Ace Combat, Katamari 360 debuts locked down

Namco Bandai's once-Sony-exclusive arcade air fighter and universe-consuming puzzler on target for October 16, 23 launch on Microsoft's console.


Popular in the West, the Xbox 360's lackluster performance in Japan has been a constant thorn in Microsoft's side during this generation's console race. High on the publisher's to-do list for winning the elusive market over has been to persuade Japanese publishers and developers to bring their franchises to its console. Prime examples of this are Namco Bandai's Katamari and Ace Combat series, which, save for a single Ace Combat Game Boy Advance installment, had been exclusive to Sony platforms.

The Ace-Edge touches down October 23.
The Ace-Edge touches down October 23.

Today, the Japanese publishing giant announced that the latest installments of both series--Beautiful Katamari and Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation--had finished development and shipped to manufacturers in anticipation of their debuts exclusively on the Xbox 360. Beautiful Katamari rolls onto Microsoft's console on October 16 at the budget price of $39.99, with Ace Combat 6 following on October 23 for $59.99. A limited-edition Ace Combat 6 bundle--which includes the game, an Ace-Edge Flightstick created by Hori, and an AC6 faceplate--will also be available for $149.99.

Contrary to the series' penchant to gobble up everything in sight, Namco Bandai quietly rolled back its initially announced PlayStation 3 version of Beautiful Katamari earlier this year. The announcement, which was rumored to be given during this year's E3 Media and Business Summit, never materialized, possibly due to the publisher's unexpected cancellation of its E3 press conference.

Now apparently an Xbox 360 exclusive, Beautiful Katamari again sees the Prince of all Cosmos doing his father's work, rolling up the universe in a nice, neat ball. The game expands on the series with new features and modes, as well as adds cooperative and competitive online play. It is rated E for Everyone.

Ace Combat 6 will incorporate an "allied support system" whereby players can issue commands to friendly land, sea, and air forces to coordinate attacks. Furthermore, it will mark the first time an Ace Combat has features online multiplayer action, with deathmatch, team deathmatch, and co-op modes to complement global online leaderboards. It is rated T for Teen.

Demos for both Ace Combat 6 and Beautiful Katamari are currently available on Xbox Live. For more on either game, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

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