Like the radio-safe version of the song says, let’s get it started in here: The Black Eyed Peas Experience is a Black Eyed Peas dance game, bumped up to “experience” status with the addition of original music videos and other fan-pleasing extras. In it, you play as a customised avatar in a dance-off against the Peas themselves in a pumping, all-Black Eyed Peas discotheque.
Having (presumably) evaded the Black Eyed Peas’ bodyguards, your avatar gets all up in the group’s grill and challenges them to a face-to-face dance contest, in which you mirror the moves of whichever group member takes centre stage. With your avatar onscreen, his or her back to the player, and the four group members jigging beyond that, it’s a busy picture–more so, even, with the simultaneous two-player, and with bright highlights pinging off your avatar’s limbs when you pull off a successful dance move.
For each song, of which there will be 20-plus in the finished game, you play through three training stages to unlock the song’s full dance routine, picking up the moves in the training stages that you’ll need for the final dance-off. The routines are devised by the Black Eyed Peas’ choreographer, says the game’s brand manager, and they’re performed, naturally, by likenesses of the group members; Fergie’s avatar has the shiniest legs ever committed to the medium of video games. Your avatar, meanwhile, is customisable; the brand manager speculates on the possibilities of additional avatar outfits in downloadable content, as well as tracks from individual band members Will.I.Am and Fergie.
The early build of the game we saw, which includes the tracks “I Gotta Feeling,” “Imma Be,” and “Rock That Body,” hasn’t nailed player movement recognition just yet. Detection wasn’t thoroughly accurate at this stage, but the idea is that your avatar replicates your movements, successful or otherwise, while the Black Eyed Peas show you how it’s done. We sampled the Xbox 360 Kinect-based version. In this, when the Kinect loses sight of a player, his or her avatar puppet turns black and white and stops moving.
While you dance, the original music video for the song plays on a video wall in the background, a little like last year’s Michael Jackson: The Experience, also from Ubisoft. On completing a song, you’re given the usual score based on successful moves, the number of “followers” you’ve won, and also a graph of your performance, with a line rising and dipping along a timeline, plotting where you did best and worst in the course of the song.
Those partial to a spot of Black Eyed Peas should look out for this dance title later this year, providing the movement recognition shapes up in time for launch.