Friday, September 17, 2010

TGS 2010: Capcom & From Software's Steel Battalion Relaunch Gives Me The Kinect Jones

If it hasn't happened yet thanks to Demon's Souls and some of its other recent titles, From Software just might be a household name thanks to Capcom, Keiji Inafune and the return of a little game called Steel Battalion. The original was an Xbox exclusive produced in limited quantities and packed in a huge box with an amazing table-sized controller (complete with foot pedals, multiple switches and a working eject button). The game became an instant collector's item and has been for years, one of the most desired "niche" games on any platform. The sequel, Steel Battalion: Line of Contact was an online only expansion that (in my humble opinion) SHOULD have had an offline mode as not everyone who shelled out for the original game had an Xbox Live account. Nevertheless, both games were impressive hardcore mech simulations that required complete concentration and deft controller work in order to achieve success.

At TGS 2010, Mr. Inafune stepped up to the stage and announced that an all-new Steel Battalion game would be coming exclusively to Microsoft's upcoming Kinect peripheral for the Xbox 360 (and no doubt, put the add-on on many a "core' gamer's want list). As long as Capcom can guarantee 100% precision in terms of the input system, any doubt that the Kinect wasn't ready for more difficult game experiences has pretty much been smashed by a giant robot's metal foot.
Then again, it's not as if the game's developer is new to making some excellent mech-based games. From Software, well-known for it's amazing Armored Core series (which debuted on the original PlayStation), will be develping the game and based on the screens and trailer, I'd say this one should be quite an interesting play even for the more jaded gamers out there.

Cue the press release (*boom*):

Tokyo – September 16, 2010 - Capcom®, a leading worldwide developer and publisher of video games, today confirmed that Steel Battalion Heavy Armor is in development exclusively for the Xbox 360TM video game and entertainment system from Microsoft. Steel Battalion Heavy Armor will utilize Kinect, controller free games and entertainment only on Xbox 360, to deliver an immersive battlefield experience like no other. Steel Battalion Heavy Armor was officially announced by Keiji Inafune, Capcom’s Head of R&D Management Group and Contents Management Division, earlier today to an audience of media from across the globe at Microsoft’s Tokyo Game Show Keynote Address.
“The announcement of Steel Battalion Heavy Armor is further testament to Capcom’s commitment to produce innovative titles that take advantage of the latest technology”, commented Keiji Inafune. “With Kinect’s ability to track your joints and movements and understand where the player is in 3D space and the development expertise of From Software in partnership with Capcom’s own personnel, we are confident of delivering a truly immersive experience for Xbox 360 gamers.”

“We are thrilled to once again work with our partners at Capcom and From Software to develop exclusive, innovative titles,” said Matt Barlow, General Manager, Interactive Entertainment Business Marketing for Microsoft. “It’s exciting to see publishers evolve renowned franchises like ‘Steel Battalion’ with Kinect to create gameplay that you can only experience on Xbox 360.”
Set in 2082, Steel Battalion Heavy Armor depicts a world devoid of computers, where war is waged with rudimentary weapons as new superpowers struggle for dominance. In a twist of fate, the US army has been forced to begin major landing operations on what was once its own soil. In this low-tech era there is one weapon class that will determine the course of the war – the Vertical Tank. VTs are guaranteed to instil fear in enemy forces when they burst onto the battlefield; but they are nothing without the crews who man them. Lacking computer aided weapon and piloting systems, these brave men and women must now rely on skill, intuition and each other to ensure victory.

Now, all I need to do is somehow convince Capcom to swing by NYC with this one all set up to demo live at some point. I'd love to see From bring over both original SB games to Kinect as well, as I can see a few folks becoming interested in diving into the beginnings of the series (Also as they're non-backward compatible as far as I know with the 360 and definitely won't work with Kinect). More updates on this huge game as they come in - stay tuned...

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