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Dead Island 2: The Perfect Spot for a Post-Apocalyptic Vacation - Thu, 21 Aug 2014 17:25:00 Z
If you enjoy opening undead uglies from brain stem to belly button, from behind an arsenal of over-the-top death-dealers, you’ll want to spend your next vacation in Dead Island 2’s gorgeously sun-soaked, blood-bathed open world. Our recent short-but-sweet demo offered a teasing taste of the wickedly creative carnage.

Unfolding at the foot of the Hollywood Hills on a gorgeous afternoon, our slice of gameplay set the perfect stage for a summertime barbeque. With that in mind, we set out to the local convenience store for some goods. Charcoal and hot dogs weren’t on our grocery list, however, as a post-apocalyptic cookout calls for a somewhat different supply run. In this particular case, we headed to a nearby gas station to siphon some fuel from its pumps.

As the title’s tank-like Berserker – one of the sequel’s four character classes – this task imbued his oversized ax with a fiery effect. Taking the new weapon for a test drive, we set out to tackle the mission’s objective of protecting a defensive gate from an army of foot-dragging foes. In addition to turning our targets into sirloin tips, the modded melee weapon crisped them up like marshmallows over a campfire.

Piling corpses like cord wood also fueled our “fury” ability – which, in the Berserker’s case, allowed him to kick infected foes like the longest field goals ever. Some brain-cravers weren’t so easily eliminated, however; the Suicider, for example, is a hulking side of beef that exploded all over us when we got too close. If this kamikaze zombie catches you while you’re near a gas pump, well... let’s just say it’s gonna take more than a box of bandages to put you back together again.

The second part of our hands-on session put us behind the fleet-footed Speeder. Far less powerful than the Berserker, this zombie-hatin’ heroine can run like hell and deliver swift death. We got the opportunity to power-up a pair of her weapons – a machete and machine pistol – with electricity and fire, respectively.

Coursing with blue bolts, the former simultaneously sliced and zapped the flesh-eating freaks, leaving them twitching and smoking in a pool of their own ooze. When paired with the Speeder’s one-hit kill fury ability, her zap-happy blade also cut the meatbags clean in half. Our favorite, though, was the fire-buffed hand-cannon – not for the obvious thrill of filling foes full of burning bullets (though, that is all kinds of fun) – but because its use yielded our demo’s coolest and most strategic attack. Shooting its payload into a grassy area, and then taunting the walking corpses by whistling at them, eventually led to that barbeque we mentioned earlier. The fire slowly spread from the lush greenery and up the bodies of the brain-hungry hordes, resulting in the best bonfire ever.

Following our preview, game director Bernd Diemer stated that similarly screen-clearing results could be obtained by allowing electricity to jump from target to target. He also said we can expect plenty more stylish slaughter from Bishop (the support class) and the Huntress (a crossbow-wielding ranged character that, incidentally, is Diemer’s personal favorite zombie exterminator).

Our time with Dead Island 2 barely scratched the surface of the potential festering beneath its rotting flesh. On top of southern California, the massive open-world contains a huge NorCal region, as well as a third monster-populated mystery area. And while our time beating back the hordes beneath the iconic Hollywood sign was shared by a trio of co-op buddies, the final game will support a total of eight zombie-poppin’ pals. It’s also important to note that our defensive mission was not specific to (or segregated into) a cooperative mode, but instead displayed the same story objectives that a solo apocalypse survivor would encounter.

Dead Island 2
doesn’t start spreading its virus until spring 2015, but our thumb-numbing, grin-inducing time behind the game pad already has us packing our survival gear for our next getaway to the gory, er... Golden State.

Competitive Challenges Infect Dying Light’s Cooperative Mode - Thu, 21 Aug 2014 17:20:00 Z
Featuring four-player campaign co-op, Dying Light encourages post-apocalyptic adventurers to scavenge for supplies, slaughter undead swarms, and attempt to survive each terrifying evening with at least one buddy by their side. During our recent hands-on session with Techland’s upcoming open-world action game, though, we learned that playing cooperatively can also spawn some friendly competition.

Dropped in the middle of a critical story mission, we were tasked with working alongside a second survivalist to seek out an explosive charge and its detonator, before pairing the items to make a building go boom real good. After a few minutes exploring creepy environments and eviscerating any flesh-hungry freaks that crossed our path, we’d achieved a strategic, team-based rhythm.

That all changed, however, when a challenge suddenly popped onscreen and pitted us against each other. The optional content, which Lead Game Designer Maciej Binkowski playfully referred to as “a way to heat things up when you’re playing co-op”, still saw us reducing undead uglies to pulp; but the act went from high-fiving fun to fiercely competitive, as we were tasked with seeing who could drop the most monsters within a set time limit. Not long after the bragging-rights-fueled killing spree subsided, we were again tempted to shame our partner-in-pulverizing by beating him in a foot race. More than a mere point-to-point run, the mini-marathon saw us simultaneously carving through walking corpses and sprinting to the finish line.

While going for the gold – or, in
Dying Light’s case, character-progressing experience points – against a buddy is a blast, it proved a just a warm-up to the game’s dedicated,  competitive multiplayer mode. Dubbed an “asymmetric player-versus-player match” by Binkowski, the mode sees a player-controlled Night Hunter infiltrating another team’s game. As with the co-op challenges, this player-versus-player content seamlessly presents itself within the campaign. During our demo, for example, we were just about to take a breather from the preceding adrenaline rush when we learned we’d been targeted by what Binkowski proudly called a “very powerful and agile” threat.

The Night Hunter can be killed, but only temporarily. The determined beast will keep coming back until you and your teammates destroy three hives – cocoon-like pods that breed the game’s uber-zombie Volatiles. Winning the match on the human side requires eliminating all these hives, which is a pretty tall order when you’ve got the Night Hunter constantly nipping at your heels. Thankfully, the survivors (who, by the way, share the same pool of lives) are equipped with an ultraviolet light that can slow and stun the seemingly unstoppable baddie.

Spread across different sections of the map – a market, railway station, and highway – the hives were difficult to destroy. In fact, we were left clinging to a single life when we just barely managed to exterminate all three and get the persistent predator off our backs. As with the co-op challenges, the PvP rewards winners with experience points, as well as rare crafting items and cash. So while both modes are entirely optional (and can be deactivated entirely, so as to not interrupt your game), players are encouraged to participate for the goodies and, of course, the chance to prove they’d be the last one standing when the sun sets on Armageddon.

Dying Light
’s agile avatars, deep crafting system, protagonist-personalizing skill tree, and gorgeous open-world already had us anxiously awaiting the end of the world. After getting our mitts on its cooperative challenges and competitive mode, though, we’re now looking forward to playing with friends – and occasional enemies – when the infection spreads on Xbox One and Xbox 360 in 2015.

Forza Horizon 2 Car Reveal – Check Out the Week Five Cars - Tue, 19 Aug 2014 08:00:00 Z
Here we are at week five of our weekly Forza Horizon 2 car reveals! We’ve revealed 159 thus far of the more than 200 cars in Forza Horizon 2, all built for Xbox One. Let’s take a look at what this week brings to the open-world playground of Southern Europe in Forza Horizon 2.

This week’s list features plenty of groundbreaking models. The 1973 Ford Capri RS3100 is a highly sought-after version of the long-nosed beauty that won the hearts of car lovers, as well as multiple European Touring Car Championships. Or consider the 1962 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso. A similar model recently sold for more than $38 million at auction.

Among the rest of our week five cars, you’ll find speed demons like the McLaren F1 and the KTM X-Bow, as well as Japanese gems like the 2004 Honda Civic Type-R and the 1992 Nissan Silvia CLUB K’s. Need a rally car fix? The 1992 Ford Escort RS Cosworth is ready to toss around on the back roads of the Horizon Festival.

Dig in to the details on a few of this week’s cars below.



1973 Ford Capri RS3100
The Capri is one of the most European-looking cars Ford ever produced. After all, Ford designed the car for the European market in an attempt to reproduce the success the Mustang saw in America. The Capri was broadly accepted and for years was available with a variety of powerplants to increase appeal to different audiences. In America, the Capri was marketed by the Mercury division as “the sexy European.” Its long sloping nose and fastback coupe rear resembled the Mustang but also fit the form of popular Japanese coupes of the era. With its spry 3.1-liter motor in this homologation model, the RS3100 will get the jump on similarly-classed cars. Cosmopolitan styling and zippy performance make the Capri a surefire favorite starter car in Forza.



1962 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso
The 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso is the kind of car that cameras dream of. With unmistakable Pininfarina body styling that Scagglieti fashioned from steel and aluminum, every single segment of the Lusso is full of sumptuous detail. There’s that three-piece bumper that frames the egg-crate grill and cradles the turn signals; the profile that seamlessly integrates the front fenders through the doors before falling into a gracious curve into the Kamm tail panel. The Lusso is quick and nimble, yet built with enough refinement to please the most upscale of customers. Finally, let’s not forget its auditory delights. One listen of the symphony from the three-Webber carbureted V-12 cements the Lusso as one of Ferrari’s proudest achievements.



2011 Aston Martin V12 Zagato (Villa d’Este)
Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the original DB4GT Zagato, Aston Martin – in collaboration with Zagato – created an elegant and vivacious concept car. The V12 Zagato (Villa d’Este) debuted at the prestigious Concorso d’Eleganza Villa D’Este in Italy and won the "Best in Class" award for Concept and Prototypes. The next month, the car went on to compete at Germany’s Nürburgring, including the 24 Hour race, where it performed flawlessly. The V12 produces 510 bhp, the brakes are ventilated carbon ceramic, and it uses a carbon fiber driveshaft. With a top speed north of 185 mph and equipped with a full roll cage and a plastic driver’s-side window, this car is ready for action.



2012 Bowler EXR S
The Bowler EXR S is the result of the 2012 brand partnership between Land Rover and U.K.-based rally raid manufacturer Bowler. The striking all-terrain vehicle is fitted with a modified version of the Range Rover Sport’s supercharged 5.0-litre V8, and produces 550 bhp, giving it a top speed of more than 150 mph. The first Bowler designed for road use, the EXR S is equally at home in the deepest parts of Horizon’s back roads.



1993 McLaren F1
The engine compartment is lined with gold. The driver’s seat is located in the center of the car. More than twenty years after it was first introduced, it's still the fastest naturally aspirated car in the world. When most people are asked to name the greatest road car ever built, the McLaren F1 is what instantly springs to mind. It should; the F1 was designed and built to be just that, with no expense spared and no compromises made. The brainchild of Gordon Murray, a renowned designer of innovative racecars, the McLaren F1 defied conventional thinking by pioneering such technologies as a full carbon fiber monocoque chassis weighing just 220 lbs., a first for a road car. Backed up by a highly modified BMW V-12 making 627 horsepower, the F1 is as fast as it was expensive — nearly a million dollars when new. While being fast would have been enough to drop jaws, the F1 is also an eminently drivable car—so much so that the F1, which was never intended to race at all, was modified slightly and went on to win the 1995 24 Hours of Le Mans race outright.

Here are the remaining cars we are announcing in week five:

  1. 2010 Audi TT RS Coupe
  2. 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air
  3. 2012 Dodge Challenger SRT8 392
  4. 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO
  5. 1992 Ford Escort RS Cosworth
  6. 2004 Honda Civic Type-R
  7. 2013 Hyundai Veloster Turbo
  8. 2013 KTM X-Bow R
  9. 1992 Nissan Silvia CLUB K's


First of its kind reddit experience launching on Xbox One, New MTV app and Twitch update available soon - Mon, 18 Aug 2014 21:00:00 Z
In June we announced more than 45 new entertainment experiences coming to Xbox One and we continue to deliver on that commitment with additions like ReddX, an app that we are confident our reddit fans will embrace with open arms, rolling out in the next few hours. Also launching this week on Xbox One is MTV along with new updates coming to the Twitch app on Xbox One.

At Xbox, community is a big part of who we are. And we know at reddit, community makes up the very core of the service there, too. The launch of ReddX on Xbox One is exciting because it combines the intense community involvement we’ve come to know on both platforms with the unique capabilities offered by Xbox One.

An upvote for ReddX: reddit app for Xbox One
Starting tomorrow, you can combine your reddit experience with the biggest screen in your home: thanks to Xbox One, while you game, you can also browse the first-ever reddit app for the TV. ReddX on Xbox One can be Snapped to the side of your TV while you’re gaming or using another app to help you monitor and join in threads on the site while you’re doing anything else. Thanks to ReddX, redditors can interact with each other in similar ways to the reddit.com experience, and in addition unlock unique media achievements named after some of the Internet’s favorite memes. In fact, I just posted the first reddit thread created from a console tonight before we officially launch in the morning – check it out here.

ReddX on Xbox One lets Xbox Live members in the U.S. and Canada check out every subreddit in addition to a customized main page. You can read text and view images, videos and GIFs on your TV and can even zoom in or out of text and images for a closer look.

Using ReddX also allows you to upvote or downvote a thread with just the touch of a button, as well as easily add your comments using your Xbox One controller, media remote or Xbox SmartGlass on your smartphone, tablet or laptop. If you find an image that’s just too good to pass over, ReddX lets you save a photo to your profile or set any image as the background for your ReddX app. 

Twitch gets new features on Xbox One
Twitch on Xbox One is adding new features to the app including auto zoom, audio capture from headsets and “watch with friends.” The “watch with friends” section lets you see the Twitch channels your friends on Xbox are watching and check out the same broadcasts. The home screen of the “watch with friends” section showcases what up to six friends are watching, and becomes hidden if none of your friends are viewing Twitch channels. Twitch is also adding a new optional feature that allows Kinect to follow and zoom to your face while broadcasting, and when the Kinect is not plugged into the console, audio can be captured from the player’s attached headset.

MTV joins Xbox One
Starting tomorrow, MTV is launching on Xbox One in the U.S. with sneak peeks, bonus clips, recent full episodes from select MTV series with a TV subscription and more. You’ll also be able to read the latest in pop culture news, fashion and go behind-the-scenes of blockbuster movies. If you’re a huge fan of festivals, and music and video awards, MTV on Xbox One follows the latest and greatest. 




A Closer Look at Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition - Mon, 18 Aug 2014 18:25:00 Z
For Blizzard fans, a very particular moment of reckoning has nearly arrived, as the definitive version of Diablo III is on its way to Xbox One and Xbox 360. It’s been dubbed Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition, and brings with it a host of new features for Blizzard’s isometric action-role-playing game. Here’s what you need to know before it launches tomorrow.

The game brings with it all of the hacking, slashing, and looting gameplay the series is known for. It also comes packaged with all of the existing
Diablo III content, along with a four-player cooperative mode that can be played offline or online. The new control scheme trades in the series’ traditional point-and-click interface for direct control of your character’s movement via the left analog stick, along with a directional dodge move performed with the right stick. The result is a far more responsive combat experience, designed expressly for console players, that manages to retain Diablo III’s tactical complexity. To show off all of the impressive visual niceties Blizzard has managed to squeeze into the game, the Xbox One version will run in full, glorious 1080p HD.

The
Ultimate Evil Edition also features the popular Diablo III: Reaper of Souls expansion pack, which brings with it a new adventure mode, as well as a new character class called the Crusader. The expansion includes new areas and bounties, and early adopters will be equipped with a little bonus as well: All launch day copies of the Ultimate Evil Edition come packaged with a code for Infernal Pauldrons shoulder plates. Blizzard has provided a brief taste of what players can expect from them: “Wearable at level 1, these devilishly handsome shoulder plates provide bonuses to Vitality, Life per Second, and Cooldown Reduction, and are primed and ready for transmogrification.”

The
Diablo III experience has also been streamlined from its PC roots: Players don’t need to create a Battle.net account, and can play the game offline if they wish. There are no more real-money auction houses and Blizzard has tweaked enemy loot drops to be more relevant to players’ needs. Save games can be ported from Xbox 360 to Xbox One as well – so if you’ve made a bunch of progress in the original Diablo III on Xbox 360 and want to continue the adventure, you won’t need to start from scratch. And Blizzard’s recently announced synced multiplatform patching process is the cherry on top.

Diablo III: Ultimate Evil Edition
is set for release on Xbox One and Xbox 360 on August 19 – so gear up for the fight against evil!

New Xbox Fitness Program from Russell Wilson - Mon, 18 Aug 2014 09:30:00 Z
We are always looking for ways to add variety to our fitness experience on Xbox, so we’re thrilled to announce the addition of the exciting new program, Athlete Fit with Russell Wilson for Xbox Fitness. Available exclusively on Xbox One today, work out with Russell Wilson for free with your Xbox Live Gold membership.

With this program, Seattle Seahawks’ quarterback Russell Wilson will get you ready for any game. With this high intensity interval training program, you’ll work on Power, Agility, Strength, and Speed. The program features 40- and 20-second-long energetic bursts of drill-styled exercises to give you maximum results in minimum time. Russell and his team will motivate you to be your best and reach your peak.

Russell has two unique workouts with his team, expert coaching, and crowd-rocking, whistle-blowing music. You can choose to do the workouts in any order, which have been designed to stay challenging by progressing with you as you get fitter!

Stay tuned for more fitness content from some of the world’s best fitness experts, only on Xbox One, and explore the many options available now in the fitness section of the Xbox store.



New Sharing Features Added for Upload Studio on Xbox One - Mon, 18 Aug 2014 09:30:00 Z
Post updated 12 p.m. PDT 8/19/14 to update number of Upload users

Game DVR and Upload are about more than just recording gameplay. They’re about using the editing tools within Upload Studio to create a masterpiece that showcases your most epic gaming moment that you can then share with the world.

To date, millions of Xbox One gamers have created more than 500 million clips, and there are more than one million active Upload creators every month using Upload Studio and Kinect to edit clips and share their voice and personality with friends and the Upload community.

And today, it gets even better, with the latest Xbox One Update rolling out around the world bringing with it new features for sharing your favorite gaming moments.

Like, Share, Trending
Upload has always been about watching and making great clips. Now it’s about sharing those clips with all of your friends.

  • View: See your clips’ view count – how many people have watched your clips
  • Like: If you find a cool game clip, you can like it at any time
  • Trending: a new section in Upload that surfaces the most popular clips
  • Messaging and Sharing: Share clips with your friends through the Xbox One Activity Feed and messaging system

We’ve heard your requests, so keep an eye out for more updates to Upload in the coming months!



Next Xbox One Update Rolls Out with New Social and Mobile Features - Mon, 18 Aug 2014 09:00:00 Z
Last night, we began rolling out the next Xbox One system update to fans around the world, including improved social features to make sharing your gaming experiences with friends better and easier. These new features are a result of your invaluable feedback, including some of the most requested features seen on Xbox Feedback.

Here’s the final list of the features rolling out to Xbox One systems over the next few days:

  • Mobile purchase: One of the most requested features on Xbox Feedback. Using Xbox SmartGlass or on Xbox.com, you can remotely purchase games and Add-on content. No more waiting to begin downloading when you get home - if your console is set to automatically take updates, your console will begin downloading your purchase.
  • Activity feed updates: We’re adding new ways for you to interact with friends in the activity feed. The interface will change to a single column scrolling list that is longer and includes more content. We’ll add the ability to post text to your feed, and to “like” and comment on feed items. You can share game clips and anything else in the feed with friends either publically (to your activity feed) or privately (as an attachment to a message). You'll also be notified when anyone likes, comments on or shares your items. Each user will get a personal feed on their profile, so you can see what specific friends have been up to. And, with SmartGlass, you can see what your friends have shared to their activity feed and “like” specific posts (additional activity feed support coming in future SmartGlass updates).
  • Low battery notification: You asked for it, now a notification will pop up when your controller battery is getting low.
  • Disable notifications during video: Adding the ability to turn off notifications based on feedback we heard from you.
  • Enabling 3D Blu-ray: An update to the Blu-ray player app will enable 3D Blu-ray functionality on Xbox One. 
  • Last seen time in Friends list: Direct from Xbox Feedback, the friends list will now show how long it’s been since a friend has been online. For example, "Last seen 20m ago: Forza Motorsport 5.”

