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California and the West

`Rings' Director to Develop Microsoft Xbox Content

September 28, 2006|From the Associated Press

SEATTLE — Microsoft Corp. said Wednesday that it would team with "The Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson to create content for its Xbox 360, in part to get more mainstream users interested in the company's video game console.

Just don't call these products "games."

"I don't want to classify it as a game. I'm hoping to stretch the definition of interactive entertainment to go beyond the game," said Shane Kim, a vice president in charge of Microsoft Game Studios.

Kim acknowledged that he was not sure what exactly these new "entertainments" might be.

Whatever they are, Kim said they could include deeper plot lines and more interactive drama with additional content available over time, perhaps through the company's Xbox Live online service.

"It's about making interactive entertainment a mainstream form of entertainment," Kim said.

Jackson, whose "The Return of the King" in his "Rings" trilogy won 11 Oscars, including best director and best film, plans to work with game developer Bungie Studios to create a product based on Microsoft's popular "Halo" game, Kim said. Screenwriter Fran Walsh, Jackson's wife, also is on board.

The other product will be aimed at an audience beyond the young men typically associated with video games.

Kim couldn't say when Jackson's projects might come out.

Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft also said Wednesday that it was working on another "Halo" game, called "Halo Wars." It will be more of a strategy game, rather than the first-person "shooter" that has typified the series.

"Halo Wars" will be in addition to Jackson's creation and the previously announced "Halo 3," due next year.

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