Former Assassin's Creed Producer Wants Better Motion Controls

Former Assassin's Creed Producer Wants Better Motion Controls

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Ubisoft's Jade Raymond talks about the failings of the control pad and the future of motion controls.

While casual gamers have embraced motion control en masse, the tech hasn't really managed to establish a foothold in the core gamer market. That hasn't stopped a number of developers from trying to integrate the technology into more core titles. Jade Raymond, a former Assassin's Creed producer currently working on Splinter Cell: Blacklist, is one such developer.

"As more of a hardcore gamer I want to see [motion controls] integrated into hardcore games in a way that makes them better because as fun as all those [casual] games are, I don't really play exercise games - I can't picture myself doing that," she told OXM.

"I'd love to be able to lean and look round the corner and just integrate more natural motions," she continued. "The tech for those things isn't quite there, but I hope it will be soon."

Like many geeks, Raymond dreams of a gaming system in the vein of Star Trek's holodeck. While that technology seems ludicrously distant, it's not difficult to imagine that systems like Microsoft's Kinect are amongst the first crude steps towards a beautiful future in which repressed office workers take to the holodeck to bludgeon their bosses to death with virtual golf clubs.

Raymond maintains that the growing complexity of control pads is going to drive users towards more intuitive control schemes.

"Even people who played games when it used to be just one big red button and a D-pad can't play games now," she said. "You have to master face buttons, triggers and they all do different things, so obviously we're never going to get to that really mass-market place where we're touching a really broad audience with our messages with controllers, so Kinect and other more natural ways to interact with games are incredibly important. I think we can go further."

Source: OXM

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First of all, work on feedback other than ONE type vibration that tells us that I acted and it interpreted what I did. Then talk to me. Oh, and accuracy helps too.

Eugh. Simplicity does not equal more "natural". Further, I am utterly shocked that anyone who considers the Kinect a "natural" way to control games manages to walk on two legs much less manage a company.

Touch screens, motion controls, these are poor ways to control most conventional games. You simply can't do as much with them. On a keyboard for example, you may have to (OH MY GOD PLEASE NO!!!!) take some time to get used to the control scheme, but in the end, you have much more control over the game, and are able to do much much more than with a simple control scheme. Honestly, It takes mere minutes to get used to a gamepad or keyboard, and they are no less intuitive than motion controls. I'd wager they are far more intuitive.

I'm not saying we should never change control schemes, but I personally think motion controls are a complete dud. They add nothing to a game, and are more often than not poorly implemented and don't work.

I think like most people in the industry, she has willfully lost touch in what gamers really want, in favor of making the most money she can. And the assumption that people in general are a bunch of morons that can't use their brain and fingers in coordination after some practice unless they are flailing about "being the controller" does nothing to help gaming become more intuitive.

Honestly, I didnt see the Kinect ever working, and still dont know. Without the controller, you're no longer using a tool. You're grabbing at air like an idiot. At least with the move/wiimote I have a physical object in my hand in place of what I'm suppose to be holding in game. And of course with a gamepad I know for sure when I hit a button, it does the shit I wanted it to do without me worrying about accuracy.

I can absolutely agree with and appreciate the end goals - getting to a point where we can have a holodeck-like gaming system, but I think I don't see motion controls being comfortably adapted to much more than casual games until they make several large leaps ahead.
It's like the Extra Credits people figured: you are no longer doing tools, and instead jumping right into the uncanny valley of movement.

.........................................uhm

Im sorry.. but if people can figure out universal remotes, and smartphones Im pretty sure people can comprehend 14 base buttons

Ive been behind the Kinect as a way of pushing the tech to the right realm... however motion control in general doesnt interest me personally because it is highly counter immersive. Until there is a fully immersive visual environment... motion controls is really a waste of effort for the gaming experience.

Motion controls do not have to be the next step toward fully realized virtual reality.

Hell... why not get the world adapted to visual surround first. That would be more important to eliminate the hindrances of First person perspective that makes third person perspective viable, because its a half ass work around compensation.

But Ubisoft's already done so well with the Kinect. I mean, look at this:

To the headline, all I have to say is the retort:

Current Assassin's Creed Players Want Better Traditional Controls.

