Apartment living may never be the same. Mass-market video game provider Majesco Entertainment Co. unveiledits newest title Tuesday, the first day of the ElectronicEntertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles. The company says it is the"first ever full-body motion-based NBA video game that letsyou perform like a pro using a real basketball." The brainchild of Curtis R.
Smith, NBA Baller Beats was developedby Lunenburg"s HB Studios Multimedia Ltd. and is arhythm-based game that allows users to emulate their favourite NBAstars by recreating crossover moves, pump fakes, behind-the-backmanoeuvres and dribbles with a standard-sized basketball as a prop. "I think we"ve just resigned ourselves to the factwe"re going to piss off a lot of downstairsneighbours," HB Studios general manager Alastair Jarvis saidin a phone interview Tuesday from the noisy floor of the LosAngeles Convention Center. Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams will headline a number ofguest stars who will appear at the three-day conference todemonstrate their Baller Beats skills.
Available exclusively on Kinect for XBox 360 as of Sept. 11, NBABaller Beats will challenge people to perform moves seen on screento the beat of a 30-song soundtrack, which features music fromartists like Kanye West, Interpol, Janelle Monae and Gorillaz. There will be three difficulty levels, and the Kinect motion sensorwill track the user"s performance and assign a score that canbe posted on an online leaderboard. "You have to follow the routine as best you can and keep intime with the beat," said Dennis Lever, the game"sproducer, from the HB Studios office in Halifax.
"All the routines are tied to the rhythm of the songs. Sothat"s how we sort of bring basketball and music together. "It"s a lot like an arcade game that you"d seemaybe if you were going to the theatre and you were waiting foryour movie. It"s a very high-paced, fast-paced, high-actionskill game." Lever said that "you can kind of see the influences of otherrhythm games that have come along" like Rock Band and GuitarHero but added that the fact a real prop is used makes it much morephysically challenging.
"When you play Guitar Hero, you don"t really become abetter guitarist, but Baller Beats, as fun as it is, it has thissort of beautiful side effect where you are practisingbasketball," he said. Once it hits stores, the game will come packaged with a basketballfor a limited time, but Lever said any standard-sized ball can beused. The development of the game opens the door to future titles ongolf, hockey and soccer that utilize a real prop. "But even beyond sports-based titles like Baller Beats, Ithink this will open up a lot of opportunities for other developersto try new things," Lever said, noting that, for instance,the game also has a voice-command menu.
Back in Los Angeles, Jarvis said the launch of NBA Baller Beats isthe main focus, but it"s not the only thing keeping HBStudios occupied. "There"s an awful lot of stuff that we"ve beenworking on for the last 12 to 18 months that"s being shownhere, so our work is in evidence all over the place." Asked if parents should worry about repair costs for broken windowsand televisions as a result of NBA Baller Beats, he laughed. "A lot of people are skeptical about it at first when theyhear about the concept because they"re worried that theirparents told them when they were kids that they shouldn"tplay ball in the house, and ask ‘What happens if I have shagcarpets and I can"t bounce on that?" or ‘Am Igoing to break my TV?" " Jarvis said. "I think, having played it, when people actually get theirhands on it then they kind of get it.
And there"s a lot morefine control and close-quarters control of the basketball, so theball is unlikely to go flying all over the place." ( firstname.lastname@example.org ).
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