Please continue to share your suggestions and recommendations on our dedicated Xbox Feedback site. Your sustained feedback is incredibly valuable and I can’t thank you enough for helping us make Xbox the best place to play. Stay tuned for even more new features headed your way in the coming weeks including more social features and a few new updates for watching TV.



gamescom 2014: Shooting the Moon with Destiny - Fri, 15 Aug 2014 17:35:00 Z
While millions of folks participated in Destiny's beta last month, only a small percentage of players took their Guardian to the moon, which was only open for a very short window.

Fortunately, Bungie gave gamescom attendees a chance to revisit our orbiting neighbor to track down its most famous resident
. A trio of us saddled up at the Activision booth and jumped into a Story mission.

Arriving on the moon’s surface, we hopped on our Sparrows and sped over the lunar landscape, taking in the stark, yet attractive, scenery. We rode into a ruin, deployed a Ghost companion, and shortly thereafter, the Fallen arrived to remind us that unwelcome here. We dispatched a few Dregs, then a shielded Captain. An enemy ship dropped off more Dregs and Vandals. And another Captain. And an eyeball-shaped Servitor. We pressed on.

Soon we took on mounted enemies, whose Pike speeders clearly outgunned our unarmed Sparrows. After dismounting one with a Vortex grenade, I boosted its ride and turned the powerful cannon on its former owner. Once we all upgraded our rides, we quickly chewed our way through groups of enemies until we reached a spot too steep to cruise over. 

We continued on foot over the rubble, and proceeded through a narrow ravine, which opened to a huge lunar crater. There were no enemies in sight, just the corpse of another guardian, lying before a huge, chained door. The Ghost unlocked the door as a shadowy figure viewed us from the rim of the crater. The door opened and…

Out burst a Knight flanked by a number of Thralls and Acolytes. Then more Knights. The kitchen sink, really. Dozens of enemies were thrown at us, and we threw everything we had back at it - supers, rockets, grenades. It was the most thrilling encounter I've yet experienced in
Destiny thus far.

Emerging relatively unscathed, we proceeded inside and found ourselves face to face with Vurok, Eir Spawn, a powerful wizard (the moon of the future is lousy with 'em, apparently). My cohorts charged forward while I hung back and let fly long rage shots from my powerful sniper rifle. Within a minute, Vurok was no more. We collected our spoils, and returned to our ships, eager to see what other secrets remain undiscovered on the moon.

Today, Bungie revealed the first look at Mars, so be sure to check out the video above to see for yourself.
Destiny arrives on Xbox One and Xbox 360 beginning September 9th.

gamescom 2014: Time Keeps on Slipping in Quantum Break - Fri, 15 Aug 2014 16:00:00 Z
Quantum Break has been one of the most mysterious Xbox One games yet. Gamers (including yours truly) the world over have been dying to find out more about developer Remedy Entertainment’s follow-up to Alan Wake, especially regarding what the gameplay would be like. At gamescom 2014, the developer behind Max Payne’s groundbreaking bullet time and Alan Wake’s remarkably balanced light/dark mechanic finally gave us a taste of what we’ve been waiting for, and it’s clear that Quantum Break will be another Remedy title that perfectly combines a compelling narrative with intense action.

But before we get into the action, let’s review the story so far. You are Jack Joyce, a man caught in the blast of a university’s failed time travel experiment who gains the power to manipulate time. Given that the explosion has also started to break down the fabric of time itself, this ability comes in more than a little handy.
Quantum Break follows Jack as he fights to keep time from unraveling. Fighting whom, you ask? All we know so far is that a corporation called Monarch Solutions is opposing his efforts, which seems like a bad idea given his efforts are to save our very existence. While Remedy is also working on a TV show that will meld with the game to create a singular experience, the focus for gamescom was clearly on showing off the gameplay. 

The behind closed doors demo of
Quantum Break began much like the stage demo at the Xbox briefing (you can check that out above). Jack makes his way out of a room and onto a fire escape, where’s he greeted with a temporarily time-stopping flash of light that freezes a helicopter in mid-air. When time begins moving again, it’s clear that something is amiss, as Monarch has set up roadblocks despite the public’s protestations. When Jack gets down to ground level, he’s greeted by armed corporate stooges out for his blood.

This is where the demo got really exciting, as we were finally given a look at Jack’s awesome time-amplified powers. Gun drawn, Jack encased the closest thug in a shimmering sphere that froze him in his tracks. A few quick pistol blasts at the paralyzed enemy took him down in a blur, and before his friends could even turn around, Jack had briefly slowed time to change position. With his foes looking at where he had been instead of where he was, he was able to drop one of them with a few tightly controlled shots before dashing around to another position. To finish off the final baddie, Jack did the time-stopping dash toward him and finished him off with an up-close-and-personal melee attack.

Moving on to the next area, Jack was confronted with a larger group of enemies. Dashing around and surprising enemies looks like a ton of fun, as does the gunplay. This is definitely an action game through and through, as evidenced by a sequence in which our hero charged up his time-stopping bubble to make it larger, then fired a few shots into a handy propane tank frozen alongside an enemy. The resulting explosion was shown from an alternate angle that really highlighted
Quantum Break’s cinematic sensibilities.

After clearing all of the enemies from the area under a large bridge, Jack made his way up the side of it. Suddenly, a tractor trailer truck came barreling over the guardrail, stopping in mid-air thanks to a powerful time stutter that froze both it and all of the action unfolding on the bridge. Taking some time to examine the scene, Jack sees protestors who’ve been gunned down by Monarch forces, with the perpetrators still in the act of firing. The oddly tranquil peace of the frozen scene is shattered by a hulking juggernaut in a heavy-duty exoskeleton that hurls a car at Jack.


gamescom 2014: Digging Deeper into Dragon Age: Inquisition - Fri, 15 Aug 2014 15:10:00 Z
After revealing a new Dragon Age: Inquisition trailer at gamescom, EA and Bioware invited attendees to try the game for themselves. I didn’t require any further convincing; minutes after EA’s media briefing concluded, I was sitting down to go hands on.

My pre-rolled Inquisitor character, a human, female warrior, led supporting cast made up of Cole the rogue, Blackwall the warrior, and Solas the mage through the dark, dank Fallow Mire area, tasked with rescuing Inquisition soldiers being held captive in an Avvar fortress.

As soon as the controller was in my hands, I immediately noticed that the A button made my Inquisitor jump, something we haven’t seen in
Dragon Age before.

“We went through, and we started making these huge worlds that you could just go and explore, and find all these secrets and caves and hidden places,” explained Producer Cameron Lee. “You want to explore, you want to feel connected to the world, so we’re like ‘hang on, guys. Why don’t we have jump?’ And so we put it in. We had the same reaction as you. Immediately, the first day when we put it in, this feels so much better, so much more natural.“

Other moves felt better as well, even just the basic swinging of her flaming, two-handed Inquisitor sword, a move now mapped to RT. What really sealed the deal for me with the warrior is Grappling Chain, a move right out of Scorpion’s
Mortal Kombat playbook. The only thing missing is “Get over here!” While you can certainly play Dragon Age: Inquisition more tactically and deliberately, you may not always want to.

The party made its way through the mire, handling packs of undead and spindly, disturbing Terror demons. Swapping amongst my party members with a tap of the D-pad, I found myself gravitating towards Solas the mage. He controlled almost like an action game avatar, quick bursts of ice emanating from his staff as I pulled RT, with more powerful, visually impressive spells mapped to the face buttons.

Once I entered the fortress, the layout presented an excellent opportunity to try out the tactical mode. By setting waypoints, I sent Cole up a flight of stairs to take down some elevated archers, ordered Solas to cast a fire wall on them, while assigning Blackwall to own a choke point. Then I let things play out, while retaining control of the Inquisitor. We quickly cleared the courtyard, opened the gate and my demo time came to an end. In 30 minutes, I barely had time to scratch the surface of this one area.

Just wandering around the Mire, I found much to discover aside from the main quest. For instance, by finding and lighting Veilfire shrines throughout the marsh, my mage could lessen the impact of the many, many undead in the area. I later asked P
roducer Cameron Lee when in the game you’d enter the Fallow Mire, and it turns out that’s up to you.

“With
Inquisition, unlike many Bioware games,” Lee told me, “there are many of these big environment levels you can explore at any time. If the player orders their inquisition and spends the influence and the power of the inquisition to essentially unlock the area, to get your scouts into it, they can do that at the beginning of the game, they can do it at the end of the game.

With exploration of areas the size of the Fallow Marsh completely at the player’s discretion, I believe
Bioware GM Aaryn Flynn’s claim at the EA gamescom presser that "a recent completionist playthrough clocked in at over 150 hours."

At present, it looks like Bioware has successfuly fused
Dragon Age Origins’ traditional RPG exploration with Dragon Age II’s tighter, action-focused controls. You’ll be able to embark on your own inquisition when Dragon Age: Inquisition arrives on Xbox One November 18th and November 21st in Europe.

gamescom 2014: Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Packs Secrets, Surprises, and Plenty of Gollum - Fri, 15 Aug 2014 11:25:00 Z
Previous demonstrations of Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor have focused on the dark fantasy action-adventure’s ambitious Nemesis system and stretching sandbox world. And while the ability to mold and manipulate enemy encounters across the Lord of the Rings saga’s wide-open Mordor is reason enough to don the armor of the title’s Ranger/Wraith dual-protagonist, we’ve been as anxious as a One Ring-obsessed Gollum to take a peek down the game’s narrative path. Thankfully, a recent gamescom 2014 presentation provided just that, showcasing a satisfying chunk of a story mission titled “The One Truth.”

Beginning with a polished cinematic that wouldn’t look out of place among Peter Jackson’s Tolkien-based blockbusters, we learned that Gollum – with every ounce of his “
My precious”-repeating charm – was after a pretty important artifact. With the setup complete, aforementioned Ranger/Wraith Talion set off to catch the corrupted little creep before he could get his greedy mitts on the goods. Utilizing one of his powers (earned when he was reluctantly resurrected by a spirit after being killed at the Black Gate), Talion was able to see into the Wraith world. With this enhanced vision activated, he spotted Gollum’s tracks – represented by glowing blue footprints – which happened to lead right into the heart of a Graug’s lair.

Upon getting a glimpse of the ugly giant in all its teeth-baring glory, Talion decided not to tango with the monster just yet. Instead, he attracted some lesser creatures, Ghuls, by shooting a baited arrow near their den. Soon enough, the hungry scavengers became an appetizing snack for the Graug; with the troll-like titan distracted by his still-living lunch, Talion was able to sneak past the carnage and continue tailing Gollum.

His escape was short-lived, however, as the echoing roars and cavern-rumbling footfalls in his wake suggested that the lumbering monster was still hungry – and in hot pursuit. With the gap rapidly closing between predator and prey, Talion hauled hide through some narrow caverns that his pursuer couldn’t cram its mountain-like frame through. Without the beast breathing down his neck, Talion took another peek into the Wraith world and discovered a relic dubbed the Serpentine Blade. The item wasn’t Talion’s ultimate objective, but, as Design Director Michael de Plater explained, searching for such items results in players being rewarded with secrets, mysteries, and other narrative-enriching elements. In this case, the blade was accompanied by script that shed some light on Orc society.

After the mini Middle-earth history lesson, Talion continued to explore the depths of the lair, eventually uncovering what he came for. A lengthy cinematic revealed that the Ranger’s spirit Wraith counterpart, Celebrimbor, was a legendary elf and master smith of the Second Age, who actually forged the Rings of Power alongside franchise arch-baddie Sauron. Or, as de Plater called him, “One of the most important figures in the history of Middle-earth.”

As we absorbed that meaty narrative nugget, the Graug showed up to crash the party. Discovering that bit of intel on Talion and Celebrimbor, however, imbued our antihero with a new Wraith power that could be used to flee the aggressor’s grip. The Shadow Strike ability allows Talion to warp to any enemies he targets with his bow. While we imagine the skill would be perfect for unleashing surprise attacks on unsuspecting foes, the player exploited its power to essentially pinball from one baddie to another until he escaped the cave.

Our demo closed with another cinema-rivaling performance from Gollum, who tried to convince Talion and Celebrimbor what a great guy Sauron was. De Plater, who reminded us that
Shadow of Mordor unfolds “immediately after the story of the Hobbit... and many decades before the The Lord of the Rings,” promised many more surprises for Tolkien enthusiasts and first-time Middle-earth tourists alike. Even cooler, he stated that fan-favorite, sniveling sycophant Gollum plays a key role in the story.

Based on the ability to bend baddies to our will with the Nemesis system and tear up Middle-earth from behind both Wraith and Ranger powers,
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor was already among our most anticipated titles of the year. With the promise of an authentic, universe-expanding story, though, it’s shaping up to be the one Lord of the Rings game to rule them all.

gamescom 2014: Sunset Overdrive: A Post-apocalyptic Party We Can’t Wait to Attend - Fri, 15 Aug 2014 11:00:00 Z
At this week’s gamescom 2014 expo, Insomniac Games head honcho Ted Price described the upcoming Sunset Overdrive to us as “An open-world shooter that takes place in a stylized, open city that you can bounce, grind, and traverse your way across. All the while, you’re going on missions, quests, challenges... you’re crafting, and engaging in a progression system, and meeting lots and lots of factions that help you uncover what went horribly wrong during the first night of the game.”

As anyone who’s been following the obscenely over-the-top, post-apocalyptic fragger is well-aware, the fabled evening Price is referring to is the one that saw the titular town’s partying populace turned into mutants by a tainted energy drink. While previous demos of the game have primarily focused on free-form, monster-mashing shenanigans, our in-depth presentation featured an objective-driven story mission, starring new enemy breeds and fresh ways to pulverize them.

Tasked with delivering a valuable sword to one of those factions Price mentioned, the protagonist began scaling a high-rise condo in search of such a weapon. The heroine (
Sunset Overdrive encourages players to personalize their male or female mutant-killers in outrageous get-ups), however, was met with resistance from killer robots. Sent by Fizzco – the company responsible for crafting the outbreak-bringing beverage in the first place – the bots were programmed to cover up any evidence of the incident.

Coming in a variety of menacing flavors, from those armed with missiles and machine guns to others wielding dual laser-swords that would have a Jedi doing a double-take, the terminators made it difficult for the player to reach the destination. Thankfully, her ample agility and arsenal of outrageous weapons generally trumped the bots’ best efforts. The challenge was complemented by a number of strategically placed fans that could blow her upward, showing off 
Sunset Overdrive’s vertical side.

With plenty of twisted metal in her wake, the heroine reached the rooftop, but discovered that her prize had already been taken. This prompted a new, multi-tiered objective:
Forge your own damn sword. It also gave us a peek at the game’s unique fast-travel system; upon choosing a location on the map, the character passed out, then stumbled out of a port-a-potty in her new destination. You’re probably not going to see that in any high-fantasy role-playing games.

Now at a power plant, she was tasked with destroying a trio of thermostats before forging some collected metal over a nuclear steam vent. Easier said than done; the objectives were blocked by mutants, including the Spawner. A hulking hunk of oozing nastiness, the aptly named enemy had a mutant-spitting dumpster fused to its back. And it was joined by a few Blowers – mutant/leaf-blower hybrids that shot infected pus from their arms.

Outfitted with the harpoon-firing Captain Ahab, a fireworks-igniting hand cannon called a Roman Candle, and the vinyl-record-launching High Fidelity (and that’s just
part of the crazy weapon wheel), the protagonist managed to suppress the meatbag army long enough to complete her tasks. The reward: a newly forged “Excalumune.” Essentially a nuclear sword, the oversized blade rearranges enemy rib cages then sets them ablaze.

Before the player could impress her faction friends with this new toy, however, she had to cool the weapon at a water plant. This task introduced another fresh threat: Scabs, effectively anarchist humans that want to kill you and steal all your cool stuff. Apparently not wanting to bother with the puny people after turning infected hordes to pulp, the protagonist armed the TNTeddy, an adorable toy that just so happened to be stuffed with dynamite.

The bomb-in-a-bear made pretty quick work of the adversaries, and the player finally got to douse the blade and take a breather – capping a mission that contained more adrenaline-amping moments than many games see in their entire campaigns.

Based on its eye-popping presentation, imaginative weapons, Parkour-pushing cityscape, and enemies that make plain old zombies look about as scary as puppy dogs,
Sunset Overdrive is poised to deliver a post-apocalypse like no other. And we can’t wait to survive it.



Xbox One System Update: More Social Features and New Ways to Watch TV Available for Preview Members - Thu, 14 Aug 2014 18:00:00 Z
Today we’re rolling out several of the new social and entertainment features we shared earlier this week, in addition to a few unannounced features, to the members previewing new system updates. Your input on feedback.xbox.com plays a big role in shaping these updates, which will roll out to all Xbox One owners in the coming months.

Some of the new features rolling out to our preview members include:

  • Parties – The Party App has been re-organized, so you can now see what activities everyone in your party is doing and tell more clearly who is playing in the same game with you.  You can also more quickly perform common actions like muting, joining, or sending game invites.  Also, Parties now have a Party Leader.  This person can change whether the party requires invitations, and she/he can remove others from the party.
  • New Friends Section – The new Friends section has been available for a few early access preview members and we’re expanding it to additional participants enrolled in the preview program. The new Friends section enables you to see at a glance what’s going on with your friends. You can stay up-to-date with your current activities, the most popular games your friends are playing, and a Gamerscore leaderboard to see who has improved their Gamerscore the most over the last 30 days. We’ll continue to roll this feature out to all participants in the coming updates.
  • Media Player – A new app will be available soon that enables you to play media files from either an attached USB device or from a network connected home media server that supports DLNA protocols. The preview version of the Media Player app will initially only support USB devices, with DLNA support coming soon. Xbox One will support more formats than Xbox 360, including support for dozens of new file formats like mpeg 2 TS, animated gifs and mkv which will be added by the end of the year. See below for additional file formats.
  • Xbox One Digital TV Tuner – Announced last week, this new hardware accessory will enter a limited preview program in Europe (UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain), in advance of its retail launch beginning in October.
  • Stream TV to SmartGlass – Launching first in markets receiving the Xbox One Digital TV Tuner, you will be able to stream your TV across your home network to your smartphones and tablets using the Xbox SmartGlass app. You can also pause, play and rewind as well as change channels, without interrupting gameplay on Xbox One.
  • Boot to TV – Now you will be able to set your console to boot directly to television when coming out of connected standby.  
  • Live TV Miniguide – For markets where OneGuide is available, a new mini guide on the bottom of the screen will display details about the TV content that is currently playing. You can quickly change channels and see what’s on other channels, while still watching TV.
  • SmartGlass Updates – You can now post status messages from the Activity Feed as well as add comments and share items from both your Activity Feed and from Game Clips. Along with the new comment and share features, a personalized Activity Feed has been added to your profile. Messages have been updated to a new layout supporting a full conversation view. Additionally, we are adding the ability to record game clips directly from the Now Playing bar. Finally, if you upgrade the app directly we have introduced a What’s New page highlighting the features of each release.
  • “Xbox On” in New Markets – Adding support for additional markets to use the “Xbox On” Kinect voice command to power on consoles: Australia, Canada (French), Italy, Spain, Mexico, and Brazil – a top used feature.
  • Country Expansion – We’re doing a lot of work on the backend to prepare for Xbox One to launch in 29 new markets in the coming weeks.
  • Multiple GameDVR Deletes – You will be able to choose multiple GameDVR clips to delete at once in the Upload app.
  • Save your Avatar Gamerpic – A new option is now available to save Avatar GamerPics to your OneDrive.
  • Settings Updates – New options help you manage your controllers and accessories. Also, Instant Sign-In is being moved to Settings, to the Sign-in, security & Passkey area.
  • Bandwidth Usage Display – Located in Network Settings under the Troubleshooting column, Bandwidth Usage will show you how much bandwidth your Xbox One is consuming over a period of time. This is useful if you want to track against bandwidth caps set by ISPs in certain markets.

