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Microsoft and third parties unveil new RPGs

Star Ocean 4 confirmed for Xbox 360; Last Remnant hitting Microsoft console first

Sensui greets the guests before bringing out the third parties.

Microsoft made some major strives today in its quest to populate the Xbox 360 lineup with RPGs as it held a press conference in Tokyo where, among other things, Star Ocean 4 was confirmed for the platform.

Held in the afternoon at Shibuya's Shoto Gallery in the heart of Tokyo, the Xbox 360 RPG Premier 2008 press event kicked off, as most Microsoft press conferences do, with an introduction by Xbox business manager Takeshi Sensui. "We are offering a game lineup that I can confidently recommend," said Sensui as he shared a visual of the boxes for the currently lineup of Xbox 360 RPGs, now apparently numbering 14.

Sensuii's introduction was followed by presentations from producers and directors both first and third party who are working on RPGs for the system.

First up was Namco Bandai producers Yoshito Higuchi and Tsutomu Gouda who shared a release date of August 7 for Tales of Vesperia and also unveiled a new limited edition that bundles the game with an Xbox 360. The two demonstrated the game live using a demo build that will be released to Xbox Live some time this month.

Microsoft Game Studio's marketing manager Fumihiro Yamaguchi introduced Fable 2 and Mass Effect, two overseas titles which are being localized as first party releases here. Yamaguchi made note of the high praise Mass Effect has received overseas and also touched upon the pedigree of Fable's producer, Peter Molyneux.

In addition to games like Tales of Vesperia and Infinite Undiscovery, Microsoft made older RPGs like Blue Dragon and Tengai Makyo playable.

The big surprises were reserved for the end of the conference as Square Enix representatives took the stage to share details on a trio of titles.

First up was perhaps the biggest piece of news from the event, the revelation that Star Ocean 4 is coming to the Xbox 360. The title had previously been unveiled with its system listed as TBA. Square Enix producer Yoshinori Yamagishi took the stage to introduce the game and unveil a new trailer, which ended with "For Xbox 360."

Now known fully as Star Ocean 4: The Last Hope, the game won't hit until 2009 but is, according to Yamagishi, already in a playable state internally.

Square Enix's other two titles are due out a bit sooner. Infinite Undiscovery will mark the firm's first original 360 RPG with a Japanese and Asian release set for September 11. As previously revealed via overseas media, the game will also be released nearly simultaneously in North America and Europe. Producer Hajime Kojima lead the members of the press today in a live demonstration of two sections of the game using a near final build.

A trio of potential RPG smash hits from Square Enix.

The final game for the day was Last Remnant. Producer Nobuyuki Ueda had a couple of big surprises for the multiplatform title. Square Enix will release the game first on the Xbox 360 he revealed. While he didn't have a specific date, he did promise a winter worldwide release and said fans can expect more details at the E3 trade show in Los Angeles this July.

Following closing words from Sensui, members of the press were invited to try out demo copies of Vesperia and Infinite Undiscovery. Continuing with the theme of RPGs, Microsoft also had demo units for its older RPGs, including Blue Dragon and Tengai Makyo.

Xbox 360 RPG boxes on display outside the event space.

While the Vesperia demo won't go public until June, the trailers for Infinite Undiscovery and the two other Square Enix titles are now available for the masses on Xbox Live. As for the system's other RPGs, they're now available at retail, many under the Platinum lineup of budget re-releases.

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