Fans of the video game Rez from Tetsuya Mizuguchi—people of discriminating taste—should be ecstatic to learn that a sequel, in spiritual form, is coming. Child of Eden is what Rez would be if controlled by the human body.
Child of Eden, published by Ubisoft and crafted by Q Entertainment, the development home of Mizuguchi, shares much of the trippy synaesthetic stylings of Rez. They share similar sound effects and play styles. Line up shots that will destroy abstract enemies in an abstract environment by positioning a reticule and then letting loose with musical bullets.
Rez was a third-person musical shooter controlled with a Dreamcast, PlayStation 2 or Xbox 360 controller. Child of Eden, named after the artificial intelligence that lived inside a futuristic supernetwork, does away with the dazzling avatar of the original, putting the player in a first person perspective. The game is also optionally controlled with the Kinect camera for Xbox 360 and under consideration for Sony's PlayStation Move controller. But we also saw the game played with a regular Xbox 360 gamepad at E3, a chance to experience the vibrating feedback so instrumental to the original experience.
But Child of Eden has a capable replacement for that tactile feedback, at least according to "New IP Director" at publisher Ubisoft, Tommy Francois. He believes the popping of one's hand, a quick thrust at the screen for the Xbox 360 Kinect version, will provide that immersive sensation.
The Kinect version of the game lets players wave their hand over objects to target, pop them at the screen to shoot and clap their hands together to switch firing modes. There's a little bit of lag in the targeting reticule in the pre-alpha version of the game, in line with the slight delay shown in the game's first trailer.
Francois demonstrated three levels, known as Matrix, Evolution and Beauty, each with its own theme. Matrix was more geometric, in the Tron-like style of Rez. It was the level played by Mizuguchi at Ubisoft's press conference and featured briefly in the trailer. Evolution, the most organic of the group, looked like a slow float toward a giant nerve cluster, with bright red clusters, either balloon like or berry like, that pulsated violently when shot and jellyfish creatures swarming the screen. Beauty looked like we were flying over a crystalline flower bed, a full spectrum of color in a valley beneath us.
The demo room was lined with Child of Eden concept art, which looks like the shots included in this post, illustrating the aesthetic approach of the new game. Child of Eden is full of more variety and screen-filling lighting effects than its spiritual successor, a gorgeous looking game that may convince many to invest in their next motion control scheme.
The music of Child of Eden will come courtesy of Genki Rockets, the Tetsuya Mizuguchi produced electronic dance pop group. Everything we heard at E3 was upbeat and energetic, more cheery than much of the techno music of Rez, but still instantly catchy and listenable.
Child of Eden looks simply spectacular, an exciting new offering from the sound and light experts at Q Entertainment, so keep an eye out for it early next year.
Update: The original version of this post indicated that Child of Eden would be playable with PlayStation Move. According to Ubisoft, "We are considering Move compatibility, but at this time Child of Eden works with the standard controller for both the Xbox 360 and PS3, as well as Microsoft's Kinect."