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Found 80 results

  1. The updated version of the Xbox One with more processing power would have hit stores last year, but Microsoft prioritized meeting 30fps at 4K resolutions over rushing their device to market. This revelation comes from a recent interview head of Xbox Phil Spencer had with Gamasutra, which is well worth reading in its entirety. The issue, as Phil Spencer sees it, is one of scalability. Microsoft wants games to be able to scale and be accessible across all their family of systems. He relates this idea with backwards compatibility - newer hardware should not mean older games become unplayable: And as I said, you know with games as an art form, I do think people should go back and experience Age of Empires 2. People should go back and play Ico. People should go back and play Donkey Kong Country. People should go back and do those things, just like people go back and listen to old music or read old books. I think of gaming in a similar fashion. And console generations make that difficult to do. There are advantages to the console generations, but I wanted to try to evolve our capability to kind of have the best of both. Old games that work well, new games that are innovative, and hardware platforms that could scale. This directly relates to the difficulties many perceive with creating a console with a significant power boost over the core install base while remaining in the same family. It's a delicate tightrope to walk. A company risks alienating their customers and also developers if too many unreasonable hurdles are put between them and supporting the platform. "When you ship an Xbox One game two years from now, even if you don't look at Scorpio as something that you want to take advantage of, fine. That's up to you. We're not mandating that people go and do Scorpio-specific work," explained Spencer. Part of making it easier for developers is creating a stable platform that can reliably perform. If Microsoft intends the Scorpio to run at 30fps and 4K, then developers need to be able to count on the machine running those minimum states successfully. Spencer and Xbox looked hard at what the Scorpio would need to meet those requirements and eventually settled on what they would use to create the Scorpio. The only problem? They felt they couldn't deliver until 2017. Now, software's complex and different things can happen, but one of the things that kept us from shipping in 2016 was we didn't think we could make that promise [of steady framerate at 4K resolution] to developers in 2016. That the game that you're running at framerate and resolution on an Xbox One, that you'd be able to take to the same framerate and increased resolution on Scorpio. We didn't think we could get there last year, with the silicon that was in the market. It's a combination of price and capability from our hardware partner, that we worked with as we described a certain spec that we wanted to hit. Sometimes I get in trouble when I talk about Sony too much, but, the choice they made on PS4 Pro, I totally get that choice, from their perspective and what they wanted to go do. I've said it publicly and I've said it privately, I think they've built a good 2016 PS4 Pro. With the silicon that was available, they picked the parts that made sense to go and put together a console in 2016. [...] So some of it was time, as certain things come down in price -- some of them not as quickly as we would like. And some of it was hardware capability from our silicon partners, that allowed us to go do that in 2017. And frankly we had to make that bet two, two and a half years ago, right. You're kind of throwing a dart a long way out, because the timelines in hardware are kind of like that. In the case of this, our hardware partner is the same [as Sony] -- we're both AMD partners. So we don't know what each other is doing, but we definitely know the roadmap, because we're working with the same partner. And we chose to pick something that said, if you're runnning -- 1080p 30 on an Xbox One, what does it mean to run that at 4K 30 on Scorpio. And make sure we could do that. And we're seeing results that make us feel really good about the choices we've made. Basically, Spencer said they could have shipped in 2016, but they waited for the right hardware to come down in price so that they could affordably ship their console upgrade a bit later. He even gives a nod to Sony's PS4 Pro, but with the implication that it was good for 2016 and won't perform as well as the Scorpio when it launches later this year. We'll definitely be hearing a lot more about the Xbox Scorpio at E3 this year during Microsoft's press conference. In the meantime, Spencer did say something that seems like it would be common sense. Spencer took a moment to defend the console market going forward beyond Scorpio, "I've said, and this is actually true, the planning for what happens after Scorpio in the console space is already underway. You have to think about it that way. Like, what is the next thing? We -- I -- remain committed to the console space. We think it's critically important." It would seem that not only are consoles still not dying the death that some doomsayers have been predicting for years, but that the next console from Microsoft is more than a little along in development if the head of Microsoft's console division feels comfortable even mentioning it in an interview. Not a huge revelation, but a slightly interesting thing to have confirmed.
  2. The updated version of the Xbox One with more processing power would have hit stores last year, but Microsoft prioritized meeting 30fps at 4K resolutions over rushing their device to market. This revelation comes from a recent interview head of Xbox Phil Spencer had with Gamasutra, which is well worth reading in its entirety. The issue, as Phil Spencer sees it, is one of scalability. Microsoft wants games to be able to scale and be accessible across all their family of systems. He relates this idea with backwards compatibility - newer hardware should not mean older games become unplayable: And as I said, you know with games as an art form, I do think people should go back and experience Age of Empires 2. People should go back and play Ico. People should go back and play Donkey Kong Country. People should go back and do those things, just like people go back and listen to old music or read old books. I think of gaming in a similar fashion. And console generations make that difficult to do. There are advantages to the console generations, but I wanted to try to evolve our capability to kind of have the best of both. Old games that work well, new games that are innovative, and hardware platforms that could scale. This directly relates to the difficulties many perceive with creating a console with a significant power boost over the core install base while remaining in the same family. It's a delicate tightrope to walk. A company risks alienating their customers and also developers if too many unreasonable hurdles are put between them and supporting the platform. "When you ship an Xbox One game two years from now, even if you don't look at Scorpio as something that you want to take advantage of, fine. That's up to you. We're not mandating that people go and do Scorpio-specific work," explained Spencer. Part of making it easier for developers is creating a stable platform that can reliably perform. If Microsoft intends the Scorpio to run at 30fps and 4K, then developers need to be able to count on the machine running those minimum states successfully. Spencer and Xbox looked hard at what the Scorpio would need to meet those requirements and eventually settled on what they would use to create the Scorpio. The only problem? They felt they couldn't deliver until 2017. Now, software's complex and different things can happen, but one of the things that kept us from shipping in 2016 was we didn't think we could make that promise [of steady framerate at 4K resolution] to developers in 2016. That the game that you're running at framerate and resolution on an Xbox One, that you'd be able to take to the same framerate and increased resolution on Scorpio. We didn't think we could get there last year, with the silicon that was in the market. It's a combination of price and capability from our hardware partner, that we worked with as we described a certain spec that we wanted to hit. Sometimes I get in trouble when I talk about Sony too much, but, the choice they made on PS4 Pro, I totally get that choice, from their perspective and what they wanted to go do. I've said it publicly and I've said it privately, I think they've built a good 2016 PS4 Pro. With the silicon that was available, they picked the parts that made sense to go and put together a console in 2016. [...] So some of it was time, as certain things come down in price -- some of them not as quickly as we would like. And some of it was hardware capability from our silicon partners, that allowed us to go do that in 2017. And frankly we had to make that bet two, two and a half years ago, right. You're kind of throwing a dart a long way out, because the timelines in hardware are kind of like that. In the case of this, our hardware partner is the same [as Sony] -- we're both AMD partners. So we don't know what each other is doing, but we definitely know the roadmap, because we're working with the same partner. And we chose to pick something that said, if you're runnning -- 1080p 30 on an Xbox One, what does it mean to run that at 4K 30 on Scorpio. And make sure we could do that. And we're seeing results that make us feel really good about the choices we've made. Basically, Spencer said they could have shipped in 2016, but they waited for the right hardware to come down in price so that they could affordably ship their console upgrade a bit later. He even gives a nod to Sony's PS4 Pro, but with the implication that it was good for 2016 and won't perform as well as the Scorpio when it launches later this year. We'll definitely be hearing a lot more about the Xbox Scorpio at E3 this year during Microsoft's press conference. In the meantime, Spencer did say something that seems like it would be common sense. Spencer took a moment to defend the console market going forward beyond Scorpio, "I've said, and this is actually true, the planning for what happens after Scorpio in the console space is already underway. You have to think about it that way. Like, what is the next thing? We -- I -- remain committed to the console space. We think it's critically important." It would seem that not only are consoles still not dying the death that some doomsayers have been predicting for years, but that the next console from Microsoft is more than a little along in development if the head of Microsoft's console division feels comfortable even mentioning it in an interview. Not a huge revelation, but a slightly interesting thing to have confirmed. View full article
  3. The Xbox Game Pass aims to offer direct competition to equivalent services like EA Access and PS Now, which offer a library of games in exchange for a monthly service fee of $9.99. Microsoft sees this as instantly giving Xbox One owners access to a library of games from both the Xbox One and Xbox 360. Revealed at the tail end of February, Microsoft's new service differs slightly from PS Now. While PS Now allows PlayStation 4 owners to stream games from older PlayStation eras, Xbox Game Pass will instead allow players to download those games and play them off of their own hard drives. This means that gameplay won't be subject to the fickle whims of an ISP or wireless signal. But how big will that instant library be? So far Microsoft isn't being exact with their numbers, aside from saying that the service will offer over 100 games when it launches. Their announcement mentions working with 2K, 505 Games, Bandai Namco, Capcom, Codemasters, Deep Silver, Focus Home Interactive, SEGA, SNK, THQ Nordic, Warner Bros., and (of course) Microsoft Studios. The only directly confirmed titles are Halo 5: Guardians, Payday 2, NBA 2K16 and SoulCalibur II. However, marketing images also show off titles like Mad Max, Saints Row IV, Lego Batman, and Fable III. The Xbox Game Pass also gives Xbox One owners special discounts on Xbox One games included in the library catalog. Why would you buy a game that's part of the instant library? Each month the library cycles in new games and expels others. Buying a game ensures that players will have access to it even if it gets cycled out or if a player decides to discontinue their subscription. While the Xbox Game Pass doesn't have a solid release date, it is slated to become widely available sometime this spring. It has already entered an alpha testing phase with some members of the Xbox Insider community and will be available for a wider beta release to Xbox Gold subscribers closer to launch.
