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Aaron Greenberg: E3 Interview

Xbox's Group Product Manager spills all on Live Anywhere, that E3 games line-up and MS plans for 360 online!

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It was great to see Fable 2 announced too. What are you hoping for from that?

Aaron Greenberg: We've had a great relationship with Peter Molyneux for a long time and Fable sold over 2 million copies on the original Xbox. It was really one of the first RPG games to break that mark and that really puts it into a class of its own. Lionhead is an amazing studio and we're so excited to have them innovating the Fable experience. Role-playing games are a big part of our line-up on Xbox 360, what with the Japanese games from Sakaguchi-san like Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey.

We saw Blue Dragon at E3. Are you really confident it will crossover to a Western audience?

Aaron Greenberg: I think so. Role-playing games out of Japan already do well in Western markets. Look at Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts. So having the original creator of the Final Fantasy series creating games exclusively for Xbox 360 is a great story not only for Japanese gamers but also for folks in the West.

Forza Motorsport 2 is another big one...

Aaron Greenberg: That's a game I'm personally really excited about because I enjoyed the original a lot. PGR3 was great but Forza's unique in that it brings the realism to the racing. Of course, you can also customise and personalise your car which is great for Xbox Live. That's coming out this Christmas and we're also releasing a wireless steering wheel to go with it that looks amazing. It's really going to take racing to a new level in high definition.

The first Forza had a huge Xbox Live mode. What innovations are being planned for the sequel?

Aaron Greenberg: You can imagine the kinds of things we can do with Marketplace, like car add-ons and modifications. They're also going to allow 11 people to play over Xbox Live, so it's all about getting as many people online at once and giving them this amazing high definition racing experience. Plus, it even has its own peripheral!

Forza 2 was used to demo how Live Anywhere would work across your Xbox 360, mobile phone and PC. Is that the kind of thing you want to do across all your games in the future?

Aaron Greenberg: That's the vision. We essentially asked the Forza team what they'd ideally do if Live Anywhere existed. They came up with tuning your car on your mobile phone, customising the paintwork using a package on your PC, then taking it online with your Xbox 360 to race it against your friends. That's a really exciting part of the vision.

Are there ideas floating around behind the scenes about how other games might use the same kind of features?

Aaron Greenberg: If you think about different game genres it's pretty obvious what kind of things you could do. Take a strategy game as an example. You could use your mobile phone to set up your team or manage your resources. Then on PC you could be studying maps and organising tactics. And then on Xbox 360 you'd really be in the game, up close and personal. Each platform should be bringing something unique to the table and it's really up to developers to bring their vision to Live Anywhere.

When can we expect to see these types of features emerging?

Aaron Greenberg: The first part of the vision is to deliver cross-platform gaming between Xbox 360 and PC, and we'll be bringing that in the first part of next year. Shadowrun will be the first game to do that. It's shipping simultaneously on Xbox 360 and PC and will bring the Live community features to the PC like your friends list, your chat features, your Gamercard, Achievements and Marketplace. You've got millions of people who play games on Xbox Live, tens of millions who play games on PC, and then billions of people with mobile phones, so when you add them all up the possibilities for Live Anywhere are huge.

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