'Star Wars' at E3: Your first look at 'Kinect Star Wars' -- EXCLUSIVE

Star Wars fans, prepare to connect with The Force in a kinectic way. On Monday, Microsoft Studios and LucasArts will formally announce the first Star Wars video game for Kinect, Microsoft’s hands-free, your-body-is-the-controller playing experience for the Xbox 360. Simply called Kinect Star Wars, the game is intended for all ages and will hit stores this winter. Microsoft will preview the game this at E3 (aka the Electronic Entertainment Expo), the video game industry’s annual confab at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Check out the trailer for  a peek at the game and the gameplay: 

Kinect Star Wars will include a variety of modes set in various corners of the vast Star Wars universe established by the two trilogies. In the “Jedi Destiny” mode — which will be showcased at E3 — you play one of several new characters in a story that begins shortly after the events of Star Wars: Episode One — The Phantom Menace and concludes against the backdrop of Chancellor Palpatine’s rise to power on Star Wars: Episode Three — Revenge of the Sith. However, the story will take players into environments glimpsed or referenced in the original trilogy (episodes four through six), including Bespin, the giant gas planet that’s home to Cloud City (see: The Empire Strikes Back). Judging from a video posted by Microsoft-affiliated developer Terminal Reality, the game will also allow you to square off against Darth Vader himself. Good luck with that.

The Kinect gameplay works exactly as you might imagine. Standing in front of your TV within view of the Kinect scanner, players (either alone or with a friend/padawan) can “use The Force” to lift or throw objects by reaching out with a hand (or both hands, for moves that require extra effort), just like the Jedis do in the movies. You also use your hands to mimic other movements, like driving a pod-racer, firing the guns on an X-wing fighter, and of course, wielding a lightsaber to hack at droids and deflect laser bolts… although if you need the tactile experience of holding a laser sword, go ahead and use your toy lightsaber (we know you have one) — it won’t subvert the experience. If you’ve played Kinect games, you know your movements are replicated by your on-screen avatar with near one-to-one, monkey see/monkey do perfection. Kinect Star Wars tweaks the visuals in a way that flatters your inner Jedi. “What we found early in development is that [no one wants] to look like ‘Star Wars kid‘ in front of [their] friends,” says Craig Derrick, LucasArts’ lead producer on the project. “If I am doing these actions, and if I am seeing the character on screen repeating those actions, I want to look bad-ass. We decided to augment the animation, so when I sweep my hand right to left with my lightsaber, it’s going to look cool.  That was a major challenge and it works.” The game will also include a voice component (Jedi mind tricks, perhaps?), though LucasArts and Microsoft are keeping mum for now on how that might work. Ditto: Sith moves like Force chokes and lightening.

Microsoft has sold over 10 million Kinect units since launch last fall. According to the company, many of the purchases came from consumers who used Kinect as the reason to buy their first Xbox — significant,  given that traditional consoles like Xbox and Wii have been losing ground over the past year to non-traditional gaming devices like phones and tablets. The strength of the Star Wars brand and the quality of its creative world promises to help Kinect further expand its reach and gameplay potential. “From very early on in our development of Kinect, we realized Star Wars was an ideal game for us,” says Kudo Tsunoda, creative director for Microsoft Studios. “It’s one of those things where you can see how the unique parts of Kinect can bring to life the fantasy of being a Jedi in a way no other game console or media can do.”

Keep coming back to EW.com all week for more E3 news.

@EWDocJensen

Image Credit: LucasArts

Comments (68 total) Add your comment
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  • Peter

    “Lightening”? That doesn’t sound like a Sith power.

    • Sarah D

      Have you seen the movies?

      • Peter

        Yes. The Sith tend to want people on the dark side, not the light side.

    • Jenius

      I guess it’s the opposite of darkening.

      • VaginaLately

        GAY!!! Totally looks gay!!!

    • carl

      “Lightnening bolt! Lightening bolt! Lightening bolt!”

    • Rush

      Sure it is. You learn it right after you’ve mastered shortening.

    • Shiny

      Finally, an easy way for kids to play Star Wars that doesn’t involved bruised fingers from plastic laser battles. Plus no controllers, hopefully no more “press X! Press X, you fool!” meltdowns.