  4. The Xbox Game Pass aims to offer direct competition to equivalent services like EA Access and PS Now, which offer a library of games in exchange for a monthly service fee of $9.99. Microsoft sees this as instantly giving Xbox One owners access to a library of games from both the Xbox One and Xbox 360. Revealed at the tail end of February, Microsoft's new service differs slightly from PS Now. While PS Now allows PlayStation 4 owners to stream games from older PlayStation eras, Xbox Game Pass will instead allow players to download those games and play them off of their own hard drives. This means that gameplay won't be subject to the fickle whims of an ISP or wireless signal. But how big will that instant library be? So far Microsoft isn't being exact with their numbers, aside from saying that the service will offer over 100 games when it launches. Their announcement mentions working with 2K, 505 Games, Bandai Namco, Capcom, Codemasters, Deep Silver, Focus Home Interactive, SEGA, SNK, THQ Nordic, Warner Bros., and (of course) Microsoft Studios. The only directly confirmed titles are Halo 5: Guardians, Payday 2, NBA 2K16 and SoulCalibur II. However, marketing images also show off titles like Mad Max, Saints Row IV, Lego Batman, and Fable III. The Xbox Game Pass also gives Xbox One owners special discounts on Xbox One games included in the library catalog. Why would you buy a game that's part of the instant library? Each month the library cycles in new games and expels others. Buying a game ensures that players will have access to it even if it gets cycled out or if a player decides to discontinue their subscription. While the Xbox Game Pass doesn't have a solid release date, it is slated to become widely available sometime this spring. It has already entered an alpha testing phase with some members of the Xbox Insider community and will be available for a wider beta release to Xbox Gold subscribers closer to launch. View full article
  5. From November 2 through January 3, 2015, customers will be able to purchase Xbox One consoles for $50 off their normal price. The discount applies to any Xbox One purchase even bundles that include games as well as the console. Affected by this promotional price drop will be several high-profile releases bundled with the console including: Sunset Overdrive, Assassin's Creed: Unity, and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. There are actually two bundles that include Assassin's Creed: Unity. The $350 one includes the console, Assassin's Creed: Unity and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag. Another one retailing at $450 comprised of the console, both Assassin's Creed titles, Kinect, and Dance Central Spotlight. The $350 Sunset Overdrive bundle's Xbox One is a limited edition white model with matching controller, as well as, of course, Sunset Overdrive. Bundled with Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is perhaps the most impressive Xbox One console. For $450, players can get their hands on a custom painted console and controller with 1 terabyte of storage space and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition with a bevy of DLC. The promotion will be available at most retailers.
  6. We have been invited, along with any guests who might be interested, to the Bellevue Square Microsoft store for a special launch preview event that includes: -Free Food -Developer Q&A -Halo Wars 2 Sneak Peek If you are free tonight, here's the official invite!
  7. New footage of Halo 2's classic Zanzibar multiplayer map has surfaced online along with a new batch of screenshots. Vehicles! Explosions! Guns! Nostalgia! The multiplayer gameplay video of The Master Chief Collection has it all. Check out the screenshots over on the Extra Life Facebook page.
