When controlling the game with Kinect, players are treated to a multitude of on-screen notifications for required gestures needed to progress. A bold, colorful arrow to the right requires players to move their hands, you guessed it, to the right. Two arrows in the air ask players to wave them like they just don't care. The notifications are presented casually, slowing down the action in some instances to give players a chance to respond.
But the fervor each gesture was made time and time again at the event, the exaggerations made with each movement, tells a story about how players expect Swery's game to play purely based on their experience with Kinect.
D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die (E3 2014)
When he revealed the game at E3 2013, Swery described his desire to create an experience "just like watching TV, with your popcorn." Swery said he wanted players to play it casually, focusing on its story about a time-traveling detective.
That philosophy still powers the direction for D4: "I've been designing this game so people can just relax on the couch. Sitting with a popcorn bucket, eating and playing. That's the vision," Swery tells me.
"I've seen two different kinds of players [playing D4]: Ones that have never played Kinect before and those who have. Those who have used [Kinect], know how it works. They know how the controls work and [what the onscreen commands mean], those who haven't [used Kinect] may take more time to learn, but [it comes to them]." Swery adds that people tend to exaggerate the motions initially, but he's seeing both types of players ease into the game over time.
Swery is aware not everyone wants to play a game with Kinect and a new wave of Kinect-less Xbox One players are on their way to the market. For that, the game features controller support. In his personal time with the game, however, Swery says it's a 90-10 split between playing with Kinect and with the Xbox One controller. Kinect is the design core of the experience.
The game itself is as irreverent as you'd expect from a Swery piece. The lead character, a former detective named David, wakes up in his bathtub. He stumbles out of the room thanks to my swiping controls. I wave left and right to change the direction he's facing and reach out and grab to move forward. You can explore David's apartment, sit down at the table and thumb through the file that details the murder of his wife. David is a damaged soul, given the ability to travel back in time to solve murders, but not the one that impacted his life the most: His lost love.
The entire encounter is played off as a gag. It isn't a vicious attack, it's a comical encounter that plays out in different ways, depending on whether or not a player is successful at executing gestures. Failing the rat gesture didn't result in a level failure. Catching the rat in David's teeth, while horrifying conceptually, is a funny moment.
Even a quick glimpse at Swery's next game tells us fans of his work are in for more of the same: Off-the-wall characters in a world as bent as their own psyche. It's as weird as Deadly Premonition, which is exactly what Swery fanatics want.
D4 is expected to launch exclusively for the Xbox One sometime this year.