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Xbox gets Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow

Another instalment of online counter-terrorism, this time with Xbox Live 3.0 features, split-screen co-op and plenty more besides.

Either Ubisoft Montreal is growing, or they can walk, chew gum and develop about 15 games all at the same time. Whatever - once again the celebrated Splinter Cell studio is connected with a big Xbox project, and this time it's the next instalment in the popular Rainbow Six series, known as Black Arrow. It's due out in Europe this August.

With Rainbow Six 3 reportedly the most successful Live game to date (reported by Ubisoft, we hasten to add), Black Arrow aims to improve tenfold on every aspect, with new online modes, split-screen co-operative play, a boatload of new missions for single and multiple players, and an array of new Xbox Live 3.0 features including user-created tournaments, instant messaging and clan statistics, which certainly puts it at the forefront of Live development if nothing else.

As you'd imagine, players continue to command an internationally renowned four-man anti-terrorism squad, issuing orders via headset, and trying to establish why a bunch of renegade military types are kidnapping telemetry and rocket scientists, and stop them bringing their nefarious plans to fruition across various Mediterranean and Eastern European locations.

Rainbow Six 3: Black Arrow also introduces a couple of new online game modes. Or rather, a couple of old favourites - Capture The Flag and Capture The Point (the latter being a game of controlling various points on a map, ala UT Domination, BF1942 et al). And, get this, it also boasts improved AI! Although disappointingly for fans of such claims, Ubi goes and backs this up by promising that enemies will call for backup, and even use hostages as human shields in an effort to avoid an early bath. Sounds quite good, actually.

Accompanying this evening's announcement, Ubisoft also sent over four screenshots, including one that demonstrates the game's split-screen co-operative mode. As big fans of the first Xbox Rainbow Six title, we'll be keeping an eye on this one of course, and should have more for you following E3 next month.