News: Microsoft has plenty to talk about at E3 as Halo 2 has a release date, EA announces Xbox Live support and a whole slew of games are listed for the show floor.
On the first day of E3 Microsoft gave to me a lineup list in?a?pear tree. Microsoft has made some huge announcements at the start of E3, so I think we should just right in.
First, the official release date for Halo 2 has been pegged as November 9, 2004. Let the countdown commence.
Second, EA has announced that they will finally bring their games to Xbox Live. Starting in the summer, Madden NFL 2005 will be the first game to feature Xbox Live capability.?It will be followed by NBA Live 2005, FIFA Soccer 2005, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005, Need for Speed Underground 2, Burnout 3, Battlefield: Modern Combat?and TimeSplitters Future Perfect. Contradictory press releases seem to create a little confusion as to whether GoldenEye: Rogue Agent is included in this deal or not. The original Microsoft press release didn't include any mention of GoldenEye: Rogue Agent but the followup EA release did. And then there's the fact that EA has constantly said that?Rogue Agent?will?be available for online play exclusively on the PS2.?So I don't think anybody knows what anybody else is doing, but I'm sure we'll know for sure very shortly.
Finally, Microsoft is planning to bring one of the Internet's greatest inventions to Xbox very shortly: PopCap Games. PopCap is the creator of Bejeweled, the ubiquitous puzzle that I'm sure everyone has played at least once. It will be at the center of the Xbox Live Arcade. Starting this fall, gamers will be able to play Bejeweled, poker, hearts, bridge, other card games and classic arcade games like Dig Dug or Galaxian over Xbox Live. Microsoft has rounded up an impressive list of developers to help with these quick games including Atari, PopCap Games, GarageGames and Nolan Bushnell's uWink.com.
They also included an E3 lineup list, so if you wish, enjoy:
"Halo 2" is the sequel to the highly successful and critically acclaimed game "Halo: Combat Evolved." At the heart of "Halo 2" is a compelling, movielike saga, on par with the great stories told in film. In "Halo 2," the battle moves home to a war-torn Earth, where players utilize new vehicles and weapons to destroy the Covenant. "Halo 2" will utilize Xbox Live in a way that will completely redefine online gameplay. (Bungie Studios, for Xbox, November 2004, rating pending)
"Forza Motorsport" revs up Xbox gamers who are passionate about cars and racing. "Forza Motorsport" is the ultimate car-lover's playground, letting gamers buy, sell, trade, tune, modify and race their customized car collection. On the track, players experience an impressively accurate simulation, putting their performance-tuned creations to the test against the best the online world has to offer on Xbox Live. (Microsoft Game Studios, for Xbox, winter 2005, rating pending)
In "Fable," the groundbreaking role-playing adventure game from Big Blue Box and Peter Molyneux's Lionhead Studios, every action determines characters' skills, appearance and morality. Gamers choose the path of righteousness or a life of evil, and watch themselves transform into a reflection of their actions and decisions. (Big Blue Box, for Xbox, fall 2004, Mature)
From BioWare, the developer of "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic," comes "Jade Empire," a martial-arts-influenced action role-playing game set in the ancient, mysterious world of mythical China. Only by mastering the greatest fighting styles and defeating the most powerful enemies will players earn their place as a master of martial arts in the world of "Jade Empire." (BioWare, for Xbox, spring 2005, rating pending)
Other titles in the Microsoft Game Studios portfolio include these:
"BC" (Microsoft Game Studios, developed by Lionhead Studios' Intrepid Computer Entertainment division). "BC" is an original third-person action-adventure game that hurtles players back millions of years to the beginnings of humankind. Members of a tribe take part in an epic journey of survival, battling against ferocious, prehistoric creatures while exploring and exploiting vast natural environments. (Xbox, 2005, rating pending)
"Conker: Live and Reloaded" (Microsoft Game Studios, Rare). Gaming's notoriously naughty squirrel, Conker, lands on Xbox with a bang in an all-new Xbox Live-enabled team-based shooter. Also included is the critically acclaimed single-player game "Conker's Bad Fur Day?," completely re-created for Xbox with stunning graphics and unparalleled attitude. (Xbox, March 2005, rating pending)
"Kameo: Elements of Power" (Microsoft Game Studios, Rare). From legendary game developer Rare comes "Kameo: Elements of Power," a larger-than-life journey full of intense combat, magnificent exploration, and innovative morph-into-monster action that allows Kameo to transform into incredible monsters to search out and battle ever-present evil. (Xbox, January 2005, rating pending)
"MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf" (Microsoft Game Studios, FASA Studio and Day 1 Studios). "MechAssault 2: Lone Wolf" continues the massive structural damage, intense combat and addictive online multiplayer gameplay on Xbox Live that Mech fans have been praising since "MechAssault" first hit Xbox. And now for the first time players can get out of the Mech. (Xbox, January 2005, rating pending)
"Sudeki" (Microsoft Game Studios, Climax). "Sudeki" pushes the limits of what a role-playing game can be by providing bigger worlds, more powerful heroes and sexier heroines, all set in the context of fantastical real-time action. (Xbox, July 2004, Mature)
"Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict" (Microsoft Game Studios, Epic Games). "Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict" brings the "Unreal Championship" franchise to Xbox and Xbox Live with bold enhancements to single and multiplayer gameplay, including all-new superagile player acrobatics, a third-person camera mode and intense melee abilities. (Xbox, holiday 2004, rating pending)