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Found 143 results

  1. Microsoft addressed one of Xbox's largest criticisms, the lack of exclusive AAA games, by announcing the creation/acquisition of several development studios. When speaking about the importance of making Xbox One the best places to play game, Xbox head Phil Spencer announced the formation of The Initiative. This new Microsoft studio, led by veteran storyteller Darrell Gallagher (formally of Crystal Dynamics), is currently building a team of "world-class talent" in Santa Monica, California. Their goal, as Spencer put it, is to "create groundbreaking new game experiences". Spencer followed that news by revealing that four third-party studios have been brought under Microsoft's umbrella: Undead Labs (State of Decay series) Playground Games (Forza Horizon series, Unannounced new IP) Ninja Theory (Hellblade, DmC Devil May Cry, Enslaved) Compulsion Games (We Happy Few, Contrast) Spencer states these five teams will have "the resources, the platform, and the creative independence to take bigger risks, [and] create even bolder worlds for you". In a bit of writing on the wall, State of Decay and Forza Horizon have long been Microsoft-exclusive titles. The formally PlayStation-exclusive Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice arrived on Xbox in April. We Happy Few, however, is still scheduled to release on PlayStation 4 as well as Xbox One. View full article
  2. Microsoft addressed one of Xbox's largest criticisms, the lack of exclusive AAA games, by announcing the creation/acquisition of several development studios. When speaking about the importance of making Xbox One the best places to play game, Xbox head Phil Spencer announced the formation of The Initiative. This new Microsoft studio, led by veteran storyteller Darrell Gallagher (formally of Crystal Dynamics), is currently building a team of "world-class talent" in Santa Monica, California. Their goal, as Spencer put it, is to "create groundbreaking new game experiences". Spencer followed that news by revealing that four third-party studios have been brought under Microsoft's umbrella: Undead Labs (State of Decay series) Playground Games (Forza Horizon series, Unannounced new IP) Ninja Theory (Hellblade, DmC Devil May Cry, Enslaved) Compulsion Games (We Happy Few, Contrast) Spencer states these five teams will have "the resources, the platform, and the creative independence to take bigger risks, [and] create even bolder worlds for you". In a bit of writing on the wall, State of Decay and Forza Horizon have long been Microsoft-exclusive titles. The formally PlayStation-exclusive Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice arrived on Xbox in April. We Happy Few, however, is still scheduled to release on PlayStation 4 as well as Xbox One.
  3. One of the biggest surprises at Microsoft's E3 conference was Dying Light 2. The big surprise wasn't just that it appeared and was showcased in a lengthy gameplay demo, but that it was presented by legendary game designer Chris Avellone, who is serving as Narrative Designer for Techland's zombie apocalypse sequel. Avellone is a veteran of choice-driven RPG epics like Fallout 2 and New Vegas, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, and the underrated cult classic, Alpha Protocol. Having him be the face of Dying Light 2 is a statement that the story is taking a greater importance this time around. Not that the story was bad or anything in the original Dying Light, but it's clear that Techland is focusing on integrating narrative importance into every aspect of this follow-up. By the looks of things, the gameplay looks like its iterating on the parkour and melee action of the original, making everything smoother, faster, and more responsive, and adding cool with new moves like swinging on a pipe to kick an unlucky enemy off a ledge to his doom. If all goes according to plan, Dying Light 2 will play just like the original, but even better. The real innovation here comes with the core theme of "choice." According to Chris Avellone, everything you do as a player will have an effect on the world. The example on display in the stage demo gives the player the choice of securing a cache of water from a pair of gangsters who are planning to sell it on the black market. The player can secure the water for the Peace Keepers, who distribute it to the local population, but their militaristic and fascistic rule over the area is strengthened. On the other hand, the player can betray the Peace Keepers and side with the gangsters, opening up trade opportunities with them but attracting the real dregs of society. As in most of Avellone's games, these decisions won't have plain, black & white consequences, but may have unforeseen ripple effects which can drastically change the game world. Avellone promises that there are "hundreds" of these types of decisions which will go a long way towards individualizing each person's odyssey through the world of Dying Light. Dying Light 2 is currently in development. View full article
  4. Zak Wojnar

    Dying Light 2 Is All About Choice

    One of the biggest surprises at Microsoft's E3 conference was Dying Light 2. The big surprise wasn't just that it appeared and was showcased in a lengthy gameplay demo, but that it was presented by legendary game designer Chris Avellone, who is serving as Narrative Designer for Techland's zombie apocalypse sequel. Avellone is a veteran of choice-driven RPG epics like Fallout 2 and New Vegas, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, and the underrated cult classic, Alpha Protocol. Having him be the face of Dying Light 2 is a statement that the story is taking a greater importance this time around. Not that the story was bad or anything in the original Dying Light, but it's clear that Techland is focusing on integrating narrative importance into every aspect of this follow-up. By the looks of things, the gameplay looks like its iterating on the parkour and melee action of the original, making everything smoother, faster, and more responsive, and adding cool with new moves like swinging on a pipe to kick an unlucky enemy off a ledge to his doom. If all goes according to plan, Dying Light 2 will play just like the original, but even better. The real innovation here comes with the core theme of "choice." According to Chris Avellone, everything you do as a player will have an effect on the world. The example on display in the stage demo gives the player the choice of securing a cache of water from a pair of gangsters who are planning to sell it on the black market. The player can secure the water for the Peace Keepers, who distribute it to the local population, but their militaristic and fascistic rule over the area is strengthened. On the other hand, the player can betray the Peace Keepers and side with the gangsters, opening up trade opportunities with them but attracting the real dregs of society. As in most of Avellone's games, these decisions won't have plain, black & white consequences, but may have unforeseen ripple effects which can drastically change the game world. Avellone promises that there are "hundreds" of these types of decisions which will go a long way towards individualizing each person's odyssey through the world of Dying Light. Dying Light 2 is currently in development.
