Child of Eden is the child of Rez, which might explain why Tetsuya Mizuguchi's astonishing new synaesthesia epic feels both warmly familiar and wonderfully inventive at the same time.
It's Rez in everything from the target reticule you move around the glowing, pulsing screen, to the twinkling, rippling, unfurling game worlds you float through, and its influence is tucked in there in terms of the story too, which restages the original game's narrative in a tale of five internet Archives - future worlds of pure information - that have become corrupted by viruses.
There's even another woman lurking at the centre of it all - Limi, a mysterious character who is, once again, trapped within the machine.
But something very important has changed. You have. No longer is your avatar a little shape-shifting chunk of geometry stuck in the middle of the screen. It's you, in your living room, with your hands moving the cursor around as you explore each intricate, fascinating Archive in turn.
It's Rez, and now you control it by conducting. Mizuguchi must feel pretty pleased with himself, although he's far too self-effacing to ever suggest as much: his greatest game has found its ultimate control scheme.
It's worth mentioning at the start that Child of Eden won't necessarily have to cost you upwards of £100 pounds or so to play. Mizuguchi's game controls very well with the regular PS3 or 360 control pad, and, yes, it also supports Move by the looks of it. But Kinect - and it's not often I've said this these past few days - brings something new to the game.
That much was clear to see when the curtain went up at the Los Angeles Theatre at the start of Ubisoft's conference, and there the great man was, limbering up, turning to face the screen, throwing out his arms, and then playing the game in broad, swooping movements.
Mizuguchi has made Kinect fascinating again by proposing that, if your body truly is the controller, why not make a big deal of it? When you play Child of Eden, you're part of the show, part of the overall effect. Even the camera calibration process, which most developers get out the way as forgettably as possible, is a pleasure to watch with this one, as your entire body is recreated in tiny little fireflies while the game boots up. Take a bow, Q Entertainment.
Backstage at Ubisoft's booth on the show floor, we get a better chance to look at the game, with Mizuguchi personally playing through the Ubisoft conference demo again - an Archive which I think is actually called Eden - and beyond, battling off waves of luminous squid, targeting and flushing out buzzing little clusters of orange shrapnel, picking through huge spectral sunflower heads with petals made of fibre optic cables, and finally taking on a boss that looks like a space station built from a disco ball wedged on top of a couple of karaoke microphones.
The controls are delightful: playful and elegant, with three different kinds of attack ranging from a paint-and-release system familiar to anyone who's played Rez (you release by waving), a rapid-fire mode where shots constantly nibble at whatever's under the cursor, and a sort of smart bomb triggered by throwing up both hands in victory, which the developers, naturally, have taken to referring to as the Happy Bomb. The reticule moves smoothly, and has a pleasing hint of weight to it, as if Mizuguchi is pushing it through as much as over something, and you change your attack style - this is brilliant - by clapping your hands.
The screen fragments into cubes during transitions, the disco ball boss eventually breaks into shiny green boxes that have to be shoved out of the way by the cursor in huge sticky clods, and at the end of it all the level's strange bloops, bleeps, drum breaks and Lumines-friendly squiggles of sound have come together to form a song by Mizuguchi's own band, Genki Rockets - the team that is responsible for all, I believe, of the in-game soundtrack.
Diving into a few of the other Archives, all half-finished, reveals a game that isn't short on imagination. In Beauty, we move quickly over a rolling mountainside covered in what look like crystalline fir trees - a frosty world of dark greens and underwater blues, eventually sparking the place to life by shooting at giant flowers that unfold in blooms of reds and pinks.
Beyond that lies Evolution, which starts with a slow swooping assault on a nest of axons and dendrites, riddled with molecular strands and looped fronds that slowly start to form twisting ladders of DNA. Enemy viruses evolve as you float through the level, amoebas giving way to neon jellyfish who can be tickled by rapid fire, before bloated clusters of nerve cells arrive to wriggle and bounce around like bright punch bags. Phalanxes of glass Manta Rays advance towards us, withering slowly under Mizuguchi's shots, until finally, if the game wasn't already a new-age daydream, a huge, spectral whale, its translucent white skin covered in little jewels of infection, sweeps into view, ready for a musical cleansing from the cursor.
It's clear, by this point, that it's very hard to describe what goes on during Child of Eden without sounding like a self-important 15-year-old amateur poet who exists on a diet of green tea, home-made psychotropics, and Rimbaud audiobooks.
To watch the game, however, and to see it unfolding on the screen, is charming and inclusive rather than elitist and pretentious. Mizuguchi mentions several times during the demo that it's been important to him to make a game that's about making players smile and feel positive about things, which is why you're "purifying" viruses when you shoot them rather than simply destroying them.
You can't help but suspect that he's going to be successful with that. If you love Rez, this is going to make you very happy. If you're Microsoft and you're looking for at least one core gamer hook for your new peripheral, you're going to be ecstatic. And if you're anybody else? You simply have no idea what's in store for you.
Child of Eden is due out for PS3 and Xbox 360 in Q1 2011.