September 27, 2006 11:11 AM PDT

Microsoft, Peter Jackson to form game studio

Microsoft on Wednesday announced that it will be creating a new video game studio in collaboration with "Lord of the Rings" and "King Kong" director Peter Jackson.

The studio, which will be called Wingnut Interactive, will be a joint partnership between Microsoft Game Studios and its subsidiary studio, Bungie. It will work on the creation of a new title in the hit "Halo" series of games.

Jackson and his Academy Award-winning screenwriter, Fran Walsh, will be directly involved in the creation of the new "Halo" title.

In addition, Microsoft's Ensemble Studios, creator of the hit "Age of Empires," will create another new "Halo" title, "Halo Wars."

Microsoft also said Wingnut Interactive will work on the creation of an entirely new video game, though it would not give details about it.

The news came as part of a series of announcements in Barcelona, Spain, where Microsoft is holding its X06 Xbox press event.

According to Scott Henson, director of the Xbox Advanced Technology Group, the new "Halo" games will likely come out sometime after the 2007 release of "Halo 3."

Henson was otherwise tight-lipped about the new "Halo" titles. He did say, however, that both "Halo" titles would run only on the Xbox 360--excluding Sony's PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3, and the original Xbox.

Wingnut Interactive will be based in New Zealand, Henson said. But he would not elaborate on the business terms of the deal.

There's no question that the arrangement with Jackson and Walsh, who collaborated on the wildly popular "Lord of the Rings" trilogy (also produced in New Zealand), and who are known for innovative storytelling, is a coup for Microsoft. The software giant has been putting a great deal of effort into differentiating its Xbox offerings from the forthcoming Sony PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii next-generation consoles.

While it's unknown how the market will respond to the PS3 or the Wii, it is clear that Microsoft has not been standing pat on its year head-start in the next-generation console wars. Since its November launch of the Xbox 360, Microsoft has been putting a lot of effort into bolstering its Xbox Live offerings, its accessories and the overall number of games available.

And while "Halo 3" is still in the hopper, it is noteworthy that Microsoft is able to announce two further titles in the market-leading series, even before the next title comes out.

While there have been some successful titles for the Xbox 360, notably " Project Gotham Racing 3," " Perfect Dark Zero," " Kameo" and others, none have had the success that "Halo" and "Halo 2" had.

Microsoft announced several other initiatives from Barcelona.

Among them is the Wednesday release of the first-person shooter classic, "Doom," for Xbox Live Arcade, as well as an announcement that Microsoft has struck a deal with Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive Software to provide exclusive "Grand Theft Auto IV" content for the Xbox Live marketplace shortly after that game is released in October 2007.

Also, the company confirmed that its Xbox 360 HD DVD player, which will hit store shelves in mid-November, will cost $199 in North America, and will include Peter Jackson's " King Kong" and a universal remote.

In addition, Microsoft said it is working with Ubisoft on the release of the next title in the popular "Splinter Cell" series and that upon its release, it will be console-exclusive to the Xbox 360.

Rounding out the major pieces of news from X06 on Wednesday, Henson said Microsoft is working with Cryptic Studios on the future release of the online game "Marvel Universe Online," built around the Marvel Entertainment world of comics. Henson said that title will be available only for Xbox 360 and Windows Vista.

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26 comments

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In other words...
All Halo games will suck after Halo 3...
Posted by umbrae (1073 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Probably.
In before the onslaught of "Halo/console shooters Sux anyways" comments.
Posted by Tomcat Adam (272 comments )
Link Flag
Jackson becomes M$ drone
Now that Jackson has sold his soul to M$, you can
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.teckmagazine.com/content/view/631/43/" target="_newWindow">http://www.teckmagazine.com/content/view/631/43/</a>
bet that nothing good will be released.
Posted by (156 comments )
Link Flag
Good News
My hope is they screw up Bungie so badly with these knockoff Halo products that the Talent leaves and goes back to where they belong:

Making PC games.
Posted by JJWhitney (32 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You mean Mac Games
If you think Bungie made PC games for a living, you've never heard
of Marathon.
Posted by sbwinn (216 comments )
Link Flag
The trouble with Xbox
The problem with Xbox is it is a Microsoft product and there are no free antivirus software packages available for it.
Posted by t8 (3716 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Um... ok
When was the last time your console gaming machine had a virus on it? You can make the same comment for all other consoles.
Posted by spacydog (380 comments )
Link Flag
intresting
I am guess you have never come close to a game console, any game console, to make a remark like this.
Posted by FutureGuy (742 comments )
Link Flag
Hey, it's Peter Jackson.
At least they'll flow well...
Posted by beautifulheroes (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Games have a different treatment.
No one is complaining that games cannot be shared, PC games excluded, it is basically a DRM product. The europeans are not complaining that the games for one console cannot be played on another console and the format war aka Bluray and HDDVD. Why is there a different treatment between games and other digital products like music and movies?
Posted by pjianwei (206 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Games can be shared
Xbox 360 Games can already be shared and backed up. Apparently you just install the Xtreme firmware.

Hence no one complains about the DRM - coz its already broken and you can buy or obtain removers or circumvent it. Just like HDMI, WMA, AAC, DVD, and pretty much every other sort of DRM even invented is already hacked or broken.
Posted by richto (895 comments )
Link Flag
yeah,,,,
I lost tremendous amounts of respect for Peter Jackson after King Kong...what a disjointed thing that was.
Posted by kuguy3000 (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Oh Sure Don't Work and Sit On Your Butt
Sitting around "developing games" or directing movies. Sounds like Jackson is looking to take it easy for awhile. maybe the wife and kids were complaining he wasn't home enough.....
Posted by donboyd23 (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
clueless as usual
You are not forced to make anything public, it is only if you decide to use the GPL AND distrubute it.

Lots of people are making billions on OSS, so your point is wrong as usual.

The GPL also allows linking to proprietary code, which is done somewhat often. The proprietary code stays that way.

You are also forgetting that the GPL is but one OSS license. If you don't like the reciprocity in GPL there are others to choose from.
Posted by qwerty75 (1164 comments )
Reply Link Flag
lol
Wrong board, sorry about that.
Posted by qwerty75 (1164 comments )
Link Flag
Good
Peter Jackson is a hack director that destroyed the King Kong story and made a total mockery of The Lord of the Rings.

He should stay as far away from directing movies as possible.
Posted by qwerty75 (1164 comments )
Reply Link Flag
hack
Yeah! What the hell was that...leaving Tom Bombadil out of the movie....

the rat bastard!
Posted by swokjr (8 comments )
Link Flag
I agree
I liked most of "Fellowship", but thhe over use of CG and reduction of story detail to make more room for over long fights ruined the second and third movies. He is planning to ruin Dambusters next, as its producer.
Posted by Andrew J Glina (1673 comments )
Link Flag
 

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