  5. Rico Rodriguez is one of gaming's most bombastic heroes. Each game in the series puts Rico in a new territory taken over by some bad guys. his job is to take it back, by any means necessary. Usually, that involves making everything explode using his iconic grappling hook and parachute, his crack driving skills, and a whole lot of explosive ordinance. As revealed in Microsoft's E3 press conference, Rico is back to cause more explosions in Just Cause 4. This time around, Rico has been dispatched to Solis, a region with a wide variety of geographic diversity, from arctic tundra to sandy desert and everything in between. Here, he will do battle with the Black Hand, a mercenary organization which appeared way back in the original 2006 game, as well as 2015's Just Cause 3. For the most part, Just Cause 4 looks like it's aiming to be more of the same, but bigger and better in every way. The game's E3 trailer showed off an insane level of destruction and over-the-top stunts that would make James Bond blush, like flying a jet fighter into a glass dome, crashing a motorbike into a flying helicopter, and, craziest of all, driving a muscle car into a whirling tornado. Indeed, Just Cause 4 features dynamic weather events such as tornadoes, thunderstorms, and more. A brief snippet of gameplay shows Rico driving a snowmobile across a snowy winter wonderland. Could avalanches pop up as an extreme environmental disruption? Considering the game is developed by Avalanche Games, it should be a no-brainer, right? The Just Cause series is an unmatched playground of blockbuster action. In terms of environmental destructibility, nothing else comes close to matching the grand scale of Just Cause's explosive gameplay. If all goes well, Just Cause 4 will be the biggest and best entry yet. We'll know for sure when the game launches on December 4. View full article
  6. Rico Rodriguez is one of gaming's most bombastic heroes. Each game in the series puts Rico in a new territory taken over by some bad guys. his job is to take it back, by any means necessary. Usually, that involves making everything explode using his iconic grappling hook and parachute, his crack driving skills, and a whole lot of explosive ordinance. As revealed in Microsoft's E3 press conference, Rico is back to cause more explosions in Just Cause 4. This time around, Rico has been dispatched to Solis, a region with a wide variety of geographic diversity, from arctic tundra to sandy desert and everything in between. Here, he will do battle with the Black Hand, a mercenary organization which appeared way back in the original 2006 game, as well as 2015's Just Cause 3. For the most part, Just Cause 4 looks like it's aiming to be more of the same, but bigger and better in every way. The game's E3 trailer showed off an insane level of destruction and over-the-top stunts that would make James Bond blush, like flying a jet fighter into a glass dome, crashing a motorbike into a flying helicopter, and, craziest of all, driving a muscle car into a whirling tornado. Indeed, Just Cause 4 features dynamic weather events such as tornadoes, thunderstorms, and more. A brief snippet of gameplay shows Rico driving a snowmobile across a snowy winter wonderland. Could avalanches pop up as an extreme environmental disruption? Considering the game is developed by Avalanche Games, it should be a no-brainer, right? The Just Cause series is an unmatched playground of blockbuster action. In terms of environmental destructibility, nothing else comes close to matching the grand scale of Just Cause's explosive gameplay. If all goes well, Just Cause 4 will be the biggest and best entry yet. We'll know for sure when the game launches on December 4.
