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The Sound and the Fury of Call of Duty Advanced Warfare - Thu, 10 Jul 2014 16:45:00 Z
As we mentioned during our E3 preview of Sledgehammer Games’ upcoming Call of Duty Advanced Warfare, the developer has given extra special attention to ensuring the game’s audio is without compare. Advanced Warfare’s audio intelligence system makes virtually every impact and explosion sound unique, something Sledgehammer Games Audio Director Don Veca elaborates on in the video above. Combat has never sounded as authentic as it does in Call of Duty Advanced Warfare and we’re excited to learn more about how the new focus on best-in-class audio design has helped the development team reach new levels of realism.

Everything You Need to Know About Xbox at San Diego Comic-Con - Thu, 10 Jul 2014 12:00:00 Z
Updated on July 10 at 1:16 PM  - The MLG Xbox tournament schedule has been updated below

Comic-Con International: San Diego is the biggest, craziest, most awesome pop culture convention in the world – and from July 24-27, Xbox will be in sunny Southern California, bringing its A-game.

Make that a
ton of AAA games. Check out all the exciting events you can attend – and games you can play – at the show.

COME TO OUR PANELS

See some previews for upcoming games, and learn the latest scoops from some of Xbox’s most talented developers. If you’re a gamer, you won’t want to miss any of these.

Halo: Nightfall First-Look

Thursday, July 24, 11:45AM – 12:45PM, Room 6BCF

Prepare for your next step in the
Halo Journey with a deep-dive into Halo: Nightfall, the upcoming live-action digital series from 343 Industries and Scott Free Productions. Join 343’s Kiki Wolfkill (Executive Producer), Frank O’Connor (Franchise Development Director) along with key Halo: Nightfall cast and crew, and be among the first to get the details of the story and production.

The Fusion of Art and Style in Sunset Overdrive

Thursday, July 24, 5:00PM – 6:00PM, Room 5AB

Join Xbox Live's Major Nelson to get an inside look into the inspiration behind the vibrant and off-the-wall style of
Sunset Overdrive, a new open-world action game coming exclusively to the Xbox One this fall. Audience members will be the first to see new Sunset Overdrive content illustrating the creative freedom the game offers players. Hear directly from Insomniac Games's Drew Murray and Marcus Smith (Game and Creative Director, respectively) along with art director Jacinda Chew and lead character artist Gavin Goulden.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection Developer Panel

Friday, July 25, 10:15AM – 11:15AM, Room 6BCF

Join 343 Industries’ Senior Producer,
Dennis Ries, and Franchise Director, Frank O’Connor, Certain Affinity’s President and original Halo 2 multiplayer and online design lead, Max Hoberman, and other guests for an in-depth conversation about Halo: The Master Chief Collection.  Fans can hear about what to expect from the highly anticipated compilation and discuss the efforts being made to bring the story of the Master Chief and Halo’s legendary multiplayer to a new generation. 

Digging E.T. -  Behind the Scenes of the Xbox Originals Documentary, “Atari: Game Over”

Friday, July 25, 3:30PM – 4:40PM, Room 5AB

Comic-Con fans will get the first glimpse at “Atari: Game Over,” the Xbox Originals documentary that chronicles the fall of the Atari Corporation through the lens of one of the biggest mysteries of all time, dubbed “The Great Video Game Burial of 1983.” As the story goes, the Atari Corporation, faced with overwhelmingly negative response to the E.T. video game, disposed of hundreds of thousands of unsold game cartridges by burying them in the small town of Alamogordo, New Mexico.  Join Atari founder
Nolan Bushnell, original Atari video game designer Howard Scott Warshaw (E.T., Yars’s Revenge, Raiders of the Lost Ark), two-time Academy Award winning executive producer Simon Chinn (“Searching for Sugar Man” and “Man on Wire”), Emmy winning executive producer Jonathan Chinn (FX’s “30 Days” and PBS’s “American High”), director Zak Penn (“X-Men 2,” “Avengers,” and “Incident at Loch Ness”), Fuel CEO Mike Burns and more as they take fans behind the scenes and share an inside look into the making of this weird and wonderful film. Moderated by Larry Hyrb, Xbox’s Major Nelson.

VISIT US AT THE XBOX LOUNGE AND OUR BOOTH

Whether you’re in the convention center hanging out at the Xbox booth (booth #100) or down the street at the Xbox Lounge in the Manchester Grand Hyatt (1 Market Place), we’ve got over two dozen different games to check out. Come by to play an unparalleled line-up of games that will all be heading to Xbox One consoles later in 2014 or check out our entertainment offerings.

Sunset Overdrive
Evolve
Forza Horizon 2
Fable Legends
Ori and The Blind Forest
Super Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix
Madden NFL 15
Skylanders Trap Team
The Evil Within
The Crew
Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham
Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes (2.0 Edition)
Killer Instinct
Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved
Project Spark
Minecraft
Powerstar Golf
Project Totem
Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime
#IDARB
Fenix Rage
Dance Central Spotlight
Titanfall
Forza 5
Kinect Sports Rivals

Xbox Tournaments Powered by MLG. As the exclusive sponsor of the Comic-Con Lounge, Xbox is teaming up with Major League Gaming (MLG) to bring eSports to Comic-Con. From July 24-27, the Xbox Gaming Lounge will host a variety of walk-up-and-play tournaments for Titanfall, Killer Instinct, and Forza Motorsport 5. The tourneys are designed for all Comic-Con attendees, gamers, and aspiring competitors. MLG commentator Chris Puckett will provide play-by-play commentary for walk-up gamers, who will also have the opportunity to play against MLG pros and YouTube stars. Tournaments will be broadcast on the MLG apps for Xbox One and Xbox 360, as well as MLG.tv and MLG mobile apps.

The Xbox Gaming Lounge is located at the Manchester Grand Hyatt (One Market Place, Seasport Ballroon, 2nd Floor).


Thursday, July 24 – 11:00AM – 6:00PM
11AM – 1:30PM – Forza Motorsport 5
2:00PM – 6:00PM – Titanfall

Friday, July 25 and Saturday, July 26 – 11:00AM – 8:00PM

11AM – 1:30PM – Forza Motorsport 5
2:00PM – 8:00PM – Titanfall

Sunday, July 27 – 11:00AM – 5:00PM
11AM – 5PM – Killer Instinct

Comic-Con is about so much more than gaming, and Xbox is teaming up with some of the most popular entertainment brands around to give you tons of cool content. In addition to the events listed above, we’ve also got a few surprises in store for the show. Stay tuned for more news on SDCC next week here on Xbox Wire!

As you can see, we’ve got a lot going on. Hopefully we’ll see you at Comic-Con, from July 24-27.


343 Shows Off Returning Favorites and New Additions for Halo: The Master Chief Collection - Wed, 09 Jul 2014 16:54:00 Z
During RTX2014 – the recent Rooster Teeth Expo – Halo developer 343 Industries shared some info on the upcoming Halo: The Master Chief Collection, focusing on new content for the Halo 2: Anniversary portion and unveiling a sweet trailer on the story told through the Terminals hidden throughout the game and narrated by voice actor Keith “The Arbiter” David.

The panel, hosted by members of the Halo: The Master Chief Collection team from 343 Industries and Certain Affinity, showed off a bunch of awesome new features in the upcoming multi-game remake.

First off, let’s talk about the end reveal of the panel: Certain Affinity’s David Mertz, lead designer on Halo 2 Anniversary, showed off the first of the six remade maps for Halo 2 Anniversary – Coagulation. Fans will remember it as a redone Blood Gulch (a playground perfect for snipers), well-known for its nearly symmetrical layout. Halo 2 Anniversary also brings fan-favorite modes from other Halo titles into its multiplayer, and Mertz gave fans a sneak peek at those, too. Some of the new modes include:

SWAT: The popular no-shields, no-motion-tracker mode had been expanded in Halo 3, and Halo 2 gets an upgrade.

Ricochet: One of the newest modes from Halo 4, where players have to get a ball into the enemy’s goal. Think Halo basketball.

Infection: The popular zombie mode from Halo 3 owes a Halo 2 custom game credit for its invention... and now, it’s coming to Halo 2 for real.

Race: Straight from the original Halo: Combat Evolved. Get in a vehicle and hit all the checkpoints.

And that’s barely scratching the surface of all the new content in Halo 2 Anniversary. You can expect tons of additional stuff, including a brand-new vehicle – the M274-M Ultra-Light All-Terrain Vehicle, AKA “the Gungoose.” Mow down your enemies by vehicle or front mounted gun, or both at the same time.

Beyond that, the team showed off the smaller details of The Master Chief Collection. Max Szlagor, senior designer for the game, gave fans a run-through on a live build, showing off campaign playlist features (which let gamers experience content from all four games in new and exciting ways) and the universal layouts and controls that bring the four games together into one excellent package.

In addition to all of the looks toward the future of Halo, there were also some looks back. Max Hoberman, President of Certain Affinity and the original Halo 2 lead multiplayer designer, shared some of the design philosophy behind that beloved offering, as well as a number of anecdotes about the development process itself.

For the first time ever, the Master Chief's entire story is on one console. Featuring a re-mastered Halo 2: Anniversary, along with Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 3, Halo 4, “Halo: Nightfall” (a new digital series), and access to the Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta. This is the definitive Halo experience, coming November 11, 2014.

 



Become a Game Creator This Summer - Wed, 09 Jul 2014 10:00:00 Z
Summer vacation gives you ample free time to play your favorite Xbox games. But this summer, Microsoft is going beyond just playing games – we’re going to help you learn to make them.

The free YouthSpark Summer Camps provide kids the opportunity to learn what goes into making games, as well as learning the basics of building their own games, using “TouchDevelop” for mobile, and “Project Spark” for consoles.

Brittany Valdes, customer development specialist for the Dadeland store, reflects on what YouthSpark Summer Camps mean for Microsoft stores, “Our goal is to give back to the community that we serve and we’re very excited to offer free YouthSpark Summer Camps to the children in our community. By providing courses in game coding and design, film making and photography, we want to educate future young leaders in the science, technology and engineering industries with our store being a destination for this type of learning and education.”

The camps are held at Microsoft retail stores across the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, and are broken down into
two-hour sessions over four days. Think of it as a crash course in learning how to make games.  The sessions feature programs aimed at kids ages 8-10, and ages 11-13 – with different curriculum for their skill levels.

For those interested in mobile game design, the camp starts by discussing the steps between coming up with an awesome idea and getting that idea out to the world. Participants who want a console gaming experience will get to go in depth with “Project Spark,” whose toolbox allows users to create entire worlds.

Campers will to learn the basics of coding, and will get the opportunity to make their own game demo and present it during the camp.

So, if you’re itching to learn how to make games, or just curious about how much work goes into your favorite Xbox games, attend the YouthSpark Summer Camps. Maybe you’ll make an awesome Xbox game in the future!

Check out the
official YouthSpark Summer Camps site to learn more about these totally free summer camps, and to sign up for a course!


Titanfall’s New DLC Wages War From Mountains to Sea - Tue, 08 Jul 2014 16:22:40 Z
Hot on the heels of Expedition, the first downloadable map pack for Titanfall, developer Respawn Entertainment has announced Frontier’s Edge – the second of three planned content packs for the massive mech-based first-person shooter.

Frontier’s Edge takes players to the borders of the Interstellar Manufacturing Corporation’s control. The content pack’s maps include Dig Site (an isolated mining outpost), Haven (an exclusive beach-side resort), and Export (a mining hub on the side of a mountain).

Based on the name of the pack and the description of the maps, we’re definitely hyped about the concept of fighting in arenas that are physically walled in by treacherous mountains, oceans, and caverns.

Titanfall: Frontier’s Edge is coming to your Xbox One and Xbox 360 soon, at a price of $9.99. Remember: You can also get the Titanfall season pass for a cool $24.99, and save money on all three DLC packs!


Gearbox Software Announces Battleborn - Tue, 08 Jul 2014 15:59:00 Z
The folks at Gearbox Software, developer of the hilariously awesome Borderlands series, are busting into the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) space. And – true to form – they’re twisting the genre around.

Battleborn
is a brand-new property, announced today by 2K Games and Gearbox. Described as a “hero-shooter,” it is a mixture of first-person arena gameplay, and the fast-paced minion-destroying mechanics that the MOBA genre is known for.

“As a genre-fused, hobby-grade, cooperative and competitive FPS exploding with eye-popping style and an imaginative universe, Battleborn is the most ambitious video game that Gearbox has ever created,” said Randy Pitchford, president of Gearbox Software.

Much like how “Borderlands” combined the FPS genre with role-playing game mechanics, Battleborn is injecting multiple gameplay styles into one larger package. One of the noteworthy challenges to the form is the single-player campaign, unique in a genre mostly known for its multiplayer model.

The game’s plot centers around a battle for the last remaining star in the galaxy; as such, warriors from multiple worlds meet up on the battlefield to duke it out. The eclectic cast of characters feels like it’s borrowed from every genre of video games, mixing science fiction with fantasy elements. There’s a space marine, an elven archer, a robotic steampunk gentlemen, a sword-wielding samurai... you get the idea.

It all combines together to make Battleborn a wholly unique experience. And, of course you can expect Gearbox’s signature humor to be prevalent when Battleborn hits Xbox One and Windows PC.

Project Spark Makes Its Way to Stores This Fall - Tue, 08 Jul 2014 10:00:00 Z
“Project Spark Starter Pack,” the Xbox One retail version of the game that has put the powers of creation and play in the hands of gamers, will arrive in stores on October 7 in the Americas, October 9 in Asia-Pacific countries and October 10 in Europe.

The retail package will deliver an incredible collection of premium content for $39.99, including the first sci-fi pack “Galaxies: First Contact,” the warrior champion Sir Haakon “Hawk” the Knight, “Champions Quest: Void Storm,” the first episode of an epic campaign adventure, and more. The “Project Spark Starter Pack” will provide immediate access to some of the best paid content, features and add-ons in a single package. All of the content included in the disc version will also be available digitally for Xbox One and Windows 8.1 on launch day.

“Project Spark” has made a name for itself as one of the most unique, innovative games available, and can be downloaded for free on Xbox One and Windows 8.1. Players can then expand their experience by purchasing additional in-game content. The beta has been going strong since December of last year, and with the launch of the “Project Spark Starter Pack” the game will officially move out of beta to full release.

Don’t fret, creators – if you’ve been playing, creating, unlocking and enjoying the existing beta on Windows 8.1 or Xbox One, the game will simply receive an update, so your credits, creations and favorite levels will remain intact. And if you haven’t been playing, what are you waiting for? Go download it today from the Xbox One marketplace or Windows 8 Store!

We have less than three months to go, so get those creative juices flowing!

Join millions of other creators and players in “Project Spark” at www.projectspark.com, or follow the conversation on Twitter with #projectspark or on the "Project Spark" Facebook page


Zoo Tycoon Friends Adds More Ways to Care for Animals - Tue, 08 Jul 2014 09:00:00 Z
Today, Microsoft announced “Zoo Tycoon Friends,” a new casual simulation and building game, based on the award-winning “Zoo Tycoon” series, available later this summer on Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8. Developed by Behaviour Interactive, “Zoo Tycoon Friends” syncs game progression across both the device and the platform so players can attend to hungry and restless animal families, or visit a friend’s zoo, with the press of a button anywhere.

In “Zoo Tycoon Friends,” players will join Arthur and his daughter Simone on a journey around the globe to tackle 15 missions and more than 100 quests to save exotic animals.

“Zoo Tycoon Friends” is free to download, and will include advertising and the option of buying in-game virtual items. Players will have the ability to disable advertising and in-app purchases. Additionally, players who have purchased and played either the Xbox One or Xbox 360 the version of “Zoo Tycoon” will receive a free “Zoo Tycoon Friends” gift when they log in with their Xbox Live account.


Coming Soon: New Snap Mode for Achievements, Double-Tap to Snap and More with the July Update - Mon, 07 Jul 2014 17:30:00 Z
July is upon us and that means we’ll begin rolling out the next system update for Xbox One around the world in the coming days. Last month, we announced the new features coming in this update and since then, the team has been working hard to bring you a new and enhanced Snap mode for achievements, double-tap to Snap, and more voice control choices in select regions.

We’re continuing to gather your suggestions and recommendations on our dedicated channel called
Xbox Feedback, so keep it coming. Thank you for taking the time to help us make Xbox the best place to play.

