Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima is enamored with the possibilities offered by Microsoft's Project Natal, but doesn't want to leave core gamers in the dust, either.
It looks like Microsoft is making one hell of an effort to sell the possibilities of Natal to the Japanese gaming community: The software giant held a special panel at the Tokyo Games Show featuring three prominent Japanese developers discussing the device and its potential, reports Gamasutra. The three panelists were Capcom's Keiji Inafune of Mega Man and Dead Rising fame, Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima from Konami, and Super Monkey Ball creator Toshihiro Nagoshi of Sega.
All three of the veteran developers glowed with admiration over Natal's potential - what, did you really think Microsoft would have skeptical panelists for something like this? Nagoshi reflected on his initial confusion about the device and his thoughts of "Why is Microsoft showing me a sensor?" but how the first demonstration had won him over, but perhaps the most significant (and interesting) praise came from Kojima and Inafune.
Kojima compared his first experience with Natal to "the 2D to 3D shift, or the first time that I ever played with Family Computer [NES]" - a major leap forward for the industry. In fact, the Metal Gear creator was so excited that he wanted to just go out and share his surprise with everybody, though he managed to restrain himself. Though he acknowledged that there would be gamers that would be "nervous without any physical controller," Kojima thinks that the potential of Natal would be worth bringing core gamers along for the ride:
Particularly, on the type of games he's excited about making on Natal, Kojima commented that he wanted to make "a completely innovative game [with a very new control method] that nobody has thought of in the past.. but I have core users who are my fans, so I do not want to leave them behind."
He said that it is possible to cater to core users but also introduce new ones, and has a longer-term dream that the Natal technology could be used to "truly understand who I am in movements, expressions, and voice" -- monitoring health, fitness, and a lot more alongside entertainment.
Now, I don't think there's anyone out there that can say that Hideo Kojima has ever been afraid to be experimental - for better or for worse. So it really isn't surprising that the man is psyched for something like Natal, is it? Inafune-san, on the other hand, hasn't ever been quite so bleeding-edge as Mr. Metal Gear Solid: Duck Rider over there, but that didn't stop him from being intrigued by what Natal had to offer, either. Inafune was adamant that he saw Project Natal as "not just being a transitional fad," as some have dubbed the technology.
Though Inafune noted that "we as creators have some reluctance in doing away with the past," he felt that learning to game without a controller - without controlling the action just through our fingers - might be a huge step forward for immersion. "Films have such an impact on our heart... maybe that's what is missing in games."
Boy, Microsoft is really pushing Natal over at TGS, huh? I don't know about this one, though. I think it needs more cute and spunky reporters.