123KINECT-Happy-New-Year_title

HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM 123KINECT! – Kinect In 2015?

Happy New Year everybody! So 2014 is over and you can read a roundup of the year’s Kinect games in the previous article as now it’s time to look ahead to 2015. Hopefully it will be a better year for Kinect, specifically Kinect 2 as Kinect 1 is unlikely to get many new games now that we’re well into the Xbox One generation.

A recent tweet from Phil Spencer raises hope that 2015 will be a much better year for Kinect as he hints at the possibility of some big Kinect announcements by saying that Kudo Tsunoda will be back in the limelight and that 2015 will be a big year for him. You remember Kudo, right? Long hair, beard and always wears big sunglasses? Oh, and he also just happens to be Kinect’s Creative Director since back when Kinect 1 was “Project Natal”! Here’s Phil’s tweet:

 

There are rumours that Microsoft are going to reveal their VR device at E3 2015, hopefully the long rumored Fortaleza Glasses which will include AR as well. So Kinect 2 could be used with that and maybe Kudo is involved? We should know for sure in 6 months, if it’s not revealed earlier!

 

ANNOUNCED KINECT GAMES FOR 2015

Unfortunately there haven’t been any new Microsoft games announced for 2015 for either Kinect 1 or 2 yet (although Wildfire by Microsoft Foundry is expected to be announced at any time) and the only games with full Kinect support announced by big publishers/developers are the Xbox One games EA SPORTS PGA Tour, which is developed by EA Tiburon and published by Electronic Arts’ EA SPORTS label, and Infinity Blade Saga, which is co-developed by Epic Games and Tencent Games. Fortunately though, there have been quite few Xbox One games with full Kinect 2 support announced by independent developers and small publishers, although most of the indie Kinect 2 games are actually being self published via the ID@Xbox programme. There are also a few Xbox One games with some Kinect 2 features confirmed and others which might have some Kinect 2 features.

I’ll post a roundup of all the announced games with Kinect support below. There are 3 sections, “KINECT REQUIRED (Or fully supported but optional.)”, “BETTER WITH KINECT” and “Possibility Of Kinect Support.”, with each game listed alphabetically.  I’ll also post a brief comment regarding my thoughts on each game under “MY OPINION”. Click on each game’s name or image to go to its page where you can access all the news and information currently available, including videos and screenshots.

 

KINECT REQUIRED

(Or fully supported but optional.)

 

BLUE ESTATE

(Xbox One.)

(Developer: HESAW. Publisher: HESAW via ID@Xbox.)

OVERVIEW

Blue Estate is a darkly funny on-rails shooter !

Designed from the ground up to exploit the features of the new Kinect sensor on Xbox One, Blue Estate offers slick wit and punishing violence through a genuinely fun and intuitive control system, all set in an eye-popping technicolor mob world.

While experiencing the smoothness of motion control in a rail shooter, using the unique motion sensors capabilities of the  Xbox One, the player will enter a fight for his life against the most absurd and dangerous enemies, ranging from scar covered fight-to-the-death champions to Tony’s own hair and Chihuahuas that are too happy to see you. You’re given a series of primary and secondary weapons to help make your way through the load of hilariously perilous missions. These will come in handy defeating the bosses who’ll try to end your game and your life. But sometimes firepower isn’t enough, so think before shooting and use cover to prepare your strategy, reload often, and try not to get turned into grated cheese.

A killing spree is always better when shared, and that’s why Blue Estate offers the opportunity for a second player to join the fun, through a cooperative mode where every headshot counts to show who’s the best trigger in da house!

 

KINECT 2 FEATURES

Optional(?) full Kinect 2 controls: Motion controls that track your hands, one hand for aiming (with autofire) and the other hand for performing various gestures, including brushing your character’s hair out of your face!.

RELEASE DATE: TBA (Probably Q1 2015 as it was originally due out in 2014.)

MY OPINION

I was a little disappointed that Blue Estate’s Kinect 2 controls aren’t quite as good as the Kinect for Xbox 360 game Blackwater (please make more games like that devs!) as they don’t use full body tracking to move around and the one feature from Blackwater I didn’t want, autofire, it uses but I don’t yet know if it’s as good as Blackwaters which simulated the half second or so it takes to pull a trigger when you hold your aim still. (So it was still smooth and fast paced as you literally just had to hold your aim for half a second before you could aim at the next target.) Also the graphics are quite last-gen looking but it is being made an independent developer with a small team so I’ll let that slide.

Having said all that I’m still looking forward to Blue Estate as I like lightgun games (there’s no actual physical lightgun in this though, just your hand), this one looks a lot of fun and we haven’t had any for so long (on Xbox consoles at least), especially in the UK where Cabela’s Big Game Hunting Party was never released for Kinect for Xbox 360. In fact there have been very few lightgun games on Xbox consoles for the last 10+ years! Plus it will actually be easier for me to play with those simpler controls, due to my health, so maybe I should be more pleased, lol! Also, the PS4 version has already got mostly good reviews from critics and gamers, if you ignore the ones bashing it for not being “politically correct”. *cough*#GamerGate*cough*

 

 

COMMANDER CHERRY’S PUZZLED JOURNEY

(Xbox One.)

(Developer: Grandé Games. Publisher: Grandé Games via ID@Xbox)

OVERVIEW

Experience the world’s one and only Yoga-Action-Platformer. Commander Cherry’s Puzzled Journey is a hybrid-motion control game. This means you play the game using a camera and a gamepad simultaneously. The game flow offers a hypnotizing cycle of tension and relaxation. Build Platforms with your body. Enjoy precise platformer action using your gamepad. Simply put, make a selfie you can walk on with your character.