  7. Microsoft is tripling down on their blockbuster Gears of War franchise with three new games with widely disparate takes on the universe of chainsaw bayonets and tough-as-nails heroes. Gears Pop!, Gears Tactics, and Gears 5. There's no escaping the immense popularity of Funko Pop! figurines, and the first new Gears project is a mobile spin-off which replaces the tough-as-nails characters of the Gears of War universe with the adorable, big-headed trinkets. No gameplay details were offered on Gears Pop!, but it will surely be refreshing to see a bizarrely more family-friendly take on the ultra-violent world of Gears. Gears Tactics didn't receive a proper trailer, but a brief snippet of footage was shown on stage. A turn-based strategy title, Gears Tactics can be immediately described as Gears of War meets XCOM, and it's hard to imagine anyone complaining about that. Gears Tactics will be a Windows exclusive. Finally, the main event of the Gears segment, and arguably the entire Microsoft conference, was Gears 5. For the first time in the series, the main character is a woman, Kait Diaz, who was first introduced in Gears of War 4. As usual, the game will support two-player split-screen co-op, as well as single-player and online multiplayer. The trailer featured a welcome focus on character relationships and the mutual distrust between the Kait and her partner, suggesting this will be a more personal Gears story than ever before. If all goes according to plan, Gears 5 will feature explosive action and palpable drama in equal measure. All three of these Gears titles are slated for 2019. View full article
  8. Microsoft is tripling down on their blockbuster Gears of War franchise with three new games with widely disparate takes on the universe of chainsaw bayonets and tough-as-nails heroes. Gears Pop!, Gears Tactics, and Gears 5. There's no escaping the immense popularity of Funko Pop! figurines, and the first new Gears project is a mobile spin-off which replaces the tough-as-nails characters of the Gears of War universe with the adorable, big-headed trinkets. No gameplay details were offered on Gears Pop!, but it will surely be refreshing to see a bizarrely more family-friendly take on the ultra-violent world of Gears. Gears Tactics didn't receive a proper trailer, but a brief snippet of footage was shown on stage. A turn-based strategy title, Gears Tactics can be immediately described as Gears of War meets XCOM, and it's hard to imagine anyone complaining about that. Gears Tactics will be a Windows exclusive. Finally, the main event of the Gears segment, and arguably the entire Microsoft conference, was Gears 5. For the first time in the series, the main character is a woman, Kait Diaz, who was first introduced in Gears of War 4. As usual, the game will support two-player split-screen co-op, as well as single-player and online multiplayer. The trailer featured a welcome focus on character relationships and the mutual distrust between the Kait and her partner, suggesting this will be a more personal Gears story than ever before. If all goes according to plan, Gears 5 will feature explosive action and palpable drama in equal measure. All three of these Gears titles are slated for 2019.
  9. During last year's Game Awards, Dark Souls/Bloodborne developer FromSoftware gave us a tantalizing glimpse at the next project. They pulled back that curtain entirely to reveal their next action title, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. The game takes place in Japan and swaps medieval knights and Lovecraftian horrors for ninjas. Don't be fooled; there's still plenty of supernatural threats, including a massive serpent. The mysterious bone tool from the teaser is actually an artificial arm for the protagonist. This multipurpose limb can fire a grappling hook used quickly zip around or turn into an umbrella-like shield. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice launches in 2019. It will arrive on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
  10. It's been ten long years since Devil May Cry 4, the final entry in Capcom's over-the-top gothic action franchise. Although some fans were sated by the 2013 reboot, developed by Ninja Theory, many brushed it aside, awaiting a proper return for Dante, Nero, and the rest of the gang. Finally, Devil May Cry 5 has been announced. Hideaki Itsuno, director of DMC3 and 4 (as well as the cult favorite, Dragon's Dogma), has returned to helm a brand new entry in the original Devil May Cry continuity. An eye-popping new trailer showcased all the crazy action, demonic insanity, and charismatic swagger fans have come to expect from the series, all with an extra coat of next-gen paint, courtesy of the current suite of gaming consoles. The game will feature three lead characters: Nero, returning from DMC4, who has lost his arm and is seeking revenge, series stalwart Dante, who rides in on a cool motorcycle and brandishing a grizzly beard, and a third character, who has yet to be properly revealed. Devil May Cry is a series which prides itself on unbridled cinematic action and an unmatched sense of style. This upcoming fifth chapter has been a long time coming, but Dante and Nero are playing it cool, as though they had never left. Devil May Cry 5 is currently on track for a Spring 2019 release. