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Microsoft Announces Line-up for 2008

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Who says the Xbox community has nothing to look forward to in 2008? Sequel mania this year. After all of the denials over the past few weeks, we see that Epic was waiting to drop the news at GDC . . . Gears is coming back, folks! Although the movie-going community has been tortured by one horrible sequel after another (not to mention all of the prequels), the gaming community has so much to look forward to this year with the much-anticipated releases of several huge IPs: Gears of War, Ninja Gaiden, and Fable. The big new IP that Microsoft will be introducing this year is Too Human, which seems to be a cross between Gears and Diablo. The Big M also announced several Xbox Live Arcade titles including the Penny Arcade game which was featured at PAX.

CliffyB actually made the announcement by chainsawing through to the Microsoft stage at GDC with a Lancer replica. He also remarked in an interview with Geoff Keighley in the Bonus Round that unlike crappy movie sequels, game sequels are something to look forward to because developers have the opportunity to incorporate ever-evolving developments in technology to make something bigger and better. Sure, gamers have seen several IPs go into sequel insignificance due to lack of innovation on the part of some companies, but the developers that have taken their time (into the tens of years a la Duke Nukem) during the creation process have given consumers hit after hit after hit.

Microsoft Provides Thrilling First Look at Xbox 360 Blockbuster Portfolio for 2008, Announces “Gears of War 2” Ships This November
The world’s hottest developers pave the way for a banner year with a blockbuster lineup that includes “Gears of War 2,” “Fable 2,” “Ninja Gaiden II” and a rich mix of indie Xbox LIVE Arcade titles

SAN FRANCISCO – Feb. 20, 2008 – Today at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2008, Microsoft Corp. provided an exciting glimpse at what promises to be another landmark year for games and online entertainment on the Xbox 360 platform and officially announced the launch of “Gears of War 2,”  exclusively for Xbox 360 this November.

Providing a dramatic close to Microsoft’s GDC keynote address, Epic Games Inc.’s lead designer Cliff Bleszinski announced that the epic saga of Marcus Fenix and Delta Squad continues exclusively on the Xbox 360 this fall with “Gears of War 2.” This highly anticipated sequel to the 4.5 million-selling blockbuster “Gears of War” delves deeper into humanity’s struggle for survival against the nightmarish Locust Horde, and promises to take high-definition visuals to a whole new level.

In addition, acclaimed developer Peter Molyneux of Lionhead Studios took the stage to showcase exciting new multiplayer features for “Fable 2,” introducing dynamic cooperative play, a first to the franchise. Molyneux also announced that later this year, and before the launch of “Fable 2,” gamers can get a sneak peek at the game’s world when the “Fable 2” pub games debut as a stand-alone download on Xbox LIVE Arcade. When “Fable 2” launches, gamers will have the ability to transfer currency earned in the pub games directly to their character in “Fable 2.” This unique and first-of-its-kind experience, which can be found only on Xbox LIVE Arcade, will give the millions of “Fable” fans and gamers all around the globe the opportunity to jump into the “Fable 2” world with money already in the bank.

Tomonobu Itagaki also revealed new “Ninja Gaiden II” game-sharing features, including Ninja Cinema, which is enabled solely through Xbox LIVE, providing exciting and innovative entertainment experiences for the more than 10 million Xbox LIVE members worldwide by allowing players to record and upload their best ninja moves to Xbox LIVE.

“To our team the original game was just a tease, the appetizer to the ‘Gears of War’ characters and new style of gameplay. We were so amped to get to the next chapter, and dig deeper into the universe of this franchise,” said Cliff Bleszinski, lead designer for Epic Games. “‘Gears of War 2’ is an even bigger, better, and more badass experience than the first game, and we can’t wait to get it in the hands of eager gamers this November.”

This year, the most anticipated games will be found exclusively on Xbox 360, including the next chapters of top franchises such as “Gears of War,” “Fable” and “Ninja Gaiden,” as well as new titles such as “Too Human.”

  • “Gears of War 2” (Epic Games). “Gears of War 2” is the sequel to the 4.5 million-selling blockbuster that redefined the third-person tactical action game genre. “Gears of War 2” continues the story of Marcus Fenix and Delta Squad in an epic saga of survival, loss and retribution. Developed by Epic Games exclusively for Xbox 360, “Gears of War 2” launches this November.
  • “Fable 2” (Lionhead Studios). In addition to the dynamic co-op mode unveiled onstage, Peter Molyneux also announced that Carbonated Games is bringing the “Fable 2” experience to Xbox LIVE Arcade. Before the game’s launch, gamers will be able to get an early taste of the “Fable 2” experience and gain a head start on earning currency for use in “Fable 2” by playing “Fable 2”-themed pub games that will be downloadable via Xbox LIVE Arcade. The currency earned in these Xbox LIVE Arcade titles will enable players to purchase items in “Fable 2” when the game launches later this year.
  • “Ninja Gaiden II” (TECMO/Team NINJA). Tomonobu Itagaki debuted several tantalizing new Xbox LIVE features of “Ninja Gaiden II,” including the ability to capture and share videos of a player’s glorious battles via the Ninja Cinema feature and upload them to Xbox LIVE. “Ninja Gaiden II” launches worldwide this June.
  • “Too Human” (Silicon Knights). Microsoft also showcased the epic action game from renowned Canadian developer Silicon Knights, “Too Human,” at a media event before today’s keynote address. In “Too Human,” players are treated to a nonstop barrage of action powered by the seamless integration of melee and firearms combat, plus deep role-playing elements fueled by breathtaking visuals enabled by the power of Xbox 360.