The game’s design fosters a natural course of movement. Move freely without being enforced to perform a specific gesture or pose. Play the game the way you want to. Standing, kneeling, sitting. The choice is yours. It’s all about getting creative with your body.

Commander Cherry’s Puzzled Journey also stands out with its relaxing atmosphere. Enjoy the beautifully low poly landscapes and spacy soundtracks during your adventure. All assets are handcrafted with love and attention to detail.

 

KINECT 2 FEATURES

Mandatory partial Kinect 2 controls: Commander Cherry’s Puzzled Journey is a hybrid Kinect 2 game, so the player controls Commander Cherry with the joypad and uses Kinect 2 to put images of themself in the game as interactive physical objects via image capturing during gameplay.

RELEASE DATE: TBA (Expected between Q2 – Q3 2015.)

MY OPINION

Commander Cherry is still quite early in development and only a little of it has been shown so there’s not much to go on. But what I’ve seen so far is quite unique and I like it. It’s like a cross between what I’ve seen of FRU so far, Leedmees and the yoga sections of games like Your Shape: Fitness Evolved, lol! The only downside is that the graphics are quite simplistic at the moment but it is still early in development plus many indie platform games have simplistic graphics so it’s not that big of a deal as long as it turns out to be a good game. I can’t wait to see more of it and will of course bring you all the latest updates here on 123KINECT.

 

 

COSMONAUT

(PC & in talks for Xbox One. Console exclusive if released on Xbox One.)

(Developer: Ground Control Games. Publisher: Ground Control Games.)

OVERVIEW

COSMONAUT is a highly immersive First-Person Space Simulator. It combines a non-linear narrative, realistic graphics and highly detailed simulation to produce a thrilling experience.

COSMONAUT is a game about survival, exploration and cunning. Everything around you can kill you, the suit can get torn from shrapnel, your visor can break from impacts. Your fuel, oxigen and suit power are limited, so you must find ways to replenish them. On the other hand, most things around you are usable, so you must explore the environment to find tools, supplies and clues to unravel the plot.

(Please note that this has currently only been confirmed for PC with Kinect For Windows v2 and Oculus Rift support, but Ground Control Games are in talk with Microsoft for an Xbox One version.)

KINECT 2 FEATURES

Optional (partial?) Kinect 2 controls: Full body tracking motion controls. Cosmonaut is still very early in development so there aren’t many details about the Kinect controls but so far it’s been confirmed that Kinect can be used to manoeuvre the cosmonaut as well as various interactions such as grabbing, pushing and holding tools.

RELEASE DATE: TBA 2015

MY OPINION

There is a similar (and awesome-looking) game to Cosmonaut coming out for Xbox One called Adrift and when I first saw and read about it last year when it was early in development I thought it would be perfect for Kinect 2 and suggested it to the developer on Twitter. Unfortunately Kinect 2 controls haven’t been announced for Adrift, but luckily Cosmonaut was announced!

It’s still very early in development so there’s not much I can say about it, but ever since I saw Gravity (in fact ever since I saw the trailer I think) I had a great idea for a Kinect game using your body to manouvre around both inside and outside spaceships and space stations in zero-G realistically. Now I don’t know how close to my idea Cosmonaut is yet, but hopefully it will be very close as I think it would have the potential to be amazing! I also hope that it actually gets released on Xbox One as it’s currently only confirmed for PC. (And Mac, but without Kinect For Windows v2 support I presume, unless that works on Macs too now?)

 

 

CRABITRON Kinect

(Xbox One. Console exclusive.)

(Developer: Two Lives Left. Publisher: Two Lives Left via ID@Xbox.)

OVERVIEW

Crabitron is an adorably mutated giant space crab, battling the universe with your body as the controller!

As Crabitron, use your hands claws to smash, grab and tear the universe a new blackhole. Gorge on entire planets, solve insidious puzzles, and exchange blows with hordes of adversaries. The crabpocalypse is nigh!

 

 

KINECT 2 FEATURES

Mandatory full Kinect 2 controls: Appears to have full body tracking motion controls, although the player primarily uses their arms and hands to control CRABITRON’s arms and claws.

RELEASE DATE: TBA (Expected around June 2015.)

MY OPINION

CRABITRON Kinect is another game still quite early in development and only a little of it has been shown so there’s not much to go on as far as the Xbox One version, however a touchscreen version of CRABITRON has already been released for iOS mobile devices so I’ve seen some videos of that version too. This game is very unique and as far as I know there has never been a game like it before! (Other than the iOS version, obviously.)

It’s hard to tell whether it’s a casual or core game at this point as a lot of it looks quite causual but I have seen some gameplay, especially on the finished iOS version, that’s quite core-like. Either way CRABITRON looks loads of fun and I can’t wait to play it, especially since the iOS version has already been critically acclaimed. It’s also another good example of how Kinect can be used for new gameplay experiences and although it’s played on a 2D plane (at least what’s been shown so far) I can imagine it getting quite immersive as the controls are 1:1.

 

 

EA SPORTS PGA TOUR

(Xbox One.)

OVERVIEW

EA SPORTS PGA Tour will be the first EA SPORTS title to utilize the power of the Frostbite 3 engine to render stunning courses and open up the golf experience like never before. With the ability to stream full environments, players will truly be able to play the ball as it lies no matter where it lands. This newfound freedom will come in handy not just for PGA TOUR courses fans know and love, but also in the new fantasy courses that will make their debut in EA SPORTS PGA TOUR. Why take two shots to get a ball around a beached battleship in the Battlefield Paracel Storm course when you can fire a ball right at the bow, bounce it off the deck and land on the green in one?