Destiny Beta Dates Announced - Mon, 07 Jul 2014 13:23:00 Z
Wondering when you can get your hands on the beta for Bungie and Activision’s epic upcoming first-person shooter “Destiny?” With today’s arrival of Bungie Day, you can wonder no more: The “Destiny” beta hits Xbox One and Xbox 360 on July 23, 2014. It runs until July 27, and is available to all Xbox Live Gold subscribers who pre-order “Destiny.”

In addition to the beta news, Activision also announced details for the three different “Destiny” collector’s editions. The “Destiny” Limited Edition ($99.99) comes with exclusive emblems and ship variants, as well as a season pass for the two post-launch content expansions. On top of that, it includes physical goods like a field guide, a star chart, and postcards – all in a limited-edition SteelBook case.

The “Destiny” Digital Guardian Edition ($89.99) comes with the expansion pass, as well as the digital content from the Limited Edition (the ship variants, emblems, and Ghost casing).

And for the high rollers out there, the “Destiny” Ghost Edition ($149.99) comes with all that, plus additional photos, a patch, stickers, and – coolest of all – a Ghost replica, featuring motion-activated lights and the voice of “Destiny” star Peter Dinklage.

That’s a lot of ways to experience “Destiny.” Remember: If you want to get in on the fast-approaching beta, make sure you pre-order “Destiny” and subscribe to Xbox Live Gold so you can get in on all of the action beginning July 23!

Tune In: Every Street United Players Check Out the Competition - Thu, 03 Jul 2014 10:00:00 Z
In last Sunday’s episode of “Every Street United,” we got a closer look at the players’ preparations and training for Rio, as well as how their journeys are influenced by their families and mentors. This Sunday, the players will get a glimpse at their competition when coaches Thierry Henry and Edgar Davids send videos of the players in action to their teammates. Will they be impressed? Nervous? Unfazed? You’ll have to watch this Sunday to find out!


Check out the videos above to get a sneak peek at Nabil and Jose’s skills, and be sure to tune in this Sunday to see the rest of the players in action. Watch virtually anywhere on Xbox Video, or catch up on past episodes and check out interactive features in the “Every Street United” app on Xbox One and Xbox 360. An Xbox Live Gold membership is not required.

For more information, visit “
Every Street United.”

343 Industries Has Some Halo Surprises In Store at Rooster Teeth Expo - Thu, 03 Jul 2014 09:00:00 Z
From July 4-6, 343 Industries will be at Rooster Teeth Expo (RTX) in Austin, Texas to deliver all sorts of “Halo” goodness to fans, including an exclusive panel dedicated to “Halo: The Master Chief Collection.”

On Saturday, July 5 (12 – 1 p.m. CT), whether you’re attending RTX this year or watching the expo live on Twitch, join the development team at 343 Industries and Certain Affinity as they discuss their design philosophy and vision for “Halo: The Master Chief Collection,” share war stories about the development of the original “Halo 2,” and more.

Who knows? They might have a couple surprises to reveal as well.

“Halo: The Master Chief Collection” RTX Panel
Saturday, July 5, 12 – 1 p.m. CT
Main Hall, Austin Convention Center
Watch Live: http://rtxevent.com/rtxlive/

In addition to the panel, 343 Industries will have loads of “Halo” activities available for fans at their booth. Drop by to meet the team, pick up limited-edition swag, shop at the “Halo” store, line up for an exclusive demo of “Halo: The Master Chief Collection’s” campaign and much more. 343 Industries will also have a classic gaming set up – CRT televisions, original Xbox’s and “Duke” Xbox controllers – for you to test your skills in the original “Halo 2” against friends or one of 343 Industries’ pro-gamers.

For more details about all the “Halo” festivities at RTX this weekend, visit “Halo” Waypoint.

World of Tanks’ Soviet Steel Expansion - Wed, 02 Jul 2014 09:00:00 Z
At the beginning of June, Wargaming.net released a huge update to “World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition” – the Russian-themed “Soviet Steel” expansion. And in August, the tanks keep rolling with the massive Combat Ready Starter Pack, which includes all kinds of in-game goodies at a bargain price.

“Soviet Steel” provides a whole new arsenal to play with, with 29 killer USSR vehicles and two all-new maps. For “World of Tanks” fans, this is an exciting opportunity to experience some of the most iconic tanks of World War II, but also to dive into some of the lesser-known ones. Here’s a helpful guide, to walk you through what’s hot and what’s not in 1940s communist armor fashion.



Light Tanks

  • The T-18, styled as the “MS-1” in “World of Tanks,” was the first-ever Soviet-produced tank. Based on a French design from the 1920s, this tank didn’t see much service, and was not particularly successful when it did.
  • The T-26 light tank was one of the Soviet Union’s most successful and heavily produced tanks, with over 11,000 having been built. It was shipped in large numbers to Spain to take part in the Spanish Civil War, fought off the Japanese during an attempted invasion from Manchukuo, supported the Russians against the Finns in the Winter War, and was the primary tank – despite being totally outclassed – against the Germans during their invasion of the Soviet Union in World War II.
  • The BT series of tanks (the BT-2 and BT-7 are available in “Soviet Steel”) were tanks designed for speed, rather than toughness. Lightly armored and highly maneuverable, they were among the most successful tanks of their time. The BT-2 was derived from a U.S. design, while the later BT-7 used a Soviet-modified version of a BMW engine, and featured a more resistant hull design and much more powerful guns.
  • The T-46 was a tank that never really came to fruition. It had been originally designed as an improvement on the T-26, but was scrapped after it was found to be too expensive, thinly armored, and poorly armed. Prototypes did see a little service in the Winter War against Finland, but these did not fare well.
  • The A-20 was a transitional design between the BT series and T-34 medium tank (see below). It retained the trackless drive feature of the BT, but lost out to a slightly heavier, full-tracked variant (A-20G, later A-32) which the start point for T-34.
  • The T-50 helped to invalidate the doctrine of light infantry tanks in the warfare of the time. Because armored cars and half-tracks could assume the reconnaissance and infantry-support roles that they had once done, light tanks – with their thin armor and weak weapons – were phased out. However, the T-50 was an excellent design for its time, and would have been produced in large numbers if not for the lack of V-4 engines necessary to its mass production.

Medium Tanks

  • The T-28 was one of the world’s first medium tanks ever produced, and was extremely important in the history of tank design. While not particularly successful in combat in its own right, it paved the way for many important developments in tank design and tank doctrine. It was one of the first to feature multiple turrets (with different classes of guns mounted independently on each), it had relatively heavy armor, and it was designed to punch through enemy defenses, as well as support friendly infantry. An important milestone, if not a killer beast.
  • The T-34 medium tank was one of the most successful medium tanks of World War II and beyond. It has contributed significantly to every area of tank theory – engineering, design, tactics, combined-arms strategy, and even aesthetics. Even today, some modern tanks use the T-34’s design as the basis for their own, and some countries’ armed forced still operate this tank. Without question, this is the touchstone by which all others will be judged, and “World of Tanks” fans should be extremely excited to have this one in the mix. “Soviet Steel” also includes the T-34-85, a variant which has an 85mm gun in place of the original design’s 76.2mm gun, along with some other improvements.
  • The T-43 tank was an attempt to improve on the T-34 tank by giving it heavier armor to allow it to go toe-to-toe with the German heavy tanks of World War II, but it was soon discovered that what was needed wasn’t heavier armor, but bigger guns. This tank was scrapped soon after that discovery, in favor of putting a bigger gun on the existing T-34.
  • The T-44 was designed at the end of World War II to be a real successor to the T-34, with an integrated 85mm gun, a lower profile, more ammunition capacity, a three-man turret, better suspension, and more fuel capacity. While just a few thousand were built, this design became the basis for:
  • The T-54, which would go on to become the most produced medium tank in world history. Appearing just at the end of World War II, these tanks (along with their close cousin, the T-55 series) were produced in numbers estimated to have been as many as 100,000, and some are still in use worldwide, often with sophisticated retrofits. 
  • The T-62 tank is a bit of a departure for “Soviet Steel,” as it was built long after World War II, in the 1960s. It was one of the world’s first “main battle tanks,” a class of tanks designed to be more-or-less self-sufficient in combat, although the Soviets did not specifically designate it as such. This tank was used by the Soviets in Afghanistan, and also by Soviet-allied countries around the world in a variety of conflicts, including Syria during the Yom Kippur War and Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War. The variant in “World of Tanks” is actually the T-62A, a version with a rifled cannon, rather than the standard variant’s 115 mm smooth-bore gun.

Heavy Tanks

  • The Kliment Voroshilov series of tanks (“Soviet Steel” features the KV-1 and KV-1S) were a group of World War II-era heavy tanks, known primarily for having extremely heavy armor. They were slow, and didn’t have particularly powerful guns, but the Germans had a difficult time knocking them out of service. The KV-1S variant was a more lightly armored, faster moving version – but nearly all KV-series tanks were phased out when it was found that the medium T-34 tanks were performing pretty much just as well in a practical sense.
  • The Joseph Stalin series of heavy tanks, called “IS” in “Soviet Steel,” since “Joseph” is usually rendered as “Iosif” from Cyrillic, was developed late in World War II mainly as a tip-of-the-spear solution to be used for breaking through fortifications. These tanks were extremely heavily armored and had very powerful guns, and later vehicles could stand up to even the famous 88 mm long gun of King Tiger and Pak-43. “Soviet Steel” includes several of these behemoths, including the IS-7 – which weighed 68 metric tons, and was the largest and heaviest tank ever produced by the Soviet Union. It was never mass-produced, but was extremely innovative for its time.

Assault Guns and Tank Destroyers

  • The AT-1 was a variant of the T-26 light tank, fitted with a 76.2mm cannon to give it enough punch to be able to take out heavier tanks, while still having the mobility to move quickly across the battlefield. Or at least, that was the plan. Only a couple of these were actually built before the program was canceled in 1936.
  • The SU-76 was the second most produced armored vehicle of the World War II era, being amazingly simple to operate and drive, and therefore beloved by its crews. Famous for being able to operate in swamps without any modifications, the SU-76 outflanked the Germans during Operation Bagration in Belarus on multiple occasions, often sneaking around their lines and blasting them to bits. A true icon of World War II, the SU-76 was a match for all but the heaviest German tanks, and is a very welcome addition to “World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition.”
  • The SU-85 was the first of the Soviet World War II-era tank destroyers based on the T-34 tank chassis, and saw some action on the Eastern Front through most of the war. While produced in fairly large numbers, its 85mm anti-tank gun was found too weak to penetrate the armor of many of the heavier German fighting vehicles and tanks, and it was eventually replaced by:
  • The SU-100, which was essentially the identical chassis, but with a much more powerful gun installed into a casement. The SU-100 was capable of taking out the most powerful German tanks in the war. Indeed, this tank saw action long after World War II in the Red Army and in other armies around the world; it’s still in use today in the armies of Vietnam and North Korea, as a matter of fact.
  • Take a gigantic, 152mm howitzer and strap it onto the chassis of the heavy KV-1S heavy tank, and you end up with the SU-152. Put the same gun on top of the later-model Josef Stalin-class heavy tank, and you get the ISU-152. These assault guns were critical in Operation Uranus, the counteroffensive to retake Stalingrad, where they earned the nickname Zveroboy (“beast-killer”) for their consistent ability to take out the heaviest German Panther, Tiger, and Elephant tanks and tank destroyers.
  •  “Soviet Steel” also includes an unproduced variant of the ISU-152, called Object-704, which theoretically would have had thicker armor and steeper sloping angles – making for a tougher-to-destroy target. It never went into production, though, since the steep slopes and thicker armor left little room to maneuver in the crew compartment, making life difficult for those who tried to operate the machine.
  • The Object-268 was a prototype heavy tank destroyer that was designed post-war. It was never put into production, but is known for being the last of the dedicated tank destroyers the Soviet Union ever designed, and produced specifically for that purpose.

Maps

  • Komarin is a map featuring summer camouflage, and features three primary routes across a central body of water – including one large central peninsula. Players don’t start near any flags, so taking advantage of the map’s ample opportunities for cover and concealment en route to objectives is critical.
  • Ensk is a map divided by railroad tracks running north to south, with cityscape to the west and an open field in the east. Ample cover means players need to watch their angles carefully, so as not to get surprised and surrounded. Establishing choke points is of vital importance here, and long-range artillery becomes a viable option for funneling enemies into kill zones.

Tanks for reading! If you haven’t yet joined in on the fun, you can download “World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition” for free* (now decked out with the new “Soviet Steel” content) on the Xbox Live Marketplace. And don’t forget about the Combat Ready Starter Pack, coming to participating retailers beginning August 12. For just $19.99, you’ll get the premium Panzer 38H Tier II German light tank, 200,000 in-game silver, 1.500 in-game gold, three days of premium account time (which grants a 50% boost to experience and silver), and a 30-day voucher code for Xbox Live status.

*Xbox Live Gold membership (sold separately) required. Additional in-game content available and sold separately.



Sunset Overdrive Video Showcases New Footage of Chaos Squad - Wed, 02 Jul 2014 06:00:00 Z
Microsoft and Insomniac Games unveiled the first look at “Sunset Overdrive’s” co-op multiplayer at E3 and today have released an action-packed video which provides more details on the experience.

Now, let’s dive a little deeper and see what the chaos is about:

Choose Your Chaos WiselyThe amount of Chaos is what determines the difficulty of your team’s final Night Defense. The higher your Chaos– the tougher your Night Defense is going to be, but you’ll get more chances to receive cool rewards at the end. The amount of Chaos you have will depend on which missions you voted for leading up to Night Defense. Take a mission with a lot of chaos to increase difficulty and potential rewards? Or take a mission with a team boost to make the group more likely you succeed?

Go straight from campaign to chaos-squad, in game –
So, you’re leaping around Sunset City in single-player and your friend/acquaintance invites you to join her Chaos Squad. You drop off a grind rail, strut up to the nearest future photo booth, and enter.  You’ll go straight into multiplayer with the same clothing, same amps, same everything as your character from the single-player campaign

Vote on missions in the open-world –
At the start, you and your rag-tag band are going to get two mission options to vote on. You conquer it, two new ones crop up. And they’ll have different objectives and be in separate locations from the first round. So, the result is that each Chaos Squad experience feels unique as you’re going through the open-world.After a few rounds of voting and slaying and Chaos or boost getting – it’s time for your team to face the main event: Night Defense.

Night Defense –
This is where you will fend off enemies and protect your vats of Overcharge at one of many forts across the city by not only using your weapons, traversal, and amps – but by placing traps, as well. Before each wave – you’ll have a bit of time to place your traps, but if you made a horrible calculation, you can move and place them during the waves, as well.

And then – the enemies attack. And what comes next is an assault of 8 players simultaneously jumping, shooting, grinding, and exploding nearly every damn thing in sight. Each wave brings an increasingly difficult and new variety of enemies to your door.  And, remember, the more Chaos you gathered in the open-world missions – the harder it’s going to be.

Rewards for your character you can take back to campaign! –
But! Your reward output is based on your Chaos. So, if you manage to survive with a large amount of Chaos – you’re going to get way more chances at better rewards than the wuss teams who took team boosts instead of Chaos.

For more features and a look inside the world of Chaos Squad from E3, click
here



Showtime Anytime is the Latest Premium Cable App to Join the Expanding Xbox Lineup - Tue, 01 Jul 2014 09:30:00 Z
SHOWTIME is the newest premium cable partner to bring its first class content to your TV screen through Xbox Live. Today, SHOWTIME ANYTIME launched on Xbox 360 and announced that it’s coming to Xbox One later this year, making Xbox the first game console to offer the app. SHOWTIME ANYTIME on Xbox 360 gives Xbox Live members in the U.S. unlimited on demand access to hundreds of hours of programming, as well as the live broadcast of the network's East and West Coast feeds.

If you’re looking for something new to watch, you can get ideas from categories like sports, comedy, documentaries and reality. In addition, you get the service’s full slate of special features like “My List,” which features your saved programs available through any device. You can even search through programming with speed and ease using Kinect voice and gesture controls to navigate, play and pause your SHOWTIME content.

With the anticipated “Ray Donovan” Season 2 premiere just around the corner on July 13, SHOWTIME subscribers and Xbox 360 owners can catch up on Season 1 before the big day. Set in Los Angeles and starring Emmy nominee Liev Schreiber, watch what happens as Ray Donovan does the dirty work for the city’s rich and elite. Season 2 promises to be thrilling with the return of Jon Voight in his Golden Globe-winning role and more dark twists, so make sure to catch up before the premiere. Miss the finales of “Homeland,” “Californication,” “Nurse Jackie,” “Penny Dreadful,” or other favorite TV series? SHOWTIME on your Xbox 360 makes it easy to catch up with these shows and more on your big screen and at your convenience.