Shadowstar38:
Honestly, I didnt see the Kinect ever working, and still dont know. Without the controller, you're no longer using a tool. You're grabbing at air like an idiot. At least with the move/wiimote I have a physical object in my hand in place of what I'm suppose to be holding in game. And of course with a gamepad I know for sure when I hit a button, it does the shit I wanted it to do without me worrying about accuracy.

Spotlight on your post, because it reminds us of a very important thing:

We are a tool-using race. We evolved as we did around the concept of tools and devices to make us more versatile. Our brains grew larger with innovation and our bodies followed. Exactly where do we go by abandoning this simple principle?

Admit it. Your motion controls have you dancing around like a chimpanzee.

Huh. So apparently I can't use a controller anymore. Hmm.. I'll be right back.

Yup, just checked, and I can still play Sonic the Hedgehog just fine, Dragon's Dogma gives me little to no trouble, neither does any other game that utilizes a controller. Weird, could've sworn she just said I wasn't capable of that anymore.
Gah, you know what it is? See, while some of us aren't mincing fudge-puppets incapable of grasping a more complex control system than, "flail your arms around wildly", she clearly is, and has jumped to the conclusion that we are to.

All joking aside, Motion Controls just don't work. Maybe if we could rig up a set of gloves that used electro-magnets to represent tactile feedback or something, then we'd be cooking with lemons, but until then, it's just a waste of time. Now if we're done here, I'm gonna go play Resident Evil, Deus-Ex 3, maybe some Monster Hunter or some other game that uses a controller, wouldn't want to forget how to use it, now would I?

Your vision of the future seems...oddly specific.

also i think people are too quick to dismiss this type of thinking, given that all they have to work with is what we have now

rather than what could be

i think the composite approach with both types of input could work pretty well until the full blown environment simulator is a reality

Well, for just looking around corners, whilst otherwise keeping keyboard+mouse, there are solutions today, that does eye-tracking with a regular webcamera and adjusts the view according to your head position.

You know what, I'm happy with just my Track IR, and I'm annoyed that I can't play an amazing game (Steel Battalion Heavy Armour) simply because I'm not going to shell out 100 for something that DOES NOT WORK HOW IT WAS SUPPOSED TO.

The only type of game that I've played with the kinect and had fun were dancing games....oh and Skyrim.

Yeah, I'd be fun if we can have a core experience with motion controls without it being....awkward.

"Even people who played games when it used to be just one big red button and a D-pad can't play games now," she said. "You have to master face buttons, triggers and they all do different things, so obviously we're never going to get to that really mass-market place where we're touching a really broad audience with our messages with controllers, so Kinect and other more natural ways to interact with games are incredibly important. I think we can go further."

What the hell does she mean by that? What the hell does she mean?! Is she really suggesting the literal interpretation of that sentence is true? ... I think she is.

So this is the kind of person who we have making games at Ubisoft. Well, that actually makes sense. It's right in line with the kind of decision making that leads to 100% sync objectives that you fail by performing as specified, or a tower defense minigame where you're supposed to defend your assassins by shooting their attackers, but can't look high enough to shoot them even when they're attacking your guys. And then there's the whole telling Ezio to jump straight ahead to the next roof and seeing him jump 80 degrees to the right, to the street several stories below.

Raymond/Ubi Montreal, the controllers aren't the problem. Your lack of talent is.

There's this motion controller I've been using for a while. You might have heard of it. It's called the mouse! And the great thing about it is that you only have to use one hand to use 100% of it. Which leaves you with another hand to navigate the other awesome controller called the keyboard which has all the buttons you will ever need.

Motion controllers like Kinect will never catch on because people who want to play video games want to do so in a relaxed manner. There is nothing relaxing about flapping your arms around like a maniac. It takes away all the fun from games. Just drop it already. No one is ever gonna take it seriously.

They need to get traditional controls mastered before they jump to motion controls. Especially games like AC where hitting jump can either result in climbing or ricocheting off the wall. Then you have games like batman where you still have to press a button to sprint.

