After Hours

GDC 2010 highlights: PlayStation Move and Civilization V

At the 2010 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco earlier this month, manufacturers announced a slew of new games and technologies. Wally Bahny highlights the major announcements.

Earlier this month, the 10th annual Game Developers Conference was held in San Francisco. Many new technologies and games were announced and discussed for all three current generation consoles, as well as PC games and other platforms. Here are the major highlights from GDC 2010.

Game technologies

After several years of the Nintendo Wii being the only motion-sensitive game console on the market, Microsoft and Sony discussed their previously announced motion-control technologies. The PlayStation 3's system, now known as the PlayStation Move, was originally announced at last year's Electronic Entertainment Expo and has been the source of a lot of speculation since then. The PlayStation Move is a combination of a wand and a camera system to allow for extremely precise movements. The cameras watch a colored ball on the end of the PlayStation Move controller. The PlayStation Move is expected to launch in Fall 2010 at under $100 for the starter kit, which is expected to include the camera, a Move controller, and the Move sub controller.

The Microsoft product for the Xbox 360, which is still known as Project Natal, is planned for release sometime in the next year. Instead of being controller-based as on the Wii and PS3, Project Natal will be completely camera-based.

Games

First up in our list of games is HardGrip from developer HumanSoft. HardGrip, initially supporting the Nintendo Wii, puts the player in a rock-climbing competition. The publisher expects to have support for the Wii MotionPlus, the PlayStation Move, and the Xbox 360 Project Natal at launch. Using two Wii controllers, a player can climb the mountain faces presented in the game by holding and releasing the triggers and moving the controllers. This sounds like it could be a really fun game. The following video is a demo of HardGrip, along as interview with HumanSoft's Gabor Kadas.

Sports Champions, Motion Fighters, The Shoot, and Move Party will launch with the PlayStation Move and give gamers a chance to play a library of motion-interactive games on their PS3s. (Note: These are working titles for the games.) Demos of all four games were available at GDC 2010.

While Sports Champions is designed to compete directly with Wii Sports Resort, and Move Party and The Shoot are designed to compete with the myriad party games available for the Wii, there is no direct competition for Motion Fighters (outside of the Wii Boxing). This could be PlayStation's salvation on this technology since the company is already a couple of years behind Nintendo. The following video shows a preview of Motion Fighters, as well as an interview with John McLaughlin, one of the game's developers.

After a half-decade wait, Civilization is finally returning to the PC with Civilization V. Available as a hands-off demo, Civilization V was shown both at an early settlement stage and then later against more powerful opponents. Sid Meier has changed many aspects of the gameplay from previous Civilization games with this version. Building upon Civilization Revolution for the consoles by adapting the relatively sparse interface, Civilization V has also switched from a square-based map to a hex-based one. Also, ranged units no longer need to be one tile away: archers and other units can now fire from two or more hexes away. Another new feature is city-states; city-states are neutral cities that players can ally with, conquer, and get missions from. This opens up a whole world of possibilities, as the city-states can be fought for between players for their resources and abilities. This video is the Civilization V trailer:

There were also announcements about a number of sports games; two of the titles are 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 11. There will also be a new release of EA Sports Active, dubbed 2.0, that will support the PlayStation Move and the Xbox 360 Project Natal.

More GDC 2010 resources

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