 

KINECT 2 FEATURES

Optional full (?) Kinect 2 controls: Presumably the same type of full body tracking motion controls for swinging the golf club, viewing the course etc. as Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 & 14 had on the Xbox 360.

RELEASE DATE: Expected Spring 2015.

MY OPINION

Not much has been revealed about EA SPORTS PGA Tour beyond the trailer and the fact that it will support Kinect 2, but I’m presuming that it will be very similar to the Tiger Woods PGA Tour games but without Tiger Woods and more fantasy courses, like the Battlefield Paracel Storm couse. It looks good and hopefully it will play well with solid Kinect 2 controls which should be even more advanced and accurate than Tiger Woods’ Kinect 1 controls. Maybe you’ll be able to play even the most advanced control option in the game side-on to the TV unlike Tiger Woods where you had to face the TV?

There’s not much more I can say really, if you’re a big golf fan or just like playing golf with friends occasionally like I used to do then this should definitely be worth buying as long as they don’t mess it up. Especially since it’s, surprisingly, the only Kinect 2 golf game announced so far.

 

 

FRU

(Xbox One. EXCLUSIVE)

(Developer: Through Games. Publisher: Through Games via ID@Xbox.)

OVERVIEW

Fru is a Kinect-based puzzle platformer in which the player utilizes both a joypad and their body to control the game. In fact, in “Fru,” the player’s silhouette is used to reveal what lies beneath the world at first glance. “Fru’s” gameplay changes according to the player’s shape, pose and movement.

 

 

 

KINECT 2 FEATURES

Mandatory partial Kinect 2 controls: FRU is a hybrid Kinect 2 game, so the player controls the main character with the joypad and uses Kinect 2 to create a silhouette of their body which reveals a hidden layer of the level within the silhouette.

RELEASE DATE: TBA 2015

MY OPINION

There’s not much I can say about FRU since only 2 very early versions of FRU has been shown so far, the Game Jam version that was made in 48hrs for PC with Kinect 1 and the 2 player mode of the Kinect 2 version for Xbox One, that don’t show much other than demonstrating the concept by having the players reveal platforms with their silhouette while controlling the character with the joypad making them jump on the platforms. As with Commander Cherry I like the concept which is why I’m looking forward to it and can only hope that the full game will be good when it’s revealed. The multiplayer looks a bit mindbending as the 2nd player’s silhouette reveals a 3rd layer so there are bound to be all kinds of crazy puzzles using that mechanic! As soon as there are more details about this intriguing and innovative game we’ll bring them to you here on 123KINECT.

 

 

FRUIT NINJA KINECT 2

(Xbox One. Console exclusive.)

(Developer: Hibernum Creations. Publisher: Halfbrick Studios via ID@Xbox.)

OVERVIEW

Play Fruit Ninja like never before! We’ve rebuilt the legendary original slicing game from the ground up, adding fresh new gameplay and characters for new and existing fans alike!

In the biggest addition to Fruit Ninja since launch, all Blades and Dojos now have a unique effect on gameplay. Want a ten-fruit Great Wave? Bouncing clouds to never drop a fruit? Swirling tornados for epic combos? Mix and match your gear, experiment with all the powers and find what works for you!

Joining the action are new characters from the amazing world of Fruitasia. Katsuro and Mari will guide you during the game as you grow from a novice fruit bruiser to all-out slicing machine!

Slice fruit, don’t slice bombs – that is all you need to know to get started with the addictive Fruit Ninja action! From there, explore the nuances of Classic, Zen and the fan favorite Arcade mode to expand your skills. Slice for a high score, use powerups and special bananas to maximum effect, and go crazy on the multi-slice Pomegranate.

There has never been a better time to play Fruit Ninja, so unsheath your sword and see what’s new in the game that started it all. This is still just the beginning – we can’t wait for everyone to join us!

(Please note that I couldn’t find a description of the Xbox One version, this description is from the mobile version so the Xbox One version may differ.)

KINECT 2 FEATURES

Mandatory full Kinect 2 controls: Full body tracking motion controls. (And possibly object tracking like the original Fruit Ninja Kinect.) The player’s hands (or held objects such as toy swords, if the feature is in this sequel too) are used to slice fruit and also throw kunai in some levels plus you use your body to dodge shurikens and spotlights.

RELEASE DATE: TBA 2015

MY OPINION

Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 hasn’t properly been announced yet, with just a brief clip appearing in last year’s ID@Xbox Gamescom trailer, but a 10 minute video demo was leaked so I’ve been able to have a good look at it and it’s looking pretty good! Obviously a lot of it is similar to the original Fruit Ninja Kinect but there are at least a few cool extras confirmed, like having to dodge shruikens being thrown at you and spotlights shined at you and some levels where, instead of slicing fruit, you have to throw kunai to pin fruit on targets. Hopefully Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 will also have object tracking like the first game, where you could use objects such as toy swords (or real swords if you’re daring, lol!) to slice the fruit rather than just your hands.

Although this doesn’t look radically different to the original Fruit Ninja Kinect I think Fruit Ninja fans will probably be fairly satisified. I Haven’t seen anything I thought was bad at least, although the graphics could be a little better as they don’t look much different to the previous game which was graphically quite simple even for a last-gen game. I should also add that so far Fruit Ninja Kinect 2 has only been confirmed for Kinect 2 for Xbox One, so there may not be a Kinect for Xbox 360 version.

 

 

INFINITY BLADE SAGA

(Xbox One. Console exclusive.)

(Developer: Epic Games & Tencent Games. Publisher: Tencent Games in China. (Epic Games in the rest of the world?))

