Even if Kinect could see fingers, it could never really work. If you raised both hands, you'd drop your gun. And if you didn't, Kinect still has to work out when you're back in aiming stance. And presumably raising an arm would be used for changing weapons or some other tacked-on functionality anyway… so this is a pipe dream.


Above: There is one use we can think of for Kinect that could work brilliantly: Teabagging

 

Changing weapon

If aiming with Kinect is a totally controller-free experience, you'll need a set motion to change weapons. A set hand gesture is a possibility, or perhaps a Child of Eden-style left arm primary/right arm secondary fire.

How well would this work?

Rubbish. Aside from the fact you won't be able to move around in the game world while you're doing any of this, you're going to end up with a ridiculous number of different, wholly unrealistic semaphore-like commands for various actions. Unless you use this next idea:

 

Voice control

You could use Kinect's impressive voice recognition system to take some of the control scheme's intricacies away from motion control, leaving the player free to jump up and down, wave their arms around and flash their hands.

How well would this work?

Rubbish. One of the reasons the game is even getting a re-release is to allow online multiplayer. Even two-player co-op would be bad enough, but can you imagine a deathmatch with headsets enabled? A cacophony of 'JUMP!' 'RELOAD!' 'GRENADE!' 'SWAP WEAPON' would make actual formation of any semblence of battle strategy an impossibility.


Above: Voice control in Halo Anniversary could work for one-player. More than one? Not so much

 

So... can it ever work?

The only Kinect-exclusive system I can come up with that retains 100% all of the pad's functionality is this:

Aiming primary weapon: Left hand aims, open right hand to fire
Aiming secondary weapon: Right hand aims, open left hand to fire
Look: Turn your head (while keeping your eyes on the TV)
Strafe left: Lean left
Strafe right: Lean right
Lob grenade: Say 'Grenade'
Lob sticky grenade: Say 'Sticky'
Jump: Jump
Pick up object: Say 'Collect'
Man a gun turret: Say 'Turret'
Reload: Say 'Reload'
Move forward: Make a walking action on the spot
Stand still: Stand still
Move backwards: Make a walking action on the spot, while poking your tongue out
Rocket jump: Aim downwards with right arm, jog on the spot, jump while still jogging, flash left hand, aim upwards with right arm, poke your tongue out. Sporadically, of course, depending on intended landing point.

OK, enough. I'm going to make an informed guess and say that this could prove once and for all that hardcore games and Kinect do not mix. Here's hoping Microsoft can prove me wrong. Or, more likely, just use it for menu navigation, which could still be marketed as 'Better with Kinect'. Either way, it's over to you, Master Chief.

20 Jun, 2011

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28 comments

  • Kethmach - June 21, 2011 7:13 p.m.

    This is a stupid, irresponsible fanboy, flame thread article and I think Justin should be slapped with a time out. NOWHERE has MS said that this is going to be a gameplay altering experience. NOWHERE. OPTIONAL has been the key word and a flameboy article like this fuels more stupidity on the internet. Nice job, dumb ass. Way to stay true to being a game journalist.
  • travismak - June 21, 2011 6:08 a.m.

    @ Markoose16 I agree. 2 Wii nunchuck style controllers with a few buttons for the rest of your fingers.... BRILLIANT!!! That would solve all of the firing/movement issues whilst retaining the motion controlled aiming.
  • XboxInsomniac - June 21, 2011 5:15 a.m.

    Two ways that could be awesome: Moment of death capture in multiplayer. Something like this is on DS, right? When you get fragged, it snaps a picture of you and shows it to your killer. Machinima! Pose your avatar in any position you can achieve. Bonus for multiplayer and/or forge compatibility. Almost endless possibilities. Just saying.
  • garnsr - June 20, 2011 10:43 p.m.

    I still don't understand why people seem to think Kinect will bring in voice commands, when most Xbox players have a headset already that could be used for them, without needing to shout across the room at the receiver. These reasons in the article are the reason Move is potentially so much better for real games than Kinect. I'm still not sure I care to do any real gaming using either, though, 30 years of directing objects around the screen with my thumbs tells me it's not so bad a way to do it.
  • Fuzunga - June 20, 2011 10:43 p.m.

    I'm upset because this will ruin the box art.
  • Japanaman - June 20, 2011 9:48 p.m.

