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Capcom outlines vision for next-gen Steel Battalion


Capcom hopes to continue the Steel Battalion series on the next generation of consoles, and it has already worked out how it will make use of the extra processing power.

In Steel Battalion: Heavy Armour, a Kinect exclusive game due out next month, one player operates a single Vertical Tank (VT), and three AI-controlled characters assume the role of your crew, two loading weapons and one managing communications.

On the next Xbox, however, Capcom hopes to be able to allow players to assume all of the roles of a VT crew, over the internet, in huge battles against other four player-controller mechs.

"There are many things we wanted to do but couldn't do this time," producer Kenji Kataoka told Eurogamer. "Assuming Kinect gets improved over time, we want to make the cockpit even more complicated, with more buttons, more levers and more things to fiddle.

"Currently the multiplayer is up to four people, but in the next one we want to put four people per tank. At the moment you've got four people in one tank but you only control as the pilot. We want the left and right loader and the sub-comm all to be real players. So you share a VT among four people. And then we can make a game with co-op or we even want to do some versus.

"If you have 16 people you could do four VTs with four people in each fighting against each other. That would be proper teamwork. If one person is too lazy to load, then you'd have to fight with just machine guns. You can imagine the banter. It would be amazing."

Kataoka said such an experience would be possible to replicate with the Xbox 360, but not the current version of Kinect. We understand Microsoft is plotting a Kinect 2, one powered by its own hardware and, as a result, much more accurate. With this, Kataoka said, four players operating a single VT online would just about be possible.

"In the current efficiency, with the current CPU and the memory it uses, it's probably not possible right now. But if Kinect gets further optimised, it could be possible. It would be fairly difficult in the current gen, but it's still technically possible."

A more realistic scenario is using the extra horsepower the next generation of consoles will provide - or making use of high-end PCs and Kinect.

"Next gen, or because there is Kinect for PCs now, having a fairly decent game rig of CPU power, it would be quite easy, So next-gen or PC. That would be awesome."

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Wesley Yin-Poole avatar

Wesley Yin-Poole


Wesley worked at Eurogamer from 2010 to 2023. He liked news, interviews, and more news. He also liked Street Fighter more than anyone could get him to shut up about it.