Usher Talks "Dance Central 3" and Reveals His Hopes for the Future of Gaming (Holograms)

Usher Talks "Dance Central 3" and Reveals His Hopes for the Future of Gaming (Holograms)

Microsoft had a great showing of games and new technology at their E3 press conference earlier in the week (SmartGlass anyone?), but it was Usher who really stole the show. Obviously.

The pop and R&B legend took the stage to perform "Scream" from his upcoming album Looking 4 Myself (releasing June 12). "Scream", along with "OMG" featuring will.i.am (from 2010's Raymond v. Raymond), will appear in Microsoft's next Kinect-exclusive dance game, Dance Central 3.

The game, from Guitar Hero and Rock Band creators Harmonix, will use the Xbox 360's Kinect to track players' movements as they dance along with a wide variety of songs.

Given the chance to speak with Usher along with another reporter, the first thing we asked was about Justin Bieber, of course. But it wasn't long before the conversation turned to…holograms?

Here's our chat:

Justin Bieber had a song in Dance Central 2, and we're assuming he has one in DC 3 as well. Are you proud of him for getting to this point?
Absolutely.

Did you get to work with him at all on this?
Actually, no, I didn't get the chance to work with him. But a lot of the movement that was collected [for his songs] I think was from videos.

However, for me I was able to have a little more influence with "Scream" and "OMG" because I knew, you know, every move verbatim. There's a  bit of expectation obviously because these songs have been kind of nominated for video awards, etc. So people know the movement.

But they never quite understood it. And here was an opportunity for me to give it to them as slow or as fast as they wanted to learn it. And they could be creative in taking the movement that they learn here and making it a part of their dance repertoire, you know? If not, they'll just be able to have fun with friends and family.

Would you ever work on another game in the future?
Of course. You know, this is kind of the opening of my experience in terms of gaming. I really think that the technology is amazing. To be able to track your entire body movement and it be a part of the dance experience is incredible. I mean, I was really blown away. That's why I had to be a part of it. So when Harmonix came to me and talked about this type of collaboration I was 100 percent game. 

But then I wanted to make sure that the fans would have the opportunity to be a part of the experience in a way that they felt they were getting a treat, and they were learning at the same time.

Have you ever played previous dancing games, like Dance Dance Revolution? What do you think about the evolution to games like Dance Central 3?
In comparison with Kinect Xbox 360, I think that this one is far far more advanced. I think that this is kind of the wave of the future. You know when Kinect allows you to be a part of it and there's holograms, etc.

I mean this is kind of the early revolutionary stages of what I think holograms will become. Imagine when you're able to have a video game and it's happening in your living room. And that's probably far, far-fetched from now. I'm probably talking about things that I'll be assassinated for right now. But I think that this is kind of a new way of entertaining yourself.

Did you get to do some motion capture for Dance Central 3?
In the creation of Dance Central 3, as far as my participation went, there was a bit of—there was actually a great deal of motion capture. And a lot of the choreography was from some of the videos that I had done, as well as some of my live performances. And also just moves that really go with the song.

It was "Scream" and "OMG" that we selected. And you know, here's an opportunity once again to get closer to my fans and given them something more than just the music, you know. I'm able to show them how to move through the videos. but now here's an opportunity to teach them how to dance in a very fun, recreational way.

Had you ever done motion capture before?
I never actually had to do any motion capture before this. Though I'd done other effects. But it was really cool to see how this world works, and how much detail goes into it. Of course, you know how much detail goes into—well I know how much detail goes into making an album. It's very tedious.

But I mean it's even more so with movement because you want accuracy, and you know, to be able to create like a documented place for my movement was really great, you know? Basically it was written. It's kind of history. So here was kind of an opportunity to make history of my movement.

Tags: usher, dance-central-3, microsoft, e3-2012, harmonix
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