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Microsoft maniacs rejoice

The first day of Microsoft's annual gaming showcase dubbed X06 began today with tons of gaming news delivered within the first few minutes. We could blather on all day about the implications of these announcements, but we'll save that for after we've blown your mind with Microsoft's upcoming plans. Without further ado, let's get to the goods:

A "new" Xbox Live Arcade title was announced: ancient PC-favorite Doom is set to appear on Xbox's online service... tonight! This evening, you'll be able to download the game that began the first-person shooter revolution (okay, okay, it had help from Wolfenstein 3D) and play it over Xbox Live in both deathmatch and team deathmatch modes.

Ubisoft presented some new footage from Assassin's Creed that showed off the game's insane crowd dynamics and cinematic in-game combat. They also announced that the new Splinter Cell (the one coming after Double Agent) would be an Xbox 360 exclusive.

First video from Project Gotham Racing 4 was unveiled as well from developer Bizarre Creations.
Exclusivity was confirmed by Rockstar and Take Two Games on Grand Theft Auto IV's twin downloadable episodes. These two episodes will follow mere months after the game's release November 2007.

Peter Jackson made an appearance and did his best stuttering Brit, Hugh Grant impersonation. He formally announced a partnership with Microsoft resulting in the formation of Wingnut Interactive. "We want to design a new way to tell stories," remarked Jackson, "the Halo universe is the best place to start." So, some new kind of movie/game hybrid thing set in the Halo universe is on its way from the acclaimed director of the Lord of the Rings saga... but neither Peter Jackson nor Microsoft frontman Peter Moore seem to know what exactly it'll be.

2K Games revealed that their upcoming first-person terror game BioShock will be exclusive to Xbox 360 and Windows Vista platforms and showed some fresh, disturbing footage.

Banjo-Kazooie has resurfaced for the 360 as Microsoft-acquired Rare Ltd. will put out an Xbox 360 exclusive game of some kind.

A new massively multiplayer role-playing game featuring characters from the Marvel universe is currently under development by critically acclaimed developer Cryptic Studios (famous for their work on City of Heroes/City of Villains). Appropriately titled Marvel Universe Online, we've got the full story here.

A new real-time strategy game based in the Halo universe was also announced in the form of Halo Wars and is being developed by Ensemble Studios (the folks behind the dramatically popular Age of Empires series). We've got more in-depth coverage including screens and a freaking fantasic, eye-melting video here.

Release date and pricing for the new HD DVD add-on for the 360 were also announced, but you have to follow this link for all the details.

Whew... big day for news from Microsoft. Stay tuned to GamesRadar for further updates and the slew of screens and video currently inundating us. In the meanwhile, why not hit up our pals over at Next-Gen.biz and get their take on both the bullet points of the show and their more in-depth coverage.

September 27, 2006

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