Levine: Motion Control Must Be "Firewalled" From Regular Play

Levine: Motion Control Must Be "Firewalled" From Regular Play

image

The head of Irrational Games understands how motion control should be properly implemented into gaming.

The popularity of the Wii set motion control off as the videogame industry's newest fad. All of a sudden, certain games that we had been happily controlling with a gamepad were now being controlled with a wave, nod, and a wink. Irrational Games co-founder Ken Levine isn't a fan of dropping motion control into games in this manner.

Levine dropped a bombshell on BioShock fans when he revealed at Sony's E3 2011 press conference that Irrational was exploring the addition of PlayStation Move support to the PS3 version of BioShock Infinite. However, in an interview with OXM, Levine revealed his understanding that motion control shouldn't be forced on anyone.

"Any experience that sits in the realm of motion play needs to be kept separate from the main experience," Levine said. "It needs to be firewalled off so that if this experiment isn't for you, or doesn't turn out to be all that great, you just ignore it."

He talked about "protecting the experience" that gamers are used to, but added that developers shouldn't be afraid to experiment. "Do an experiment, fine," Levine continued. "We're in the experimental stage, and people shouldn't be afraid of experimenting as long as we can firewall off and protect what we know works. If we don't experiment, we don't progress."

Maybe the BioShock Infinite motion control experiment will work out, and maybe it won't, but it's pretty safe to say that we'll never be required to stand up and do a backflip to play a BioShock title. Sony and Microsoft are pushing Move and Kinect hard, but hopefully the two companies will listen to Levine's advice and realize that motion control isn't going to replace the controller anytime soon.

Source: OXM

Permalink

I like this approach. It allows people who like them to use them and they have fuck all to do with the main game. So people who just want to play the game can.

Whilst Sony are pushing move quite hard a lot of move titles are exactly like this. Killzone, Resistance, Socom and now Bioshock are just a few examples of move titles where it is an option and not essential.

Yeah, I think Levine has the right idea.

Motion controls have always ended up being spotty for me. (With the exception of the Wii, but the system was built around that) So maybe it's the old man in me talking, but I infinitely prefer having a controller in hand than waving my arms like I'm trying to flag down a cab.

I'm not sure I agree with him. Or I do agree with him, but I think what it says about Motion Controls themselves is perhaps more important than his actual statements. If you have to "firewall" or totally separate motion controls from a core experience, isn't that really saying that motion controls are, at best, just not ready for the big time or are, at worst, a total waste of time?

If motion controls are totally superfluous and can be turned off or kept in isolated side modes of play, why include them at all?
How many game players, given the option between using motion controls or having a complete experience without motion controls, would actually use the motion controls?

I think back to things like the addition of more buttons with the SNES generation or the addition of analog sticks. Both were immediately implemented by developers and adored by game players because they had an immediate positive impact on everyday gaming. Heck, even touch screens have had a pretty positive impact even if they can't really replace traditional button pressing.

Motion controls, on the other hand, have been hovering on the periphery for decades now. The Wii itself, a mainstream console predicated on the use of motion control, has been around for 4+ years. How much longer are they going to be sitting around and saying "Well, if we had a little more time to experiment, we'd get it."

Alternate headline: Ken Levine once again shows the rest of us how it's done.

Sylocat:
Alternate headline: Ken Levine once again shows the rest of us how it's done.

That a good thing or a bad thing?

No matter what they say, adding support for the Move will affect the players who choose to use a controller. Until they can figure out how to simulate recoil with the Move it will still affect the overall gameplay of the game and therefore will affect players who do not use the Move. That is just one of many potential affects it will have on non-move users.

I really hope this Wii gimmick trend goes the way of the Power Glove.

I get the feeling that this is exactly what Microsoft has planned in terms of the Kinect. All of the games we've seen so far that are going to have Kinect support (other than the ones that only exist to present it's abilities) have clearly stated that it is optional and supplementary to the overall package. Anyway, I still need to bake my brain with Child of Eden, I'll eventually get to it.

Motion controls will always be tricky. Games that do them right like Red Steel 2 and Child of Eden just wouldn't be as fun without them, but games that do them wrong like Twilight Princess would be better without them.

I agree with him about the firewalling, either make the core experience of your game based on motion control or don't. It's a waste of time to slap some motion control into a game because 95% of the time it will be ignored.

Tom Goldman:
Levine: Motion Control Must Be "Firewalled" From Regular Play

image

Maybe the BioShock Infinite motion control experiment will work out, and maybe it won't, but it's pretty safe to say that we'll never be required to stand up and do a backflip to play a BioShock title. Sony and Microsoft are pushing Move and Kinect hard, but hopefully the two companies will listen to Levine's advice and realize that motion control isn't going to replace the controller anytime soon.

Permalink

I think he meant to say "or ever"

I completely agree with everything Levine said. I just wish the article were a bit more objective.

I prefer normal controllers, but even I acknowledge there are fun and great games that use motion control and only motion control. >>

Ken Levine is a smart man. He is one of the few developers out there who has balls, and whose balls I respect. And I respect him as a person to, but, you know, he's got some integrity in those balls. I respect the guy. 'spect him, yo. RE-SPECT, brosef.

So, yeah, I agree with him, at least to the majority extent. Friggin' re-spect the beautiful bastard.

Motion controls can add a whole new dimension of fun to a game when it's done properly. Most Wii games did them bad, but when they were done well, shit they were fun to play. I read reviews on the PS Move, and I am completely unimpressed by them. It's no different than a Wiimote, but without the years of experience in programming. I'm gonna invest in a Razer Hydra when they are in stock again. That is top notch from what I understand. Much better than any kind of motion controls in existence now. Way more accurate.

I hesitate to agree entirely, as I think motion controls have a lot of potential for the core gaming experience. However, I do agree that the little minigames and crap shouldn't be the basis of an entire game.

 

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here