With online multiplayer gameplay, downloadable content and ways to stay in contact with a global community, these forthcoming blockbusters harness the power of Xbox LIVE to create truly innovative and exciting entertainment experiences. Each game also comes packed with Achievements, so Xbox LIVE members can help add to the more than 1 billion Achievements already unlocked on the service to date. And, as with the “Fable 2” pub games, downloadable content in Xbox LIVE Marketplace allows gamers the opportunity to customize and enhance their gameplay experiences. Since the service launched, Microsoft has seen more than $250 million in digital revenue from Xbox LIVE Marketplace through the purchase of more than 20 billion Microsoft Points.

Xbox LIVE members have been using a large portion of those Microsoft Points in Xbox LIVE Arcade, which is the premier destination for digitally distributed, high-definition original and classic games. With over 116 games to choose from on Xbox LIVE Arcade, everyone’s invited to get instantly immersed in the fun. Xbox LIVE Arcade is also home to the world’s most innovative independent developers, with more than 25 independent studios serving as the creative fuel behind the original games that represent more than a quarter of the Xbox LIVE Arcade library. The following titles represent a sample of games launching on Xbox LIVE Arcade in the near future from the world’s leading independent developers:

  • “Braid” (Number None Inc.). Developed by Independent Games Festival Winner and experimental game designer Jonathan Blow, “Braid” is a platform experience that bends all the rules with the manipulation of time. “Braid” will launch this spring.
  • “Castle Crashers” (The Behemoth). “Castle Crashers” is the second title currently in development by award-winning independent developer The Behemoth, creator of “Alien Hominid HD.” The role-playing game (RPG) adventure will let up to four players hack, slash and smash their way together through a visually stunning hand-drawn landscape. “Castle Crashes” launches this summer.
  • “Defense Grid: The Awakening” (Hidden Path Entertainment LLC). “Defense Grid: The Awakening” is the definitive tower defense game experience designed specifically for Xbox LIVE Arcade and launches this summer.
  • “Go! Go! Break Steady” (Little Boy Games). An Xbox LIVE Arcade exclusive, “Go! Go! Break Steady” is the debut title from independent developer Little Boy Games. The combination music and puzzle game combines break dancing with novel gameplay and launches this summer.
  • “Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness” (Hothead Games). The first video game collaboration between Penny Arcade creators Mike “Gabe” Krahulik and Jerry “Tycho” Holkins and legendary game designer Ron Gilbert, “Penny Arcade Adventures” is an RPG-adventure game set in a highly stylized 1920s universe filled with bizarre characters, outrageous combat and adult humor. The first episode of the game launches this summer.About Xbox 360
    Xbox 360 is a superior video game and entertainment system delivering the best games, unique entertainment features and a unified online gaming network that revolve around gamers. Xbox 360 has a portfolio of more than 300 games in nearly 40 countries. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/xbox360.About Microsoft Game Studios
    Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the Xbox and Xbox 360 video game systems, the Windows operating system and online platforms. Comprising a network of top developers, Microsoft Game Studios is committed to creating innovative and diverse games for Windows (http://www.microsoft.com/games), including such franchises as “Age of Empires,” “Flight Simulator” and “Zoo Tycoon”; Xbox and Xbox 360 (http://www.xbox.com), including such games as “Gears of War” and franchises such as “Halo,” “Fable,” “Project Gotham Racing” and “Forza Motorsport”; and MSN Games (http://www.games.msn.com), the official games channel for the MSN network and home to such hits as “Bejeweled” and “Hexic.”

    About Xbox LIVE
    Xbox LIVE is the first and most comprehensive unified online entertainment network seamlessly integrated throughout the entire console experience, making it easy for people to find the friends, games and entertainment they want from the moment they power on their Xbox 360 system. Xbox LIVE connects millions of members across 26 countries to enjoy hundreds of multiplayer games, downloadable games via Xbox LIVE Arcade, free and premium playable game demos, music videos, TV shows and movies in the United States as well as new game levels, characters and vehicles for all their favorite retail games. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/en-us/live.

    About Xbox LIVE Arcade
    Xbox LIVE Arcade on Xbox 360 is the premier destination for digitally distributed high-definition games. Xbox LIVE Arcade is a fast-growing phenomenon with a diverse library of original development and classic titles from the world’s best independent and established developers and publishers. With a dynamically updated library and free trials for every title, Xbox LIVE Arcade makes it easy for every type of gamer – from casual to hard-core – to get instantly immersed in the fun. Xbox LIVE Arcade also lets friends connect and play these incredible games either from the same room or from around the world via the Xbox LIVE online entertainment network. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/en-US/games/livearcade.

    About Microsoft
    Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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