And that, Jade Raymond, is why you are not a Current Assassin's Creed Producer.
I don't own a Kinect. I hate using the gyroscope on my Vita. My favorite Wii games are the ones that don't ask me to use the Wiimote like Homer Simpson uses Bart Simpson's neck.
In short: Motion controls are not interesting to me.

It's really sad that Jade is one of the extremely few female game developers out there, and she's ending up talking stuff like this. Definitely doesn't help improve the image of females in hardcore gaming, does it? How could she miss one of the crucial points of core gaming by such a huge margin? She is insulting actual hardcore gamers by saying stuff like "I'm a hardcore gamer and I want to see more motion controls!" No Jade, that's how you get core gamers to dislike you very quickly.

I'll keep it simple:
It doesn't matter how good motion controls get, I'm not standing up in front of my TV and waving my arms/legs around to control my character - especially not after a long day at work.

What will it take to convince such developers that core gamers like to play their games while lazing on the couch, sipping a drink and holding a sturdy/responsive controller that requires minimal effort to use? Standing around in front of the TV making body gestures is NOT how we want to play our games, I had thought the last 20 years of gaming history would've made that obvious. Please stop insulting us with motion controls and stick to the casual crowd Jade Raymond.

Now can we please get a female developer who actually understands the hardcore mindset?

Motion controls are the worst thing to happen to gaming.The Power Glove proved it years and years ago.Maybe I'm just a old gamer who's stuck in my ways but flailing my arms around like the dipshits in that creators project ad does not immures me into a game.

There is a ton more things they could be doing to advance gaming then this gimmick shit Nintendo started.

Grey Carter:
"Even people who played games when it used to be just one big red button and a D-pad can't play games now," she said. "You have to master face buttons, triggers and they all do different things, so obviously we're never going to get to that really mass-market place where we're touching a really broad audience with our messages with controllers, so Kinect and other more natural ways to interact with games are incredibly important. I think we can go further."

I now truly believe that the ad wizards "don't get it".

They assume that people won't adapt to a control scheme to a hobby they enjoy, when it's incredibly hard to find a human being without the rudimentary skill needed to work the average keyboard - arguably the most intense choice of inputs possible. They assume that someone can't get more accustomed to it over repeated use... and that most people don't have the patience to bother (which might actually be true).

Then you look at motion controls and see how people fail with that as well (initially). Some are hard pressed to find a good fluid muscle movement needed to repeatedly hit strikes in Wii bowling - now imagine someone who will never get the perfect pitch momentum in a baseball game for kinect (or perhaps, even in a real holodeck). They assume (again) that natural-feeling controls like that are easier to master, but it only states a case that using a controller with face-buttons and triggers will take far less time and personal-commitment to master. Not to mention effort, and how much energy does the common man have to expend on his gaming hobbies these days anyway? It cuts down on playtimes in tune with how much possible strain there is on the body.

Long story made short, motion control ideology is ass-backwards.

Grey Carter:

"Even people who played games when it used to be just one big red button and a D-pad can't play games now," she said. "You have to master face buttons, triggers and they all do different things, so obviously we're never going to get to that really mass-market place where we're touching a really broad audience with our messages with controllers, so Kinect and other more natural ways to interact with games are incredibly important. I think we can go further."

Translation; "The mindless drooling morons who make up the majority of the human race are incapable of learning simple button combinations without hurling the controller at a wall like a monkey flinging its shit," she said. "So we're going to force those individuals who don't find '8' to be a terrifying number of buttons to prance about their living rooms like five year olds if they want to play videogames, because catering to the vacant masses and then trying to persuade core-gamers that we're actually doing them a favour -via 1984-level marketing doublespeak- is the easiest way for us to make ludicrous sums of money."

Fuck, there are days this industry really depresses me. Hint for game developers; adopting the same failed movie industry policies of homogenisation and draconian copyright enforcement, which were one of the major factors in the stellar rise of gaming as a medium over the last decade, is not a good plan.

F'ing motion controls... to hell with that rubbish. Just another dumb marketing fad like 3D to sprout, wither, die and be trotted back out in another 20 years when the corporations get desperate for another gimmick to try and hype sales.

 

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