Microsoft delivered the fine art of gaming at the X06 event in Barcelona, Spain, showcasing an extensive, groundbreaking collection of games for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system, Games for Windows and Xbox Live Arcade for Xbox 360. For the holiday season and beyond, Microsoft offers amazing experiences for all types of gamers — ranging from the hard-core gamer with the award-winning “Gears of War” to the gamer interested in a variety of genres with the broad reach title “Viva Piñata.”
Xbox 360 games arriving for the holidays include these:
- "Gears of War” (Epic Games Inc.). 2006 E3 Best Console Game winner “Gears of War” thrusts gamers into humankind’s horrifying epic battle for survival against the Locust Horde. This third-person tactical action/horror title lets gamers play in several modes (single, co-operative and customizable Xbox Live multiplayer gameplay) that unite next-generation technology and graphics with classic storytelling and a revolutionary tactical combat system.
- "Viva Piñata" (Rare Ltd.). The “Viva Piñata” world is an evolving paradise where players of all ages create a fantastical island to attract and care for the more than 60 species of wild-roaming Piñata animals. In the United States, the animated TV series “Viva Piñata” debuted Sept. 9 on 4Kids TV and licensed merchandise will be available in 2007.
- “Call of Duty 3” (Activision). The follow up to the No. 1 next-generation title delivers gamers right to the frontlines, closer than ever to the fury of combat. “Call of Duty 3” also offers intense multiplayer action for up to 24 players to team up online.
- "Disney/Pixar’s Cars” (THQ). The “Cars” video game, based on the Disney/Pixar film, is a high-performance interactive experience in the open world created in the film, challenging players to re-live the excitement created by Lightning McQueen and his friends. Fans will discover unique characters and environments inspired by the film with more than 10 playable characters and 30 races and mini-games to choose from.
- “Dead or Alive: Xtreme 2” (Tecmo Inc.). The girls of “Dead or Alive” are back and ready to battle it out in the tropical waters of Zack’s Island. Race high-performance watercraft, compete in beach volleyball, sunbathe on white sand beaches and go all-in at Zack’s casino.
- “FIFA 2007” (EA). “FIFA 07” on the Xbox 360 heralds the start of the next generation of football gaming with the dynamic new EA SPORTS engine and all-new gameplay. Moving away from the traditional animation-based game engine, raw physics and data now drive the action, creating true-to-life movement, an unprecedented level of responsiveness and the most advanced visuals seen in a football game. Partner the new engine with the most innovative and extensive online feature sets to date, with 4 v 4 and streaming real world news, “FIFA 07” truly blurs the lines between video games and reality.
- “NBA 2K7” (2K Sports/Visual Concepts). “NBA 2K7,” the latest instalment of the No. 1 rated NBA 2K series, features breathtaking graphics, tight controls and a revolutionary shooting game. “NBA 2K7” delivers a new benchmark in high-level player details with Signature Style player animations that add a new level of gameplay strategies as gamers adjust to the different shooting styles of each NBA player. “NBA 2K7” also enhances the overall atmosphere with hyper-detailed arenas, enhanced arena lighting and numerous new camera angles to truly deliver the next generation of basketball video games.
- “NBA LIVE 07” (EA). Building upon the depth and authenticity that the NBA LIVE franchise has delivered for more than a decade, this season the game will once again revolutionise basketball gameplay. With new moves that are matched only by the game’s stunning visuals, players will be given more control than they ever imagined with the all-new EA SPORTS™ Total Freestyle Control. This year “NBA LIVE 07” will partner with the worldwide leader in sports to deliver more in-game ESPN content while you play.
- “NHL 07” (EA). Whether you’re running the front office or dominating the rink, “NHL 07” is the most intuitive and realistic hockey experience ever created. Powered by advanced gameplay, “NHL 07” features new responsive controls and photo-realistic graphics. Players take complete command over every movement on the ice without ever taking their hands off the analog sticks.
- “Need for Speed Carbon” (EA). Delivering the next generation of adrenaline-filled street racing, “Need for Speed Carbon” will challenge players to face the ultimate driving test on treacherous canyon roads. “Need for Speed Carbon” delivers the next generation of customization, giving you the power to design and tweak your crew’s cars in every way using the groundbreaking new Autosculpt™ technology. Represent your car class, your crew and your turf in “Need for Speed Carbon,” a revolution in racing games.
- “Pro Evolution Soccer 6” (Konami Digital Entertainment GmbH). With more than 150 individual moves, techniques and tricks at your disposal, “Pro Evolution Soccer 6” enables you to play the “beautiful game” in any way you see fit. From slick passing moves to hard-tackling, crowd-pleasing exhibitions of individual skill to dogged, desperate defending, no other game can rival its ability to capture the essence and atmosphere of the real-life sport.
