UK based game developer RARE have announced that they are opening up an NEW Project Natal testing facility in the centre of Birmingham in central England.
Central to the development of Microsoft’s new motion sensing technology, RARE have been working on the project from their UK Twycross studio, but they have now expanded their operations to focus on NATAL’s scheduled world wide autumn 2010 release at a purpose facility in Digbeth.
In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, RARE Studio head Mark Betteridge said:
“First of all, because of the nature of Natal – and it would have been exactly the same with the Wii – to test it properly you need a larger physical space than you had before,”
“…with Natal there’ll be a huge variety in the set-ups that people will have in their homes, so it’s very important that we optimise any title to work in any of them.”
Now that is good news, I was sceptical that NATAL would need an E3 sized stage to work efficiently. We hope the optics have a wide enough angle so we don’t have to shift the sofa out of the way each time we want to paint an elephant in the Savannah.
Even with the news that the console will sacrifice around 10-15% of its processing power for functionality, Microsoft are keen to point out that NATAL is not just a body motion sensing camera. Using real time analysis of the 3D space (the room, your body, objects and sound) Microsoft are aiming to integrate your complete gaming environment as part of the experience.
Betteridge also added the studio will probably ask people to come in for a couple of hours at a time, so if you’re lucky enough to live or work in the Digbeth area you might just get a virtual tap on the shoulder….and look out for the ever optimistic Peter Molyneux who is sure to pop round from time to time.