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  11. It's been ten long years since Devil May Cry 4, the final entry in Capcom's over-the-top gothic action franchise. Although some fans were sated by the 2013 reboot, developed by Ninja Theory, many brushed it aside, awaiting a proper return for Dante, Nero, and the rest of the gang. Finally, Devil May Cry 5 has been announced. Hideaki Itsuno, director of DMC3 and 4 (as well as the cult favorite, Dragon's Dogma), has returned to helm a brand new entry in the original Devil May Cry continuity. An eye-popping new trailer showcased all the crazy action, demonic insanity, and charismatic swagger fans have come to expect from the series, all with an extra coat of next-gen paint, courtesy of the current suite of gaming consoles. The game will feature three lead characters: Nero, returning from DMC4, who has lost his arm and is seeking revenge, series stalwart Dante, who rides in on a cool motorcycle and brandishing a grizzly beard, and a third character, who has yet to be properly revealed. Devil May Cry is a series which prides itself on unbridled cinematic action and an unmatched sense of style. This upcoming fifth chapter has been a long time coming, but Dante and Nero are playing it cool, as though they had never left. Devil May Cry 5 is currently on track for a Spring 2019 release. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  12. As the Microsoft E3 press conference drew to a close, Phil Spencer's final statements were cut off by a burst of static, as though the Microsoft stage had been hacked by outside forces. Sure enough, it was the long-awaited reveal of Cyberpunk 2077. In January 2013, the game was first promoted with a provocative teaser trailer. Five years later, we finally have a new look at the highly-anticipated RPG from the developers of The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. Unlike that initial teaser, which was entirely pre-rendered, this new trailer consists entirely of in-engine footage. Cyberpunk 2077 is a follow-up to the legendary pen-and-paper RPG, Cyberpunk 2020, and puts players in Night City, California, a science-fiction world of corporate espionage, wealth disparity, cybernetic modifications, and bright neon lights. While no actual gameplay was shown, the imagery on display points towards a number of prospective gameplay mechanics. The video begins on a subway, suggesting a vast city and public transportation system for players to explore. The protagonist is seen driving a retro-future 1980s car, so maybe vehicles will be a central component of the game, a 21st century counterpart to Roach, the horse from The Witcher III. The trailer offers fleeting glimpses of underground fight clubs, people who are augmented to the point where they're more machine than human, children playing virtual reality video games, and even a basketball player using booster jets attached to his boots to gain an extra edge. More than any gameplay revelations, the trailer offers a look at a city on the brink of collapse, wallowing in a mix of despair, glamour, violence, and rollicking freedom. As the unnamed protagonist of the clip says, "It's a city of dreams, and I'm a big dreamer." While Cyberpunk 2077 is arguably still as mysterious as ever, we now have a solid look at the setting of the title, and the appropriately punk rock tone Polish developer CD Projekt Red is attempting to capture. Cyberpunk 2077 looks to be shaping up to capture the spirit of the Cyberpunk movement, the tech-based optimism of its 1980s inspiration, and the role-playing mastery of its developers. Cyberpunk 2077 will release "when it's ready." View full article
  13. As the Microsoft E3 press conference drew to a close, Phil Spencer's final statements were cut off by a burst of static, as though the Microsoft stage had been hacked by outside forces. Sure enough, it was the long-awaited reveal of Cyberpunk 2077. In January 2013, the game was first promoted with a provocative teaser trailer. Five years later, we finally have a new look at the highly-anticipated RPG from the developers of The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. Unlike that initial teaser, which was entirely pre-rendered, this new trailer consists entirely of in-engine footage. Cyberpunk 2077 is a follow-up to the legendary pen-and-paper RPG, Cyberpunk 2020, and puts players in Night City, California, a science-fiction world of corporate espionage, wealth disparity, cybernetic modifications, and bright neon lights. While no actual gameplay was shown, the imagery on display points towards a number of prospective gameplay mechanics. The video begins on a subway, suggesting a vast city and public transportation system for players to explore. The protagonist is seen driving a retro-future 1980s car, so maybe vehicles will be a central component of the game, a 21st century counterpart to Roach, the horse from The Witcher III. The trailer offers fleeting glimpses of underground fight clubs, people who are augmented to the point where they're more machine than human, children playing virtual reality video games, and even a basketball player using booster jets attached to his boots to gain an extra edge. More than any gameplay revelations, the trailer offers a look at a city on the brink of collapse, wallowing in a mix of despair, glamour, violence, and rollicking freedom. As the unnamed protagonist of the clip says, "It's a city of dreams, and I'm a big dreamer." While Cyberpunk 2077 is arguably still as mysterious as ever, we now have a solid look at the setting of the title, and the appropriately punk rock tone Polish developer CD Projekt Red is attempting to capture. Cyberpunk 2077 looks to be shaping up to capture the spirit of the Cyberpunk movement, the tech-based optimism of its 1980s inspiration, and the role-playing mastery of its developers. Cyberpunk 2077 will release "when it's ready."
