Mass Effect 3 Kinect motion controls dropped, tech was a "barrier"

But new ME is "more fluid and immersive" with Kinect voice commands

BioWare toyed with the idea of adding motion controls to Mass Effect 3, but eventually decided this would disrupt the experience, according to BioWare's general manager Aaryn Flynn.

Speaking to VentureBeat, Flynn also revealed that the new Mass Effect's Kinect voice commands took nine months to implement.

"It launched during the middle of the development of Mass Effect 3," he recalled. "After [Kinect] came out, I was playing Kinect with my kids. Microsoft reached out and asked what BioWare could do with Kinect.

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"We started working with Microsoft and hit upon this idea of voice recognition as something that would be technically feasible to do. Kinect has a good applications programming interface for this. It really fit into what we were trying to do. It was authentic to the experience.

"Mass Effect has squad mates. It has a system for conversations. And speaking in voice seemed to be the right thing to do. It worked with the brand. It all worked out."

BioWare's experimentations with gesture commands weren't as successful. "We looked into it," Flynn went on. "But unfortunately, it has a lot more technological requirements. We also weren't sure the gestures fit in with the authentic experience. The good news is voice worked out very well.

"The technology was a barrier there so we discounted it pretty early."

Kinect voice controls make for "more fluid and immersive" play, Flynn argued, as there's no need to bring up the command wheel. BioWare's extremely happy with Kinect's response times.

"The Kinect software is quite good and so it does pick up on what you're saying very quickly. Mass Effect 3 is a very responsive game, so it can respond quickly to that verbal command and turn it into a command that the game can execute."

Those who don't own Kinect won't find the game cumbersome, however. "I'm not sure you end up playing faster or slower - it's more about what suits the player. There are those people who are very quick with their fingers and love to pause the game and go into the menus. They set up their commands.

"Then are those who are more focused as Shepard and want to be immersed in the action as they issue commands to their squads. It's another way to play it."

Look out for more on Mass Effect 3 in our next issue, out 25th January. A Mass Effect 3 demo will hit Xbox Live on 14th February, comprising single and multiplayer content. Owners of Battlefield 3's Limited Edition will get first access to the latter.