As Xbox continues to deliver more entertainment to its growing catalog of apps – more than 225 by the end of this year! – the launch of SHOWTIME ANYTIME on Xbox 360 today and Xbox One later this year gives Xbox owners even more choice in premium TV content and services. With more than 175 apps available on Xbox Live today, there’s something available for your entire family. If you have kids or are young at heart see what Disney, Nickelodeon or the Netflix kids channel bring to Xbox. If you’re a hard core gamer look up tips and tricks for gaming on Machinima, IGN or GameTrailers, watch the pros play on MLG or even broadcast your own dominance on Twitch. If you’re the sports junkie of the family, check out the latest games and stats on MLB.TV, NBA Game Time, NHL and ESPN. 

We’re committed to building an extensive catalog of top notch entertainment experiences on Xbox including fan-favorites like SHOWTIME ANYTIME, HBO GO, Starz, EPIX, Encore and many more. Stay tuned as more premium TV partners’ apps arrive on Xbox and check out the SHOWTIME ANYTIME app today.


Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition - Tue, 01 Jul 2014 09:00:00 Z
The fact that Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition is part of Games with Gold this month may be knowledge enough for many folks to download it. But there are reasons to look forward to the experience beyond the obvious value. What Xbox Live Gold members will receive tomorrow is not only a wonderful, Mexican-themed platformer, but the best, most complete version of Guacamelee! to date.

For those who hadn't played earlier, non-Super Turbo versions of the game, Guacamelee! is a "metroidvania"-style action/puzzle-platformer, albeit one with actual nods to Metroid, heavy doses of humor, and one very exasperated goat.


As a Luchadore, playable character Juan Aguacate is heavy on the melee moves, with a strong emphasis on grappling. While Juan's move set initially feels complex, before long you'll be walloping skeletal foes with a flurry of punches, launching them skyward with a flying uppercut, then cancelling into an air grapple before suplexing them into another crowd of enemies.

Once you master those moves, the game throws dimensional shifts into the mix (reminiscent of Xbox 360's Outland), then couples that with increasingly elaborate platforming sequences. Fortunately, a generous checkpoint system ensures players won't get frustrated while tackling tough sequences, resulting in satisfying, "I can't believe I pulled that off!" situations.

What makes this the "Super Turbo Championship Edition" of the title? This Guacamelee! comes equipped with two major new areas, a new, hydra-headed skeleton mariachi boss character, and all previously-released DLC. Drinkbox also further refined the game's controls and added a new Intenso-mode, allowing your character to enter a faster, stronger hyper state.

I recently sampled the drop in, drop out couch co-op feature, which made difficult platforming sequences more manageable (and fun). As long as one character makes it through the gauntlet, everyone benefits. Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition looks great, pumping out colorful 1080p 60 fps visuals, with an excellent soundtrack to match.

Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition will be available for download on Xbox One and Xbox 360 on July 2, and is a free download for Xbox Live Gold members on Xbox One for a limited time.


Games with Gold: Gotham City Impostors - Tue, 01 Jul 2014 08:30:00 Z
Here's the deal: When you sign up for Xbox Live Gold, you get free access to Games with Gold on Xbox 360 and Xbox One, which means at least one new, free game every two weeks. Yep, that's right: If you're an Xbox Live Gold subscriber, you don't have to do a thing, and you get free games. So, what are you waiting for? Here's a closer look at the latest Games with Gold title for Xbox 360!

The Caped Crusader may never use guns, but in "
Gotham City Impostors," you can use a firearm while dressed like Batman – and shoot at people dressed up like the Joker! It’s a team-based online Bat-stravaganza for up to 12 people, featuring insane first-person shooting action. It’s also available tomorrow for free with your Xbox Live Gold membership.

Two teams – one of would-be Batmen and the other of wannabe Clown Princes of Crime – face off against each other in one of four game modes: Psych Warfare, Fumigation, Bounty Hunter, and Team Deathmatch, each with its own unique hook.

In Psych Warfare, for example, both teams are trying to bring a battery back to their respective bases and keep it hooked up to a mind-control machine long enough for it to brainwash the other team. Fumigation is a point-control mode, in which the teams must capture and hold three contested “gasblaster” points. In Bounty Hunter, players drop coins when they die; pick up enough coins from dead enemy players, and your team wins... but you can pick up your own dead teammates’ coins to deny points to the other team, as well. And finally, Team Deathmatch involves... well, shooting the other guys until they’re dead.

"Gotham City Impostors"
 is known for its many gadgets, including glider wings, grappling hooks, roller-skate sneakers, PVC-pipe rocket launchers, jack-in-the-box-grenades, dynamite bundles, and a whole lot more. Gadgets often have specific functions and affect play in specific ways, so players can mess around with the game’s Challenge Mode by themselves if they want to, so that they can master these gadgets and earn experience before heading online to challenge real opponents.

Another key aspect of "
Gotham City Impostors" is its character customization options. Players can choose costumes, the size of their character’s model, weapons, and a variety of other characteristics – so that no game of "Gotham City Impostors" ever feels like a bunch of carbon-copy soldiers just running amok.

The pace of gameplay is just as raucous as the tone would suggest, with bullets (and limbs) flying everywhere, and plenty of team-based mayhem to be enjoyed for gamers of all levels. So what are you waiting for? Sign onto Xbox Live, get that Gold subscription (if you don’t already have one), and snag this totally awesome (and totally free) game!


Forza Motorsport 5 Hot Wheels Car Pack Now Available - Tue, 01 Jul 2014 07:00:00 Z
Turn 10 Studios is bringing the Hot Wheels® Car Pack to “Forza Motorsport 5,” available for download today. The pack features a collection of vehicles built from the ground up for the new generation that car fans can collect and customize while putting their virtual driving skills to the test.

The car pack includes a total of 10 beautiful vehicles, seven of which are all new to “Forza,” including the Lamborghini Veneno, the Lotus Type 49, Audi Auto Union Type D. Players can experience Lamborghini’s 50
th anniversary car, the dramatic 2013 Lamborghini Veneno – a “First in Forza” exclusive -- or travel back in time with the 1939 Audi Union Type D, the pinnacle of pre-war racing, or the 1952 Ferrari 375, the car that started Enzo Ferrari’s post-war racing dynasty. And if you’re craving something brand new, try Audi’s latest offering for the everyday enthusiast, the all-new 2015 Audi S3 Sedan. The rest of the pack includes additional appearances of your favorite cars from Toyota, Mazda, Ford, and more. 

The Hot Wheels Car Pack is available now for $9.99 in the Xbox Live Marketplace, or at no additional cost for “Forza Motorsport 5” Car Pass owners. If you own the pack (or individual cars in the pack) you can add them to your garage without needing to spend additional in-game credits or tokens.

Now, let’s take a look at all the cars in the Hot Wheels Car Pack:



2013 Lamborghini Veneno
A departure from traditional Lamborghini styling is represented in the Veneno. Radical bulging lines, a wing that looks like it belongs on an LMP car, and aero on top of more aero; these are just a few of the elements that make the most expensive production car in the world unique. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Lamborghini, the Veneno is a street-legal racecar, loosely based on the Aventador. We say “loosely,” because not only is the Veneno more powerful and higher-revving thanks to larger air intakes and a modified exhaust system, but its form is quite obviously its own. Cues have been taken from the Aventador in the Y-shaped headlights and taillights, but the Veneno is much more of a design experiment like the 2006 Miura concept, with a quality that is at once timeless and jaw-dropping in all categories, including its $4.1 million price tag. Lamborghini built one for themselves as a demo car, and sold three, each accented with a color from the Italian flag. The red accented car went to Antoine Dominic, owner of Lamborghini Long Island. The second, with green accents, went to prominent Lamborghini fan Kris Singh. The final Veneno, with white accents, was caught in Hong Kong on its way to Macau. Seeing one in the real world will most likely never happen, so take advantage of Forzavista and get as up close and personal with this stunning masterpiece. 




1974 Toyota Celica GT
Before the Celica’s introduction, Toyota was perceived as a builder of dull-but-worthy cars. The Celica’s sporty appeal brought a new market and more appealing image to the Japanese automaker. Some called it a copy of the Mustang, but it was simply one of the many early 1970s compact coupes that came to America during the gas crunch. With its long-hood/short deck proportions, space for four and sporty styling (in the GT model), the Celica barged into America to compete with the likes of the Opel, Mazda RX-2, and Datsun 510. You could bump a standard Celica ST to a GT model for a mere $220. What you got was revised suspension rates that dropped the stance a quarter inch. The rest of the GT package is pure cosmetics: five-inch wheels, more open wheel arches, and GT-specific badging; all models bore the classic “smile” bumpers. Sure, economy came first and power output is modest but these Japanese gems are getting harder and harder to find these days. 



1939 Audi Auto Union Type D
Potentially the most expensive car to ever go to auction at Christie’s, the 1939 Audi Auto Union Type D was expected to sell for as much as $12 million. It was eventually acquired by Audi for an undisclosed price. There is so much history in the Auto Union Type D. To begin with, the car’s design was produced by none other than Ferdinand Porsche. The rear-engine design delivered unpredictable oversteer and Porsche attempted to counter this with a swing half-axle suspension before following the Mercedes lead and going with a de Dion system. The twin-supercharger V-12 delivered amazing horsepower and was known to break the rear tires loose at 100 mph. Tire slippage was an issue addressed by another Porsche innovation, the limited-slip differential. All this technology was developed during a period of state-sponsored motor racing. The success of the Auto Union Type D was ended by the course of Germany and World War II. When the war was over, several Auto Union team cars were found by invading Russian Army forces and taken as spoils of war. These cars were disassembled and studied by the Soviets until, in the 1980s, American car enthusiast Paul Karassik tracked down chassis number 19 and many Type D original parts. Karassik handed over the collection to noted restoration shop Crosthwaite and Gardiner and the Type D was restored to its original form. With a top speed in excess of 200 miles per hour and that thundering, whining V-12 behind the driver, there isn’t another driving experience that can match the Auto Union Type D.



1967 Lotus Type 49
Take yourself back to what many refer to as the greatest era of open-wheel racing; the days when legendary racers Jim Clark and Graham Hill piloted the Lotus Type 49 to seemingly countless victories. Clark and Hill were the very best at their jobs, and the Type 49 represented the cutting edge of design technology. After a period of difficulty in the 3.0-liter formula, Colin Chapman went back to the drawing board. Chapman made the next step forward and convinced Ford to build an F1 engine. The result would be the Ford Cosworth DFV, and an advanced chassis using the engine as a stress-bearing structural member. Since then nearly all Formula One cars have been built this way and the Cosworth DFV would become the engine of choice through the 1970s. The 49 could be a handful to drive with the power of the Cosworth V8 delivering bursts of power that even Graham Hill had reservations about. Take your throttle control to the next level and give the Brabham BT24 something to fight with on equal ground with one of Colin Chapman’s major advances in race car design.



2013 Mazda #7 Andretti Autosport USF2000
Looking to follow the Mazda Road to Indy? A USF2000 is a formative step toward Indy Lights and possibly even a true IndyCar racing career. Greats like Dan Wheldon and Sam Hornish Jr. stepped on this rung of the open-wheel ladder, as well as rising stars like Sage Karam. Driven currently in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, cars like the Andretti Autosport USF2000 provide drivers as young as 14 with a chance to prove their worth as well as an opportunity to progress to the next level – Pro Mazda. These Van Diemen Elan chassis are open-wheel, single-seat, open-cockpit racers with front and rear wings. Multiple tuning adjustments make them competitive on any track. They are powered by Mazda MZR 2-liter powerplants with somewhere in the neighborhood of 170 horsepower connected to a Hewland 5-speed sequential gearbox. These cars can hit speeds of 150 mph. Consider it a contrast to the Formula Ford racers but, instead of touring with the BTCC cars of England, these teams follow and race on the same tracks as IndyCars.



1952 Ferrari 375
In the early days of Formula One racing the Indianapolis 500, known then as the “500,” was part of the points chase in the F1 driver’s championship. Few European teams raced the 500 and, likewise few American drivers competed on the European circuits. The story of the 1952 Ferrari 375 is one that broke that mold. In those early days of Formula One racing, Alfa Romeo was the team to beat, and it was in the Ferrari 375 that Alberto Ascari garnered Ferrari’s first grand prix win with a victory at Silverstone. Later wins in 1951 at the Nürburgring and Monza cemented Ferrari as a true contender at the highest level of racing. Enzo Ferrari was outspoken in his dislike of the Offenhauser V8s that dominated American race circuits and approved sending four teams with specially-built 375 Indy V12s to compete at the Brickyard in 1952. In one of the most technically diverse 500s of all time, where the pole-setting Cummin’s Turbodiesel battled alongside the Offy supercharged V8s, Ferrari came to make their own case with a naturally-aspirated V12. Many argue that Alberto Ascari and the 375 Indy could have won, had he not spun and retired with a wheel failure on lap 40. The 375’s overall pace was on par or better than the winner, an Offy. With Ascari behind the wheel, coupled with the V12’s reliability and relatively meager fuel consumption, it was certainly possible.



2015 Audi S3 Sedan
If you are going to go small, why not go “big” and spin up the new Audi S3? In the battle for market share, Audi is the last to join the other German luxury marques in the compact class. While the S3 is primarily front wheel drive, it is of course equipped with quattro and very aptly delivers power to the rear axle via a Haldex clutch. This may be an entry-level S-badged Audi but the performance from the turbo-charged four-cylinder is spunky to say the least. Under full boost the turbo will peak around 29 psi, and the resultant forced induction generates nearly 300 horsepower and almost diesel-like torque from low RPM. If you’ve have had enough of the practicality of the standard American or Japanese sedans, Audi has the lure baited and is ready to net a new batch of driving enthusiasts with the S3. 



1956 Ford F-100
Ford’s F100 truck series was a hit in 1953 but didn’t really hit its stride until the 1956 model – the best-looking and most powerful version of Ford’s classic workhorse. Maybe it was the new grille. Or that wraparound windscreen. Fans of the blue oval had the optional V8, too, which boosted the F100 to a respectable 167 horsepower, plenty of power for a hard-working vehicle. The F100 went through additional revisions but, for Ford truck connoisseurs, the 1956 model remains a high point.



1973 Ford XB Falcon GT
This might be the most famous Australian car abroad. Not only has it been the star of a major motion picture set in a post-apocalyptic Outback wasteland (that would be “Mad Max”), it’s also been celebrated as the well-loved first car of Australian actor Eric Bana in the 2009 documentary film “Love the Beast.” As one of the first all-Australian designed cars from Ford, it was a no-brainer to send the XB Falcon racing. It battled the Holden LH Torana at the most famous Australian race, the Bathurst 1000 (although its very similar predecessor, the XA Falcon, had a bit better luck). However, race and film career aside, the Falcon stands on its own as a car worthy of admiration. With a snarling 300 horsepower 351 “Cleveland” V8 (an American design locally built in Australia and celebrated in large graphics on the side proclaiming “GT 351”) rumbling under the twin-scooped hood, the GT has plenty of punch to back up its spot at the top of the XB Falcon lineup. With less than 1,000 XB GT hardtops produced, this iconic Australian muscle car is a rare bird.



1983 GMC Vandura G-1500
If the GMC Vandura isn’t the most classic van of all time – and it may well be – it certainly has the coolest name. Be it a work van, party-wagon, or a rig worthy of toting B.A. Baracus and the rest of “The A-Team” around, this half-ton hauler has potential. Tout your best conversion van designs, model your favorite service company or just keep her plain Jane and go hit the track with the NASCAR engine conversion. Now in “Forza Motorsport 5” you can trick your Vandura out with even cooler options like a rooftop wing and front spoiler, making the Vandura that more at the ready to serve your next “vantasy.”

Since 1968, Hot Wheels® has been passionate about creating thrilling vehicle experiences through innovative product and content. With a fan base of more than 41 million people, Hot Wheels® is the No. 1 vehicle property in the United States producing the coolest cars imaginable. The Hot Wheels brand began as a line of 16 1:64-scale die-cast vehicles; today, it has evolved into a true, global lifestyle brand for boys of all ages with segments that range from aftermarket parts to licensed apparel to branded digital content from Team Hot Wheels®, a real-life race crew of professional drivers performing over-the-top stunts. Check out the official Hot Wheels website for the hottest car games and racing videos, and be sure to visit the Hot Wheels® Facebook page.

Look for more announcements from “Forza” and Hot Wheels later this month. The Hot Wheels Car Pack is the final monthly car pack for “Forza Motorsport 5.” While this is the last monthly car pack, “Forza” fans can look forward to more DLC cars coming your way in the weeks and months ahead. Stay tuned for more details! 

Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare: Tactical Taco Party Pack Preview - Mon, 30 Jun 2014 15:15:00 Z
Larry Hryb, Xbox Live's Major Nelson, offers an in-depth look at all the Tactical Taco madness in "Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare's" upcoming free add-on, available July 1. The "Tactical Taco Party Pack" includes a brand new game mode, Vanquish Confirmed, along with a new map, additional character variants, and a whole lot more.

Five Ways Ultra Street Fighter IV is the Best Version Yet - Fri, 27 Jun 2014 16:41:00 Z
Street Fighter IV” is a beast that combined great new features with highlights from the previous games in the franchise, including nods to “Super Street Fighter II Turbo” and a few features from “Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike.” In the years since its 2010 release, Capcom has set to work further refining “Street Fighter IV” with “Super Street Fighter IV,” “Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition,” and now the new updated “Ultra Street Fighter IV,” available now for digital download on Xbox 360 (and hitting retail on August 5). For fans who have lost touch with the series, we’re offering this quick primer on why this version of “Street Fighter IV” is worth a look.

The Gang’s All Here: With this entry, the “Street Fighter” roster has now swelled to a whopping 44 characters. If you were trying out a different character every day, that means you’d go about a month-and-a-half before lapping back to someone you tried before. Of the newcomers, Poison should be of particular interest to longtime gamers. She (or he, depending on what you choose to believe about the character’s origins) hails from classic Capcom arcade brawler “Final Fight,” and it’s wild to see her unleashing fireballs and besting Zangief in a grappling match.

Poison’s not the only one hopping over from “Final Fight” – “Ultra Street Fighter IV” also features Rolento (a mainstay from the “Street Fighter Alpha” prequel series) and Hugo (last seen in “Street Fighter III”). “Street Fighter III’s” Elena also returns, and Decapre (a member of big bad M. Bison’s elite guard) is the newest original character to join the fold. That’s a lot of characters. It means more choices for whatever play style you want, and more challenges for people who already have their one or two characters, and don’t want to change things up.

Street Fighter” Has Matured: Button-mashers will not be able to survive long in “Ultra Street Fighter IV.” Those days for the series are long, long gone. This game is a technical marvel, both from a visuals perspective, and from the sheer strategy at play. To excel, you’ll need to study the timing of moves and their animations to execute cancels and reversals.

Seth Is Still a Brutal Final Boss:
Remember M. Bison? One of his employees (Maybe? It’s unclear how the Shadaloo government’s infrastructure really works), Seth, took over as the final boss in “Street Fighter IV.” He’s a big, hulking blue freak named for former longtime Capcom employee and “Street Fighter” pro player Seth Killian, and he basically has every character’s techniques at his disposal. He is agonizingly tough. One of his most frustrating original moves is the ability to deploy a vacuum in his body that sucks you closer to him. Beating him is so, so satisfying.

The Focus Attack: Introduced in “Street Fighter IV,” focus attacks (also known as saving attacks) are available to all fighters. They’re part of the chess game present in any match, and they grant you Super Armor against one attack. This affords you a momentary window of invulnerability, but it also makes you incredibly vulnerable between letting go of the buttons and actually attacking. As an additional twist, “Ultra Street Fighter IV” adds the red focus: This costs you two bars to absorb essentially as many moves as you want, so long as the opposing player doesn’t use a focus attack themselves. Think of it as a lengthier parry, a bigger gamble, and potentially pretty confusing until you start employing it yourself. Then you’ll wonder how you ever got by without it.

It’s Still Cheesy – and Proud of It: From the goofy win quotes (like Vega’s “I look the most beautiful when glimpsed in the moment of your demise,” or Balrog’s “Damn! My fists have your blood on them!”) to the silly death rattles (Fei Long screams “I lost!” as he corkscrews to the ground), the “Street Fighter” series hasn’t lost its way when it comes to it being a big, fun, theatrical experience. With roots going back to the arcade days, it’s nice to see there’s still that bombastic nature alive and kicking, punching, and Shoryukening to this day.


My Favorite Game: The Extended Cut - Fri, 27 Jun 2014 12:00:00 Z
You may have seen some of the My Favorite Game moments during the Xbox E3 Media Briefing. With the briefing so jam-packed with Xbox One games coming by Holiday 2014, many of our favorite moments ended up on the cutting room floor. With that in mind, we’ve compiled some of our favorite excerpts from folks like Respawn Entertainment’s Abbie Heppe and Joel Emslie, Bobby Moynihan and Taran Killam from Saturday Night Live, and Thomas Middleditch and Kumail Nanjiani from Silicon Valley.

Eight Players Selected for Every Street United Street Soccer Tournament in Rio - Fri, 27 Jun 2014 11:00:00 Z
The “Every Street United” competition is about to heat up! After a global search to uncover the best street soccer players from around the world, eight players from Argentina, Brazil, England, Ghana, the Netherlands, South Korea, Spain and the United States have been selected by legendary footballers Thierry Henry and Edgar Davids to represent their countries in the game of their lives in Rio de Janeiro this summer.

Though they come from different backgrounds and cultures, the players are all united by one passion: street soccer. To get ready for this Sunday’s episode, get to know each of the players through their bios below. Find out where they come from, what drives them and what they’ve overcome to follow their dream.

Then this Sunday, in episode three, Henry and Davids will shift from talent scouts to mentors, splitting the players into two teams and beginning their training for the 4v4 street game in Rio. Make sure to tune in to learn more about each player and see their skills in action. You can also catch up on past episodes and check out interactive features in the “Every Street United” app.

The “Every Street United” players include: 


Photograph by Marieke van der Velden

Nabil Akaazoun
Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Age: 22
  • Position: Left/Right Striker
  • Player Style: Nabil is a triple threat players with his knowledge of street, freestyle and field soccer. He has earned respect in all three areas and now wants to show the world that he is ready to go pro. He even created his own trick, called the Akaazoun.
  • Background: Nabil was raised in a lower middle-class neighborhood in Amsterdam. His dad gave Nabil his first soccer ball when he was only four years old. When he was 10, he started playing soccer in the streets, holding his own against grown men. He was spotted by Edward van Gils, one of the pioneers of street soccer, and by 13, Nabil was performing alongside Edward in shows and competitions around Holland. At 14, he made the decision to not purse field soccer, as he felt that field soccer players risked too much injury. A couple of years ago, Nabil’s dad got sick and he started performing in freestyle shows to support his family. He quickly rose to the top of the freestyle arena performing shows and teaching soccer clinics around the world. Now at 22, Nabil wants to return to his first love of field soccer.
  • Soccer Status: Nabil is well-known throughout the street soccer world but has no professional affiliations.




Richard Apetor
Accra, Ghana

  • Age: 19
  • Position: Attacking Midfield/Striker
  • Player Style: At 6’3, Richard makes good use of his height and strength. He is a player who loves to hold the ball because he is very strong and doesn’t lose it to his opponent.
  • Background: Richard grew up very poor in a compound that didn’t have gates, running water or toilets. Richard would often wander around the neighborhood to find houses so he could sneak in and use their bathrooms, and would walk many miles across highways and railways to fetch water. Soccer is everything to him. He wakes up at 4:50 am for team training, and when there is no team training, he goes to the beach to train with other soccer players. He gave up his schooling to pursue his dream, but feels that no one thinks he will make it as a soccer player because he is from Ghana.
  • Soccer Status: Richard is part of the One World Academy and trains kids who go to the most expensive school in Ghana.




Ben Jackson
London, United Kingdom

  • Age: 20
  • Position: Right Wing/Right Back
  • Player Style: Ben grew up with no advantages in life and has fought every day for his dream of playing soccer on a professional level. He has a great center of gravity and confidence on both feet.
  • Background: Ben grew up in South London, known for its high crime and drug scene, and he credits soccer for keeping him alive. At the age of eight, he was kicked out of Millwall FC for attitude and anger problems. He struggled in school due to undiagnosed dyslexia, which wasn’t discovered until the age of 14. At 16, he went to David Beckham’s Academy and broke onto his first team. Three months later, he signed with Charlton Athletic on a scholarship. When Ben was 18 he had just signed his first major contract with Chesham FC when he found out that his 17-year-old girlfriend was pregnant. At the same time, his father went to prison. Faced with the decision to pursue his dream or have the baby, he walked away from his dream to return to London and be there for his family. He now has two children with his girlfriend, a two year old and a three week old. They all share one bedroom at his girlfriend’s parents’ house.
  • Soccer Status: Ben is currently looking for a team to play for.




Seung Min Lee
Seoul, South Korea
  • Age: 18
  • Position: Left Wing/Right Wing/Center Midfield
  • Player Style: Seung Min is a fast player with great footwork and a strong center of gravity. Free-kicks are one of his specialties.
  • Background: Seung Min first picked up soccer at the age of 10, and from that moment on, his life became soccer. Despite his father’s financial struggles, he enrolled Seung Min in a soccer program in 4th grade, where he was quickly labeled Most Valuable Player. In his second year of middle school, he was chosen to represent Korea at an international competition in Japan, where his team took third place, and which earned him a spot as captain of his middle school team. With this recognition, Seung Min gained entry, on a full scholarship, to a soccer high school. Despite his love of the sport, he had problems with the coach and decided to quit the team his senior year. He enrolled in a traditional high school, but because he didn’t play his senior year, he wasn't able to land a spot on a good college team.
  • Soccer Status: Seung Min is currently considering a scholarship to play for a local 2-year college.




Jordan Mariani
Buenos Aires, Argentina

  • Age: 21
  • Position: Left Wing
  • Player Style: On the field, Jordan is called “Pitbull” because of his strength and drive.
  • Background: Jordan’s family played a soccer match when he was born to determine what team he’d end up being a fan of. His uncle won, so he became a fan of Atlanta. By the time he was 17, Jordan made it onto the Atlanta team. Jordan has played for a variety of teams in Buenos Aires, starting to play seriously in 2005, when he joined Excursionistas, a third division club. He trained there for five years, then he made it to Club Atlanta in a higher division, and won the championship. After three years, he returned to Excursionistas and was moved to first team. Jordan dreams of playing abroad, even spending a whole year working at McDonald’s in order to save up enough money to try out for the San Antonio Scorpions in the United States. Unfortunately, 80 people tried out and nobody was accepted. Jordan returned to Buenos Aires to finish his studies and continue to search for his break.
  • Soccer Status: Jordan is currently training with a free agent soccer group.




Miguel Calero Montiel
Madrid, Spain

  • Age: 18
  • Position: Center Forward
  • Player Style: Miguel is a humble fighter who believes you can overcome any obstacle in life or on the field if you put your mind to it.
  • Background: Miguel grew up in Parla, a quiet blue collar neighborhood where everything revolves around soccer. He began playing indoor football when he was five years old, moved on to full football fields when he was 14, and has dominated ever since. He played for Parla Escuela when he was 16 years old, right before he was injured. He suffered several injuries, which taught him a new level of humility while he spent two years recovering from a torn meniscus.
  • Soccer Status: Miguel plays for Atletico Pinto in the 3rd division.




Sergio Leandro Oliveira Jr.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  • Age: 19
  • Position: Left Midfield
  • Player Style: Sergio’s nickname in Rio is “liso,” which means smooth in Portuguese. He was given this name for his ability to get across the field dribbling the ball smoothly around all the players, “like soap that slides on the floor.”
  • Background: Sergio grew up on the beach in Rio. As a kid, he would follow his father to work and play beach soccer every day. He started playing club soccer at the age of 12. At 15, Sergio was recruited to play on the junior league of one of the big clubs in town, which took second place in the 2010 state finals in Rio. Since then, he’s had multiple opportunities to travel and play for teams in other states in Brazil and in Mexico. A pushy and overzealous manager, who was trying to get too much money for Sergio, ended up driving a wedge between Sergio and the team in Mexico. He came back to Rio and he started trialing for different junior teams.
  • Soccer Status: Sergio is now playing with a Sao Cristovao Junior team but he has yet to sign a contract. Sergio is also in in the middle of filming a movie about Pele’s childhood and recently finished filming a Coca Cola commercial that will air during the World Cup.



Photograph by Thomas Alleman

Jose Perez
Long Beach, CA, USA

  • Age: 22
  • Position: Center/Left Midfield
  • Player Style: Jose Perez is otherwise known as “Chickawalla Bang Bang,” for his killer shot and A-game.
  • Background: Jose speaks to his father only twice a year, and even though his mother lives with him, she has never seen him play. He grew up relying on the encouragement of coaches and mentors, who have served as his true support system. He was introduced to the sport by his cousins at a young age, but didn’t start taking soccer seriously until he was 16, when he met one of his coaches and mentors, Hector Polo. Hector showed Jose a new style of soccer; a way to “breakdance with the ball” that completely changed his perspective on the sport. Soccer kept Jose out of gangs, and has been his driving force, but he recently had put his dreams on hold to work seven days a week to make money to support his mom and new daughter.
  • Soccer Status: Jose plays street soccer with "Concrete Royalty" and field soccer in the “Ghetto League.” He and his team won a street soccer tournament last year.

Make sure to tune in to the latest episode of “Every Street United” this Sunday on Xbox. Watch virtually anywhere on Xbox Video, or download the “Every Street United” app on Xbox One and Xbox 360 to access the interactive features, only on Xbox. An Xbox Live Gold membership is not required.

For more information, visit 
Xbox.com.




Xbox One Achievements and More Coming Soon to Xbox.com - Fri, 27 Jun 2014 10:40:00 Z
One of the most requested community features we've seen as of late is the ability to view your Xbox One data on Xbox.com. We're happy to announce that the first of these elements - your Xbox One profile, Achievements, friends, followers, and game clips - will be viewable on Xbox.com beginning next week. Check out the video above to get an idea of what you can expect when you visit the site.

More enhancements, like your Activity feed, are on the way. But in the meantime put these new features through their paces next week, and
keep your suggestions coming!

Destiny Beta Coming to Xbox in July - Thu, 26 Jun 2014 12:15:00 Z
With its seamless blend of single-player, cooperative, and multiplayer action, Bungie’s Destiny is one of the most intriguing Xbox One games of 2014. When we had a chance to check out the game at E3 a few weeks ago, we had an absolute blast with the head-to-head multiplayer mode – known as Crucible in Destiny’s parlance – and couldn’t wait to play more. This made today’s big news that much sweeter, as the folks at Bungie have announced that the Destiny beta will be landing on Xbox One and Xbox 360 in late-July for fans that pre-order the game.

In addition to Crucible,
Destiny features a massive open world for players to explore – solo, with friends, or with matchmade players – that’s chock full of dynamic events, intense firefights, and more sweet loot than you’ll know what to do with. Along the way, you’ll create and customize the hero of your choice using the game’s robust character editor, explore the outer reaches of the universe, and, just maybe, take care of those pesky Wizards on the moon.

Although
Destiny won’t be released until September 9, you’ll be able to spend lot of quality time with the game beginning in July with the beta for Xbox One and Xbox 360. We’ll be bringing you more details and specifics about the beta soon, but for now you can head over to the official Destiny site for more information.

July Games with Gold: Celebrate More Great Games for Xbox One and Xbox 360 - Thu, 26 Jun 2014 11:00:00 Z
In the mood for a little action this July? How about a little salsa? What about ... blocks? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, we’ve got some good news for you: Games with Gold has you covered with three fantastic titles this month for Xbox One and Xbox 360. As usual, all games are available only for a limited time*, as part of the Games with Gold program, so jump on them while you can!

"
Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition" by DrinkBox Studios (Xbox One, $14.99 ERP)



Coming July 2, "Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition” is a challenging brawler/platformer, arriving via the ID@Xbox self-publishing program for Xbox One. You play Juan Aguacate, a masked Mexican wrestler on a quest to save the President’s daughter from the evil, skeletal Carlos Calaca – you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll elbow-drop jaguars. More than just a meticulously balanced brawler, though, “Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition” features cleverly hidden secret areas, a vibrant world of wonderment built around the Mexican land of the dead, and a creative ability system that allows for ever-increasing exploration and rewards. “Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition” will replace June’s Xbox One Games with Gold title “
Halo: Spartan Assault” so be sure to grab it while you can!

"Gotham City Impostors
" by Monolith Productions, Inc. (Xbox 360, $14.99 ERP)



Available July 1-15, we have “Gotham City Impostors,” a multiplayer, first-person shooter based on DC Comics’ Batman universe. Here, two teams of six players face off against each other using a variety of Batman- and Joker-themed weapons in good ol’ deathmatches. Raucous fun, and plenty of it to be had for fans of blowin’ stuff up.