Once again, we can’t thank you enough for your continued input and feedback. We look forward to sharing more when the next Xbox One system update rolls out to the larger community.


Xbox One compatible file types:
3gp audio
3gp video
3gp2
aac
adts
animated gif
asf
avi divx
avi dv
avi uncompressed
avi xvid
bmp
jpg
gif
h264 avchd
mjpeg
mkv
mov
mp3
mpeg 1 ps
mpeg 2
mpeg 2 hd
mpeg 2 ts
mpeg 4 h264 aac
mpeg 4 sp
png
tiff
wav
wma
wma lossless
wma pro
wma voice
wmv
wmv hd 



gamescom 2014: Basking in Far Cry 4’s Mystical Shangri-La - Thu, 14 Aug 2014 16:00:00 Z
In Far Cry 4’s untamed wilds of Kyrat, you’ll overtake enemy-occupied fortresses while wielding a grenade launcher from atop a rampaging elephant. When not raising the bar on open-world, adrenaline-fueled action, however, you might find yourself peacefully meditating on a Himalayan mountainside.

More specifically: You may discover ancient tapestries that, when studied, transport you to a heavenly place marked by exotic wildlife, crimson-colored waterfalls, and fire-spewing demons that want to cook you extra-crispy. There are five of these tapestries – called thangkas – hidden throughout Far Cry 4’s sprawling sandbox. When protagonist Ajay Ghale meditates on them, players are put behind the magical bow of a legendary warrior named Kalinag. And it’s all kinds of awesome.

Our hands-on time with what Ubisoft Montreal calls “The Legend of Shangri-La” tasked us with “liberating a bell of enlightenment.” Before we could do that, though, we got to test out that sweet bow on some of this fantastical world’s demonic forces. Featuring a slow-mo mechanic, Kalinag’s weapon of choice nearly freezes time before unleashing its pointy payloads into the heads of rampaging uglies. The bow sports a handful of glowing crystals that slowly go dark the longer you control the passage of time; once they’re depleted, they begin to replenish, adding a bit of strategy to the weapon’s use.

As cool as it was watching bad guys’ heads explode in a blue mist (demon blood?), the ranged death-dealer paled in comparison to Kalinag’s other weapon, dubbed “The Protector of Shangri-La.” As badass as its name is, it does little justice to what is, in fact, a magical tiger that attacks on command. Unlike the hungry beasts in Far Cry 4’s real-world, this majestic wildcat has no desire to separate your skin from your bones. Proven by its penchant for ferociously tearing into the throats of your enemies, this fearsome kitty is your new best friend.

A press of the right trigger – accompanied by a Hindi-spoken command – sends the big cat toward a designated target. The animal is an effective killer, but it also works as a nice distraction; planting an arrow between an enemy’s eyes, while the tiger attempts to bring them down from behind, is especially rewarding. In fact, a similar strategy was necessary when we encountered the aptly named “Scorcher.” Arrows did little more than turn this towering fire-breather into a walking pincushion; but having our tiger attack him from the front – while we performed a stealthy takedown from the back – promptly extinguished the fiery foe.

When not practicing our archery skills or taming a tiger, we were tasked with completing some minor objectives to progress. We first spun a prayer wheel to open a portal and, later, freed that aforementioned bell from its restricting chains. Mostly, though, the mission involved combating otherworldly threats with weapons you won’t find in Ajay’s arsenal, and taking in the painting-come-to-life scenery. Marked by various, vivid shades of red, all of it – from wind-swept leaves and swaying trees to rushing streams and ancient temples – provides a dreamlike backdrop to the demon-slaying action.

As creative director Alex Hutchinson pointed out, “The Legend of Shangri-La” is a sort of evolution of the craziness that unfolded in Far Cry 3. Rather than having you inhale mushroom spores and hallucinate, however, Far Cry 4’s way-off-the-beaten-path content provides fresh gameplay and story-expanding elements. We’re not sure how Ajay’s path and Kalinag’s backstory relate... but at the very least, these trippy treks to the fabled paradise offer an absorbing, folklore-filled peek into Kyrat’s past.

According to Ubisoft, there is one thangka on the critical path, and four optional ones that will need to be sought out by more adventurous players. Without spoiling too much, they also hinted that meditating on all five will bring this side-story full-circle in a satisfactory manner.

Narrative payoff aside, playing as Kalinag brings a nice change of pace to the usual Far Cry mayhem-making. While we love running from rabid honey badgers, hurtling through cold-and-bitter skies in wing-suits, and chasing madmen through the world’s most perilous mountains, we look forward to more opportunities to unleash that magical tiger on Shangri-La’s evildoers.

gamescom 2014: Atmosphere and Immersion Trump Cheap Scares in Alien: Isolation - Thu, 14 Aug 2014 15:00:00 Z
Before diving into a terrifying, 20-minute stretch of Alien: Isolation’s campaign, Creative Assembly’s Brand Director Jon Rooke reminded us that his team’s take on the face-hugging franchise isn’t another xenomorph-blasting shooter. “You cannot kill our alien. There are no pulse rifles or smart guns. There’s no chance of survival in a one-to-one encounter with our alien.”

While weapons are indeed scarce in the upcoming first-person survival horror entry inspired by Ridley Scott’s chest-bursting benchmark, players aren’t jettisoned into deep space without any hope for survival. During our demo, unfolding in the game’s first half, protagonist Amanda Ripley was armed with a motion tracker, some makeshift crafted items, and – most importantly – her wits. Upon meeting some survivors in need of medical help, she set out on a pulse-spiking search through the remote space station that serves as the game’s primary house of horrors.

Amanda’s early encounters and tasks – collecting scrap for crafting consumables, navigating air ducts, cracking security codes – might seem mundane in any other environment, but Isolation’s immersive audio and oozing atmosphere pack every moment with the sort of sweaty-palmed tension usually reserved for our worst nightmares. On top of that, the game’s claustrophobic confines are littered with mood-setting touches that simultaneously progress the story and elevate our blood pressure. A favorite moment from our presentation saw Amanda enter the medical facility’s “Welcome Center,” only to be greeted by a bloody corpse on a gurney, and a sparking electrical panel. Paired with an unsettling symphony of things-that-go-bump-in-the-night, such disturbing scenarios manage to pack more frights than other games’ been-there-slaughtered-that zombie hordes.

Speaking of unconventional scares, Creative Assembly is also incorporating an old-school design idea to keep players from ever feeling like they’re anything but a future alien appetizer. Explaining that auto-saves can “kill the tension,” Rooke revealed that users will have to physically insert a key card into terminals – an act that intentionally takes a few seconds – to ensure their progress is saved. This might sound like a minor inclusion, but your fumbling fingers might disagree the first time they fail to keep you free from a malfunctioning android’s choke-hold.

Players may also want to retreat to the fetal position when they realize that Amanda’s pistol is best left holstered. In addition to ammo being scarce, and the hand-cannon’s blast attracting unwanted attention, Amanda simply isn’t a very good shot. To help remind trigger-happy fans that their avatar is not a sharpshooting space marine, the gun’s cross-hair is slow to focus, and its from-the-hip action highly inaccurate.

When not cowering in a corner and clutching her motion tracker for dear life, Amanda can construct makeshift items. By assembling crafting components found throughout her trek, she can build flares, noisemakers, EMP mines, flash-bangs, smoke bombs, and med kits. Used strategically (and primarily for defensive tactics), these items can distract enemies, disable devices, or simply be tossed in a fit of desperation, before the alien uses your spine like dental floss.

We got to see the flare in action after the evildoing E.T. literally dropped into our demo. Upon falling through the ceiling with a room-rattling thud, the iconic creature that helped spawn the tag line “In space, no one can hear you scream” began searching the area like a bloodhound. A tense game of cat and mouse ensued, as the motion tracker-equipped player did their best to stay out of the space monster’s path. After plenty of careful crouching and peeking – things you can plan on doing lots of in Isolation – the nine-foot-tall xenomorph passed right by the player’s hiding spot. Amanda was able to briefly catch her breath after distracting the alien with a tossed flare; that breath would turn out to be her last, however, as the demo closed with the beast’s drool-drenched chompers consuming the entire screen.

Following the hands-off presentation, Isolation’s Creative Lead Al Hope stated that the Xbox One has allowed his team to elevate the game’s “atmosphere and immersion to another level.” Based on the moisture that surfaced on our brow and the dryness that took up residence in our throats, it seems that Hope may be spot-on. We look forward to playing Alien: Isolation with the volume up and the lights off, when it creeps onto Xbox One and Xbox 360 consoles October 7.



ID@Xbox Profile: Pinball FX2 from Zen Studios - Thu, 14 Aug 2014 14:05:00 Z
As pinball games go, Zen Studios’ Pinball FX series is a tough one to beat. Since getting its start in 2005, tight controls and a staggering attention to detail have defined the brand, and the game has been constantly evolving, with new tables and content being ushered in on a regular basis. Today, Pinball FX2 arrives as a free download on Xbox One, with players able to transfer their Xbox 360 purchases to Xbox One at no additional cost (please see the Pinball FX2 Xbox One FAQ on the Zen Studios forums for more details on the transfer process).

“This is absolutely the definitive version of Pinball FX2,” says Mel Kirk, Vice President of Publishing at Zen Studios. “This version looks the best, has an updated and intuitive menu, and has the most polished production quality of any pinball platform. We’re really happy that Pinball FX is finally making its way to Xbox One.”

Kirk believes that the Pinball FX series is very different from all other digital pinball titles on the market. “There are actually two games at work here – the pinball table itself, and the rest of the game that makes it fun socially, and turns a single-player experience into a thriving community,” he says. “Advancing both of these aspects is really important as we try to maintain our leadership position in this category.”

Kirk points out that Zen Studios is the only pinball developer focused on creating new experiences based on contemporary trends in pop culture. A pinball table was released alongside the launch of Guardians of the Galaxy from Marvel Entertainment, for instance – as well as a Walking Dead table slated for release later this summer. Indeed, nearly all of the Pinball FX2’s existing Xbox 360 tables will be available on Xbox One from the start, with the Star Wars Pinball table packs, a majority of Marvel Pinball tables, and many of Zen’s original tables available for purchase.

The entire game has been given a facelift for its debut on Xbox One, with a new user interface that helps players sort through their collections. The upgraded tables look better than ever: Improved lighting and ball effects, new Achievements, and a new menu interface help tie the experience together. Worldwide tournaments will be featured more prominently, and Zen plans to host frequent competitive events.

It’s the constantly evolving nature of the content that keeps Pinball FX2 both fun to play and fun to make. “Being able to work with different licenses is a blast, and each one brings its own intrinsic challenges and sensibilities,” says Kirk. “We never copy elements from other tables, reuse assets, or borrow from somewhere else. Every table starts as a blank canvas, and a few pages of a written concept.”

Once this is nailed down, the team starts creating the proper assets: 3D models, playfield toys and artwork, rule sets, dialogue scripts, and the overall table layout. “As things are coming together, our partners have a lot of involvement, making sure the game represents the brand and characters correctly – all the way down to the color of a belt – and they really work with us to ensure that we’re capturing the essence of what we are building. This is a very collaborative process, and it’s a lot of fun!”

Kirk says that bringing the game to Xbox One via the ID@Xbox program has made for some pleasantly smooth sailing. “The ID@Xbox team is fantastic,” he says. “
Pinball FX was a first-party franchise for almost eight years, and then we made the switch to this new program – but it feels like we have the same level of support. Zen Studios owes a lot to the team at Microsoft for their aid in developing the platform over the years, so it is exciting to see that they still want to be so close to the game. There have been a few hurdles, a few broken rules, and a lot of learning... but we are in a fantastic workflow now, and the road is paved for an exciting Xbox One experience.”

Unsurprisingly, the developers at Zen are self-avowed pinball fanatics, as evidenced by the fact that the studio recently moved into a new office just to accommodate all the machines it’s collected over the years (recent highlights include a brand new AC/DC Luci table from Stern). “At one point in time, playing real pinball gave us some ideas and inspiration into the creation of our tables,” says Kirk. “These days, I think it might be the other way around – real machines see what we’re doing, and follow our lead. It’s been amazing to have a role in presenting pinball to a new generation of players who might not have the means to experience it otherwise.”

Pinball FX2 is now available on Xbox One. The Sorcerer’s Lair table is included for free; additional tables start at $2.49 for single tables, and $9.99 for table packs – all of which can be purchased in-game from the Xbox Marketplace.

gamescom 2014: Going Vertical in Ori and the Blind Forest - Thu, 14 Aug 2014 12:10:00 Z
Ori and the Blind Forest seized hearts and imaginations at E3 and San Diego Comic-Con this summer. This week’s gamescom conference presented a fresh look at the title, as creators Thomas Mahler and Gennadiy Korol of Moon Studios walked us through a later, tougher area of the game called Ginso Tree. Unlike the sprawling, largely lateral areas shown previously, Ginso Tree is a long, vertical ascent, with the goal of restoring the decaying tree's natural state.

Early in the level, Ori earns a new power essential to making the climb – the Bash Attack. Mahler explained that the team aims to develop abilities not usually seen in 2D games. Bash Attack is a familiar, yet fresh-feeling move – kind of like a 2D incarnation of the Blink from
Dishonored.

Here’s how it works: Hold the Y button to freeze the action and bring up a compass-like arrow. Direct the arrow with the analog stick, release, and jet forward. It sounds reasonably basic, but here’s the twist - the wake of your Bash Attack will send projectiles sizzling in the opposite direction of Ori’s movement. This is useful not only in combat, but in puzzle solving and exploration. Mastering the interplay of double jumps, wall running, and Bash Attack running off wall, Mahler flew through a difficult section without hitting the ground.

Taking it to the next level, we then saw Bash Attack used as an elaborate way of redirecting a single projectile around a room, through portals, and into obstacles to clear a new path. Ori can’t emit any projectiles of its own (at least, not that we've seen so far), but with Bash, you can turn hazards into your own weapon.

Going hands on, we found this to be a challenging technique to master. Fortunately, you can drop a Soul Link at any time by holding B, effectively setting your own checkpoint. It's a limited use ability, so there's a bit of thought in play. Effective use of Soul Links will be key to making it through tougher sections of the game.

Once the Ginso Tree’s decay was cleared and its health restored, a thrilling escape sequence initiated; Ori climbed and Bashed his way up and out of the tree, as a beautifully animated torrent of water quickly rose from below. Safety was fleeting, however, as the restoration of the Ginso Tree awoke the giant owl seen in previous trailers, and it immediately took aim at Ori. Alas, that's all we saw at gamescom, leaving what happens next to our imaginations until
Ori and the Blind Forest arrives on Xbox One this Fall.

gamescom 2014: Assassin’s Creed: Unity Encourages Exploration, Experimentation, and Evisceration - Wed, 13 Aug 2014 15:55:00 Z
Assassin’s Creed: Unity’s first mission doesn’t begin with a blade to the belly or a bullet to the brain, but with a verbal scolding. While being briefed on his life-taking objective, protagonist Arno Dorian is curtly told: “I’m not here to hold your hand!”

More than merely introducing us to a rather rude non-player character, this encounter also hints at Unity’s fresh approach to mission structure. Dubbed “black box design” by creative director Alexandre Amancio, the philosophy offers players more freedom than ever in terms of how they tackle missions – and, ultimately, how they siphon the lives from their assassination targets.


Our recent gamescom 2014
Unity demo started with a cinematic, panning over some of the areas and characters that may be encountered, followed by a stat box listing intel such as how many alarm bells, secret entrances, and unique kill opportunities awaited us. Referring to the mission design as “open-ended and 360 degrees,” Amancio stated that the development team’s purpose is to encourage exploration and experimentation. Once the player’s briefing concluded, they could approach objectives however they pleased.

For the Ubisoft assassin running our demo, this meant heading to the main gate of Notre Dame Cathedral, where the target – a scumbag named Sivert – unknowingly awaited the reaper. As it turned out, the gate was well-guarded, making an impromptu infiltration a
very bad idea. Exploring some quieter areas of the cathedral’s exterior, the player discovered a hidden entrance; sadly, it was locked, and he had yet to upgrade his lock-picking skill.

After a bit more stalking and skulking, Arno stumbled across a character that was scheduled to rendezvous with his target in the church’s confessional. Sensing an exploitable opportunity, the player tossed a smoke bomb into the crowd, sliced the man from ear to ear, and then slipped back into the chaos without anyone being the wiser. Called a “mission modifier” by Amancio, this seemingly scripted scenario didn’t have to unfold at all. As Amancio explained, these “mod missions” are optional, but have the potential to change everything from the mission path and context, to the gameplay and how the assassination target is ultimately eliminated. In this case, it afforded Arno the opportunity to impersonate his fresh victim.

Upon completing a second path-altering modifier – snatching a set of stolen cathedral keys from a thief who planned to rob the archbishop’s wine cellar – Arno had easy access to the church, and a plan for freeing the target of his innards. Despite Arno’s good fortune, though, he had to navigate Notre Dame’s grounds and interior carefully. Plenty of crouching, a couple of smoke bombs, a few choked guards, and (of course) one dive into a bale of hay later, Arno was seated in the cathedral’s confessional, inches from his target’s face.

After humoring the chattering mark for a moment, Arno forcefully drove his blade through the partition and into Sivert’s face. As the target’s arteries spilled their contents all over the confessional floor, a cinematic offered some narrative hints by revealing a glimpse of Sivert’s last living moments.

While our demo provided a taste of
Unity’s mission-molding approach, it barely scratched the surface of this new free-form philosophy. Other tweaks, like the ability to continue pursuing a target (even if you’ve “failed” a tailing objective) further emphasize the game’s focus on increased player agency. On top of that, clothing customization – a purely cosmetic feature in previous Assassin’s Creed entries – adds even more strategic layers; the aforementioned locked cathedral entrance, for example, could have opened a completely different mission path, had Arno picked an outfit buffed with a lock-picking skill.

Toss in the Xbox One-fueled graphics, a narratively rich French Revolution setting, and the ability to kill cooperatively with friends, and
Assassin’s Creed: Unity is shaping up to be the franchise’s most full-featured entry yet. We’re already sharpening our blades – and mission-cracking minds – in anticipation of its October 28 launch.



gamescom 2014: Taking a Trip to Evolve’s Distillery - Wed, 13 Aug 2014 13:00:00 Z
On the eve of gamescom 2014, 2K Games and Turtle Rock Studios gave attendees of the Xbox Media Showcase a chance to sample Evolve’s unique 4v1 hunt gameplay on a brand new map: Distillery.

This new environment features the eponymous metallic structure set in a familiar-yet-alien forest teeming with wildlife. A river runs through it, complete with a towering waterfall and plenty of opportunities for platforming on the islands in current.

As one might expect at a distillery, our team of hunters quickly found some hops - though these weren’t of the brewers’ variety. After one of my teammates finished off some of the aggressive local fauna, those of us who happened by the creature's remains were awarded with a significant perk: 400% greater jump height. This bonus was helpful in keeping up with our flying kraken quarry, as we leapt our way through some very vertical parts of the map.    

