GSY PREVIEW | X360, PS3 Wednesday, September 29, 2010 | 9:20 AM

Gamersyde Preview: Child of Eden

Gamersyde Preview: Child of Eden

During the Tokyo Game Show, a little more than two weeks ago, Ubisoft invited us to a preview/interview event with Q Entertainment for their new project Child of Eden, unveiled last June at E3. We got to play the game of course, but also to chat with the developers of one of the rare Kinect titles aimed at gamers. Needless to say we also didn’t forget to ask a few questions to Tetsuya Mizuguchi while we were there. Check it out inside!

It’s not really a secret, Child of Eden is the spiritual successor to Rez in everything but name, certainly due to some obscure intellectual property reasons. The game itself is basically the same type as its ancestor: A rail shooter in esoteric environments, played to the tune of electronic music. No surprise here, but as a fan of Rez I’m not complaining at all.

We got to try and play two levels of the game. The first one, the one unveiled at E3, was only playable using Kinect. The second one was brand new, and was the result of 3 sleepless nights for the developers to get it more or less ready for the event. It was far from finished, but it was still quite interesting, especially since we could try and play the game with a game pad like Rez.

So let’s start with this new level, that you’ll also be able to discover for yourself with our video. After a rather slow start, the level gets faster and faster to finish on a high note with a beautiful phoenix (that the developers use as an animated screen saver, they told us). No doubt about it, this level put the gameplay/music integration of the game like no other. As for the gameplay, it’s as simple as ever. The A button when pressed will lock all targets under the cursor, and letting go of the button fires on all these targets at one. It’s also possible to fire directly with the right trigger, and to launch bombs with X. And that’s about all that anyone needs to know to play the game. It would be difficult to have a simpler control setup, and that’s why Child of Eden also works well as a Kinect game.

Kinect then, which we got to try with the E3 playable demo. As you may know, here at Gamersyde we aren’t really fans of this new technology, quite interesting on paper, but in the end way too limited for Gamer titles. So it was with quite a bit of skepticism that we went and placed ourselves in front of Microsoft’s 3D camera. After all the videos showing some lag between the player movements and what happened on the screen, we had every reason to be worried. But in the end, after just one minute, it’s almost completely forgotten. Let’s be fair here, it works very well, but it’s also incredibly fun and it conveys quite an out of this world feeling.

Contrary to many other Kinect titles that require the player to move around like a crazy person, Child of Eden is all about moderation. Just a single hand held up to move the cursor, a fast movement to fire, plus two special moves: Clap hands to switch between “painting” mode and auto fire (required from time to time), and move both hands up in the air for the happy bomb(banzai gesture). A very simple setup, and one that doesn’t make you feel at all like a fool when playing. It’s a pleasure to play, but also to watch someone else do the motions.

The E3 level was far more complex than the one before, requiring to switch between both modes quite a few times. Some sequences also actually required good reflexes to destroy walls before crashing into them. As a whole, the progression is very well done, and despite the very simple controls, the actions are very varied and don’t feel repetitive in the slightest.

The gameplay itself certainly works, either with the good old gamepad but also using Kinect, and I don’t think anyone expected any less from Tetsuya Mizuguchi. And when you say Mizuguchi, you know his own electronic/jpop band Genki Rockets isn’t far behind, along with its virtual idol Lumi. She’s now nothing less than the main character of the game, with her likeness and voice getting more and more important as the game progresses. Fans of Rez's more “techno” music may be disappointed by this much lighter style of music, but it doesn’t diminish in any way the importance of the music in the whole experience. There is no doubt about it, Child of Eden, just like Rez, is a game created around its soundtrack, and not the other way around.

We had high hopes about Child of Eden, and we haven’t been disappointed in the slightest. As expected, this game is the true successor of Rez, and will certainly be the only one for quite some time to make old-school gamers like us think about actually buying a Kinect camera.
Djmizuhara's thoughts

I walked away from the demo wanting to play it more, (I played it 9 times during the press event) as it was like no other game I've ever played before. In fact, it's not a game in my eyes, it's an experience, an experience I've never had the pleasure of experiencing up until now. Kinect gave me a new experience of controller free gaming, something I didn't think was possible given today's technology. Even at this early stage of development, I feel that Mizuguchi has delivered on Microsoft's promise of controller free gaming. I felt like a conductor conducting and electronic light show. After the press event had finished, all I could think about for the next few days was Child of Eden. Tetsuya Mizuguchi has sold me on the technology I didn't think I wanted. Suffice to say, Child of Eden blew me away with its stunning visuals and perfectly paced music. Child of Eden was definitely my game of TGS.

