LOS ANGELES -- May 18, 2005 -- The next generation of video gaming arrives in full force today with an astounding lineup of premier, first-party titles from Microsoft Game Studios including "Perfect Dark: Zero TM ," "Gears of War," "Blue Dragon," "Lost Odyssey," "Project Gotham Racing® 3" and "Kameo TM : Elements of Power TM " for the new Xbox 360 TM system that puts players at the center of the most powerful next-generation games and entertainment experiences. These first-party titles will provide attendees at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) with an exciting glimpse of the unprecedented game experiences that will come alive on Xbox 360.
"It's such a thrill to finally show these games to the world," said Shane Kim, general manager of Microsoft Game Studios. "This lineup truly showcases the types of experience that will define the high-definition era, in which entertainment experiences come to life like never before and gamers are immersed in experiences beyond their wildest dreams."
The creative vision of the industry's most respected developers is amplified by the power of Xbox 360. New games deliver more expansive, realistic and intelligent gameplay to draw the gamer into the experience as never before. With Xbox 360, thousands of characters converge for epic battles scenes, each with their own unique artificial intelligence to keep gamers on their toes. Dynamic environments create new experiences with every step -- realism emerges not only in the advanced lighting and texture effects that illuminate the graphics, but in the way the setting itself responds to characters' movements. When an enemy hiding in the brush makes a sudden move, players will see and hear the leaves rustle to alert them to someone's presence. Not only are games smarter, but they engage players in more dramatic ways. Characters on the screen capture the subtle nuances of human emotion to draw players into the drama of the scene as never before.
Xbox 360 ignites a new era of gameplay in which people power the experience and imagination becomes the only boundary. Now an integral feature for every Xbox 360 title, the Xbox Live TM service gives gamers the opportunity to continually evolve and expand their experience. With features such as spectator mode, intelligent matchmaking, Xbox Live Marketplace and video chat, Xbox 360 invites consumers to play a role in defining their own unique gaming universe.
Among the innovative first-party Xbox 360 titles showcased in Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360 booth are these:
"Blue Dragon" (Mistwalker Inc.) from Hironobu Sakaguchi, creator of the original "FINAL FANTASY®" series, an epic role-playing game (RPG) featuring the original artwork of Akira Toriyama, creator of the "Dragonball" series of manga and anime.
"Gears of War" (Epic Games Inc.) is the lifelike third-person tactical shooter that thrusts the gamer into the harrowing story of humankind's battle for survival against the Locust Horde. "Gears of War" utilizes the breathtaking new Unreal Engine 3 to create cinematic, high-definition visuals for a next-generation experience so intense and powerful, it feels as if the gamer is controlling a blockbuster action movie.
"Kameo: Elements of Power" (Rare Ltd.) is an action-adventure game with RPG elements for gamers of all ages and skill levels from legendary game developer Rare. "Kameo: Elements of Power" is a magical and epic journey full of intense combat, magnificent exploration, and innovative morph-into-warrior action. Its innovative combat system allows players to harness powers from the five Elements of Power: Plant, Water, Rock, Ice and Fire.
"Lost Odyssey TM" (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.
"Perfect Dark: Zero" (Rare) is the prequel to the hugely popular and critically acclaimed "Perfect Dark®." Set in the year 2020 -- years before the original hit game -- players experience the origins of Joanna Dark, one of the most lethal Special Agents ever. Harnessing the power of Xbox 360, the highly anticipated "Perfect Dark: Zero" brings visceral, action-packed gameplay to the high-definition era.
"Project Gotham Racing 3" (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 TM 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.
The power of high-performance hardware, software and services feeds these innovative gameplay scenarios to enable experiences that are truly a generational leap. And with support for high-definition output with anti-aliasing, and Dolby 5.1 surround sound, all Xbox 360 games will deliver smooth, cinematic experiences that scream off the screen. On Xbox 360, the synergy of advanced technology and creative vision creates revolutionary games experiences that will define the future of video game entertainment.
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 and 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 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 Game Studios
Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the Xbox® video game system, the Windows® operating system and online platforms. Comprising a network of top developers, Microsoft Game Studios is committed to creating innovative and diverse games for Windows (http://www.microsoft.com/games), including such franchises as "Age of Empires®," "Flight Simulator" and "Zoo Tycoon®"; Xbox (hhttp://www.xbox.com), including such games as "Fable®" and franchises as "Halo®," "Project Gotham Racing" and "MechAssault®"; and MSN® Games (http://www.games.msn.com), the official games channel for the MSN network and home to such hits as "Bejeweled" and "Hexic TM ."
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass on Microsoft's corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft's Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at hhttp://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.asp .