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MS confirms Banjo and Piñata leaks, promises Gears of War 2 reveals

San Francisco event taking place today.

As we all sit around rubbing hoof-shaped marks out of our foreheads, Microsoft has whipped open the stable doors and explained what's going on at its event in San Francisco - confirming names and details for Banjo-Kazooie and Viva Piñata sequels among other things.

Big news first: Cliff Bleszinski will be on hand in San Francisco to show off "dramatic new gameplay elements" in Gears of War 2 using a "campaign sequence from early in the game - where Marcus Fenix and COG forces engage in pulse-pounding firefights between two Derrick transports, fend off vicious Reaver fly-by attacks and rabid Brumaks" ahead of the game's November release on 360. Ellie is currently checking her pencil batteries and sharpening her dictaphone, so expect her report on all that very soon.

What's more, Too Human developer Silicon Knights has announced that the game will be out in the US on 19th August and in Europe on 29th August, giving us the chance to stab futuristic vikings in the face with inadequately researched contextual comments [very post-modern - Ed].

Microsoft has also confirmed that Viva Piñata: Trouble in Paradise is in development, and due out this September. More extensive leaked details earlier today are echoed in the official announcement: you will be able to attract, capture, protect, train and force into sexual congress more than 100 new and existing piñata species, with co-op gameplay over Xbox Live and Live Vision Camera support. Be sure to check out the screenshots.

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts is also confirmed after extensive leakage. As well as platforming, you build vehicles to your own design. Expect more on that later or pore over the screenshots now.

Microsoft's press release also reveals that Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, Episode One will be released on Xbox Live Arcade next Wednesday, 21st May. Developed by Hothead Games in conjunction with adventure game legend Ron Gilbert and Penny Arcade creators Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins, it's also due out on PC and Mac, but those versions aren't mentioned here.

Not to be outdone by the upstarts, of course, Microsoft also has veteran projects Fable 2 and Ninja Gaiden 2 on hand in San Francisco, where their creators will talk about new features and no doubt make all sorts of ill-judged statements about the PS3 being rubbish after goading from inconsiderate British journalists. Well, all except Tomonobu Itagaki of Team Ninja, who must have finished Ninja Gaiden 2 by now if it's out on 6th June here, which it is, so presumably he will just walk around with sunglasses and tassles keeping it real.

Look out for more (if not actual) coverage of the Microsoft San Francisco showcase event later. In the meantime, it doesn't appear to have a snappy name, so do your best in the comments.