GameSentral Rewind 167: Xbox unloads massive game lineup

This is a special edition of the GameSentral Rewind, focusing on Xbox at E3 2018.

FromSoftware shows trailer of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice in collaboration with Activision

FromSoftware is working with publisher Activision on the studio’s next game, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.

Hidetaka Miyazaki is at the helm as director for Shadows Die Twice, which gives players control of a “hard-hearted warrior whose mission is to rescue his master, a young lord, and exact revenge on his arch nemesis.”

The game will take place in Japan’s Sengoku period and looks to follow FromSoftware’s style of intense combat action and difficulty.

Sekiro was teased at The Game Awards last year, and will launch in early 2019 on PlayStation 4, Windows, and Xbox One.

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is a “100 percent free” game in the Life is Strange universe

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Dontnod announced a new game in the Life is Strange universe that appears to center on a young boy dealing with school issues and an alcoholic father.

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is meant to set up Life is Strange 2.

The trailer used soft music and a series of scenes from the young boy’s life to show the power of imagination and how children deal with difficult situations. It looks like a game that will try to tap into the feelings many children have where they must invent a world that’s a bit better than the one they’re in.

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is the first step towards showing you the true potential of Life is Strange, and the possibilities of a diverse universe filled with interesting characters and stories to tell. With it, we have created a self-contained narrative experience that’s brimming with content – the deeper you dig, the more you will discover. While this demo is designed in the usual Life is Strange way and allows you plenty of time to explore everything, it is at the same time structurally different to previous entries. You will most likely see and discover new content on subsequent playthroughs which you might have previously missed. And there are some secrets that may very well take a coordinated group of fans to unravel.”

The Life is Strange team, in a blog post

The Awesome Adventures of Captain Spirit is a “100 percent free game” that’s coming to Xbox One, Windows, and PlayStation 4 on June 26.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps coming next year

Moon Studios has announced that Ori and the Will of the Wisps, a sequel to 2015’s Ori and the Blind Forest, that’s scheduled to launch in 2019 on Windows 10 and Xbox One.

The game will be enhanced for the Xbox One X, with 4K support.

Sea of Thieves reveals release, details for next two expansion packs

Rare showed off a trailer for the next phase of Sea of Thieves’ development, with two new characters shown: a pirate adventurer and an Order of Souls representative. The next two expansions were also shown: Cursed Sails, set to launch in July, and Forbidden Shores, set to launch in September.

Cursed Sails will populate with seas with undead skeleton crews, and Forbidden Shores will open the map up.

Forbidden Shores is described as a “place of darkness where fire and ash consume all,” with some volcanoes dotting the landscape.

Each expansion was handled by individual developer teams within Rare, with both expansions starting at the same time.

Forza Horizon 4 trailer reveals Britain setting, dynamic seasons, release data

Forza Horizon 4

Playground Games’ open world racing game Forza Horizon 4 was officially announced, sending the franchise to Britain with dynamic seasons and hovercraft.

Players raced across Edinburgh during an onstage demo, surrounded by dozens of online players that share the open world. Seasons also change how the open world works, with lakes freezing over and cars handling different in the snow.

Forza Horizon 4 will be available on Windows and Xbox One on Oct. 2 and will be part of the Xbox Game Pass program.

Fallout 76 will be “four times bigger” than Fallout 4

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Fallout 76 got a close-up, with Bethesda Game Studios director & executive producer Todd Howard promised that the Fallout prequel will be “four times bigger” than 2015’s Fallout 4, and will be set in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia, 20 years after the nuclear strike that created the Fallout canon’s post-apocalyptic landscape.

In the game, players will emerge from Vault 76 in the Shenandoah Valley, tasked with rebuilding society 25 years after nuclear weapons devastated the land.

Fallout 4 joins Xbox Game Pass

Fallout 4

Fallout 4 also joined the Xbox Game Pass subscription service, with Howard citing Bethesda’s long history with Microsoft.

“We’ve had an incredible 16-year history with Xbox going back to Morrowind.”

Todd Howard, Bethesda Game Studios director & executive producer

We Happy Few releasing August 10

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Compulsion Games and Gearbox showed off a new trailer for surrealist adventure game We Happy Few, ending with the announcement of an Aug. 10 launch date.

The game takes place in a psychedelic, fictional version of England where players must survive as society disintegrates around them. It tells an alternate, darker version of World War II, where the war’s impacts are still felt into the 1960s.

There’s also the influence of drugs, mine-looking cops to run away from, and a combination of survival, RPG, and roguelike elements to navigate throughout.

We Happy Few has been in early access for Xbox One and Windows 10 since July 2016. A PlayStation 4 version is also in the works, with a release planned for after the Xbox One exclusive console release.

PUBG’s Sanhok map coming to Xbox One this summer, winter map teased

PUBG Miramar map

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ third map, Sanhok will come to Xbox One later this summer with a fourth, winter-themed map launching later this year.

A trailer also revealed that War Mode, the game’s squad deathmatch mode from the Windows version, will be heading to Xbox One soon along with other featured game modes.