"BattleBlock Theater" by The Behemoth (Xbox 360, $14.99 ERP)



Available from July 16-31, experience “BattleBlock Theater”! You’ve got nowhere to go but up ... on stage. Play single player or co-op to free your friends and save Hatty Hattington! Jump, solve and battle your way through a mysterious theater inhabited by highly technological felines.

So, fancy a trip to the Mexican land of the dead? How about a desert island filled with sadistic cats? Or maybe Gotham City? You can do it all for free in July on Xbox Live. Check out the full details on our
Games with Gold program, and make sure you get in on the action while you can!

*Titles are available as free downloads for a limited time, for qualifying paid Xbox Live Gold members in all markets where Xbox Live is available. Some regions may offer different titles depending on market availability. 






11 Semi-Finalists Head to San Diego for Kinect Sports Rivals World Championship - Thu, 26 Jun 2014 08:00:00 Z
For the past three months, players around the world have gone head-to-head online in the first ever global motion-sports competition, the “Kinect Sports Rivals World Championship.” Now, 11 skilled semi-finalists have played their way to the top, and will be flown to California for a live, in-person championship during San Diego Comic-Con to battle for their country’s glory and the grand prize. The final championship will take place in the Xbox Gamers Lounge at the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego on Saturday, July 26 between 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. PDT.

The grand prize winner at San Diego Comic-Con will be awarded $10,000 in cash, plus the trip of a lifetime for two to one of four amazing destinations: a water sports adventure in Bora Bora, walking the Great Wall of China, trekking to Machu Picchu or skiing the Swiss Alps. Additional prizes include:

  • 2nd Place: USD $5,000
  • 3rd Place: USD $2,500
  • 4th Place: USD $1,000
  • 5th – 11th Place: USD $500 each

The 11 “Kinect Sports Rivals World Championship” semi-finalists include:

Alex Vlas

Country:
Australia

Gamertag:
AlexVlas

How long have you been gaming?
I started playing games when I was six. The first day I started playing computer games, I actually forgot to go home and my mom had to pick me up later that night. I can still remember the walk back home, all I could think is that I wanted more. I wanted to be the best.

What do you like most about “Kinect Sports Rivals?”
“Kinect Sports Rivals” is my first complete motion game and I am amazed by the accuracy it has in capturing every movement. I love Wake Racing and enjoy playing it for hours.

What was the hardest thing about securing your winning spot in the competition?
Bowling. I tried to get the perfect 300 for a very long while and was not able to get it. Hopefully, I will be able to get it at the San Diego finals. 

What drives you to win this competition?
Well, as mentioned before, I have been a gamer all my life and tried winning all sorts of tournaments, but never made it out of the national qualifiers, always got 2nd place. This is my first, and probably last, try at winning an international championship. I will give it everything I have and more. I did not sleep at all the last night of the qualifiers and I will continue with this level of dedication until the end.

André Sander Ferreira Pinheiro

Country:
Brazil 

Gamertag:
TiziuSheik

How long have you been gaming?
Since I was a child, I was always fanatical about video games.

What do you like most about “Kinect Sports Rivals?”
“Kinect Sports Rivals” is a fun game, in which you can have fun alone, with family or with friends of all ages.

What was the hardest thing about securing your winning spot in the competition?
It was difficult because all the competitors were good, but with grapple and determination I managed to defend the first place in Brazil.

What drives you to win this competition?
What drives me is to be recognized in this sport because I've always loved video games. I would like to win the grand prize also to help my family.

Christian Lagunas Peñaloza

Country:
Mexico

Gamertag:
Wing L Halcon L

How long have you been gaming?
About 17 years. I started with the N64.

What do you like most about “Kinect Sports Rivals?”
I get to exercise.

What was the hardest thing about securing your winning spot in the competition?
I really wasn't so sure that I would win the competition, but I played harder on the last day. 

What drives you to win this competition?
That I can play with players from other countries.

David Schiebort

Country:
Germany

Gamertag:
Lucktose

How long have you been gaming?
I’ve been gaming since I was 9 years old in 1999. My first console was the PS1, followed by the PS2. Then I switched to Xbox 360 and Xbox One until now.

What do you like most about “Kinect Sports Rivals?”
I really like the way I play it. It's a unique feeling and so much fun to control the game so precisely with my own motions, without any controller.

What was the hardest thing about securing your winning spot in the competition?
Bowling, definitely Bowling. Almost daily I tried for a whole month to get 299. There's nothing more to say.

What drives you to win this competition?
The thrill to win an E-Sport event live on stage.

Edward Vasquez

Country:
United States of America

Gamertag:
NinjaXinfinity

How long have you been gaming?
I’ve been gaming since I was a little boy, when my father walked in to me and my brother's room with a little device called Nintendo. Before then, I never knew what gaming was. “Super Mario Bros.” was my very first game.

What do you like most about “Kinect Sports Rivals?”
The ability to play using my body as the controller. Sheesh, you really get a work out going during Rock Climbing.

What was the hardest thing about securing your winning spot in the competition?
It was definitely bowling a 300. Wow, was that agonizing. Technically, you didn't have to bowl a 300, but if your competition bowled a 300, well you had no choice but to bowl a 300. After about 3 weeks of bowling games, where I'll get nine strikes in a row just to bowl the tenth time and have one pin wobble for 3 seconds and decide "I'm not going to fall today," is enough to drive anybody strait into an insane asylum - haha. But I have an unflinching desire to win, so the day finally arrived when I bit down and bowled all afternoon, and amazingly bowled a perfect game. It was an unbelievable feeling of joy and disbelief. My wife and I were literally jumping up and down, as if I had scored the winning goal in the World Cup.  

What drives you to win this competition?
I want to be the first ever world champion in motion control gaming history... That’s a pretty neat title, don't you think?

Keith Gobel 

Country:
United States of America

Gamertag:
FusedDaelin

How long have you been gaming?
Started back around 1995.

What do you like most about “Kinect Sports Rivals?”
Rock Climbing, had the most fun playing that.

What was the hardest thing about securing your winning spot in the competition?
Trying to find the time to play.

What drives you to win this competition?
It’s just fun. I’m competitive by nature. I simply want to win.

Joshua Barrionuevo 

Country:
United States of America

Gamertag:
TRU3 CHOSEN ONE 

How long have you been gaming?
Since Atari 2600.

What do you like most about “Kinect Sports Rivals?”
The “Kinect Sports Rivals World Championship.”

What was the hardest thing about securing your winning spot in the competition?
The most challenging part about securing my spot in the competition would have to be work and family. I love spending time with my family, and this has taken some of that time. Since I work full time, it was challenging to find the time to play. After work, I would go home and do family time first and then play. Let's just say that I feel asleep in one too many meetings at work.

What drives you to win this competition?
My son is my motivation to win. I want to show him that hard work and dedication does pay off and when you set your mind you can accomplish anything.

Kevin Weiler

Country:
Canada

Gamertag:
AestheticaL

How long have you been gaming?
I've been gaming all of my life.

What do you like most about “Kinect Sports Rivals?”
I love the community that this championship has brought together, but Rock Climbing is my favorite sport! 

What was the hardest thing about securing your winning spot in the competition?
Getting the perfect game in Bowling was the hardest achievement, as it secured my win for Canada.

What drives you to win this competition?
This tournament is a big opportunity for me to get my name out there and put my website on the map, and hopefully help me land a career in this field!

Lilian Trochon

Country:
France 

Gamertag:
II Lilian 31 II

How long have you been gaming?
Since I’ve been four years old.

What do you like most about “Kinect Sports Rivals?”
Wake Racing and Football.

What was the hardest thing about securing your winning spot in the competition?
Achieve the perfect-bowling score. 

What drives you to win this competition?
Play and perseverance. 

Michael Griffiths 

Country:
United Kingdom 

Gamertag:
Mikey G85

How long have you been gaming?
All my life. My parents bought me a Sega Mega Drive back in 1991.

What do you like most about “Kinect Sports Rivals?”
I love how it gets everyone up on their feet. It’s got loads of replay value, especially when you’re trying to beat the times of players from around the world.

What was the hardest thing about securing your winning spot in the competition?
For me, it had to be getting below 40 seconds in the Rock Climbing event. 

What drives you to win this competition?
The prizes are incredible, and representing the UK is an amazing feeling that really makes me want to bring home the win.

Thomas Fortman 

Country:
United States of America

Gamertag:
tomfortman2009

How long have you been gaming?
10 years.

What do you like most about “Kinect Sports Rivals?”
The tournament.

What was the hardest thing about securing your winning spot in the competition?
Staying determined.

What drives you to win this competition?
Prizes.

Follow Major Nelson on
Twitter for updates from San Diego Comic-Con and the “Kinect Sports Rivals World Championship.”



Xbox One to Offer Largest and Most Critically Acclaimed Line Up of Games for Holiday 2014 - Thu, 26 Jun 2014 06:00:00 Z
It's been nearly two weeks since E3 2014 ended, and the industry has reflected on the upcoming games fans can look forward to, including a great 2014 for Xbox One fans. With nine exclusive blockbuster games coming to Xbox One by this holiday season and others featuring content coming first to Xbox One, there’s no better time to be an Xbox One owner. The gaming press agreed, rewarding Xbox One’s 2014 exclusive games lineup with more than 60 nominations and 25 award wins to date, including seven nominations for the prestigious Game Critics Best of E3 2014 Awards, leading the industry for 2014 games.

“Congratulations to the creators who are receiving broad acclaim for the games shown at E3,” said Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox. “We saw an incredible display of games at E3 from across the industry and we’re thrilled gamers will have such a wide selection available this year on Xbox One, including “Halo: The Master Chief Collection,” “Sunset Overdrive,” “Forza Horizon 2,” “Ori and the Blind Forest.” Xbox One is the only place you can play these games along with creative independent titles and blockbusters such as “Assassin’s Creed Unity,” “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare,” “Destiny,” “Evolve,” “Grand Theft Auto V,” and dozens more - making gaming on Xbox One unmatched this holiday.”

The number one pre-ordered title on many retailers lists following E3 is the experience that GameSpot says is "shaping up to be a real treat for Halo fans." For the first time, Xbox fans will be able to experience Halo on Xbox One this fall. Offering the complete story of the Master Chief (“Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary,” “Halo 2 Anniversary,” “Halo 3” and “Halo 4”) on one console for the first time ever, “Halo: The Master Chief Collection” is also packed with more than 100 multiplayer maps and will feature single-player playlists curated by developer 343 Industries. 

The most awarded Xbox One exclusive of 2014 was undoubtedly Insomniac Games' “Sunset Overdrive,” which wowed press and gamers alike with its unique blend of highly-stylized visuals, frenetic gameplay, and over-the-top arsenal. Destructoid gave “Sunset Overdrive” its E3 award for "Best Xbox Exclusive" and called it "absolutely stunning," while The Nerdist said that it "may pan out to be Insomniac's best work yet." Releasing on October 28, “Sunset Overdrive” is the most-awarded Xbox One exclusive to date with more than 20 nominations and a dozen wins.

Racing fans couldn't get enough of “Forza Horizon 2,” which offers players the chance to race around the tight city streets and sun-drenched vineyards of Southern Europe. The recipient of Game Informer's "Best Racing Game" award, “Forza Horizon 2” "looks to give racing fans the complete package right out of the gate" with over 200 stunning vehicles. The rest of the press agrees, as “Forza Horizon 2” has currently received more than a dozen nominations and at least six wins. With a dynamic weather system and full day-to-night cycles, you'll never want to stop exploring its massive open world.

One of the biggest surprises of the show was our announcement of Moon Studios' “Ori and the Blind Forest,” a gorgeous new title that Game Informer says, "features tight and challenging platforming, a vibrant art style, and remarkably fluid animation." “Ori and the Blind Forest” was a critical darling at E3, bringing home more than 15 nominations and six wins from the gaming press. Echoing a sentiment heard throughout the show, GamesRadar wrote that “Ori and the Blind Forest” "immediately charms the pants off of anyone that plays it," while IGN gave the game its "Best Platformer" award.

In addition to the nine exclusive blockbuster games coming to Xbox One, a number of highly-praised games from our publishing partners will be bringing pre- and post-release content to Xbox One before other platforms. 2K's “Evolve” was one of the most acclaimed games of E3, with six E3 Game Critics Best of E3 2014 nominations and recognition by GameSpot, Polygon and IGN among others, as one of the top games from the show. You'll be able to play “Evolve” first, exclusively on Xbox One with the open beta this fall as well as have access to the premier downloadable content also available first, exclusively on Xbox One. Role-playing game fans, on the other hand, will be happy to hear that Electronic Arts’ “Dragon Age: Inquisition” will be bringing its premier add-on content first, exclusively to Xbox One.

2014 will be a great year for Xbox One fans, and more choices for purchase are being met with open arms at retail stores stores. “Customer demand for the Xbox One video game console continues to remain high and we are thrilled with the accelerated pace of consumer adoption we are experiencing,” said Tony Bartel, president of GameStop. “With the new $399.99 version now available, we are seeing more traffic in our stores from customers who are ready to experience the next generation of Xbox gaming.”

In the first full year of this generation, there are nine exclusive blockbuster games coming to Xbox One, as well as dozens of other great titles, including “Assassin’s Creed Unity,” “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare,” “Destiny,” “Grand Theft Auto V” and “Far Cry 4.” 2014 is shaping up to be the most memorable year in Xbox history and we hope you're as excited as we are.








Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Spins the Most Sprawling Snake Tale Yet - Wed, 25 Jun 2014 11:30:00 Z
You’ve got to hand it to Hideo Kojima; the man has a penchant for the peculiar. The “Metal Gear” series’ legendary director made another splash with last week’s unique E3 trailer and gameplay presentation for the upcoming “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain,” and while we never quite know what to make of these things (even when we actually play the final games, in some cases), this latest promotional spectacle for Konami’s famed stealth-action saga was definitely attention-grabbing.

For the uninitiated, these games spin quite the involved, intricate story. You don’t need to have played previous “Metal Gear” games to enjoy “The Phantom Pain,” but it doesn’t hurt. If you feel like catching up, grab “
Metal Gear Solid 2 & 3 HD Edition,” “Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker HD Edition,” and last March’s “Phantom Pain” prequel “Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes.” Special note: For anyone who ever thought “Peace Walker” was a fanciful side-story and not a mainline-series game... boy, were you wrong. Make sure you spend some quality time catching up on this excellent bit of “Metal Gear” gaming!

With that out of the way, here’s the gist of it in layman’s terms. Recent events left series protagonist and stealth operative Snake (otherwise known as “Big Boss” in some circles) in a decade-long coma. “The Phantom Pain” finds him on the road to recovery circa 1984, and hot on the trail of his abducted majordomo, Kazuhira Miller. Not everyone has taken kindly to the Diamond Dogs – the pair’s nation-agnostic PMC – and now, in the wake of Miller’s kidnapping, Snake heads to Afghanistan to make his house whole once again.

If you played “Ground Zeroes,” you generally know what you’re in for here, mechanics-wise. Snake has the run of a vast and open world, and enjoys the ability to mark enemy locations, once he surveys the area with his binoculars. This enemy-flagging system effectively supplants previous games’ persistent radar, and makes for a much more heads-up, eyes-open method of identifying, evading, and engaging threats. Snake’s usual bag of tricks returns; he can hug walls, crawl along the ground, hide in the brush, and neutralize foes with whatever mix of gunplay, tranquilizers, and close-quarters combat you find appropriate. This is, of course, a stealth-action game – which means that an out-and-out firefight usually doubles as a fast ticket to the game over screen.

Konami’s gameplay presentation put the metallic-prosthetic-arm-rocking Snake in the eye of an Afghan sandstorm, with his in-house interrogation specialist (and future series mega-antagonist) Revolver Ocelot providing radio support. En route to his objective, a horse-riding Snake hung to his steed’s side in order to avoid detection, utilized the aforementioned sandstorm for added cover, and capitalized on a cardboard box (“Metal Gear’s” trademark portable hiding spot) in a variety of new ways. For one, Snake can now pop out of the box, fire a few rounds (or tranqs) into an unsuspecting soldier, and resume his hiding position. Or, under pressure, Snake can dive out the side of the box to seek better cover.


Expanding upon “Peace Walker’s” support mechanics, Snake can also request supply drops and aerial strikes from Mother Base, the Diamond Dogs’ HQ. A well-placed drop can even knock out an unsuspecting enemy – and incapacitated foes can be press-ganged into Snake’s private army via the Fulton surface-to-air recovery system, which shuttles a snoozing soldier (or vehicle, or even
animal) back to Mother Base. As the havoc mounted during Konami’s “Phantom Pain” demo, Snake called for an air strike, hopped in a jeep, and hustled to an evac point as his troops carpet-bombed the enemy installation.

