Friday, August 20, 2010

Michael Jackson: The Experience on Kinect and Move

Ubisoft finally unveiled their much-anticipated Michael Jackson dance game, now given the extravagent and to-the-point title of Michael Jackson: The Experience, at this week's GamesCom in Germany.  Two separate versions are in the works: one for the Nintendo Wii, and another for the HD Twins (Microsoft's Kinect and Sony's Move), and it appears they will both be very different from one another.

These are screenshots of the Kinect version of Michael Jackson, from Ubisoft's press release.  As you can see, the game allows you to perform all of the pop icon's famous dance moves, moving through his entire career.  A karaoke option is also available if you want to sing along to the songs, although I'm not entirely sure how this plays out.  Some gameplay videos would be nice to see.

The Twins' version of Michael Jackson has a very interesting visual style.  It's all flash and pizazz and style, and certainly pushes the sheer graphics power of PS3 and 360.  What's really intriguing is how the game literally puts you on the stage, instead of following a 3D computer model or a video recording of a dancer.  It feels like a gamble - the final effect could be dazzling or it could be embarrassing - so I'm inclined to root for the developers.  I like to see them taking risks.

We're also seeing a an interesting setup for a rivalry between Michael Jackson on the Twins and Michael Jackson on the Wii.  The Wii version is strictly following the visual style of Just Dance, with a costumed dancer performing on-screen.  One game is presented as a grand, garish spectacle, the other is more focused, direct and iconic.  Personally, I think everyone's a winner at this point; give me a few months to decide which approach works best.  What matters right now is the gameplay and the precision of the controls.

I really wish the video game press, which is largely hardcore fanboys, would provide more coverage of these games.  Heck, just shoot a couple Youtube videos, already!  Shouldn't they be doing that with all the games at these trade shows by now?  Ubisoft has been very tight-lipped about this project, and I still feel like I'm grasping at straws.  I'm sure this will change as we get closer to November.

Don't kid yourself, gamers.  Michael Jackson is a global superstar, the kind we will never see again.  A video game that teaches you all of his dance moves, and lets you perform all of his classic hits?  This is a license to print money, folks.  Everything now rests on Ubisoft's development studios.

No comments: