Microsoft recently announced its new Kinect system for the Xbox 360 at the E3 electronics show. Kinect is a response to the success of the Nintendo Wii, allowing Xbox users to physically interact with new games.
A sensor detects your movement and transfers it into motion in the software, allowing sports games, exercise and dance games to add a new layer to the Xbox experience.
With several games already announced, Turn 10 Studios took the opportunity to demonstrate the new Kinect technology will combine with its “Forza Motorsport” video game series.
Celebrating five years in the console racing business, Turn 10 aims to reach a wider audience with its Kinect software by preserving the excellent graphics and combining it with a more interactive experience.
The game is still under development but we were able to witness two elements; racing action that requires no controller, as well as a car exploration level.
A spokesman for Turn 10 couldn’t confirm whether the Kinect elements would be part of a regular Forza game, or if it would be packaged separately to capture a different audience.
The racing element has you standing in front of the Kinect sensor. You hold out your arms as if grasping an imaginary steering wheel. The game does all the braking and acceleration for you; it’s your job to simply steer it through the turns and traffic.
It also detects your head and body movement, allowing you to look around the car, sit lower in the seat or look through the turn.
Admittedly, it’s less technical than Forza Motorsport 3, but the HD graphics remain top-notch at 60 fps – better than anything you’ll find on the Wii.
And while it’s less complex for the hardcore racing gamer, it would allow your girlfriend, daughter, mother, grandmother, etc to take part. And since this wide appeal has been a huge success for Nintendo, Xbox owners can get in on the family fun.
The second element is what Turn 10 described as the Car Experience. This again combines Forza’s uncannily realistic graphics with the ability to explore your favorite cars.
The idea is that it allows you to walk up to the car as if you were in a showroom. You can then walk around and check it out from any angle, actually leaning in to take a closer look in more detail. It really is very life-like and extremely detailed, with even the car’s textures visible.
Taking it a stage further, you can enter the car and sit behind the wheel, even start the engine, giving you a virtual sense of what it would be like to own a particular car. During our demo, they used a Ferrari 458 Italia as gorgeous eye-candy.
Throughout the tour, there are information buttons that allow the user to get technical information, or you can open the hood and check out the engine.
Obviously, this level of detail requires a great deal of programming. No word was given about how many cars you’ll be able to inspect in this manner, but it seems like the sort of downloadable content proposition that could allow enthusiasts to compile their dream garage.
With the Forza Kinect project in its early stages, Turn 10 promises more developments through 2011. And it certainly opened our eyes to the potential of the Kinect system and Forza’s stunning graphics.