In the first two Kinect Sports titles and the Kinect Sports gems series, it wasn’t possible to do anything with the Xbox 360 controller. They were 100 percent controlled via motion gestures using the Kinect sensor. Rare is making some changes with Kinect Sports Rivals by, at the very least, allowing the main menu to be navigated with an Xbox One controller, which should certainly make getting into the game a much quicker experience. Here’s what Rare had to say about Rivals’ new controller compatibility in an interview with a The Guardian…
“When we started making games for Kinect there was a big focus on always using the hardware,” he says. “But now it’s in the box, we can use it when it makes sense and not when it doesn’t.”
A key example of this is in navigating the game’s front-end. Rather than using a menu screen, the user-interface is a living, interactive depiction of the Kinect Sports island, where users can see all the events, who is playing them, and the best scores of their friends. It’s neat, but the best part is, you can just explore the whole thing with a controller. You don’t need to stand there and making swiping gestures like some deranged military despot.
“It just makes sense,” says Woodroffe. “People want to sit down with a controller and tweak their appearance, change the outfit – you can do it via gesture, but we’re not going to force it, it’s fine to use the controller. That’s quite a big step forward, policy-wise. It’s definitely a good thing. We’ll drop motion controls where it makes sense.”
Indeed, in the game itself, it seems players can opt to use the Xbox One controller instead of movement for most inputs. The challenge for the team this time has been ensuring that Kinect remains a truly useful interface – the one most players will naturally prefer. “We test all of the games with a controller and if we can’t do just as well with motion controls, we’re not happy,” assures Woodroffe.
That is reassuring isn’t it? While I personally didn’t mind using the gestures to navigate the menu in KS one and two, I do have to admit that it would have been much better with a controller. There’s no confirmation, however, on whether or not the controller can be utilized on any of the sports themselves–the Wake Racing and Rock Climbing would certainly be suitable for it though, don’t you agree?