OVERVIEW

Enter the World of Infinity Blade. Take up the ancestral sword of your forefathers to fight foes threatening to destroy your home. As a heroic knight, you journey into the world of the Deathless tyrants and their legion of Titans. Build skills and upgrade characters… all while delving deeper into this mysterious, timeless adventure with a thrilling story of honor, love, betrayal, and redemption. Epic boss battles and dazzling weapons and armor all await you in this thrilling gaming experience.

(Please note that I couldn’t find an official description of Infinity Blade Saga so I created this overview using excerpts from the descriptions of Infinity Blade 1, 2 & 3 since Infinity Blade Saga is supposed to incorporate all 3 of the mobile Infinity Blade games.)

KINECT 2 FEATURES

Mandatory full Kinect 2 controls: Full body tracking motion controls. Only the combat controls have been confirmed so far, in which the player uses 1 hand to attack with a sword (or other melee weapons?), 1 hand to defend with a shield and they can move their body to dodge enemy attacks. There may also be magic as Infinity Blade 3 includes magic.

RELEASE DATE: TBA 2015 (So far only a Chinese release has been confirmed, published by Chinese publisher/developer Tencent Games,  but a worldwide release is expected as Infinity Blade is already a popular franchise worldwide. I’m guessing Epic Games will publish Infinity Blade Saga outside of China.)

MY OPINION

I haven’t played any Infinity Blade games before but they look cool so I’m definitely looking forward to this. Having said that, this does look like it has fairly simple controls and not exactly pushing Kinect 2 technologically. In fact the first Infinity Blade was originally planned as a Kinect for Xbox 360 game but Epic decided to release it on iOS devices instead for some reason. Like with D4: Dark Dream Don’t Die, I don’t know why there haven’t already been many games like this (and even better, like Rise Of Nightmares which has similar combat) released for Kinect 1, let alone Kinect 2. But at least we’re getting a big name core action game for Kinect 2, let’s hope many more are coming!

 

 

NAGUAL DANCE

(PC & in talks for Xbox One. Console exclusive if released on Xbox One.)

(Developer: Nagual Sounds. Publisher: Nagual Sounds.)

OVERVIEW

Nagual Dance – Your body is an orchestra. Nagual Dance is a revolutionary interactive musical experience that gives you the freedom to create music in real time, using just your body. All you need are hands, feet, a Kinect for Windows, a computer and Nagual Dance. Instead of just dancing, you create music through your dance moves!

Using a Kinect camera, Nagual Dance captures the bodily movements of one or two dancers and instantly generates music from every move. It reverses the natural process of dancing, revealing an interesting cycle: you dance and create music, and the music you create makes you dance.

Dancers have full control of the musical elements, generating an individual song based on their dancing style and performance. By moving through four fields you discover different harmonies, grooves, instruments and arrangements. With your hands and feet, you deal with drums, percussion, bass, solos, chords. For example, if you move faster, the sound gets more intense. Moving your hands up, you play higher notes.

(Please note that Nagual Dance hasn’t been funded yet and is currently only confirmed for PC supporting both Kinect For Windows and Kinect For Windows v2, but Nagual Sounds are hoping to eventually release it for Xbox One as well.)

KINECT 1 & 2 FEATURES

Mandatory full Kinect 1 & 2 controls: Full body tracking motion controls for dancing, which also creates music. Kinect 2’s tracking should be more accurate than Kinect 1’s.

RELEASE DATE: TBA 2015.

MY OPINION

Other than Michael Jackson: The Experience, I’m not into dancing games so normally my opinion would be something like “Hopefully this will be fun for dancing game fans”, but I’m actually interested in Nagual Dance since instead of just dancing to music you actually create music with your dancing in this game! So hopefully it not only gets funded but also gets released for Xbox One. Although even if it just gets released on PC at least you have the choice between using Kinect 1 or Kinect 2 so those who have a PC and Kinect 1/Kinect For Windows but not Kinect 2/Kinect For Windows v2 or have Kinect 2 for Xbox One but don’t have or want to buy the adapter for PC could still play the game. Playing it with Kinect 2 should be better than playing it with Kinect 1 though obviously, since it should be more accurate.

 

 

NEVERMIND

(Xbox One. Console exclusive.)

(Developer: Flying Mollusk. Publisher: Flying Mollusk via ID@Xbox.)

OVERVIEW

Nevermind is a biofeedback-enhanced horror adventure game that takes you into the dark and twisted world within the subconscious minds of psychological trauma victims.

As you explore surreal labyrinths and solve the puzzles of the mind, a biofeedback sensor (Kinect 2’s heart rate monitoring capabilty) monitors how scared or stressed you become with each passing moment. If you let your fears get the best of you, the game becomes harder. If you’re able to calm yourself in the face of terror, the game will be more forgiving.

Nevermind’s goal is to create an unforgettable gameplay experience that also teaches players how to be more aware of their unique internal responses to stressful situations. If you can learn to control your anxiety within the disturbing realm of Nevermind, just imagine what you can do when it comes to those inevitable stressful moments in the real world…

 

KINECT 2 FEATURES

Mandatory partial Kinect 2 feature and optional partial (?) Kinect 2 controls: Nevermind is a hybrid Kinect 2 game that uses the joypad for movement and interaction (although there may also be the option to control some of that with motion controls) while Kinect 2 is used to monitor the player’s heart rate. There will also be some optional motion controls but they haven’t been revealed yet.

RELEASE DATE: Expected October 2015.

