Xbox 360 Fanboy has done us the good service of plucking the juicy details out of Major Nelson's recent blogcast featuring Shadowrun Lead Designer John Howard. What we learn is that the development team is implementing a friend-linking party system for its online Live Anywhere launch title. It's about time. No studio has attempted this since Bungie debuted its 'Party System' in Halo 2 (back in 2004).
Epic would have you believe that the lack of support for party systems is Microsoft's doing. But with Halo 3 and Shadowrun both confirmed to support this feature, Epic's excuse isn't holding up. Our guess is that a Gears of War team-play patch for ranked games (and maybe an apology) is definitely in the works.
Update: Shadowrun forgoes TrueSkill for 'party' play, Epic told the truth