PixelJunk Gets lifelike at E3

By Ryan Winslett in Previews/Impressions
Monday, June 13, 2011 at 12:00 pm
lifelike front.jpg
Make music
When Q-Games founder Dylan Cuthbert informed the small audience gathered in an upstairs room of the L.A. Convention Center West Hall that PixelJunk lifelike wasn't "really a game," he wasn't kidding.


Cuthbert said there would be little "gameplay" on display and, after handing the PlayStation Move controller off to world-famous Japanese DJ Baiyon for a 30 minute lifelike demonstration, we quickly learned this to be true.


More of an experiment in sound, lifelike is more like a do-it-yourself music workbench. Find out more about this bizarre title after the jump.


PixelJunk fans will know Baiyon from his previous work with Eden. When he took the floor during the E3 lifelike demonstration, little had been explained about what we were about to see. What followed was half an hour of Baiyon moving his hand about, clearly manipulating a building and evolving track, though we had no real idea of how he was making those alterations.


On the screen was an amoeba-esque bit of artwork that occasionally shifted in color and featured a bit of motion from time to time. There was little to look at save Baiyon's movements so, again, I was left feeling unsure about what, exactly, I was witnessing.


Thankfully Cuthbert and Baiyon stuck around following the demonstration to fill in some of the gaps. How the player moves the controller, what button they're holding down, and how they manipulate the Move in 3D space determines everything from the back beat, to the baseline, to all the little audio drop-ins that kept popping up. Baiyon even spoke into a mic during the show, adding a digitized version of his voice to the track.


While little about the actual controls was explained, it looks like lifelike will allow you to basically become a PlayStation DJ. Wave the Move in a diagonal and you get a certain beat. Bring it across from one of the sides and add in some extra layers. Wave it like a whip to maybe drop in the sound of a coin bouncing in a metal bin. No matter what sound you use, you can alter it by moving the controller around, getting closer to the camera or even twisting it like a doorknob.


A two-player mode was also announced with Cuthbert explaining that the distance between the two Move controllers would also affect the sound.


Even cooler is the ability to play live through lifelike for a worldwide audience. You can drop in on anyone's performance whenever you like or make your own mixing session public for others to listen to.


Multiple kits will be available in the full release featuring their own beats, effects, instruments, etc. After 30 minutes with the single kit we saw, it looks like there are loads of sounds available for each one, so expect a lot of variety.


Cuthbert closed saying fingers were crossed on a release by the end of this year.


"We've tried to create an audio canvas using the Move controller," he said. "We're confident anyone can pick up this controller and just play with it to get some interesting sounds of of the system."

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