Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor announced for Xbox 360. Uses Kinect!

Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor screenshot
Steel Battlion: Heavy Armor was officially announced by Capcom Head of Games Keiji Inafune for Xbox 360 Kinect at the Tokyo Game Show 2010 expo in Japan! It is being developed by From Software! (Demon’s Souls)

This marks the long-awaited return of the king of all mech-simulation games that was released way back in 2002 on the original Xbox. A game that was so complicated that it came with it’s own 40+ button controller that had three pedals, two full arcade-style joysticks and a price-tag of $200 at launch! Naturally it is now considered a collector’s item. It was followed by a content-only sequel called “Steel Battalion: Line of Contact”.

Publisher Capcom innovated with Steel Battalion by taking all the steps it could to make the game as realistic and thus complicated as possible. As if you were piloting a real Japanese mecha walking tank. So mud could splatter on the first-person visor screen as you looked out form inside your mech and you’d have to press the windshield wipers button to clean the gunk off! And just because the mech was high-tech, didn’t mean your equipment was, so you started off with a black and white screen inside and had to EARN your way up to a color-screen with a more complicated and higher-quality interior!

On top of all this, the realism also meant Steel Battalion was very difficult. Not only were you required to “start up” your mech, which took time (real minutes of time), but if you were shot down and FORGOT to hit the eject button on the controller in time, then your in-game character would die. The penalty for a “real-life” death? YOU LOST ALL YOUR SAVE PROGRESS!

Yes, it was that insane.

Steel Battalion 1 Xbox controller with pedals and box package

Will this new Steel Battalion still maintain that extreme level of difficulty? Or now that it is using Kinect, does this mean the game will be more accessible?

These details weren’t revealed during the Tokyo Game Show, although Microsoft DID say that the game will be a hardcore game, focused towards hardcore gamers and not the casual marketplace. So take of that what you will.

So what about the controller? Well obviously, there are one of two options here. Either you will mimic with your hands the controls needed to move the mech, likely via an on-screen replica of the original real-life Steel Battalion 1 controller, OR the controls have been changed so you will use your body or gestures to control the mech . . . This aspect is not known. But hopefully they’ll RE-RELEASE the real controller as well. After all, in this day and age it may actually sell!

However, all that is official, is this description followed by the TGS 2010 trailer.

“Manhattan, 2082: In a world where computers and almost all modern technology have been lost, the greatest nations of the world continue to battle for supremacy. The American army lands in New York to begin its first big offensive of a long ground war. Soldiers fire from the trenches as scorched bunkers belch black smoke. As comrades continually fall to the unrelenting crossfire of bullets, the Vertical Tanks make their relentless advance. Experience the battlefield as never before with Steel Battalion: Heavy Armor with Kinect for Xbox 360.”

And with this MEGATON, it’s safe to say that Microsoft has nearly completely revived interest in the Kinect!

Amazingly, there are a now a handful of crazy new and interesting games coming. Outside of Steel Battalion, we’ve also got the newly announced Haunt made by Parappa the Rapper creator Masaya Matsuura, Project Draco by Panzer Dragoon creator Yukio Fatatsug, Sega’s first-person horror adventure game Rise of Nightmares and Codename: D developed by Suda 51 and Grasshopper.

Combine those with Child of Eden from Q Games’ Tetsuya Mizuguchi, Dance Central, Michael Jackson’s: The Experience, Fable III (which won’t have Kinect support at launch), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I and Dr. Kawashima’s Body and Brain Exercises and you’ve got yourself a pretty solid line-up! Bravo!