  8. While rumors have been spreading through the industry since early last week, today Mojang confirmed that they are indeed in the middle of being bought by Microsoft for a whopping $2.5 billion. That's billion. With a B. For some perspective on that rather large number, Microsoft values Mojang at 62% of what Disney paid to acquire the entire Star Wars franchise and Lucasfilm. That's more than Oculus VR was worth to Facebook and almost three times what Twitch, the fourth highest ranked website in the US for peak internet traffic, was purchased for by Amazon. What does this mean for Minecraft? For starters, it doesn't seem like the versions that are currently available will be going away anytime soon. According to Mojang's Owen Hill: There’s no reason for the development, sales, and support of the PC/Mac, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Vita, iOS, and Android versions of Minecraft to stop. Of course, Microsoft can’t make decisions for other companies or predict the choices that they might make in the future. We’re extremely proud of all editions and the awesome things you have achieved through playing together. Owen can't speak for Sony or Apple, but it seems for now that Microsoft has no intention of locking those versions of Minecraft away. Minecraft itself is going to remain the same. It will receive periodic updates and slowly continue to develop over time. It is uncertain whether the same people will continue to work on Minecraft going forward, but as of right now it is confirmed that the founders of Mojang, Carl Manneh, Markus "Notch" Persson, and Jakob Porsér, are leaving to pursue their interests elsewhere. Thus far, Notch has released a statement about leaving Mojang and Minecraft, which you can read here. His goodbye post boils down to a few key details. First, Notch doesn't view himself as a game developer; he develops games because he loves to code and play around with game concepts. Second, he doesn't want to be an abstract concept that people hate and the target of hateful comments. As he says in his message, "I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m not a CEO. I’m a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter. [...] I don’t expect to get away from negative comments by doing this, but at least now I won’t feel a responsibility to read them." Finally, he gave a deeply heartfelt thank you to everyone that supports Minecraft. In his post, he also mentions watching the video This Is Phil Fish as something influential in his decision to sell Mojang. &amp;amp;amp;lt;a href="http://c418.bandcamp.com/album/0x10c" data-mce-href="http://c418.bandcamp.com/album/0x10c"&amp;amp;amp;gt;0x10c by C418&amp;amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;amp;gt; Musician C418, creator of the Minecraft soundtrack, posted the music he made for Notch's 0x10c For anyone who might still be worried about Minecraft or the future of Mojang or its employees, let me end with a quote from Owen Hill, "It's going to be good, though. Everything is going to be OK. <3"
  9. Over the past few days I had the opportunity to take a break from reviewing the incredibly long PC RPG Divinity: Original Sin (68 hours in with the end still not in sight!) by suiting up as one of humanity’s last Guardians. After three focused days with the beta, I can say with confidence that Bungie has put what it learned from years developing Halo and successfully read the gaming landscape to create an FPS title that will stand the test of time. The Destiny beta was previewed on PlayStation 4. How does one describe Destiny? Destiny seems like a hodgepodge of various elements copped from other famous science-fiction games, movies, and books that were then rolled up into one package, streamlined, and then given some of the characteristics of an MMO (I thought about putting in the dictionary definition of destiny here instead, but decided that would be too obvious). The physics of the movement is very Halo-esque, giving the player a sensation of great power and fluidity, while eschewing the frantic pacing of titles like Call of Duty or Titanfall. Meanwhile the gunplay is heavily influenced by Borderlands. The aesthetics and setting have Star Wars influences written all over along them (imagine that the Deathstar was sentient, good, and didn’t blow up planets and you basically have the premise for Destiny). Finally, the story is a mix of Rendezvous with Rama and Childhood’s End both of which were written by Arthur C. Clarke. And here is the thing: All of those disparate elements come together feeling new and fresh, which is a real achievement! I walked away from my weekend with Destiny having enjoyed myself and feeling optimistic about the game’s future. However, I don’t think it is enough to tell you that I had this positive reaction to Destiny, instead I’m going to attempt to explain why. One of the main attractions of Destiny is how it empowers players. It goes about this in a variety of ways, but first and foremost, it conveys power through movement and terrain traversal. As usual for an FPS, players can toggle between normal running and sprinting, the pace of which is not frenetically fast, but instead instils a feeling of accuracy and control. It is a small touch, but it works. Jumping represents a major contributor to the empowerment of movement in Destiny. At first it seems like a more toned-down version of Halo’s high, floaty jumps, but upon reaching level three or four, players unlock the double jump and it changes everything. In my mind, Titanfall was the first FPS that truly embraced the notion of verticality and freedom of movement. I played Titanfall and felt like I was seeing what the new trend in multiplayer would be; Bungie, much like Respawn, realized that it needed to get away from the landlocked mentality of last-gen’s shooters. I won’t say that Bungie looked at Titanfall and tried to emulate it; Destiny has clearly been in development for years, too long to make such a fundamental change to its entire structure and gameplay dynamics. Destiny and Titanfall both happened to hit on the idea that giving players more options in how they move makes the game a great deal more fun and allows for a more flowing feel to the entire affair. Oh, and the speeder bikes that you can summon almost anywhere control very well and lend the maps a sense of scope while finally allowing you to see what it would be like to ride one of the speeders from Return of the Jedi. Those are pretty sweet. Beyond movement, Destiny takes a running leap (har har) right out of the gate in regards to progression. Completing missions and killing enemies grants experience that adds up over time to level characters. Over the course of the first few missions players level up frequently, about a level per story mission, and find new equipment everywhere. Each level rewards players with a new ability, a variation of one of their existing abilities, an upgrade for core power, or a boost to base stats. New equipment comes in the familiar rarity color coding made omnipresent by Diablo (now go ahead and tell me that Diablo wasn’t the first game to start this sort of color scheme, Diablo was the first I could recall), though the best equipment typically drops in the form of schematics that must be decoded. Uncommon or rare weapons also gain experience the more they are used and can be upgraded once they’ve been used enough in battle. All of this comes together to give players a real sense of escalating power. Now, I can’t speak as to how this will continue on in the full version of Destiny, since the beta caps progress at level 8, but I’d imagine that, similar to other MMOs, the pace of power growth will slow dramatically during the mid to late game compared to the early sections. And make no mistake, Destiny is an MMO despite the marketing of it as being a “shared world.” Destiny takes many design decisions found in a typical MMO and applies them to a first-person shooter in a remarkably deft manner. The elements are there, from random events, to raids (called Strikes), to sidequests that branch off from the main story missions, to seeing the numbers indicating damage dealt pop up with ever successful shot to an enemy. At any given time I could see three or four other Guardians pursuing side missions or participating in random events, but social interaction never felt forced on me or like it took me out of the experience. The strange part is that this all comes together very well. I have my gripes with the Borderlands series, but being able to team up with friends and shoot your way through a campaign was undeniably fun. Destiny captures the essence of that co-op experience and applies it on a wider scale. In fact, the gameplay really does remind me of Borderlands, albeit with more mobility, except that Destiny manages to both make the gameplay its own and appropriately tone the entire affair. That tone is what will make Destiny such a success. Undoubtedly many kids under the age of 17 got their hands on the M rated Borderlands and Borderlands 2, but think of how many more copies Borderlands would have been able to sell with a T rating from the ESRB. On June 26 the ESRB announced that Destiny will be rated T, which widens the audience quite a bit. Combine that with the Star Wars vibe that the title exudes, the sweeping scope, the gameplay which can be enjoyed with friends, and the lack of a subscription fee (ignoring, for a second, PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live), and to me that seems like something that will be astronomically big. It will be innocuous enough to get by most parents while still appealing to the youth demographic and it will be interesting and edgy enough to pull in the older crowds. Now, from all those glowing statements about what Destiny does right, you might be thinking that this is the most perfect game to have ever existed or that I am a goon paid for by Bungie. Neither of those assumptions are correct for there are a number of areas in Destiny that fell short. Many people have pointed to Peter Dinklage’s voice acting performance as something that detracts significantly from their experience. I would never presume to try and invalidate the feelings that other people have, because gut reactions to things can never be “wrong” in any quantitative sense. However, I do think that this is a case of people signaling out a surface-level, lackluster element and pinning their frustrations on it. While Peter Dinklage at times certainly gives a phoned-in performance* (which could very well detract from some players in-game experience, it just didn’t significantly alter my own), the main problem with Destiny isn’t that the performances aren’t as nuanced and deep as they could be; the main problem is that Destiny’s narrative doesn’t know how to begin its story. I don’t want to be overly critical here because Destiny is still months from release and could very well have some of the beginning story elements locked away. However, the product on display in the beta is clunky. It is never sure of how much or when it should dole out information. My character awakens to the line, “you’ve been dead for a long time,” and immediately, without any questions asked, the game placed me into the action. Now, this is a good way to grab a player’s attention, but it comes with a number of questions that demand answers after that action is concluded. Those answers never came. I was whisked away to the last human city, Tower, where I was given general background information about the state of the world and my character’s place in it, but those don’t satisfactorily answer why or how my character was brought back from the dead. There are lots of logic things that can be overlooked in the name of drama, but it was really irritating to me to hear my character speak and somehow fail to ask how he was brought back from the dead. That’s kind of a big deal. If technology is advanced enough to bring people back from the dead after “a long time” how is humanity in bad shape? This serves as a great example of one of my biggest complaints regarding Destiny, because there are numerous times when important details about the world seemed to go unexplained or ignored. Players are simply told to accept the quirks of the various races and events in Destiny’s story without enough context to make sense of it all. The previous paragraph was a minor complaint. That might seem odd, but the story of Destiny is such a secondary (possibly tertiary) concern that it won’t be something that affects most players experience with the game, because the refinement of Destiny’s gameplay trumps most of the minor quibbles it has, story or otherwise. One of those nitpicks goes to the AI, which seem to encounter invisible walls from time to time that can be used to pick off enemies or manipulate them into doing stupid things like running out of cover for no reason. Melee enemies in particular seem to be hit on the head with dumb. Jumping to a high elevation causes them to mill around helplessly like lost puppies. If I had to pick one more smallish complaint, it would be that the sidequests scattered throughout the exploration mode are largely uninteresting and seem to exist mostly out of obligation. Despite the annoyances and the narrative concerns, the heart of the matter is that Destiny is fun. The diversity of inspirations works to make the journey through a devastated Earth and beyond seem new instead of rehashed. It is visually exciting and delivers moments of tense action, comradery, and a sense of adventure. All other concerns aside, the bottom line is that Destiny is such an enjoyable experience that trumps almost any other criticism you could level at it. Destiny releases September 9 for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. * Regarding Peter Dinklage: Here’s the thing, folks, Peter Dinklage is a very talented actor. He has a real flair for the dramatic and is capable of turning an audience to putty in his hands through his tone of voice. While it is true that the end result of his voice acting in Destiny sounds less than stellar, we don’t know why he sounds that way. Making a video game is a highly collaborative process. It could be that he found the lines too ridiculous to say seriously; it could be that he just didn’t care; it could be that Dinklage acts best when physically present on a set (to my knowledge, he has only ever done voice work for one other property and that was for Ice Age: Continental Drift in 2012); but it could also be that the people directing him didn’t know how to get what they wanted or they made the call that what they recorded was an acceptable final product. It is important to remember that Peter Dinklage doesn’t have the final say on what goes into Destiny and that others are making the call that those lines were read appropriately. Finally, in Destiny, Dinklage voices a robot and, to me, he sounds very robot-like and detached in-game, which could contribute to why some of his lines sound so lifeless. He’s undeniably a great actor, capable of compelling work (Here is a brilliant scene from Game of Thrones Season 4, spoiler warning and all that), but for that talent to shine it require people in a number of other capacities to recognize what the game needs and bring it out of Dinklage.