  14. Microsoft kicked off their press conference with a bang, showing off a brand new Halo title from 343 Industries, Halo Infinite. Rather than a traditional story trailer or gameplay demo, the short video clip offered a "game engine demonstration," showcasing the graphical capabilities of the new SlipSpace engine. The sight of herds of animals, real-time rain, lighting, and time of day effects were impressive and could potentially indicate that the new title might be willing to explore beyond the series' traditional linear FPS action, or at least offer a significant new spin on the series. The two-minute demo showed a wide variety of locations before ending with a provocative shot of Master Chief, holding his iconic helmet at his side... Though they stopped short of actually showing the Chief's actual face, which has been often teased in the series, but never actually revealed. There's a lot of anticipation and mystery surrounding Halo Infinite, which Microsoft boss Phil Spencer promised would be Master Chief's "greatest adventure yet." Halo is one of Xbox's signature franchises, and it's a safe bet there are a lot of fans who are extremely excited to see the legendary series make a triumphant return. View full article
  15. Zak Wojnar

    Microsoft Demos Halo Infinite

    Microsoft kicked off their press conference with a bang, showing off a brand new Halo title from 343 Industries, Halo Infinite. Rather than a traditional story trailer or gameplay demo, the short video clip offered a "game engine demonstration," showcasing the graphical capabilities of the new SlipSpace engine. The sight of herds of animals, real-time rain, lighting, and time of day effects were impressive and could potentially indicate that the new title might be willing to explore beyond the series' traditional linear FPS action, or at least offer a significant new spin on the series. The two-minute demo showed a wide variety of locations before ending with a provocative shot of Master Chief, holding his iconic helmet at his side... Though they stopped short of actually showing the Chief's actual face, which has been often teased in the series, but never actually revealed. There's a lot of anticipation and mystery surrounding Halo Infinite, which Microsoft boss Phil Spencer promised would be Master Chief's "greatest adventure yet." Halo is one of Xbox's signature franchises, and it's a safe bet there are a lot of fans who are extremely excited to see the legendary series make a triumphant return.
  16. During last year's Game Awards, Dark Souls/Bloodborne developer FromSoftware gave us a tantalizing glimpse at the next project. They pulled back that curtain entirely to reveal their next action title, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. The game takes place in Japan and swaps medieval knights and Lovecraftian horrors for ninjas. Don't be fooled; there's still plenty of supernatural threats, including a massive serpent. The mysterious bone tool from the teaser is actually an artificial arm for the protagonist. This multipurpose limb can fire a grappling hook used quickly zip around or turn into an umbrella-like shield. Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice launches in 2019. It will arrive on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. View full article
  17. Every year since 2011, Sega-Addicts.com has done a Dreamcast Dreamless 24-Hour Marathon. From 2015 forward I have taken the reigns and hosted it from my home with staff members and friends joining. Most recently we learned about Extra Life and thought the Marathon was a great chance to raise some money! Collectively over the last two years we have raised over $1,500 for a local children's hospital! And now we are inviting all of you to join us on the internet to raise money for kids while enjoying Sega's last great console on 09/01/2018. This year, we are hosting from the Mega Visions Magazine Twitch page and more ready than ever to tackle some Dreamcast insanity to help the kids! You can check out last year's marathon on YouTube here. Stay tuned for the final schedule in the coming months! We also have a Reddit topic for game recommendations here! Now the die-hard Dreamcast fans will immediately notice we are not celebrating on the actual anniversary (09/09/99) of the console. We are celebrating on Labor Day weekend to allow easier travel for the out-of-towners. We hope you understand and decided to join the insanity on Twitch! Thanks for taking a look, folks. If you feel like helping out, you can print the flyer from the group page and share to all!
  18. It's hard for people to game if they don't have reliable control over two hands. That very simple premise has given rise to various organizations like dedicated to hacking traditional controllers or even fabricating entirely new and specialized controllers on an individual basis for wounded veterans, people born with disabilities, and those who have been through traumatic accidents. These groups, like AbleGamers or Warfighter Engaged, have spent years working to find solutions for people who love gaming, but find it difficult or even impossible to use a traditional controller. Yesterday, Microsoft announced something amazing: The Xbox Adaptive Controller. This device will release later this year and can be customized to a very wide variety of specialized peripherals to create set ups that anyone can play with regardless of physical ability. The back of the controller has clearly labeled plug-ins for a variety of external buttons, switches, and joysticks that can then be physically placed anywhere for the most convenient use by the player. It can be used to play Xbox One and Windows 10 PC titles and supports button remapping. It can even save three different game profiles so that it can switch seamlessly between different game types on the fly. Solomon Romney, a retail learning specialist for Microsoft, has had months to test out the final build of the Adaptive Controller. "I can customize how I interface with the Xbox Adaptive Controller to whatever I want," he said. “If I want to play a game entirely with my feet, I can. I can make the controls fit my body, my desires, and I can change them anytime I want. You plug in whatever you want and go. It takes virtually no time to set it up and use it. It could not be simpler." Romney was born without fingers on his left hand, which makes operating a traditional controller difficult. "I get to redesign my controller every day and get to choose how I want to play. For me, that's the greatest thing ever." For Microsoft and the people who worked on the Adaptive Controller, this is the culmination of years of effort to justify the creation of a niche peripheral designed for