Secrets from the Future

Editor’s Note: Today, we give a big “f-u” to all other gaming websites. Who needs Kotaku when Bitmob’s armed with a time-travelling news correspondent? We’re not sure why Kris Pigna’s powers didn’t materialize until after he left 1UP, but whatever…our gain. -Shoe

LOS ANGELES, Ca. (BNS News) – E3 2010 has come and gone, answering many lingering questions from last year’s show while providing a few new surprises of its own. As expected, Microsoft and Sony revealed new details on their respective motion-control devices due out later this year, while Nintendo finally explained the true origins of the Vitality Sensor.


Project Natal and Sony’s Magic Wand Named

One of the biggest reveals people were looking for at E3 this year was the official names for Microsoft’s and Sony’s motion-control devices, and they didn’t disappoint. For Microsoft, Project Natal was officially ordained the Blorp! (with exclamation point), and for Sony, their PlayStation Eye wand is now — incredulously — called the Kii. Both companies explained their eyebrow-raising names during their E3 press conferences.

“We wanted a name that was easy to remember, could be used as a verb if someone wanted to, conveyed excitement, but ultimately didn’t mean shit,” said Microsoft’s Kudo Tsunoda. “We also wanted it to sound like a Google killer. We know this isn’t a search engine, but, you know, just in case.”

As for Sony, they quickly shot down allegations that they deliberately chose the name to confuse consumers who may be looking for a Wii. “We had three main qualifications for our name — we wanted it to be short, have an obscure and stupid hidden meaning, and be dangerously close to being spelled like a different brand,” said SCE Group CEO Kaz Hirai. “It just so happened Kii fit all three — it’s short, it’s the key to videogaming’s future, and it could be confused with Kia at a glance.” When we mentioned after the conference that the name “Wii” also has a stupid hidden meaning, and is really close to Wi-Fi, Hirai pretended like he couldn’t hear us.

We also took the opportunity to ask what the Kii meant for the prospects of Sixaxis controls ever appearing in another PS3 game ever again. Harai responded by asking us, “What the hell is Sixaxis?” and giving us a cold, dead stare for 20 minutes.

Vitality Sensor Explained

While the new details on Sony’s and Microsoft’s motion controls were exciting, by far the story of E3 2010 were the new revelations surrounding Nintendo’s Wii Vitality Sensor. Shocking both press and developers alike, Nintendo confessed at their press conference that the whole thing started as a practical joke.

“I’ll be honest and kick ass, because that’s my style, but right now I don’t really need to kick any ass, so I’ll just be honest,” NOA President Reggie Fils-Aime began. “The truth is, I made a wager with [Nintendo President] Mr. Iwata that there was absolutely nothing we could ever do to alienate our most diehard fans. I mean, we literally released a game that tricked you to exercise, and people went apeshit for it. So since we’re wealthy as fuck, Mr. Iwata decided to take that bet, and eventually came up with the Vitality Sensor as a joke. It was completely ridiculous, and in fact, right after our E3 2009 conference, Mr. Iwata said to me, ‘Dude, I can’t believe we totally went through with it.’ We both giggled for about 15 minutes.”

So who won the bet? “Well, considering the Vitality Sensor is about to launch in two weeks, and so far we have over 150,000 pre-orders, I think the answer is clear,” Fils-Aime said.

Fragmented Market

As speculated for months after the Blorp! and Kii were first revealed last year, the situation has become only more treacherous for multiplatform developers trying to make their games work with each disparate control method. Nowhere was this more evident than at Electronic Arts’ bizarre press conference, where Madden NFL 11 was the focus.

“Madden NFL 11 is going to have a big presence with each platform’s unique motion controls,” said EA Sports head Peter Moore. “Using Blorp!, a player will actually hold a real football and throw it to a second player, for real, in their living room, and the game will mimic the actions. But to protect against potential lawsuits over broken windows and vases, we encourage gamers to play inside our giant protective clear plastic bubbles.” This bubble is being called the Blorp! Human Jacket and will retail separately for $29.99.

The PS3 version of Madden 11 works basically like the 360′s Blorp! version, except you have to duct tape a Kii wand to the football for the game to be able to track it. And as for the Wii game, Moore explained this will be the first major Wii title to make use of every Wii peripheral available, hooking gamers up to so many gadgets at once that they’ll be more machine than man. “You control the game with the Wii remote and Nunchuk like before, but now Wii MotionPlus adds actual precision, and you also shift your weight on the Balance Board to move the player,” Moore said. The game will use the Vitality Sensor to simulate a kicker’s jitters, making you automatically miss all field goal attempts if your pulse is too high. You’ll also be forced to use only the Classic Controller for navigating menus, the Wii Wheel in a mini-game if an injured player needs to be carted off the field, and lastly, the Wii Zapper in a mini-game where you launch poor quality t-shirts into the crowd.

Moore also revealed that in order to develop such distinct versions of Madden this year, they had to divide their 100-person team into six smaller, 16-person mini-teams: one to work on the regular 360 version, one to work on its Blorp! controls, one to work on the PS3 version, one on the Kii controls, one on the PS2 version, and one on the Wii version. Although it seems this would dilute the quality of each game, Moore insists that’s not the case.

“It’s going pretty well, actually. Each mini-team is hard at work in their own little cubicles, with a life-sized hamster wheel and bowl full of protein pellets,” Moore joked. “I’m not joking,” he retorted.

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