This year’s X06 saw a couple of big announcements from Microsoft. Very big announcements. Let’s check them out:
- Peter Jackson, who is currently associated with the upcoming Halo movie, Academy Award-winning screenwriter Fran Walsh and Microsoft Game Studios have teamed up to create two new games exclusively for Xbox 360 and Xbox Live. The first series will be a collaborative with Bungie to co-create the next game in the Halo universe, while the second series will be a completely new IP. Additionally, they have also partnered up to form Wingnut Interactive, the studio which will dedicate itself to bringing these series’ to the next-gen console.
- Besides the Wingnut Halo game, Ensemble Studios is working on Halo Wars, a new real-time strategy game based on the legendary universe. Before you cry foul, keep in mind that these guys are behind the Age of Empires franchise, which has been a solid series so far. The game is entirely exclusive to Xbox 360.
- Hoping to make a dent in Sony’s future, Microsoft revealed that the Xbox 360 version of Grand Theft Auto IV will receive two exclusive downloadable, “epic” episodes via Xbox Live, each with many hours of entirely new gameplay. These episodes will be available just months after the game’s release next year.
Both the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game will ship at the same time in October 2007.
- In a move that is very uncharacteristic of Ubisoft, the publisher confirmed that the next Splinter Cell title after Double Agent will be a console-exclusive on Xbox 360. It will also be released on PC for those without the console.
- Yes, BioShock is also exclusive to the console. It’s on PC as well.
- Banjo-Kazooie is back, courtesy of Rare! Another exclusive to Xbox 360, the title will feature the much beloved characters, who, according to the press release, will thankfully retain their “sharp wit and hilarious sense of humor.”
- Another exclusive: Marvel Universe Online. In development at Cryptic Studios, the game will also be released for Windows Vista.
- Everyone saw this coming, but not this soon: Project Gotham Racing 4. The game was unveiled at the show, though it is not expected until late next year, or 2008.
- id Software’s DOOM and Codemasters’ Sensible World of Soccer are now available on Xbox Live Arcade.
- And finally, the Xbox 360 HD-DVD player will be released in North America, UK, France and Germany this November. It will retail for $200 in North America and €200/£130 in U.K., France and Germany. The player will also come with a copy of King Kong on HD-DVD and the Xbox 360 Universal Media Remote.
At X06 Microsoft and Marvel Entertainment confirmed that Cryptic Studios is the studio behind Marvel Universe Online, the upcoming Marvel-themed MMO, exclusive to Windows Vista and Xbox 360.
Cryptic Studios is known for their work on City of Heroes and City of Villains. They will be bringing the Marvel MMO to both platforms simultaneously, letting users from either platform to play alongside one another. No release date for the project was mentioned.
Taking notes from EA’s Army of Two and Io Interactive’s Kane & Lynch, Eidos Interactive announced its own two player co-op game: Crossfire. Exclusive to PC and Xbox 360, the game will have players take control of military operatives who do the dirty work for the United States.
When the US government needs intelligence but wants no association with an operation, deniable operatives are dispatched. Responsible for covert paramilitary actions, the Special Activities Division is a division of the Central Intelligence Agency’s former Directorate of Operations, now the National Clandestine Service. Members of the unit must bear no identity; no objects, papers or clothing that could associate them in any way with their employees, CROSSFIRE draws its inspiration from this group of highly skilled individuals.
An innovative new two player co-op FPS from award-winning developers, Pivotal Games, CROSSFIRE is set in today’s delicately balanced political climate, focusing on two covert field operatives, experts in weapons and military tactics. CROSSFIRE allows players the freedom to switch seamlessly, at any point, between these two operatives to lay down cover fire, explore different paths through levels, create a distraction or pin down the enemy under crossfire. The intuitive command system encourages the player to focus 100% on action, without a moment to catch their breath. Featuring full destructible environments and Hollywood-esque explosive moments, the game takes place in politically sensitive areas across South America, Africa and Siberia.
Crossfire is set to accidentally kill the Xbox 360 sometime next year.
X06 attendees got the chance to experience an early version of the game for Xbox 360, as well as the X-Plorer controller (pictured). Besides enhanced graphics, Guitar Hero II on the next-gen console will feature micro-transactions, letting users buy and download songs via Xbox Live Marketplace.
No release date was disclosed for the title, though the PS2 version hits stores November 7.