The developers also used the Distillery map to reveal
Evolve's dynamic weather system. As the hunt unfolds, players may encounter vision-obscuring fog or footprint-erasing rain. On this occasion, we encountered snow, which inflicted both these penalties on our hunting party. As a result, we were unable to draw a bead on the monster for long periods of time. Our only hints to the monster’s location were of disturbed flocks of birds, or alerts when it passed near one of my Hunter's Sound Spikes, which act as something of a surveillance system.

Working as a team, we managed to keep the monster on the run, skirmishing within the unfriendly confines of my Hunter's portable trap arenas. Unable to reach the 3rd stage, the creature fell before us and we reveled in the win, knowing it would last only until the next hunt commenced.

Of note, 2K announced that
Evolve’s Xbox One exclusive beta will become available in January 2015, ahead of the title’s February 10 release date.

gamescom 2014: ID@Xbox Unleashes Slew of Exclusive Games Coming to Xbox One - Wed, 13 Aug 2014 10:30:00 Z
Tuesday morning, ID@Xbox made a splash during the Xbox briefing at gamescom, revealing dozens of games coming first to console on Xbox One, via the self-publishing program for independent developers. The exciting lineup included fan favorite SMITE, as well as new, soon to be Xbox One staples Space Engineers, SUPERHOT, Ghost of a Tale and The Escapist. With more than 500 developers with development kits, the portfolio on Xbox One continues to grow.

Creating games is not easy, and ID@Xbox is committed to offering developers the tools they need to bring innovative experiences to Xbox One. Earlier this year, we announced access to Unity tools and Unreal Engine 4 for ID@Xbox developers, and we’re excited to offer yet another popular middleware solution for development on Xbox One. Beginning later this year, ID@Xbox participants with development kits will be able to use the GameMaker: Studio export for Xbox One to bring their games to life.

It’s an exciting time for independent games on Xbox One. Ranging from the wonderfully chaotic jetpack action ball game
#IDARB, to the mysterious world of Ghost of a Tale, there is no shortage of excitement at gamescom this year. Join us in the Xbox booth to check out 20 games firsthand, take a deeper look at the collection of exclusive games in the video above – and check out the Xbox One Store for the latest independent games, including Warframe launching next month.

All of the ID@Xbox games shown during the Xbox media briefing are coming first to console on Xbox One, but these are only a fraction of the hundreds of games coming to Xbox One from independent developers.

ID@Xbox games at gamescom this year, including additional games playable in the Xbox booth, include:

  • #IDARB by Other Ocean – Couch competitive eSports mayhem for 1-8 players! #IDARB is the world’s first crowd-sourced-platform-hockey-soccer-basketball-rocket pack game, inspired by games like Super Smash Bros., Bomberman and NBA Jam. Features a limitless character creator and a mechanic where spectators can play along using nothing but their Twitter account.
  • Aztez by Team Colorblind – Aztez is a real-time action and turn-based strategy hybrid set in the world of the Aztecs. Push on the borders of the empire and manage political chaos with thrilling combat segments, where victory or defeat has immediate ramifications in your burgeoning empire.
  • Below by Capy Games – An atmospheric and mysterious exploration and combat game, Below will be coming to Xbox One next year.
  • Blues and Bullets by A Crowd of Monsters – Blues & Bullets is an episodic noir story, where the player will need to survive thrilling shootouts, dark investigations, difficult decisions to make and unexpected story twists in the skin of Patton, a former detective who struggles with his own demons trapped in a decadent city.
  • Chariot by Frima Studio – Chariot is a humoristic physics-based couch co-op platformer in which a brave princess and her suitor carry a funeral wagon through ancient caves, fending-off swarms of looters while amassing riches, to bury the King's remains in a worthy gold-filled tomb.
  • Cuphead by Studio MDHR – Cuphead is a single player or co-op run-and-gun platformer, heavily focused on boss battles. Inspired by 1930s cartoons, the visuals are hand-drawn and inked, and the music is all original jazz recordings. Cuphead & Mugman traverse strange worlds, acquire new weapons, learn powerful super moves and uncover hidden secrets.
  • Dungeon of the Endless by Amplitude – Dungeons of the Endless is neo-retro adrenaline-fest; a fresh mix of Rogue-like and Tower Defense with a pinch of RPG! Your team of heroes must protect the generator of their crashed ship while exploring an ever-expanding dungeon, all while facing waves of monsters and special events as they try to find their way out... so what could go wrong... open the door!
  • Fenix Rage by Reverb Triple XP, Green Lava Studios – Fenix Rage is an inspired, frenetically-paced, challenging and aggressively addicting 2D-platformer that will keep your palms sweaty, your thumbs fatigued, and your wits sharp. Gamers take on the role of Fenix, whose village is decimated by a huge explosion, leaving only two survivors – Fenix and Oktarus, a mysterious figure who manages to elude Fenix’s best efforts at capture.
  • Flockers by Team 17 – New from the creators of Worms, Flockers is a modern day take on the classic A-to-B puzzle genre with a generous helping of dark humor for good measure. Held in captivity within the evil thrall of their diabolical masters, the sheep are finally making a dash for freedom. But without your guidance they are destined to die in the most horrific ways as they follow each other into diabolical traps, giant meat cleavers, spikes and other deadly obstacles.
  • Funk of the Titans by A Crowd of Monsters – Funk of Titans is an addictive and fun action/platform game. The player will control Perseus through use of the Greek mythology, jumping platforms, collecting vinyl, beating enemies, riding Pegasus and confronting the evil Music Titans in epic dance battles to recover the real and only holy music: the funk!
  • Ghost of a Tale by SeithCG – Ghost of a Tale is a third person action adventure game set in a medieval world inhabited only by animals. The story follows the quest of Tilo the minstrel mouse – searching for his lost family. With highly immersive visuals, it weaves an epic yet intimate story.
  • Gunscape by Blowfish StudiosAt its heart, Gunscape is an FPS construction kit: a game with solid action gameplay, a welcoming approach to map building and a huge toolbox of iconic weapons, monsters and level elements that can be extensively combined to create new and exciting gameplay experiences.
  • Goat Simulator by Coffee Stain Studios, Double 11 – Goat Simulator is the latest in goat simulation technology, bringing next-gen goat simulation to YOU. You no longer have to fantasize about being a goat, your dreams have finally come true! ABXY to write history.
  • INSIDE by Playdead – From the creators of LIMBO, Playdead is bringing INSIDE to Xbox first in 2015. For more information, visit playdead.com/inside.
  • Knight Squad by Chainsawesome Games – Knight Squad is a one-to-eight player action game that can be described as Bomberman meets Gauntlet. Play as a Knight in the arena and defeat your opponents using epic weapons and power ups. Challenge your friends in the Versus mode or play as a team as you complete the challenges on each floor of Destiny's Tower.
  • Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime by Asteroid Base – The game is a frantic co-op platformer-inside-a-shooter, in which players work together piloting a neon-drenched battleship to save space animals, explore the galaxy, and fight evil robots. Deep space is a dangerous place, but at least you don't have to face it alone!
  • Massive Chalice by Double Fine Productions – Massive Chalice is a single player turn-based tactics game within a multi-generational strategy campaign built for replayability. Massive Chalice is structured into two main layers: strategy and tactics. In the strategy layer, you oversee your kingdom, arrange royal marriages, conduct research and make the far-reaching decisions that will determine the fate of your legacy. In the tactics layer, you fight brutal turn-based battles to defend your kingdom using small squads of customizable heroes.
  • Never Alone by Upper One Games – Built in partnership with the Alaska Native community, Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna) delves deeply into the traditional lore of the Inupiat people of the Arctic to present a game experience like no other.  An atmospheric puzzle platformer of wondrous adventure and survival in a place where survival shouldn’t be possible.
  • No Time to Explain by tinyBuild – “I am you from the future, No Time To Explain, follow m-ARGHAWAWAA.” A game about time travel, jetpack guns and enemy crabs. Random things happen when you from the future interrupts your dance session and drags you away by a giant crab, only to leave a futuristic jetpack gun behind.
  • Overruled! by Team 17 – Overruled! is a multiplayer brawler like no other - players change the rules as they play, directly influencing the dynamics and direction of combat. Choose from a diverse cast of characters and challenge up to three friends to a battle with both local and online multiplayer! All you have to do to win is score the most points by the end of the game. But the rules are yours to play with and with over 25 change ‘em up cards, you’ll never know how the battle will go and no game is ever the same!
  • Plague Inc: Evolved by Ndemic Creations – Plague Inc: Evolved is a unique mix of high strategy and terrifyingly realistic simulation. Your pathogen has infected Patient Zero - now bring about the end of human history by evolving a deadly, global Plague whilst adapting against everything humanity can do to defend itself!
  • Pneuma: Breath of Life by Bevel Studios, Deco Digital – Pneuma: Breath of Life is an enthralling first person puzzler putting gamers’ minds to the test in a visually stunning world using Unreal Engine 4. Pneuma provides players with an unrivaled sense of adventure and a relentless determination to solve each puzzle and progress through a story of self-discovery, exploring the fundamental nature of being.
  • Rivals of Aether by Dan Fornace – Rivals of Aether is an indie fighting game set in a vast new world featuring a unique roster of characters - rivals. Instead of looking toward traditional fighting games, Rivals of Aether is primarily inspired by the platform fighting series Super Smash Bros.
  • SlashDash by Nevernaut Games – SlashDash is a competitive party game for up to four players. Combat is fast paced, strategic and deceptively simple. The first game mode is Capture the Flag, where two teams of ninjas slash and teleport their way to flags and glory. Cooperation is key — when your teammate has the flag, slash them to make them dash!
  • SMITE by Hi-Rez Studios – SMITE is a third-person action MOBA. Instead of having a traditional isometric view (RTS), you are IN THE ACTION with a tight third-person camera. Enjoy detailed graphics and visual effects. Experience ACTION combat, dodging, and aiming with almost all attacks being skill-shots. SMITE is Free-to-Play but not pay-to-win.
  • Space Engineers by Keen Software House Ltd – Space Engineers is a sandbox game about engineering, construction and maintenance of space works. Players build space ships and space stations of various sizes and utilization (civil and military), pilot ships and perform asteroid mining. Space Engineers utilizes a realistic volumetric-based physics engine: all objects can be assembled, disassembled, damaged and destroyed. The game comes with two game modes: creative and survival.
  • Spectra by Gateway Interactive – From new studio Gateway Interactive and Chipzel (the amazing chip-tune artist behind the Super Hexagon music) comes Spectra, a fast paced retro style racing game destined to get your heart pumping and test your skill like no other!
  • SpeedRunners by tinyBuild – In a city filled with superheroes, getting to crimes becomes a competition on its own. Fortunately there are enough rockets, bombs, grappling hooks, spikes, and other goodies lying around — to make the competition fun and fast. Welcome to SpeedRunners.
  • SUPERHOT by SUPERHOT – SUPERHOT is a unique first-person shooter where time moves only when you move. Hails of bullets and unrelenting enemies freeze in place as you carefully plan the choreography of destruction around you. Take your time. You have as much as you want.
  • The Escapist by Team 17 – The Escapists is a time management prison escape game that gives you the “freedom” to live the life of a prison inmate, ultimately plotting and pulling off a daring escape!
  • Threes! by Sirvo / Hidden Variable – Threes! is a tiny game about matching numbers that grows on you. Learn it in a minute. Play it for a lifetime. Featuring cute, charming characters, a catchy score, and deceptively deep gameplay, Threes! is a tiny game that will wrap up your heart and mind in a warm hug and never let go.
  • Volgarr the Viking by Crazy Viking Studios – Return to the Golden Age of arcades with an all-new hardcore action experience that pulls no punches. Volgarr the Viking possesses all the hallmarks of the true classics - simple controls, high challenge, and meticulous design - combined with hand-made pixel animation, an epic soundtrack, and buckets of blood.


Forza Horizon 2 Car Reveal – Check Out the Week Four Cars - Wed, 13 Aug 2014 08:00:00 Z
It’s week four of our Forza Horizon 2 car unveils and another batch of fun has arrived! As we work our way to our total of more than 200 cars built from the ground up for Xbox One, let’s take a closer look at this week’s crop of amazing cars.

The Local Motors Rally Fighter is in a class by itself and will be a go-to ride for bashing, thrashing, and racing in the hills of
Forza Horizon 2’s southern European setting. While the Rally Fighter is a standout, any of the other cars of week four is perfect for a weekend getaway. That includes two of the all-time greats from Germany: the 1954 Mercedes-Benz 330 SL Gullwing Coupe and the 2013 Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG. If you are into getting sideways, three utterly drift-able rides have made the list in the R34 Skyline, the Mk III Supra, and the Subaru BRZ. Want to head for the hills? The Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is ready for the trail.

Let’s shine the spotlight on a number of this week’s most desirable cars:



2014 Local Motors Rally Fighter
The Rally Fighter is what the word “awesome” was truly meant to describe. A prototypical race body and tube-frame chassis set on a massive suspension, with huge tires and the grunt of a GM LS3 under the hood pushing the rear wheels. Yes, you read correctly, the rear wheels only. In the style of the most successful Baja racers, the Rally Fighter doesn’t need the encumbrance of 4x4 components to lead the pack through any terrain you can throw at it. Through and through the Rally Fighter is tough as nails, and ready to carry four people in the safety of its rugged roll cage to just about anywhere on Earth. Where will you test it?



1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe
The Mercedes-Benz 300SL represented such a huge leap forward in production car design, technology, and style that it is difficult to imagine just how revolutionary it was upon its introduction. Considering how iconic it has remained, and how well-known the car’s signature doors are even to non-enthusiasts, it certainly looks the part. Gullwing doors aside, the low coupe’s rakish profile looked nothing like the dinosaurs it shared the road with—all the more amazing considering how conventional most of Mercedes’ aging designs were at the time. As attractive as the body shell, resembling the W194 racer that inspired it, it’s what’s under the skin that makes the 300SL so groundbreaking. The 3-liter inline six cylinder engine, while related to the unit in the large Type 300 sedan, benefitted from the development it saw in action in the W194, and sported a new cylinder head and mechanical fuel injection to produce more than 240 horsepower in road-going trim. Like the racer, the Gullwing also utilized tube-frame construction, part of which passed through where conventional doors would go, which explains the distinctive door arrangement. The “SL” part of the name stands for “Sport Leicht,” or “sport light,” and the regular Gullwing was very light—but it could be made lighter by ordering the optional aluminum alloy body for a substantial fee. Speaking of substantial costs, the rare and beautiful Gullwing commands prices at auction that suit its position as the ultimate Mercedes road-going coupe.



1958 Aston Martin DBR1
Coast through a corner and roll onto the throttle: the whine of the straight-cut gears gives way to a syncopated baritone that has few equals. Many cars are compared to growling or bellowing animals, but the DBR1’s inline six truly sounds like a very large lion clearing its throat — one of the most primal-sounding motors in automotive history. The DBR1 was not only named after Aston Martin owner David Brown, it also fulfilled his decade-long ambition to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1959 at the hands of none other than Carroll Shelby and his co-driver Ray Salvadori. The DBR1 also carried Stirling Moss to two of his four victories at the 1000km Nürburgring, run on the notoriously difficult Nürburgring Nordschleife. It did so not with raw power, although the 3-liter motor made 254 horsepower, but a combination of lightweight construction, slippery aerodynamics, and superior driving dynamics. Some of that lightness was due to the extensive use of magnesium alloy in the body, just 0.03 inches thick and quite fragile. Ultimately, the DBR1’s career ended with the win at Le Mans, as Brown had satisfied his ambition to win the championship and turned the company’s focus to single-seater racing. As such, the DBR1 gives drivers the unique experience of driving a beautiful car at the height of its development and success.

The remaining week four cars are here:

  1. 2008 BMW M3
  2. 1970 Chevrolet Camaro Z28
  3. 1968 Dodge Dart HEMI Super Stock
  4. 2013 Ford Focus ST
  5. 2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
  6. 1974 Lancia Stratos HF Stradale
  7. 2013 Mercedes-Benz E 63 AMG
  8. 2002 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec II
  9. 2013 Subaru BRZ
  10. 1998 Toyota Supra RZ
  11. 1981 Volkswagen Scirocco S


gamescom 2014: Xbox Welcomes Gamers to Cologne - Tue, 12 Aug 2014 22:15:00 Z
It’s wonderful to be back in Cologne, Germany for gamescom, to celebrate the exciting news and games from Xbox with fans from around the world.

From ground-breaking exclusives like Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Sunset Overdrive, Quantum Break to blockbusters like FIFA 15, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Destiny and of course Rise of the Tomb Raider, coming holiday 2015, exclusively on Xbox; amazing new bundles for Call of Duty, Sunset Overdrive and FIFA available to pre-order from today, alongside a wonderful and diverse line-up of ID@Xbox titles from the most creative independent developers, we believe Xbox One is the best place to play games this holiday – and beyond. To find out more and for information on pre-orders please visit www.xbox.com.

Right now is a great time for Microsoft Studios in Europe with games like Forza Horizon 2, Fable Legends and Quantum Break in development. With Forza Horizon 2 (part of our holiday line-up for 2014), UK-based developer Playground Games invites both you and your Drivatar to experience the most social racing game ever as you sprint through scenic European landscapes and epic thunderstorms in any one of more than 200 cars. Plus be sure to keep an eye out over coming weeks for #FORZAFUEL – an exciting real life Forza Horizon race that will deliver epic real-life challenges and unlock in-game rewards.

Then looking further ahead into 2015… I’d like to call out Quantum Break, developed in partnership with Finland’s Remedy Entertainment. As many of you will have seen from Sam and Ozz’s stunning on-stage game demo at our briefing yesterday, Remedy has a bold new vision with this title to combine an amazing game experience with the fast-paced narrative of a TV show. The time-amplified gameplay of Quantum Break sets new standards for gameplay and in-game story telling. The ability to play inside a time stutter – the moment when the world is ripped apart by time breaking – is incredible and opens up some utterly thrilling gameplay moments. I can’t wait to share more on Quantum Break.

As we said on-stage yesterday, it’s never been a better time to be an Xbox One gamer. If you’re one of the 250,000 gaming fans we’ll be welcoming to our gamescom booth this week, we hope you’ll enjoy the 25+ titles we’re showcasing in Cologne. If you can’t make it to Germany, we’ll be giving you all of the news and sights and sounds of gamescom via Xbox Wire, Xbox.com and the Xbox One/Xbox 360 dash between now and Sunday; and if you are fan of Halo, be sure to tune into the all new Halo Channel.

Have a fun week!


gamescom 2014: Media Briefing Highlights - Tue, 12 Aug 2014 16:28:00 Z
Catch up on all the action from the Xbox briefing at gamescom 2014. We’ll be talking to the devs over the course of the week, so keep up to date with us and watch all the exclusive videos on all your favorite games.

Three New Xbox One Bundles Put the Biggest Blockbusters in Your Hands - Tue, 12 Aug 2014 06:30:00 Z
The holiday season is right around the corner – and Xbox is leading the charge, with a trio of great system bundles that put this year’s biggest blockbusters right into your hands along with a shiny new Xbox One.

“We’re excited to offer fans more choice and value than ever before,” said Head of Xbox Phil Spencer. “These bundles offer a great opportunity to enjoy Xbox One alongside an incredible line-up of games, making Xbox the best place to play this holiday and beyond.”

Need a fantastic gift for a friend or family member? Or, are you looking to make the jump into next-gen gaming yourself? Have a look at these three Xbox One bundles, announced today at gamescom 2014 – and now available for pre-order at retailers!

