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A demo for the Grounding Inc. and LAND HO! co-developed on-rails shooter Crimson Dragon suddenly appeared on the Japanese Xbox Live Marketplace over the weekend sans a formal announcement of its existence. Japanese XBLA players interested in test-flying a dragon were required to have at least a Silver Xbox Live account and be willing to part with a wallet-obliterating 4,294,967,295 MSP. The demo release, along with its ludicrous listing price, was a mistake, but it is said to be in a playable state.
Ground Inc.'s Yukio Futatsugi (director, Panzer Dragoon Saga) responded to questions about the nature of the demo over Twitter by saying that it was "mistakenly" (Google Translate) released, but that it was "actually playable." XBLA Fans' unofficial man in Japan, @lifelower, reports that the demo initially appeared to be a limited version of the full Crimson Dragon game, but Futatsugi shot that notion down, explaining that the download was a dedicated demo. The game designer also mentioned that he has been in contact with Microsoft over the accidental release.
Microsoft pulled the demo down on New Year's Eve, but lifelower was able to grab footage of the English version of the game and toss it up on YouTube. The video, posted above, shows off the game's menus and one of the six playable dragons soaring through the skies and mixing it up with airborne baddies in jungle and arctic levels.
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The first new additions to the already robust Guardians of Middle-earth roster are now available. Joining the ranks are Bilbo Baggins, the titular star of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, who fills the role of a striker with his blade, Sting. Tipping the scales for the forces of darkness, Bert the Troll brings considerable firepower as yet another tactician, using his abilities to secure lanes and push toward enemy installations. Both guardians can be individually purchased for 160 MSP, or as part of the Season Pass, which also secures future downloadable content for 1200 MSP.
Also available for download, The Shire map skin brings 3-lane warfare to the rolling green mounds of Hobbiton. The Shire plays similarly to the existing 3-lane map, though players will notice shrine locations are slightly changed, and bushes scattered throughout the map present new opportunities for potential ambushes. Part of a compatibility update, The Shire map skin is free of charge, joining the random map rotation once downloaded.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Monolith Productions plan to release more content over the course of the coming months, including several new guardians and game modes when they become available. For a better look at Bilbo, Bert and The Shire, check out the trailer after the jump. Anyone not yet knee-deep in the battle can see what all the fuss is about in our Guardians of Middle-earth review.
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