  10. Taking a lesson from last year, when Sony publicly mocked their DRM restrictions and announced a console that was $100 cheaper, Microsoft’s press conference was one designed to be as safe as possible. I say safe because how much more secure can you get than by opening with the next installment in the one of the most successful video game franchises of all time? We saw a gameplay trailer for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, where guys with cool sci-fi gadgets do things that we’ve seen guys in first-person shooters do hundreds of times before. It probably won’t be the video game equivalent of Shakespeare, but I know I’m at the very least intrigued to see how multiplayer incorporates all of the cool near-future technology showcased in the trailers and demos. Again, all DLC for Advanced Warfare will be available on Microsoft consoles. Next up, Turn 10 Studios took the stage to announce that Xbox One exclusive Forza Horizon 2 will release on September 30. Also, the new Nürburgring track will be made available this month for owners of Forza Motorsport 5. The track has been recreated down to subcentimeter levels of fidelity. Evolve made its own appearance with a new gameplay trailer focusing on the classes and introducing a new type of monster. Xbox One owners will have first dibs on both the Evolve beta and Evolve’s DLC. Just behind Call of Duty, the next safest bet in the industry is a new Assassin’s Creed game. Which is just what Ubisoft showed off at Microsoft’s press conference with Assassin’s Creed Unity. The title will be exclusive to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 and will feature 4-player co-op. If the idea of sneaking and assassinating in the midst of the French Revolution with three other friends gets you excited, this might be the perfect game for you. As someone who has little interest in the Call of Duties and Assassin’s Creeds of the world, I wasn’t feeling particularly compelled or excited about the games so far, but the newest trailer for Dragon Age: Inquisition made me do a double-take. I’m getting more excited than I probably should be for this game, but I can’t help having faith in BioWare and in the potential that the Dragon Age franchise has always shown. Once more, it seems that Xbox users will be getting some exclusive access to “premium content.” There are no details as of yet what will be contained in that DLC. Sunset Overdrive had a stellar appearance with many winks and knowing nods to the audience in a scripted sequence lampooning traditional shooters. This was followed by a live gameplay demonstration that was well-executed and impressive. Then there was a goofy teaser for a Dead Rising 3 DLC pack that I am not going to write out because it is long and purposefully obnoxious. Harmonix briefly took the stage to discuss how Disney Fantasia and Dance Central Spotlight are coming to consoles this fall and were then quickly ushered off the stage so that Microsoft could divulge some more information on Fable Legends. I haven’t played it, but my reaction to Fable Legends was one of complete and utter boredom. The game has a few interesting ideas (a group of players take on the role of heroes while another player becomes the villainous mastermind who attempts to thwart their progress), but those ideas seem to be piled under layers of uninspired fantasy. Then there was the obligatory, “Project Spark is still a thing, guys! Remember how cool that concept was!?” The trailer was fine; it looked great. However, I’ve played a bit of the game and it is hard to muster much enthusiasm for a great game creation kit that is mired in overpriced microtransactions. *Warning, what follows is riddled with sadness* Another trailer followed Project Spark, this one for a small indie game titled Ori and the Blind Forest. Will it be one of this year’s indie gems? Possibly. Will it make me cry if I play it? No …sniff… *muffled sob* One of the biggest announcements of the press conference was that on November 11, Halo: The Master Chief Collection will release. The collection contains Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, and Halo 4 on one disc with everything unlocked. Custom playlists will combine the great moments from all four games into one epic smorgasbord. Halo 2 is also receiving the full anniversary treatment that Halo: Combat Evolved received for Halo Anniversary Edition. The original version of Halo 2 will be included alongside the revamped version. In addition to all of that, the original multiplayer that fans fought so hard to protect will be brought back. For multiplayer, every map ever released will be available in 1080p and run at 60fps on dedicated servers. Over 100 maps. That’s a lot of maps. The collection will also include Halo Nightfall, a live action prelude to Halo 5: Guardians. Speaking of Halo 5, purchasing Halo: The Master Chief Collection also nets you access to the Halo 5 beta in December. All previous games Microsoft had talked about up until this point will be released by the end of the year. The second half of the show focused on games coming in 2015 and beyond. Most of the releases talked about were indies (and there is nothing wrong with that, just not a ton of information on the individual games). Then there was the surprise reveal of Rise of the Tomb Raider, a sequel to the Tomb Raider reboot. We see Lara getting some much needed therapy after the traumatic events of the previous game and then raiding some tombs. Ahhhh, nostalgia! There were a few other moments after that, like the announcement of the Phantom Dust reboot, some hilariously scripted gameplay from The Division, and the reveal of Crackdown 3, but what got me most excited was the Xbox One exclusive from Platinum Games titled Scalebound. It looks goofy, different, has giant monsters, and the ideas on display seem like they would be a lot of fun in the hands of the developer who brought us Vanquish and Bayonetta. Honorable indie mentions: That’s it from Microsoft. On the whole, this conference was much better than last year, which is a win for the company, but I can’t help but feel that this was one of the safest press conferences in the five years I’ve watched the show. What do you think? Awesome? Just right? Meh?
  11. After the brief cinematic shown last year, many speculated when we might expect to see Halo 5. Today we have our answer. In a press release that went out this morning, Halo developer 343 Industries' general manager Bonnie Ross talked about the future of Halo, the need to construct the next franchise entry around the hardware of the Xbox One, and the expanded scope of the series: In the tradition of every Halo game since its debut in 2001, it is a massive and exciting project. Halo 5: Guardians is a bigger effort than Halo 4. That applies to the content and scope of the game, as well as the technology in what's now a brand new and more powerful engine. Certainly there are some core elements carried over from prior games, but we've invested a huge effort in retooling our tech to take full advantage of the Xbox One's hardware and ecosystem to create worlds and experiences worthy of next-gen. It’s a game that will hopefully demonstrate the talent, learnings and abilities of the 343 Industries team. A game that will incorporate the things we learned from Halo 4 about technology, aesthetics, performance and scale – and perhaps more importantly, understanding and embracing a community of gamers who love what lies at the heart of this game, and the limitless potential of the Halo universe. Halo 5: Guardians will release fall 2015 as an Xbox One exclusive. More information will be forthcoming on June 9 when Microsoft holds its pre-E3 press conference.