    • rebecca

      force lightening.. like how the emperor tries to destroy luke at the end of return of the jedi. you shmuck.

      • Captain Obvious

        Way to miss the joke…it’s spelled lightning, not lightening. Go back to elementary school. Fail

    • LK

      lightning is one of the dark sides strongest and easiest to master force powers! if you don’t know, then don’t be talkin smack!

    • Liz

      Maybe you’ll be able to use the Force to give someone highlights.

  • Joe

    Can I participate in melodramatic love scenes by spouting poor dialogue with the voice commands?

    • Rush

      “I don’t like the sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating–not like you. You’re soft and smooth.”

      • Darren

        Not a fan of the prequels, but this is one line that is oft misquoted. He doesn’t say “you”. He says “here”, as in the planet they’re on. “…not like here. Here it’s soft, etc.” But yeah, I agree, those scenes and the accompanying dialogue – horrible.

    • Scott

      “I wish I could wish it all away”

  • Patrick Barkas

    Not fond of the character style and it’s just as I feared, it looks like you have very little control over character movement. I don’t see how body movements translate to firing an X-wing and if they’re augmenting the animation, they’re taking away the 1:1 responsiveness of your input. Swinging away with a lightsaber, as awsome as that seems is going to get old fast without some freedom of movement.

  • Patrick Barkas

    I forgot to say, these licensed games that try to cram in many different genres of gameplay (action-adventure, racing, space shooter) rarely if ever get any one mode really satisfying.

  • Brian

    This looks laughably bad.

    • Tom

      Ding ding ding!!!

    • Quirky

      Yeah, it looks more like a tech demo than an actual game.

  • Jake

    Very weak.

    • KJ

      Looks gayer than a Glee convention

  • Chris

    I agree it does not look perfect. But realistically what do you want? You don’t have Jedi powers so if those laser blast are coming in you need some help deflecting them, otherwise your 1:1 motions will just result in you being shot in the head.

    I just wish they would not make every kid in the trailers have Bieber haircuts, it loses credibility before they even show the gameplay…

  • PB

    It looks like you’re in a constant Z-targetting mode so you’re constantly locked onto the enemy and just fling your arms around and jump.

  • Rancorous Edd

    I’m a ninja, so I’m slightly worried I’ll kick my TV (or little sister) out the window, but I can’t wait to try it!

    Seriously, a boss scene against Vader and playing in Cloud City sounds pretty cool. Good on Lucasarts & MIcrosoft. I need a good Kinect game.

  • Sarah D

    this looks like it would be fun even for people who don’t know the difference between a Paduan and a Youngling.

    • Jenius

      Are you referring to natives of Padua, Italy?

  • Tony Hawk

    Wow re got dam diculous is this wat we got to look forward to……….. a nerdy azz star wars game with gamecube graphics

    • Ian Parberry

      Don’t know where you get Gamecube graphics from… Scenes in the video sure look like HDR rendering with bloom effects to me. The resolution is too low to see the bump-mapping, but I’m sure it’s there if they are using the Infernal engine. None of these were available on the Gamecube.

      • Ayden H.

        Where in the article does it mention the engine being used in the development of the game???

  • Matt

    Please allow embedding of your videos!

  • Vince

    The game looks horrible, there’s a crapload of lag from motion to screen, and it’s not true 1:1 control. Seriously, what a goddamn bummer, the game could be awesome.

    It’s good for the kiddies, sure. But the 10 year old in me wants to see something better.

  • Mathlol1

    The idea was right. The graphics look like they were from 1999.

    No, you can’t say ‘paper mario’ or zelda did the same thing. Their games come in a variate of acceptable styles. Star wars has always been a visually captivating game, not some G-rated whimsical production.

    I wonder which audiences this will appeal to…

    • 0bi

      I’m eagerly anticipating this, then I saw the “for all audiences” and that got me worried too. I’m tired of having to cater to little kids and people who don’t care to see a little blood here and there. Bring us back to Perfect Dark times when parents complained about the headblood that came out of people everytime you shot them. (which was great) They seriously need to make a rated M star wars game. Full dismemberment, hardcore blood, intense graphics, the whole set…
      Always hoped for a hybrid: GTA + Star Wars type of game, that would be fantastic!

  • k

    Meh

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