MY OPINION

(Disclosure: I backed Nevermind on Kickstarter with a pledge high enough to get a copy of the game as a reward.) I’m really glad Nevermind finally got funded as I’m a fan of horror games and this is a very innovative one due to the heart rate monitoring, a game like this has never been made before as far as I know. In fact the only other game that currently uses Kinect 2’s heart rate monitoring is Xbox Fitness. Plus there will also be some kind of motion controls which I’m excited for as they should make it more immersive, depending on exactly what they are. Once again this is a great example of an independent developer using Kinect 2 in a unique way for gameplay innovation. I’m so glad Microsoft allowed ID@Xbox games to use Kinect 2!

 

 

THE MANIFESTE

(Xbox One.)

(Developer: PlayHouse Entertainment. Publisher: PlayHouse Entertainment via ID@Xbox.)

OVERVIEW

The Manifeste is a thrilling new video game based on one of the most significant events in Canadian history,the October Crisis. A historic crime drama that merges investigative exploration and clever problem solving, The Manifeste utilizes innovative controls and interactive storytelling to transport players to a terror stricken 1960s Montréal. The Manifeste is a first and third person experience, targeted towards adult gamers looking for mature, story-driven experience, featuring inventive gameplay.

Situational use of precise motion controls allow for unique gameplay and puzzle solving that includes realistic physics based interactions. Reach into the game world and manipulated objects to break in areas, investigate crime scenes, take photographcs, perform robberies, make and disarm explosives, and much more.

 

KINECT 2 FEATURES

Mandatory partial Kinect 2 controls: The Manifeste is a hybrid Kinect 2 game that uses a joypad for some sections (presumably the 3rd person sections) and Kinect 2 (combined with a joypad for navigation, I think) for other sections. Although nothing has been shown of the Xbox One version yet, there was footage released in 2013 of a very early prototype version running on either the PS3 or PS4 using 2 Move wands plugged into PlayHouse Entertainment’s own DuelPLAY peripheral. This footage was in first-person and showed motion controls being used to open doors, interact with objects and the environment, pick up and use weapons like an axe to break open a lock, a gun to shoot at things with one hand and a transparent shield to deflect projectiles with the other hand. All those motion controls were manipulating things in 3D space in 1:1 and presumably they will be the same using Kinect 2 but in combination with a joypad held in one hand, rather than DuelPLAY, for navigation and any buttons needed.

RELEASE DATE: TBA 2015

MY OPINION

Unfortunately there has been nothing shown of The Manifeste beyond the very early prototype footage, a few screenshots and basic descriptions of the gameplay and story, so there’s not much for me to go own. However the protoype footage has me extremely excited as it’s some of the most advanced motion controlled gameplay I’ve ever seen! Providing PlayHouse Entertainment gets all the controls working well throughout the finished game and the game itself is good then The Manifeste could turn out to be one of the best motion controlled games, so therefore one of the best Kinect games, ever made! I’m definitely looking forward to this and will of course bring you any new information as soon as it’s available, right here on 123KINECT.

 

 

THERE CAME AN ECHO

(Xbox One.)

(Developer: Iridium Studios. Publisher: Iridium Studios via ID@Xbox.)

OVERVIEW

There Came an Echo is a game in which you, the field commander of a small squad, use your voice to direct your units around a map to accomplish various objectives.

Corrin (played by Wil Wheaton) is a 31-year-old cryptographer and inventor of a very particular encryption algorithm…one that currently holds safe a shocking secret. His comfortable existence is interrupted by the enigmatic Val, who informs him that his life is in very imminent danger. His desperate attempts to uncover the truth are aided by a mercenary, Miranda; a vengeful young woman, Grace; and a mysterious British gentleman named Syll. The group is often at odds with one another, but eventually, they’ll need to overcome their enmity to strike back at the forces who kill, indiscriminately and without mercy, for a chance to unravel the deepest mysteries of the cosmos.

 

KINECT 2 FEATURES

Optional full Kinect 2 controls: Fully customisable voice commands to issue orders to your squad.

RELEASE DATE: Expected between May and June 2015.

MY OPINION

I’m not usually into real-time squad tactics games, but being able to sit back and control the entire game just by talking to it is really appealing to me, especially since the voice commands are fully customisable so that should help with remembering them all! Also, Iridium Studios are confident that There Came An Echo’s speech recognition works very well, better than Xbox One’s dashboard, so I’m not expecting any problems with it. There Came An Echo is quite innovative as it’s one of the only games of its kind, the only other fully voice controlled game I can think of is Tom Clancy’s EndWar, but apparently that didn’t work very well. (It didn’t use Kinect, it was released earlier and just used the headset mic.)

 

 

WILDFIRE

(Xbox One. EXCLUSIVE)

(Developer: Microsoft Foundry. Publisher: Microsoft Studios.)

OVERVIEW

An ancient beast awakens from its slumber, and it is up to the Deputies to stop it before it reaches the city! In Wildfire, use the Kinect to assume the role of Magmus, the fire beast, or grab a controller and work together with up to four friends and put out the deadly flames before it is too late! It’s perfect local multiplayer chaos that brings the Kinect and controller together in an unprecedented new game!

 

 

KINECT 2 FEATURES

Optional Kinect 2 controls: Although playing as Magmus is optional the character has mandatory full Kinect 2 controls in the form of motion controls that track the player’s hands for the character’s movement and combat.

RELEASE DATE: TBA (Wildfire hasn’t even been officially announced yet, but I’m sure they will before 2016, lol!)

MY OPINION

Despite the fact it hasn’t even been officially announced yet a lot has already been leaked about Wildfire and it looks like a fun little game. I like that you can either play it as a joypad game if you play as a Deputy, a Kinect game if you play as Magmus or both if you play multiplayer with 1 player as Magmus and the rest as Deputies! (Although maybe it has multiplayer where 2-4 players can play against an AI Magmus too.) I also like that this is another game from Microsoft Foundry, a Microsoft internship programme in which interns learn to build apps for release by the end of their 12 week internship. They previously released the hybrid Kinect 2 game Voice Commander which will hopefully be released outside of North America eventually! I can’t wait to see what other games they make, especially if they support Kinect 2!

