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When the XNA Community Games service was announced at GDC 08 Microsoft was coy about its launch plans. Other than telling reporters the service would hit during the holiday 08 season, Microsoft sidestepped questions regarding its pricing structure (if any) and game specific release schedules. At E3 08 Microsoft could answer our questions by returning to XNA Community Games and reveal its future with the Xbox community.
As a well attended and known event, E3 is the perfect place to reveal plans for the service. As the fourth quarter approaches and XNA continues to evolve, E3 is your best bet for all information Communtiy Games.
Considering Microsoft's history with announcing services only to sweep them under the rug when they hit a speedbump (sup, Live Anywhere?) it's possible the launch has been delayed and details will be slim. Could Community Games hit as an even wider open beta this holiday rather than a full fledged launch to make sure the service is ready across the Xbox 360, PC and Zune platforms? It's possible.
As PR ninjas attempt to keep Peter Molyneux's promises at bay, a lingering question about Fable 2 remains -- is the announced drop-in-drop-out co-op also available over Xbox Live? While Lionhead isn't talking, E3 would be the perfect time to tout the fan favorite feature.
Crackdown. Gears of War. Halo 3. Too Human. What do these Microsoft published titles have in common? All share co-op experiences over the Xbox Live service. As an important exclusive in the Xbox 360 library, Fable 2 has to include the feature. Gamers have come to expect it today as much as we expected quarters be placed onto cabinets back in the age of arcades.
Fable. Nay, Lionhead. Nay, Peter Molyneux himself have been known to over promise and under deliver. While Fable 2 marketing is quick to deny Xbox Live rumors it is possible that the feature was simply too time consuming to meet the (expected) fall release schedule. Rather than promising and disappointing earlier, Lionhead could deny and disappoint later.
It feels like the media blackout of Alan Wake has clouded our minds. Was the gamer ever really announced? Did we dream it? As one of the most interesting exclusives under Microsoft's belt we'd expect some form of information to be showcased during the most important industry event.
What else can we say? Alan Wake has blockbuster potential written all over it. In a world where Resident Evil and Silent Hill still hold weight, Alan Wake could be the exclusive title (in a new genre) Microsoft needs. E3 or bust.
Microsoft has all but ignored the existence of Alan Wake during previous industry events and, so far, all signs point to another skipped chance for the Remedy developed title. Microsoft isn't even mentioning Alan's name anymore, does that bode well for a new IP? Microsoft has promised the game is still in development in the past. Only time will tell.
Ever since the developer was acquired by Microsoft gamers have wondered what spectacular title would return Rare to its original form. Titles like Perfect Dark Zero and Kameo failed to capture the attention of the masses in the way that Goldeneye had but Rare has been known to play its cards close to the chest. While work is spinning on Banjo Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts we wonder what else Rare has up their sleeve -- and we hope it's an Ace.
Is Rare working on another title other than Banjo's return? Yes. Do we know what it is? No. Could it be Killer Instinct 3? Another Perfect Dark? A whole new IP? So many questions that Rare could answer. Showcasing a "hardcore" title could re-enforce support in the publisher that could translate to a better following behind Banjo, a following that titles like Viva Piñata seriously lacked.
Why pimp the next hotness when the new hotness isn't even out yet? Banjo Kazooie and Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise might not be for all gamers but it's an interesting and beautiful title that Microsoft wouldn't want to take focus away from. While saving face with a fantastic reveal would be nice, it might not work in Microsoft's favor in the long run.
Meet you somewhere in the middle! With dropping manufacturing costs for consoles and accessories, Microsoft could find success in creating a middle road for gamers looking to dive deeper into downloadable content and movies who aren't willing to shell out the big bucks for an Elite or 120giger.
Based on what we've heard from industry rumblings, tipsters and listening to our own logic -- a 60GB HDD is a foregone conclusion. Removing the 20GB model, replacing it with a 60GB and substantially dropping the price of all version of the accessory is the closest the Xbox 360 will get to achieving world peace.
Really? More peripherals to confuse the masses? We want to go there ... again?
With additional characters and a focus on a more dramatic story gamers are clamoring for the ability to experience Gears of War 2 with multiple friends. Already confirmed to be co-op online for two players, as it was in the original, Gears 2 is a game that not only begs for 4-player co-op, it pretty much demands it.
Bigger, better and more badass. It's been said so often about Gears of War 2 that it might as well be the sales pitch on the retail package. What's bigger and better than doubling up on co-op players taking full advantage of the team surrounding you as you battle the Locust horde? Gears 2 has been nothing but more. More enemies on screen, more characters to interact with, more weapons, more multiplayer players. Gears of War 2 will most certainly add more to the co-op experience.
While the updated Unreal Engine 3 has promised additional on screen enemies, they have been shown and described as background set pieces to give off the allure of a larger scale battle. Could the two man squad be as much as the engine can stretch?
What is Halo Chronicles? Your guess is as good as ours. Initially touted as a new kind of game when Peter Jackson announced in at an E3 many moons ago, Halo Chronicles (as its been officially codenamed) has many potential storylines. It could be the rumored Master Chief-less Halo 4, an MMO or a tactical shooter staring the ODSTs. Whatever it is, E3 is the time to push it out and show Xbox 360 owners that the future is looking good.
Showcasing the future of the series since obtaining the rights during the amicable split from Bungie, Microsoft could ease worried fans that the franchise is dead in the water (quality wise that is) by revealing its future.
Halo Wars. Gears of War 2. Too Human. Fable 2. Microsoft might not want to lose focus on these by shocking Xbox 360 owners with awesome sending their wallets into hibernation until Chronicles releases.
