[Upated: January 10th with game synopses and the official start date]
Alan Wake and I Am Alive top-line Microsoft's annual winter-ish lineup of major downloadable releases on XBLA.
Update: over on Major Nelson's blog, the man himself has provided an official start date for the XBLA House Party 2012: February 15th. Mr. Hyrb also provided synopses for each of the games which will be getting back-to-back releases:
Alan Wake’s American Nightmare (Microsoft Studios): In this brand-new stand-alone experience, Alan Wake fights the herald of darkness, the evil Mr. Scratch. A thrilling new storyline, hordes of creepy enemies, serious firepower and beautiful Arizona locations, combined with a fun and challenging new game mode, make this a must for Alan Wake veterans, and the perfect jumping-on point for new players. Can you survive until sunrise?
I Am Alive (Ubisoft): One year after a worldwide cataclysmic event has wiped out most of human civilization, a man struggles for survival. Faced with an insecure, decaying and hazardous world, he scours a desolated city, searching for his long-lost wife and daughter. Survive the suffocating, murky streets covered in dust. Climb the teetering remains of last-standing skyscrapers to reach breathable air and find untouched resources. Explore the crumbling ruins of a once-thriving metropolis. Discover a changed human condition, punctuated by distrustful survivors, dangerous armed gangs and victims in need.
Nexuiz (THQ): For centuries, the Kavussari and the Forsellians have waged war. They have a fragile truce but, because of their seething disgust of each other, still pit warriors against each other in arenas rather than on the fields of war. These episodes of lethal combat are broadcast throughout the galaxy as entertainment — a spectacle known as The Nexuiz Competition — an arena-based first-person shooter where you can alter the rules of the match and the laws of physics while dominating opponents in ever-changing hostile environments.
Warp (EA): “Warp” is a puzzle-based stealth action game where you play as Zero, a lovable-yet-lethal orange alien with a big score to settle! Captured by the villainous Commander and imprisoned in his underwater facility, Zero must plan his ultimate escape using his arsenal of alien abilities — warp, frag, echo, swap and launch.
Have you somehow run through all of the holiday releases and are looking for a few new, bite-sized games to play? Well, if so, you're awesome and game time management and I envy you. Also, Microsoft has a trailer up on Xbox LIVE for their upcoming lineup of "XBLA House Party" titles. The four featured games here are a mix of titles you've heard a good bit about so far (Alan Wake: American Nightmare, I Am Alive), and a couple of less high profile titles like Nexuiz and Warp.
Warp is the EA Partners-published Portal-like which has been delayed since last summer while Nexuiz is an FPS developed by IllFonic and published by THQ featuring arena combat. It's all lit up like Tron as you can see from the image below.
Pricing and official release dates aren't yet available, but if history is any indications, they'll probably all hover around the 1200-1600 MS Points range or $15-$20 for those of you who don't speak Microsoft Moon Dollars.