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Peter Jackson Plays With Microsoft on New Halo Games

In Barcelona, Spain, Microsoft Corp. thrilled fans with the announcement that Microsoft Game Studios is partnering with Academy Award-winning writer, director and producer Peter Jackson and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Fran Walsh to create two new interactive entertainment series exclusively for Xbox 360 and Xbox Live. The first series will be a collaborative effort with Bungie Studios to co-create the next great chapter in the HALO universe. The second series will be an entirely original property targeted at bringing new audiences into the captivating world of interactive entertainment. In addition, Microsoft Game Studios will partner with Jackson and Walsh to establish Wingnut Interactive, a studio dedicated to the creation of world-class interactive entertainment.

Microsoft has built an amazing living canvas with Xbox 360 and Xbox Live, which allows the storytellers of our time to express themselves in a new medium. They have fundamentally changed how people think about games, Jackson said. My vision, together with Microsoft Game Studios, is to push the boundaries of game development and the future of interactive entertainment. From a movie-makers point of view, it is clear to me that the Xbox 360 platform is the stage where storytellers can work their craft in the same way they do today with movies and books but taking it further with interactivity.

In addition, Microsoft announced HALO WARS, an all-new realtime strategy game based on the HALO universe and designed exclusively for Xbox 360 by Ensemble Studios, creators of the AGE OF EMPIRES franchise.

Rockstar and Take-Two announced they will provide Xbox 360 gamers with exclusive access to two downloadable, epic episodes of GRAND THEFT AUTO IV via Xbox Live, each with hours of entirely new gameplay and available only on Xbox 360 just months after the release of the title.

Moreover, Ubisoft confirmed that the next SPLINTER CELL title after SPLINTER CELL DOUBLE AGENT will be a console-exclusive on Xbox 360. 2K Games confirmed that BIOSHOCK, a first-person shooter, will be released exclusively on Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows next spring. PROJECT GOTHAM RACING 4, the latest addition to the best-selling racing franchise from Bizarre Creations exclusively for Xbox 360, was unveiled. The BANJO-KAZOOIE franchise will breathe new, high-definition life on Xbox 360 exclusively from famed developer Rare Ltd.

Microsoft Game Studios announced its highly anticipated new massively multiplayer online game, MARVEL UNIVERSE ONLINE for Xbox 360 and the Windows Vista operating system, developed by Cryptic Studios, creators of the smash hit CITY OF HEROES.

Two additions to Xbox Live Arcade were announced: the first-person shooter that pioneered the network-gaming era, DOOM, from developer id Software and Activision, is available for download. The game includes the original four-episode, single-player game, four-player split screen (cooperative and deathmatch) and four-player cooperative and deathmatch over Xbox Live. Also coming to Xbox Live Arcade soon is SENSIBLE WORLD OF SOCCER from Codemasters. Based on the classic 1994 Amiga title, SENSIBLE WORLD OF SOCCER will let gamers choose between the original graphics or an updated, high-resolution look and feel while still capturing the originals entire world of football.

Arriving at retailers in North America, the U.K, France and Germany in mid-November 2006, the Xbox 360 HD DVD Player will retail for $199.99 in North America and 199.99/£129.99 in the U.K., France and Germany. The Xbox 360 HD DVD Player comes with the Universal Pictures blockbuster film Peter Jacksons KING KONG on HD DVD and the Xbox 360 Universal Media Remote.

Xbox 360 is changing the way developers are telling stories today from the industrys most beloved franchises to exciting new properties, said Peter Moore, corporate vp of the Interactive Entertainment Business in the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft. We are inspiring the imaginations of the entertainment industrys best and most creative talent to take their franchises in exciting directions, while also spinning new tales for everyone.

We are incredibly pleased to be here in Barcelona to talk about the next chapter of Xbox and how Xbox 360 continues to deliver on the promise and potential of the next generation, said Chris Lewis, regional vp of the Home and Entertainment Division, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), at Microsoft. As we prepare to launch some of our biggest global titles and best regional content both right now and well into the future, consumers will have much to choose from with a system designed for high-definition and online entertainment. We are the only next-generation experience that seamlessly connects players to their games, friends and entertainment content.

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Rick DeMott
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