  12. In response to lackluster sales and a large number of requests from would-be Xbox One purchasers, Microsoft has unveiled a cheaper Xbox One that will be sold without the Kinect. The new model of Xbox One will retail at $399 and will hit the market on June 9. the Kinect will be available separately sometime later this fall. This news comes hand in hand with the announcement that a variety of paid for services will no longer be locked behind Xbox Live like Netflix, Twitch, HBO GO, and various sports apps. What do you think? Will this and the reversal on used games/always online be enough to bring in more customers for Microsoft?
  13. Not everyone has the time or inclination to sit down in the middle of the day and watch a forty-minute press conference about video games. Luckily, we do. Microsoft held a non-livestreamed conference on the opening day of Gamescom, a major video game expo held in Germany. Luckily, Gamespot recorded the event, so if you want, you can watch it in its entirety. The conference was short and hit the key aspects of Microsoft’s plans to repair public perception of the Xbox One following Sony’s PR gains during E3. The presentation began with Microsoft stressing a revamped approach toward indie developers and the advertising of launch titles. Many of these changes included the elimination of fees developers previously had to pay for things like development tools, their games to be certified as Microsoft products, and activating their product in the virtual marketplace. In addition, Microsoft has redesigned the Xbox Live Marketplace to make discovery of new indie titles easier and smooth the process of searching the marketplace for consumers. Chris Charla, a former video game journalist and veteran of the video game business, will be running the program. Essentially, these changes mean that Microsoft has made the Xbox One a place where independent developers can self-publish their work, eliminating a previously crucial hurdle in console game development. Microsoft then revealed a next-gen MMO, Fable Legends. Not many details were given besides what was shown in the trailer, but it seems apparent that Fable Legends will allow players to take up arms as either the hero or a villain. The debut trailer for Ubisoft’s Fighter Within was shown, a game using the Kinect to read player’s movements and translate them into onscreen attacks for their avatars. Another Ubisoft title, Tom Clancy’s The Division, showed off gameplay centered on the Xbox One’s ability to integrate SmartGlass tablets. Microsoft showed another ace up their sleeve with Cobalt, a new side-scrolling competitive shooter from Mojang, the creators of Minecraft. Cobalt appears to be the same game that Mojang released alpha footage of around two years ago, albeit much more polished and out of Alpha. Moving on to Call of Duty: Ghosts, Microsoft recapped the success of the franchise and delved into dedicated Xbox Live Cloud support hosting dedicated servers, Blitz multiplayer mode, and the multiplayer maps that will be available first on the Xbox One. Microsoft also announced that a there will be a Call of Duty: Ghosts Xbox One bundle at launch in November. Microsoft also catered to the casual crowd with titles like Kinect Sports Rivals, Peggle 2, and Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare. Rare’s Kinect Sports Rivals will feature “The Champion Creator” which will have the Kinect scanning players and making “an awesome” version of the player. Peggle 2 will be available at the launch of Xbox One and Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare will land sometime in 2014 with Kinect and SmartGlass features. The final part of Microsoft’s presentation was to make some statements about FIFA 14 and the exclusive content coming to Xbox One. FIFA 14 will have a feature called Ultimate Team Legends all season long. This mode will allow players to pit themselves against some of the greatest soccer players in history. In addition to Ultimate Team Legends, all European pre-orders for Xbox One will include a copy of FIFA 14 at no additional cost including pre-existing pre-orders. Microsoft concluded their conference by promising more pre-order bundle information in the near future. Anyone planning to pre-order an Xbox One? What are your thoughts on the system and its launch line-up of games?
  14. UPDATE: Don Mattrick, Microsoft's president of interactive entertainment has released an official statement on Microsoft's stance change. Below you can find his full statement. Last week at E3, the excitement, creativity and future of our industry was on display for a global audience. For us, the future comes in the form of Xbox One, a system designed to be the best place to play games this year and for many years to come. As is our heritage with Xbox, we designed a system that could take full advantage of advances in technology in order to deliver a breakthrough in game play and entertainment. We imagined a new set of benefits such as easier roaming, family sharing, and new ways to try and buy games. We believe in the benefits of a connected, digital future. Since unveiling our plans for Xbox One, my team and I have heard directly from many of you, read your comments and listened to your feedback. I would like to take the opportunity today to thank you for your assistance in helping us to reshape the future of Xbox One. You told us how much you loved the flexibility you have today with games delivered on disc. The ability to lend, share, and resell these games at your discretion is of incredible importance to you. Also important to you is the freedom to play offline, for any length of time, anywhere in the world. So, today I am announcing the following changes to Xbox One and how you can play, share, lend, and resell your games exactly as you do today on Xbox 360. Here is what that means: An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games – After a one-time system set-up with a new Xbox One, you can play any disc based game without ever connecting online again. There is no 24 hour connection requirement and you can take your Xbox One anywhere you want and play your games, just like on Xbox 360. Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today – There will be no limitations to using and sharing games, it will work just as it does today on Xbox 360. In addition to buying a disc from a retailer, you can also download games from Xbox Live on day of release. If you choose to download your games, you will be able to play them offline just like you do today. Xbox One games will be playable on any Xbox One console -- there will be no regional restrictions. These changes will impact some of the scenarios we previously announced for Xbox One. The sharing of games will work as it does today, you will simply share the disc. Downloaded titles cannot be shared or resold. Also, similar to today, playing disc based games will require that the disc be in the tray. We appreciate your passion, support and willingness to challenge the assumptions of digital licensing and connectivity. While we believe that the majority of people will play games online and access the cloud for both games and entertainment, we will give consumers the choice of both physical and digital content. We have listened and we have heard loud and clear from your feedback that you want the best of both worlds. Thank you again for your candid feedback. Our team remains committed to listening, taking feedback and delivering a great product for you later this year. It is good to know that even a giant corporation like Microsoft can understand which way the wind is blowing. If you didn't feel like reading the full statement, Mattrick clarified the following things: Downloaded games can still be accessed anywhere at any times, but disc-based games cannot, unless you have the disc. This effectively ends the "you can take your library with you" line that Microsoft was trying to sell. You will need to download a day-one patch in order to disable the Xbox One's 24-hour check-in component. The regional restrictions on the Xbox One have been lifted. You can buy an Xbox One from anywhere in the world and it will play Xbox One games from anywhere in the world. Original story: In a stunning turn of events, Microsoft has revised its policies on 24-hour required system check-ins for the Xbox one and used game DRM that would restrict the resale of games. The reversal of Microsoft's stance for the Xbox One was likely in response to Sony's PlayStation 4 press conference during E3, after which they received numerous complains and were on the receiving end of pretty intense consumer hatred. You can check out the important points over on their official site, or read the important bullet points below. - Though the Xbox One is still designed to be connected to the internet, it will no longer cease playing games after 24-hours pass in an offline state. - The Xbox one will not have used game DRM that prohibits or restricts the sale of used games. There will be no additional hoops to go through if you want to lend a game to a friend or trade your game in for cash or store credit. Needless to say, this is incredibly unexpected and has left most of the folks across the industry feeling like the gif below. We'll continue to monitor the story as it develops.
