This was leaked beforehand and we all knew it was coming so Microsoft wasted no time by opening their press conference with the official announcement of the new Xbox One S – a slimmer and more powerful version of the Xbox One available for $299 from August onward. This new entry point to the Xbox One coincides with Microsoft’s plans to introduce cross-play to their first-party titles, starting with Gears of War 4. Players who buy Gears of War 4 will own the game on both Xbox One and PC, have their game saves/achievements sync automatically and be able to play cross-platform multiplayer. Games like Quantum Break have made a move toward this recently and there are still some details to be clarified but this could be seen as a strong counter to Sony’s PS4/Vita cross-buy initiative by putting games on a platform people actually own. Following in the cross-buy initiative, the next Killer Instinct character to be released will be General Raam of Gears of War fame. General Raam will be free to play this week on both Xbox One and PC.
Forza Horizon 3
Forza Horizon 3, too, will be available on both PC and Xbox One and set in Australia. Forza Horizon 3 seems to be aiming to introduce some more seamless multiplayer gaming than past games in the franchise, adding a Burnout Paradise level of ‘join in and mess around’ style of gameplay. Forza Horizon 3 will be available September 27th of this year. Speaking of seamless multiplayer – Recore has none. Segues are hard, k? Anyway, Recore has a new trailer but no new information. It’s cool to look back to what they showed last year and see how the game has progressed but we’re still waiting to hear a release date. Final Fantasy 15, on the other hand will be out September 30th. Also, The Division Underground expansion will be available first on Xbox One from June 28th. This expansion will add some repeatable end-game content to the game to keep you occupied when you get bored of wandering around New York.
The Xbox platform itself will be introducing some new features like background music, Cortana and language independence. What does that mean? Okay, well background music means you’ll be able to play music while you’re playing games. Finally, a return to the custom soundtrack feature from Burnout Paradise. Wow, 2 Burnout Paradise references in one article. Language independence means you’ll be able to change your language settings without changing your region settings. This is a fringe-case feature but it’s going to be really useful for those of you living abroad who have one region for their location but prefer to play games in a different language. Finally, Cortana has finally completed her loop and made it back to Xbox. The Windows 10 feature – currently exclusive to certain region – not including Ireland last time I checked – will soon make its way to Xbox One. Furthermore we’ll see some new online features. Firstly, a ‘group feature’ which will allow you to search for players with similar interests. It’s just Steam groups, guys. Next up, a ‘looking for group’ function which will allow you to basically place classified ads looking for specific types of people to play games with. Finally, Arena is a new tournament platform which will allow tournaments to be hosted easily online.
Knocking one more nail into the coffin of Scuff Controllers, Microsoft Design Lab will allow you to customize the appearance of your controller. Now all that’s left to do is merge the appearance customization with the feature-set of the elite controller. By the way, Inside, from the makers of LIMBO, comes out June 29th. No idea what it is – the trailer was just some shots of an office. According to one Brad Shoemaker of Giantbomb it looks, plays and feels very much like LIMBO.
We Happy Few is getting ever closer. For those of you who don’t remember, it’s the game where everyone has white face paint on and they’re smiling all the time – pretty creepy. If you want to see more, a preview will be available from July 26th. Gwent will similarly be available on the official website soon.
Tekken 7 has Akuma in it. I’m by no means a fighting game expert but that’s not right, is it? Whatever. It’s got a story mode, unlike certain OTHER fighting games. As a celebration of Tekken 7, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 will be free for Xbox live gold members for the next week.
Dead Rising 4
Dead Rising 4 re-introduces Frank West, looking a little younger and cleaner than when we last saw him. Dead Rising 4 will be available some time in winter 2016. That whole franchise is getting more and more ridiculous. There’s a dinosaur head Frank West wears that breathes fire. It seems to be Christmas-themed too so here’s hoping to a game to match the best ‘Christmas move that isn’t a Christmas movie’ ever – Die Hard. Side-note, I really hope DR4 has DLC with a name as amazing as “Super Ultra Dead Rising 3′ Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX + α.
The protagonist from Scalebound still has sick headphones and hella attitude. Again, just like Recore, it’s cool to look back at the trailer from E3 2015 and see the progress that’s been made in the last year. Director and Platinum Games dude Hideki Kamiya looks to be acting as the one and only creator contributing to the ‘Stylish Hard Action’ genre – which he totally didn’t invent himself. Unfortunately, Scalebound won’t be available until 2017 so you’ve got a while to wait for the spiritual successor to DMC’s Dante.
Sea of Thieves
Surprisingly Microsoft is still allowing Rareware to make a game. Sea of Thieves is still in production, guys! Microsoft haven’t stopped them to make them work on Xbox avatars like on the Xbox 360! Sea of Thieves is, once again, available on both Xbox One and PC. I’m going to be honest, I can’t stand the stupid ‘OMG YOUTUBE GAMERZ LOL TWITCH’ facecam stuff but the gameplay trailer for Sea of Thieves looked good in spite of the desperate vying for mass appeal.
State of Decay
State of Decay is getting a sequel. Who saw that one coming? Well, a lot of people, actually, thanks to a how leaky Microsoft has been this week. State of Decay – for those of you who don’t remember – was a very ambitious zombie survival game that didn’t quite live up to expectations but it was clear that with some more time the developers could make something really great. It looks like they’re getting that opportunity with State of Decay 2 coming 2017. While I’m on the topic of unexpected sequels, Halo Wars 2 exists. How weird is that? That game came out 7 years ago and I’ll bet that if I’d asked you to name every Halo game in the franchise you’d have left it out, along with Spartan Assault. The Halo Wars 2 beta can be played for a week from June 13th. That’s today.
Finally, Microsoft substantiated all of the Project Scorpio rumours by, well, announcing Project Scorpio. The most important thing to note about Project Scorpio right now is that we don’t have any solid information about what it will be. All we really know is that it’s coming holiday season 2017. Project Scorpio will support everything the Xbox One will be and according to Phil Spencer Microsoft believes it will be the most powerful console to date.