Milo was one of the more interesting parts of the Microsoft press conference. The trailer showed a realistic boy that you could interact with just by talking to him. He would respond back to you and react with appropriate facial expressions depending on your facial cues and tone of voice.
At a behind-closed-doors meeting, we were able to go face-to-face with Milo to see whether he's simply a parlor trick. Starting off the meeting, Peter Molyneux, head of Lionhead Studios and mastermind behind Milo, was blunt:
"I'll be honest with you, some of the stuff you're going to see is like a trick, but some of it is absolutely our technology."
So what was technology and what was a trick? It appeared that Milo's ability to recognize actual words is completely AWOL at the moment. Former MTVer Stephen Totilo joined me for my meeting, and Stephen's attempts to interact with Milo resulted in mere quaint smiles and frowns. Molyneux went on to say that players must "train Milo to their voice." That may be, but based on this demo there's still a lot of ground to cover.
As for the technology, the game features a motion-sensing camera which changes your perspective of Milo as you walk around the room. This seemed particularly sensitive to the light of the room (which was set up like a broadcast studio), but when it worked it was definitely cool. The interaction with the fish at the end of the demo works as advertised, as well, but that's nothing the current Microsoft camera can't pull off right now.
So is Milo legit? Not completely, but he sure is cute.