X06 News Shower: Full Rundown

TWO new Halo games, new Banjo-Kazooie, hefty 360 exclusives and more.

Posted by Staff
X06 News Shower: Full Rundown
Just like waiting for the number 91 bus to Kings Cross, SPOnG waits an age for a new Halo, only for two to come along at once. Peter Jackson (the beardy, dishevelled guy who directed Lord of the Rings, pictured here) just appeared on stage alongside Peter Moore at X06 to announce a new partnership with Microsoft, the first project of which is to be a "collaborative effort with Bungie Studios to co-create the next great chapter in the Halo universe."

The other new Halo news is the announcement of Halo Wars - an RTS based on the Halo universe and designed exclusively for Xbox 360 by Ensemble Studios (of Age of Empires fame).

For more details on both, plus a full rundown of all the main news highlights from this evening’s X06 media conference in Barcelona, read on.

Some other major announcements were made, including (…deep breath…) Sensible Soccer coming to Xbox Live Arcade in the new year; DOOM coming to XBLA today (yes, like now!); Rare unveiling a next gen Banjo-Kazooie; a bunch of 360 exclusives including Splinter Cell 5 and GTA IV episodes; the unveiling (finally) of Project Gotham Racing 4; Marvel Universe Online in development with cross-platform 360/Vista ‘Live Anywhere’ functionality… and… and… amongst other gaming delights, the final announcement of a price on the 360 HD DVD Player (out in November for $199.99/€199.99/£129.99).

Firstly, Peter Jackson spoke passionately (if somewhat obliquely) about telling stories through games, and the possible future for engaging gamers in more interesting, elaborate plotlines which is opening up through next-gen online gaming on Xbox Live. Whilst details were sparse, the mere fact that Jackson is working with Bungie to make the next chapter in the Halo universe is reason enough for rejoicing.

Additionally, Jackson and scriptwriting buddy Fran Walsh’s new development company Wingnut Interactive (a partnership with Microsoft Game Studios) is also working on a second to-be-announced project, which was announced as “an entirely original property targeted at bringing new audiences into the captivating world of interactive entertainment.”

Before the Jackson/Halo announcements were made, the first cheer of the day came when Microsoft’s Chris Lewis announced that Codemaster’s beloved Amiga classic Sensible Soccer will be heading to Xbox Live Arcade in 2007. A superb retro footy complement to the news from Leipzig that both FIFA and Pro Evo will be 360 exclusives for the next year. XBLA DOOM was also announced, to be released immediately! There'll be more on this shortly.

These heartwarming XBLA announcements followed the show’s grin-inducing opener - a trailer for Rare’s new Banjo-Kazooie game which promises to reunite all our old favourites from the N64 classic - Banjo, Kazooie, Gruntilda and others.

More news on 360 exclusives came thick and fast at what Peter Moore cheekily dubbed ‘Barcelona-Ton!’ – the aforementioned new Splinter Cell 5, Irrational’s BioShock (not on PS3 ‘at launch’) and - perhaps most interestingly in the long term - Rockstar announcing that 360 gamers will get exclusive access to two downloadable episodes of GTA IV via Xbox Live, mere months after the games release on October 16, 2007.

The (shockingly sexy) producer of Assassin’s Creed, Jade Raymond from Ubisoft took to the stage to give a full playable demo of the game, which just looks even better than it did at E3 (when we all had to pretend it was a PS3 exclusive). SPOnG will endeavour to get an interview with Ms Raymond shortly, if only because she immediately wins our ‘hottest dev babe of the year’ award.

Following a game trailer, Moore went on to outline the latest developments in the ‘Live Anywhere’ strategy, highlighting again the first major release to make use of the cross-platform technology, Shadowrun (launching sometime in 2007) and announcing a new major title, Marvel Universe Online (unsurprisingly, a superhero-themed MMO!) being developed by Cryptic Studios.

Lastly (for now) SPOnG is looking forward to getting our mitts on the Xbox 360’s HD DVD Player in November, which comes bundled with a 360 Universal Media Remote, plus Peter Jackson's King Kong on HD DVD, to enable us to really try out our new HD tellies this coming Christmas.

