Xbox Wire

gamescom: Kinect Sports Rivals Q&A with Rare, Ltd.

By Xbox Wire Staff
Editor’s Note: This week at gamescom, Rare and the Xbox team are excited to give fans their first-ever hands-on gameplay with “Kinect Sports Rivals”. Fans will get to create their own virtual in-game athletes, or Champions, and demo two sports: Wake Racing and Rock Climbing. “Kinect Sports Rivals” was also part of the Xbox Showcase earlier this week. Xbox Wire had the opportunity to chat with Danny Isaac, “Kinect Sports Rivals”, Executive Producer, Rare Ltd.

“Kinect Sports Rivals” is in Germany this week at gamescom and serving up the first chance fans get to playing some of the game's new sports: Wake Racing and Rock Climbing. We sat down with Rare Ltd.’s  executive producer, Danny Isaac to find out more about “Kinect Sports Rivals.” Also, we have the trailer - From Science to Experience – released earlier this week right here just in case you missed it!


What are you showing at Gamescom this week?

We are giving fans their first-ever hands-on experience with “Kinect Sports Rivals” this week at gamescom in Germany.  Attendees will be the first to try Kinect scanning to create their in-game Champions, “Kinect Sports Rivals” new generation character creation that puts YOU in the game and compete in two all-new sports: Wake Racing and Rock Climbing. 

Tell us about these new sports – we haven’t seen them in previous “Kinect Sports” games.

Correct, these all-new sports are only made possible with advanced Kinect for Xbox One technology.  Wake Racing combines the fun of a wake racer with the precise and intuitive movements that only Kinect for Xbox One can detect.  Wake Racing is playable seated or standing, and closely tracks body position and hand movements, something that wasn’t previously possible.  Rock Climbing lets you scale the side of a mountain in a cut-throat race to the summit. You’ll need to carefully plan your route and use your hands to grip and release rocks as you ascend.  

This is the first time “Kinect Sports” franchise brings strategy into play, so you’ll need to watch your back because Rivals from other teams will be close on your heels, trying to pull you off so you lose time. 



How do the technologies in Xbox One’s new Kinect take “Kinect Sports Rivals” to a new level?

The new Kinect for Xbox One delivers 10x more power and is incredibly advanced technology.  It can track even the slightest motions and gestures with pinpoint accuracy, like the simple squeeze of your hand to give your wake racer some gas in Wake Racing.  Kinect Real Vision technology expands the field of view, meaning it can detect more players and track the flick of a finger from almost three meters away.  The new active IR camera enables Kinect to see in the dark. In other words, it’s truly a next-gen Kinect experience.  

Tell us more about the “Champion” concept. How does that play a role in “Kinect Sports Rivals?”

Xbox One’s all-new re-engineered Kinect will scan your face and form to create a stylized, digital, super you – your Champion.  Your AI character lives in the cloud looks like you, learns to play like you and competes like you against your friends and rivals, even when you’re not around. Champions are unique to “Kinect Sports Rivals” and take motion sports competition to a whole new level. 



How does your “Champion” compete when you’re not playing?

Your AI Champion can continue playing when you’re not online through Xbox One’s Living Games technology.  It’s essentially social gaming in the cloud, meaning there is always someone to compete with; you never have to wait for someone else to get online.  “Kinect Sports Rivals” sophisticated matchmaking prompts you to compete with someone of matched or slightly higher skill level to ensure you continue to advance in the game. 

What sports are in “Kinect Sports Rivals”?

We have six sports in the game.  We’re bringing back three of the most popular “Kinect Sports”– soccer, tennis and bowling – in re-imagined ways, and we’re introducing three new sports – rock climbing, wake racing and target shooting – that simply weren’t possible with the previous Kinect technology.  

How did you choose which sports to include?

Every decision was made with the hope of making our fans excited to play “Kinect Sports Rivals.” Soccer, tennis and bowling are “Kinect Sports” fan favorites so it was natural we’d include them in Rivals with a new and unexpected twist.  With the power of the re-designed Kinect sensor, we were also able to design new sports that simply weren’t possible in earlier “Kinect Sports” games thanks to the new, more powerful Kinect sensor. We’re excited to have fans play them all and tell us what they think. 



What is your favorite sport on “Kinect Sports Rivals” and why? 

My favorite is Wake Racing. For me, it really shows the fidelity the new sensor brings to the sports. Whereby, in previous motion games, I never really felt truly in control. With Wake Racing I can really strive to shave that last fraction of a second off of my time by standing AND leaning into the curves or by taking ramps with a flip. Also, the environment the team has created is amazing – the harbor looks beautiful, and if you look closely in the water, you can see dolphins, manta rays, tuna and even a shark. It’s clear that you’re part of a special gaming experience.   

Are Rare’s Champions in the game? Are they recognizable?

Yes, in fact many of the Rare development team have Champions that can be found in “Kinect Sports Rivals.”  Kinect for Xbox One technology is so advanced it scans your whole body an even your face down to millimeters of accuracy, and creates a “super” version of you - your AI “Champion” that lives in the cloud. If you look closely as you navigate the “Kinect Sports Rivals” living world, you may recognize members of the Rare team.  Playing against characters that are people you know in real life, up the competition.  I can’t wait for the world to get to create their Champions and compete with the people that matter to them.
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