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Microsoft Gamer’s Day Announcements Are Here

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Well it’s a big day for Microsoft as they are showing some of their big guns for 2008. It’s a long read, enjoy!

Microsoft Game Studios Unveils Gears of War 2 Gameplay and Showcases 2008
Blockbuster Lineup

“Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise” Set to Burst Onto Store Shelves This Fall

Today Microsoft Game Studios (MGS) and industry luminaries from the world’s top
development studios will be on hand to show off the latest features of the year’s
most in-demand titles; present will be Epic Games’ Cliff Bleszinski, Lionhead’s
Peter Molyneux, TECMO/Team NINJA’s Tomonobu Itagaki and Silicon Knights’ Denis
Dyack. This year, the visage of Marcus Fenix joins the likes of Ryu Hayabusa, Banjo,
vivacious piñatas, cybernetic gods and a hero with a loyal dog sidekick in the
all-star 2008 MGS lineup that promises to make Xbox 360 the console of choice for
players everywhere.

Attendees of the MGS San Francisco showcase event will witness the first extended
taste of “Gears of War 2,” the sequel to the blockbuster third-person tactical
action game that sold nearly 5 million units. Epic Games Design Director, Cliff
Bleszinski, will demonstrate dramatic new gameplay elements and stunning visual
effects in a campaign sequence from early in the game – where Marcus Fenix and COG
forces engage in pulse-pounding firefights between two Derrick transports, fend off
vicious Reaver fly-by attacks and rabid Brumaks – all in the same rollercoaster ride
of a level. As the most anticipated Xbox 360 exclusive title of the 2008 holiday
season, “Gears of War 2” offers an unforgettable gameplay experience that blends a
gripping story with visceral combat on a grand scale.

MGS will also crack open “Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise,” set to appear on store
shelves this September. Developed by the creative masterminds at Rare, this sequel
to the colorful, sleeper hit builds upon the gameplay of the original and adds
innovative twists to the mix. In an effort to help Piñata Central rebuild their
computer database of piñatas, players will send piñatas at full candiosity to
parties all around the world while using their creativity and imagination to
attract, capture, protect, train and manage more than 100 newly discovered and
existing piñata species. An exciting, new “Just for Fun” setting makes getting into
the game fast and easy. For the first time, players will be able to collaborate
together on a garden through a rich co-op experience, connect and play with others
online via Xbox LIVE as well as instantly introduce new piñata species to their
garden through an innovative new feature utilizing the Xbox LIVE Vision Camera.

MGS will also pull back the curtain on another beloved franchise with the triumphant
return of Banjo, one of Rare’s most successful characters, in “Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts &
Bolts.” Defying the laws of nature, a bear, a bird and a backpack team up to embark
on another incredible adventure this November. MGS is breaking the rules of
traditional platformer games by putting the power to invent new abilities for Banjo
directly into the players’ hands. By using their ingenuity to build imaginative
vehicles that can be combined with infinite variations, gamers help Banjo
successfully complete missions through multiple terrains. Through exploration,
discovering hidden secrets and solving puzzles to win rewards, players will
continually find increasing ways to customize and improve their contraptions,
creating an unprecedented level of user-generated content and emergent play for a
3-D adventure game.

These instantly recognizable franchises join the enviable company of “Fable 2,” “Too
Human” and “Ninja Gaiden II” from Team NINJA/TECMO, making Xbox 360 the home of the
best blockbuster game experiences this year.

Other news and features of 2008 Xbox 360 blockbusters:

* “Fable 2”: The wait is almost over for the sequel to THE biggest action
role-playing game in Xbox history. Swords, guns and now the newly unveiled magical
power round out the combat in this action RPG from acclaimed developer Peter
Molyneux and Lionhead Studios. Players will have even more choices to continuously
shape who their characters become in a world 10 times the size of the iconic Xbox
game. “Fable 2” introduces a host of exciting new features for gamers, including a
first-of-its-kind Xbox LIVE Arcade experience, and a genre-stretching multiplayer
experience, allowing gamers easily play “Fable 2” with friends and family
side-by-side from the comfort of a living room couch. Players can immerse themselves
in this vibrant world that only Lionhead and Molyneux could create, beginning this
holiday.

* “Too Human”: Today, MGS and Silicon Knights will confirm that the wait is almost
over – “Too Human” will be available on August 19 in North America and August 29 in
Europe. “Too Human” is an epic, highly anticipated action game with integrated RPG
elements and features a rich storyline with deep character development, both
hallmarks of Silicon Knights’ legendary tradition of video game development.
Additionally, Silicon Knights is showcasing for the first time, the title’s online
cooperative play via Xbox LIVE; allowing gamers to experience “Too Human” with
friends in a multiplayer setting.

* “Ninja Gaiden II”: Team NINJA/TEMCO will reveal today that gamers can get a head
start on expanding and customizing their “Ninja Gaiden II” experience with the
release of Gamerpics and Themes, available as PDLC on Xbox LIVE beginning today.
The Gamerpics packs include five new images each, at 100 points per pack; and the
Themes, which focus on heroes and bosses, are 150 points per pack. Soon gamers
everywhere will follow Ryu Hayabusa’s entire blood-drenched mission – through cities
like Venice, New York and Tokyo – to avenge his clan and prevent the destruction of
the human race. “Ninja Gaiden II” slashes its way onto store shelves on June 3 in
North America and June 6 in Europe. Additional “Ninja Gaiden II” PDLC will be
available for download on May 20, with subsequent releases throughout the summer.

* “Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode One” on
Xbox LIVE Arcade provides a first-of-its-kind RPG-Adventure experience based on the
popular Web comic. The creative collaboration between Penny Arcade creators Mike
‘Gabe’ Krahulik and Jerry ‘Tycho’ Holkins, legendary game designer Ron Gilbert and
producers at Hothead Games results in a 100-percent authentic Penny Arcade
experience that pushes bizarre characters, outrageous combat and adult humor to the
precipice of darkness. “Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of
Darkness, Episode One” will be available on Xbox LIVE Arcade May 21, 2008.

Microsoft Game Studios is the home to many of the industry’s biggest franchises and
continues to set the bar for top-quality entertainment experiences for players of
all types. Characters from the game universes of “Gears of War,” “Fable,”
“Banjo-Kazooie,” and “Viva Piñata” have enthralled gamers young and old all over the
world. In 2007, MGS made history with some of the biggest video game launches ever,
including Halo 3,” “PGR4” and “Mass Effect.”

With games often among the highest rated in their class by critics, Microsoft Game
Studios delivers the best and most complete game experiences exclusively on Xbox
360, fueled by the passion of 10 million gamers worldwide playing on Xbox LIVE.

This is just the beginning of what promises to be another landmark year for games on
Xbox 360. Stay tuned for more announcements in the coming months.

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