Moore couldn’t quite help but get the final dig in at the competition, mind, noting after the requisite new Gears of War demo from Cliffy B that, “Gears of War releases November 17 in Europe, that’s five days not five months after the US launch.”
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Comments

SCiARA 28 Sep 2006 09:20
1/20
I watched the conference last night on xbox.com, made great viewing and made me very happy to have my 360
ohms 28 Sep 2006 10:08
2/20
sheeet!
They always said their aim was to become market leader, some of these announcements just may do that. M$ getting mega exclusives and sony having to play catch-up. Who'd have thunk it?



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hollywooda 28 Sep 2006 10:19
3/20
ohhhh it's looking f**king awesome, so much 2 look 4ward 2, if you every doubted the 360 it's time 2 eat that hat u bought.
OptimusP 28 Sep 2006 12:51
4/20
It's looks quite good for a few little side-things that need to be noted.

1) Another non-handheld Rare game...when did that ever became a good thing after they got bought out?

2) Ensemble Studio making the Halo RTS, good enough if only Ensemble Studio isn't worth bonkers anymore. All the good people left years ago and AoE III was a dissapointement for many AoE-gamers. Then again, Halo was meant to be a RTS from the start so they prolly have quite some assests to start with it and Bungie's eye prying on them. That gives hope if only...RTS+X360 controller? 3 possibilites: or if will be utter s**te to control, or they're copying pikmin or Halo RTS will be using that new controller they're making.

3) woohoo we get one new retro classic on the Xbox Live Arcade! Seriously what is with MS and the Xbox-fanbase to call every retro-game they get the best thing ever...Nintendo, VC, 10 games every month...non-toppeable...get over it.
hollywooda 28 Sep 2006 12:56
5/20
ohhh get you sister!!! you go girl, work it!, i bet u feel sooooo much better for that aye?
SCiARA 28 Sep 2006 13:00
6/20
OptimusP wrote:

3) woohoo we get one new retro classic on the Xbox Live Arcade! Seriously what is with MS and the Xbox-fanbase to call every retro-game they get the best thing ever...Nintendo, VC, 10 games every month...non-toppeable...get over it.


I think that’s a bit over exaggerated, I’ve only seen one post so far saying that Doom (I’m assuming your talking about that) is a great idea. And you point about Nintendo's VC having 10 games a month being non topable? So everyone else should stop??
king skins 28 Sep 2006 15:20
7/20
SCiARA wrote:
OptimusP wrote:

3) woohoo we get one new retro classic on the Xbox Live Arcade! Seriously what is with MS and the Xbox-fanbase to call every retro-game they get the best thing ever...Nintendo, VC, 10 games every month...non-toppeable...get over it.


I think that’s a bit over exaggerated, I’ve only seen one post so far saying that Doom (I’m assuming your talking about that) is a great idea. And you point about Nintendo's VC having 10 games a month being non topable? So everyone else should stop??


I'll believe that when I see it.
SCiARA 28 Sep 2006 15:24
8/20
king skins wrote:

I'll believe that when I see it.


True, although i cant see Nintendo not being able to drop 10 a month if there going back to the Nes days
king skins 28 Sep 2006 15:28
9/20
SCiARA wrote:
king skins wrote:

I'll believe that when I see it.


True, although i cant see Nintendo not being able to drop 10 a month if there going back to the Nes days


I don't think they'll have a problem with a back catalogue, but getting them all emulated, the infrastructure to support it, the bandwidth, the support staff.
LUPOS 28 Sep 2006 15:44
10/20
king skins wrote:
I don't think they'll have a problem with a back catalogue, but getting them all emulated, the infrastructure to support it, the bandwidth, the support staff.


NES games are tiny, unlike MS they dont have to do any fancy upscaling to higher res, and i could run an n64 emu on a voodoo2. The turn around time should be nill really and the bandwith is hardly what i would consider an issue. Compare the size of an n64 game to your average xbl demo or video, its a world apart.

