MechAssault 2: Heavy metal makes a comeback,The half-million or so Xbox Live users looking to fill the Halo-shaped hole in their hearts now have one more reason to hope for a speedy summer—Microsoft Game Studios recently announced a fall ship date for MechAssault 2. Development duties go to Day 1 Studios, boding well for this sequel; MechAssaults blend of gunplay and simple strategy may not have been revolutionary, but it looked, played, and sounded great, making it the perfect showpiece for a nascent network of Xbox Live users. Press-release promises include a fleshed-out single-player campaign, with more NPC interaction and mission variety to compensate for some of the original games few significant shortcomings. In an effort to immerse players more deeply in the warriors lifestyle, the array of available vehicles at each missions start has been bolstered from the bipedal variety to include treaded (tanks) and airborne (VTOLs) options. But the most intriguing new addition to the MechAssault arsenal is BattleArmor: a smaller, but no less deadly, counterpart to the 40-foot mechs that have defined the franchise. The ability for BattleArmor-clad players to scale walls and snag a ride on airborne VTOLs should bring some much welcome variety to the action. And, in keeping with the times, BattleArmor users will also be able to hijack enemy mechs. Should this turn out to be anything like what its promising, Xbox Live should be riddled with explosions and expletives all over again this winter.