Deepak Chopra's Kinect Meditation Game, Leela, Revealed

Announced at E3 last month, THQ's Deepak Chopra Project was as enigmatic as any game possibly can be. The game claimed to focus on relaxing chakras to enter a "flow state", with little more than a few abstract screenshots to try to ascertain how that might manifest itself as gameplay. Now the official title has been revealed and the gameplay is just a tiny bit less ambiguous.

Leela, as the game is now titled, is spiritual leader Deepak Chopra's attempt to combine gaming and meditation. Talking to the AP, Chopra explains how video games are currently used to "create addictions to violence, adrenaline and mindlessness, rather than mindfulness".

"I personally believe that you can accelerate neural development and biological evolution through video games," said Chopra.

That is where Kinect comes in. Detecting players' bodies, Leela -- Sanskrit for "Play" -- will guide them through seven meditation exercises based on the body's seven "chakras". Despite an increasing difficulty, there is no importance placed on gaining a high score or even finishing any given exercise. Stress and tension have no place in a game designed to relax.

So how does one "play" a meditation game? In the root chakra exercise, players tilt their hips to seed a virtual planet. Another exercise sees the player creating fireballs to release gems in falling rocks. One of the guided meditative modes has players follow breathing instructions from yoga instructor Elena Brower, with Kinect able to monitor the seated players' breathing patterns and display the resulting information on screen in the form of 3 undulating bars.

"We did more than 500 prototypes" said Director of Product Development at THQ, Peter Armstrong.

"We wanted to make sure each of the movements was fun and replayable. We took the teachings and tried to boil them down. We would show those to Deepak and some of his experts, but there were several instances where they just didn't work. They just didn't quite fit the meaning of that chakra." he added.

Let's hope it can live up to Chopra's lofty ambitions to "create a new generation of video games that can help accelerate the personal, psychological, emotional and spiritual development of human beings." Find out on Nov 8 when the game launches in the US!

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