A quick helicopter trip later, Snake had free reign of Mother Base, which – unlike its menu-based incarnation in “Peace Walker” – is a grand, heavily customizable fortress where you can interact with Diamond Dogs personnel, improve Snake’s skills via combat training and shooting ranges, and even take up combat positions to fend off incoming attacks from rival armies. Of note to all you lovely “Metal Gear” conspiracy theorists: “The Phantom Pain’s” Mother Base architecture bears more than a passing resemblance to “Metal Gear Solid 2’s” Big Shell.

In terms of where “The Phantom Pain” will take Snake story-wise, we’re just as excited as everyone else to learn more. So far, it involves the following: a creepy, Glasgow-smiling villain who calls himself Skull Face; a mute, female sniper named Quiet; Snake’s habitual employment of fallen Diamond Dogs soldiers’ ashes as war paint; child soldiers who may or may not grow up to become series favorites Liquid Snake and Psycho Mantis (this
is a prequel to later-set “Metal Gear” games, mind you); and a protagonist who almost never speaks, despite beloved series star David Hayter giving up Snake’s voice role to A-list actor Kiefer Sutherland.

Konami and Kojima Productions are currently hard at work on “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” for Xbox One and Xbox 360. It can’t get here soon enough.



Four New ID@Xbox Games Coming to Xbox One This Week - Wed, 25 Jun 2014 10:00:00 Z
Xbox One owners are in for a treat – four awesome new ID@Xbox games are available now or coming out this week! With a variety of gameplay, there’s something for everyone to keep busy with right now.

Check out what you can play on Xbox One this week.



“RBI Baseball” (Available now)
Summer is definitely baseball season, so get your nostalgia fix with some old-school baseball action. Embodying the feeling of ‘90s baseball games, “RBI Baseball” is a light alternative to the more hardcore baseball sims of this generation.



“Zombie Driver” (Available now)
It’s just you, your car, and a city full of zombies in “Zombie Driver.” Complete the vehicular combat, rescue survivors, and let off some steam on the hundreds of shambling pedestrians just asking to get run over, or shot, or blown up.



“Another World” (Wednesday, June 25)
A fast-paced, side-scrolling combat platformer, “Another World” is actually a remastering of a 16-bit classic – and now you can relive the iconic sci-fi adventure with new visuals and sound. Whether it’s your first time, or you consider “Another World” a fond memory, you’ll want to check this one out.



“Contrast” (Thursday, June 26)
This is the story of Didi, a girl with an imaginary friend who can jump through shadows. “Contrast” uses light and shadows to create its challenging puzzles, as your characters jump between the two planes. Lots of puzzles, a noir-style atmosphere, and some innovative gameplay combine to make “Contrast” a must-have.

More ID@Xbox games are coming out soon, from dozens of talented independent developers. Keep checking Xbox Wire for the latest news on more great games!




Official Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare - "Future Tech & Exoskeleton" Behind the Scenes Video - Tue, 24 Jun 2014 11:15:00 Z
When we saw Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare at E3 2014, we loved the game’s vision of the future and how it brings the technology of tomorrow to today's players. From “mute mines” that create a sphere of silence to grenades that highlight threats in the environment, the high-tech tools and toys at your disposal are sure to be one of the game’s most talked about features. We certainly can’t wait to get our hands on it, and we’re eagerly awaiting every bit of information that gets released. In the video above, Sledgehammer Games co-founders Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey discuss how future tech and the exoskeleton redefine the gameplay of Call of Duty.

Get Your True Blood Fix on Xbox with Free Season Seven Premiere - Tue, 24 Jun 2014 09:30:00 Z
Sink your teeth into this, Xbox fans: Starting today through this Thursday, all Xbox One and Xbox 360 owners get free access to the first episode of “True Blood” season seven!

And yes, free means free. You don’t need an Xbox Live Gold or HBO GO subscription to get in on this action. Catch up with waitress and part-faerie Sookie Stackhouse and vampires Bill Compton and Eric Northman as they continue to live among humans and navigate new and increasingly dangerous threats to their existence.

Don’t miss out on the biting humor, romance and mystery of the last season of one of HBO’s hottest shows – free today through Thursday on Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Look for the True Blood tile on your home screen to check out season 7 episode 1.


Get Even Will Make You Question Reality - Mon, 23 Jun 2014 11:30:00 Z
From the moment we first loaded up “Get Even,” we were blown away. Developer Farm 51 has promised next-gen graphics, and they’re certainly delivering an incredible, photorealistic game that blurs the line between CG rendering and live action. Not content to simply make a gorgeous game, Farm 51 is using its talent to develop this mysterious first-person shooter into something that is about so much more than... well, shooting (but it’s got a ton of that, too).

According to “Get Even’s” lead designer Kamil Bilczyński, players have to ask themselves, “What is real?” A large part of “Get Even” revolves around a murder investigation that has you reliving memories, altering them, and getting clues that eventually help you solve the game’s many mysteries.

In our recent demo session, we found a room of corpses, deceased gunmen strewn about after a firefight, and an unrecognizable body.

This is where “Get Even” gets weird (and cool).

By jumping back in time via a subject’s memory, we were able to relive the firefight, moving through it while the scene played out in slow-motion – until we could get to our target and snap a photo of the victim before he was shot. Bilczyński teased the potential to relieve the memory again and again, making incremental progress until maybe – just maybe – we could actually save the victim.

Another thing that makes “Get Even” so interesting is that its multiplayer mode ties into the bigger picture. Two campaigns tell the same story from both sides of the battle; enemies that you encounter during your progression through one story might be actual players working through the
other story. Make no mistake: This is an intense, unforgiving game in all of the best ways.

“Get Even” is just one of the amazing games coming from ID@Xbox. It doesn’t come out until 2015, but believe us when we say that it will be worth the wait.


Get Defensive with Madden NFL 15 - Fri, 20 Jun 2014 14:10:00 Z
It’s been a decade since a defensive player took the cover spot (Ray Lewis on “Madden 2005”), and with this year’s Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawk showcasing the devastating force of a great defensive line and secondary, it’s no wonder EA Sports is bringing defense back strong. This year, “Madden 15” is making defense fun again.

Borrowing a page from “NCAA Football 14’s” playbook, “Madden 15” features an all-new way to play defense. Now the camera swings around behind your defense, giving you the same control and vision you that you get when you’re on offense. A tackling reticule and vision cone give defensive players more information and control, to help them go for those big hits.

The skill trainer featured in previous games also returns to show you how to recognize plays, and what moves are most effective. Essentially, “Madden 15” is getting so authentic that it’s teaching you how to play
actual football.

It’s not all under-the-hood changes this year, either. Football is getting a graphical overhaul with new presentation cameras, and some amazing visuals on the Xbox One. EA showed off the gorgeous Levi’s Stadium, the new home of the San Francisco 49ers. The lighting, the textures, and the grass were so realistic that it's getting increasingly harder to tell it's not actually real.

And EA Sports is committed to making that the case when “Madden 15” is in action, too: Character models have been completely rebuilt, and they look more authentic than ever. Uniforms and padding shift and move, changing the shape and movement of the players. Even their faces are incredibly well-modeled, sometimes tricking our brain into thinking we’re looking at the real Colin Kaepernick.

The new defense options really change how “Madden” plays, and are sure to make for some interesting match-ups in online play. We’re definitely excited for “Madden 15’s” August 26 release date.


The Minds Behind Sixty Second Shooter: Happion Laboratories - Thu, 19 Jun 2014 13:05:00 Z
Happion Laboratories’ “Sixty Second Shooter” is a twin-stick shooter that presents itself in bite-sized, minute-long increments. Players are equipped with only one life, and games often only last a few seconds. To call it compelling would be a vast understatement. Now, the definitive version of the game is coming to Xbox One with a host of new features, taking the “just one more game” quality of the original to new heights.

“Sixty Second Shooter Prime” came to be – at least in part – thanks to one fortuitous conversation. Creator Jamie Fristrom was chatting with ID@Xbox director Chris Charla one day late last year, when Charla mentioned an opening in the Xbox One title lineup. “Chris asked me about the games I had in development,” Fristrom recalls. “When I mentioned ‘Sixty Second Shooter’ – my twist on twin-stick shooters – he said that there weren’t any retro twin-stick shooters coming to the Xbox One yet.” Once he had that ear worm, Fristrom couldn’t stop thinking about being the first, and decided to rearrange his plans to make it happen.

Quite a bit has been modified for the transition to next-gen hardware. The game received a complete audio upgrade, for one: All the audio and music has been replaced by the work of game audio veteran Brian Luzietti. “He’s been doing game audio for decades – you’ve almost certainly heard his work before in other games – and it really takes things up a level,” says Fristrom. It’s also had a graphical and general “game feel” upgrade. “Prime” brings a new dazzle to the graphics, the way the ship controls, and the way the camera follows you. In Fristrom’s words, this gives the game “an almost a cinema verité feel,” as things are exploding around your ship in massive quantities.

Visually, the creator calls his game “a kind of a weird mix between vector art and old school, ‘90s 3D.” His influences include old stand-up arcade games “Space Duel” and “I Robot.” but he’s added a bevy of modern post-processing effects on top of that – like intense glows and smoke effects. “All of the art is procedural,” says Fristrom. “Those 3D shapes and Voronoi playing fields are mathematically constructed, mostly because I didn’t want to write the code to import 3D models from 3ds Max or Maya!”

Not to say that it came easy; nailing the graphical style took quite a bit of technical and creative wrangling. “I had some trouble getting the vector line drawing to look exactly like I wanted it to,” says Fristrom. “Modern games don’t do a lot of vector art, so ‘beautiful line drawing’ simply isn’t built into the system. I ended up doing some post-processing tricks to give the lines the thickness and glow I wanted, without them looking pixel-y.”

The short play sessions make “Prime” exceptionally compelling. “It’s really easy to say, ‘Let me play just one more game,’ when you know it’s going to take, at most, a couple of minutes,” says Fristrom. The time limit also makes the game extremely strategic. Somebody who knows the strategies of “Sixty Second Shooter Prime” – that is to say, someone who knows how to make the most of that one minute – will almost always beat someone who simply tries to stay alive as long as possible. The game includes friends’ leaderboards to keep things competitive, and Fristrom plans to add weekly or monthly leaderboards in a future update.

Interestingly, one of the features being added to this version of the game is one that Fristrom resisted for a long time. “A lot of people don’t get the game’s selling point,” he says. “Those people would ask me, ‘Hey, can you make it longer?’ And I’d always say, under my breath, ‘If that’s what you want, why don’t you just go play ‘Geometry Wars’?’” However, this seemed like a good opportunity to give the people what they wanted. “Prime” includes an Infinity mode, where players can acquire time-extend power-ups and theoretically play forever. “It’s actually super-fun, so maybe the people knew what’s what all along,” Fristrom admits.

As for what Fristrom is most proud of? Well, that’s perhaps better left for a hands-on play session: “It’s hard to put into words, but the feel...” he says. “We nailed it.”

“Sixty Second Shooter Prime” is now available on Xbox One. Check it out... you know, if you have a minute.


Available Now: Major League Gaming Releases MLG App for Xbox One - Thu, 19 Jun 2014 09:30:00 Z
We recently announced more than 45 new experiences coming to Xbox and we’re already delivering on that promise. Just in time for the MLG Championship broadcast live from Anaheim, CA, from June 20-22, Major League Gaming (MLG), the global leader in eSports, today released the MLG app for Xbox One.

Following the success of the
MLG app for Xbox 360, Xbox Live members can now watch all of MLG.tv’s professionally-produced, premium, competitive gaming content on both consoles. In addition to the action packed MLG Championship this weekend starting Friday, June 20 at 2:30pm PT, MLG’s popular programming includes the MLG news show “eSports Report,” the world’s best players, teams and leagues and premier competitions. Check out the MLG.tv programming schedule for more information.

“We’re excited to deliver the extensive line up of MLG.tv programming to gaming fans on Xbox Live and to entertain the passionate audience on both Xbox One and Xbox 360,” said Sundance DiGiovanni, MLG CEO and co-founder. “MLG showcases the best in competitive gaming and we will continue to release new competitive content and introduce new streamers via the MLG.tv platform in the coming months.”

“MLG brings something unique to gamers and gaming fans around the world, the opportunity to compete and spectate on one of the world’s largest gaming stages,” said Mike Nichols, Corporate Vice President, Xbox. “When MLG launched on Xbox 360, we brought its popular content to the big screen for the first time and we’re excited to expand on that vision with the launch on Xbox One. Xbox fans around the world can now experience the upcoming MLG Championship and other premier events on Xbox One or Xbox 360, showcasing the best gamers from around the world.” 



The selection of MLG.tv programming available via the MLG app on Xbox One includes:

  • MLG Championship – June 20-22 – broadcast live from Anaheim, CA, starting Friday, June 20 at 2:30pm PT and continuing through Sunday, June 22, the Championship features thousands of the best gamers playing “Call of Duty: Ghosts,” “StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm,” “Killer Instinct,” and more.
  • MLG’s eSports Report: showcasing the latest news in competitive gaming.
  • MLG “Call of Duty: Ghosts” Pro League – showcasing the top MLG Pro Circuit Call of Duty teams.
  • MLG partner streams including international eSports leagues Gfinity and ACL Pro, top Call of Duty players Nadeshot and Scumpii, premier teams such as OpTic Gaming, EnVyUs, FaZe and Curse and YouTube sensations.

In addition to the Xbox One app, you also can watch the MLG Championship via the app on Xbox 360. 



Lords of the Fallen Won't Hold Your Hand (and That's Why We Love it) - Wed, 18 Jun 2014 16:22:00 Z
"Challenging" is the key term for developer CI Games' awesome new action-role-playing game "Lords of the Fallen," where players will face tough enemies, even tougher bosses, and plenty of branching pathways. While comparison's to From Software's "Dark Souls" series are probably inevitable, "Lords of the Fallen" Creative Director Jan Klose emphasizes that this is a very different game, built on a very different ethos and that it (terrifyingly enough) should be even more challenging - and rewarding - for players. This is one challenge we can't wait to take on headfirst.

We sent one of our writers – who has more than 400 hours of combined "Dark Souls" and "Dark Souls 2" experience on Xbox 360 – to play a hands-on demo of "Lords of the Fallen" at CI Games' E3 booth, and despite having similar control schemes, said writer definitely agreed that this game is even more wonderfully challenging than those two. The controls are very responsive, but the enemies are unforgiving. The level we played was claustrophobic and tight, with timing and range of attacks being at an absolute premium.

Several weapons were at our disposal, including a staff (which offered good range but slower attack recovery time), a dagger (which had high speed but low damage), a huge sledgehammer (which took forever to swing), and a sword (which was the most balanced weapon we got to try). Each weapon had its own move set, the option for two-handed wielding (or one hand with a shield), and its own unique feel in battle.

The environments came into play, as well. "Lords of the Fallen" rewards smart, careful gameplay; Klose showed us one sequence in which the player faces off against enemies who are fast, but also blind. Sneaking quietly behind them allows you to get the drop on them and back stab – while a rushed, frontal approach means a much tougher fight. In another sequence, a massive armored foe could be easily defeated by luring him over a lightly covered hole in the ground.

Branching pathways are present in each level as well, offering their own treasure, equipment, and new discoveries in the game's storyline. Finally, a more generous save system than its peers ensures that players are challenged, but never truly punished.

"Lords of the Fallen" is definitely not for the faint of heart, but that's why we already love it. If you're up for the challenge, it's coming to Xbox One later this year.


Forza Represents at Le Mans - Wed, 18 Jun 2014 16:20:00 Z
The 82nd edition of the Le Mans 24 Hour race, one of the racing world’s most dramatic motorsports events, ended with a familiar team on top. Renowned French driver – and Xbox brand ambassador – Benoît Tréluyer brought home the victory for Audi, his third Le Mans win overall, and the 13th win for Audi . Congratulations to Benoît and the entire Audi Sport team!

The 24-hour race was one of the most exciting in recent memory, as three of the biggest names in the game – Audi, Toyota, and Porsche – all battled for control, with each one taking the lead for long stretches at a time.

“Forza Motorsport” was there, not only represented by an amazing driver, but also as an official sponsor for the world’s premiere sports car racing event. The “Forza” crew showed off a new Xbox One racing wheel from Mad Catz, and a demo for the upcoming Xbox exclusive, “Forza Horizon 2
.”