Xbox One Limited Edition Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Bundle ($499/£429/€499)

What does the future of warfare look like? Activision and Sledgehammer Games’
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare imagines a high-tech, war-torn future for the acclaimed first-person shooter saga. This bundle launches at select retailers on November 3, and includes a digital Day Zero Edition copy of the game (featuring early access and double XP on November 3), a special Xbox One console and wireless controller featuring unique Advanced Warfare artwork, a chat headset, a 1TB hard drive, special in-game sound effects, and additional in-game content.

Xbox One Special Edition Sunset Overdrive Bundle ($399/€399)

You’d better believe that Insomniac Games’
Sunset Overdrive will be one of the biggest Xbox One-exclusive blockbusters of the year – and this bundle features everything you need to fight back against the evil forces of the colorful-yet-dystopian Sunset City. The Xbox One Special Edition Sunset Overdrive Bundle includes a white console and wireless controller. A digital copy of Sunset Overdrive, and all of the Day One Edition bonus weapons and items. It launches alongside the game on October 28.

Xbox One FIFA 15 Bundle (
£349.99/€399.99)

Last – but certainly not least – is the Xbox One
FIFA 15 Bundle, which includes an Xbox One console, a wireless controller, a chat headset, a 14-day Xbox Live trial subscription, a digital copy of FIFA 15 and an Ultimate Team Legends Gold Pack. The Xbox One FIFA 15 Bundle launches on September 25 and is only available in Europe. This follows the recently announced Xbox One Madden 15 Bundle that will be released in the U.S. on August 26. No matter which side of the Atlantic you live on, you’ll get to enjoy the latest and greatest EA Sports title as part of an Xbox One bundle.

No matter what kind of gamer you are, there’s an Xbox One bundle for you this holiday season. Pre-order yours now at retailers, while supplies last!


Xbox is the Best Place to Play this Holiday with the Biggest Exclusives and Blockbuster Xbox One Bundles - Tue, 12 Aug 2014 06:30:00 Z
Today Xbox opened gamescom 2014, Europe’s biggest video games expo, by showcasing the platform’s stellar portfolio of exclusive games and inviting more gamers into the next-generation with a family of Xbox One console bundles featuring some of the hottest blockbusters of the year – “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare,” “Sunset Overdrive,” and “FIFA 15.” Only on Xbox One this holiday will gamers be able to create Car Clubs of up to 1,000 members on the stunning roads of southern Europe in “Forza Horizon 2,” dive into the mayhem of Sunset City in “Sunset Overdrive,” experience the beautiful coming-of-age story of “Ori and the Blind Forest,” relive the complete story of a legendary hero in “Halo: The Master Chief Collection,” jump into the “Halo 5: Guardians” Multiplayer Beta, and experience exclusive content like “Halo: Nightfall” through an new digital entertainment network – “The Halo Channel.”

Led by the announcement that “Rise of the Tomb Raider” from Crystal Dynamics will launch in holiday 2015, exclusively on Xbox, today’s briefing also featured highly-anticipated blockbusters like “Assassin’s Creed® Unity,” “Call of Duty®: Advanced Warfare,” and “FIFA15™,” all available this holiday, as well as the award-winning next-gen shooter “Evolve,” launching starting Feb. 10, 2015. The ID@Xbox self-publishing program also made a splash, highlighting dozens of independent games on stage that are coming first to console on Xbox One, including “Space Engineers,” “SUPERHOT,” “The Escapists,” “Smite” and “Below.”

More Value and Choice than Ever

Unveiled today, three new console bundles launching later this year offer unparalleled options for purchasing Xbox One at the best value this holiday.

  • Available for pre-order today, the Xbox One Limited Edition “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare” Bundle launches starting Nov. 3 for $499/£429.99/€499.99 ERP1 at select retailers, featuring a massive 1TB hard drive, custom console, controller and Limited Edition exoskeleton, plus a digital copy of the “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare” Day Zero Edition.
  • Insomniac’s Ted Price unveiled the Xbox One Special Edition “Sunset Overdrive” Bundle, featuring a sleek white console and wireless controller, a digital copy of the game, and special Day One edition in-game items – all for $399/£349.99/€399.99 ERP1 starting Oct. 28, available for pre-order today.
  • An exclusive “FIFA15” bundle for fans in Europe was also announced including an Xbox One Console, Xbox One Controller, 14 Day Live Trial, HDMI Cable, Chat Headset, a digital token for “FIFA 15” and an Ultimate Team Legends Gold Pack, available for pre-order today, launching from Sept. 25 for £349.99/€399.99 ERP1 while stocks last. Ultimate Team Legends are available only on Xbox, and the Legends Gold Pack offers an increased chance in finding an ultra-rare Legendary player for your Ultimate Team. An Xbox 360 console bundle including “FIFA 15” will also be available in Europe starting Sept. 25 while stocks last.

“We’re excited to offer fans more choice and value than ever before,” said Head of Xbox Phil Spencer. “These bundles offer a great opportunity to enjoy Xbox One alongside an incredible line-up of first and third party games, making Xbox the best place to play this holiday and beyond.”

An Ever-Evolving Platform

Xbox also announced a host of new updates coming soon to Xbox One; these include new social features to make it easier for gamers to connect with their friends, and new ways to access their TV and entertainment throughout their home. In the Xbox One dashboard, a new Friends section is being introduced, making it easier to see what your friends on Xbox are up to right now, what games they play most, as well as a new Gamerscore leaderboard where you can see at a glance how you compare to your friends in earning Gamerscore for the month.

Markets that will receive the Xbox One Digital TV Tuner this autumn
2 will also have the ability to stream their TV programs from their console to the Xbox SmartGlass app, allowing another person to use the TV to play games on Xbox One.  Booting directly to TV and adding TV listings from cable and satellite apps to OneGuide are also coming. Lastly, we’re adding support for USB and DLNA to stream media to your Xbox One. Soon, Xbox One owners will be able to watch videos, listen to music, and browse photos from USB and DLNA with the most popular file formats, including Mpeg 2 TS, .MKV and animated gifs by the end of the year.

In response to customer feedback, Xbox also announced the ability to pre-order and pre-download games on Xbox One. Fans will be able to pre-order and pre-download “Forza Horizon 2” prior to its official release on Sept. 30 – this will also be available for “FIFA 15,” with more titles to come. Pre-order and pre-download gives gamers additional options for where they can purchase game content and the ability to purchase in their preferred format. This also enables the title to download ahead of availability, so gamers can begin playing immediately upon the release of the game.

The Best Games of 2014 and Beyond…

In addition to news about this year’s biggest games and console updates, Xbox unveiled “ScreamRide” from Frontier Developments coming in spring 2015, and shared new details on two of 2015’s most anticipated exclusives from top European studios: “Fable Legends” from Lionhead Studios and “Quantum Break” from Remedy Entertainment.

“While this holiday delivers an unprecedented line-up of incredible first and third party titles, 2015 will also see Xbox at the forefront of gaming innovation,” said Microsoft Corporate Vice President Phil Harrison. “From the radical, time-bending entertainment experience that is ‘Quantum Break,’ to dynamic new multiplayer gameplay mechanics in ‘Fable Legends,’ to the ascension of one of gaming’s biggest icons in ‘Rise of the Tomb Raider,’ Xbox will remain the home of the best games, both today and in the future.”

Throughout the Xbox gamescom 2014 briefing, Spencer, Harrison and representatives from the world’s biggest developers delivered a series of updates and announcements on the stellar line-up of Xbox games and content, including:

Available in 2014…

  • “Assassin’s Creed Unity” (Ubisoft, Ubisoft). “Assassin’s Creed Unity” is the next-gen evolution of the blockbuster franchise powered by an all-new game engine. Play as Arno, an entirely new breed of Assassin, in an epic single-player campaign or team together in up to four-player co-op and experience the life of a master assassin together with your friends. The French Revolution has turned a once-magnificent city into a place of terror and chaos. Its cobblestone streets run red with the blood of commoners who dared to rise up against the oppressive aristocracy. Embark on an extraordinary journey to expose the true powers behind the revolution.
  • “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare” (Sledgehammer Games, Activision). “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare” envisions a powerful future, where both technology and tactics have evolved to usher in a new era of combat for the franchise. “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare” delivers stunning next-gen visuals and innovative exoskeleton gameplay that fundamentally changes how players experience “Call of Duty” across all modes of play. Harnessing the first three-year development cycle in franchise history, “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare” represents a new era for the franchise. To-be-announced future add-on content will again be available first on Xbox.
  • “Dance Central Spotlight” (Harmonix Music Systems, Microsoft Studios). “Dance Central Spotlight” is the newest game in the award-winning “Dance Central” series, bringing authentic dance routines, chart-topping music and the characters you love exclusively to the Xbox One. With an all-new soundtrack, more than 50 songs available as add-on content at launch, more routines per song than ever before and a 1- to 2-player dance experience updated for the Xbox One, “Dance Central Spotlight” is the next generation of motion dance games. Step up for your turn in the spotlight.

  • “FIFA 15” (EA SPORTS, Electronic Arts). “FIFA 15” brings football to life in stunning detail so fans can experience the emotion of the sport like never before. Witness the intensity of crowds chanting and cheering like on match day, and listen to commentators guide fans through the story of the game with Dynamic Match Presentation. For the first time ever, all 22 players on the pitch are connected with Emotional Intelligence – now players will react to opponents and teammates within the context, and relative to the narrative of the match. Next Generation Visuals put fans on Living Pitches with grass that wears and tears as the match progresses. Authentic Player Visuals make players lean, athletic, and true to their real-life appearance. Player Control heightens the responsiveness of player movement, gives athletes more control and personality on the ball, and makes Man-to-Man Battles more rewarding than ever before.
  • “Forza Horizon 2” (Playground Games, Turn 10 Studios, Microsoft Studios). Arriving in the U.S. on Sept. 30 and global Xbox markets later in the week, “Forza Horizon 2” allows you to race through a massive wide-open world in the ultimate celebration of speed, style, and action-packed driving. Race against Drivatar opponents, instantly connect with friends, and join car clubs with up to 1,000 players in the most social racing game experience ever.  Explore beautiful, exotic locations in more than 200 of the world’s greatest cars — all created with precise detail in stunning 1080p resolution on Xbox One.

  • “Forza Motorsport 5” (Turn 10 Studios, Microsoft Studios). Available to current owners of the game today for free, two incredibly unique cars are making their world-debut in “Forza Motorsport 5.” The arrival of the 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith, the most powerful Rolls-Royce motor car to date, marks the videogame debut of the iconic Rolls-Royce marque. And the addition of the 2014 Spark-Renault SRT_01E Formula E Race Car will allow Forza players to experience the excitement of the world’s first all-electric racing series one month before its series debut.  
  • “Halo: The Master Chief Collection” (343 Industries, Microsoft Studios). Honoring the iconic hero and his epic journey, the Master Chief’s entire story is brought together as “Halo: The Master Chief Collection.” “Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary,” “Halo 2 Anniversary,” “Halo 3,” and “Halo 4” are all included with Xbox One visual fidelity, 60 fps, a total of 45 campaign missions, and more than 100 multiplayer maps (including the original “Halo: Combat Evolved”) and Spartan Ops maps. Along with new prologue and epilogue cut-scenes that foreshadow “Halo 5: Guardians,” this is the collection “Halo” fans have been waiting for, all on Xbox One.
  • “Halo: Nightfall” (343 Industries, Scot Free Productions).  A live-action digital series that will debut this November on Xbox One, included as part of “Halo: The Master Chief Collection,” and accessible digitally on Xbox Live. “Halo: Nightfall” tells the personal story of Jameson Locke, a legendary manhunter and agent with the Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI), Earth’s most powerful and secretive military branch. When he and his team are caught in a horrific biological attack, they unravel a plot that draws them to an ancient, hellish artifact, where they will be forced to fight for their survival, question everything, and ultimately choose between their loyalties and their lives. Executive-produced by Ridley Scott, Scott Free TV President David Zucker, and directed by the award-winning Sergio Mimica-Gezzan, “Halo: Nightfall” provides insight into the origin and backstory of Agent Locke, a pivotal new character in the Halo universe who will play a key role in “Halo 5: Guardians.”
  • “The Halo Channel” (343 Industries, Microsoft Studios). “The Halo Channel” is an all-new interactive digital network that provides unprecedented, personalized access to the Halo Universe.  Enjoy content from games, entertainment, and more, using multiple devices3.  Watch existing and upcoming original programming (“Halo: Nightfall,” “Halo 4: Forward unto Dawn,” “Halo Legends,” “Halo the Television Series”), as well as community content, discover deep background information in the Halo Encyclopedia, or seamlessly join friends in the latest “Halo” game.  Featuring full Twitch integration, broadcast your gameplay or watch feeds from the “Halo” community – from competitive multiplayer matches to campaign walkthroughs and speed runs.  This is your home for “Halo.” 
  • “Halo 5: Guardians” Multiplayer Beta (343 Industries, Microsoft Studios). Available from Dec. 29, 2014 through Jan. 18, 2015. Owners of “Halo: The Master Chief Collection” will be among the first to experience a new generation of “Halo” multiplayer in the “Halo 5: Guardians” Multiplayer Beta. Focusing on the arena multiplayer legacy that the franchise is known for, the Beta will feature a multitude of maps, several game types, as well as weapons and armor sets to customize your Spartan, all running on dedicated servers for the best multiplayer experience.  Gear up for the Beta by unlocking exclusive content in “Halo: The Master Chief Collection” and “Halo: Nightfall,” which will carry over into “Halo 5: Guardians” when it launches in 2015.
  • “Killer Instinct” (Iron Galaxy, Microsoft Studios). “Killer Instinct: Season 2” begins Oct. 15, starting with new fighters TJ Combo and Maya, enhanced game modes and a completely revamped interface. The “Killer Instinct: Season 2” – Ultra Edition ($39.99) includes eight fighters with a new fighter added each month, select fighter costumes and accessory packs, and “Killer Instinct 2 Classic.” The “Killer Instinct: Season 2” - Combo Breaker Pack ($19.99) includes eight fighters starting with TJ Combo and Maya, and a new fighter added each month. Additional fighters for Season 2 can be purchased for $4.99 each and fans can get TJ Combo early by purchasing “Killer Instinct: Season 2” - Ultra Edition between Sept. 23 and Oct. 14.

  • “Ori and the Blind Forest” (Moon Studios, Microsoft Studios).  The forest of Nibel is dying. After a powerful storm sets a series of devastating events in motion, an unlikely hero must journey to find his courage, and confront a dark nemesis to save his home. “Ori and the Blind Forest” tells the tale of a young orphan destined for heroics, through a visually stunning action-platformer crafted by Moon Studios for Xbox One and PC. Featuring hand-painted artwork, meticulously animated character performance, and a fully orchestrated score, “Ori and the Blind Forest” explores a deeply emotional story about love and sacrifice, and the hope that exists in us all.
  • “Project Spark” (Team Dakota, Microsoft Studios). The highly anticipated “Project Spark” brings imagination to life in an open-world digital sandbox, transitioning from current beta to full release on Xbox One and Windows 8.1 starting Oct. 7. With a powerful creation engine, downloadable content packs and multiplatform functionality, “Project Spark” gives players the power to create their own worlds, stories and games and then share and play their creations with a dynamic global community of fellow creators.
  • “Sunset Overdrive” (Insomniac Games, Microsoft Studios). Launching globally starting in the U.S. on Oct. 28, exclusively on Xbox One, “Sunset Overdrive” transforms an open-world apocalypse into your tactical playground. Zip, grind and wall-run across Sunset City while using a devastating, unconventional arsenal. With hyper-agility, unique weapons, and customizable special abilities, Sunset Overdrive rewrites the rules of traditional shooters and delivers an explosive and irreverent adventure in the end times.


Launching in 2015…

  • “Evolve” (Turtle Rock Studios, 2K). From Turtle Rock Studios, creators of “Left 4 Dead,” comes “Evolve,” the next generation of multiplayer shooters where four Hunters face off against a single, player-controlled Monster in adrenaline-pumping four-versus-one matches. Play as one of four Hunter classes (Trapper, Support, Assault and Medic) and team up to take down the beast, or choose to play as the Monster and use savage abilities and an animalistic sense to kill your human enemies on the planet Shear, where flora and fauna act as an adversary to human and monster alike. Level up to unlock new Hunter or Monster characters as well as upgrades, skins and perks. Earn your infamy on the leaderboards and become the apex predator. Play the open beta in January 2015, only on Xbox One.
  • “Fable Legends” (Lionhead Studios, Microsoft Studios). “Fable Legends” innovates on the franchise’s well-loved world of magic, humour and high adventure, delivering a unique experience that is new and vibrant, yet feels familiar to longtime fans. Featuring stunning visuals brought to life by Xbox One and Unreal Engine 4, “Fable Legends” lets friends team up and play cooperatively in groups of up to four Heroes, each with their own distinct personalities and play style.  Alternatively, players may choose to become the Villain and mastermind battles from on high. Sign up to register interest in the multiplayer beta today at FableLegends.com.  The multiplayer beta begins Oct. 16, 2014 and will expand in the coming weeks and months.
  • “Quantum Break” (Remedy Entertainment, Microsoft Studios). “Quantum Break” leads a new generation of interactive entertainment by fusing the frenetic action of a video game with the tension and drama of a scripted television show into one experience. From the makers of “Alan Wake” and “Max Payne,” critically-acclaimed Remedy Entertainment brings forth the world of “Quantum Break,” blending innovative, adrenaline-fueled gameplay and Time Manipulation features with deep and thoughtful narrative. “Quantum Break” will come exclusively to Xbox One in 2015.

  • “Rise of the Tomb Raider” (Crystal Dynamics, Square Enix). In her first adventure, Lara Croft was forged into a true survivor, but she glimpsed a deeper, secret world. In the next chapter of her journey, Lara must use her survival skills and wits, learn to trust new friends, and ultimately accept her destiny as the Tomb Raider. Launching in holiday 2015, exclusively on Xbox, featuring epic, high-octane action moments, “Rise of the Tomb Raider” will take gamers to multiple locations around the world filled with exploration spaces that are some of the most beautifully hostile places on earth. In addition, after hearing the cry from fans loud and clear, the game will put the tombs back into “Tomb Raider,” all in the franchise’s gritty Survival-Action style.
  • “ScreamRide” (Frontier Developments, Microsoft Studios). Available exclusively for Xbox One and Xbox 360 in spring 2015, “ScreamRide” fuses creation, destruction and addictive action into an exhilarating reinvention of the sandbox-creation genre. Use your imagination to build extreme rides and environments from the ground-up, pilot your creations with skill, destroy anything and everything with phenomenal physics and deafening destruction, or share your dream creations with friends and experience their twisted masterpieces.


gamescom 2014: Introducing the Halo Channel, Your New Home for All Things Halo - Tue, 12 Aug 2014 06:30:00 Z
Ahead of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Halo: Nightfall and the Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta coming later this year, we’re excited to unveil the Halo Channel – an all-new interactive digital network that provides unprecedented, personalized access to the Halo universe. Created by 343 Industries, the Halo Channel is home to all your Halo content and entertainment, and includes an abundance of interactive features that allows fans to immerse themselves in Halo like never before.

The Halo Channel will be available on Xbox One and Windows 8.1 devices on Nov. 11, 2014, and a version for Windows Phone 8.1 will be made available shortly after. Key features include:

  • Live and Timely Content – Along with a library of original programming and entertainment, access timely Halo news and live events including eSports broadcasts via the Halo Channel.  Through robust Twitch integration viewers can watch Halo broadcasts, follow their favorite players and launch into the game with the press of a button. In addition, the Halo Channel can display stats and data during matches, allowing you to monitor players in real-time.