an often under-served group of gamers. The journey began back in 2014 when Twitter, through a twist of fate, connected a Microsoft engineer with Warfighter Engaged, a nonprofit that works with wounded veterans to keep them gaming. The organization's founder, Ken Jones, was a mechanical engineer and struggled to create gaming equipment to meet the specific needs of all the veterans who came to Warfighter Engaged seeking help. That connection blossomed into an awareness at Microsoft for this underlying need in the game industry for accessible gaming equipment. The next year, Microsoft held its annual Ability Summit, an event dedicated to getting the company to consider accessibility in its devices and solutions. For a hackathon tournament, the winning entry was a device that was able to work with the Kinect to track movement and read those as button and joystick inputs on a traditional controller. Another team took that idea and refined it into a prototype device that could attach to an Xbox One controller and allow other input devices to be connected. Around the same time, Microsoft launched the Gaming for Everyone initiative with the goal of broadening the community of people who can play and enjoy games. Headed by Kris Hunter, the director of devices user research and hardware accessibility, and Bryce Johnson, a senior Xbox designer, the initiative worked quietly to make the Adaptive Controller a reality. What really solidified the idea of what the Adaptive Controller would eventually be was the launch of the Xbox One's Copilot feature in 2017. Copilot allows players to link two Xbox One controllers as if they were one device. The original idea was that it would allow players to play a single player game together without transferring a controller back and forth. However, they discovered it was also used by those with disabilities to game in creative ways Microsoft hadn't expected, such as using a head or foot to operate the second controller. That realization brought together all of the different ideas that Microsoft had been toying with since that chance 2014 Twitter encounter. Instead of using a device like that from the hackathon or the subsequent controller add-on, Copilot could be used to attach a device that allowed for more flexible gaming inputs that could cater to a wide variety of people. Making a device like that would allow for it to be sleek, elegant, even. It wouldn't be an afterthought, but a fully executed and produced device worthy of the Microsoft brand. Those pushing for the device to make it to retail apparently met with internal opposition to the idea, but advocates like Kris Hunter wouldn't let the idea die. "I had a passion for it and I didn't give up," she said. "I kept saying, 'This product is too important. [...] If we really want to be intentional and we really want to walk the walk versus just talk the talk, this is the product that will do it." Microsoft turned to the nonprofits who had helped bring this niche to light at the very beginning. Warfighter Engaged, AbleGamers, SpecialEffect, Craig Hospital, and the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, came together to consult on how to best design a controller that would fit the needs of the people they worked with every day. Ideas like spreading out the 19 input jacks across the back of the device to make them easier to differentiate, a rectangular shape to make it comfortable in a gamer's lap, or threaded inserts to secure the controller to a standard wheelchair, lapboard, or desk all came about from conversations with these nonprofits. The The design process even led to something Microsoft is considering adding to all future products - a groove above each port to provide a tactile reference for where things are supposed to be plugged in. "One message heard clearly from the accessibility community was 'don't infantilize the device' — don't make it look like a Fisher-Price toy," said Bryce Johnson. "People often don't want to use adaptive technology because it looks like a toy." That became a guiding principal behind the design of the Adaptive Controller. First and foremost, Microsoft wanted the Adaptive Controller to be something proudly carrying the brand as a symbol; something that adults wouldn't feel embarrassed to use in front of friends or family. With a price of $100, the Adaptive Controller positions itself as the most affordable option for those looking for accessibility solutions in gaming. The price is an important to keep in mind for all of the hospitals and patients out there who previously needed to find a custom build for their particular needs or forgo gaming completely. If the work we're doing to raise money for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals through Extra Life can go toward helping kids rediscover their ability to game with the help of the Xbox Adaptive Controller... well, that's an incredibly exciting thing. The Xbox Adaptive Controller will release later this year and we will likely receive more details when E3 rolls around. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  19. It's hard for people to game if they don't have reliable control over two hands. That very simple premise has given rise to various organizations like dedicated to hacking traditional controllers or even fabricating entirely new and specialized controllers on an individual basis for wounded veterans, people born with disabilities, and those who have been through traumatic accidents. These groups, like AbleGamers or Warfighter Engaged, have spent years working to find solutions for people who love gaming, but find it difficult or even impossible to use a traditional controller. Yesterday, Microsoft announced something amazing: The Xbox Adaptive Controller. This device will release later this year and can be customized to a very wide variety of specialized peripherals to create set ups that anyone can play with regardless of physical ability. The back of the controller has clearly labeled plug-ins for a variety of external buttons, switches, and joysticks that can then be physically placed anywhere for the most convenient use by the player. It can be used to play Xbox One and Windows 10 PC titles and supports button remapping. It can even save three different game profiles so that it can switch seamlessly between different game types on the fly. Solomon Romney, a retail learning specialist for Microsoft, has had months to test out the final build of the Adaptive Controller. "I can customize how I interface with the Xbox Adaptive Controller to whatever I want," he said. “If I want to play a game entirely with my feet, I can. I can make the controls fit my body, my desires, and I can change them anytime I want. You plug in whatever