Microsoft confirmed a number of things in announcements at their press event held in San Francisco. Some of them we already knew about, but some of the news was new.
Perhaps the biggest news to come out of the announcements was that the Gears of War 3 multiplayer beta will start in mid-April. Players will be given a chance to vote for the maps that they would like to see in the beta. Worldwide release is still confirmed for September 20th, but Japan will have to wait till September 22nd.
The Halo Reach Defiant Map Pack will arrive for purchase starting on March 15th for 800 Microsoft Points ($10) and will include three new maps. Halo fans will also be able to track their stats on Halo Waypoint for Windows Phone 7 and on www.halowaypoint.com. Crysis 2 will offer 3D support when it arrives on March 22nd. Child of Eden from designer Tetsuya Mizuguchi will arrive with Kinect support when it launches later this year. Sesame Street will be coming to the Xbox 360 in a new title called Once Upon a Monster. The sequel to Dead Samurai from indie developer James Silva will be called “The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile and will offer 3D action.
Fable III for Windows will finally be coming to North America on May 17th and will feature full 3D functionality that is powered by NVIDIA technology and will offer a PC-exclusive hardcore mode which offers higher difficulty than the Xbox 360 version. Age of Empires Online for Windows is coming, as well, with a number of premium content packs for this free-to-play offering, but no release date was announced. The Windows Phone 7 platform will be getting a number of new titles over six weeks in the spring that will include Plants Vs. Zombies, Hydro Thunder, Go, Sonic the Hedgehog 4 Episode I, geoDefense, and Doodle Jumpland. All will offer Xbox Live Achievements, Leaderboards, and more.
There was no announcement of the HD remake of Halo Combat Evolved, which surprised a lot of people. We have to admit that we were a bit stunned; despite some major news, the news wasn’t very earth shattering, considering the rumbling from Major Nelson.