- 20 Feb 08, 20:24 GMT
Microsoft has faced some criticism in the last few months that its 2008 line-up was looking thin and that a resurgent Sony PlayStation 3 would trample on the console.
People pointed out that in 2007, despite a line-up which included Halo 3, Mass Effect and Bioshock, the console was only truly dominant (ie heavily outsold the PS3) in the US and UK.
The Nintendo Wii of course outsold both the Xbox 360 and the PS3.
At the Game Developers Conference Microsoft decided to pull out one of its big guns and try and stave off the growing chatter that the console was in for a difficult 12 months.
At the end of a keynote speech delivered by the firm's head of Live services, John Schappert, Microsoft announced a follow-up to the multi-award winning Gears of War.
A teaser trailer was shown to delegates, which really gave nothing away, and the game's lead designer Cliffy B said it would be out in November and would be "bigger, better and more badass".
Crucially the game's developer Epic had been on stage earlier in the keynote showing off the latest features of its Unreal engine and used Gears of War characters and locations to show what it was now capable of.
It's no leap of logic to assume that those features will appear in Gears 2.
They include: more dynamic lighting, destructible environments, new water effects and flocking attributes for large numbers of characters on a screen at one time.
For Epic Gears of War 2 will be the ultimate poster boy for what its engine is capable of.
For Microsoft Gears of War 2 will be the ultimate rebuke to those who feel the console will suffer in the months ahead.
The game comes as no surprise - the first title was such a success Microsoft would have paid anything to get a sequel.
The criticism that Microsoft faces is that a blockbuster title like Gears of War 2 does nothing to bring new audiences to gamers; it just keeps the fan boys happy.
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