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Square Enix pledges support for Xbox360

Posted by: Chuck at 5/16/2005 10:54 PM
Support for the Xbox360 keeps on coming as Square Enix has announced support for the console. Looks like Final Fantasy XI will be there but not a lot of other details right now.


LOS ANGELES — May 16, 2005 — On the heels of the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system worldwide premiere on MTV last week, Microsoft Corp. released a flurry of announcements tonight to a packed house at the Shrine Auditorium. Bolstering the promise that Xbox 360 immerses players at the center of the most powerful next-generation games and entertainment experiences, the company revealed that Square Enix Co. Ltd. — an industry-leading developer and publisher of the world-renowned “FINAL FANTASY®” series, which has sold more than 60 million units worldwide — will release “FINAL FANTASY XI” for Xbox 360 and Xbox Live™. “FINAL FANTASY XI” is just the beginning: Square Enix will work closely with Microsoft on Xbox 360 and Xbox Live.

“We’re honored that Square Enix will make games like ‘FINAL FANTASY XI’ for the millions of Xbox® fans who have anticipated this historical moment for quite some time,” said Robbie Bach, senior vice president and chief Xbox officer in the Home and Entertainment Division at Microsoft. “Together, we will chart a new course for the future of video game entertainment.”

“Xbox has become a major force in video-game innovation, and we couldn’t be more captivated by the Xbox 360 canvas,” said Yoichi Wada, president of Square Enix. “As the world’s first cross-platform online game with more than 500,000 users, ‘FINAL FANTASY XI’ will take advantage of the incredible power of the Xbox 360 platform, immersing gamers in spellbinding stories that come to life in high definition and through collaborative online gameplay.”

Reinforcing the electricity accompanying Xbox 360, leading video games publisher EA announced that its groundbreaking Xbox 360 games symbolize its largest commitment to a next-generation platform launch. Demonstrating the strength of a world-class portfolio, EA has committed to a broad lineup of Xbox 360 titles including “Madden NFL 06,” “Need for Speed™ Most Wanted,” “FIFA 06,” “Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® 06,” “The Godfather™ The Game” and “NBA Live 06.”

The company also announced Xbox 360 will be backward-compatible with top-selling Xbox games. In addition, more than 160 games are in development for Xbox 360, with 25 to 40 games slated for release this calendar year. All are optimized for high-definition output (720p and 1080i). The following games are among the exciting new titles, many console-exclusives, in development from the biggest names in publishing today:

· “Blue Dragon” (Microsoft Game Studios, Mistwalker Inc.) from Hironobu Sakaguchi, original creator of the “FINAL FANTASY” series, is an epic role-playing game (RPG) featuring the original artwork of Akira Toriyama, creator of the “Dragonball” series of manga and anime.

· “Call of Duty® 2” (Activision Publishing Inc., Infinity Ward), the sequel to the 2003 Game of the Year, delivers a vivid portrayal of the chaos and cinematic intensity of World War II through stunningly detailed graphics, advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and explosive action.

· “Condemned: Criminal Origins” (SEGA, Monolith Productions Inc.) is a first-person psychological thriller featuring photorealistic graphics, advanced enemy AI and a strong dose of atmospheric tension. The hunt for a notorious serial killer offers gamers combat and game environments that are unpredictable and terrifyingly real.

· “Dead or Alive 4,” (Tecmo Inc., Team Ninja) will be the defining gaming experience on Xbox 360. It will encompass all that the next-generation console has to offer, giving players the most rewarding digital fighting experience to date on any video game console.

· “DEAD RISING (Working Title)” (Capcom, Capcom) follows the harrowing tale of an overzealous freelance photojournalists as he struggles to survive an endless stream of zombies. Players will have full reign of a realistic shopping center, utilizing anything they find to fight off the flesh-hungry mob and search for the truth behind the horrendous epidemic.

· “The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion” (Bethesda Softworks/2K Games, Bethseda Game Studios) is a quintessential role-playing game for the next generation and another leap forward in gaming. “Oblivion” is the latest chapter in the epic and highly successful “Elder Scrolls” saga and utilizes next-generation video game hardware to fully immerse players in the experience.

· “Full Auto” (SEGA, Pseudo Interactive Inc.) redefines combat racing with physics technology that enables bigger crashes and the most destructive play experience ever captured in the racing genre. Amazingly detailed vehicles race through packed city streets with guns blazing, laying spectacular waste to other vehicles and buildings that get in their way.

· “Gears of War” (Microsoft Game Studios, Epic Games Inc.) blends the best of tactical action games with the best of survival horror titles, thrusting gamers into the harrowing story of humankind’s battle for survival against the Locust Horde, creating cinematic, high-definition visuals so intense and powerful, it feels like the gamers are controlling a blockbuster action movie.