you want and go. It takes virtually no time to set it up and use it. It could not be simpler." Romney was born without fingers on his left hand, which makes operating a traditional controller difficult. "I get to redesign my controller every day and get to choose how I want to play. For me, that's the greatest thing ever." For Microsoft and the people who worked on the Adaptive Controller, this is the culmination of years of effort to justify the creation of a niche peripheral designed for an often under-served group of gamers. The journey began back in 2014 when Twitter, through a twist of fate, connected a Microsoft engineer with Warfighter Engaged, a nonprofit that works with wounded veterans to keep them gaming. The organization's founder, Ken Jones, was a mechanical engineer and struggled to create gaming equipment to meet the specific needs of all the veterans who came to Warfighter Engaged seeking help. That connection blossomed into an awareness at Microsoft for this underlying need in the game industry for accessible gaming equipment. The next year, Microsoft held its annual Ability Summit, an event dedicated to getting the company to consider accessibility in its devices and solutions. For a hackathon tournament, the winning entry was a device that was able to work with the Kinect to track movement and read those as button and joystick inputs on a traditional controller. Another team took that idea and refined it into a prototype device that could attach to an Xbox One controller and allow other input devices to be connected. Around the same time, Microsoft launched the Gaming for Everyone initiative with the goal of broadening the community of people who can play and enjoy games. Headed by Kris Hunter, the director of devices user research and hardware accessibility, and Bryce Johnson, a senior Xbox designer, the initiative worked quietly to make the Adaptive Controller a reality. What really solidified the idea of what the Adaptive Controller would eventually be was the launch of the Xbox One's Copilot feature in 2017. Copilot allows players to link two Xbox One controllers as if they were one device. The original idea was that it would allow players to play a single player game together without transferring a controller back and forth. However, they discovered it was also used by those with disabilities to game in creative ways Microsoft hadn't expected, such as using a head or foot to operate the second controller. That realization brought together all of the different ideas that Microsoft had been toying with since that chance 2014 Twitter encounter. Instead of using a device like that from the hackathon or the subsequent controller add-on, Copilot could be used to attach a device that allowed for more flexible gaming inputs that could cater to a wide variety of people. Making a device like that would allow for it to be sleek, elegant, even. It wouldn't be an afterthought, but a fully executed and produced device worthy of the Microsoft brand. Those pushing for the device to make it to retail apparently met with internal opposition to the idea, but advocates like Kris Hunter wouldn't let the idea die. "I had a passion for it and I didn't give up," she said. "I kept saying, 'This product is too important. [...] If we really want to be intentional and we really want to walk the walk versus just talk the talk, this is the product that will do it." Microsoft turned to the nonprofits who had helped bring this niche to light at the very beginning. Warfighter Engaged, AbleGamers, SpecialEffect, Craig Hospital, and the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, came together to consult on how to best design a controller that would fit the needs of the people they worked with every day. Ideas like spreading out the 19 input jacks across the back of the device to make them easier to differentiate, a rectangular shape to make it comfortable in a gamer's lap, or threaded inserts to secure the controller to a standard wheelchair, lapboard, or desk all came about from conversations with these nonprofits. The The design process even led to something Microsoft is considering adding to all future products - a groove above each port to provide a tactile reference for where things are supposed to be plugged in. "One message heard clearly from the accessibility community was 'don't infantilize the device' — don't make it look like a Fisher-Price toy," said Bryce Johnson. "People often don't want to use adaptive technology because it looks like a toy." That became a guiding principal behind the design of the Adaptive Controller. First and foremost, Microsoft wanted the Adaptive Controller to be something proudly carrying the brand as a symbol; something that adults wouldn't feel embarrassed to use in front of friends or family. With a price of $100, the Adaptive Controller positions itself as the most affordable option for those looking for accessibility solutions in gaming. The price is an important to keep in mind for all of the hospitals and patients out there who previously needed to find a custom build for their particular needs or forgo gaming completely. If the work we're doing to raise money for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals through Extra Life can go toward helping kids rediscover their ability to game with the help of the Xbox Adaptive Controller... well, that's an incredibly exciting thing. The Xbox Adaptive Controller will release later this year and we will likely receive more details when E3 rolls around. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  20. Jack Gardner

    The Best Games Period - Episode 97 - Minecraft

    Minecraft officially released back in 2011 and has since been taking the world by storm. You can now find Minecraft action figures, movies, several alternate versions of the game built as educational tools, and more that have forged a media empire based on that one game alone. In 2014, only three years after Minecraft's official launch, that empire had grown into a property worth billions of dollars. Microsoft approached the owner of Mojang, Minecraft's development studio, and bought the studio and its intellectual property for $2.5 billion. Boasting a bevy of free updates, narrative-based spin-offs, and a thriving community of players and content creators who continue to delve into its intricacies, Minecraft continues to be one of the most popular games in the world. Each week we will be tackling 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'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Minecraft 'Squishy's Theme' by The Orichalcon (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02327) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games!