 

 

BETTER WITH KINECT

 

DYING LIGHT

(Xbox One.)

(Developer: Techland. Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment.)

OVERVIEW

Dying Light is a first-person, action survival horror game set in a vast and dangerous open world. During the day, players traverse an expansive urban environment overrun by a vicious outbreak, scavenging the world for supplies and crafting weapons to defend against the growing infected population. At night, the hunter becomes the hunted, as the infected become aggressive and more dangerous. Most frightening are the predators which only appear after sundown. Players must use everything in their power to survive until the morning’s first light. Good Night. Good Luck.

KINECT 2 FEATURES

Optional Kinect 2 features: Voice recognition for attracting/distracting zombies.

RELEASE DATE: January 27th (North America), January 30th (UK & EU)

MY OPINION

Although Dying Light looks like a cool game the only Kinect 2 support that has been confirmed is voice recognition for attracting/distracting zombies, which I haven’t even seen demonstrated yet, so I haven’t really got anything else to say about it. Hopefully it’s a good game anyway!

 

 

FABLE LEGENDS

(Xbox One. Exclusive.)

(Developer: Lionhead Studios. Publisher: Microsoft Studios.)

OVERVIEW

Rediscover Fable: Return to a well-loved world of magic, humour and high adventure. Find thrilling stories, exciting combat, and exceptional characters.

New Ways to Play: In Fable Legends, your Hero will never be alone. You can play the game single player, with a party of three AI companions that follow your lead. Or, you can play cooperatively with up to three of your friends to discover the game’s quests and content.

Hero or Villain? Whether your inclination is noble or wicked, we have entirely new characters and possibilities for you to choose from. Fable has always allowed players with an evil streak to express themselves, and Fable Legends presents new opportunities for villainy (cackling included). Instead of controlling a single character, you command the many creatures, traps, and environmental challenges that the Heroes must struggle to overcome. But make no mistake: You aren’t crafting a thrilling narrative at the end of which the Heroes prove victorious. Your goal is to defeat the Heroes by any means possible. The most direct way to do that? Relieve them of their lives. After all, what is the point of a bold beginning without a Heroic end?

 

KINECT 2 FEATURES

Optional Kinect 2 controls: Voice commands when playing as the Villain, plus some kind of motion controls for some mini-games, pub games, and similar activities in the central city area, the details of which haven’t been revealed yet.

RELEASE DATE: TBA 2015

MY OPINION

None of Fable Legends’ Kinect 2 features have been shown yet (although it’s possible that voice commands were available in the recent Beta, but I didn’t take part) but using voice commands in Villain mode will hopefully be fun and I can’t wait to see what the Kinect 2 supported mini-games are in the rest of the game and what sort of controls they have. Other than that, what I’ve seen of the game in general so far looks a lot of fun, somewhat reminiscent of the Phantasy Star Online games rather than the traditional Fable games. And since it’s called Fable Legends not Fable 4 I don’t have a problem with that, it’s cool to see Lionhead try different gameplay styles in the world of Albion.

 

 

GET EVEN

(Xbox One.)

(Developer: The Farm 51. Publisher: The Farm 51 via ID@Xbox.)

OVERVIEW

Eschewing the usual clichés and gung-ho settings currently inhabiting the FPS genre, Get Even subtlety removes the classic division between single-player and multiplayer experiences to unfold two linked stories. The game’s plot revolves around the memories of its central heroes which have a dramatic effect on how the game progresses. The route the player chooses to follow determines their personality as the game unfolds. The carefully crafted storyline mixes elements of thriller and horror with exploration.

As these personality traits are revealed, the merging of single-player and multiplayer elements tighten. When players embark on a single-player mission, others on the network can join the quest as enemies, so players never know whether their opponents are human or CPU-based. This suspense further heightens the player’s feeling of a threat.

KINECT 2 FEATURES

Optional Kinect 2 features: Currently unknown.

RELEASE DATE: TBA 2015

MY OPINION

Unfortunately Get Even’s Kinect features are currently even more of a mystery than the game itself as they haven’t been revealed yet. The game looks graphically amazing though, probably the best looking ID@Xbox game shown so far and better than most games from big developers! The gameplay is still a bit of a mystery though, apparently it’s some kind of weird horror/sci-fi adventure FPS that goes beyond what’s expected in a traditional FPS. Hopefully The Farm 51 will release more details, gameplay videos and reveal the Kinect features soon, as I’m really interested in this already!

 

 

PSYCHO-PASS: SENTAKU NAKI KŌFUKU (PSYCHO-PASS: HAPPINESS WITHOUT CHOICE)

(Xbox One. EXCLUSIVE.)

(Developer: Division 8 ASADA PRODUCTS. Publisher: MAGES. Inc/5pb.Games.)

OVERVIEW

Psycho-Pass: Sentaku Naki Kōfuku (Happiness Without Choice) is an Xbox One adventure game based on the Psycho-Pass anime and supports Kinect 2 & SmartGlass.

In the near future, technology is developed that allows ones state of mind and personality traits to be quickly quantified and profiled.

All emotion, desire, and social disease are documented and managed by the government for the public good. The quality of each person’s life is measure by a single number. That number, which represents how close the mind and soul are to perfection, is known as the Psycho-Pass. The system also calculates a number that represents criminal capacity, known as the Crime Coefficients. This number is the basis of the justice dispensed by the police force.