Now if they get fancy and throw in online play for golden eye or somthing then i could see that taking some extra time but thats more the exception than the rule

PS. DVD should be getting to ya shortly.
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realvictory 28 Sep 2006 17:11
11/20
What makes me angry is that people think that by having a movie director involved, it will necessarily improve the game.

I can see the day when games will be assimilated by the movie industry, and games will just be a genre of movie. It really pisses me off, actually, that people fall for this sort of thing so easily.

It's all about publicity - screw celebrities and rubbish tricks, they should give everyone a free demo of the new game instead, so people can actually play it.

Not saying Peter J is bad, but having a movie director is not the same thing as having a good game - it just makes it look to me as though they know nothing about games. But it doesn't mean it will be bad either... we'll just have to wait and see.

Banjo-Kazooie, on the other hand, I think is underrated.
SCiARA 28 Sep 2006 17:20
12/20
realvictory wrote:
What makes me angry is that people think that by having a movie director involved, it will necessarily improve the game.

I can see the day when games will be assimilated by the movie industry, and games will just be a genre of movie. It really pisses me off, actually, that people fall for this sort of thing so easily.

It's all about publicity - screw celebrities and rubbish tricks, they should give everyone a free demo of the new game instead, so people can actually play it.

Not saying Peter J is bad, but having a movie director is not the same thing as having a good game - it just makes it look to me as though they know nothing about games. But it doesn't mean it will be bad either... we'll just have to wait and see.

Banjo-Kazooie, on the other hand, I think is underrated.


Well you need to chill then, because what your saying can quite easily be turned against you. Having a movie director doesn’t mean its gonna be AAA but having a renowned story teller could.

And what’s the problem with having a new genre mixing games and movies? In an industry stuffed with sequels its quite refreshing to see a new IP. Don’t go assuming that this will end all other genres of game.

XBLM have been giving free demo's of games for a while


king skins 28 Sep 2006 17:43
13/20
LUPOS wrote:
NES games are tiny, unlike MS they dont have to do any fancy upscaling to higher res, and i could run an n64 emu on a voodoo2. The turn around time should be nill really and the bandwith is hardly what i would consider an issue. Compare the size of an n64 game to your average xbl demo or video, its a world apart.


Emulation its a little more complicated than that. You have to constantly keep making new versions as not all the games will work with the emulator. Much like MS and MAME do with new releases, that work with more and more games. This involves constant testing. But they could have already been going through this process for or year or so now anyway.

The NES games will be small but if you have +1m people trying to download them then it going to need a lot of bandwidth and a large server farm behind it.

I'm not say they are not going to achieve it! But I would be impressed if they could get a constant supply of 10 games per month out. It would be a lot better then XBLA s**tty 1 per week! :)

LUPOS wrote:
PS. DVD should be getting to ya shortly.

Woohoo :)

We are also going to have to play FN3 soon, I have been holding on to my rental of that game for ages just to punch you in the face!! :)
LUPOS 28 Sep 2006 20:24
14/20
king skins wrote:
Emulation its a little more complicated than that. You have to constantly keep making new versions as not all the games will work with the emulator. Much like MS and MAME do with new releases, that work with more and more games. This involves constant testing. But they could have already been going through this process for or year or so now anyway.


EDIT: missed the main part of the post!

Ok, yes, makign emulators for these system is tricky for your average homebrew fellow. But i'm relatively sure thats due in large part to a)sevear difference in hardware b) reverse engeneering.

Nintendo had there own PC emu's they use for DEV work already. LEast for the older systems. Dont know about n64 but the nes,snes and GB's are all covered.

The trickiest part for MS, IMO, is taking games that are only a few years old and makign them run on drastically different hard ware. (BC) Older games can run easily on new hardware because even the most slack off poorly written emulator can run them full speed on fast enough hardware. The 360 is fast enough to run anything made prior to 2000 without battign an eye. coulr probably run ultimate MK3 as a texture in a game if they really felt like it.

Plus ms has to deel with getting publishers/develoeprs to make these games. they arent the ones actually creatign the content so its not entirley up to them when things come out or how often. They can hol dback the stream but i dont knwo how much they can speed it up.


king skins wrote:
We are also going to have to play FN3 soon, I have been holding on to my rental of that game for ages just to punch you in the face!! :)


OI! i havent had time to play anythign latley :( Got about half way through prey and havent had a chance to go back... play Dead rising for all of about 4 hours maybe, want to get doom and crack on the multiplayer of that for a bit... stupid other work.