TGS: Stage demo
Download: WMV | MP4 | AVI
TGS: Evolution level
Download: WMV HD | MP4 HD | AVI
Tetsuya Mizuguchi interview
Download: WMV | MP4 | AVI
Kinect gameplay by DjMizuhara
Download: WMV HD | MP4 HD | AVI

All comments

Commented on 2010-09-28 18:20:52
WoW you are selling me on this now with that preview! dont think i will get kinect till its sub £100. still cant wait to play this as i love REZ :)
Commented on 2010-09-28 18:22:16
btw just so people know you can buy REZ on the XBLA :) case you never had it on the dreamcast :) shame on you
Commented on 2010-09-28 18:49:11
Rez was just smashing, this should be 10x better & hopefully gain A LOT more fans.
Commented on 2010-09-28 19:16:34
Yeah I was totally blown away by the whole experience...just thinking about it makes me smile! :D
Commented on 2010-09-29 10:10:02
Looks nice as an experience like DJmizuhara said. Wonderfully psychedelic world.

I think any developers, for be it Move or Kinect or Wii, should use the devices as it is, use its strenghts and not try to reach the stars. With Kinect we can expect some lag, ocassional input problems as seen in this gameplay video, but it's not in everything. The autofire works everytime, and so does the clapping weapon change. So maybe Mizuguchi should look into some other alternative firing options for the other "weapons".
Commented on 2010-09-29 11:55:50
Looks fine but I don't see this doing well (no characters)... I'd rather have another Space Channel
Commented on 2010-09-29 12:13:21
I can understand that it's impressive if you like this sort of thing (and music), but there is nothing in the footage that convinces me that this game is something for me.
I believe DJmizuhara when he says that it feels natural after a short while, but I'm sitting here watching him play it, and I see input lag and sometimes unresponsive controls. When I read the preview, it does however convinces me that Kinect is great and works great. So I don't now what to believe: my eyes or his opinion.

Fact is that input lag and unresponsive controls in a 'normal' game this generation, would be unacceptable for most players and would be a reason not to buy a game.
Commented on 2010-09-29 12:59:17
As someone who really loves games like this and Flower, it makes me consider getting kinect

It's too bad you weren't playing this on a better sound system, music seems to be an important part of the game

They mention at all when this game will drop? Is it close to Kinect's launch or sometime next year?
Edit: Nm gamestop has it listed as March of 2011
Commented on 2010-09-29 14:09:15
Looks wonderful and fortunately can also be played with a regular controller. So I can enjoy this without flapping my arms around like a crazy person.
Commented on 2010-09-29 18:34:26
I'll get this with my Kinect this November. That's right, I don't care what you say, I'm gettin' it, and it will be fun :D
Commented on 2010-09-30 03:15:41
This is probably the only reason buy kinect, but I also understand that sound and visual are at least equally prolific concepts as motion control for this development team. Rez HD is stilll to this day one of the most satisfying audio visual experiences and it needed no motion control.
Commented on 2010-09-30 06:07:25
"It’s not really a secret, Child of Eden is the spiritual successor to Rez in everything but name, certainly due to some obscure intellectual property reasons."

Obscure? Sega owns the Rez IP and this is being published by Ubisoft so can't be called Rez 2, it's pretty simple, lol! It's like Project Gotham Racing 1, 2, 3 & 4 are really Metropolis Street Racer 2, 3, 4 & 5 but Sega owns MSR and Microsoft published the PGR games.

Also people still don't seem to understand Kinect. No doubt this game is awesome but it's actually a very basic use of Kinect and not really "an example of what Kinect can really do", would you also describe it as "an example of of what a joypad can really do"? Lol! People really need to stop thinking of Kinect as a buttonless Wii or an EyeToy (OK, the video half is like an EyeToy but it's the infra-red projector/sensor and motion capture software that's the main part of the "controller"), it's a 3D full body motion capture device (and as far as I know can track any objects if needed) so you've got to think about what games can be created with that in mind, not complaining that it's (probably) a less precise pointer than the Move and doesn't have any buttons. (Which it can have if you use a joypad as well. Not that buttons are always need though as this game shows, you can use various things like hand signals.)

I'm betting Steel Battalion will be a great example of what Kinect can really do. My guess is that it will control like a "real" mech suit where you move your legs to walk around (and jump to jump if there is one), move your upper torso to turn the top half of the mech, move your head to look around and use your arms and hands to aim and shoot and other controls. (Thrust, change weapons, stuff like that. Also maybe lean left and right to strafe or fast dodge?)
Commented on 2010-09-30 06:15:13
By the way, I'm surprised that instead of using a clap to switch between gun and lock-on they didn't just use the right hand for gun and the left hand for lock-on. In fact they could have had 2 cursors so that you could have both gun and lock-ons at the same time. Then again they're the designers so maybe they already tried that and gameplay-wise it works better this way, lol!
Commented on 2010-09-30 08:43:29

a whale shooting sim?
Lawnmower man?
wha...? Oo
Commented on 2010-09-30 10:57:37 In reply to Frozpot
I do not understand the fuss about this game. I have respect for games like flower but for a downlodable game is ok. Retail price or getting extra accessaries to play games like this is just no
Posted by Frozpot
I'll get this with my Kinect this November. That's right, I don't care what you say, I'm gettin' it, and it will be fun :D
ok :p

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