And over the weekend, thousands of “Forza Motorsport 5” players got the opportunity to participate in the Le Mans excitement with the 2.4 Hour D’Endurance Challenge. “Forza 5” players got to submit their one-lap runs of the famous course, as part of a special video hosted by nine-time Le Mans-winner Tom Kristensen on what it takes to win the grueling race.

If you missed all the excitement, don’t fret – because racing season isn’t over, and the red line excitement is still going on. Beginning this Friday, you can compete in a new challenge, the “2.4 Hours of Nürburgring,” for a chance to earn a new badge and title for your Forza Motorsport 5 profile. To compete in the challenge you’ll need to download the Nürburgring track in “Forza Motorsport 5.” It’s totally free, and available now! For more information on the challenge, check out the official Forza Motorsport Web site.


Harmonix Tells Us How to Make Magic with Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved - Tue, 17 Jun 2014 21:00:00 Z
Famed for music and rhythm game franchises like “Rock Band” and “Dance Central,” Boston-based developer Harmonix is temporarily trading in its plastic guitars and dance shoes for a fresh take on the melody-making genre. Powered by Xbox One’s Kinect 2.0 technology—and players’ own imaginations—“Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved” combines elements of Walt Disney’s 1940 animated film classic with contemporary tunes. While the concept is as magical as a fistful of pixie dust, its inspired marriage of art and ambition is also a bit difficult to cram into any existing game category. With that in mind, we sat down with the title’s lead designer Jonathan Mintz to learn exactly what players can expect when they don the robes of the sorcerer’s apprentice.

Xbox Wire: For those unfamiliar with “Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved,” would you mind telling us what it’s all about?

Jonathan Mintz:
Disney came to Harmonix and said: “We want to rebuild the vision of Walt Disney’s ‘Fantasia.’ Not to adapt the film, but to re-imagine it for a 21st-century interactive experience.” So we turned that into a game where you take on the role of a new sorcerer’s apprentice. You travel to these realms that are made of music, and you learn how to perform incredible music in a way that is kind of inspired by Mickey Mouse performing on the cliff from the original film. Then, eventually, you learn to remix the songs and transform them.

Xbox Wire: Sounds like quite the magical trip! How exactly does this concept translate into gameplay?

Jonathan:
There are two main modes of play. One is the song performance, where players are shown a series of cues that indicate the basic motions of gameplay. But then as you get better and unlock more of the game, we start introducing elements like switch cues, which allow you to actually change the song and remix it piece-by-piece. So, you can swap out the drum sound... you can switch from a drum kit to electronic drums. You can also switch from vocals to a violin section, and combine multiple remixes of each song to create your own custom mix. And then, you can add your own solo moments through these elements that we call “composition spells” which let you record your own solo in real-time, and add that to the mix.

We also have the exploration of the realms. We call this “Discovery,” because the goal is that players are basically stepping left and right, or leaning left and right in front of their Kinect. This kind of turns their TV into this magic window that allows them to gaze into these realms and explore them. And then by holding up one hand, you control what we call the “Muse,” which is this 3D cursor that allows you touch elements of the world to activate them. You can wave at elements to give them a little bit more energy, and you can zoom in and out of parts of the world to explore hidden secrets and hotspots throughout these spaces and try to discover the music within all of them.

Xbox Wire: So it sounds like the realms are more about discovery, creativity, and doing your own thing, while the performance elements are more goal-oriented?

Jonathan:
Yeah. With the performance, you begin your adventure by becoming an apprentice under master sorcerer Yen Sid, and he teaches you the basics. There are some core elements – like sweep cues, where you sort of sweep your hands in time with the music, and push cues, where you push forward, and so forth. Once you learn those basics, you meet the former apprentice, Scout, who teaches you about the remix magic she’s been working on. You are able to discover how to actually remix songs, and then the progression becomes about going off into the realms and unlocking all these different remixes.

By performing well at the basic cues, you’re able to unlock a remix, so that you will have this moment where you’ll switch into a brand-new remix for the first time and hear what it sounds like, then that basically opens up your palette to blend between two or three remixes in real-time. And then, by creating those remixes, the magic flows back into the realms, transforms them further, and sort of drives your progression through the story.

Xbox Wire: What sorts of music can players plan on manipulating? Is it all contemporary tracks?

Jonathan:
It’s a mixture of classical, classic rock, pop... we even have some R&B songs in there. The idea that Disney came to us with was to go back and look at the notes; we got to go through the Disney archives and see the meeting notes where Walt Disney was planning this stuff. His original ambition was for it to be this concert feature, where they would swap out segments and add in new music over time. So, circa 1940 when the film came out, all the music in the film was fairly contemporary. Rite of Spring was more contemporary to “Fantasia” then, like Bohemian Rhapsody is to our game now.

So we sort of got the goal set forth by Disney; to imagine that this had actually worked out as Walt envisioned it. What would “Fantasia” sound like now? And our take is that it would have embraced a range of music over the decades. It would be at a point now where it’s not only the original performances in music – but the remixes and control over music is something that we felt is consistent with allowing music to connect people with that original vision.

Xbox Wire: Given the game’s title, do you think some Disney fans will expect more of an adaptation of the original film? Are there any elements in the game fans of the film will recognize?

Jonathan:
We have those elements reflected in the game. Mickey makes an appearance, and the story is based around Yen Sid – so it has those familiar entry points for Disney fans. You are going to play some classical music up front. We have songs like Night on Bald Mountain and Nutcracker Suite that were in the original film, but then we also let you do, like, a dubstep version of Night on Bald Mountain. So the hope is that we can capture people from both sides. Fans of the original will be surprised, but if they want to perform the song in the traditional format, they can totally do that. And then if people are like, “Ah, classical music, I’m not into it... but I want to add some sweet drops into that,” then we let them do that, too.

Xbox Wire: It seems like you guys are also doing some very creative things aesthetically. Could you talk about what your approach was, with regard to the look of the game?

Jonathan:
Obviously, the original film explored a lot of different thematic and visual styles, and we sort of looked at the intention behind that – which is really to listen to the music, and figure out how to visually capture that. As we started figuring out how we were going to construct these realms, we thought about how to make each of them into a little bit of a suite, where we capture the sound and feeling of certain songs. One of my favorites is The Hollow; it’s this mystic, dark forest that’s presented in kind of this woodcut art style, and it’s meant to be our take on the old-world folklore that the Night on Bald Mountain segment explored in the original film. But then we also bring in the White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army, which to me is really fun, because then we have these characters from folklore... we have this Baba Yaga chicken leg hut that stomps along to the White Stripes’ beat, and it creates this interesting juxtaposition between this dark edge that you hear in both Night on Bald Mountain and in the White Stripes’ song.

Another one of my favorite realms is the Capsule, which is this space station with this lonely astronaut space chimp. Over the course of the experience, you’ll bring in new music, light up the capsule, and cheer him up a little bit. That is the home of Elton John’s Rocket Man and Peter Gabriel’s In Your Eyes. So, just to explore this stuff thematically within the context of a video game is pretty rare.

Xbox Wire: Is “Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved” doing anything specific to take advantage of the Xbox One hardware?

Jonathan:
There are obviously some general advantages – like, everything is going to look a lot better [than it does on Xbox 360], and there is higher fidelity on the Kinect 2.0. The biggest thing, though, is probably the sharing element: We take advantage of the Xbox One’s game DVR feature. On both platforms, we let you save your performance... but on Xbox One, we then let you stream it through the game DVR system, and then that’s how we get it out to YouTube. To me, that is one of the features I’m most excited about. People who watch a lot of music on YouTube now have a way to get their own music out there as well. I think that’s really cool.

Xbox Wire: You had us at “Dubstep version of Night on Bald Mountain.” Can’t wait to check out the final game on Xbox One and Xbox 360 this fall!



A Closer Look at the June XDK Update - Tue, 17 Jun 2014 14:00:00 Z
Coming off a great week for Xbox at E3, we’ve seen some questions regarding the June XDK (Xbox Development Kit) update we recently announced. The June XDK offers many new tools for developers, including more access to additional GPU bandwidth. While this update was designed with developers in mind, we also realize that many gamers like to know how their favorite games are created and have questions about the development process. We had the chance to chat with Kareem Choudhry, the Director of Development, Xbox Software Engineering, to get answers to some of the top questions we’ve been seeing.

Xbox Wire: What was announced?

Kareem Choudhry:
Just as we continue to innovate on the features we offer to our fans, we also are continuing to innovate for developers. Just as with Xbox 360, over the life of Xbox One, the team will continually strive to enable title developers to access additional potential on the Xbox One platform. We continue to optimize the platform, make new technology investments, and give titles increased flexibility to use the features that best meet their needs. We’ve offered new updates to developers since the launch of Xbox One and the recent availability of the June XDK for developers offers developers more access to GPU bandwidth, which provides more performance, new tools and flexibility to make games better.

Xbox Wire:
What is the benefit of this change?

Kareem:
Developers have more choice and flexibility to manage the resources of the Xbox One to deliver bigger and richer game experiences.  Previously, 10% of the GPU was reserved for system level processing which included Kinect-related skeletal tracking data.  With this change, titles that are not using skeletal tracking with Kinect can choose to use that portion of the system reserve for other purposes.  We have also optimized the entire system so that titles have access to 100% of the Xbox One GPU for increased resolution and graphical effects.

Xbox Wire: What features are lost if developers use the extra GPU performance?

Kareem:
Kinect Depth and infrared sensors which enable biometric sign-in skeletal tracking, controller pairing, etc. will no longer work for these game titles.  Developers can choose to disable Kinect depth and infrared sensing in different parts of their titles.  The full Kinect experience including skeletal tracking is automatically re-enabled when the user switches back to Home (or other applications), even while in the middle of a game.

Xbox Wire: What about Snap, Broadcast, Voice commands and other system features? Will they still work if a game uses the extra resources?

Kareem:
Yes. Platform level voice commands such as “Xbox On,” “Xbox, Record That,” and “Xbox, Go Home” will continue to work as they do today, as will any in-game speech commands or Snap mode. The Kinect (RGB color) camera will still continue to work, so your friends can watch you while you’re playing your favorite games. Snap mode for TV, Achievements and other features will continue to work.

Xbox Wire: Do I have to unplug my Kinect for my games to get more GPU?

Kareem:
No.  Whether a Kinect is attached or detached will not impact extra GPU processing capability.  It is up to developers to utilize the June XDK for games in development to take advantage of these additional GPU resources.

Xbox Wire: Will games I already own now get 1080p if I just unplug Kinect?

Kareem:
No. It is up to developers to utilize the June XDK for games in development to take advantage of these additional GPU resources.

Xbox Wire: What’s your commitment to Kinect?

Kareem:
We continue to believe that Kinect delivers a premium experience for Xbox One, and we’re committed to Kinect. Kinect games will still have full Kinect support, and we will continue to have the $499 (USD) bundle with Kinect available for people that want the complete Xbox One experience.

Xbox Wire: What games plan to take advantage of the extra GPU or resources?

Kareem:
We’re working with developers that have games in development to help them understand and take full advantage of what these changes have to offer. Several titles have already publicly stated they intend to benefit from the extra performance, including “Destiny” and “Sunset Overdrive.” 

Team Up With Gods in Lara Croft and The Temple of Osiris - Mon, 16 Jun 2014 15:30:00 Z
The development team at Crystal Dynamics has done amazing work turning the world of “Tomb Raider” into a bigger, more realistic place. But we'll always have a soft spot in our hearts for that classic, teal-tanktop-sporting Lara Croft – so it's fun to see her still kicking butt in “Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris.”

This sequel to 2010's “Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light” puts Lara and her team in, obviously, The Temple of Osiris. The Egyptian theme seems like a no-brainer, and according to Crystal Dynamics, the fans have been asking for it, so it’s great to finally see Ms. Croft take on the most iconic of ancient tombs.

The Gauntlet-style gameplay from “The Guardian of Light” returns, and “The Temple of Osiris” is best explored in multiplayer co-op. Certain puzzles and enemies require more than one player to conquer, and this time around, the game supports up to four players.

In addition to Lara Croft, players can step into the shoes of another raider named Carter – or one of two Egyptian gods, Horus and Isis. The raiders come equipped with grappling hooks, while the gods each have a staff, which are used for traversing and solving puzzles throughout the titular temple.

In addition to these special tools, the entire team can wield firearms to shoot up waves of scarab beetles and other nasty bad guys (which, of course, happens a lot). The game also involves a fair bit of platforming; at one point in our demo, Lara and crew had to flee from a gigantic crocodile, leaping over chasms and avoiding traps. The game can be pretty tough, but so long as one player is still alive, their teammates will respawn – which is nice given that we died a number of times in our short demo.

Lara Croft is definitely in for a challenge this time around, and we're thrilled that Crystal Dynamics is bringing back this style of gameplay. “Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris” is shaping up to be even bigger and more intense than its predecessor. Look for it later this year on Xbox One.

Show Your National Pride with Kinect Sports Rivals: Summer of Sport - Mon, 16 Jun 2014 15:00:00 Z
From today through the end of July, you can let your competitive side take over with “Kinect Sports Rivals: Summer of Sport.” To join in the competition, head to your “Kinect Sports Rivals” locker room and find 39 different national kits. Equip yourself with your nation’s team kit and compete across all six sports, earning bonus fans for your country along the way.

To earn
even more fans for your nation, compete in “Kinect Sports Rivals” Challenges. You’ll also be able to participate in a challenge to win an exclusive Xbox One soccer ball. But you’ll have to hurry! This prize is only available for a limited time.



To fully experience the “Kinect Sports Rivals: Summer of Sport,” make sure to download the “Kinect Sports Rivals Hub,” the game’s companion app. From the “Kinect Sports Rivals Hub” you can show the world your national pride by sharing images of your Champion with an exclusive flag from your nation in the background and share the images directly from the “Kinect Sports Rivals Hub.”

The fans that you earn while wearing your national kit contribute to a national leaderboard. You can view your nation’s position in the leaderboard in the “Kinect Sports Rivals Hub.” Drive your team to the top of the leaderboard by the end of July to be crowned the ultimate Champions. Play for your country. It’s nation vs. nation this June and July with “Kinect Sports Rivals: Summer of Sport.”

And that’s not all! The “Kinect Sports Rivals” experience is extended by new game add-on content, released today. Fans of Rare can now find the “Killer Instinct” Challenge Pack, one of six packs in the new Challenge Pack bundle, available now for download on the
Xbox Marketplace.

Fight to Survive in Dying Light - Fri, 13 Jun 2014 13:55:00 Z
Techland’s “Dying Light” isn’t just another zombie-themed first-person shooter. The entire game – everything you see in front of you – can be traversed using the right shoulder button. Simply run at a building, a wall, or an obstacle, and hold the button, and your character will traverse or climb the object appropriately. As you do so, you gain agility points, eventually leveling up and gaining a new ability. And these aren’t just “+5 to speed”-type abilities, either; they’re honest-to-goodness game changers, allowing you to slide, drop-kick, tackle, and pull off a whole slew of other moves.

Of course, if you’d prefer not to go the parkour route, but stick to the ground and fight your way through “Dying Light’s” mobs of zombies (not recommended; they’re tough), you’ll earn strength points (instead of agility) and level up skills in the combat tree. Pawel Kopinski, International PR & Marketing Director for Techland, emphasized that “Dying Light” rewards players for the way they play, not through an arbitrary points system – ensuring that your character evolves along a natural progression, getting better at the things you like to do.

In addition to letting you free-run through a fictional, Istanbul-inspired city, “Dying Light” features a variety of emergent side missions that pop up as you attempt to handle your main quest. Survivors will be fighting off zombies and request assistance, supplies will sometimes get air dropped into the area, and other optional activities will present themselves to you. Often, these are time-sensitive, as are the game’s main missions: Take too long, and the survivors you need to rescue will be zombified, leading to new outcomes and different paths in the storyline.

Two other important aspects of “Dying Light” are its weather and day/night cycles. Kopinski stressed that zombies are attracted by noise – so rain or wind can be boons to the player... while clear, sunny days are an enemy, making it much easier for zombies to single you out. Conversely, when day becomes night in “Dying Light,” the tone shifts dramatically: Rather than hunting zombies, you become the hunted, as a new type of pursuer zombie spawns and relentlessly tracks you if you leave the safety of the home base. This turns “Dying Light” into a stealth game during the nighttime; these pursuer zombies are too tough to fight, so you must rely on sneaking. You also have the ability to briefly blind the pursuers with a flashlight, in order to evade them and accomplish objectives at night.

