Dubbed a "public brainstorming session" in a sorry-I-couldn't-make-it introductory video from Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business VP, Don Mattrick, the Xbox 360 Creator Discussion Panel saw three esteemed Japanese game developers share their dreams and designs for Project Natal.
It was immediately noted that no ideas or concepts -- erupting from Hideo Kojima (Metal Gear Solid), Keiji Inafune (Mega Man, Dead Rising) and Toshihiro Nagoshi (Monkey Ball, Yakuza) -- should be considered actual, in-development concepts. Which is just as well, because it didn't take long for the trio to joke about a motion-enabled female feel-'em-up (see above gesture for context).
Keiji Inafune was the one to bring it up, noting that the evolution of controllers was "way behind the evolution of graphics." According to Inafune, "Body language is part of this important evolution. With Natal we can involve ourselves. I'm getting really excited and show it in my body or action. Instead of pressing the button, it can be truly immersive experience."
Toshihiro Nagoshi described Natal as a way of intensifying audience participation, saying, "I think Japanese performance is going to be a lot more exciting and may change the way we express ourselves. Emotion to draw me into imitating and copying what I saw on the TV screen. " Ultimately, Nagoshi expressed hope in using Natal to capture something ... a little more realistic. "I cannot reveal what I'm really thinking about," he said. "Sense of life, I hope to create a sense of life on the screen. This is my personal interest."
Natal's capabilities extend beyond our own personal interests, Kojima believes. "I think we have to go beyond entertainment," he said. "The medical field -- an operation can use this technology." Of course, things in the living room will change significantly too, he predicted. "And the muscles you'll gain!"
It's not as easy as flailing and building up the biceps, though, as all three creators agreed that transitioning between gamepads and motion controls would require a degree of elegance from creators. Nagoshi insisted that developers should "nurture" players in the midst of switching over. At the same time, both Inafune and Kojima praised Natal for its ability to still interact with traditional controllers. "We, the creators, have some reluctance in throwing away all the past," Inafune admitted. "It's an an add-on, so you don't have to do away with the old technologies and can add to the foundation."
And it's all a bit like driving a car, you see. "The steering wheel -- unless you are given the wheel-shaped wheel, you won't be able to drive," said Kojima. "If you're told to pretend you're holding a wheel in your hand, you'll be able to play the game." Of course, for all the unique ideas, the creator was adamant that he would not want to leave his hardcore gamer fans behind.
"Using Natal, I'd like to come up with a completely innovative game, but core users are my fans," Kojima explained. "I would not like to leave them behind, so I should make a car that can fly ... sticking with the metaphor." The joke was a bit lost in translation, prompting Kojima to say, "It's so quiet! Are the interpreters interpreting? We should use Natal to communicate. Natal lingo!"