  • Interactive and Sharable – Interact with Halo content with a personalized viewing experience, social sharing, Halo Encyclopedia integration and a best-in-class video platform. Instantly connect with the Halo community and your friends through social media, sharing your favorite Halo moments and content.  Pull up the Halo Encyclopedia and learn more about the scene you’re watching, including characters, weapons, vehicles, locations and more. 

  • Rewarding – Unlock a variety of exclusive in-game content for upcoming Halo titles – including Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Halo 5: Guardians – by watching original Halo programming and entertainment, participating in some of the interactive community polls or trying your hand at trivia that will test your knowledge of the Halo universe.

  • Multiplatform Access - Sync your Windows 8.1 device to your Xbox One, and use it as a controller or a second screen where you can access the Halo Channel.  At any time, you can begin your viewing experience on one screen and seamlessly continue it on another. 

Check out the video above for a first look at the Halo Channel, and stay tuned to Xbox Wire for a more in-depth preview in the coming days!



gamescom 2014: The Enemies of Sunset Overdrive: Floyd’s Guided Tour - Tue, 12 Aug 2014 06:30:00 Z
You think you’re prepared for the dangers of Sunset City? Don’t be so sure. Join former FizzCo scientist Floyd for a tour around town and sneak peek at the what lays in wait and lurks ahead.

gamescom 2014: Create, Pilot and Destroy the Ride of Your Life in ScreamRide - Tue, 12 Aug 2014 06:30:00 Z
Create. Ride. Destroy. Repeat.

Coming in Spring exclusively to Xbox One and Xbox 360, ScreamRide provides a fresh take on the creation and action genre, courtesy of Microsoft Studios and Frontier Developments.

In ScreamRide, players can build extreme coasters, rides and environments from the ground-up, pilot these creations with precision control, and destroy anything and everything with simulated, real-world physics. Xbox One players on Xbox Live will also be able to share their dream creations with friends and experience their twisted masterpieces.

We’ll have more to come soon on ScreamRide, but for now, you can see the trailer above and start imagining how to design, ride and then obliterate your dream coasters and rides!

gamescom 2014: Quantum Break Freezes Time - Tue, 12 Aug 2014 06:30:00 Z
Time momentarily stopped at the Xbox gamescom 2014 Media Briefing as Sam Lake, Creative Director of acclaimed Remedy Entertainment took to the stage to raise the curtain on its highly anticipated new game, Quantum Break.

For the first time since its announcement in 2013, fans received a first-look at the Quantum Break gameplay in action, which highlighted in-game Time Manipulation features:

  • Outsmart and outmaneuver enemies with time-amplified combat, which seamlessly blends action-packed gunplay with the ability to bend and temporary freeze time
  • Leverage the frozen time to get a tactical advantage over enemies, attacking when and where they least expect it
  • Play through catastrophes as time causes the environment to pause, stutter, rewind and freeze, forcing you to strategically use time powers to navigate through the chaos and destruction


Quantum Break
is a revolutionary entertainment experience which weaves the frenetic action of a game with the tension and drama of scripted television. Fans will be able to play – as well as watch – Quantum Break exclusively on Xbox One in 2015.

Check out Xbox Wire later this week for our first impressions of
Quantum Break straight from gamescom 2014.



gamescom 2014: Sanctuary Revealed as a Reimagined Map in Halo: The Master Chief Collection - Tue, 12 Aug 2014 06:30:00 Z
Sanctuary was revealed during the Xbox gamescom 2014 Media Briefing as the fourth of six fan-favorite Halo 2 multiplayer maps being reimagined for Halo: The Master Chief Collection, joining Ascension, Coagulation and Zanzibar. Set in crumbling Forerunner ruins on Installation 05, Sanctuary’s symmetrical design, elevated walkways and twisting tunnels make it perfect for matches for Slayer, Capture the Flag, Territories and more.  

To give fans a first look at Sanctuary, 343 Industries invited four of the most prominent Halo professional gamers in the world – David “Walshy” Walsh, Michael “StrongSide” Cavanaugh, Michael “Flamesword” Chaves and Justin “iGotUrPistola” Deese – to square off in an intense 2 vs. 2 showdown shout casted by Andy “Bravo” Dudynsky, Community Manager at 343 Industries, and Twitch’s Alex “Goldenboy” Mendez, Watch as these pros scramble to secure power weapons and map control and engage in fierce firefights, all in 1080p and 60 frames-per-second.

Fans will be able to easily watch and broadcast livestreams of Halo: The Master Chief Collection gameplay, such as competitive multiplayer matches, campaign walkthroughs, speed runs and more, through the newly announced Halo Channel.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection
delivers the entire story of the Master Chief for the first time on one console, including a fully remastered Halo 2: Anniversary.  Featuring campaigns and every single multiplayer map from Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, Halo 2, Halo 3 and Halo 4, plus access to the live-action digital series Halo: Nightfall and the upcoming Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta, Halo: The Master Chief Collection offers the definitive Halo experience exclusively on Xbox One on Nov. 11, 2014.

Stay tuned to Xbox Wire later this week for our hands-on impressions of Halo: The Master Chief Collection’s multiplayer straight from gamescom 2014.

gamescom: 343 Industries Gives a Fans a Sneak Peek at the Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta - Tue, 12 Aug 2014 06:30:00 Z
The next generation of Halo multiplayer begins on Dec. 29, 2014 with the start of the three week long Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta.

Announced during the Xbox gamescom 2014 Media Briefing, the Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta will run from Dec. 29, 2014 through Jan. 18, 2015 and focus on just a portion of Halo 5: Guardians’ full multiplayer experience – arena gameplay. Featuring intense 4 vs. 4 showdowns, arena combat in Halo 5: Guardians will start players with the same loadout, ensuring matches are perfectly balanced and competitive. The Multiplayer Beta includes seven maps and three game types, as well as a variety of different armor sets to customize your Spartan with.

“It’s celebrating the legacy of competitive gameplay that’s always been at the heart of Halo’s multiplayer,” said Josh Holmes, Executive Producer on Halo 5: Guardians, in a developer video that was shown during the Media Briefing. 

Throughout the Beta, players will have the opportunity provide feedback through the newly announced Halo Channel.

 “Having a beta this early this early in development is crucial because it gives us as developers the opportunity to react to the feedback we get from fans and take it into account as we complete the multiplayer experience for Halo 5: Guardians,” said Holmes.

The Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta will run on dedicated servers at 60 frames-per-second to deliver the best multiplayer experience, and include unlockables which can be carried over to Halo 5: Guardians when it launches in fall in 2015.

Fans can get access to the Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta as part of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, which releases on Nov. 11, 2014.

gamescom 2014: 2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith and Five Additional New Cars Available for Free in Forza Motorsport 5 - Tue, 12 Aug 2014 06:30:00 Z
Forza fans, the latest content update for Forza Motorsport 5 has arrived and it is chock-full of awesome for car lovers. With this update, we’ve added six new cars to Forza Motorsport 5, all available at no extra charge to all players. The list of amazing rides is enough to drop the jaw of even the most jaded car lover. We’re incredibly pleased to welcome a first for the Forza series; in fact, a first for video games. Rolls-Royce’s Wraith is making its debut in Forza Motorsport 5, marking the first time Rolls-Royce has ever been featured in a racing game. Wraith is an amazing car – the most powerful Rolls-Royce has ever created – and will surely be a fan-favorite.

As if that wasn’t enough, we’ve got everything from the 2014 Renault Spark SRT_01E, the all-electric star of the upcoming inaugural Formula E series (and star of a new
Forza Motorsport 5 Rivals mode contest, the details of which you can read about below), the long-awaited debut of the Top Gear’s latest “reasonably priced car,” two brand new Infiniti models, and the latest in the legendary Mustang series.

Here’s the full list of cars appearing in today’s content update:

2014 Rolls-Royce Wraith 

Finally, a Rolls-Royce in Forza Motorsport! Wraith is making its debut in Forza Motorsport 5, the first time a Rolls-Royce has ever appeared in a racing game. And where better to showcase this legendary car-maker than in Forza Motorsport 5, where all of this magnificent car’s beauty and detail can be showcased to perfection? Wraith is the latest two-door coupe for those who prefer to drive, as opposed to “being driven”. And driving Wraith is an utterly unique experience. The car’s 624 BHP is delivered effortlessly courtesy of Satellite Aided Transmission, a groundbreaking new technology that allows Wraith to see beyond what the driver sees by utilizing GPS data to predict upcoming bends ensuring Wraith is always in the correct gear and therefore poised to deliver its abundant power.

Inside that cabin you will find only the finest quality of material and the Rolls-Royce trademark Starlight headliner, made up of 1340 fiber optic bulbs hand-woven into the roof liner. Rearward opening doors mark any arrival as something truly exclusive. Opulence aside, what
Forza Motorsport 5 fans will appreciate is the freight train-like acceleration. Step inside Wraith, then just kick back and enjoy the ride.



2014 Renault Spark SRT_01E

Here it is, proof-positive that racing in all-electric vehicles is a formula for pure thrills. The Renault Spark SRT_01E, making its world debut here in
Forza Motorsport 5, represents the first generation of the next generation of Formula E racing cars. The monocoque chassis is built by Dallara and meets FIA safety standards. The aerodynamics contribute to both downforce for cornering traction and reduced drag for overtaking. The 200-kilowatt batteries produce the equivalent of 270 brake horsepower. Grand Prix winner Jarno Trulli said that being in the cockpit "feels like driving a proper Formula One car." What will it sound like though? Different? Yes. Astounding and awesome? Undoubtedly. When you get an earful of the Formula E cars tearing up the track, you might think you have been transported to Tatooine to take in the pod races. It’s an astounding sound for an astounding race car.

Also, starting today, we’ve got a brand new Rivals event running, starring the 2014 Renault Spark SRT_01E. You can take control of the Formula E car in this Rivals event running on the Long Beach East Circuit and the fastest overall time will win two pairs of VIP tickets to the Formula E championship race in Berlin, Germany on May 30, 2015. These VIP tickets will get you access to the VIP-only “Emotion Club,” Formula E’s exclusive hospitality area, where the winners will be able to mingle with drivers and team owners, as well as top-class grandstand-level viewing, and more (Please note that transportation and hotel is not included with this prize).

Everyone who sets a time in this event will be eligible to win in-game credits as well, so look for the event in the Community Channel of Rivals Mode and good luck! For full terms and conditions, please see
ForzaMotorsport.net.

2013 Vauxhall Astra 1.6 Tech Line Top Gear Edition 

Imagine yourself a celebrity and hit the Top Gear Test Track, because the most recent “reasonably-priced car” has arrived in
Forza Motorsport 5. Can you carry enough momentum through Hammerhead to hit top speed as you swing wide into The Follow-Through? Will you gamble and cut the corner onto the back stretch or play it safe? Will you keep all four wheels on the road as you finish strong through Gambon? The Vauxhall Astra 1.6 Tech Line is a sturdy car with peppy acceleration and a comfortable ride. It’s no race car, but when you envision yourself setting your best time on the track after having been coached by The Stig and having to face Jeremy Clarkson in front of the cameras, it might just seem like it.



2014 Infiniti Q50S

People that buy a Q50S appreciate the driving experience for more reasons than merely getting from point A to point B. What separates the Q50S from its competitors is cutting-edge tech. For one, it has a completely fly-by-wire steering system. With that comes some serious protections against lane-departure and blind-spot monitoring. While these factors won’t come into play when you tear up the tracks of
Forza Motorsport 5, a simpler feature will: Its rear-wheel-drive and serious horsepower make the Q50 a tail-happy, driftable work of art. 



2014 Infiniti Q50 Eau Rouge

Infiniti and Red Bull have found amazing success in their Formula One partnership. In an effort to bring that success to their consumer cars, the Q50 Eau Rouge was created as a concept. Named after one of the most challenging corners in modern racing, the Eau Rouge concept vehicle represents the luxury Infiniti customers are used to, infused with the raw aggression of Red Bull Racing. The Q50 sports a functional, downforce-enhancing carbon fiber front splitter and rear bumper with integrated diffuser. All around are 10-millimeter wider fenders to accommodate a larger contact patch. Throughout the Eau Rouge you will find bespoke carbon fiber and aluminum bits that contribute to its looks and performance. Underneath the hood is the proof that this Q50 isn’t just a head turner. Powering this super-sedan is the 3.8-liter V6 from the Nissan GT-R, with two mammoth turbos helping it achieve massive horsepower numbers. All-wheel drive helps put that power to the ground. Those other high-end performance sedan-makers can consider this a warning shot because, should the Eau Rouge go into production, the competition will be running for cover.



2015 Ford Mustang GT

It’s been fifty years since this American automotive icon was introduced and effectively changed the domestic car market. The Mustang has been many things to many people and, through its many evolutions, it has been many things unto itself. Since the introduction of the more classically shaped Mustang in 2005, a rebirth of the Mustang took place. Now, ten years later, with a search for global-viability factoring in to the Mustang’s redesign, we still see the classic form but with some tweaks that distinguish this ‘stang as something new. Under this new skin nearly every inch of the 2015 Mustang has been reengineered for efficiency, reliability, and performance. Under its aluminum hood, in between aluminum fenders that together offer 200 pounds of weight savings, the new V8 (in GT models) brings more than 400 ponies under the command of your right foot. Rear-wheel drive is a precious commodity the Mustang has always cornered the market with, and the new Mustang is happy as ever to light up the rear wheels, get tail-happy, or just delight you with its tendency for oversteer. Most of all though, this is a Mustang, and the passion that lights in the soul of Mustang lovers is reason enough to make it a favorite.


New Improvements Coming to Forza Motorsport 5

This content update also adds some crucial improvements to functionality in
Forza Motorsport 5. These include improved livery caching as well as some general improvements for the Thrustmaster and MadCatz wheels that are currently available for Xbox One and Forza Motorsport 5. These improvements have been designed to increase the feel and performance of both of these wheels when playing with Forza Motorsport 5.



gamescom 2014: Connect Like Never Before with Forza Horizon 2’s New Social Features - Tue, 12 Aug 2014 06:30:00 Z
For many fans, the social aspect of gaming is one of the best elements. Whether you’re playing cooperatively with a longtime friend, meeting (and defeating) new people in competitive multiplayer, or just chatting it up in a pre-game lobby, there are plenty of opportunities for socializing. But it can always get better. As you’ll see in the video above, the development teams at Playground Games and Turn 10 Studios have been hard at work ensuring that Forza Horizon 2 will be the most social racing game ever made.

The key for the team was to ensure everyone’s game feels connected, even when you’re not in multiplayer. For instance, when you’re in your solo campaign, you’ll see your friends’ Drivatars cruising around the world, practically daring you to challenge their best times. This is made even easier thanks to the fact that you’ll be presented with friend comparisons for nearly everything you do in-game. Coolest of all, your friends don’t even need to be online for you to take them on, as asynchronous Rivals challenges let you race on your own schedule.

When the time is right to hop on Xbox Live for some online action, the transition from single-player to multiplayer is completely seamless thanks to a notable lack of lobbies or anything else that might force you to wait. Just hop in and start racing toward the finish line (or completing objectives, or doing one of the many other new activities to be found in
Forza Horizon 2).

Of course,
Forza Horizon 2 is about much more than just racing. As a celebration of all thing automotive, Forza Horizon 2’s community features shine bright. Players will be able to create Clubs with up to 1,000 like-minded members. The purpose of that club, however, is up to you. Maybe you want to hang with Forza fans who pledge allegiance to a certain car brand, or find other people to tackle specific challenges with. Or maybe the club just consists of you and a group of your closest friends. It’s your call.

Custom liveries have long been one of the hallmarks of the
Forza franchise, and Forza Horizon 2 takes sharing them to a whole new level. Want to show off your sweet custom ride or check out what’s hot amongst members of the Forza Horizon 2 community? Head into one of the Online Car Meets to show off your car or take a look at other drivers’ whips. Like the custom livery on one of the car? You’ll be able to download it for yourself with just the press of a button.

There are a few ways to enjoy road time with friends. One is Online Road Trip, which will allow your group to see the sights while exploring the open world between destinations. Once you reach where you’re going, your group will be able to vote on the next destination. Online Free Roam, on the other hand, is precisely what it sounds like: hit the road and go wherever you want to go next.

Forza Horizon 2
has been built from the ground up to let you easily connect with your friends and fellow members of the gaming world’s most passionate car community. Connecting with them will be easier than ever before once Forza Horizon 2 hits the road beginning on Sept. 30.

gamescom 2014: More social features, new ways to watch TV, and USB and DLNA support are coming soon! - Tue, 12 Aug 2014 04:30:00 Z
UPDATED: Acey Bongos and one of the lead engineers on Xbox, Ashley Speicher, demoed some the new Xbox One features announced earlier today. The full demo has been added.  

Ahead of our Gamescom briefing live from Cologne, Germany at 2:00 p.m. CEST – that’s 8:00 a.m. ET and 5:00 a.m. PT – I’m excited to announce new and exciting features coming to Xbox One within the next few months. We’ve been bringing tons of new features to Xbox One fans worldwide throughout the year. Thanks to our recently launched 
Xbox Feedback, our fans have played a huge role in shaping these updates. In fact, we’ve received thousands of posts and more than 400,000 votes to date.

Starting in the early access program later this month, new social features making it easier for gamers to connect with their friends and new ways to access their TV and entertainment throughout their homes will be coming to Xbox One.  The updates include:

  • New “Friends” section – The new Friends section has been available for a few early access Preview members and we’re expanding it to everyone enrolled in the Preview program. The new Friends section enables users to see at a glance what’s going on with their friends. They can stay up-to-date with their current activities, the most popular games their friends are playing, and a Gamerscore leaderboard to see who has improved their Gamerscore over the last 30 days.

  • Snap Center – Some of gamers’ favorite features in the Xbox 360 guide, are coming to Xbox One in a way that’s now truly be side-by-side with games. Messages, friends, parties, and achievements will all be available in the new Snap Center, providing a seamless way to switch back and forth without having to leave a game.

  • Threaded Messages – Keeping gamers in their games while they multitask has been a huge focus. The new Messages app features threaded messages with the full conversation history – including embedded links to Game DVR clips – that can be viewed without interrupting gameplay.

  • Media Player – A new app will be available soon that enables users to play media files from either an attached USB device or from a network connected home media server that supports DLNA protocols. The preview version of the Media Player app will initially only support USB devices, with DLNA support coming soon. Xbox One will support more formats than Xbox 360, including support for dozens of new file formats like mpeg 2 TS, animated gifs and mkv which will be added by the end of the year. See below for additional file formKats.

  • Xbox One Digital TV Tuner – Announced last week, this new accessory will enter a limited preview program in Europe (UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain), in advance of its retail launch beginning in October.

  • Stream TV to SmartGlass – Launching first in markets receiving the Xbox Digital TV Tuner, Xbox One owners will be able to stream their TV across their home network to their smartphones and tablets using the Xbox SmartGlass app. They can also pause, play and rewind as well as change channels, without interrupting gameplay on the Xbox One. This will work for SmartGlass apps on Windows, iOS, and Android.

  • Boot to TV – Now Xbox One owners will be able to set their console to boot directly to television when coming out of connected standby. 

  • Live TV mini guide – For markets where OneGuide is available, a new mini guide on the bottom of the screen will display details about the TV content that is currently playing. Users can quickly change channels and see what’s on other channels, while still watching TV.

  • Country Expansion – We’re doing a lot of work on the backend to prepare for Xbox One to launch in 29 new markets in the coming weeks.

As with previous updates, these may be rolling out in general availability to Xbox One owners at different stages in the coming months. We continue to be amazed by our fans’ enthusiasm for our Xbox One system updates and their fantastic input. We’re working hard to make Xbox One more social and the best place for all your games and entertainment, and we can’t wait to roll out these new features, and more, in the coming months.