Officers are divided into two groups: Enforcers, who are tasked with the investigation of crimes and the capture of criminals, and Inspectors, who are charged with managing the Enforces. Enforcers with high Crime Coefficients have proven more effective at understanding the criminal mind. This ability is used by the police department to solve complex and difficult cases. Because they have such high Crime Coefficients, however, they must be monitored at all time by the Inspectors, to ensure that none of them actually become criminals. Though each member of the Public Safety Bureau carries their own burdens, they must see that justice is served-in a society where everything is quantified, they have to make sure it all adds up.

What’s waiting for them out there…?

 

KINECT 2 FEATURES

Optional (?) Kinect 2 features: Currently unknown beyond motion control for some gestures.

RELEASE DATE: TBA 2015

MY OPINION

Psycho-Pass: Sentaku Naki Kōfuku is still early in development, only a small section has been shown that’s it’s all in Japanese and details of its Kinect 2 support has been very vague so far, so there’s not much I can say about it unfortunately. What little has been shown does have some interesting features, like the fingerprint scanner, but they all used Xbox SmartGlass. I’m interested to see how this turns out though and the story sounds interesting so I’m planning on watching the first series of the anime before the game is released as the game takes place between series 1 & 2.

 

 

SODA DRINKER PRO!

(Xbox One. Console exclusive.)

(Developer: Will Brierly. Publisher: Will Brierly via ID@Xbox.)

OVERVIEW

Soda Drinker Pro is the premier in software in the first person Soda drinking genre. Experience what it’s truly like to drink a Soda at the beach, in the park, and even…in space! Soda Drinker Pro gives players over 100 intense Soda Drinking simulations across a wide array of landscapes.

With Soda Drinker Pro, you don’t need to have a Soda in hand to experience a Soda in your mind.

Increase your Soda-drinking abilities with Soda Drinker Pro! Many Soda-drinking simulations only give you the can, but in Soda Drinker Pro you get the real deal slurps and all. Imagine the feeling knowing at any moment you could take a Soda and place it to your lips. And then YOU decide when to sip it! Soda Drinker Pro gives you this ability and so much more.

KINECT 2 FEATURES

Optional Kinect 2 controls: Motion controls for drinking soda in the game.

RELEASE DATE: TBA 2015.

MY OPINION

I have to be honest, I thought Soda Drinker PRO! looked awful when I first saw it, lol! However, I then found out that there’s a secret game within Soda Drinker PRO called Vivian Clark which is actually the “real” game and it’s apparently quite good, so I don’t know what to think. I don’t know if Vivian Clark will support Kinect 2 and the Kinect 2 support confirmed so far in Soda Drinker PRO! is just motion controls for drinking the soda. So… yeah, let’s just wait and see how this turns out, shall we?

 

 

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

(Xbox One.)

(Developer: CD Projekt Red. Publishers: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (North America) & Bandai Namco Games (UK & EU).)

OVERVIEW

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt – a fantasy RPG with a character-driven, non-linear story set in an open world and featuring meaningful player choices, tactical combat and rich, living environments.

The world is in chaos. The air is thick with tension and the smoke of burnt villages. The fearsome Empire of Nilfgaard has struck again, ravaging the hapless Northern Kingdoms. The once-mighty who tried to use Geralt for their own gain are now gone. In these uncertain times, no one can say what fortune holds in store, who will bring peace to the world and who will cause it only misery. But a force darker and deadlier emerges. The petty men and women commanding tin-plated armies fail to understand that their conflict is child’s play compared to the Wild Hunt, the otherworldly threat which now looms. These ghastly spectral riders have for ages plagued humankind, bringing misery to the world. Yet this time the Wild Hunt seeks one person in particular: the one individual Destiny itself bestowed upon Geralt, the one soul Geralt considers kin.

 

KINECT 2 FEATURES

Optional Kinect 2 controls: Only voice commands confirmed so far and an example given was voice commands used for magic signs.

RELEASE DATE: May 19th 2015.

MY OPINION

Unfortunately the only Kinect 2 support for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt that has been confirmed is voice commands. But aside from that slight disappointment the game looks great and epic in scope so I’m looking forward to it. I can’t really say much more since I haven’t actually got around to playing The Witcher 2 yet, it’s still in my large backlog, so I’ll have to play that before I play The Witcher 3. I’m sure Witcher fans won’t be disappointed though, judging by what I’ve seen so far.

 

 

Possibility Of Kinect Support

 

GRAVE

(Xbox One.)

(Developer: Broken Window Studios. Publisher: Broken Window Studios via ID@Xbox.)

OVERVIEW

Grave’s brand of surrealist dreamscape will be a unique experience for players. The team’s goal is to create the “Destino” or “Eraserhead” of games, by experimenting and redefining the player’s interaction with the game’s narrative.

Explore a dynamically procedural desert inspired by the early wild west landscape of America as you explore the game’s unusual narrative. Fusing reality with unreality, locations fluctuate in and out of existence while you play and nightfall brings strange, threatening creatures that stalk you until dawn. Play Grave how you want to, setting up defensive fortifications to survive the night or arming yourself with offensive weapons to keep the creatures at bay. With procedurally populated enemies, items and even worlds, Grave weaves an unpredictable tale that will keep you in its grasp.

 

KINECT 2 FEATURES

Optional Kinect 2 features: Currently unknown, but Broken Window Studios did say that they were interested in incorporating Kinect 2 into Grave in some way.

RELEASE DATE: Expected Q3 2015.

MY OPINION

(Disclosure: I backed Grave on Kickstarter with a pledge high enough to get a copy of the game as a reward.) I can’t say anything about Grave’s Kinect features as it’s currently unknown whether it will even have any or what they would be if it does. I have played an early demo of Grave on my PC though as it was another reward for backing it on Kickstarter and it seems to be coming along pretty nicely.

