Microsoft@TGS: Kinect goes hardcore

September 15, 2010

This morning at 10:30 Microsoft held their annual TGS press conference here in Tokyo. Japanese developers showed off several new Kinect games as well as new footage from upcoming games previously debuted at this year’s E3. We’ve got the scoop on what went down.

Before developers began presenting a slew of new Kinect titles, Konami started off the conference with a new demonstration of the interesting (and traditionally controlled) slice-and-dice mechanics of Metal Gear Solid: Rising. The three-armed spherical robots from MGS4 served up water melons and bowling pins for the game’s producer to slice to ribbons, but no release date was given for the title.

After Konami, Microsoft Corporate VP Phil Spencer took the stage to announce five new partnerships with Japanese developers. Spike, Treasure, Parappa the Rapper creator Masaya Matsuura, Phantom Dust developer Grounding Inc., and Grasshopper’s Goichi Suda are all bringing new or revamped games to the Xbox 360.

From Spike, a new installment in the popular Fire-Pro Wrestling series, featuring Avatar implementation. Developer Treasure is releasing an XBLA version of their famous shooter Radiant Silvergun, complete with online co-op play and HD graphics, coming exclusively to the 360 in Spring 2011.

Next came the Kinect titles. Masaya Matsuura showed off a new “horror” game called Haunt that seems to be an on-rails flashlight-centric adventure that takes place in a haunted house, featuring stylized graphics that are more cute than scary. Grounding Inc.’s Kinect game is an on-rails dragon flyer called Project Draco that looks very similar to Sega’s Panzer Dragoon series. It is slated for a 2011 release.

Goichi Suda of Killer 7 and No More Heroes fame is also developing a new game for Kinect, in addition to his already unveiled Shadows of the Damned, called Codename D, but only a live action trailer was shown off at the conference; it featured a man with a flaming baseball bat dispatching mask-wearing enemies. Also shown for Kinect were new Dr. Kawashima-inspired “body and brain” exercises and new footage of Q Entertainment’s psychedelic Child of Eden.

Rounding out the Kinect showings were a new Steel Battalion title from Capcom and From Software (no $200 controller accessory in sight this time) and a horror game from Sega called Rise of Nightmares, which looks to borrow heavily from the Silent Hill series’ aesthetics.

And that’s about it, folks–it looks like Japanese developers are working hard to bring more traditional “hardcore” titles to the Kinect platform, which should provide a nice counter-balance to the slew of casual titles announced at E3.