Editor’s Note: This is the GameSentral Rewind, a daily recap of the top gaming headlines.
Summer Games Done Quick sets charity record
Summer Games Done Quick, the mid-year speedrun event hosted by Games Done Quick for charity, has ended after raising over $1.2 million for Doctors Without Borders.
This is well more than the $700,000 raised by the event last year, and just shy of the $1.5 million Awesome Games Done Quick raised in January.
The weeklong event featured 160 speedruns,a nd the 22,000 individual donors contributed an average of $43.29.
Every Gears of War comes to Xbox One remaster due to backward compatibility
Xbox One remaster Gears of War: Ultimate Edition will now include access to all four Xbox 360 Gears of War games, thanks to the current console’s backward compatibility support.
Microsoft and developer The Coalition announced that Xbox One owners who purchase the collection will also get access to Xbox 360 versions of the following titles:
- Gears of War
- Gears of War 2
- Gears of War 3
- Gears of War: Judgement
Xbox One owners will need to buy the Ultimate Edition between August 25th, 2015 and December 31st, 2015 to get the four Xbox 360 games.
The four Gears titles will also support Xbox One features like Game DVR, screenshots, and Snap, according to a Microsoft statement.
Xbox One owners that are part of the console’s preview program can play the original Gears of War (Chair’s Xbox 360 adventure game Shadow Complex is playable as well) on their consoles now through backwards compatibility, according to Microsoft.
Gears of War: Ultimate Edition hits Xbox One on August 25th.
Destiny: The Taken King replaces Dinklage, makes elite weapons obsolete
Destiny: The Taken King will make massive changes to the entire game’s mechanics, including its progression system, missions, and weapons, according to Game Informer.
When Destiny launched last September, its level cap was 30 – the first 20 being standard levels achieved by earning experience points, and the Light armor attribute was requires for all levels above 20. Destiny: The Dark Below, the game’s first expansion, brought the level cap to 32 when it launched in December, while Destiny: House of Wolves increased the cap to 34 in May.
The Taken King will raise Destiny’s level cap to 40, according to Game Informer, and the expansion will restructure the entire progression system as well. Leveling will no longer be tied to Light, instead being based on earning experience from the beginning of the game to level 40. As you level up, you’ll unlock the ability to use new weapons and armor, which still provides power gains. In addition, Destiny developer Bungie is tweaking the game’s loot algorithm to take your existing gear into account, so you’ll receive fewer duplicate items and more gear that’s better than what you have.
The expansion will also recast Destiny’s Ghost, replacing Peter Dinklage with Nolan North, according to Game Informer. North will play Ghost in The Taken King, and Bungie had him re-record all of Dinklage’s existing dialogue too.
The legendary gear (“Year One” weapons and armor, according to Bungie) won’t get any stronger than it is right now. The Taken King kicks off Destiny’s second year, and while Year One gear will suffice for the expansion’s early part, “dozens” of new Year Two weapons and armor pieces will eclipse the existing items, according to Game Informer.
“There are definitely some weapons that you are going to find better versions of – there’s going to be something that replaces that sniper rifle that you love.”
-Luke Smith, Destiny: The Taken King creative director
Destiny: The Taken King will be released September 15th on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.
Halo universe’s next story will unfold on your tabletop
At the Gen Con vendor floor, no other game turned as many heads as Halo: Fleet Battles. The 1/1000th scale space combat game occupied a relatively tiny table buried inside another retailer’s display, but that table was surmounted by a nearly three foot-long replica of the Long Night of Solace – the Covenant supercarrier that led the assault on Reach.
The display piece served as a backdrop for Spartan Games’ newest product, Halo: Fleet Battles, The Fall of Reach, a two-player, expandable miniatures war game firmly set in the Halo universe.
Mighty No. 9 delayed to 2016
Mighty No. 9, Comcept and Keiji Inafune’s Mega Man spiritual successor, won’t make its previously announced release date. The side-scrolling action game is now expected to arrive sometime in early 2016, according to the developer.
The developer is now “aiming for” a release date in Q1 2016.
“As we have communicated in the updates to our backers, all of the core content for the game is developed and in a complete state. However, there are still bugs and issues pertaining to the online features that are included in the game. These bugs and issues have a direct effect on enjoyment of the game, so a decision was made to work these issues out before release.
“Currently, comcept and their partners and their partners are working at full capacity to resolve these issues and fix remaining bugs.”
-Comcept, in a post on the game’s forums
Mighty No. 9 was originally going to launch in April 2015, according to its Kickstarter campaign.
