Peter Jackson Founds Game Studio

Posted by jgaudiosi :: Hollywood & Video Games

PeterjacksonMicrosoft used it European press event, X06, in Barcelona to introduce Oscar-winners Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh as the creative team behind a completely original Xbox 360 "Halo" game set to release in a couple of years. Jackson already serves as executive producer of the "Halo" movie that Universal Pictures and 20th Century Fox are developing, based on the best-selling game franchise. This new Microsoft relationship goes beyond just a couple of games. Jackson and Walsh are creating Wingnut Interactive, a New Zealand-based videogame studio that will develop next generation games. The two will create a world-class interactive entertainment studio that fuses the strength of Microsoft’s technology and interactive entertainment experience with the creative and imaginative excellence of the Wingnut Interactive team. While the new "Halo" will be created at Bungie with Wingnut's help, the studio will begin work on an original IP from Jackson and Walsh.

Microsoft is going full-scale with its "Halo" franchise. In addition to "Halo 3," which is due out in 2007, and the "Halo" movie, Microsoft has enlisted its Ensemble Studios to create a real-time strategy game called "Halo Wars," which places the player in command of human UNSC armies as they deploy for mankind’s first deadly encounter with the enemy Covenant forces.

Jackson was also indirectly involved in the Xbox 360's new HD-DVD drive, which hits store shelves in mid-November. The $200 add-on will come with a pack-in HD-DVD movie from Universal Studios Home Entertainment, "Peter Jackson's King Kong." The package also includes a universal remote control.

Also at the press event, 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.

Ubisoft confirmed that the next “Splinter Cell” title, the next installment in the series after “Splinter Cell Double Agent,” will be a console-exclusive on Xbox 360, a testament to the ability of Xbox 360 to deliver a complete experience no other console can match.

2K Games confirmed that “BioShock,” a revolution in the genre that will forever change the expectations for first-person shooters, will be released exclusively on Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows next spring.

Microsoft Game Studios announced its new massively multiplayer online game, “Marvel Universe Online” for Xbox 360 and the Windows Vista operating system, willl be developed by industry luminaries 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,” is now available for download via Xbox Live Arcade. 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 original’s entire world of football.

Xbox Live is a thriving online game community, connecting more than 3 million members across nearly 25 countries to enjoy hundreds of social games, as well as on-demand game demos, Xbox Live Arcade games, and music and movie content. With more than 10 million downloads to date and nearly 100 independent, classic and original development titles available by next summer, Xbox Live Arcade is a fast-growing phenomenon.

Microsoft underscored the continued momentum behind Xbox 360 with more than 5 million consoles sold since launch, the fastest console launch ever. Microsoft remains on track to deliver 10 million consoles worldwide, with a library of 160 games, by end of year. The Xbox Live community continues to grow and is on track to double in size to 6 million gamers by June 2007. Those numbers are supported by the most impressive number of all: Xbox 360 is now available in more than 30 countries since the console launched last November. By the end of this year, Xbox 360 will launch in even more countries, including South Africa and in Europe where plans are set in Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.

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