â??Natal should bring entirely new genres to gamesâ??

â??Natal should bring entirely new genres to gamesâ??

By Rob Crossley

January 14th 2010 at 3:44PM

Developer trio backs Microsoftâ??s controllerless peripheral

A veteran British developer believes that Natal has the potential to bring about new genres, adding that some criticisms of the device are “extremely narrow-minded”.

Blitz Games Studios’ Andrew Oliver told Develop that he won’t be spending his time focusing on the limitations that Natal may have, but instead will explore its potential.

“I’ve seen people knocking Project Natal, saying it lacks the precise controls necessary to make great games but I think that’s extremely narrow-minded,” he said.

“When I see a new technology, I look at the new opportunities it brings, not the things it lacks. I see it as a challenge, not a risk, and a chance to do something completely new and different.

“Project Natal should bring entirely new genres to Xbox 360,” he added.

Oliver's comments come as part of this week’s Develop Jury Service, where the industry at large was asked to debate the merits of Microsoft’s upcoming controllerless device.

The response given back indicated that the development community is largely split on the potential of Natal, revealing equal measures of optimism and pessimism.
 
Yet those who backed the device did so with a degree of passion, as demonstrated by Oliver:

“Xbox 360 is undoubtedly a great console for hardcore gamers, but it’s also clear there is a huge consumer-base for the Wii as well for those looking to get fit or play the more casual games,” he said.

“There needs to be more foresight and planning for the new gamer market. The belief that ‘as long as the licence is strong then it will sell’ is doing the consumer a disservice.

“Pushing out cheap rubbish can alienate the very people the industry is trying to attract. Developers and publishers need to act responsibly for the longer term. It’s not about making a quick buck; it’s about engaging a new audience.”

Simon Prytherch – CEO at Lightning Fish Games – echoed Oliver’s claim nearly word-for-word.

“Natal will allow us to do games not possible on the other platforms,” said Prytherch.

“The established genres already have a good controller; the joypad. The Wii started the process and camera-based systems like Natal are the next step in the evolution of motion control. You will see new genres created.”

Meanwhile, Zoe Mode general manager Ed Daly said that his firm were “looking forward to announcing a Natal title before too long”.