Xbox and Mass Effect on the road at Comic Con

Xbox 360At the E3 Expo in Los Angeles last month, while Sony and Nintendo were showing off their upcoming Vita and Wii U, Microsoft made the case for the relevance of Kinect.  As rumors of Microsoft accelerating the release of their new console to 2013 begin, for now, they are taking the Xbox 360 down the road, to Comic-Con International 2011.  Gears of War 3, Halo and Kinect Star Wars panels will spearhead Microsoft’s presence at the Con.  Comic Con is scheduled to run Thursday July 21 through Friday, July 22, between the hours of 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., Saturday, July 23, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, July 24, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Microsoft booth is offering gamers their first hands-on experience with the new Gears of War 3 horde mode.  The new cooperative mode features innovations like boss battles, upgradeable fortifications, more diverse waves and enemies, and a deeper player progression system.  The panel will take place in room 6BCF on Thursday, July 21st at 6 p.m. and will be moderated by X-Play co-host, Adam Sessler.   Epic Games design director Cliff Bleszinski, executive producer Rod Fergusson, and special guest contributors to the “Gears” universe will offer a look ahead to Gears of War 3, make key announcements and perform a live game demo.

Star Wars fans will get the opportunity to get their hands-on Kinect Star Wars and will have a chance to live out the ultimate Star Wars fantasy by checking out an all-new mode at Microsoft’s booth in the Star Wars Pavilion.   The Kinect Star Wars panel will take place early, in Room 32AB on Thursday, July 21st at 10:00 a.m., where studio head Jorg Neumann (Kinect Publishing) and lead producer Craig Derrick (LucasArts) will discuss the eagerly awaited title with USA Today’s Mike Snider.  Attendees will receive a limited-edition poster and get a sneak peak at new gameplay in an all-new mode in addition be the first to hear an exclusive announcement.

The Halo Universe Panel will take place in room 6BCF, Friday, July 22 at 11:30 a.m. and feature Frank O’Connor, Kevin Grace, and others from 343 Industries, as well as special “Halo” guests Greg Bear and Karen Traviss. They will discuss the first 10 years of Halo and offer a sneak peek into what’s next for the exciting sci-fi universe. If you’re unable to attend the panels, the Xbox booth will offer opportunities to win coveted Gears of War swag throughout the week.

Mass Effect and Final Fantasy fans will want to take their cherished merchandise over to the Mass Effect booth.  Actress Ali Hillis, Liara from the upcoming Mass Effect 3 and Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII-2, is taking a break from voicework as Karin on an upcoming Naruto project to make the trek down to San Diego.  She will be signing at the Mass Effect booth at 3p.m. on Friday and Saturday as well as judging the costume contest on Friday.  Gamers can also visit the Xbox Lounge at the Hard Rock Hotel on Saturday and Sunday, July 23rd, 9 a.m. to 7p.m. and 24th, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. where Microsoft will offer an early hands-on experiences with an array of the hottest upcoming titles for Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE Arcade and Games for Windows.  Kinect Sports: Season Two, Dance Central 2, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Batman: Arkham City, Rise of Nightmares, The Gunstringer, Age of Empires and more are expected to be playable.

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