· “Kameo™: Elements of Power™” (Microsoft Game Studios, Rare Ltd.) is an action-adventure game with role-playing elements for gamers of all ages and skill levels. From legendary game developer Rare, “Kameo: Elements of Power” sends players on a magical and epic journey full of intense combat, magnificent exploration and innovative morph-into-warrior action.

· “Lost Odyssey™” (Microsoft Game Studios, Mistwalker), is a truly next-generation RPG created by acclaimed artists Takehiko Inoue (Japanese manga creator, made famous by “Slam Dunk”), Kiyoshi Shigematsu (a famous Japanese novelist) and Nobuo Uematsu (Japanese music composer, known for creating the music for the “FINAL FANTASY” series of games). The game is produced by Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of the original “FINAL FANTASY” series.

· “NINETY-NINE NIGHTS” (Microsoft Game Studios, Q Entertainment/Phantagram Ltd.) is a brand-new fantasy action game by Tetsuya Mizuguchi, known as the creator of “Space Channel 5,” “Rez” and the recent “Luminese,” developed in collaboration with the renowned Korean developer Phantagram.

· “The Outfit” (THQ Inc., Relic Entertainment) takes explosive World War II combat to the next generation in an all-new, third-person action game. Combining intense squad-based combat and easy-to-use strategic gameplay elements, “The Outfit” takes players behind enemy lines, battling the Nazi war machine through a variety of combat missions.

· “Perfect Dark: Zero™” (Microsoft Game Studios, Rare) is the prequel to the hugely popular and critically acclaimed “Perfect Dark®.” Set in the year 2020 — years before the original hit game — “Perfect Dark: Zero” reveals the origins of Joanna Dark, one of the most lethal special agents.

· “Project Gotham Racing® 3” (Microsoft Game Studios, Bizarre Creations Ltd.) is the latest entry in the award-winning “Project Gotham Racing” franchise and expands on the features and gameplay that race fans have grown to know and love. “PGR™ 3” enables gamers to create the ultimate roster of the hottest supercars in existence, introduces them to the high-definition era and drops them into a completely new racing world where style rules the road.

· “QUAKE 4™” (Activision, id Software and Raven Software) is the sequel to the award-winning and historic “QUAKE II™.” In a war for Earth’s survival against an unrelenting enemy, the only way to defeat them is to become one of them.

· “Saint’s Row” (THQ, Volition Inc.) harnesses the power of the Xbox 360 platform to combine compelling, cinematic storytelling with unprecedented customization. Ushering in the next evolution of open-world gameplay, “Saint’s Row” watches players rise from thug to kingpin in a robust, nonlinear environment that reacts and adapts to their every move. “Saint’s Row” features both single-player and online multiplayer modes.

· “Test Drive® Unlimited” (Atari, Eden Games) is the ultimate automotive experience for car and bike enthusiasts alike. “Test Drive Unlimited” challenges players online to experience the most exotic and fastest vehicles on more than 1,000 miles of diverse Hawaiian roads.

Xbox Live: A 2-Million-Member Movement and Rapidly Expanding

By the end of June, Xbox Live — where games, entertainment and community come alive — will surpass the 2-million-member mark, a doubling of the community in just the past year. Adding fuel to its relentless ascension, this holiday season Xbox Live will have more than 300 multiplayer games available, with new titles such as “Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland™” (Activision), “Star Wars Battlefront™ II” (LucasArts) and “Burnout™ Revenge” (Electronic Arts) for Xbox, and “PGR 3” (Microsoft Game Studios), “Madden NFL 06” (Electronic Arts) and “Call of Duty 2” (Activision) for Xbox 360.

Xbox Live memberships will transfer seamlessly from Xbox to Xbox 360 when the new system launches.

More exponential growth is on the horizon, because a Silver level of Xbox Live service will be available at no extra cost to Xbox 360 players who choose a broadband connection for their system. With the Silver level of service, gamers immediately access the Xbox Live Marketplace to download demos and trailers along with new game levels, maps, weapons, vehicles, skins, classic arcade games, card and board games, community-created content, and more to the detachable Xbox 360 hard drive. Players can also voice chat with friends, and send and receive text and voice messages.

In addition, Xbox 360 owners new to Xbox Live will kick-start their experience with a free month of the full subscription service, or Gold level, which will allow them to enjoy the full power of the service, including online multiplayer gaming, online tournaments and exclusive, original programming.