  15. Yesterday, Microsoft, free of discussing hardware and the non-gaming aspects of its system, focused squarely on the games. If you weren't able to watch the event yourself, don't have the time, or just plain don't feel like watching it, we've got you covered. In this overview we briefly describe and link various parts of the press conference for your convenience. Price and Release Window for Xbox One The two big questions on everybody's mind was how much was this thing going to cost and when to give Microsoft their money. Both questions were answered. Kinect Sports Rivals Before the conference even began in earnest, Microsoft announced Kinect Sports Rivals on the Spike TV pre-news conference coverage. The title will be developed by Rare for the Xbox One and will release sometime this holiday season. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Microsoft opened the press conference not with a word, but with a brand new look at Metal Gear Solid V which showed off new features, locations, weather conditions, and characters. Game Plan for the Xbox 360 After the Metal Gear bombshell, Microsoft went on to explain the future of the Xbox 360, promising hundreds of games and focusing on three of the big ones: former PC exclusive World of Tanks, Max, the Curse of Brotherhood, and Dark Souls II. Eleven Exclusive Titles After getting most of the nitty gritty out of the way, the creators of the Xbox One went on to detail a number of the exclusives that will be available for the system in the near future, some at launch. No More MS Points Microsoft has decided to ditch the Microsoft Points system in favor of using real currency, probably because they realized having an alternate currency was just serving to confuse people out of buying their products online. The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt Though previously announced, CD Projekt confirmed that the game would be an open world, utilize optional voice commands, and that SmartGlass could be used to manage inventory and character progression. Battlefield 4 A live demo was shown of the game, beginning on a sinking aircraft carrier and moving into a boat assault on a larger vessel. Microsoft confirmed that the first map DLC will be available on Xbox One before it is released anywhere else. Live Streaming and Gameplay Recording Details Microsoft clarified some aspects of how it will allow gamers to live stream their gameplay via Twitch and how gamers will be able to save, edit and record their non-streamed gameplay. Below Below appears to be a promising indie title about exploring the underground areas of a mysterious island and it comes from the same people that created the game and music of Sword and Sworcery. Keep your eye on this one. Minecraft Minecraft made its appearance to confirm that it would indeed be on the Xbox One, that the level size would increase, and that multiplayer capabilities would be greatly expanded upon. Black Tusk's Secret Project To be honest, we weren't shown more than a brief glimpse of the game before the conference moved on. All we know about it is that it is a next-gen title.
  16. The head of Microsoft Studios, Phil Spencer, took the stage today at the Microsoft press conference to reveal a stable of Xbox One games, some of which will be available at launch. "We have more games in development now than at any other time in Microsoft Studio's history," Spencer proclaimed proudly, before launching into a press announcement packed with new game announcements, reveals, and details. First announced as a launch title, Ryse: Son of Rome is a third-person action title focusing on delivering cinematic gameplay. Set in a time of strife in the Roman empire, Ryse places players in the role of Roman general named Marius Titus, battling the enemies of Rome. The gameplay trailer indicated that much of the combat would heavily rely on quick-time events. The game will run on the new CryEngine. Microsoft also spent a small amount of time introducing a revitalized Killer Instinct, marking the return of a beloved fighting franchise to the forefront of gaming. After a brief trailer, a live gameplay demonstration was performed on-stage. If you have ever wanted to play a game that pits a werewolf against a velociraptor, this is definitely a game to keep your eyes on. Ted Price from Insomniac Games, a developer who's previous work has only ever been on Sony consoles, took the stage to announce Xbox One exclusive Sunset Overdrive. The super-stylized open world of Sunset Overdrive is full of monsters, possibly zombies, and pockets of survivors armed with ridiculous weaponry, like vinyl record launchers. Players will be able to traverse the world quickly and easily with little to no loading times. The trailer hints that weapons might be upgradable with items found throughout the world, like the energy drink combined with a shotgun. The Forza series made its obligatory appearance with Forza 5. Touting the unrivaled automotive realism it brings to the table and the presence of the McLaren P1 within the game and on the stage. One of only two P1s in the world was seen rising through the stage at E3 to promote the next installment in the Forza series. One of the newest additions to the series is the "Driveatar," which will learn from players as they drive in-game. While the player is offline, the "driveatar" will compete online against friends and strangers, rewarding said player with experience and money earned when they return. More details were given regarding Remedy Entertainment's Quantum Break. The studio's director, Sam Lake, took the stage to discuss the title's unique way of bridging the gap between television and video games. The choices made throughout the mysterious title will generate a personalized version of the television show and the show will elaborate on aspects of the game and its world. The main premise of the game is that you take on the role of a character who survived a failed experiment that has caused time to stutter and stop, but leaves the protagonist apparently unaffected. The possibly crazy, delightfully twisted mind of Swery65 and the team behind the cult hit Deadly Premonition have been brought on board to develop an episodic murder mystery series called D4. Practically nothing is known about this game, and given the tendency toward the bizarre and obscure that was apparent in Deadly Premonition, D4 is likely to hold many surprises and secrets. Two members from the team behind Project Spark took the stage to discuss the gaming toolkit that allows non-coders to become developers and create games from scratch based on their software. They showed off different abilities like being able to edit objects in the game world and imbue the with different traits, like turning a rock into a loyal and helpful pet ally. They also played a film reel showcasing the many different kinds of games that gamers will be able to create, like on-rails shooters, fantasy adventures, platformers, and more. Dead Rising 3 was announced as a platform exclusive for Microsoft. The city of Los Perdidos is overrun with zombies and it is up to mechanic Nick, to try and survive the outbreak. Using a crafting system that works on the fly, Nick can create interesting and powerful weapons like sledge buzz saws to make the overwhelming hordes of undead slightly easier to deal with. There will be no loading times while navigating the city, though driving through a thick pack of the undead could result in a dangerous stall-out or a particularly strong gripped zombie might be able to latch onto the vehicle and tear Nick out. For the most part, Nick will have to rely on distractions to get out of the worst of most situations, or call in the aid of a friend with SmartGlass, which can summon airstrikes or other forms of support. In a second return of a beloved franchise (at least in a spiritual sense), a new game called Crimson Dragon was announced for Xbox One from the creator of Panzer Dragoon and Phantom Dust. The title features dragons, flying, lots of explosions, and MOAR DRAGONS! One of Microsoft's final announcements was... well, you might just want to watch the reveal trailer below and find out for yourself. The final reveal of the conference was that Titanfall, a sci-fi FPS from the creators of the original Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, was going to be a Microsoft exclusive, appearing on PC, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. The game features a"single-player level of polish," despite making multiplayer the core of the game. Every player will have jet packs, be able to double jump, do some light wall-running, grab high ledges, and call down a mechanical suit, known as Titans, from space. Combat fluidly features both human soldiers and mechs battling alongside and against each other. On my list of things to look forward to in the next-gen of consoles, giant robots fighting is definitely rates pretty high.
  17. At today's Microsoft press event in Los Angeles, CA, the makers of the Xbox One announced the two things that have been on everybody's minds since the console was announced slightly over a week ago: the price and release date. The Xbox One will retail at $499, €499, and £429 depending on where you live, and the console will release sometime in November. Each unit will come bundled with a Kinect version 2.0, with a blu-ray player built into the system, and a wireless controller. What do you guys think of the price? Too much? To little? Just right?
