Ubisoft’s press release Tuesday revealed the development of PowerUp Heroes, a game that combines the Kinect and your XBox 360 avatar for “the ultimate super power-infused full-body fighting game”. Turn your avatar into a superhero by having him or her don one of twenty super suits. After you defeat an enemy, you take his or her super suite and powers a la Mega Man; and if you’ve made your avatar a digital version of yourself, like I have, it’s as close as you’re going to get to fulfilling a childhood fantasy.
If you enjoyed Kinect Adventures, then this may be up your alley. Albeit, after watching this trailer, I can only hope I don’t look as silly playing the game as they did acting out their mock teen super hero drama. All lightheartedness aside, this exclusive title can very well serve as a sampling of Microsoft’s vision of a predominantly social gaming future.
In Microsoft’s future, something called the Windows Gaming Experience (WGX), the avatar is one of the main focuses of gaming. Like a strange mantra, Microsoft says, “[m]y avatar is my online identity. It represents my style, attitude, and character.” One can’t help but hear a watered down echo of the U.S. Marine Corp.’s ‘this is my rifle’ line from Full Metal Jacket.
In line with the social experience, PowerUp Heroes lets you take the fight online against other avatars. Now, this is by no means a bad thing. It is just different — pitting cute, smooth skinned, costumed avatars in battle instead of hardened special ops warriors, or elves against orcs.
Ubisoft and Longtail Studios’ new game, which will release sometime in June 2011, doesn’t play into all the aspects of Microsoft’s WGX future, like the microtransaction part as we see in almost all free-to-play (F2P) games online. Rest assured, however, this is as big a part of WGX as much as the avatars are.
Now, you may be wondering where did all this mess about WGX come from. A while back, an internal Microsoft video leaked spelling out where Microsoft is most likely heading in the coming years. Amidst rumors of XBLA F2P and the emergence of PowerUp Heroes, it all seems to be coming to pass.