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Pipeline lets Microsoft take its time, says Kim

A full pipeline relieves the pressure of Microsoft having to rush titles such as Halo Wars and Alan Wake

When Microsoft Games Studios demonstrated their upcoming 2008 first-party titles at an event last week, two noticeably absent titles were Halo Wars and Alan Wake.

"We're not showing Halo Wars here today because we wanted to focus on these titles," VP Shane Kim told the gathered media.

"We want to make sure when we do show it to you guys, that we can put our best foot forward. Because it is very hard to recover when we don't."

Kim said the company had learned its lessons from the early showings of titles such as Too Human - recognising that the media would tell the truth of what they thought about a game on display.

"I'm excited about the progress we are making [in Halo Wars]. We've got work to do in various areas. The game's just a lot of fun to play. But it wasn't ready for this event."

Although the company had shown Halo Wars at prior events, Kim acknowledged that it was done in a controlled fashion - not with the hands-on time that the media would be given at the current showcase.

"Even what we showed back then, it was still very early in development. And, I would say, once you see it again, you'll see that it has evolved a fair amount since that time."

Microsoft Games Studios did not show Alan Wake for the same reason.

"When you can debut a title like Alan Wake debuted, or Mass Effect when it debuted, or Gears of War when it debuted...When you can do that, and get people really excited, the last thing you want to do is rush it out there again when it's not really ready," Kim said.

"I'm not just talking about final build, but showing a title too early."

Kim said that Alan Wake is taking a lot of work to get right, as it is pretty ambitious in terms of what it is trying to do with both storytelling and gameplay.

Even so, he was not particularly concerned with the two "no shows."

"There are other things in the pipeline that we are not talking about yet that I'm pretty excited about as well. So it definitely gives us the opportunity not to have to rush things."

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Mark Androvich