The most dangerous opponents, of course, are the A.I. humans, who are armed, hostile, and coordinated. But even here, players can cleverly make use of environmental traps – or even the zombies themselves by luring them with noisemakers or explosives.

“Dying Light” also features both cooperative and competitive multiplayer, where humans can team up to play through the campaign, or take on the role of the zombies. The game is built on Techland’s proprietary Chrome Engine 6, and looks beautiful, with highly realistic animations for the zombies and other characters, as well as fantastic lighting and weather effects. It will be available on the Xbox One and Xbox 360 in early 2015.


Mortal Kombat X Features Extra Fun Exsanguination - Fri, 13 Jun 2014 13:50:00 Z
When you step into a demo for “Mortal Kombat X,” you expect large amounts of ultraviolence, some cool fatalities, and a couple of iconic palette-swapped ninjas. But the developers at NetherRealm Studios took the opportunity to show off the new content that makes this game more than just another iteration of everyone's favorite insanely violent guilty pleasure.

Gameplay in “Mortal Kombat X” falls somewhere between NetherRealm's previous “Mortal Kombat” and their more recent fighting endeavor, “Injustice: Gods Among Us.” The levels include a variety of environmental attacks and objects to interact with. At one point, after waves crashed upon a dock and the bloated, waterlogged corpse of some poor schmuck was tossed into the air, we snatched him up and used him as a baseball bat. It was gross. And awesome. And that's not even as gruesome as it gets; "X-Ray" attacks return from the previous game, allowing fighters to get an internal view of damage done to their opponents.

The new characters feel like a departure from the norm for “Mortal Kombat,” and we like the direction. Two of the new female characters, Cassie Cage and D'Vorah, are more practical, well-equipped, and realistic than one expects from the series. Well, as realistic as a half-bug, half-woman who spits acid and emits swarms of insects can be. (Oh, and in case you're wondering, Cassie Cage is the daughter of Johnny Cage and Sonya Blade. That alone leads us to believe that the series' story is getting a continuity that far exceeds the "Mortal Kombat" games of the '90s.) After spending time as D'Vorah, using her sprouting pincers and other awesomely creepy bug moves, we were sold. And Cassie Cage is a cool amalgamation of two classic characters; her X-Ray attack, the Nut Kracker, showcases the skills she picked up from her parents, and is just as painfully graphic as the name suggests. (We'll just say:
Pop pop.)

In fact, all the new characters are really interesting. Kotal Khan, for example, is a Mesoamerican-inspired deity in a loincloth, hefting a crazy-big sword. And then there's Ferra/Torr, a massive beast of a fighter being ridden by a spritely little maniac -- think Master Blaster from “Total Recall” and you're not far off. Each character has three different fighting styles, focusing on different weapons or skills. That means your strategy will have to change depending on which style your opponent is in. From a tournament standpoint, this just upped the game for “Mortal Kombat.” It's going to make for some really interesting matchups.

You can tell that NetherRealm is having
so much fun making “Mortal Kombat X,” and honestly, games are just better when you can inject humor into them. Especially when it's the dark, grisly humor that turns something horrifying -- like sending bugs to eat someone's face from the inside -- into something fun as hell. You'll be able to partake of that awful, awesome fun yourself when the game hits Xbox One and Xbox 360 next year.

Destiny Evolves Multiplayer Combat - Fri, 13 Jun 2014 13:45:00 Z
The world of “Destiny” is a gorgeous and breathtaking landscape of both desolation and life. We're amazed by what we've seen, and can't wait for its release (on both Xbox One and Xbox 360) on September 9. But since this is a game developed by Bungie, one question has been burning for a while: What's the multiplayer like?

At E3 we got the chance to play a few rounds of “Destiny's” multiplayer mode – known as Crucible – and we're in love. Of course, you'd expect it to be great; this is Bungie, the team that is best known for creating “Halo,” the series that defined the console first-person shooter.

Fans of multiplayer first-person shooters will feel right at home with “Destiny,” but the game moves in new directions. Everything about it feels like a mix between the Bungie style we all know and love, with cool new weapons, skills, and game mechanics. Our demo consisted of a few rounds of Control, wherein two teams battle over three markers, claiming them to earn points.

Players in “Destiny” are tough – plated in armor, with recharging shields and ridiculously high jumping abilities. And yet, we definitely noticed less of the spray-and-pray gameplay reminiscent of many console shooters and more controlled, focused, full-team maneuvers.

One of the differences between “Destiny” and other shooters is the health bar display above every character. You can see how much health and shield your opponent has left, which better allows you to adapt your strategy on the fly. Knowing that an opponent's shield is low gives you the knowledge and opportunity to quickly make a move, like switching from an assault rifle to a hand cannon to go for a good, clean headshot. Things like this make “Destiny” a smarter shooter than most.

The multiplayer mode supports character customization, so your single-player character and gear comes with you, letting you show off your creation as you jump over someone and throw a grenade down at their feet.

We haven't gotten to see the different character classes, dozens of weapons, and skills that “Destiny's” Crucible mode offers, but with what little we've played, we're sold. “Destiny” is a blast to play, and it gives you the tools to excel in your own unique way, so you’re not just another soldier on the field.


Batman: Arkham Knight Puts Fear into Your Enemies - Fri, 13 Jun 2014 13:40:00 Z
If you thought Gotham was saved after the grand finale of “Batman: Arkham City,” you were wrong. Batman's battle is only beginning: A new villain, the Arkham Knight, is waging war on Gotham, and only the Caped Crusader can put a stop to it.

At E3 2014, we got a chance to sit down with “Batman: Arkham Knight” and see how the city of Gotham is faring. Turns out, not so great. The Scarecrow has stepped in to replace The Joker, and is teaming up with an enemy who knows an awful lot about Batman -- including his weaknesses.

Combat in “Arkham Knight” will feel very familiar to fans of the series, and utilizes the same timing and environment mechanics. This time, though, there seem to be a lot more interactive elements in the environment, leading to a lot more varied takedowns. Batman can hurl a crate into an enemy, then spin around and toss another into an electrical box, before finishing up with a devastating uppercut to a third baddie. All it takes is some careful timing and a few simple button presses, and as always, chaining combos in “Batman” feels awesome. And of course, Batman has some new moves. We got to utilize his new Fear takedown: From a hiding spot, Batman leaps out, startling enemies enough that he can chain together hits in a slowed down, bullet time-style combo.

But what's Batman without his trusty Batmobile? “Arkham Knight” comes with a new Batmobile designed specifically for the game, and you'll be using it a
lot. It'll help you out not only in traversing the new, massive map -- five times bigger than that of “Arkham City” and 20 times bigger than the original “Arkham Asylum” --  but also in certain combat scenarios. The Batmobile can switch from driving to combat on the fly, and Batman can even launch out of it to bust through windows, sail over chasms, or lock onto enemies for a glide kick.

“Batman: Arkham Knight” feels great to play, and looks incredible: grittier, darker, wetter, and grander. You've still got a ways to wait before it launches (sometime in 2015), but it's never too soon to get excited. Batman is back.


Join Fans for an Exclusive Behind the Scenes Video of Xbox at E3 - Fri, 13 Jun 2014 11:30:00 Z
While E3 draws to a close, it's time to reflect on a great showing for the industry with an exclusive behind-the-scenes view of that most singular celebration of gaming. Watch the Xbox Media Briefing brought to life and take a journey with some very lucky fans who were able to attend not only the briefing, but also participated in Xbox's first ever post-briefing live Q&A with the likes of Phil Spencer, Ted Price from Insomniac Games and Bonnie Ross from 343 Industries. We also had the pleasure of capturing their wide-eyed experience on the E3 Show Floor. E3 may be over, but so many of the games that were showcased are right around the corner!

QA with Bonnaroo Artists: Fitz and the Tantrums, Chromeo - Fri, 13 Jun 2014 10:00:00 Z
Are you ready for Bonnaroo 2014? Whether you're dying to see old favorites or planning to discover something new, the Bonnaroo app for Xbox One and Xbox 360 brings the action right to you. Xbox Wire sat down with a few of our favorite performers from this year’s Bonnaroo before they take the stage this weekend.

Here, Joe Karnes, bassist for Fitz and the Tantrums, the Los Angeles sextet that’s fused indie pop smarts and neo-soul swagger to build a growing fan base, as well as Dave 1 (born David Macklovitch) of Chromeo, guitarist and lead vocalist for the Montreal electro-soul duo (and the rare dance-pop star with a PhD. in French Literature from Columbia University), dish on both real and virtual favorite pastimes. 


 Joe Karnes, Fitz and the Tantrums


Xbox Wire: What is your favorite part of Bonnaroo and what acts is the band going to see?


Joe Karnes: 
My favorite thing about Bonnaroo is that all of the acts at the main stages and tents get at least a full hour-long set, no matter what time they start. We’ll be checking out Jack White and Elton John, of course, but also bands like Capital CitiesLauryn Hill, the Avett Brothers and Little Dragon.

Xbox Wire: What are Fitz and the Tantrums up to these days – any news you’d like to share?

Joe Karnes: 
These days we are gearing up for the release this July of our next single, “Fool’s Gold,” and playing as many places as we can.

Xbox Wire: Are you a gamer? If so, who would win in a fight –
  Master Chief or Crash Bandicoot?

Joe Karnes: 
Master Chief.

Xbox Wire: What game should your most hardcore fans be playing when they listen to your latest album?

Joe Karnes: 
I think our music goes great with any driving games or sports games like FIFA 14.

Xbox Wire: If you weren't at the festival, what would you be doing?

Joe Karnes: 
I’d be at the park with my beautiful two-year old daughter.

Dave 1, Chromeo


Xbox Wire: What is your favorite part of Bonnaroo and what acts is the band going to see?
 

Dave 1:
The eclecticism of the acts. Kanye et Elton John – hello?

Xbox Wire: What is Chromeo up to these days – any news you’d like to share?
 

Dave 1:
Just wrapped up our first tour, about to embark on a series of summer festival dates before launching another Fall U.S. tour.

Xbox Wire: If you weren’t at the festival, what would you be doing?
 

Dave 1:
Playing a hard ticket show. It’s pretty much one or the other daily for the rest of the year.

The Bonnaroo live stream on Xbox starts today at 1:30 p.m. PDT. The Bonnaroo app for Xbox One is available in the US, Canada, Mexico and Brazil and for Xbox 360 in US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Columbia. For more information, please visit www.Xbox.com




Tune In! Every Street United Kicks Off on Xbox - Fri, 13 Jun 2014 09:00:00 Z
Street soccer dreams are about to become a reality. This Sunday, June 15, all of the sweat, sacrifice, practice and passion will begin to pay off for eight talented street soccer players. Join legendary footballers Thierry Henry and Edgar Davids as they travel to the United States, England, Argentina, Spain, Brazil, the Netherlands, Ghana and South Korea to uncover the best street soccer players from around the world in the a new, interactive series, “Every Street United.” Hear the players’ touching personal stories, watch epic training sequences, and feel the passion as the players prepare for the game of their lives in Brazil.

Can’t get enough of the show? The “Every Street United” app on Xbox One and Xbox 360 includes interactive features tailored to each episode that leverage Xbox technology and the vibrant Xbox Live social community. Here’s how you can experience new ways to share and interact with “Every Street United”:

Players:
Dive into bonus footage to learn more about Thierry Henry and Edgar Davids, as well as the eight rising street soccer stars. See their best trick shots, where they play, and what drives their passion.

Fan Voting:
Fans unite! Connect with street soccer fans around the world by casting your vote and exploring the interactive map to see how your answers compare with fans around the globe.

Scene Search:
Immerse yourself in the scenes of “Every Street United” with an innovative new TV experience. Dwell in the details and find cleverly-hidden objects to earn achievements!

Activity Feed:
Discover new content, activities, and achievements as you progress through “Every Street United.” See your Xbox friends’ activities to compare and spark a conversation.

Check out the video above for a look at the interactive features in action and make sure to tune in to the “Every Street United” premiere this Sunday on Xbox. Watch virtually anywhere on Xbox Video, or download the “Every Street United” app on Xbox One and Xbox 360 to access the interactive features, only on Xbox. An Xbox Live Gold membership is not required.

For more information, visit http://www.xbox.com/entertainment/every-street-united.




Leaving E3 2014: The beat goes on with our July update - Fri, 13 Jun 2014 08:30:00 Z
Hey folks…we’re here in Los Angeles at E3 2014, and it has been a packed house all week long. We filled the Galen Center on Monday for our annual E3 show and rolled out an incredible line-up of blockbuster exclusives for this holiday and next year. And directly after our show, we held a great panel discussion – with Phil, Yusuf and others – for 200 of our biggest Xbox fans. This was the first event of its kind for us…and we loved it. You can also read Phil’s thoughts on the past week at E3 here.

As we pack up our booth, we end E3 just as we started:
Our focus is on you. You’ve shaped Xbox into what it is today, and we can’t thank you enough. We look forward to hearing more from you over the coming weeks – now, officially on Xbox Feedback – a dedicated channel for all your thoughts and recommendations. From what we’ve seen this week, your feedback continues to be amazing. As of today, more than 65,000 fans like you have suggested more than 4,300 ideas and contributed over 181,000 votes.

As we head home, we can’t wait to dig into your ideas and explore what may be possible for the future of Xbox. What better way to keep this momentum going than to share what’s coming in July. Here’s a shortlist of features rolling out in the next few days to folks getting early access to the Xbox One system update.

  • Snap Mode for Achievements. As we showed at our E3 Green Carpet event before the show, we’re offering an easier way to track and view your achievements in the moment. With Achievement Snap, you can track your achievement progress in real time without ever leaving the game. You can also ‘Get Help’ on any Achievements you’re struggling with. Xbox will scan the web for you and deliver relevant tips and strategy content right to your TV.
  • Double-tap to Snap.  Double-tap the Xbox button on your controller to bring up Snap Center, where you can launch Achievements or any other snap-able app, without leaving your game. Already have an app snapped? Double-tap quickly switches between your game and the snapped app.
  • Choice of Spoken Language. Folks in New Zealand, Ireland and Austria, with this update in July, will be able to select voice control using the English or German voice models from other countries.  And if you're an expat in an English-speaking country, you, too, can choose any of the other English language models that fit you. 
  • Future Digital Bundles and Compilation Discs. We’re doing some work now so that publishers will have options for great digital bundle and disc compilation offerings in the future. As we test this feature, we’ll be seeing more flexible combinations of game titles and game content.
  • ‘Like’ Game DVR clips. We’re adding the ability to ‘Like’ all your favorite Game DVR clips as well as activity feed items in SmartGlass.

Once again, thank you for your incredible support. You’ve helped us make E3 2014 a memorable one. But we have no intention of letting our foot off the gas. We can’t wait to roll out these new features in July as we pave the way for an amazing line-up of blockbusters and exclusives this holiday.

Happy E3, folks. Hope everyone had some fun.



Thoughts on E3 2014 - Thu, 12 Jun 2014 17:30:00 Z
As we wrap up this E3, I thought I’d share a few quick thoughts on the week. It’s always one of my favorite weeks of the year and this E3 was incredibly special. We saw amazing games from innovative creators, developed for Xbox, Sony and Nintendo. Some people have asked who “won” this week and the answer is simple – the gamers. It’s wonderful to see our industry healthy and delivering what we all want – great games.

Thank you to all who watched our briefing, visited us at the booth, or read about the great games coming to Xbox One. The team worked very hard to create a show worthy of Xbox exclusives like Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Sunset Overdrive, Forza Horizon 2, Fable Legends and Ori and the Blind Forest as well as the pipeline of creative independent titles coming through ID@Xbox and blockbusters such as Assassin’s Creed Unity, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Destiny, Evolve and Rise of the Tomb Raider. In many ways, our entire presence at E3 was built to showcase the incredible lineup of games coming to Xbox this year. With nine exclusive titles, and exclusive content for many more games, we believe Xbox One will be the best place to play this holiday.  You can see the full list of titles here.

As we look ahead, our team is laser focused on delivering the best line-up of exclusive games and continuously working to deliver new features and improvements to Xbox One. As always, we look forward to your feedback. Check out Xbox Feedback. It is a new tool that allows you to suggest ideas for Xbox and vote on ideas submitted by others. It’s been really exciting to see over 169,000 votes on the site since it launched earlier this week. As I said at our briefing, Xbox One is being built by you and we are better for it. I can’t wait to hear your ideas.

We’re just getting started on the road to the holidays and look forward to continuing to deliver more games, more product improvements and more entertainment in the coming months.

Thanks,
Phil
@XboxP3





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