News: Microsoft knows how to throw a party.
Microsoft just kicked off their X06 event in Barcelona and announced a slew of new projects and confirmed some stuff we already knew.
The big news appears to be that Peter Jackson is lending his directorial touch to two "interactive enterainment series" for Xbox Live. One will, obivously, be based around Halo, but the second series will be a completely new property created by Jackson. Microsoft has deftly sidestepped using the word "game" in describing them, so these projects may become something else entirely. The offical word from Microsoft:
A landmark partnership announced between Academy Award-winning writer, director and producer Peter Jackson, Academy Award-winning screenwriter Fran Walsh, and Microsoft Game Studios will create two new interactive entertainment series exclusively for Xbox 360 and Xbox Live. The first series will be a collaborative effort with Bungie Studios to co-create the next great chapter in the ?Halo? universe. The second series will be an entirely original property targeted at bringing new audiences into the captivating world of interactive entertainment. In addition, Microsoft Game Studios will partner with Jackson and Walsh to establish Wingnut Interactive, a studio dedicated to the creation of world-class interactive entertainment.
Halo was brought up again with the second major announcement of X06, Halo Wars. Halo Wars will be a real time strategy title "designed exclusively for Xbox 360" by Ensemble Studios.
While this announcement was guessed at when MS shut down development of the fan mod "Halogen", no one would guess that Ubisoft would declare Splinter Cell 5 exclusive to the Xbox 360. But that's exactly what they did. Could this be Splinter Cell: Conviction, the Splinter Cell game Ubisoft accidentally revealed with their asset leak last week? Only time will tell.
Microsoft has also revealed that Rare will be getting back to what they do best (cute platformers) very soon. Banjo-Kazooie 3 is in development.
The last major surprise of the night was the announcement that Doom is available on the Xbox Live Arcade right now. It will feature four-player splitscreen and Live co-op and deathmatch in addition to the main Doom game. When MS hinted at a major franchise coming to the XBLA, they weren't kidding.
Other announcements were less surprising, but no less exciting:
Microsoft confirmed Project Gotham Racing 4 is in development, but we already knew that.
Rockstar reconfirmed that the Xbox 360 version of Grand Theft Auto IV will receive two exclusive downloadable episodes just months after the release of the game.
2K Games then reconfirmed that BioShock is exclusively coming to the Xbox 360 and PC next spring.
Codemasters revealed a little more XBLA news when they announced they are working on the Amiga classic Sensible World of Soccer. The game will include both original and high-resolution graphics modes.
In a final bit of games news, Microsoft has revealed the title of their Marvel MMO. It is now known as Marvel Universe Online and will be coming to the Xbox 360 and PC sometime in the future. It will be developed by Cryptic Studios the creators of City of Heroes. Kinda puts that Marvel lawsuit into perspective, doesn't it?
And finally, Microsoft has announced the Xbox 360 HD-DVD add-on will arrive at retailers in mid-November for a retail price of $199.99. The package will include an HD-DVD copy of King Kong (for a limited time) and an Xbox 360 Universal Media Remote.
Wow, there's something for everyone to be excited about in this mess of announcements. Good show Microsoft.