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A demo for the Grounding Inc. and LAND HO! co-developed on-rails shooter Crimson Dragon suddenly appeared on the Japanese Xbox Live Marketplace over the weekend sans a formal announcement of its existence. Japanese XBLA players interested in test-flying a dragon were required to have at least a Silver Xbox Live account and be willing to part with a wallet-obliterating 4,294,967,295 MSP. The demo release, along with its ludicrous listing price, was a mistake, but it is said to be in a playable state.

Ground Inc.’s Yukio Futatsugi (director, Panzer Dragoon Saga) responded to questions about the nature of the demo over Twitter by saying that it was “mistakenly” (Google Translate) released, but that it was “actually playable.” XBLA Fans’ unofficial man in Japan, @lifelower, reports that the demo initially appeared to be a limited version of the full Crimson Dragon game, but Futatsugi shot that notion down, explaining that the download was a dedicated demo. The game designer also mentioned that he has been in contact with Microsoft over the accidental release.

Microsoft pulled the demo down on New Year’s Eve, but lifelower was able to grab footage of the English version of the game and toss it up on YouTube. The video, posted above, shows off the game’s menus and one of the six playable dragons soaring through the skies and mixing it up with airborne baddies in jungle and arctic levels.

Perhaps more interesting to XBLA gamers looking forward to the spiritual successor to Panzer Dragoon Saga than a demo they can’t play was the appearance of a trio of previously unannounced Crimson Dragon “Treasure Pack” DLC entries on the Marketplace. The Accelerator Pack, Boss Pack and Rare Pack accompanied the game demo on its brief tour of Xbox Live on Sunday, but, unsurprisingly, none of them were able to be downloaded.

Crimson Dragon‘s official website states that players will be able to use an in-game currency known as “tips” to purchase food packs from which their dragons can gain new skills. These packs, like the DLC, are named Treasure Packs.

Originally set to release last June in Japan, the Kinect-controlled shooter was delayed and no details on its new release date have been discussed since. Futatsugi did address fan concerns over the indefinite delay over Twitter last month, though, stating that decision to delay was Microsoft’s and attempted to allay fears by affirming that Crimson Dragon was not having any sort of “development issues.”

Crimson Dragon currently has a March 29 North American release date listed on the Marketplace, but those dates have often proven to be nothing more than placeholders when no official Microsoft announcement as accompanied them.

Source: Xbox Live Marketplace

(thanks, @lifelower)