Now that’s an headline you don’t read too often. During the last couple of years, in fact, Move-only games have become synonymous with casual/sport/party games, further strengthening the notion that motion controls are irrelevant in the realm of hardcore experiences. Well, here is a developer that wants to prove otherwise.
The developer in question is Playhouse Entertainment, and the reason why you have never heard of them before is because they have been formally incorporated only last January. The company, which is based in Canada, is so young indeed that it’s formally comprised of just one person: its founder and president Brett Gale.
But the curriculum (or lack thereof), is really not that important. What’s important here is the motivation, one which Gale explains as follows.
“I’ve been a huge gamer my entire life, and I’m always excited when I see something I believe can make a positive impact on the way we currently play games. That’s why I was so happy when motion controls came out. I started thinking of all these cool ways that developers were going start to use them to make games feel more realistic, using natural arm movements to interact with all objects seen in the game.
Many years have passed and there have been very few games to come close to the amount of control that I originally imagined when I first saw what motion controls were capable of.
If you’re not shaking the controller one minute, you’re forced to aim the motion controller as the camera the next, essentially eliminating motion-controlled gameplay and dumbing incredible technology down to work as a mouse cursor.
The main reason I founded Playhouse Entertainment Inc. and began developing a PlayStation Move dedicated game is because I believe my unique control scheme fixes all previous control problems and introduces realistic motion controlled gameplay that is on par with expensive virtual reality systems.”
Now, while Gale won’t go into details about how his “unique control scheme” works, he did put together a short but nevertheless fascinating tech demo called “The DualPLAY” (not the actual game title, mind you) highlighting the kind of interactions his control solution allows for.
“The tech demo is something I developed several months ago with the purpose of proving that the motion controlled gameplay I have always desired is not only possible, but actually offers some of the most natural and realistic character control I have ever experienced.”
Here it is:
Running under the Unity 3D engine (which is not necessarily the engine the final game will adopt, I’m told), the tech demo is not meant to represent what the game will look like (so please close an eye over the rudimentary graphics – it’s super early prototyping stage!) but rather how you are supposed to interact with the virtual world. That is, via what seems to be a dual-Move set up providing 1:1 control over a pair of hands.
Besides the cool ideas on display (especially the riot shield plus gun near the end – I love that!), what’s interesting about this video is that the dual Move set up doesn’t seem to hinder character movement as much as you would expect from a stick-less control solution. You can even see him strafing from time to time.
I asked Gale for more information, but he’s currently unwilling to go into any detail on that subject. He wouldn’t even confirm he’s using two Move motion controllers, in spite of what seems to be an obvious assumption to make. Is he using buttons for movement? He wouldn’t say either.
In any case, Playhouse is currently looking for talent (check the website at www.playhouseentertainment.com for contact information) and is planning on having a small booth at the 2013 Game Developer Conference in March where a more up to date version of the project will be on display for anyone to play and check out how it controls for the first time.
As for when we can expect this tech demo to blossom into an actual product we can buy, Gale is currently considering to self-publish the game as a downloadable title via the PlayStation Store. Release date to be decided.
I’ll definitely keep an eye on this.