How will gamers of the distant future interact with their entertainment poison? Before we get to direct neural interfaces or holodecks, voice control is definitely high on the list. Mass Effect 3, despite how you may feel about its ending, already allows players to select dialogue options through voice alone using Kinect on 360. While the technology behind this feature might not be staggering in its complexity, BioWare’s Casey Hudson believes we’ll see more of it in the years to come.
Speaking to the UK’s Official Xbox Magazine (where there’s nary a mention of a certain heated topic), Hudson talks broadly about the Kinect-based controls of Mass Effect 3. Apparently, Kinect found its way into the game by “accident” — it started out with a programmer simply experimenting with the hardware — but as they spent more time with, the developer found that it was extremely straightforward to use and implement.
Hudson also feels that voice control in general could be the “future of interactive storytelling”, if only for the fact that it’s a more natural way to hold a conversation than pressing buttons on a controller. From the OXM article:
You’re just talking to a character, and you’re going deeper into their conversation, asking them questions and telling them things and after it’s over you pick up the controller, and it’s a cold piece of plastic, and you think ‘this is the old way, and what I was doing was the future’.”
While uttering single phrases to execute dialogue options is still a ways off from holding a fluent back-and-forth with a virtual character, I guess it’s a step closer. Me? I’m going to hang onto my controller / mouse / keyboard until holodecks roll up. And yes, I know I’ll probably be long dead by then.
Image: Sam Spratt.