Later today, my Gamescom co-host Acey Bongos, and one of the lead engineers on Xbox, Ashley Speicher, are demoing the new features. Stay tuned and we’ll post that demo a little later.

Here’s to a great Gamescom 2014. Auf wiedersehen for now.

Xbox One compatible file types:

3gp audio
3gp video
3gp2
aac
adts
animated gif
asf
avi divx
avi dv
avi uncompressed
avi xvid
bmp
jpg
gif
h264 avchd
mjpeg
mkv
mov
mp3
mpeg 1 ps
mpeg 2
mpeg 2 hd
mpeg 2 ts
mpeg 4 h264 aac
mpeg 4 sp
png
tiff
wav
wma
wma lossless
wma pro
wma voice
wmv
wmv hd 


A Closer Look at EA Access - Mon, 11 Aug 2014 10:10:00 Z
Electronic Arts recently announced and rolled out a beta version of EA Access, a new Xbox One-exclusive program that gives members unlimited access to EA’s biggest games and more for a modest monthly (or annual) fee. Now, after a successful beta period, EA Access is launching live to players in a dozen countries around the world.

It starts with what EA calls “The Vault,” a collection of EA’s biggest games ready to download and play.  At launch, it will include Battlefield 4, FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, and Peggle 2, with more games planned to join over time.  Additionally, EA Access members also receive 10% off digital purchases including full games like the upcoming Madden NFL 15 or Dragon Age Inquisition as well as purchases in FIFA Ultimate Team or on new map packs for Battlefield.  Plus, with EA Access, members have the opportunity to take new EA titles for a spin a full five days ahead of the retail launch – only on Xbox One.

“We’re really thrilled to be working with the Xbox team on this project,” says Michael Lewis, Lead Producer for EA Access. “We think it’s a service gamers are really going to love, and the initial reception has been amazing.”

It’s a service that has been in the works for a while – and, given EA’s stellar pedigree as an industry-leading publisher, EA Access brings unbelievable value to players on Xbox One. “We are always looking for new ways to let more gamers experience our games,” Lewis explains. “The idea of a program like EA Access has been something we’ve been talking about for a while now, but everything really came together with the launch of Xbox One last year. We drew inspiration from some of the great subscription services out there – I couldn’t live without Amazon Prime, Xbox Gold, and Netflix. We’re just at the beginning, but we hope with EA Access, we can start creating something as revolutionary as these services.”

And, in stark contrast to some other subscription-based media services, you can put aside any fear of your favorite games being retired from EA Access. It’s not in the cards, says Lewis: “We don’t have any plans to remove games from The Vault.  As an example, even if Madden NFL 15 were to enter The Vault at some point, you’d still be able to keep playing Madden NFL 25 if you like.”

“We’ve worked very closely with the team at Xbox to build EA Access,” Lewis says of the unique partnership opportunity. “They’ve been absolutely amazing to work with, and I’d like to give a shout out to the whole team. We spent a lot of hours together, bonding on calls late at night, and at indecent hours of the morning. We’re all really excited to see this launch.”

So far, the reaction to EA Access has been fantastic. At $4.99 per month, it’s a diverse, affordable, and user-friendly service (you can even sign up from the same page where you pay for your Xbox Live Gold subscription). And the future will only get brighter, as EA Access expands to more Xbox One games.

Learn more about EA Access at the official website, or look for the EA Access application in the Xbox One Store.



Follow Xbox Live from gamescom 2014 - Fri, 08 Aug 2014 15:45:00 Z
Next week, the collective eyes of the gaming world look toward Cologne, Germany for gamescom, the largest consumer gaming show on earth. Xbox will be there in full force for a variety of events, many of which you can watch online if you’re not able to make it to the show. All of these are in addition to the exciting Halo gamescom events we announced earlier this week.

It’s going to be a fun, exciting time in Cologne next week, so we really hope you can join us either in-person or online. See you in Germany!  

gamescom 2014 Xbox Briefing
Tuesday, August 12
2:00 p.m. CEST (8:00 a.m. EDT), www.xbox.com
Next Tuesday, the Xbox Team will take the stage before gamescom kicks off to share the latest on the coming to Xbox One. We’ll take a closer look at some upcoming games and share some exciting announcements, so be sure to tune in for all of the latest Xbox news.

gamescom 2014 Xbox Briefing After Show
Tuesday, August 12
www.xbox.com

Immediately following Tuesday’s gamescom 2014 Xbox Briefing, stay tuned for live playthroughs of some of our biggest holiday titles. Hosted by Major Nelson and AceyBongos, you’ll be able to watch as they explore
Sunset Overdrive, Forza Horizon 2, Halo: The Master Chief Collection and more with the developers who are creating them.

The Xbox booth at gamescom
Thursday, August 14 through Saturday, August 16 –10:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. CEST
Sunday, August 17 – 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. CEST
Come join us in the Xbox booth on the show floor to go hands-on with the biggest and best blockbusters coming to Xbox One. From
Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Sunset Overdrive to Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Evolve, we’ve got some amazing titles for you to play.

Twitch Streaming from the Xbox booth
We will be streaming live from www.Twitch.tv/Xbox directly from the Xbox booth all gamescom long. Be sure tune in often, as we’re lining up a packed schedule of key first- and third-party Xbox One titles, including guest appearances from the developers working on them.

Here’s to an exciting week at gamescom, we can’t wait to give you some looks into the future of Xbox.


Blizzard Keeps Diablo III On Xbox One Awesomely Up-to-Date - Thu, 07 Aug 2014 17:24:08 Z
Hold on to your rare helms, because Blizzard just announced that future patches for Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition on Xbox One will mirror the patches seen on the PC version of the game. This means that the PC version’s new 2.1 patch will shortly follow on Xbox One.

To put that into perspective, the last time a huge PC game quickly mirrored patches on the console version was back in... well, never.

“We're really excited about it,” said John Hight, production director for Diablo III.

“When we started on this adventure, we thought we'd never be able to do updates on the console side in the same way we do with the PC. This allows us to be more responsive to our customers. Our goal is to eventually make these updates simultaneous.”

This kind of patching is possible now because the Xbox One is powerful enough to handle large-form patches, and can update games in the background. And with an increasing number of gamers fully connected to the Internet, Blizzard is comfortable pushing these large patches online.

This announcement comes on the tail of news that Microsoft and Blizzard have worked together to ensure that the Xbox One version of Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition is in full 1080p. What’s more: Gamers who already enjoy Diablo III on the Xbox 360 or PS3 can transfer their characters to the Xbox One version. No need to rebuild that awesome witch doctor from scratch; Blizzard’s got you covered.

 

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Ultimate Evil Edition hits Xbox One on August 19.

 



Xbox and Forza Motorsport 5 Team Up with Teen Cancer America to Race Against Cancer - Thu, 07 Aug 2014 09:00:00 Z
Ever wondered what’d it be like to hit the race tracks of Forza Motorsport 5 with real race car drivers? Well, here’s your chance to battle it out – and for a great cause!

Today through Aug. 23, Xbox gamers can enter to win a chance to challenge Verizon IndyCar Series drivers Josef Newgarden and Justin Wilson in
Forza Motorsport 5 by helping raise $50,000 for Teen Cancer America’s Race Against Cancer campaign, which will go toward Teen & Young Adult Cancer Centers. The lucky winner will also win a copy of Forza Motorsport 5, signed by Josef and Justin, as well as an Xbox One console! Other donators may also win digital copies of Forza Motorsport 5 and the downloadable Car Pass.

Join us in supporting this great cause and catch the live stream of the race on Twitch on Thursday, Aug. 28 at 4 p.m. PDT. For more details, check out the Race Against Cancer campaign page on Tiltify.com.


Live TV and the OneGuide Coming to More Households with Xbox One Digital TV Tuner - Thu, 07 Aug 2014 06:00:00 Z
Since launch, it’s been our vision to bring more entertainment features and enable live TV through Xbox One to more markets around the world. We know our fans in Europe have been asking for this functionality on Xbox Feedback and today, we’re pleased to announce that Xbox One users in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain will be able to experience premium live TV features on Xbox One, such as the ability to access your favorite shows and channels with the sound of your voice* through the OneGuide, with the new Xbox One Digital TV Tuner.

Beginning in October, the Xbox One Digital TV Tuner will be available in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, providing Xbox One users in those markets with an over-the-air digital terrestrial TV experience through the USB single tuner, an alternative to accessing TV content from a cable or satellite set-top box connected through the HDMI-In port. The new digital TV tuner will also support free-to-air DVB-T, DVB-T2 and DVB-C television standards.

Here’s a list of the capabilities enabled by the Xbox One Digital TV Tuner:

  • Watch HD TV on Xbox One: With the Xbox One Digital TV Tuner, you can watch free-to-air DVB-T, DVB-T2 and DVB-C television channels without changing TV inputs. You can receive game invitations and notifications while watching TV and even watch TV while you wait for a multiplayer match to start.
  • TV Viewing in Snap Mode: You can watch TV using the Snap mode, watching TV on the side and leaving the main screen for games, Skype, or other applications.
  • Pause Live TV: Pause your favorite show when you get up to take a break.
  • TV Listings in the OneGuide: TV listings will be available in the OneGuide. From anywhere, say “Xbox show guide, what’s on BBC One?” to quickly navigate directly to that channel’s listings*.
  • Favorite Channels in the OneGuide: Create your own personal Favorites in the OneGuide so you can easily choose what you want to watch.
  • Channel Tuning by Voice: The OneGuide allows you to call out your favorite TV channel by name and start watching it instantly*. 
  • The OneGuide on Xbox SmartGlass: Now you have access to the full OneGuide on the new Xbox SmartGlass app with the ability to tune channels on your TV.
  • TV On Demand: TV listings in the OneGuide will indicate which shows are available on demand from video apps.

The Xbox One Digital TV Tuner will be available beginning late October in the UK for ₤24.99, and France, Italy, Germany and Spain for €29.99.

*Kinect required for voice-enabled features


What to Expect from Halo at gamescom 2014 - Wed, 06 Aug 2014 18:39:58 Z
Next week, the focus of the gaming world shifts to Cologne, Germany for gamescom, the largest consumer gaming show in the world. There will be tons of great Xbox games at the show, but none of them are bigger than Halo: The Master Chief Collection. The game has been shown a handful of times at events ranging from E3 to the Rooster Teeth Expo, with developer 343 Industries gradually revealing more info on the game, more multiplayer maps, and closer looks at the jaw-droppingly beautiful new cut-scenes.

While all of those events were great showcases for Halo: The Master Chief Collection, none of them can compare to the veritable smorgasbord of Halo-related events at gamescom next week. From giving gamers on-site the chance to play some sweet Halo 2: Anniversary multiplayer for themselves, to offering Halo fans around the world to check out the game via live stream, the team at 343 has worked hard to ensure there’s something for everyone.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what to look out for at this year’s show:  



Gamescom 2014 Xbox Press Briefing
Tuesday, August 12
2:00 PM CEST (8:00AM EDT), Twitch.tv/Xbox

Next Tuesday,
Halo: The Master Chief Collection will appear in the annual press briefing, where 343 will share some new announcements with you. The show will be streamed at Twitch.tv/Xbox so you’ve got no excuses. We’ll see you there.

Halo 2: Anniversary Multiplayer Hands-On

Halo 2: Anniversary
will be playable for the first time on the gamescom show floor. There will be 4v4 multiplayer games on Ascension and a yet-to-be-announced map, with multiple game types available for your enjoyment. Swing by the Xbox booth in Hall 6, where we’ll have a bunch on consoles and controllers waiting for you. Walk-up gameplay will run from Wednesday through Sunday.

Halo Stream From the Xbox Booth 
Wednesday, Aug 13
11:00 AM CEST (5:00 AM EDT), Twitch.tv/Xbox

Live from gamescom Xbox booth, 343 Industries’ Bonnie Ross, Dan Ayoub, and Kiki Wolfkill will livestream the content that’s only being shown behind-closed-doors via twitch.tv/Xbox. Be sure to tune in for insider access and sneak peeks at what’s to come.



Halo: The Master Chief Collection - gamescom Showdown

Not only will gamescom be the first opportunity gets hands-on with
Halo: The Master Chief Collection and Halo 2: Anniversary multiplayer, but the team is also working with ESL and Twitch to bring you a legendary 4v4 tournament. Open to all gamescom attendees, the tournament will feature $10,000 USD in prizing, four days of qualification on the gamescom show floor, and culminate with the grand finals on Sunday, August 17. Our friends at Twitch will be broadcasting the finals for all the world to see at Twitch.tv/Halo.

To qualify for the finals, swing by the ESL Arena in Hall 9, where ESL will have a dedicated area for Halo: The Master Chief Collection competition. On these stations, we’ll be featuring “winner stays” 4v4 gameplay, so grab three teammates (or form a team on the spot) and come compete on Ascension and one other unannounced map. The rules are simple: If your team wins 10 matches in a row, you’ll take the top spot on the daily leaderboard, and if another team tops your score (and wins 11 in a row), you’ll need to swing back and reclaim your spot. At the end of each day, the top teams will advance to the Sunday finals, where they’ll compete for a prize pool of $10,000 USD on the eSports main stage if you qualify, but don’t have Sunday passes to gamescom, we’ve got you covered – all qualified teams will receive complimentary Sunday access courtesy of ESL.

The Sunday finals will kick off with a Free-For-All exhibition at 10:30 CEST, and conclude with the 4v4 finals, where the bracket will be whittled down until only one team remains. The broadcast will feature commentary from Andy “Bravo” Dudynsky and Alex “Goldenboy” Mendez, and run from 10:30 to 17:00 CEST (1:30AM EDT) at Twitch.tv/Halo. We hope you’ll join us.



Halo: The Master Chief Collection - Gamescom Showdown Schedule

Wednesday, 13th August –
ESL Arena, Hall 9
Qualifier tournament – 14:00 to 19:30 CEST

Thursday, 14th August -
ESL Arena, Hall 9
Qualifier tournament - 10:00 to 19:30 CEST

Friday, 15th August -
ESL Arena, Hall 9
Qualifier tournament - 10:00 to 19:30 CEST

Saturday, 16th August -
ESL Arena, Hall 9
Qualifier tournament - 09:00 to 19:30 CEST

Sunday, 17th August –
ESL Arena Main Stage, Hall 9 (Watch the finals on Twitch.tv/Halo!) 
Pre-tournament Free-for-All - 10:30 to 11:15 CEST (1:30AM EDT)
4v4 Tournament Final - 11:30 to 17:00 CEST

ESL Gamescom Showdown Finals Prize Breakdown:
Total Prize Money: $10,000 USD
1st Place: $5,000 USD
2nd Place: $1,500 USD
3rd/4th Place: $750 USD
5th-8th Place:  $500 USD

The tournament will be covered on both Halo Waypoint and Twitter, so stop by next week for the latest each day, and be sure to join us for the finals live stream. We hope to see you there as we kick off the first ever
Halo: The Master Chief Collection eSports event.

For more gamescom coverage and announcements, be sure to stay tuned to Xbox Wire!


Where Dreams are Driven: The Inspiring Story of Mario Bonfante Jr. - Wed, 06 Aug 2014 09:00:00 Z
Life doesn’t always work out the way we planned. Mario Bonfante Jr. found that out the hard way after his racing career was cut short in a tragic accident, but he refused to let it derail his dream. Fueled by his passion for racing, a fiercely competitive nature, some pretty impressive engineering skills, and his love of Forza Motorsport, Mario has not only found a way back onto the race track, he’s proven to the world (and himself) that the resilient human spirit will always triumph over tragedy.

Forza Motorsport
is inspired by drivers like Mario, a born competitor who at a young age has already proven himself impossible to beat.


Check out the first of a two-part video on Mario’s story below, then visit Complex.com to hear more about how he conquered life’s daunting adversities and what advice he has for other young people who aspire to achieve their most ambitious dreams.


Stay tuned to Xbox Wire for part two of Mario’s story next month.


Binge-Watching with STARZ Play: Bring on the Movies and Series - Tue, 05 Aug 2014 10:00:00 Z
It’s here. STARZ Play is now available on Xbox One, delivering the smash hit movies and original series people crave. Everything is free with your STARZ subscription.

Let the Binging Begin
This is 2014, not the middle ages. It’s the era of all-you-can-consume entertainment.  

STARZ Play makes it easy - and enjoyable - to binge watch complete seasons of recent STARZ originals including “Power,” “Black Sails” and “Da Vinci’s Demons”. And enjoy today the first episode of the eagerly-anticipated new STARZ Original series, “Outlander” or binge through many as the great programming gets added each and every week.  Simply hit “play” and let the episodes roll, one after the other, for hours and hours. And for the multitaskers out there, just snap STARZ Play to keep the entertainment playing. If you don’t have a STARZ subscription, the first episode of many of the Originals are available to watch for free. Just stock up on snacks and drinks, put the phone on mute, and see how many of these original series you can absorb in one sitting.

If it is movies you crave, STARZ Play has blockbusters including: “Frozen,” “Thor: The Dark World,” “American Hustle,” “Captain Phillips,” “White House Down,” “Grown Ups 2,” “Iron Man 3”
and more. And the hits keep coming: “Monuments Men” arrives on Sept. 4, and “Pompeii” begins on Oct. 1.

Plus, find many more recent hit movies on STARZ Play: “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “Monsters University,” “This Is The End,” “Saving Mr. Banks,” “The Lone Ranger,” “Elysium, Blue Jasmine,” “Oz The Great And Powerful,” “The Incredibles” – the list goes on and on. See for yourself.  

The Time Is Now for Every STARZ Movie and Series
You wait for buses and planes. You wait for a pizza to cook. You wait behind a rock before fragging your enemies in the latest first-person shooter.

But STARZ Play has none of that. It’s now, now, now for every movie and complete seasons of recent STARZ original series. Whether you’re craving action and adventure, some killer sci-fi, or a comedy fest, the entertainment is delivered more quickly than a grenade in a demilitarized zone. You don’t even have to wait for premiere dates. Many big movies, and first episodes of original series, are available on STARZ Play before they premiere on STARZ.  Plus it’s easier than ever to find your favorite movie or hit original series by navigating and searching for content using voice and gesture control. 

STARZ Play even gives you instant FREE access to the first episode of the most widely-anticipated new original series
“Outlander,” prior to worldwide series premiere on STARZ. From acclaimed TV producer Ronald D. Moore (“Battlestar Galactica,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation”) comes a story of time travel and mystery, based on the best-selling books from Diana Gabaldon. An honoree of the “Critics’ Choice Most Exciting New Series of 2014”, this tale of Scottish Highlanders is one of the most buzz-worthy TV events of the year. No more waiting. Check it out right now, on STARZ Play.


  • “Power.” Sit back, relax, grab your snacks and when you’re in the STARZ Play app, tell your Xbox One to watch “Power” and be instantly transported to New York City. From Executive Producer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson comes a drama series every bit as powerful as the music icon’s legacy. Set between two worlds, the Manhattan club scene and the life of a major cocaine dealer, “Power” follows James “Ghost” St. Patrick. He’s a drug kingpin looking to go legit. But once you’re in, can you ever really get out? The entire 1st season is available now on STARZ Play.
  • “Black Sails.” Redefining the genre, “Black Sails” is the most realistic and gritty depiction of pirates ever to hit the screen. Set in the early 1700s, the intense series follows Captain Flint, John Silver and Captain Charles Vane as they hunt for fortune and glory. If you think pirates are parrots and peg legs, think again. If you have an Xbox One, you’ll want to pin this one to your home screen to catch up on the first season before the series return. 
  • “Spartacus.” Go back to ancient Rome, for the story of the slave who brought the Republic to its knees. 39 complete episodes, all uncut and commercial-free, are available on STARZ Play, taking you from the birth of Batiatus’ ludus, through to the surge of the Spartacus rebellion. It’s bloodthirsty, sexy, full of incredible action, and impossible to ignore. Try watching just one episode.

