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Microsoft: Project Natal Backwards Compatibility Unlikely

Gordon Kelly


Ever since its E3 debut Microsoft's Project Natal technology has had everyone on the front of their seats (pun intended). So it's time for something of a reality check...

Gaming site Destructoid.com has revealed that backwards compatibility of the controller-less gaming technology is going to be extremely unlikely with existing titles. It quotes Microsoft Games' Kudo Tsunoda as saying a simple patch won't do the trick and that demoed games (Burnout Paradise along with Xbox Live Arcade titles Space Invaders Extreme and Beautiful Katamari) required significant code reprogramming.

So the situation seems clear: no Project Natal goodness for the likes of Halo 3, Batman: Arkham Asylum and Grand Theft Auto IV (the last of these may be for the best!). That said, whether developers of some of the biggest titles will either a) take the time to do all the necessary recoding, or b) cash in by re-releasing games with Natal support, remains to be seen. Obviously the former is more desirable, but even the latter would at least give gamers the option to get their hands dirty (so to speak).

Would you pay a second time to get Project Natal functionality on your favourite titles or do you even care about backwards compatibility? We - and I suspect Microsoft - would like to know...


via Destructoid.com


September 29, 2009, 5:47 am

Judging by the Wii titles I've played - I'd say that patching most older games will likely result in something that feels quite poor.

Good motion-controlled games, need to be designed from scratch in a different way and with more tolerance for latency (e.g. it takes longer to fully extend an arm or leg gesture, than to lean slightly on an analogue stick).

I'm expecting good things of Natal - but suspect that the real goodies will be a handful of well-conceived original games that were born to be motion controlled.

Probably inevitable to expect a revved-up Wii Sports Clone or two - safe & comfortable territory for software publishers to invest in and an easy target to surpass given the additional power on tap in the 360 + Natal hardware.


September 29, 2009, 12:13 pm

Really couldn't give a monkey's... Alrady got a Wii and I hardly touch it. Wish MS would stick to proper games instead of wasting time. I welcome being proved wrong but doubt I will be.


September 29, 2009, 3:04 pm

I agree with Bailey..good games using natal should be designed from the ground up. I didn't expect backward compatibility on older games, if there was it would not work as well in most cases..we've seen some horror conversions from console to PC so i expect Natal would be no different.

It will be interesting to see how the big titles like Call of Duty take to Natal, will there be 2 versions of the game..one for classic controller mode, the other with natal.

I look forward to seeing more of Natal in the future, it will take gaming to a whole new level!


September 29, 2009, 4:12 pm

@TL1210 - Why would they release two versions of the game? Most games ship with various control setups. The game will be the same, it's just the input method that's different.

Natal is awesome technology, there's no denying it, I just don't see it intergrating well with the average gamer. There's an example online of using natel to control Katamari, it basically involves walking around like a zombie with your arms up in the air... For the entire duration of your playing the game... However many hours that may be...


September 29, 2009, 5:02 pm

@ Cub

I meant 2 versions of the game on the same disc, you choose control method at start. similar to what some PC games do. You would choose control method at the main menu and the game loads with the correct controller profile.


September 29, 2009, 5:13 pm

I was reading in the newspapers yesterday a quote I really liked

"To the man with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail"

I think leave old games as they are, and only add Natal support for games that would actually benefit from a control scheme change. If Natal adds unnecessary costs to game development it just won't take off.


January 13, 2010, 2:44 pm

Is it possible to use Natal in conjunction with a regular controller? If so, then I can think of multiple titles which could benefit from Natal, but like all the other people have said there would be titles which have crap integration (like games on the wii adapted from the xbox or ps2).

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