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 and 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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