NFL app update coming to Xbox One, Windows 10 with futuristic virtual replays
Super Bowl 50 will be played next February at Santa Clara, CA’s Levi’s Stadium. As you might expect, the NFL is putting together plenty of retrospectives for the Big Game’s golden anniversary. However, one company not looking back is Microsoft, the league’s technology sponsor.
“Here at Microsoft, we’re thinking about the future. We’re thinking about the next 50 [years].”
-Jeff Tran, Microsoft Windows, devices group director of sports marketing & alliances
The Redmond, WA-based company wants to “bring all of [its] technology to bear, and help evolve and shape how technology impacts sports and football,” according to Tran. Microsoft’s redesign of the Xbox One NFL app for the 2015 NFL season, and its continued efforts to integrate its Surface hybrids to NFL sidelines, are the strongest examples of that mission – and the depth of the two companies’ partnership.
The new NFL app improves existing functionality like fantasy football integration and game-day updates. Now, you’ll see the top games of the week in a live scoreboard running across the top of the app’s home screen. If you’re a NFL Sunday Ticket subscriber, you can immediately start watching any game in progress from that scoreboard.
“You can watch the game by yourself with your cable, but on Xbox, we’re going to make that game better.”
-Todd Stevens, Microsoft executive director
The scoreboard also lets you “check in” to games you’re interested in. That will tell the app that you want to be notified for important events like scoring plays, kickoffs, and the beginning of new quarters for those matchups.
Users can set two NFL teams as favorites, which personalizing the app with news and video updates from those clubs, as well as game notifications. For example, if you’re a Seahawks fan (Go Hawks!!), and you want to know when they score without having to subject yourself to watching games from start to finish, you can go play Halo 5 and watch Seahawks highlights when they happen.
Those plays also appear in the NFL app’s new highlights section. All of the day’s big plays will show up in the list, and you can “like” individual videos and share them with your Xbox Live friends. Plus, if you don’t want to tear yourself away from whatever else you’re doing on your Xbox One, you can watch highlights on demand instead of when your notifications pop up.
On the fantasy football side, you can input up to two fantasy leagues into the console’s NFL app. This year, the app supports NFL.com, CBS, and Yahoo (ESPN is only available through their own Xbone app). If your team is set up in the app, you can get fantasy scoring notifications just like you’d see in real NFL games.
“We’re pretty pumped this year to have [CBS and Yahoo] right at the season’s start.”
The most interesting new feature in this year’s NFL app is the debut of the league’s “Next Gen Stats” program. The initiative, which began testing last season, puts RFID chips in the shoulder pad of every NFL player this year. Those chips allow for the tracking of an athlete’s speed, exact field position, and traveled distance on every play. The NFL is making that data available to the NFL for consumer-oriented uses like the NFL app.
The app pairs replays with virtual overlays that allow users exactly how a play went down from snap to whistle. All 22 players on the field are represented with icons indicating their positions, and lines show the paths of key participants in the play. The replay plays in a small window in the screen’s upper right corner, and the play’s virtual diagram animates along with the video. Next Gen Stats replays will show up in the NFL app as soon as the play’s video in question hits the NFL website.
Microsoft will also use Next Gen Stats replays to surface interesting data to NFL app users. At launch, the app will rank players by an attribute dubbed “Afterburner” to see which athlete reached the highest top speed during a week’s games. In week 3, Microsoft will introduce “Scrambler” to see how many yards a quarterback ran before completing a pass.
Users of the NFL app will be able to play pick ‘em games with Next Gen Stats, voting for the player they think will top the Afterburner list. Microsoft will offer weekly prizes for the winners in the form of physical and digital goods, and at the end of the season, the company will send the top scorer to Super Bowl 50.
“You’ll see next-gen stats in other places. Like, you’ll see the broadcasters do it a little bit more this season. You’ll see some stuff on NFL.com that’s super light-touch, but they don’t have the power of the Xbox to where we can instantly marry those highlights, that are super successful, with that data.”
The updated NFL app will launch for Xbox One in late August. In the Windows 10 app, you’ll be able to do everything above except watch live games.
John Wick coming to virtual reality
A virtual reality game based on film John Wick is in development.
“Best in class virtual reality studio and distributor WEVR, the company responsible for theBlu: Encounter, which was used to introduce the HTC Vive VR platform earlier this year, will transport players with the creation of a fully immersive VR experience that will introduce the game.
“Grab, the acclaimed development team with extensive mobile games and VR experience, will spearhead the development. Starbreeze will be publishing the product across multiple VR platfroms.”
-WEVR, John Wick VR developer; in a press release
The game will be a standalone first-person shooter set in John Wick’s world, with the action “centered around the infamous Continental Hotel.”
A demo will be available for the HTC Vive’s launch, and on Steam VR. The full game, will come to “most” commercial VR headsets, is expected to launch in spring 2016.