It plays well with various tasks to do that you have to work out, plus the creatures are genuinely scary and I guarantee that you’ll jump out of your seat everytime they get you! They’re also hard to fight as you have to work out what does damage to each type and at least some can move quickly as well as seemingly appearing out of nowhere sometimes. You’ll know when they’re around due to the freaky shriek they make though!

 

 

HABITAT: A THOUSAND GENERATIONS IN ORBIT

(Xbox One.)

(Developer: 4Gency. Publisher: Versus Evil via ID@Xbox.)

OVERVIEW

In Habitat gamers have to build and manage the future homes of humanity from orbital debris they find in space junkyards surrounding Earth’s orbit.  Leading their team of engineers, they will have to build and fly space stations in a zero gravity setting, mastering physics driven flight simulation to explore space.

In order to thrive and grow they have to manage their population and their population’s environment.  In the event of a threat they will have to turn their space stations into deadly weapons using pieces of debris picked up such as rockets, lasers and particle accelerators to fight and ultimately survive against attacks from the enemy.  This is a space survival game where crisis is guaranteed and the only chance for survival is to be creative and decisive in the face of disaster.

 

KINECT 2 FEATURES

Optional Kinect 2 controls: 4Gency have said that Habitat may support Kinect 2 with voice commands.

RELEASE DATE: TBA 2015.

MY OPINION

I’m not into RTS games myself so I probably won’t be getting this. Although the combat is quite innovative since among other things you can swing and throw space debris at the enemy! Maybe if it does support Kinect 2 and it turns out that the game can be mostly played with voice commands I’ll try it. I’m surprised they didn’t include motion controls too though, even just using Kinect 2 like a mouse. If you’re a fan of RTS games then Habitat does look like it should be fun and worth checking out.

 

 

QUANTUM BREAK

(Xbox One. EXCLUSIVE.)

(Developer: Remedy Entertainment. Publisher: Microsoft Studios.)

OVERVIEW

Developed exclusively for Xbox One, “Quantum Break” blurs the line between television and gameplay, integrating the two into one seamless, uniquely immersive experience. From Remedy Entertainment, the critically acclaimed creators of “Alan Wake” and “Max Payne,” comes a revolutionary entertainment experience that weaves the cinematic action of intense gameplay with the tension and drama of scripted television, creating a world where each has a direct impact on the other.

In “Quantum Break,” our desperate hero fights a highly personal battle to save the future before time literally runs out. As time breaks down, impossible, split-second moments of destruction turn into epic stages of time-powered action. The actions you take, and the choices you make, shape your experience as the narrative unfolds. As you play, a personalized “director’s cut” of the show is created just for you, based on the decisions you make during the game.

“Quantum Break” will lead the new generation of interactive entertainment, as the show and game deliver a holistic entertainment experience made possible only on Xbox One.

 

KINECT 2 FEATURES

Optional (?) Kinect 2 controls & features(?): Currently unknown.

MY OPINION

Quantum Break looks absolutely awesome and is probably my most anticipated Xbox One game, so Kinect 2 support would be icing on the cake! I can’t really much more since this is just a slight possibility after I asked Remedy’s CEO Matias Myllyrinne at EGX London if Quantum Break has any Kinect 2 features, to which he just smiled and replied “We’re not announcing anything yet.” So keep your fingers crossed everybody!

 

 

SEVERED

(Possibly Xbox One & Xbox 360.)

(Developer: DrinkBox Studios. Publisher: Probably DrinkBox Studios via ID@Xbox.)

OVERVIEW

Severed follows the saga of a distraught warrior, lost in a fantastical world, as she knits together pieces of her story from both the past and the future. As the heroine, players will embark on a journey through a surreal, nonlinear world by using a gesture-based combat mechanic to defeat enemies in this first-person adventure. During their journey, players will unlock new abilities, discover secrets of the land, and grow in power as they master both offensive and defensive techniques.

The game is all gesture-based, and with combat it was likened to that of Infinity Blade in that you’ll be swiping to perform attacks. The Punch-Out element comes in on how all the enemies require different strategies, and that foes have different tells to make you aware of their incoming strikes or weaknesses. It’ll be interesting how difficult combat will become, as enemies can surround you yet you can only be facing one direction at a time. There will be something in place to make you aware there’s multiple enemies around you, and learning the tells of enemies will be key in these situations so you know who to strike at first.

Players will be able to use magic spells along with their physical attacks, and this system was compared to The Legend of Zelda. Magic will be usable in offense ways (such as blinding enemies), along with doubling as a tool for exploration (being able to unlock doors).

 

 

KINECT (1? &) 2 FEATURES

Mandatory(?) Kinect (1? &) 2 controls & features(?): Probably motion controls for gesture-based combat and possibly exploration.

MY OPINION

DrinkBox Studios say they’re open to a Kinect version of Severed. Whether they’re talking about Kinect 1, 2 or both is unclear, but since DrinkBox Studios’ current (joypad controlled) game Guacamelee! was released for both Xbox One and Xbox 360 I think there’s a definite possibility that Severed could be released for both. I hope they do decide to release it for either or both Kinects because it looks pretty cool, like a stylised 2D cartoon version of Infinity Blade Saga, and would be another core Kinect game to look forward to.

 

 

So those are the Kinect games announced for 2015 so far. I think it’s not too bad considering the obvious lack of Microsoft and other big developers’ games. Are you happy with the current 2015 line-up? Do you think there are loads more Kinect games (especially Kinect 2 games and especially from Microsoft) waiting to be revealed and that 2015 is going to be a big year for Kinect? Let us know in the comments below.