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Kinect's Kudo Tsunoda

On hybrid games, evolving through firmware and staying relevant.

Microsoft's decision not to have a gamescom press conference may have robbed us of the sight of Kudo Tsunoda doing stage demos by leaping around like a lunatic, but the mile-a-minute spokesperson for Xbox 360's new control system was still buzzing around the "Play Day" the platform holder organised on the edge of town - and still had a lot to say about Kinect ahead of its 10th November launch.

With the line-up more or less confirmed and the price set in stone (see our interview with Chris Lewis for MS' reaction to the reaction), we spoke to Tsunoda about the challenges of new technology, the second wave of games and how he expects Kinect to evolve through firmware updates in much the same way Xbox Live has done in recent years.

EurogamerWhat did you think of Peter Molyneux's comments recently that core gamers might get more out of the second wave of Kinect games than the first?
Kudo Tsunoda

It all depends what you mean by core gamers. None of the games that we have in the launch line-up involve shooting or violence or things like that, but I think what core gamers really like is skill-based gameplay and depth. I always feel frustrated because I'm a core gamer as well and when people say, "all they want is violent games," I don't think that's very true.

If you have good gameplay depth, and the more you play the better you are at the game, that's what makes games addictive for core gamers, and I think that's a lot of what we focused on in developing the Kinect launch line-up - making it accessible so you don't have to learn new controls every time you play a new game, but still providing all that gameplay depth and skill that core gamers love.

Eurogamer What are examples of games in your line-up that have those skill-based elements that core gamers love?
Kudo Tsunoda

In Kinect Adventures they have the River Rush game, and there's hundreds of different ways you can go down each of those levels. It's a lot like a platformer game, which in general is a genre core gamers love. Kinect Sports also - obviously multiplayer is a big part of what core gamers appreciate, and that game's all based around really good multiplayer play. In Kinect Joy Ride, the whole way you can customise and upgrade your vehicle along the way...

Those are all your normal kind of gameplay mechanics that you see in a lot of core games. When we talk about Kinect we say things are accessible, but that doesn't mean the games are shallow. We just take away the hour or two you usually take having to learn the controls.

Kudo's Kinect Adventures on video.
EurogamerThe technology is finished now but presumably you plan to keep developing the software side of it. Do you expect Kinect's capabilities to evolve in future?
Kudo Tsunoda

Yeah. I think it's a lot like what Xbox has done with Xbox Live. It's much different today to when it first launched. It's like any ongoing development on Xbox where you're going to see new things and the technology evolve over time. I think you'll see the same thing with Kinect, especially as we learn new things that developers want to do with the technology - those will be features we want to add.

I think you're just going to see over time lots of new things done in games, but also lots of new things done as a platform.