GDC 11: Playstation Move Sharpshooter

Among the many other things that Sony was showing off at GDC, the distinctive Sharpshooter peripheral stood out immediately. Serving as a gun-shaped docking bay for a pair of Move controllers, the device promises a thoroughly immersive shooter experience, tailored to Killzone 3 and the forthcoming SOCOM 4, presumably along with other unannounced, future games.

Featuring a folding stock and absolutely encrusted with buttons, the Sharpshooter is, first and foremost, an intimidating experience. The right hand, intuitively, grasps the trigger, though it also has access to five additional buttons (Triangle, Square, Circle, Ex, secondary trigger) in the immediate vicinity. A toggleable switch, like that found on real assault rifles, will enable SOCOM 4 players to switch between single shots, burst fire, and full auto. The left hand manipulates the forward part of the device, the entirety of which can be pumped back and forth like a shotgun — I found that this happens accidentally more often than not. Like it does on a normal controller, the south paw also moves the player around the gameworld with a joystick, while also having access to the four face buttons and two triggers.

There was extensive calibration required before I got up and running, though the Sony rep on hand was available to walk me through it without too much trouble. In retrospect, I wish I had paid more attention to the “dead zone” controls, which affect how far you have to move the gun left or right before panning the camera — it was only thanks to extremely generous auto aim that I was able to survive through most of a Killzone 3 level.

Due to my height (6’8″), I soon found the experience of holding the rifle in firing position uncomfortable, and I made little progress with my unassisted aim, though I would imagine that familiarity would erode this problem in time. Having tried it for myself, I would say that the peripheral is best suited for two kinds of people: first, those who are obsessed with realism and verismilitude — true couch corporals. Second, kids. 10-year-old me would have gone absolutely apeshit for the Sharpshooter, and though even the precocious preteen formulation of a cherry-flavored cure for cancer would not have been enough to convince my parents to buy it for me, there are other parents out there who are more understanding of simulated warfare.

Check out a video of the Sharpshooter in action, below.

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