The first Xbox Live Arcade promotion of 2011 will begin next month with the release of the Contra-esque Hard Corps Uprising on Feb. 16. Hard Corps will then be followed up by four more titles, each under the banner of "Arcade House Party," a brand-spanking new promotion that Microsoft made a lot of noise about at its CES press conference yesterday afternoon.
And there's a good reason: one of the games following Hard Corps' release will be PopCap Games' uber-addictive Bejeweled Blitz. Ubisoft's Beyond Good & Evil HD will also see a release under this window, as well as the long-rumored console release of Torchlight, Runic Games' fantastic dungeon-crawler. That's right--I said Torchlight.
Runic hit the ground running with the game's announcement, wanting to get ahead of any negative speculation about the upcoming port of the PC game. In a recent forum post, Runic boss Travis Baldtree confirms that the XBLA version's controls and UI have been reworked. Baldtree says that you'll now have direct analog-stick control of your character, while combat will feel similar to games like Dark Alliance or Champions of Norrath.
== TEASER ==Even though all skills and "pretty much everything from the PC" will make it over to the XBLA version, some mechanics-- such as skills, spells, and item-mapping--have been altered for ease of use on a controller, Baldtree says. Secondary weapon sets, on the other hand, have been completely stripped because Runic discovered that there wasn't a good way to include that mechanic.
Expect some new-new stuff, too. On top of three new armor sets, a new "Chakawary" pet, and some new random quests, Torchlight for XBLA will be using some "goodies" from Torchlight II, including better loading times, better animation blends, and improved auto-mapping.
Lastly, Arcade House Party will also see the release of Full House Poker. Hard Corps is the only game with a solid date thus far, but I'd imagine that more release information is coming soon.
You can check out the Runic forum thread for a bit more information about the forthcoming port, and Scrawl for some supposed XBLA screenshots. The respective wiki pages for all the other releases should have anything you're looking for.