Dance Central was, and remains, one of the best implementations of Kinect technology on Xbox 360. Harmonix's dance recognition technology was an impressive step forward for the genre, but would it have been possible without Kinect? Dean Tate, lead designer of Dance Central, explained that the company was, in fact, developing its own hardware before the introduction of Kinect.
"I think that what would have happened is that Harmonix, as it has done before, would have developed its own hardware solution," he said.
Dance Central spent 17 months in a development, according to a GDC session attended by Gamespot. Because the developer started work on the game before Microsoft ever announced Kinect (then known as Project Natal), Harmonix was rather limited in what it could envision. For example, one of the earliest prototypes included a Rock band-style system, with icons scrolling from right to left.
Another idea had players tapping "gems" around the player, not unlike the system used in later versions of Dance Dance Revolution.
The unveiling of Project Natal was a "deus ex machina moment" for the studio--and the rest is, as they say, history. Dance Central eventually became a launch game for the Kinect, and a sequel is already in the works for release later this year.