- “Sonic the Hedgehog” (Sega). “Sonic The Hedgehog” redefines his trademark speed for the most intense, high-velocity adventure yet! Blaze through enormous and exotic worlds with all-new custom moves and take on Dr. Eggman and his horde of robotic minions to rescue a princess in peril.
- “SUPERMAN RETURNS: THE VIDEOGAME” (EA), challenges players to master Superman’s unrivalled powers to save Metropolis. Based on 60 years of DC Comics and the hit motion picture, “SUPERMAN RETURNS: THE VIDEOGAME” creates the ultimate open-world superhero experience. As the Man of Steel™, you’ll hone your unworldly super powers such as Flight, X-Ray Vision and Freeze Breath to fight villains that only Superman™ can defeat.
- “Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 07” (EA). In its latest instalment, “Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 07” brings realism and emotion to the golf course like never before, while players see and hear the crowds around them with enhanced playing environments. “Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 07” is packed with new content, including 12 courses, and the all-new UCAP technology makes Tiger more realistic than ever.
- “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Vegas” (Ubisoft). Rainbow operatives take to the chaotic streets of Las Vegas as an escalating terrorist siege in “Sin City” threatens to take world terrorism to new, uncontrollable heights. The future of global security hangs in the balance as you battle to defend classic Vegas locations and environments such as Fremont Street, the Strip and casinos.
- “Tony Hawk’s Project 8” (Activision). Re-engineered from the ground up for Xbox 360, “Tony Hawk’s Project 8” immerses players in the definitive skateboarding experience using ultra-realistic graphics, enhanced physics and extremely responsive controls that simulate the feeling of skating with every trick and bail. The game challenges players to experience the intensity and pressure of skating against some of the world’s top pros in true-to-life competitions as they aim to become the No.1 skater.
Windows titles available for the holiday include these:
- “Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs” (Ensemble Studios). The new expansion pack for the best-selling real-time strategy game of 2005, “Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs” lets gamers of all ages enjoy 15 new missions leading the Native American civilizations as they expand their empires and fight for control of the Americas.
- “Flight Simulator X” (ACES Studio). The franchise that’s been flying high for more than two decades lets gamers of all ages and skill levels experience what it is like to be an aviator travelling the globe either solo or online with others. With more than 50 new missions to choose from, Windows aviators can pilot dozens of new aircrafts including the Aircreation 582SL Ultralight and Maule M7-260C Orion.
- “Neverwinter Nights 2” (Atari). Available this fall, “Neverwinter Nights 2” is the sequel to Atari’s best-selling and genre-defining role-playing game (RPG) set in the fantasy world of the Forgotten Realms, one of the popular campaign settings of Dungeons and Dragons. The game takes players from the tiniest of villages into a sweeping tale of danger and war, chronicling their rise from a peasant to a full-fledged hero of the Realms. More information can be found at http://www.nwn2.com.
- “Zoo Tycoon 2: Marine Mania” (Blue Fang Games). Aspiring marine biologists can turn their dream zoo into an aquatic extravaganza with the “Zoo Tycoon 2: Marine Mania” expansion pack. Care for 20 new marine creatures including great white sharks, giant squids and manta rays, build captivating tanks or create extraordinary aquatic shows featuring dolphins or killer whales.
More Xbox 360 games announced or shown at X06 include these:
- “Assassin’s Creed” (Ubisoft). The new action title developed by an all-star team from Ubisoft Montreal. “Assassin’s Creed” delivers a truly next-generation experience with stunning visuals, compelling storytelling and never-before-seen crowd gameplay. Gamers will take on the role of a skilled assassin and shape events during the pivotal moment in the Third Crusade.
- “Crackdown” (Real Time Worlds). Real Time Worlds, led by “Grand Theft Auto” mastermind David Jones, pushes the action-driving hybrid genre into the next generation with a 3-D open-world, free-form playground. Experience highly innovative co-op gameplay and an interactive world where nearly everything can be used as a weapon.
- “Fable 2” (Lionhead Studios). In “Fable 2,” the sequel to “Fable,” the groundbreaking role-playing adventure, gamers can control the decisions of the characters and the resulting outcome. Gameplay will evolve to include the ability to choose your character’s gender and employ the use of firearms in combat.
- “Forza Motorsport 2” (Turn 10). “Forza Motorsport 2” roars into the next generation with more than 300 customisable cars and 60 frames per second of head-turning, high-definition gameplay. Plus you can race on real-world tracks from around the globe — from the famously challenging Nürbugring Nordschleife track to the spectator-lined streets of Rio de Janeiro.
