REDMOND, Wash. — Nov. 9, 2006 — Horstachios, Fizzlybears, Fudgehogs, Mousemallows, Elephanillas and Pretztails are just a handful of the 60 species of wild piñata, coming to homes this holiday season in "Viva Piñata," the highly anticipated Xbox 360 game for kids of all ages.
Breaking new ground in Xbox 360 family entertainment, "Viva Piñata" was shipped to stores on Nov. 9, and it will continue to be rolled out to retailers throughout the U.S. and worldwide through Dec. 2. Created by world-renowned video game developer Rare Ltd. and Microsoft Game Studios exclusively for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system, the two-disc "Viva Piñata" Special Edition invites game-players to escape to Piñata Island, where wild-roaming, living piñata animals are looking for a home.
"With the arrival of 'Viva Piñata,' we're opening up Xbox 360 to new audiences and inviting more people to jump into the fun," said Shane Kim, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios. "This is a game that will have broad appeal. Families will play it together. Kids will play it by day, and, I'm willing to bet, their parents will play it at night. Even for the seasoned gamer, 'Viva Piñata' will be a great escape, and they'll see it as a guilty pleasure."
People of all ages will enjoy the vibrant world where they can create and customize their own environment to attract, tame and nurture more than 60 species of wild piñata and make their experience uniquely their own. Packed with hundreds of personalization options, "Viva Piñata" lets people name their piñatas, choose accessories for them to wear, decide where to plant grass and flowers, and more. The colorful, fully customizable game invites people into a world with all kinds of possibilities.
People first experienced the world of "Viva Piñata" in September, with the debut of the Saturday-morning computer-generated animation series produced by 4Kids Entertainment and Bardel Entertainment on 4Kids TV on FOX. The arrival of "Viva Piñata" for Xbox 360 establishes a crossover between the show and the game as people, young and old, tune in to the series to pick up hints and tricks to take back to the game.
"Viva Piñata" gameplay will be extended through the Xbox Live online entertainment network. Xbox Live Gold subscribers will be able to connect with friends, family or other players from around the globe to trade items from their piñata paradise — everything from the smallest plant to the largest piñata. Players with the free Xbox Live Silver membership also can trade items. And Xbox Live will offer accessories for download into the game to personalize piñata collections.
The genesis of the "Viva Piñata" franchise came from Rare Ltd., known for such all-age-friendly games as "Banjo-Kazooie" and "Grabbed by the Ghoulies." Veteran developers of these games, as well as a new crop of talent, worked together to craft "Viva Piñata" into the fun-filled game available now on store shelves.
"Right from the start, we knew we wanted to create a game that featured a garden full of customizable, tradable animals with unique appearances and behavior patterns," said Gregg Mayles, lead designer for "Viva Piñata" at Rare Ltd. "When we were looking for a design twist to make it stand out, our concept artist came up with piñata-themed sketches, and the look immediately stuck."
Additional "Viva Piñata" products are expected to debut in fall 2007, with Playmates Toys Inc. and American Greetings Corp. already on board for toys and party goods. The latest information about "Viva Piñata" is available at http://www.vivapinata.com, the virtual island where gamers can find hints and tips for the Xbox 360 video game, get the latest updates on the 4Kids TV animated TV series, and score exclusive extras including games, activities, ring tones and avatars.
"Viva Piñata" from Rare and Microsoft Game Studios is rated "E" for Everyone and is available exclusively on Xbox 360. The game started being shipped on Nov. 9, and will be on store shelves by the following week with an estimated retail price of $49.99. The two-disc "Viva Piñata" Special Edition Xbox 360 game, available for a limited time, will include a second disc with playable demos of LucasArts' "LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy," the arcade classic "Frogger" as well as family favorites "Cloning Clyde," "Time Pilot" and "Marble Blast." In addition, a full-length episode from the zany, anything-can-happen animated TV series "Viva Piñata" is also included.
About Xbox 360
Xbox 360 is the most powerful video game and entertainment system, delivering the best games, the next generation of the premier Xbox Live online gaming network and unique digital entertainment experiences that revolve around gamers. Xbox 360 is expected to have a catalog of 160 high-definition games by the end of 2006 and to be available in nearly 40 countries by the end of 2007. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/xbox360.
About Xbox Live
Xbox Live is the first and only unified online entertainment network seamlessly integrated throughout the entire console experience, making it easy for people to find the friends, games and entertainment they want from the moment they power on their Xbox 360 system. Xbox Live connects millions of members across 24 countries to enjoy hundreds of multiplayer games, downloadable games via Xbox Live Arcade, free and premium playable game demos, music videos, and movie trailers, as well as new game levels, characters and vehicles for all their favorite retail games. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/en-us/live.
About Microsoft Game Studios
Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the Xbox and Xbox 360 video game systems, the Microsoft Windows operating system and online platforms. Comprising a network of top developers, Microsoft Game Studios is committed to creating innovative and diverse games for Windows (http://www.microsoft.com/games), including such franchises as "Age of Empires," "Flight Simulator" and "Zoo Tycoon"; Xbox and Xbox 360 (http://www.xbox.com), including such games as the upcoming "Gears of War" and franchises such as "Halo," "Fable," "Project Gotham Racing" and "Forza Motorsport"; and MSN Games (http://www.games.msn.com), the official games channel for the MSN network and home to such hits as "Bejeweled" and "Hexic."
About Rare Ltd.
Rare Ltd., one of the world's leading video game developers, was founded in 1985 by Chris and Tim Stamper. Based in the United Kingdom, Rare is the mastermind behind some of the most popular video games available, including multimillion-dollar sellers "GoldenEye 007," "Perfect Dark," "Banjo-Kazooie" and "Donkey Kong 64." In November 2005, Rare released "Perfect Dark: Zero" and "Kameo: Elements of Power" for Xbox 360, the second-generation video games console from Microsoft, and continues to entertain the world with the upcoming release of "Viva Piñata." For further information visit www.rareware.com.
About 4Kids Entertainment
Headquartered in New York City with an international office in London, 4Kids Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: KDE), is a global provider of children's entertainment and merchandise licensing. 4Kids, through its wholly owned subsidiaries, provides domestic and international merchandise licensing; product development; television, film, music and home video production and distribution; media planning and buying; and Web site development. For further information, please visit the Company's Web site at www.4KidsEntertainment.com.
About 4Kids TV
4Kids TV, 4Kids Entertainment's four hours of children's programming broadcast Saturday mornings on FOX, features popular animated series for both boys and girls including Magical DoReMi, Winx Club, Bratz, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Sonix X and G.I. Joe Sigma 6. For more information, please visit www.4Kids.TV.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.