GamesBeat: Why is that so important?
PM: To start off with, I think it’s important because it’s another discovery. And also, what we’re trying to do is immerse you in a world, isn’t it? That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to make you believe you’re actually there. And if you’re using your body in the way that you use your body, rather than the way I want you to use your body, then you’re much more likely to feel like you’re there.
GamesBeat: Can you give some examples about how we can use the Kinect in deeper ways than we’re traditionally used to? Like during the demo, when the player pulled the arrow out of his horse with an awkward angle, and the horse winced in pain?
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PM: The healing. It feels lovely to place your hands on things and heal things. There are a few times that we dot things around the world for you to heal, because we know people like to do that.
So there’s one moment — I hope this stays in the game. We have to be careful because at this stage of the project we do cut things, and things like this are easy to cut, but it’s the spirit of what it is rather than whether it’s actually in the game. Anyway, there’s a little bunny rabbit on the side of the road, and it’s dead. And I know that some people love bunny rabbits, and they’ll want to reach down and use the power of the gauntlets to heal the bunny rabbit.
Unfortunately, the side effect of healing is that you can heal anything in the world, but something else living has to pay the price for that. So if you heal the little bunny rabbit, there will be a little puppy dog bouncing along the road…bring the rabbit back to life, and the puppy falls down dead. I love the choices and the consequences of that.
GamesBeat: Now, don’t you feel like there’s a bit of an overlap between the puppy-loving audience and the bunny-loving audience? It’s not that you’re giving joy to one group and —
PM: Absolutely, absolutely. But I can just imagine people’s reactions. “Oh my God, what have I done to the puppy?” As the rabbit hops away. And there are a few times we use this in the story. Someone comes to you and says, “Please help me. Please help me. I’m really badly wounded.” And you know that, OK, this is your friend in the game, and they’re going to give you something, but when you heal them, someone else is going to get hurt. I love the morality that gameplay gives.
GamesBeat: What drove you to have that sort of dynamic in the game?
PM: So often we think that emotion in gaming is all about storytelling. It’s all about a story you tell and the characters you’ve got. And that is incredibly important, but I find there’s a lot of emotion in your connection, your ability to connect to the world.
You can sit back, and I can tell you the most wonderful story…I can get the most brilliant screenwriters and the most brilliant actors, and I can probably make you cry with a story. But you’re far more likely to be emotionally engaged if you are involved, if it is your choice. It’s your choice to heal that rabbit. But the consequence of that is the puppy dies.
It’s your choice whether you want to thrash your horse, and the leather hitting the back of your horse will hurt your horse. And the next time you stop, you’ll see bits of blood dripping from the reins. That’s your choice. And maybe sometimes you have to push your horse and hurt him, but you’ll still feel emotionally engaged. I think that consequence of your choice and your gameplay makes that experience far more connected.
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