With an unfortunate stigma of negative press following it, Too Human still remains an anticipated title for the Xbox 360 this year. Hitting in August, Silicon Knights lead Dennis Dyack himself has stated the game will see a pre-release demo. Considering we're inching in on that release date, E3 is the highest profile time to either silence detractors or fuel their fire.
Silicon Knights needs to get Too Human into hardcore hands in demo form. While some are being accused of hating the game for the sake of hating it, the only way to prove their title is worthy is by showcasing it with a strong demo. E3 is the time.
A month lead time might be too long for a demo to drop for a game that is already swirling in controversy.
Hitting the Xbox 360 as a timed exclusive this September, Rock Band 2 is one of the most anticipated titles at E3 08. Landing the music game as a timed-exclusive means Microsoft is going to want to show it off.
If you've got it flaunt it.
If they were crazy. So, yeah ... it could go either way!
Rumorangs went flying after the recent Bungie ViDoc for the map 'Cold Storage' revealed an interesting message (Keep It Clean) and a suspicious icon. Add to the fact that the Bungie Day podcast hinted at a July 14 reveal and you've got our attention.
Little is actually known about the latest Bungie title. But according to hints we'll find out what the superintendent icon is all about.
It's Bungie and now they're independent. They could pretty much do what they want now. Including not reveal a thing!
We've seen the fan mock-up. We've heard the 3D Dash rumors. That's all well and good but it's time to tell us why the Spring Update was put on hold.
Now is the time to reveal the future of the Xbox 360 Dashboard.
The newly appointed CXO (which we wish stood for Chief Xtreme Officer) could make a return at E3 08 from his Zune adventure.
Velocity Girl better not come up. Just saying.
There's a reason why we selected this as the FREE SPACE in the bingo ticket.
All signs point to it happening. Color us insanely surprised if it doesn't.
While its happened before the gimmick might be played out.
Based on the dramatic shift for Gears 2, we'd think (and hope) the designer formerly known as Cliffy B would holster the weapon and settle for a simple waltz in to amaze us with an on-stage demo.
Hold on. Before you make us bust out our flame suits, hear us out. We're not talking about Metal Gear Solid 4. We're talking Metal Gear Online. Currently exclusive to the PS3, MGO shows signs of a multi-format release. Allow us to explain.
Utilizing the Konami ID service, rather than the Sony PSN login ID, MGO suspiciously removes all dedication to the Sony brand (unlike MGS4 which is rife with Sony love). Konami has stated in the past that MGO and MSG4 are two different games and specifically has said that MGS4 is currently a PS3 exclusive. A standalone Metal Gear Online release for the Xbox 360 could work the same way Counter-Strike did on the original Xbox. As a focused multiplayer experience, Xbox 360 gamers could jump into the world of Metal Gear Solid without having to switch console allegiances. However, Konami could market the release of MGS4 to Xbox 360 owners in this way. By giving them a taste of the universe it's possible they could entice some gamers to head to the store, wallet in hand. While there are plenty of holes in our theory we do think that MGO is a strong possibility as an Xbox 360 release. Also, and dare we say it, MGO hitting the Xbox 360 probably wouldn't get under any PS3 fanboy skin. It's actually an even bigger Xbox 360 tease.
Konami released Frogger 2 for the XBLA the same week as Metal Gear Solid 4. They might not have as much love for the console as we hope for.
You might as well 'X' this one right now.
Tipsters have been sending in internal retail memos and leaked flyers that all point to this one being legit.
Color us surprised if this doesn't happen before the conference.
Lips. Never has a videogame blog written the word so often. Finally we'll get to learn what the fuss is all about and answer the questions we all have. Our first question? Who codenames this stuff?
Rumored to be Xbox 360's answer to SingStar, Lips is expected to be a karaoke title developed by iNiS, the Japanese dev best known for its Elite Beat Agents and Ouendan Nintendo DS games. Showing off a library of songs and solid release schedule for both the game and content could overshadow SingStar (which has had a rocky launch Stateside.)
Who names this stuff?
From Ensemble Studios comes the first Xbox-released title in the Halo Universe not developed by Bungie.
The console RTS takes place before the Master Chief trilogy and is missing one simple thing.
A release date!
Expect news at E3 along with hands-on impressions.
What better way to silence detractors then to reveal an anticipated sequel is in the works.
We don't need a 10 minute on stage demo, a simple teaser trailer with a logo would suffice.
Could it help Silicon Knights save face and boost confidence for Too Human? We don't know. We're too busy dreaming. Hey, it's possible.
There are a handful of reasons the rumor that Microsoft will allow other companies to create Xbox 360 consoles could happen, but we can't wrap our head around why.
Microsoft could drop the challenge to other companies while they reap the benefits of software behemoths Gears of War and Halo.
Could it happen? I think Sega would be the first to say, "Never Say Never."
With Sony catching up with features some gamers are questioning if a paid service can survive. As Sony's service evolves the question remains, does the Xbox Live service need to go free to remain competitive?
As Sony attempts to catch up to the Xbox Live service Microsoft could squash their progress by announcing a new free model which would allow players to play games online. Then, as Sony still scrambles to regain their footing with their online features, Microsoft walks away with the online trophy ... err ... achievement.
Something tells us Sony is going to have to get much closer for Microsoft to flinch. Also, money? Yeah. Microsoft (and every other company) likes it.
What better way to get our attention than to announce the premier XNA Community title, Dishwasher, was ready to release in its full XBLA form?
Seriously. The demo we got months ago was more polished than most recent XBLA releases!
Yeah. That's what we need.
Either do it or don't.
At this point we're all a little tired of the "Newton" rumor.
With rumors already swirling about what might be announced, we anticipate the possibilities that XBLA will bring at E3 08.
No maybe about it. Without fail Microsoft will showcase various XBLA releases via stylish montage. The only question is what wacky music will they play it to.
Release it already.