- “Halo Wars” (Ensemble Studios). Expanding on the universe that made the “Halo” franchise so beloved, “Halo Wars” provides gamers with an unparalleled real-time strategy experience for the console that will showcase the power of Xbox 360. Players will command the human UNSC armies as they deploy for their first encounter with the evil Covenant forces.
- “Half-Life 2” (EA/Valve). “Half-Life 2” for the Xbox 360 system is the entire award-winning single-player game together with the first two episodes of the continued story. Research scientist Gordon Freeman finds himself on an alien-infested Earth being picked to the bone, its resources depleted, its populace dwindling. Freeman is thrust into the unenviable role of rescuing the world from the wrong he unleashed back at Black Mesa. And a lot of people — people he cares about — are counting on him.
- “Lost Planet: Extreme Condition” (Capcom). “Lost Planet: Extreme Condition” is a riveting sci-fi action shooter with intense cinematic gameplay set within the ruthless conditions of a war-torn ice covered planet. With a gripping single-player campaign and numerous multiplayer modes, “Lost Planet” promises to deliver an epic gaming masterpiece when it is released in January 2007.
- “Mass Effect” (BioWare). “Mass Effect” is set in an expansive, living universe and will deliver an immersive gameplay experience in which players are put in a position where they are the only person aware of an ancient danger that threatens all life in the entire galaxy. They must stop the threat at all costs, which can lead to morally challenging decisions. The science fiction RPG has racked up more than 30 awards and nominations and quickly becoming one of the must-have games of 2007.
- “Project Gotham Racing 4” (Bizarre Creations). An exclusive to Xbox 360, “Project Gotham Racing 4” promises to continue its pedigree of innovation by introducing exciting new driving experiences to racing fans throughout the world. Always setting a high standard and delivering on breakthrough technology for the Xbox and Xbox360 platforms, “Project Gotham Racing 4” will deliver on new experiences that will delight gamers. The critically acclaimed “PGR” franchise has sold more than 4 million copies worldwide.
- The next game in the “Banjo-Kazooie” Franchise (Rare Ltd.). The beloved franchise from Rare returns as gamers reunite with Banjo, Kazooie, Gruntilda and a cast of new and returning characters for a new, exclusive adventure only for Xbox 360. Expect sharp wit, hilarious humour and next-generation visuals. The official title will be announced at a later date.
Titles for both Xbox 360 and Windows announced or shown include these:
- “Alan Wake” (Remedy Entertainment). “Alan Wake” is a psychological action thriller from Remedy, the legendary and renowned developers of highly successful action titles. In this exciting new title exclusively for Windows Vista™ and Xbox 360, gamers assume the role of Alan Wake, a best-selling suspense author who escapes to a small town to recover from the mysterious disappearance of his fiancée.
- "BioShock" (2K Games). A revolution in the genre that will forever change the expectations for first-person shooters, “BioShock” will be released exclusively on Xbox 360 and Windows next year.
- “Crossfire” (Eidos, Pivotal Games). This is the new first-person shooter from the award-winning developer Pivotal Games. “Crossfire” draws its inspiration from a group new to the gaming world: the CIA’s denied operations Special Activities Division. The action focuses on the exploits of two field operatives in an innovative approach to the military squad shooter.
- “Alone in the Dark” (Atari). The franchise that gave birth to the modern survival horror gaming genre, “Alone in the Dark” returns on next-generation platforms to deliver an edge-of-the-seat survival experience facilitated by state-of-the-art real-time physics and unparalleled environmental interaction within a meticulously detailed, open game world. Developed by Eden Games, “Alone in the Dark” will propel the survival horror genre into the future with the new level of available technology that allows for unprecedented advances in gameplay and unmatched action-orientated gaming experiences in wide-open environments.
- “Kane and Lynch: Dead Men” (Eidos, IO Interactive). “Kane & Lynch: Dead Men” is a violent and chaotic journey of two men — a flawed mercenary and a medicated psychopath — and their attitudes toward right and wrong. This volatile partnership combined with innovative technologies allow for an unparalleled gaming experience.
- Marvel Universe Online” (Cryptic Studios). Microsoft, Marvel Entertainment and Cryptic Studios will be bringing Marvel’s epic world of Super Heroes to life in this highly anticipated massively multiplayer online video game. “Marvel Universe Online” will be exclusive to Xbox 360 and Windows Vista gamers, and as a cross-platform title, it will allow both platforms to experience the world together online.