Will figure a time for that soon. Maybe saturday, going to a friends house to work in his machine shop and make heavy metal objects (woo man time!), might tote the 360 with to chill for a bit afterwards. I'll let ya know.

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RiseFromYourGrave 28 Sep 2006 20:26
15/20
i know it was just an example (unless ive missed some brilliant news) but do you think the virtual console will get goldeneye, LUPOS?

it could in theory even come out on the 360, but if it came out on the 360, Nintendo would have have to let MS emulate the N64. very unlikely. and for it to come out on the Wii, MS would be conceding some of their acquired back-catalogue to Nintendo. even if MS cant use the game for now, thats very unlikely too

if EA were getting a cut of the pie due to being the license holders, im sure theyd love it to be on both XBLA and the VC. wether either happens..

and as for the problems facing Nintendo and their VC, i doubt there will be many problems with emulation. there are some damn good emulators of all those Nintendo systems created by tiny pockets of people, so Nintendo themselves with full knowledge of the hardware and experts working full time on the VC shouldnt run into too many problems. im sure they will have built the wii's hardware with the VC in mind, so there wont be any crippling hardware/software clashes during emulation.

LUPOS 28 Sep 2006 20:42
16/20
RiseFromYourGrave wrote:
i know it was just an example (unless ive missed some brilliant news) but do you think the virtual console will get goldeneye, LUPOS?


Just makign an example :/

Though i don't completley discount the possibility. Though if it did happen i think it would either be released on VC and XBL or DS and XBL. a bit of a trade off. The ultimate would be death matching Wii players from a 360 and vice versa! that would be the day.

Though i do believe its been long rumored that Rare games may end up on the DS, makes sense for all involved if you ask me... but they rarely do ;)
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realvictory 28 Sep 2006 20:43
17/20
There's nothing wrong with new genres or taking inspiration from movies, obviously, but games and movies are not the same thing. Getting Gordon Ramsay to create the food for a game, or even getting John Williams to write the music for a game, etc. is good - but doesn't inherently make a good game. The problem is when people rely on things like that to make a game good, or even assume that those things guarantee a good game, because it's missing the point - the purpose of a game, which is to actually play it - not watch it or listen to it, etc.

If you're going to promote a game based on its story, or its music - that's okay - but at the same time, if it's the story that's good, why not make a movie? Why not simply write a book?

Just because someone is good at making movies doesn't mean they're good at making games. The problem, though, isn't that it's happening; the problem is that they talk about it as though Jackson is the best computer game designer ever, not a film director.
king skins 28 Sep 2006 21:46
18/20
LUPOS wrote:
Though i don't completley discount the possibility. Though if it did happen i think it would either be released on VC and XBL or DS and XBL. a bit of a trade off. The ultimate would be death matching Wii players from a 360 and vice versa! that would be the day.


There is also the problem that Activision now hold James Bond rights :(

And I'm not sure what the deal is with who owns the rights to the original code Nintendo or Rare.

I used to kick ass on goldeneye multiplayer :)
hollywooda 29 Sep 2006 11:09
19/20
"Getting Gordon Ramsay to create the food for a game"....
i do beileve your talking out of your arse
SCiARA 29 Sep 2006 11:19
20/20
realvictory wrote:

Just because someone is good at making movies doesn't mean they're good at making games. The problem, though, isn't that it's happening; the problem is that they talk about it as though Jackson is the best computer game designer ever, not a film director.


Do you know what he has planned? Or the IP he's talking about? I think at this stage for you to completely disregard it is pointless, besides, John Woo's Stranglehold seems to be getting good previews.

Your last comment about Jackson being a game designer is also assuming to much, 1st up they are partnered with Microsoft studio's, they are also working closely with bungie and finally, the new IP he talks about he makes it clear that it’s not a "game" and more of an integration between the two.

You cannot write off something you have no idea about.
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