  18. Yusuf Mehdi took the stage for Microsoft today to announce the plans for the next three years of the Xbox 360. A new model for the Xbox 360 based on the Xbox One design is available starting today. The sleek design is smaller and will come packaged with a Kinect, though no price drop is in sight. Mehdi also explained that Xbox Live Gold memberships will extend to Xbox One as well as 360. Two free games will be given away every month to Gold Members, starting with Assassin's Creed 2 and Halo 3. Mehdi went on to promise hundreds of new games for 360 over the next three years. He singled out three titles in particular coming to 360. Perhaps one of the biggest bombshells was that World of Tanks, a competitive PC giant with over 60 million players, is coming to 360, expanding the competitive eSports edge of the console (as well as tanks blowing each other sky-high). The CEO of Wargaming took the stage, explaining the global phenomenon of World of Tanks and that the 48 million member Xbox Live Community was a compelling reason to bring the game PC to Xbox 360. World of Tanks will remain a free-to-play title while transitioning to console for Gold subscribers (and free for seven days for Silver subscribers), though it is unknown if it will be coming to Xbox One. Press Play, a quirky indie studio revealed its work on Max, the Curse of Brotherhood. The trailer for the game seemed to indicate a plot similar to the 80s cult film, Labyrinth. The trailer starts out with a young boy who casts a spell to make his younger brother disappear. The spell works, opening a portal between worlds and an evil creature abducts his brother and Max must journey, through platforms and hazards to retrieve him.You can view the announcement trailer below. Dark Souls II rounded out the three Xbox 360 titles, appearing to feature updated graphics, weapons and enemies, but nothing incredibly new or revolutionary was displayed for those familiar with the franchise. All three games discussed for Xbox 360 should be releasing later this year.
  19. Metal Gear Solid V made an appearance right off the bat at the Microsoft press conference in a gameplay trailer. The gameplay clips highlighted how there will be live weather that changes realistically, the vehicles used to traverse the open world landscape, and the in-game day/night cycle. A new addition to the the series, besides being the first truly open-world Metal Gear title, will be the ability to drive vehicles and the sneaking options that go with each one. For example, Snake will be able to control jeeps, tanks, horses, and make use of various sneaking maneuvers with each, like the ability to hide within the flatbed of a truck or cling to the side of a horse. Since MGSV is set in 1984, players presumably won’t be finding much like the Stealth Camo from Metal Gear Solid IV anywhere in this game. However, in the Metal Gear Solid franchise nothing really remains off limits, so we will have to wait for the full release to see what kind of high-tech/retro gadgets become available. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will be coming to Xbox One, PS4 and PC, as well as receiving downgraded ports to the Xbox 360 and PS3.
  20. Next month on the 21st, Microsoft will be holding a special press conference in Redmond, Washington to reveal their long awaited follow-up to the Xbox 360. The unveiling will begin at 10 AM PT/1 PM ET. If you aren’t lucky enough to be invited to the event, you’re in luck! Microsoft will be livestreaming the conference to Xbox.com and Xbox Live, while also broadcasting on Spike TV in the US and Canada. According to Major Nelson, the event will focus almost exclusively on the new hardware and Microsoft’s plans for the future. The new system’s launch line-up will be discussed 19 days after the console reveal during Microsoft’s presentation at E3. What features/games/services do you hope to see Microsoft announce? Do you think that Microsoft may have made a mistake planning a console reveal so close to E3, the largest industry event of the year?
  21. until
    Who: Our Team of gamers here at the University Village Microsoft Store. What: 6 of us will be playing a 24 hour Overwatch game stream. Others will be playing whatever games they want. They may be doing a 24-hour stream, or will make up the 24 hours over the course of the month. When: 6 of us will be playing Overwatch-PC on October 22nd-23rd from 8am-8am. We will have a live twitch stream. Attached is my twitch page, but I each member of the roster is encouraged to include links to their twitch channel on their individual page. https://www.twitch.tv/gregor2424 Where: From our Homes, preferably wearing super comfortable and nerdy clothes. Why: To raise money for The Seattle Children's Hospital Foundation. 100% of the proceeds go to the foundation. Our Team goal is $1,000, and anything you can give helps a child in need.The goal may go up depending on the donation outlook. I give my sincerest thank you for your support and donations. For more information, I have included the default Extra Life message if I missed any of the talking points. Our team is on a mission to save kids through gaming, and we need your help. Each of us has chosen our local Children's Miracle Network Hospital where thousands of children are treated each year, regardless of their family's ability to pay. These kids are facing scary stuff like cancer, cystic fibrosis, and injuries from accidents to name just a few. We'll be part of a huge international celebration of the social impact of gamers with Extra Life, and it's our sincere hope that you'll find it in your heart to support us with a monthly pledge or one-time gift that will go directly to that team member's chosen hospital. Your donation is tax-deductible, and ALL PROCEEDS go to help kids. Last year, Extra Life raised more than $8 million dollars to save kids, but in 2016 our goals, just like the needs of the kids we serve, are much, much higher. We can't do this without your help. Donating online is safe and easy! To make an online donation, please click on the "Roster" tab, then on a participant's name and then click the "Donate" button on their page. Thank you for caring for our kids!
  22. Usually, each week we tackle a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. This week, we make an exception and break from convention to talk about the best and worst games shown at E3 this year. Jeremy and Daniel talk about the various reveals shown at the E3 press conferences and what each of the major developers and publishers are bringing to the biggest gaming show of the year. They also touch on issues related to VR that appeared on the show floor, Father's Day, and generally digest all the E3 news with some friendly banter. This episode strays into some NSFW territory, so heads up on that fact. Outro music: Super Mario 64 'Ripples of Hope' by Chimpazilla and Emunator (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03366) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monda
  23. Usually, each week we tackle a video game, old or new, that at least one of us believes deserves to stand as one of the greatest games of all time. We dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. This week, we make an exception and break from convention to talk about the best and worst games shown at E3 this year. Jeremy and Daniel talk about the various reveals shown at the E3 press conferences and what each of the major developers and publishers are bringing to the biggest gaming show of the year. They also touch on issues related to VR that appeared on the show floor, Father's Day, and generally digest all the E3 news with some friendly banter. This episode strays into some NSFW territory, so heads up on that fact. Outro music: Super Mario 64 'Ripples of Hope' by Chimpazilla and Emunator (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR03366) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is (sometimes) available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! You can also follow the show on Twitter: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monda View full article
  24. If Bethesda set a high bar last night for E3 press conferences, Microsoft may have one-upped them. Their presentation was awash with updates to hardware, console exclusive games, exciting indie projects, and actual gameplay footage. The head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, kicked off the presser with the reveal of the Xbox One S console, a smaller version of the Xbox One. The new version of the console comes in white and is 40% smaller than its predecessor. Not only that, but the S boasts two terabytes of storage and supports 4K resolution streaming from Netflix and Amazon. Spencer promises that the updated Xbox One will be able to present even more vivid colors and play UHD Blu-rays. The S will be accompanied by a new, streamlined controller that looks slightly slicker than the original Xbox One controller. The console will be available this coming August starting at $299 (for the 500Gb version). To follow that bombshell up, Spencer welcomed Rod Fergusson to the stage to talk about Gears of War 4. Fergusson revealed that Gears 4 would be one of the first titles to support Xbox Play Anywhere. The new initiative from Microsoft means that any Play Anywhere title bought digitally is playable on Xbox One and Windows 10. Progress and achievements are saved online and shared across platforms. Every co-op mode in Gears of War 4 will support cross-play between PC and console. A new Gears of War-themed Xbox One Elite controller will be available, too. Gameplay