- “Shadowrun” (FASA Studio). FASA Studio, the creative minds behind “MechWarrior” and “Crimson Skies,” are back with “Shadowrun,” the new cross-platform multiplayer first-person shooter based on the much-beloved role-playing game franchise. Up to 16 players can battle with a blend of modern weaponry and ancient magic for control of this new world through Xbox 360-to-Windows Vista online compatibility.
- “Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Double Agent” (Ubisoft). Sam Fisher is back, but he’s never faced an enemy like this before. This time he must infiltrate and destroy a terrorist cell from within. For the first time ever, experience the relentless tension and gut-wrenching dilemmas of life as a double agent. Lie, sabotage, kill, betray. How far will you go to complete your mission?
- The next “Splinter Cell” title (Ubisoft). It’s official. The only place to play the next instalment in this series after “Splinter Cell Double Agent” is on Xbox 360. The “Splinter Cell” series never fails to deliver an incredible, immersive gaming experience that takes full advantage of Xbox 360, and this title will be no different.
- “World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champions” (Activision). Building on last year’s No. 1 poker title and No. 1 brand in poker, “World Series of Poker: Tournament of Champions” takes a story-based approach as you enter the Circuit as Chris “Jesus” Ferguson’s protégé. You’ll test your skill against more top pros than ever before as you compete in the premier Circuit Events. Your goal: qualify for the winner-take-all, invitation-only Tournament of Champions at the Rio Resort in Las Vegas and compete to be the World’s Best.
Highly anticipated Windows titles announced or shown include these:
Xbox Live Arcade
- “Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures” (Eidos/Funcom). Offering two gameplay options, “Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures” lets gamers choose between an online action-RPG with a deep, story-driven single-player experience or a massive and brutal multiplayer endgame, bringing to life the ultimate representation of the “Age of Conan.”
- “Halo 2” for Windows Vista (Bungie Studios). The battle lands on Windows Vista as the epic storyline unfolds with Master Chief standing as the only thing between the relentless alien Covenant and the destruction of all humankind. In addition, the “Halo” community can now create an unlimited supply of exciting multiplayer levels thanks to the exclusive “Halo 2” for Windows Vista Map Editor.
- “Hellgate: London” (NAMCO BANDAI Games). “Hellgate: London” is the first original title from premier developer Flagship Studios, whose team hails from such blockbusters as the Diablo, StarCraft and WarCraft series. Set in the near future, “Hellgate: London” introduces a world devastated by a demon invasion. Players are thrust into a desolate city scorched by hellfire where the survivors meld science and sorcery to gain a foothold against the minions of darkness and save the bloodline of humanity.
- “Rail Simulator” (EA). Coming to Europe. Release the brakes and drive contemporary and historical locomotives along four real-life routes, all re-created in stunning detail. This massively anticipated simulator lets you take the controls to drive in challenging scenarios or to your own timetable on the route of your choice. Indulge your creative skills by crafting your own routes, content and scenarios to play or exchange with other players. Your journey begins here!
- “The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar” (Midway). “The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar” lets players join in an epic adventure — exploring a massive online world while defending the lands of Middle-earth from the Dark Lord Sauron. Players of all levels will explore incredibly detailed realms and join familiar characters in an evolving and persistent re-creation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved world. Gamers can adventure solo or choose from thousands of players online to forge their own fellowships. “LOTRO” is co-published by Turbine and Midway in North America and Codemasters Online Gaming in Europe.
Yesterday, in a surprise unveiling, one of the greatest games of the 3-D era premiered on Xbox Live Arcade: “DOOM” (id Software) is now available for 800 points. The game brings legendary DOOM mayhem to gamers, who for the first time ever can relive the classic demon-blasting fragfest in both single-player and two-to-four player co-operative and deathmatch modes over Xbox Live. Also, a new, multi-title relationship with Codemasters was announced, with the first title being the classic, fast-action soccer game, “Sensible World of Soccer.”
Xbox Live Arcade titles playing on the X06 show floor include frenzied music puzzle game “Lumines Live!” (Q? Entertainment Inc.), classic side-scrolling action shooter “Contra” (Konami), an original action shoot ’em up “Heavy Weapon: Atomic Tank” (PopCap Games), space-shooter “Gyruss” (Konami), arcade fighting favourite “Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3” (Midway), the multiplayer brawler “Small Arms” (Gastronaut Studios), the all-time coin-op classic “Defender” (Midway), the futuristic street-racing action game “Street Trace: NYC” (Gaia Industries), innovative action combat “Assault Heroes” (Vivendi Universal Games), and the frenetic shooter “Mutant Storm Empire” (Pom-Pom Games).
Microsoft have pulled all the right moves here folks, I cannot honestly see Sony doing better than MS and Nintendo this holiday season, maybe next year though eh?