Japan’s best developers are betting big on Xbox 360 in 2007 and beyond, as Microsoft announces best-ever holiday entertainment lineup.
Flanked by a who’s who of Japanese gaming luminaries and video game development legends, Takashi Sensui, general manager of the Home and Entertainment Division at Microsoft Co. Ltd., took the stage at the Yebisu Garden Hall during Xbox 360 Briefing 2007 to announce support from some of Japan’s most renowned game developers and unveil an unparalleled lineup of holiday blockbuster hits and exclusives for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system.
Two of Japan’s most celebrated game developers, Tomonobu Itagaki from Team NINJA/Tecmo Ltd. and Hironobu Sakaguchi from Mistwalker, joined Sensui onstage to announce their support for the Xbox 360 platform. Itagaki highlighted the announcement that Team NINJA will develop “NINJA GAIDEN® 2,” the true sequel to the best-selling and critically acclaimed Xbox® original, exclusively for Xbox 360. Sakaguchi revealed pricing1 and availability for Mistwalker’s upcoming role-playing game (RPG) “Lost Odyssey™,” available Dec. 6, 2007, in Japan, and around the world in early 2008. In addition, representatives from SQUARE ENIX took the stage to discuss two new games for Xbox 360: “INFINITE UNDISCOVERY™” and “THE LAST REMNANT™.”
Japanese Developers Embrace Xbox 360
“NINJA GAIDEN® 2” is the long-awaited sequel to the platinum-selling Xbox original, where players once again assume the role of Ryu Hayabusa as they guide the ninja hero on a quest to avenge his clan and prevent the destruction of the human race. Team NINJA’s announcement that “NINJA GAIDEN® 2” will be exclusive to Xbox 360 and available worldwide in 2008 provided gamers everywhere with plenty of reason for excitement, and served as yet another example of the blockbuster games being created by Japanese developers exclusively for the platform.
Xbox 360 owners in Japan will be the first to experience the magical world of “Lost Odyssey,” created by Mistwalker/feelplus Inc., and featuring a beautifully told story by Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of the “Final Fantasy” video game franchise. Available Dec. 6, 2007, in Japan, January 2008 in Asia, and February 2008 in North America and Europe, “Lost Odyssey” headlines a lineup of games by Japanese developers for Xbox 360 owners around the world this holiday, including these:
· “Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation” (NAMCO BANDAI Games). “Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation” takes players up to the sky and into the heat of realistic air combat with next-generation audio and visual effects and online multiplayer action.2 Available this holiday, only on Xbox 360.
· “Beautiful Katamari” (NAMCO BANDAI Games). Marking the debut of Namco’s beloved ball-rolling puzzle game on a next-generation platform, “Beautiful Katamari,” the fourth installment of the “Katamari” series, features levels of quirkiness, cosmic animations and musical stylings never seen before. Available in October.
· “Lost Odyssey” (Microsoft Game Studios/Mistwalker/feelplus Inc.). Famed game producer Hironobu Sakaguchi leads a staff of gaming masters to bring a truly next-generation role-playing experience to Xbox 360 in “Lost Odyssey.” Players will be led through a dramatic story of massive scale that features breathtaking visuals and an epic adventure made possible only by the power of Xbox 360. Available Dec. 6, 2007, in Japan, and worldwide in 2008, only on Xbox 360.
· “Battlefield: Bad Company” (Electronic Arts)
· “Battlestations: Midway” (Eidos Interactive Ltd.)
· “Bladestorm: The Hundred Years’ War” (KOEI Co. Ltd.)
· “CASTLE SHIKIGAMI III” (ArcSystemWorks Co. Ltd.)
· “Dynasty Warriors 6” (KOEI Co. Ltd.)
· “Dynasty Warriors: Gundam” (NAMCO BANDAI Games)
· “Final Fantasy XI Play Online All in One Pack 2007” (SQUARE ENIX)
· “Final Fantasy XI Wings of the Goddess” (SQUARE ENIX)
· “Just Cause” (Electronic Arts)
· “Mobile Ops: The One Year War” (NAMCO BANDAI Games)
· “Operation Darkness” (SUCCESS Corp.)
· “Winning Eleven: Pro Evolution Soccer 2008” (Konami)
· “ZOIDS ALTERNATIVE” (TOMY Co. Ltd.)
This incredible lineup joins many other amazing games from developers around the globe that will be available this holiday in Japan and around the world, including the following:
· “Assassin’s Creed” (Ubisoft Entertainment). “Assassin’s Creed” is the next-generation game developed by Ubisoft that merges technology, game design, theme and emotions into a world where players will assume the role of the main character, Altair, and will have the power to throw their immediate environment into chaos and experience the art of a master assassin. Available this November.
· “Halo 3” (Microsoft Game Studios/Bungie Studios). In “Halo® 3,” the third installment of the landmark “Halo” trilogy and hugely anticipated sequel to the critically acclaimed “Halo 2,” people everywhere can take on the role of Master Chief™ and experience Master Chief’s greatest battle as he launches an epic mission to stop the Covenant, destroy the impending Flood threat and ultimately save mankind. In this third chapter of the “Halo” trilogy, Master Chief returns to face his greatest challenge as he readies himself for the final battle and seals his place in history. A hero must rise. Believe. Available worldwide, with availability in the United States on Sept. 25 and Japan on Sept. 27, only on Xbox 360.