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 launches next March

Ubisoft showed off Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 for the first time, with the setting migrating down I-95 from a frigid winter in lower Manhattan to a sweltering summer heat in Washington D.C.

An extended gameplay demo showed Division operatives accepting missions, cooperating to complete them, and the danger posed by the post-apocalyptic landscape in the nation’s capital.

Brief glances were given at a standard mission, points of interest on a map, and the basic loadout screen with weapon and gear slots.

The Division 2 launches on March 15, and will be available on Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.

The Division comes to Game Pass

Tom Clancy's The Division

Ubisoft also made Tom Clancy’s The Division available now to Xbox Game Pass.

Devil May Cry 5 announced, launching next spring

Capcom is bringing the latest entry in the Devil May Cry series to Xbox One, launching in spring 2019.

Devil May Cry 5 appears to be a direct sequel to the fourth game, with the return of franchise protagonists Nero and Dante along with Nero’s partner Nico.

Hideaki Itsuno will return to direct the fifth installment of the franchise.

“Several years have passed in Devil May Cry 5 and the threat of demonic power, long since forgotten, has returned to menace the world once again. The demonic invasion begins with the seeds of a “demon tree” taking root in Red Grave City. This hellish incursion attracts the attention of the young demon hunter, Nero, an ally of Dante, who now finds himself without his demonic arm, the source of much of his power. As Nero heads to Red Grave City in his motorhome named ‘Devil May Cry’ with his partner Nico, he ruminates on how everything started. The loss of his demonic arm, the demonic invasion, and Dante’s unknown whereabouts. Things must be settled once and for all.”

Capcom, in Devil May Cry 5’s official game description

Xbox Game Pass updated with faster tech, new games

Xbox Game Pass

As previously mentioned, game subscription service Xbox Game Pass added older big-name games like The Division and Fallout 4.

Other games added included The Elder Scrolls Online: Tamriel Unlimited and Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

Xbox Game Pass head of engineering Ashely Speicher announced FastStart, a feature that lets players “begin playing games twice as quickly as under the current tech.” According to Speicher, select games will get FastStart in an update later this month.

Tales of Vesperia remaster coming this winter

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Bandai Namco will release Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Windows this winter.

The remastered version of the RPG originally released in 2008 will include additional content and characters.

This is the first Tales game to come to Xbox One, and is preceded by Tales of Berseria, which launched on PlayStation 4 last January.

Tunic trailer teases Zelda-style adventure

Tunic

We got a much clearer look at Tunic, the Zelda-style adventure game created by Andrew Shouldice in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada that stars an adorable fox.

The game was originally announced as Secret Legend in 2015, and will be an Xbox One console launch exclusive. No release date was announced.

Black Desert coming to beta later this year

Black Desert showed off its first pieces of gameplay for the MMORPG based in a fantasy realm ruled by magic and disturbing creatures.

The trailer showed off some of the characters that players will be able to play as, and demonstrated some of the environments players will be able to explore. Xbox players will be able to jump into a beta this fall.

This is the console version for Black Desert Online, which originally launched in North America in 2016 from Korean developer Pearl Abyss. A PlayStation 4 version is also in the works.

Dying Light 2 announced

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Dying Light 2 was announced, with a trailer that focuses on the dire situation faced by the zombie survivors and showing off the verticality of the gameplay.

Narrative designer Chris Avellone is helping the game along, who has a long history of writing on games like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2 and Fallout 2.

Avellone demonstrated how important the player’s decisions are in the world, as the way you go about mission changes the city and raises/lowers morale.

“It allows you to carve out your own world.”

Chris Avelone, Dying Light 2 narrative designer

These decisions will add up to make each player’s experiences unique.

Dying Light 2 is coming to Windows, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4.

Cuphead’s The Delicious Last Course DLC coming in 2019

StudioMDHR showed off a trailer for Cuphead’s new The Delicious Last Course DLC that includes a new isle, new boss enemies, new weapons, and new charms. It also showed off a third playable character, Ms. Chalice.

The Delicious Last Course launches next year on Xbox One and Windows.

Gears Pop blends Gears of War with the Funko Pop universe on mobile

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Gears of War is shifting to mobile with Gears Pop, a new game inspired by the Funko Pop figurines.

This is the first Gears of War game developed for mobile, and only the second non-console or PC game in the franchise other than 2011’s Gears of War: The Board Game.

Gears Pop! will launch on iOS and Android in 2019.

Session coming to Xbox One, PC this year

Montreal-based indie developer Crea-ture Games showed off its simulation skateboarding game Session, which is coming to Windows (through Steam Early Access) and Xbox One (through Xbox Game Preview).

Both versions are scheduled to launch on these platforms by the end of 2018, with the final game set to launch in 2019.

Session is played with a dual-analog control scheme like EA’s Skate franchise, where one stick controls one foot. When not skating, players will be in Filmer Mode and can capture footage of their tricks for the purposes of editing and sharing it. According to Crea-ture Games, the camera system is inspired by the VHS-quality skate vides of the 90s.

