Fable 2

Why the Marvel MMO didn't make sense anymore. When "Banjo" is coming out. Whether "Mass Effect" is still a 360 trilogy. What will be the best-looking game on Xbox 360....

Last Thursday at the DICE gaming summit I met with Shane Kim, head of Microsoft Games Studios, in a conference room across the hall from where he had sat for a public interview with the New York Times' Seth Schiesel. We discussed his publishing philosophy and reviewed the status of Microsoft's major first-party gaming franchises one by one.

Our sweeping conversation covered "Halo," "Gears of War," "Alan Wake, " and the host of other big Microsoft-backed games under his watch. Kim acknowledged that his studios' line-up is more slender than the in-house offerings of Sony and Nintendo, adding that he hoped MGS' reputation is one of "high-quality premium experiences."

No, MGS won't be set up to produce a lot of games, certainly not one a month, a rate I threw at Kim. "I know for us it's been very fruitful to focus and to really get our attention and resources focused on key things," he said. "I'm actually very comfortable with the volume of titles we have."

Kim was a good sport, even gamely answering my question about whether the view that "Call of Duty 4" -- not an MGS title -- was the best-looking game on the Xbox 360 last year would drive Kim to ensure his label has the best-looking 360 title in 2008. He said: "I hope 'Fable 2' is going to be really beautiful and that it will be considered the best-looking game."

What follows is a game-by-game breakdown of my chat with Shane Kim.

Let's start with the Marvel MMO and his explanation of why it's not being made anymore...

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