Arkedo Studio, the excellent French indie behind Big Bang Mini and the Arkedo series for Xbox Live Indie Games, revealed a surprising project that it's since abandoned: 2-Finger Heroes, a brawler designed for Microsoft's controller-free Natal setup.

The company posted mocked-up screenshots and an excerpt from its design document, explaining that it worked on the game for only 12 days before ditching it and moving onto other titles. "Natal had a great user interface, and we tried to play with concepts which were not possible before. Something that would not feel old, hopefully. And most important, something we would have fun making," says Arkedo CEO and co-founder Camille Guermonprez.

He continues, "We wanted to see if we could do HD games without having everyone going facepalm and telling the world we should have [stuck] to simpler games. It may sound silly, but as [co-founder Aurélien Régard] and I started making games in 1999 for mobile phones, and our first games were in 96X65 pixels resolution, in B&W... each year we [wondered] if taking the leap of faith towards more pixels is a good idea or not."

2-Finger Heroes stars a pair of "friendly invaders who did not have enough time to scan the entire human body". Using their fingers for legs, the invaders progress through stages fighting equally strange enemies until they reach their nemesis, the Giant Foot From Outerspace. With the Natal camera aimed at pairs of real fingers, players can jump and kick depending on their fingers' movements.

The game was designed so that players gesture at the camera during certain checkpoints to unlock different power-ups (or penalties), like invisibility and chainsaw legs. The brief eight-page design document also hinted at alternate moves with players' entire hands or arms for controlling vehicles and altering the environment (you can see two design document pages and another mocked-up screenshot after the break).

Interestingly, the two-man studio started working on 2-Finger Heroes while waiting for a former publisher to cough up a first milestone payment for its Big Bang Mini sequel on Wii (I'm guessing the publisher is Southpeak, which also handled Big Bang Mini for DS). Despite completing half of the Wii game's development, it never received the payment and is now suing the publisher.

Arkedo had similar luck with 2-Finger Heroes, as two "big publishers" considered picking up the game based on the concept document but never bit. The developer says it eventually put the Natal project behind to work on Arkedo Series games like 03 Jump! and the upcoming 04 Slash! but will consider returning to the idea.

"It was a very silly concept," admits Guermonprez. "We loved the idea, we still do, and we will probably have our revenge by releasing some kind of variation of it through our [Arkedo Series] now (well, it will miss the Natal appeal, but we still believe it is going to be a nice game)."

[Via Joystiq]