  21. Minecraft officially released back in 2011 and has since been taking the world by storm. You can now find Minecraft action figures, movies, several alternate versions of the game built as educational tools, and more that have forged a media empire based on that one game alone. In 2014, only three years after Minecraft's official launch, that empire had grown into a property worth billions of dollars. Microsoft approached the owner of Mojang, Minecraft's development studio, and bought the studio and its intellectual property for $2.5 billion. Boasting a bevy of free updates, narrative-based spin-offs, and a thriving community of players and content creators who continue to delve into its intricacies, Minecraft continues to be one of the most popular games in the world. Each week we will be tackling 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'll dive into its history, development, and gameplay, while trying to argue for or against the game of the week. Sometimes we will be in harmonious agreement, other times we might be fighting a bitter battle to the very end. However each episode shakes out, we hope that everyone who listens will find the show entertaining and informative. Outro music: Minecraft 'Squishy's Theme' by The Orichalcon (http://ocremix.org/remix/OCR02327) You can download or listen to the podcast over on Soundcloud, our hosting site, and iTunes. A YouTube version is available as well, so you can watch what we are talking about while we talk about it! If you want to have your opinion heard on air, share your opinion in the comments, follow the show on Twitter, and participate in the weekly polls: @BestGamesPeriod New episodes of The Best Games Period will be released every Monday Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games! View full article
  22. prjkthack

    Xbox One X Launch Party

    Hey Columbus Guild, I know some of you will be with us this Saturday at the Microsoft Store to participate in Extra Life Day, and I'm excited for that, but I also wanted to invite you all to another event. On Monday, Microsoft will launch the Xbox One X, and of course, we're throwing a party. I've extended an invitation to some of your guild members already, but I wanted to invite all of you to come down and mingle, play some games, win some prizes, and just have fun with us. You don't have to pre-order or buy anything to participate. So if you are free, join us for a night of fun! Microsoft Store at Easton Town Center Monday, November 6 from 5:00 PM - 12:00 AM There is also a Halo 5 2v2 tournament at 5 PM, and a Forza Motorsport 7 competition at 9 PM. Thanks for all that you guys do. - Tim (prjkthack)
  23. Jack Gardner

    The Kinect Is Officially Dead

    Remember the bright future of motion controlled gaming painted by Microsoft? It doesn't seem like it will be coming to fruition any time soon. In an interview with Co.Design, Alex Kipman, the creator of the Kinect, revealed that manufacturing of the Xbox 360/One accessory has shut down. Stores will be selling off their remaining stock of Kinects and that will be that for the device once heralded as the future of video games. After being introduced to the world in 2010, the device has sold over 35 million units. Despite an array of features and abilities, not many developers were ready to trust to the device for their games anything more than gimmicks like voice control or simple gesture recognition. In fact, the biggest success for the Kinect seems to have been outside of gaming in academia for the purposes of research and development of new technologies and techniques. What do you think? Was the Kinect too ahead of its time or was it simply a good idea that never really worked as well as it was supposed to?
  24. Remember the bright future of motion controlled gaming painted by Microsoft? It doesn't seem like it will be coming to fruition any time soon. In an interview with Co.Design, Alex Kipman, the creator of the Kinect, revealed that manufacturing of the Xbox 360/One accessory has shut down. Stores will be selling off their remaining stock of Kinects and that will be that for the device once heralded as the future of video games. After being introduced to the world in 2010, the device has sold over 35 million units. Despite an array of features and abilities, not many developers were ready to trust to the device for their games anything more than gimmicks like voice control or simple gesture recognition. In fact, the biggest success for the Kinect seems to have been outside of gaming in academia for the purposes of research and development of new technologies and techniques. What do you think? Was the Kinect too ahead of its time or was it simply a good idea that never really worked as well as it was supposed to? View full article
  25. FoxRacingGurl

    Microsoft Overwatch Tournament

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    We're back hosting another Overwatch Tournament with Microsoft Yorkdale Mall in support of SickKids Hospital!ADMISSION AND COMPETING IS FREE!*** TOURNAMENT *** 3 vs 3 Overwatch PC TournamentPlatform: PC, (laptops, headsets, and mice available on site) *Must have Battle Net IDMax # of Players: 32 [Teams of 3]Format: 32 Team, double elimination.Series: Best of 3Game Mode: ControlMaps: Assorted PRIZES TBD Tournament check in time: 11am - 12pm Tournament time: 12pm - 7pm * Register your team by emailing maria@extralifetoronto.com --- Register as a team: Please provide team name and (3) names OR --- Register solo/duo: Please provide name and we will do our best to group you into a team of 3! Registration deadline: Fri, July 14 2017 Space is limited, so please register as soon as possible! The tournament will be streamed live on MIXER Spectators welcome!!! *** RAFFLE *** PRIZE(S) TBA There are lots of ways to enter the raffle! Drop by the Extra Life table at the event to learn how! - - - More details to come, light refreshments will be available!
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