Outside of Microsoft's Summer of Arcade promotions, the company rarely gives gamers much warning about exactly what will arrive for its online service and when. The holiday spirit has apparently warmed the cockles of the Xbox giant's heart, as today the company announced its Xbox Live release plans for the remainder of December.
The selection of Xbox Live Arcade games will expand next week (December 16) with Alien Breed Evolution (Episode 1). An Unreal Engine-powered remake of the Amiga classic, Alien Breed Evolution is a top-down shooter that pits gamers against endless hordes of xenomorphs in cooperative or single-player action. Developed by Team 17 (the Worms series of strategy games), Alien Breed Evolution (Episode 1) will be available for 800 Microsoft points.
The next week will see developer Redlynx release the first add-on for Trials HD, its punishing downloadable motocross game from the most recent Summer of Arcade. The Big Pack! add-on will include 35 tracks, more than 50 new "physics objects," tournaments, and an extra 50 achievement points to earn. When it launches December 22, the Big Pack! will sell for 400 Microsoft points ($5).
The announced lineup of Games on Demand titles is a little more robust, starting with the December 15 downloadable launch of Viva Pinata: Party Animals. Gamers looking for something a little more explosive can wait for Capcom's December 22 one-two punch of Lost Planet: Extreme Condition Colonies Edition and Devil May Cry 4. Microsoft ends the Games on Demand year on a high note December 29 with the launch of Epic Games' Gears of War, one of the most successful 360-exclusive titles to date.
Microsoft is also rolling out some new promotions and goods for its Xbox Live Marketplace. Beginning today, gamers who log on can download an ugly holiday sweater, various bits of tokidoki gear, and a free holiday gift for their Avatars. And on December 24, the Avatar store will see an influx of Disney-related apparel with the launch of the Disney Classics line of releases.
Finally, Microsoft is instituting a series of daily deals on various games, add-ons, movies, themes, and other Marketplace content from December 18 through the end of the year. Those will come in addition to the service's weekly deals, which include price breaks on the Lips: Coldplay Track Pack, Pinball FX (week of December 14), Shadow Complex (week of December 21), and The Maw (week of December 28).