Mass Effect 3‘s Kinect controls, which utilizes player voices to execute commands, has been touted as a worthy addition to BioWare’s action RPG. It may have not however, even made it into the franchise’s third installment as it happened “almost by accident.”
The development team weren’t initially planning on implementing Kinect controls to Mass Effect 3, but after a programmer experimented with the idea, BioWare recognized the opportunity to integrate Kinect support into the game.
Speaking with OXM, executive producer Casey Hudson stated that one of the game’s programmers was working with the hardware and experimenting with elements of it, to which eventually led to Kinect support being added. The programmer seemingly realized that Kinect’s software allowed him to make it straightforward to connect something players can execute within the game with a voice command.
“It happened almost by accident. We didn’t set out to make Mass Effect 3 a voice-controlled title. But a programmer was working in the studio, had the Kinect hardware, and was just experimenting with it. And he realised that with the software that comes with Kinect, it was very easy to connect something that you can do in the game with something you’ve said, almost as easy as that. No research required – it was all there, done for us.
And we started thinking about what we could actually achieve with that. So many things came to mind – you could tell a squad member to attack your target, you could tell a squad member to switch weapons. While you’re busy with the controller, you can tell him to do something that you’re not physically able to do, because your thumbs aren’t free.
Once you start doing that, you realise you’re using different mental pathways to interact with the game. You’re not pressing buttons to talk, you’re talking to talk. And it makes conversation totally different, especially because the Kinect can isolate room noise really well. You don’t have to project out to your TV in any way. You can speak quietly in a conversational tone. And it hears you, and then you’re having this amazingly realistic conversation with a character.”
BioWare opted out of making use of Kinect’s motion control features for Mass Effect 3 with the developer saying the technology posed a “barrier.” However, Hudson did say there is a future for the studio in regards to using gestures in addition to voice.
BioWare are one of the few studios who have applied Kinect’s voice control technology extremely well, as evidenced by Mass Effect 3, with the game allowing players to use voice commands to change weapons, speak the dialogue options during conversations, and issue orders directed at teammates during combat.
Ranters, for those who have had a chance to try Kinect functionality within Mass Effect 3, how have you found it?