    The only way I would enjoy Halo with Kinect support is if I can fly Banshees with it and operate turrets with it.
  • chicknwang93 - June 20, 2011 8:34 p.m.

    It doesnt seem entirely possible. Sure the gameplay would still suck but heres what I think they might do. Movement would use some pad on the ground for movement or turning body and jogging(Backwards leaning back while jogging) w/ turning/look up/down still turning your head. Aiming would be done with some gun shaped accessory. Lobbing grenade still throwing motion with open hand Reload could be a circular motion with open hand. Switching weapons: hide gun behind you, switching grenades would be hiding your open hand. Collecting would be to reach forward with open hand. Aiming Sniper rifle, move accessory in front of face. I miss anything? Either way it would be expensive and most likely a waste of. Just sayin its possible.
  • D0CCON - June 20, 2011 8:13 p.m.

    The only voice command in the game should be Teabag. As a matter of fact, that should be the only Kinect integration at all, just for novelty's sake. Hopefully someone will walk past you as you say it.
  • tacoman38 - June 20, 2011 7:10 p.m.

    how about object manipulation in forge mode? eh? sounds pretty easy and simple to me. and perhaps an improvement over the regular pad
  • RedOutlive10 - June 20, 2011 6:55 p.m.

    No duh on being optional, Microsoft might be stupid but they know if they forced Kinect on a exclusive franchise like Halo they would basically burn it to the ground.
  • antoniowashington - June 20, 2011 6:48 p.m.

    You wouldn't need headtracking to turn. Rise of Nightmare videos show just turning your torso left/right can turn the camera w/o moving your head. The game controls are simple by putting right leg forward/backward to move. Combine that with Ghost Recon Future's Kinect scheme and you could be a good Kinect's FPS control scheme. To "jump", a simple lifting of your right leg can simulate jumping.
  • Security77 - June 20, 2011 6:41 p.m.

    The multiplayer in Halo CEA is just going to be a Reach multiplayer disc with new maps, so the kinect would have to be able to work with Halo Reach to be used in the multiplayer aspect.
  • Crypto140 - June 20, 2011 6:35 p.m.

    "Xbox search Cortana fan art" It's funny becasue it's creepy.
  • Jasman - June 20, 2011 6:26 p.m.

    Justin just broke Kinect...HOORAY!
  • Markoose16 - June 20, 2011 6:16 p.m.

    Kinect can cause more problems than it's worth really. I don't see why they haven't released something like the Nunchuck for the Wii but wireless. It probably should have come with Kinect, after all the Wii has about 50 peripherals. A simple little controller for one hand that has the analog stick and a couple of buttons on it would make the whole experience actually have a purpose for games. Kinect can't detect fingers (I think) so it won't matter if they're curled up holding something and you can still make the same gestures. Simple solution really. I don't see why Nintendo haven't released a wireless nunchuck for Wii either.
  • avantguardian - June 20, 2011 6:03 p.m.

    @lovelost: HA! i'm sure they're on that. @hammish/crazyWO1F: that does seem to get lost in all the hate, but the resources argument is pretty compelling. like, hey how 'bout putting some resources into your first party publishing? or maybe make Rare not so terribly pathetic? @kethmach: i agree, though the other stuff may be included as an option just to push the tech. one thing i do see happening in the near future is controller/kinect co-op, where two people control one character. i realize that playing this way with your buddies sounds pretty stupid, but playing with others whose movement in games gets in the way of their fun (children, mentally handicapped, drunk, etc.), it could be quite novel. recaptcha: betionya vomiting...yep...
  • crazyW01F - June 20, 2011 5:33 p.m.

    One word, OPTIONAL.
  • chicgods92 - June 20, 2011 5:10 p.m.

    Wonderful. Share a website with you , put this url in google sirch ( http://www.chic-goods.com/ ) Believe you will love it. We accept any form of payment.
  • Bodock - June 20, 2011 4:34 p.m.

    Sorry, Jeff. There was a wasp in the room. You OK mate? Says here you've disconnected... British humor at its best.
  • Kethmach - June 20, 2011 4:25 p.m.

    I'm convinced that the ONLY Kinect stuff we'll see would be in connection with menus or the Terminals (some sort of hacking). That's it. I can't see MS putting Kinect into gameplay when GAMEPLAY EXACTLY LIKE THE ORIGINAL is their mantra? I don't think they're screwing this one up.

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