· “Kingdom Under Fire: Circle of Doom” (Microsoft/Blueside Inc.). Six heroes from the “Kingdom Under Fire” universe fight their way through the Dark Dimension against hordes of demented monsters in a twisted action RPG exclusive to Xbox 360. Coming this winter, “KUF:COD” features seamless four-player co-op2 via Xbox LIVE®, randomly generated maps and nearly infinite weapons combos with unique abilities, enhancements and magical powers for players to learn and master.
· “Project Gotham Racing 4” (Microsoft Game Studios/Bizarre Creations Ltd.). “Project Gotham Racing® 4” will redefine the acclaimed “PGR®” franchise by delivering a unique, exciting racing experience complete with dynamic weather and iconic cars and motorcycles. Available this October, only on Xbox 360.
· “Viva Piñata: Party Animals” (Microsoft Game Studios/Krome Studios Pty. Ltd.). An exciting new party game based on the critically acclaimed Xbox 360 exclusive and hit animated TV series, “Viva Piñata™: Party Animals” brings back the familiar piñata characters and invites players to compete in more than 40 mini-games against friends at home or over Xbox LIVE.2 Available this holiday season, only on Xbox 360.
“Gamers around the world can look forward to the greatest holiday lineup in video game history,” said Don Mattrick, senior vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business in the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft Corp. “We continue to evolve our strong relationships with Japan’s best and most innovative developers, and we’re looking forward to delivering exclusive high-definition titles for consumers worldwide, this year and beyond.”
Xbox LIVE Arcade Continues High-Definition Downloadable Games Innovation in Japan
Japanese developers have long embraced and championed Xbox LIVE Arcade, with hits including “Pac-Man Championship Edition” (NAMCO BANDAI Games), “Bomberman Live” (Hudson Entertainment), “Frogger” (Konami) and “Fatal Fury Special” (SNK PLAYMORE Corp.). Several new titles from these and other Japanese developers will be added to the diverse portfolio of digitally distributed, high-definition original and classic games currently available on Xbox LIVE Arcade, including the following:
· “Every Extend Extra Extreme” (Q Entertainment). The latest creation from Q Entertainment, “Every Extend Extra Extreme,” or E4, is a unique action-packed shooter where the goal is to perfectly time your self-destruction to create chain reactions that explode surrounding enemies. With outrageous visuals and the ability to play your own favorite music, E4 puts a new twist on puzzle shooter games.
· “EXIT” (Taito). An addictive, frenzied puzzle game, “EXIT” has players using their decision-making skills and wits to escape numerous obstacles, while rescuing people from more than 100 different emergencies. Players must save as many lives as possible while finding the fastest way out when “EXIT” arrives on Xbox LIVE Arcade by the end of the year.
· “Ikaruga” (Treasure Co. Ltd.). “Ikaruga” is a quick-paced shooter with strong strategy elements featuring a slow-motion training mode and co-op play for two.2 Available soon for download from Xbox LIVE Arcade, “Ikaruga” is the perfect combination of beautiful, manga-style storytelling and refined, ultra-challenging arcade heroics.
· “OMEGA FIVE” (Hudson Entertainment). “OMEGA FIVE” is a next-generation, high-definition shooter with awe-inspiring graphics. Players fly through dangerous 3-D environments in this side-scroller and try to avoid the enemies that come at them from all sides, even from behind.
· “Rez” (Q Entertainment). “Rez,” the legendary action-shooter created by Tetsuya Mizuguchi, is coming to Xbox LIVE Arcade. A fast-moving, wire-frame adventure backed by industrial beats, the story of “Rez” takes players deep into the world’s computer network, where they must hack the system, altering the visual output and even taking over the music, creating their own rhythms and eye candy as they dig deeper into the dreamlike cyberworld.
· “Triggerheart Exelica” (Warashi). A shoot’em-up game where players battle against hordes of enemy ships, “Triggerheart Exelica” dynamically adjusts the difficulty to match a player’s skill level. “Triggerheart Exelica” launches on Xbox LIVE Arcade this year.
Other exciting Xbox LIVE Arcade games available in the coming months include these:
· “Braid” (Number None Inc.). Arriving in early 2008 on Xbox LIVE Arcade, “Braid” is a platformer/puzzle game. The player journeys across seven worlds to rescue a princess; in each world, time behaves in its own peculiar way. The player must cleverly manipulate the flow of time to solve puzzles. “Braid” aims to provide a mind-expanding, filler-free experience.
· “Castlecrashers” (The Behemoth). Arriving in early 2008 on Xbox LIVE Arcade, “Castlecrashers” is the second title currently in development by award-winning independent developer the Behemoth. The four-player RPG adventure will let players hack, slash and smash their way to victory. “Castlecrashers” delivers unique high-resolution illustrated visuals, including memorably hand-drawn characters that are cute and menacing at the same time. Gamers can play with up to three friends locally or over Xbox LIVE2 and discover mind-boggling magic and mystery in the amazing world of “Castlecrashers.”
· “Schizoid” (Torpex Games LLC). “Schizoid,” from independent studio Torpex Games, is the first Xbox LIVE Arcade game to be created with XNA™ Game Studio. Debuting on Xbox LIVE Arcade later this year, “Schizoid” is an action-packed game focused on co-op gameplay2 in which players smash barrages of glowing enemies while cooperating closely to protect each other.
Microsoft Brings Tokyo Game Show Home With Xbox LIVEOnce again, Microsoft will bring the Tokyo Game Show experience into living rooms worldwide as it offers its “TGS Bring It Home” programming, delivering hours of coverage from the press briefing, all the best highlights from the show floor, interviews with developers, gameplay videos, exclusive cinematic trailers and a variety of Xbox 360 content for gamers to download over Xbox LIVE Marketplace, beginning Sept. 13, 2007.