Spencer: Next Xbox console in development

Head of Xbox Phil Spencer briefly mentioned that the team behind the launch of the Xbox One X is “deep into architecting the next Xbox consoles, where we will once again deliver on our commitment to deliver the benchmark of console gaming.”

Spencer mentioned Microsoft’s work on AI and cloud technologies along with Microsoft Studios’ five new studios (more on that in a bit).

Jump Force brings together Dragon Ball, One Piece, Death Note, more

 

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Fighting game Jump Force was revealed, showing off major characters from Shonen Jump series like Monkey D, Luffy of One Piece, Goku from Dragon Ball and Naruto. At the end, the backs of Light and Ryuk from Death Note are also shown.

In a press release, Bandai Namco confirmed that Jump Force will be a three-on-three tag team fight, so players can have their favorite Jump characters team up.

The different scenes in the beginning of the trailer displayed many areas inspired by the different series, like ruined Hokage statues from Naruto and One Piece’s Thousand Sunny. The press release also confirmed that the stages in the game will take place in real world locations, like Times Square in New York City or the Matterhorn in the Alps.

Jump Force will launch in 2019 on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Halo Infinite marks series’ return to PC

Halo Infinite was announced in a trailer…. We know literally nothing else, great talk. Just kidding, the game will come to Xbox One and Windows according to the game’s YouTube description as an “Xbox One and Windows 10 exclusive.”

The mainline Halo series hasn’t been on Windows except for Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2, and even those came to PC two and three years after their console release respectively.

The trailer mentions the new Slipspace Engine, and mentions itself a “thrilling engine demo that provides a glimpse into the future of the Halo franchise, leading it into new and unexpected directions.”

It showed off Master Chief and some marines roaming around a new Halo.

First Gears 5 trailer shows off darker story

Gears 5’s first trailer was shown off, with a grim tone. The sigil of the Locust reappears around the neck of one of our heroes Kait, and the entire Gears 4 squad makes their return.

The environments shown vary from frozen tundras and lush jungles to narrow hills.

Players appear to play as Kait Diaz, rather than J.D. Fenix as they did in Gears of War 4. Kait is followed by Delmont “Del” Walker.

Gears 5 is set to come to Windows and Xbox One in 2019.

Microsoft welcomes five new studios

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Microsoft is doubling down on exclusive content, with five new internal studios joining the Microsoft Studios fray.

“We are committed to building an industry leading first-party studios organization. And as you saw earlier, we are making one of our greatest single year investments in teams by adding five new creative studios. We have committed our team, our company, our technical resources, so we can declare to you today, and next year, and all of the years after that, you will always experience the best of gaming on Xbox.”

Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox

Let’s go through these studios:

  • The Initiative: This new Santa Monica, California-based studio is being headed by former Crystal Dynamics studio head Darrell Gallagher, with the goal to assemble “world-class talent to create groundbreaking new game experiences.”
  • Undead Labs: Staying close to home for Microsoft, the Seattle based team behind the State of Decay franchise is officially joining the company. Jeff Strain heads the studio, previously serving at Blizzard and ArenaNet
  • Playground Games: The UK-based team behind the Forza Horizon franchise is making its Microsoft relationship permanent. Spencer noted that the studio will bring its “open-world expertise to an entirely new project.”
  • Ninja Theory: Spencer has a long history with Ninja Theory, working with the studio for Kung-Fu Chaos in the early Xbox days. In recent years, the studio has been behind Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, DmC: Devil May Cry, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, and PS3 exclusive Heavenly Sword.
  • Compulsion Games: We Happy Few’s Canadian development team is joining the fold before that game releases in August.

As of now, only two exclusive titles are on tap for the Xbox One in 2018: Sea of Thieves and State of Decay 2. These new studios will hopefully bolster those numbers for the years to come.

Battletoads coming back to Xbox One

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Eight-bit side-scroller Battletoads will return in 2019 with “body-morphing genre mashups, three-player couch co-op, 4K hand-drawn 2.5D graphics, and broad non-specific feature declarations.”

Dlala Studios is handling the reboot of the game last seen in 2014 in the Rare Replay anthology.

Vigor announced from studio behind Arma, DayZ

 

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Bohemia Interactive has revealed Vigor, a new survival game from the makers of Arma 3 and DayZ, that’s coming exclusively to Xbox One through the Game Preview early access program later this year.

The third-person shooter takes place in an alternative 1991, where humanity is battling back from a devastating nuclear war in Central Europe. Set in Norway, early assets show massive mountains and sweeping vistas. The game appears to be instance-based, with engagements for groups of eight to 16 players. The game will include crafting and some form of base building. Other screens show a mix of NATO and Warsaw Pact weaponry along with melee weapons like hunting knifes.

According to Bohemia, Vigor will launch with a for-pay Premium Founders Pack sometime this year and transition to a free-to-play model in 2019 and beyond.

This is the first time that Bohemia has used the Unreal Engine for a commercial video game. Also, Vigor could arrive on consoles before DayZ, the zombie-themed survival game that’s been in early access on PC since 2012.

 

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