In a rare opportunity, Dean Takahashi and his publisher give 1UP permission to run excerpts of two chapters from the new book, Xbox 360 Uncloaked, both of which offer some fascinating details surrounding decisions made with the early preparations for Xbox 360.
For example, did you know that Microsoft was originally given the option to have Grand Theft Auto exclusively and passed? Or did you always wonder where the “360” in Xbox 360 came from?
Ever wonder what goes into the development and launch of a game console? Dean Takahashis original Opening the Xbox did exactly that for Microsofts first entry in the console war, detailing everything from the controversial codename (Project Midway, named after WWIIs turning point of the Battle of Midway, which was to symbolize the shift in power in the games industry from Japan) to the feuds amongst key decision makers at Microsoft. It was a rare opportunity to see just how the giant managed to get its rather large foot in the door.
Takahashis Xbox 360 follow-up offers us similar access for Microsofts new console. It reveals such details as Bill Gates original mandate to offer a version of the Xbox 360 with the Windows OS, Ed Fries decision to sign an exclusive game detail with Epic Games over Valve (tossing Valves proposal in the trash), and Epics influence in upping the systems RAM from 256MB to 512MB (by showing Microsoft screenshots of Gears of War running under both circumstances)—which ultimately cost Microsoft $900 million extra and consequently resulted in fewer units at launch.
The book also offers a fantastic window into the struggles behind launching Halo 2—everything from the games disastrous crash at E3 (because the Xbox console was placed near a giant speaker), to Jason Jones suggestion to postpone its release until the Xbox 360 (but instead simply saving the second half of the game for 360), to even Ed Fries last ditch threat to quit his job if Bungie werent given to the fall of 2004 to finish the game.
Read on to find out plenty of juicy details.