Seattle-based Gastronaut's latest Xbox Live Arcade game debuts on Wednesday, and the team has put thsemselves at the centre of a special achievement designed to encourage users to engage in multiplayer skirmishes.

Gastronaut adds social element for XBLA title

Multiplayer action shooter Small Arms will come with the full complement of Xbox gamerscore achievements – including a special ‘social achievement’ that can only be granted once a player has participated in a game against someone else who has the award. And when the game goes live only the development team will have the reward.

Players will be encouraged to keep playing matches to get the achievement which will eventually, it’s presumably hoped, propagate across the system – provided people keep playing, of course.

Although Small Arms is Gastronaut’s first 360 XBLA title, the team is no stranger to the service, having two years ago produced Fuzzee Fever for the version of the service designed for the original Xbox console.

So: publicity stunt to help drive the user base of a new IP game or clever move that takes advantage of achievement points? At a time when Xbox Live Arcade’s release roster has been a little lacking, of late, on the original games front – Gastronaut’s social gaming tactic might just be a mixture of both.

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