was shown depicting a mission in Gears of War 4 in which players are trapped in a storm as the new Swarm enemies collapse upon them. Also, there is a buzzsaw gun. A BUZZSAW GUN! Killer Instinct's developers briefly appeared to toot their horn as the creators of the most-played fighting game on Xbox One. They then revealed that General Raam, the villain from the first Gears of War game, would be their next guest fighter. Armed with a serrated dagger and an intimidating amount of mass, the ugly brute aims to take the free-to-play fighter by storm right now! Players can get their mitts on him as of today for free for the remainder of the week. The next trailer shown was full of majestic, sweeping environments and the roar of car engines. Forza Horizon 3 aims to awe with beautiful scenery into which you can just disappear. The racing title will be set in Australia and part of the Play Anywhere initiative, which they demonstrated live on stage between several different platforms cross-playing together. Forza Horizon 3 offers a four-player campaign co-op for the first time in the series' history. The title will be exclusive to Xbox One and Windows 10 on September 27. A stylish collaboration between Keiji Inafune, the creator of Mega Man and the head of the still-in-development Mighty No. 9, and the developers behind the Metroid Prime series, ReCore made an impressive showing with the world premier of its gameplay. We meet the various characters that make up the friendly faces of ReCore and see them battling various enemies. Players take on the role of Joule Adams as she leads her crew of robotic companions on an adventure to save the isolated planet of Far Eden. Not many more details were shown, but ReCore looks like it is shaping up to be a title to keep an eye on going forward. Square Enix took the stage to talk briefly about Final Fantasy XV. However, they quickly stepped aside to begin a live demonstration of Final Fantasy XV on Xbox One. The demonstration showcased a boss battle against a colossal creature with a heavy emphasis on dodging and movement to avoid attacks. It looked absolutely fantastic, to say the least. Final Fantasy XV releases on September 30. Also, do you like The Division? The Division: Underground expands the world of The Division by adding subway systems to explore and new enemies to fight. It's coming on June 28 to Xbox One. The expansion will come to PC and PlayStation 4 a month later. Microsoft then played the trailer for Battlefield 1 that was shown at EA's Play event yesterday. It still looks great. For those who were hoping for more UI and options for connecting with others on Xbox One, players will now be able to form clubs, private communities for players of all different kinds. There will also be an option called Looking for Group to connect players from all over the world of similar skill levels in multiplayer games. The Arena initiative that Microsoft is launching on Xbox One will be a competitive eSports platform going forward. Players will be able to sign up for tournament play on their Xbox One or the Arena app to play for prizes or for fun. Oh, also you will be able to play your own background music on Xbox One. Most significantly, Microsoft delved into how their cross-play would work. The initial lineup of games that support cross-play will be Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3, Sea of Thieves, and Scalebound. One of the biggest reveals for the casual community is definitely the announcement that Minecraft players will now be able to play cross platform with their friends from mobile, PC, and Xbox One. Starting today, players with Xbox Live accounts can try a Minecraft Realm for free across mobile and Windows 10 for an entire free month. Skins and texture packs will be making their way to mobile, too. However, even more exciting than any of that, John Carmack took the stage to demonstrate Gear VR in Minecraft live. Of course, this was followed by the decidedly less kid-friendly, but still light-hearted, reveal of Dead Rising 4, which appears to be set during the holiday season and heralds the return of Frank West. Frank was pretty dearly missed. After all, he's covered wars, you know. The trailer shows Frank smacking down zombies, impaling the shufflers with candy canes, and driving a wide variety of vehicles. Players can expect new zombies and even mobile EXO suits. A neat surprise came in the form of Microsoft offering customizable Xbox One controllers. Customers can choose what colors they want the various components of their controller to be and even have their name or Gamer Tag written on the controller itself. People can check out the premium controllers over on the Xbox Design Lab site. Remember the follow up to LIMBO that was announced two years ago at E3? No? Well, that's okay, because it is back with a new trailer and a release date that is right around the corner. Even though the trailer doesn't show off any gameplay, Inside will release on June 28 for Xbox One and July 7 for PC. Also, LIMBO will be free on Xbox One from June 13-20. We Happy Few also made an impressive appearance. The stealth-adventure title revealed gameplay and interactions between characters. The demo effectively showed how twisted the city of We Happy Few has become under the effects of the mandatory drug known as Joy. The title comes to Xbox One and PC this summer. We Happy Few will also release on Xbox Preview (the Xbox version of Steam's Early Access) in July. CD Projekt RED took the stage to talk about their upcoming game, Gwent. The standalone multiplayer card game will be coming to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC this September when it enters beta. The closed beta for the Xbox One version launches on September 26. Tekken 7 looks like it has absorbed Tekken X Street Fighter to create its E3 trailer that depicted Akuma and Heihachi engaging in fisticuffs. Tekken 7 will release sometime in 2017. As a way of generating some hype and buzz for Tekken, Xbox Live users will receive copies of Tekken Tag Tournament 2 for free. Scalebound by Platinum Games looks as fantastic as ever, though I can't help but worry that the protagonist will become irritating over the course of a full game. Gameplay was shown, depicting a large-scale (pun intended) multiplayer encounter with four warriors facing down a colossal crab-spider-thing. It looks spectacular and the gameplay appears smooth, though the dragons seem to be less than agile. Take a look at the gameplay and let us know what you think! Scalebound is exclusive to Xbox One and Windows 10 and will release in 2017. For the first time, Sea of Thieves gameplay was on display at Microsoft's press conference. After a brief cinematic, presser attendees were shown some pre-recorded and pre-cut footage of several normal people playing Sea of Thieves and cooperating together. It honestly looks like a blast if you can gather a group of friends who want to work together. The first-person pirate game really seems like it will be making waves. For any who thought that zombies might be going away any time soon, Microsoft had not one, but two zombie titles in their presser lineup. State of Decay 2 made its debut with a strange trailer that alternated between lighthearted zombie killing and serious struggles for survival. Players can work together or alone to overcome challenges and survive in a world that has gone mad in the wake of a zombie apocalypse. However you choose to interact with the denizens of State of Decay 2, the world remembers the choices you make as a character. State of Decay 2 releases for Xbox One and PC sometime in 2017. The sequel to one of the most well-received console RTS games in history is on the way. Halo Wars 2 continues the story of the original Halo Wars as the Spirit of Fire and her crew find themselves locked in conflict with a brutal alien warlord named Atriox who leads an army known as The Banished. Players will need to lead their soldiers with all their cunning if they hope to survive the assaults of Atriox and his Banished. Halo Wars 2 is slated for release on February 21, 2017. After the trailer, a brief beta gameplay trailer was shown, depicting what players can expect to experience during the beta that goes from today until June 20. Microsoft held it biggest bombshell for last. After the unveiling of Halo Wars 2, the tech giant revealed Project Scorpio, a second version of the Xbox One that the company claims is the most powerful console constructed to date with a GPU that clocks in at a whopping 6 teraflops, almost five times stronger than the current Xbox One. It will have one of the strongest GPUs ever put into a console. That power will be used to deliver 4K gaming and seamless VR experiences. Despite that power, Phil Spencer emphasized that the guiding priority with Project Scorpio was, "no one gets left behind." All accessories that work with the base Xbox One will also work with Project Scorpio. Project Scorpio is on track for a 2017 holiday release. No price has yet been announced. Overall, I'd say Microsoft knocked their press conference out of the park. Tons of new, interesting games were shown with plenty of gameplay. In a brilliant PR move, they managed to edge away from console exclusivity and bridge the gap between Xbox One and Windows 10. Two new console versions revealed that both have really great selling points. This presentation was very meaty and will give people quite a bit to chew over for the next few days as more coverage rolls out. For more E3 press conference news, check out our ongoing coverage: EA Play Live Bethesda's E3 Press Conference