Other shows coming to STARZ Play include:

  • “Survivor’s Remorse.” A comedy following the fortunes of a young basketball phenom who is rocketed to fame. Episodes of this new STARZ Original Series will be available on STARZ Play on October 5th.
  • “The Chair.” A docuseries that asks the question, “what if the same script was filmed by two directors?” It pits director Anna Martemucci against YouTube sensation Shane Dawson. Come back in September to watch the first 5 episodes on Xbox One before they premiere on STARZ.
  • “Da Vinci’s Demons.” A third season of the hit series is coming, which tells the early story of the genius Leonardo Da Vinci in a way only David S. Goyer (The Dark Knight trilogy, Man Of Steel) can do.

Control. You Have It.
Your Xbox controller is all you need to control the action, and the STARZ Play app also works with Kinect. You already know the score; pause, rewind and fast-forward just like you would any other digital media. Control is all yours. And if you’re an Xbox One owner, you’ll want to rack up some of those media achievement. STARZ Play gives you plenty of opportunities to add more media achievements to your collection. Plus enjoying family movie night is easy by tuning into the STARZ Play Top Hits channel on your Xbox OneGuide.

STARZ Play is available to download right now on Xbox One and on Xbox 360.

What are you waiting for? Dive in now. 


Forza Horizon 2 Car Reveal – Check Out the Week Three Cars - Tue, 05 Aug 2014 08:00:00 Z
Here we are at week three of our Forza Horizon 2 car reveals. In case you haven’t heard, Forza Horizon 2 will include more than 200 cars at launch. This week we are announcing another 15 radical rides, all specifically built for Xbox One, that are ready to tear up the countryside of southern Europe on Sept. 30.

Nearly every production car from this week’s list has evolved from notable racing history. In 1992, Lancia took its sixth consecutive manufacturer’s title in World Rally competition. The homologated version of the 1992 Lancia Delta HF Integrale EVO found in the game absolutely screams to dust up the back roads. Mercedes needed to keep pace with the BMW M3 in the Group A Touring Car Championship and its efforts resulted in the 1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II; after one look, all you need to say is, “That wing.”  The Bugatti Veyron Super Sport and the Hennessey Venom GT have all your speed records covered. Looking to manage your throttle control? Either of these rides will challenge you to reel them in.

Here’s this week’s list of newly announced cars in
Forza Horizon 2:



1992 Lancia Delta HF Integrale EVO
If you’ve ever been a fan of World Rally Championship racing, then the Delta Integrale EVO is probably a familiar shape. The racing version won a record six manufacturer championships and a total of 46 individual victories over its career. The Integrale EVO version was the penultimate road-going homologation version, benefiting from years of rally competition experience and advancing technology. The biggest change from previous versions is a wider track, necessitating much wider fender flares and several body tweaks for greater ventilation and lower drag. Carried over was the 16-valve Integrale turbo motor, which made great power but even more torque, essential to overcome the additional drag of the permanent all-wheel drive system. Paired with suspension and brakes grown larger to deal with the EVO’s increased performance, this is one of the sweetest-driving Lancia models ever.



1990 Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.5-16 Evolution II
Racing homologation is a wonderful thing, since it brings race-inspired design and technology to the market. In this case, the 190E 2.5-16 got upwards of 35 more horsepower, a three-way adjustable suspension, bigger brakes and a radical rear-wing and matched body kit. This was biggest wing ever put on a Mercedes four-door. The car is, of course, all business on the inside, offering the luxury and finish you expect from Daimler. Only a little more than 500 of these were produced, so once again Forza is very likely the only chance most of us will get to experience its beauty and grace on the track.



2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport
There is no substitute for the Veyron Super Sport; even among hypercars it stands alone. The Veyron alone is the fastest car in the world but, for some, that is not enough. If the Super Sport cannot quench your thirst for over-the-top speed and horsepower the only alternative is start racing airplanes, because very few machines match the SS for pure ground speed.



2012 Hennessey Venom GT
Born with the goal of being a 1,000-plus horsepower car that weighs less than 3,000 pounds, the Hennessey Venom GT is based on the Lotus Elise—complete with the Venom 1,000 horsepower, twin-turbo motor, then lightened. Certainly these are reasonable goals, so long as destroying a Bugatti Veyron’s 0-200 mph time is your primary focus. As a result, the Hennessey Venom GT does 0-200 mph faster than many average cars car do 0-60 mph: 15.3 seconds to be exact. That’s almost 10 seconds faster than the Bugatti. The G-forces felt under full acceleration nearly equal that of a fighter jet doing an inverted loop. The all-aluminum 6.2-liter, twin-turbo, V8 delivers an astonishing 1,200 horsepower, put to the pavement via a six-speed transmission connected to the rear wheels. The car is almost entirely carbon fiber composite and weighs in at a mere 2,685 pounds. The Venom GT has the highest power-to-weight ratio of any car on the market and only five will be built this year.

The rest of this week’s cars include:

  1. 2013 Ariel Atom 500 V8
  2. 2011 BMW 1 Series M Coupe
  3. 1965 Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupe
  4. 1971 Plymouth Cuda 426 HEMI
  5. 1977 Ford Escort RS1800
  6. 2013 Mazda MX-5
  7. 1970 Nissan Datsun 510
  8. 1980 Renault 5 Turbo
  9. 1974 Toyota Celica GT
  10. 2003 Volkswagen Golf R32
  11. 1983 Audi Sport quattro

For the full list of
Forza Horizon 2 cars announced to date, check out ForzaMotorsport.net.

Madden NFL 15 Xbox One Bundle Available Aug. 26 for $399 - Mon, 04 Aug 2014 10:00:00 Z
Today, in partnership with EA SPORTS, Microsoft announced plans to celebrate Madden NFL 15 with a special Xbox One console bundle, which launches at select US retailers such as Microsoft retail stores on Aug. 26 for $399, and includes a copy of the game at no additional cost. 

The
“Madden NFL” series from Electronic Arts has spanned more than 25 years and five console generations. It’s a franchise that’s synonymous with intense realistic sports action, technical innovation and rabid football fandom. Only on Xbox One, the Official Game Console of the NFL, can you play a game of Madden while tracking your fantasy football team with the NFL on Xbox app snapped to the side.

If you’re a football fan that’s been holding out to make the next-gen leap, now is the time to get into the game on Xbox One.

Available soon for pre-order and in limited supply only, the bundle includes:

  • Download code for Madden NFL 15 on Xbox One
  • Standard Xbox One console
  • Standard Xbox One wireless controller
  • Standard Xbox One chat headset
  • Special edition Madden NFL 15 packaging
  • Token for three Madden NFL Ultimate Team Pro Packs

Madden NFL 15 transforms you into your rival’s worst nightmare with a new breed of defense built to challenge the best offenses in the NFL.  A new arsenal of pass rush moves, an intuitive tackling system, improved coverage logic, and immersive new camera angles make defense exciting and fun to play.  Call plays with confidence thanks to an all-new crowd-sourced recommendation engine built from millions of online games played by the Madden community.  Add in all-new NFL Films inspired presentation and it’s not just football, it’s Madden Season!

See below for more details:

Deliver on Defense

  • A New Point of View – See defense through a whole new lens with all-new camera angles that let you attack the play from the defensive’s perspective. Lock in on a single defender and go for the big play or follow the action wherever the ball goes.
  • Bring the Heat – Utilize a new set of pass rush tools to beat your blocker and disrupt the backfield. New mechanics to jump the snap, shed blocks and steer offensive linemen put your in control and make defensive linemen more powerful and versatile than ever.
  • Risk vs. Reward – Defenders can now make aggressive or conservative tackles in the open field, with proximity cones showing the effective range of each. Aggressive tackles can lead to big plays and fumbles, but conservative tackles are more likely to bring the ball-carrier down without giving up extra yards. The choice is yours, but so are the consequences.

Best of Broadcast

  • Director’s Cut – Broadcast and NFL Films –inspired presentation redefines the way games are presented. New cameras capture the emotion of every play from fresh new perspectives, and choose from 6 gameplay cameras pre-snap to get the best view of the action.
  • Show Time – The new pre-game and halftime shows, complete with studio commentary, tell the story of the game, with special emphasis on game-changing matchups and big play highlights.

Be a Student of the Game

  • Crowd-sourced Play Call – A revolutionary recommendation engine utilizes data from millions of online games to surface the best selection of plays possible for the match-up and situation. Sort from traditional sets and formations, to expert recommendations, to what’s working the best in the “Madden NFL” community.
  • Run The Gauntlet – Skills Trainer has been expanded to teach not only gameplay skills, but strategy and football concepts as well. Learn how to read zone defenses, when to hot route a receiver, and more with nearly 50 new tutorials and drills. Once you’ve mastered the basics, enter The Gauntlet where your skills will be put to the ultimate test through intense challenges and boss battles.

Additionally, be sure to check out the new Madden NFL 15 screenshots here and be sure to tune into EAsports.com for more information.



Every Street United Players Go Head-to-Head in Finale and Take on MLS Players - Fri, 01 Aug 2014 10:00:00 Z
The most important day of the “Every Street United” players’ lives has arrived at last! Last week, the two teams were selected and players prepared for the 4v4 game in Rio. This Sunday, in the “Every Street United” finale, the players will receive final words of advice from their coaches, Thierry and Edgar, before taking to the street to prove once and for all who is worthy of a tryout with the Seattle Sounders FC.



We’re also excited to announce an “Every Street United” vs. MLS Player Challenge this Sunday, August 3 in Portland, OR as part of the MLS All-Star Game. In the challenge, four players from “Every Street United” will take on four MLS players in a friendly skills competition. An exhibition will follow the tournament, where the players will show off their skills and trick shots. The competition kicks off at 12:00 p.m. in the Pioneer Courthouse Square. Hope to see you there!

You can watch the “Every Street United” finale 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.”




Games with Gold: Ride or Die with Motocross Madness - Fri, 01 Aug 2014 08:00:00 Z
Here's the deal: When you sign up for Xbox Live Gold, you get free access to Games with Gold on Xbox One and Xbox 360, which means new, free games every month! Yep, that's right: If you have Gold, you don't have to do a darn thing, and you get a free game. So, what are you waiting for? Here's a closer look at the latest Games with Gold title!

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! Come and join the most exciting, rip-roaring, mud-flinging, action-packed motorcycle racing extravaganza this side of
Tron! Your ticket pays for the whole seat, but you’ll only need... the edge! That’s right, if you enjoy racing titles, dirt biking, or just having fun with your friends online, you won’t want to let Motocross Madness pass you by – especially since it’s free for the first half of August, for all Xbox Live Gold members, as part of the Games with Gold program.

With nine tracks and six different bikes to choose from,
Motocross Madness provides plenty of variety, right from the start. Each bike has its own feel, from wobbly-but-fast, to solid-as-a-rock, to loose (for tricks and flips). And, players can earn money for upgrades to their bikes – and many of them, such as high-grip tires, make a real difference to your vehicle’s performance.

Earning money is never a grind, either; the racing is balanced to fit any level of skill. While players can compete against the CPU – earning third place is enough to advance – they can also face off against each other online. But, perhaps most interestingly,
Motocross Madness features a “Rivals” mode, wherein players take on the ghosts of the game’s best racers, trying to beat their times and scores. While this is no easy task (even for experts), it serves as a constant moving target, and another way to learn about the game’s intricacies: shortcuts, secret areas, and the gnarliest tricks known to man.

Yet,
Motocross Madness isn’t just about running down the clock. Performing a choreographed set of veritable dance moves while flying through the air on the back of your bike is part of the action, too. The more spectacular your tricks – and the more perfectly performed they are – the more you earn. But it’s not all grace in the air, either. You can go off jumps next to an opponent and bash him as he tries to perform a trick (often with hilarious results). And of course, everything is available in an online mode via Xbox Live. If you’d rather get away from the opposition, you can do that, too. Motocross Madness offers an “Exploration” mode, in which you can cruise around the tracks without having to worry about going the wrong way or getting kicked off your bike.

So, strap on your helmet, get your mud-resistant goggles on, and get ready to shred some serious dirt with
Motocross Madness, free for all Xbox Live Gold members on Xbox 360 from Aug. 1-15!



Watch the Full Halo: The Master Chief Collection Developer Panel from SDCC 14 - Thu, 31 Jul 2014 17:00:40 Z
Last week, thousands of fan lined up at San Diego Comic-Con for an early look at the greatest collection of games in Xbox history. Halo: The Master Chief Collection is a treat for long-time and new Halo fans alike, offering up each of the four games starring the titular protagonist (that’s Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary, the beautifully re-mastered Halo 2: Anniversary, Halo 3, and Halo 4 for anyone counting) for the cost of a regular retail game. With The Master Chief Collection hitting just in time to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Halo 2, fans were understandably excited to get a peek for themselves.

Moderated by Community Manager Andy “Bravo” Dudynsky from developer 343 Industries, the Master Chief Collection panel featured longtime Halo stalwarts like Franchise Development Director Frank O’Connor and Producer Dennis Ries, as well as Franck Balson from cinematic powerhouse Blur Studios and Max Hoberman, current President of developer Certain Affinity and former Lead Multiplayer Designer on the original Halo 2.

The panel kicked off with a closer look at what fans can expect when they fire up Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Ries walked through the unified menu system, which allows players a ton of flexibility when they want nothing more than to play some Halo. Not only will you be able to hop into curated single-player playlists for each game, you’ll have the chance to do the same across all four game. So, for instance, if you’d like to play all four of the final levels back-to-back-to-back-to-back, it’s as simple as selecting the proper playlist.

Once the fans got a taste of The Master Chief Collection’s unified playlist, it was time for glimpse at what Halo 2: Anniversary actually looks like. Kicking off in the game’s opening Cairo Station level, it was clear from the opening moments that the game looks much, much better than the original version. This was hammered home when the demoer took a look out a nearby window at Earth, then instantly switched from the Anniversary engine to the original one with the push of a button. The difference was, quite frankly, breathtaking, as everything looked that much more beautiful in the updated version.

After the “oohs” and “aahs” subsided, the panel transitioned into taking a look at the new and improved cutscenes. Known for producing jaw-dropping CG trailers, the team at Blur Studios clearly had its work cut out for it, as Halo 2 featured nearly 60 minutes of cutscenes. Rather than simply show off a cutscene, however, Blur’s Franck Balson decided to treat the audience to a behind-the-scenes look at how said scenes were being rebuilt from the ground up for Halo 2: Anniversary. Beginning with the original footage, Balson broke down how his team recreated the scene in which Miranda Keyes must traverse a bunch of treacherous platforms on her way to complete an objective.

From the beginning of the process when everything was just shown as a bunch of wireframe models through the final lighting and texture passes, the audience was treated to a deep look at everything that goes in to creating a beautifully realistic cutscene. We were also given a look at the new mocap system, which has helped to turn Sgt. Johnson from a lovably gruff bunch of polygons to a fully-realized (yet still lovably gruff) character that moves and looks just like the real thing. The level of detail on the characters in Halo 2: Anniversary are stunning, right down to the pores on their digital faces.

Finally, the panel concluded with a nice, long look at the hugely popular offerings multiplayer. Before diving into what was new, the panelists shared some war stories from the development of Halo 2, including the fact that the game’s Lead Multiplayer Designer, Max Hoberman, was just one of two team members dedicated to multiplayer. Not only did they change the way gamers played multiplayer on a console, they actually changed the very way Xbox Live itself worked. The highlight of the session was the reveal of the new and completely reimagined Zanzibar (you might remember it as the map with the giant wheel in the middle), which will join Ascension and Coagulation as three of the six reimagined maps in The Master Chief Collection. The differences between the original Zanzibar and the new one are like night and day, though it’s pretty clear that it’ll still play just as awesomely as ever.

With that, it was time for some fan Q&As, though we’ll leave that for those of you who want to check out the video above for the full panel. We’ll be bringing you a lot more on Halo: The Master Chief Collection as we get closer to its release on Xbox One on November 11.     

Games with Gold: Take the Fight to Space with Strike Suit Zero - Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13:00:00 Z

Here's the deal: When you sign up for Xbox Live Gold, you get free access to Games with Gold on Xbox One and Xbox 360, which means new, free games every month! Yep, that's right: If you have Gold, you don't have to do a darn thing, and you get a free game. So, what are you waiting for? Here's a closer look at the latest Games with Gold title!

It’s the far future, and the United Nations of Earth (UNE) are at war with the combined forces of the space colonies for supremacy among the stars. The UNE – for whom you fight – is outmatched, and the war seems like a foregone conclusion. That is, until one day when you’re sent to inspect a far-off space station, and given control of an experimental space fighter: Strike Suit Zero.

Transforming from a fighter into a mech is just one of the titular combat platform’s awesome abilities in
Strike Suit Zero, a game that seeks to bring back the huge-scale wonderment of space simulators from yesteryear. The power of a throttle and stick are placed into your Xbox One controller, and you’re dropped into the middle of gigantic space battles – and it’s up to you to influence them however you can. The strike suit you pilot can serve as a high-performance fighter or (when it’s tactically appropriate) morph into a bipedal weapons platform, capable of engaging dozens of targets at once. But it doesn’t stop there: As the game progresses, you’ll be able to upgrade and customize your strike suit with everything from plasma cannons to anti-capital-ship missiles. Heck, you even get a chance to fly bombers and other non-strike-suit craft, when the missions demand it.

But the core of the game is mastering the strike suit’s two different modes, making sure you know what situations demand the fighter’s straight-line speed and recharging capabilities, and what situations call for the biped mode’s raw power and maneuverability. Given the huge scope of some battles, players are forced to adapt nearly constantly to different enemies and challenges of all types – so understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the strike suit’s modes is what the game’s all about. Additionally, players need to manage a higher level of realism than most space sims offer; energy weapons deplete, shields don’t recharge instantly, and the physics of momentum play quite a large role. All of these factors contribute to a white-knuckle excitement and fun, attached to real gameplay depth.

And while you’re experiencing the excitement of being in the cockpit, you’re sure to be equally impressed by
Strike Suit Zero’s outstanding artistic design. Mecha designer Junji Okubo, of Infinite Space fame, did the work here – and all the ships, from fighters to corvettes to space stations themselves, are beautiful and eye-catching. Additionally, the game features an epic original score, and a layered, twist-filled storyline that keeps you guessing until the credits roll.

So, take to the skies, would-be space-heroes – and experience a new take on a classic style. It’s completely free, after all, if you’re an Xbox Live Gold member!



It's Kill or Be Killed This Fall with Killer Instinct: Combo Breaker Pack - Thu, 31 Jul 2014 09:00:00 Z
It's safe to say that the resurrection of Killer Instinct has been a huge success. One of the launch games for Xbox One, the action-packed fighter has proven extremely popular; it was recently featured as one of the main events of this month's massive Evo 2014 fighting game tournament.

The pain train is still running full steam ahead, too: Microsoft Studios and the development team at Iron Galaxy is releasing a special retail version of the game, “
Killer Instinct: Combo Breaker Pack” starting September 23 for $19.99.

The pack comes loaded with the game all eight fighters from Season 1. That’s Jago, Sabrewulf, Glacius, Thunder, Sadira, Orchid, Spinal, and Fulgore – giving you plenty of choices for obliterating your opponents – PLUS a code for a bonus fighter from Season 2 – TJ Combo.

And that’s just a piece of the exciting news being announced in anticipation for when
Killer Instinct: Season 2 hits Xbox One this later this year. So get those C-C-C-COMBO BREAKERS ready, people!





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