M'Soft Japan promises slate of Xbox 360 launch games

Xbox boss Yoshihiro Maruyama says gamers can expect seven or eight Japanese-crafted games at launch; no comment on price or release date.

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One of the major impediments to the growth of the Xbox installed base in Japan was the paltry number of games geared specifically toward Japanese gamers, available at launch and during the console's ongoing life span.

With former Square Enix executive Yoshihiro Maruyama now guiding Xbox ops in Japan, the story will be different for the 360--or so Maruyama hopes.

In an interview published in the current issue of Famitsu, Maruyama said he expects that Japan will see a "good lineup" of titles at launch--somewhere in the double-digit range. He added that seven or eight will be Japanese-developed games.

Maruyama also confirmed that a few of the launch games will be first-party games produced by Microsoft Japan. He declined to specify if games from noted Japanese game developers Tetsuya Mizuguchi, Hironobu Sakaguchi, or Yoshiki Okamoto--designers already committed to delivering 360 titles--will be among the launch games.

Maruyama hinted that Okamoto's game would not be included in the launch lineup, as his title is still in the "middle stage" of development.

Maruyama said additional games from Japanese developers are in early prep stages--for release in the future--but that it's too early to disclose what those games are.

When asked if he expects Square Enix to release games on the Xbox 360, Maruyama said that he hopes it will and that he continues to lobby with Square Enix officials.

While Maruyama commented previously that the Xbox 360 is being aimed for a December launch in Japan, he told Famitsu that Microsoft is still trying to figure out the exact timing of the launch.

When asked about price, Maruyama was also mum but said the price would be "within the range of other game machines." Pricing, he said, would be announced before the end of the summer.

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