Microsoft Claims Best Release Schedule Ever

2007 will be a year to remember for Xbox 360™ players – a packed release schedule offers a wide range of incredible titles including exclusive, genre-defining games such as Blue Dragon™ (Microsoft Game Studios – MGS), Project Gotham Racing® 4 (MGS), Naruto™ Rise of a Ninja (Ubisoft), Viva Piñata®: Party Animals (MGS), Ace Combat® 6: Fires of Liberation™ (Namco Bandai Games) and Scene It?® Lights, Camera, Action (MGS), not to mention some of the highest scoring games of all time in the form of BioShock (2K Games), Mass Effect (MGS), The Orange Box (EA) and the legendary Halo® 3 (MGS), all of which have already been released or are set to arrive before the end of the year.

From the end of summer to the festive period, Xbox 360 boasts over 60 new releases contributing to a portfolio of over 300 high-definition titles.

Two of the most epic adventures of the year arrived in August in Blue Dragon and BioShock. Role-playing game Blue Dragon casts players as Shu, a young boy, who with a party of four must battle the evil that has invaded their world, controlling phantom shadow creatures ranging from Minotaur, to phoenix and of course, dragon.

BioShock is a “genetically-enhanced” first person shooter that lets players do things never before possible in the genre, in the unique art deco world of Rapture, an underwater utopia torn apart by civil war.

September and October were the hottest months since records began seeing the release of the epic Halo 3 and the turbocharged Project Gotham Racing 4.

Halo 3, the third and final chapter in the “Halo trilogy” smashed day-one entertainment sales records when it launched in September with players finally getting the chance to take Master Chief™ into his most crucial battle yet.

October saw Project Gotham Racing 4 return with another garage-full of the world’s most iconic cars. A brand new dynamic weather system makes for an even more exhilarating experience.

Football fans are enjoying a season of highlights on Xbox 360 with the release of FIFA 08 at the end of September and Pro Evolution Soccer 2008 at the end of October.

FIFA 08 brings you closer to the action than ever before with new Pro Skills moves that increase user-control by enabling you to combine tricks and skill moves together to recreate signature moves from the real-world superstars, the new Be A Pro: Offline Training mode, and even greater depths of authenticity, while Konami’s latest edition to the multi-million-selling Pro Evolution Soccer series returns as PES 2008, boasting a proprietary AI system, all new moves and set pieces – and even more realism than ever. PES 2008’s rosters of licensed players enjoy a wide range of flicks, nutmegs, and set-pieces, while the less savoury elements of the game appear in the form of shirt-pulling, ugly fouls and diving.

November offers something for everyone. Mass Effect, the science-fiction action-role playing game offers a whole galaxy full of difficult decisions to make as players lead an elite team to bring down a rogue agent.

Sociable fun is also on the cards – both Viva Piñata: Party Animals and Scene It? Lights, Camera, Action offer their own unique blend of party play – Viva Piñata: Party Animals putting the colourful piñatas into a succession of addictive mini games and Scene It? offering a host of movie-related trivia to answer.

Naruto Rise of a Ninja kick flips into November featuring the perfect blend of adventure, platforming and fighting and enables fans of the show to challenge fellow gamers on Xbox LIVE®.

Finally, top guns will fulfil their aviation dreams in Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation, thrusting players into the heat of realistic air combat.

The review scores garnered by many of these titles have been astounding, confirming the excellence of the Xbox 360 line up. Halo 3’s score of 94 at Metacritic and 93 at Gamerankings makes it the perfect conclusion to the Halo trilogy, arriving just weeks after BioShock which wowed critics, scoring 96 and 95 at Metacritic and Gamerankings respectively.

Just when review scores looked like they couldn’t get any higher The Orange Box arrived – five innovative games from Valve®, creators of the blockbuster Half-Life franchise, in one action-packed box – scoring an astonishing 96 point average at both Metacritic and Gamerankings. Finally, Mass Effect is the most recent Xbox 360 release to garner 90+ review averages claiming 93 at both sites and rounding off simply the greatest portfolio of video games ever seen. *

These unprecedented scores demonstrate exactly why Xbox 360 continues to hold the record for highest games attach rate across the globe, at 6.3 games sold per console. With life-to-date sales of 13.4 million consoles worldwide this represents incredible software sales.

BioShock, Blue Dragon, Project Gotham Racing 4, Naruto Rise of a Ninja, Viva Piñata: Party Animals, Mass Effect, Scene It? Lights, Camera, Action, FIFA 08, PES 2008, Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation, The Orange Box and Halo 3 spearhead the unparalleled selection of Xbox 360 titles that players will be able to enjoy this year.

“This year’s line up of titles on Xbox 360 is without doubt the strongest I have seen, offering incredible Microsoft-published titles such as Blue Dragon, PGR 4, Viva Piñata Party Animals, Mass Effect, Scene It? Lights, Camera, Action and Halo 3, and incredible exclusives from our partners such as BioShock, Naruto Rise of a Ninja and Ace Combat 6. It’s an amazing year for Xbox 360 players,” said Michael Newey, Group Product Marketing Manager, Microsoft.

A great year to be sure, but better than 1998? That’s entirely up for debate.