Special features available to Gold subscribers only also include Spectator Mode, which will supercharge the entire Xbox Live game experience. For example, in “PGR 3,” gamers can watch any of their friends and the world’s top players on live spectator feeds, get live ticker-tape information when friends break records, and compete with anyone, anywhere, anytime. Through riveting games and new community features, Microsoft expects to connect half of all Xbox 360 consoles to Xbox Live.

“With new levels of service and new features like Gamer Profiles, Xbox Live Marketplace, spectator mode and video chat inspiring new ideas and audiences, Xbox 360 has us re-imagining the future of online games,” said Laurent Detoc, executive director of Ubisoft North America. “Every great game in the next generation will be a great online game. Gamers can count on Ubisoft to push the possibilities of Xbox Live to the very edge.”

The Xbox Platform — Powering the Xbox 360 Games and Entertainment

Xbox 360 is designed with a singular platform vision that fuses high-performance hardware and intelligent software and services so the player is always in power. Offering the greatest value in entertainment today, Microsoft detailed more key platform experiences that come standard with every Xbox 360 system:

· An IBM PowerPC-based CPU with three symmetrical cores running at 3.2 GHz each, packing the most advanced AI and physics processing available

· A custom ATI Graphics processor and more than 512 MB of memory for high-definition games and entertainment applications

· All games optimized for 16:9 aspect ratio, HD output (720p and 1080i), multichannel surround sound output, and full-screen anti-aliasing

· Detachable and upgradeable 20GB hard drive to download demos and trailers along with new game levels, maps, weapons, vehicles, skins, community-created content and more, to rip music for playback and to listen to custom playlists in every game

· A wireless controller with Microsoft®-patented wireless technology; Xbox Guide Button on every controller to instantly connect gamers to their games, friends and music, and to power on or power off Xbox 360 without their having to leave the couch

· Gamer Profile software that remembers what players have achieved in games

· Instant, out-of-the-box access to Xbox Live, including a built-in Ethernet port for connectivity; Xbox Live Marketplace for downloadable content; a Message Center to receive voice and video messages from friends; functionality that let users talk to friends, even while watching movies or listening to music; and an Xbox Live Headset

· Three USB 2.0 ports for Xbox Live Camera peripheral, to plug in wired game controllers that are also common for Windows®-based PCs; to stream media from a portable media device, digital camera and Windows XP-based PC

· Progressive-scan DVD movie playback out of the box; DVD and CD music and photo playback out of the box; support for DVD-Video, DVD-ROM, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, CD-DA, CD-ROM, CD-R, CD-RW, Windows Media® Audio CD, MP3 CD, JPEG Photo CD

· Media Center Extender built in to access recorded TV (including high-definition TV) and digital movies (including high-definition film), music, video and photos stored on Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005-based PCs through any Xbox 360 system

· Support for up to four wireless game controllers and an optional Universal Media Remote with Windows XP Media Center Edition Button for Media Center Edition functionality

· Support for Xbox 360 Wireless Network Adapter via 802.11b, g and a

· Interactive, full-screen 3-D visualizers

· Two memory unit ports to save data on portable memory units, starting at 64 MB

· Detachable Face so each console can be personalized

· Parental Controls to help restrict the games and movies that are played; Xbox Live controls to manage Friends List, voice and video communication, and Gamer Profile sharing

Xbox Demand at an All-Time High

Xbox continues to deliver thrilling, platform-driving games and gamers can expect more than 200 new Xbox titles this year, with hundreds more in 2006 and beyond. Xbox blockbusters in the making include “Half-Life 2” (Valve Corp.), “Need for Speed Most Wanted” (Electronic Arts), “Ultimate Spider-Man” (Activision), “Far Cry Instincts” (Ubisoft), “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe” (Buena Vista Games), “Star Wars Battlefront II” (LucasArts), “Shadow The Hedgehog” (SEGA), “Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland” (Activision), “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six: Lockdown” (Ubisoft) and “Battlefield 2: Modern Combat™” (Electronic Arts).

About Xbox 360

Xbox 360 is the future-generation video game and entertainment system that places gamers at the center of the experience. Available this holiday season in North America, Europe and Japan, Xbox 360 will ignite a new era of digital entertainment that is always connected, always personalized and always in high definition.

About Xbox Live

Now in its third generation of transforming and uniting Xbox game communities, with more than 300 games planned by end of holiday 2005 and now with presence in 24 countries worldwide, Xbox Live has set the bar for online games entertainment. As the first global, unified online console games service, Xbox Live continues to take online gameplay and entertainment to unprecedented heights. With a rapidly growing global community, Xbox Live offers best-in-class games, intelligent matchmaking, tournaments, unique programming and integration with Xbox.com — there is simply nothing else like it. The service continues to provide more and more ways for members to meet, interact and stay engaged with each other.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.