Ubisoft has released three screenshots from the Xbox 360 version of their forthcoming tactical FPS, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas and it looks nothing short of gorgeous.

Vegas is latest game in the highly successful Rainbow Six series that started some eight years ago. Since 1998 we have seen no fewer than four other main games: the original; Rouge Spear, Raven Shield and 2005's Lockdown.

There has also been a total of six expansion packs on the PC, and the series has also been ported in various guises to N64, Dreamcast, PS1, PS2, GameCube, GameBoy Color and GBA, Xbox and now Xbox 360. A PlayStation 3 has also been promised.

Indeed, in this modern world where every sequel seems to have '2006' tacked on the end, it might come as some surprise that there has been so many Rainbow Six games. 13.5 million units have been sold, and that doesn't include the other highly successful franchises flogged under Monsieur Clancy's name: Ghost Recon and Splinter Cell.

Little hard detail is known about Rainbow Six Vegas beyond the vague promises of "next-generation Artificial Intelligence" and "advanced gameplay animations". For many, just the fact that the game is being developed by Ubisoft's Montreal studio is enough, having given birth to Sam Fisher and successfully revived the Prince of Persia series.

For now, we can but sit and drool over the highly detailed models and HDR lighting. At least until next month's E3 at least.

Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Vegas is scheduled for an Autumn 2006 release.

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