LOS ANGELES--The announcements of Halo 3 and Grand Theft Auto IV at Microsoft's pre-E3 press conference may have left the Graumann's Chinese Theater shaking, but there were also many other games announced besides those two behemoths.
Peter Molyneux's Lionhead Studios, one of the newest members to Microsoft's troupe, is bringing the sequel to Fable to the Xbox 360. The game was presented as a trailer, and it appears to retain many of the features that made the original so unique--specifically the ability to make choices that affect the gameworld. No release date was announced.
Forza Motorsport 2 will also speed onto the 360, which will be that series' first appearance on a next-generation system. The racing sim will be heavy on customization, and the trailer shown appears to emphasize the ability to swap out car parts and apply different paint jobs. Forza Motorsport 2 is scheduled for release this holiday season.
Shadowrun for the Xbox 360 was also revealed, confirming some pre-E3 rumors that have been circulating. The game is based on the pen-and-paper game of the same name from the early 1990s, and it will be a cross-platform title, allowing 360 and Windows Vista users to take each other on in multiplayer. Shadowrun will be available at the launch of Windows Vista.
The psychological paranormal thriller Alan Wake also made an appearance at the event, answering the question of which platforms the Remedy-developed game would be on. Alan Wake, which debuted at last year's E3, will be exclusive to the Xbox 360 and Windows Vista. No release date has been set yet.
Xbox Live arcade will also get a whole slew of new games in the future, including Pac-Man, Galaga, Dig Dug, and Rally-X from Namco; Frogger, Contra, Super Contra, Track & Field, Time Pilot, and Scramble from Konami; Sonic The Hedgehog High Speed from Sega; and Lumines Live from Q Entertainment.
Lumines Live brings Tetsuya Miziguchi's PSP puzzle game to Xbox Live; however, the familiar J-pop and techno tracks featured in the handheld version won't be included. Instead, the game will take advantage of Microsoft's new agreement with Warner Bros. Music and will feature the label's music and music videos as the soundtrack and background of the game.
Xbox Live Arcade has also become a place where independent studios can easily get their games into the mainstream, and five new indie games will hit the service in the future. PopCap Games, who scored a Live hit with Zuma, will release Heavy Weapon, an action-oriented shooter. Other games include Cloning Cycle (Wahoo Studios/NinjaBee), RoboBlitz (Naked Sky Entertainment), and Mutant Storm Empire (PomPom).
For more on Microsoft's pre-E3 conference, read GameSpot's coverage of the event.