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Classic Halo remake is next hardcore game to feature Kinect augmentation

The Halo Anniversary edition of Halo: Combat Evolved will use Microsoft’s motion-sensing controller, the Kinect, in some way, Microsoft Studios head Phil Spencer told GameSpot.

The company has tried to market its Kinect motion controller as an “experience” by giving Xbox 360 owners ways to control other parts of their Xbox 360 with motion controls — like the menus in the console’s dashboard that let owners access popular applications like Hulu and Netflix. That includes rebuilding games — even hardcore games like first-person shooters — with those same Kinect features.

Giving players new ways to control the game is one way to make the gaming experience more immersive. Adding voice controls gives gamers an array of new options to control their squads in role-playing shooting game Mass Effect 3. While still controlling series protagonist Commander Shepherd with a regular controller, players can tell their squad mates to advance on enemies and use special skills to disable them while Shepherd goes in for the kill.

Microsoft announced at the Electronic Entertainment Expo earlier this month that it would release a remastered version of Halo: Combat Evolved. Halo: Combat was one of the games that put the original Xbox, and Microsoft, on the map for home console gaming. It spawned two sequels and a number of spin-off titles that have all sold extremely well. The first Halo game was announced 10 years ago, when console gaming was still becoming more popular with mainstream audiences.

Today, home gaming consoles are a staple for most living rooms. That’s especially true with the advent of motion-controlled devices like the Xbox Kinect, which lets Xbox 360 owners control the console’s main features with arm motions and voice controls. Console owners are able to access popular apps like Netflix and Hulu, which found their start on computers, on the Xbox 360.

The Kinect is a strong part of Microsoft’s portfolio and has been a large factor in the company’s recent success. Revenues from Microsoft’s entertainment and devices division were up 60 percent to $1.9 billion in the third fiscal quarter this year from $1.2 billion in the third quarter last year. Revenue rose 13 percent to $16.4 billion, up from $14.5 billion in the same quarter a year earlier.

The new version will feature high-definition graphics that appear in the latest games in the series like Halo: Reach and recreate the first maps of the Halo franchise for multiplayer games. But players can switch back to “Classic Mode,” which will revert to the same graphics the original version of the game had when it shipped in 2001, at any time when they are playing the game.

The Halo franchise is considered partially responsible for making first-person shooter games, where users control a character and see the game through that character’s eyes, more popular on home gaming consoles like the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It popularized a number of features in first-person shooter games that are now staples — such as regenerating health over time and only carrying a limited number of weapons.


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