Where is Project Milo?
At E3 2009 when Lionhead Studios’ Peter Molyneux came to the stage during Project Natal’s (now known as Kinect) introduction, we knew something interesting would be on the cards. This is where a character called Milo was introduced to the world. A game utilising the technological innovations offered by Microsoft’s Kinect would allow players to interact with the 10 year old Milo. The game would use Kinect’s ability to read voice, gestures and actions to determine the on screen response of Milo. The pre filmed demonstration of the Project Milo demo was truly extraordinary in terms of anything being put forward by the gaming industry at the time.
However, after the conference there was some confusion. Was this a tech demo for Kinect or was it to be a fully fledged release on the Xbox 360? Milo made no appearance the following year at E3 2010. Shortly after E3, Molyneux promised to show off a more advanced version of Milo at the TED Conference in July.
The footage below is the demonstration of Project Milo at TED.
It seemed the premise of the game had changed somewhat. It was revealed that there was a pre-determined story where the player was to assist Milo through tasks such as teaching him to skim stones or cheering him up. It did seem more and more of Milo’s actions and words were scripted compared to the 2009 demo. For example, players were prompted when to talk to Milo by a red microphone on screen.
In September 2010 an article from Eurogamer stated that a source had told them development of Project Milo had ceased. The article suggested that technology such as voice recognition shown from the Project Milo demos would be used in an upcoming Kinect based Fable title. By 2011, a video from GDC showed more from Project Milo, however this was showing off the graphics engine rather than gameplay.
At E3 2011 Project Milo did not make an appearance. However, the rumoured Kinect based Fable game did. Fable: The Journey was announced for mid 2012. The game uses similar features to the Project Milo demos such as gesture commands.
So, the question remains, with Lionhead Studios busy with their new Fable game, is Project Milo on hold? Or was Milo simply a tech demo that led to no end? We don’t really know. Only Peter Molyneux and Microsoft know what Project Milo is or was. The horizon for Project Milo seems bleak and somewhat hazy, for now anyway.