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Halo news this year - Moore

MechAssault, Crimson Skies dead.

Microsoft exec Peter Moore's been allowed into a room with a microphone again - and this time he's talked a bit about games.

First of all, the big one: "We haven't made any announcements regarding the Halo franchise. So Bungie is busy, they're an industrious bunch, and I think certainly this year, 2006, we might give you a peek at what Bungie is working on," he told IGN this week. "I'm not going to give you any specific days, times or events."

Which could mean E3, of course - Microsoft's been famously coy about discussing the future of Halo since the second game, and recently poured cold water on Bill Gates' famous assertion that a third game would launch as a PlayStation 3 spoiler.

Moore also said that Gears of War - one of the 360's biggest prospects, in development at Epic - would be playable at E3. It's supposed to come out later this year, he added. We can also expect to see sequels ("there will always be sequels") to successful games like Fable, Forza and Project Gotham.

Sadly though there's no place on the Xbox 360 schedule for the likes of MechAssault, because it didn't do as well as Microsoft hoped. "You build franchises, but as a platform developer, it's incumbent to us to try and build ultimate experiences and prime intellectual properties that work," said Moore of MechAssault. "Sometimes it doesn't [happen], and unfortunately, MechAssault is one of those that just didn't get that traction." Shame - we liked shooting squeaky kids in the armpit.

The same goes for Crimson Skies apparently - "It was certainly acclaimed by the hardcore, but it wasn't a slam dunk for us. So while there are no real plans yet, you never say never."

Moore also did his usual spiel about production rates and how Sony has big challenges ahead of it etc. etc., and if you're up for all that you can read the rest on IGN.