Microsoft showed off a stellar line-up of games at its X10 event today in San Francisco. I just returned from the event. Given that I am a Microsoft toadie (I jest), I have to say that there are going to be a lot of cool games coming out this year on the Xbox 360.
Aaron Greenberg, director of project management at Microsoft’s Xbox division, said in an interview that this year will be the “biggest in Xbox history.” (See our video of him for more).
There’s some truth to that. Bungie’s next potential blockbuster, Halo: Reach, will debut in the fall. The multiplayer version will be out on May 3, accessible via the Halo 3: ODST game disc. In the morning, Bungie will launch a new seven-minute trailer revealing more about the game, which is looking good.
This fall, Microsoft is also going to launch its Project Natal, an add-on for the Xbox 360 that will capture your movements in 3-D and translate them into movements in the game. It will also have voice and face recognition. Microsoft didn’t reveal anything new at X10 about Natal, saying it would reserve that for the E3 trade show in June.
Alan Wake was playable at the event. This game is like Stephen King comes to video games. The game from Remedy has a cool storyline where a writer searches for his missing wife and learns that events in his unwritten horror novel are coming true. You are hunted down by nightmarish creatures in the middle of the night, and your main weapon against them is light from your flashlight as well as a shotgun. Microsoft will ship that game on May 18 as an exclusive for the Xbox 360. A collector’s edition will include bonus discs.
For the launch of Square’s Final Fantasy XIII game on March 9, Microsoft will launch a special edition bundle of an Xbox 360, a 250-gigabyte hard disk, two wireless controllers, exclusive downloadable content and a copy of the game. Some fanatics will buy this, and it will be good for padding Microsoft’s margins.
Here are some other cool games coming:
Crackdown 2, an open world where you can fight crime in a comic-art-style big city, will arrive sometime later this year. (Microsoft said it would be out in June, but then retracted that). This game is going to have fast action. Playing a cop, you’re going to have a tough time with crowd control.
Dead Rising 2, Capcom’s follow-up to a Dawn of the Dead style game where you wipe out zombies in a shopping mall, using everything from soccer balls to shotguns. It debuts in North America on Aug. 31, Japan on Sept. 2 and Europe on Sept. 3. Dead Rising: Case Zero will debut as a download on Xbox Live prior to the full game and it will bridge the story between the first and second titles. This game is still a gore fest where you have to slaughter zombies who are so ugly, dumb and slow that they deserve it.
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Conviction from Ubisoft will debut on April 13 in North America, April 16 in the United Kingdom, and April 28 in Japan. You play an agent going rogue after the death of his daughter. It is pretty up-close and gritty.
Capcom’s Lost Planet 2 will launch in North America and Europe on May 18. Once again, in this third-person shooter, you have to battle with giant aliens in this sci-fi game that takes place on a distant planet.
Fable III, the latest role-playing fantasy game from Peter Molyneux’s Lionhead Studios, will arrive in time for the holidays. Left 4 Dead 2 from Valve will have its first add-on expansion game, dubbed Left 4 Dead 2: The Passing.
Toy Soldiers will launch on Xbox Live Arcade Block Party on March 3. Perfect Dark, Scrap Metal, and Game Room will also debut in March on the Xbox Live platform. And I am going to be looking forward to this one: new multiplayer maps for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 arriving on Xbox Live this spring. (I am now a level 51 Colonel I rank on multiplayer).
Please check out our GamesBeat@GDC event which takes places at the Game Developers Conference on March 10 in San Francisco.