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Twisted Pixel photo
Twisted Pixel

Twisted Pixel is independent again, no longer owned by Microsoft

New platforms are a definite possibility
Sep 30
// Brett Makedonski
Indie darling Twisted Pixel -- known for games such as 'Splosion Man, Comic Jumper, and The Maw -- didn't quite fit the "indie" bill over the past few years. That's because in 2011, the Austin, Texas-based team became a ...
Project Spark photo
Project Spark

Project Spark is dropping microtransactions

Players can earn Microsoft Store credit
Sep 28
// Jordan Devore
Project Spark didn't catch on the way Microsoft hoped it would. The game-creation sandbox is now moving from its free-to-play, microtransaction-supported model to a "free incubation engine." The developers will make one final...
Halo 5 photo
Halo 5

When Master Chief dies, humanity gets real sad

Or did he?
Sep 28
// Brett Makedonski
Whether it's true or not, ONI is reporting that Master Chief has died in the line of duty. It's not unlikely, as our helmeted hero certainly has had his fair share of bullets and grenades lobbed at him. Frankly, he's been pu...
Halo 5 photo
Halo 5

Halo 5's grunts are so adorable when they're sleeping

Also, when they're trying to murder you
Sep 24
// Brett Makedonski
We've spent well more than a decade conditioned to abhor The Covenant. Every time we see them, everything immediately dissolves into an all-out firefight. There's no love loss at all. But, maybe those guys aren't so bad -- e...

Halo 5: Guardians photo
Halo 5: Guardians

Okay, this Halo 5 cinematic is cool

Blue Team is back
Sep 23
// Jordan Devore
It's reassuring to know that I can still feel something while watching a Halo cinematic. This scene leads into Blue Team, the second mission of Halo 5: Guardians, which sees Master Chief and his crew clear out an ONI research facility overtaken by a rogue Covenant faction.
Halo 5: Guardians photo
Halo 5: Guardians

Halo 5 podcast 'Hunt the Truth' returns today

I'm probably too excited for this
Sep 22
// Mike Cosimano
Let's be honest with each other. Hunt the Truth, a Serial-esque podcast set in the Halo universe, is a marketing tool. It exists so people can get excited for Halo 5: Guardians. But you know what? It's actually fantastic...
Halo 5 unlocks photo
Halo 5 unlocks

Halo 5's multiplayer unlocks come in card packs

The REQ system explained
Sep 18
// Jordan Devore
Halo 5: Guardians will use digital cards to dole out weapons, armors, vehicles, animations, boosts and other unlockable items in multiplayer. We've known as much. But in a blog post this week, 343 Industries spoke about this ...
Halo 5 campaign photo
Halo 5 campaign

See how Halo 5's campaign is shaping up

'Framerate is king'
Sep 14
// Jordan Devore
The Halo 5: Guardians campaign won't have split-screen cooperative play (online co-op is supported), but it will run at 60 frames per second. Here's a slice, Swords of Sanghelios, in action. 343 Industries has employed a prog...
Community choice photo
Community choice

The community's choosing Max: The Curse of Brotherhood dev's next game

Go vote now!
Aug 18
// Brett Makedonski
What's next for Danish developer Press Play? Well, the studio doesn't know. No one does, because that decision lies in your hands. That's a lot of pressure, huh? Press Play, developer of Xbox One launch title Max: The Curse ...

Rash in Killer Instinct is a cameo done with love

Aug 17 // Patrick Hancock
What I love: Rash plays like he's ripped right out of Battletoads. He can grow ram horns and headbutt his opponent, turn into a wrecking ball, kick with a giant spiky boot, and even call in the infamous speeder bike. While these sounds completely ridiculous, it never feels out of place or strange. I mean, this is a game with robo-dinosaurs and flame cats. Rash has a ton of mobility around the stage. He can zip around the screen using his tongue, though it won't do any damage if it hits the opponent. An added benefit to the tongue is that it will eat projectiles, which in turn helps Rash build meter! The wrecking ball move can also be used to get around the stage, making Rash able to zip and zoop around the screen to keep the opponent on their toes.  My favorite moment so far has been against an Orchid. We were both very low on health, so she starts spamming her fire cats across the stage. Since Rash doesn't have a projectile, I just decided to keep eating hers. Eventually she ran out of Instinct and I was able to use the Shadow version of the Wrecking Ball to seal my victory! The animations and sound prove that this isn't just some ham-fisted nostalgia-fueled cameo done for the money. It's clear that a lot of care was taken when re-creating Rash for the modern era. Going back and forth between Rare Replay's Battletoads and Killer Instinct's Rash is way too seamless. Players can even button mash while fighting to perform a combo, though this isn't super useful. [embed]297480:60011:0[/embed] What needs to change before he's finished: The biggest thing that irks me about Rash is that he only has one linker move, Battering Ram. Every other character has more than that and I expect Rash to by March as well. Rash's trailer seems to have a second linker in the form of a traditional Russian dance, so perhaps we'll see that come March. Other pieces are missing as well, like an actual Ultra, but that's a given for his final version. His throw demonstrated in the reveal trailer has Rash picking up the enemy and moving with them, just like in the original Battletoads, but this is not implemented in the current version.  Rash feels like a great addition to the Killer Instinct cast. If this is how all future cameos are done, then I am all for adding in more. I have a feeling I'm going to go through some intense withdrawal between September and Match without having Rash on the roster.
Rash in Killer Instinct photo
Just give him like, one more linker?
Battletoads is an interesting entity. It's really hard, and everyone knows it. It garnered a big following long after its release and has become more and more infamous over time. Then, the characters appeared in Shovel K...

Rare Replay photo
Rare Replay

Rare Replay is Rare's first UK best seller since the '90s

First top spot since Banjo in 1998
Aug 10
// Laura Kate Dale
Rare Replay has hit number one in the UK games charts, making it the first Rare game to do so since the late '90s. The last Rare game to hit number one in the UK chart was Banjo-Kazooie on the N64, which was released all the ...
Rare Replay photo
Rare Replay

Rare Replay adds 'modern controls' for Jet Force Gemini

It's no longer damn near impossible
Aug 06
// Jordan Devore
I hope you're enjoying Rare Replay. I've been methodically playing Trouble in Paradise while also mixing in some of the Nintendo 64 games I missed originally. Blast Corps is one. It's so much fun! Jet Force Gemini is another....
Ori expansion photo
Ori expansion

Ori and the Blind Forest is getting an expansion

For Xbox One and Windows 10
Aug 06
// Jordan Devore
Ori and the Blind Forest is one of my favorite games on Xbox One. It looks, sounds, and plays magnificently. I'm surprised and delighted it even got made, and that goes double for its commercial success. The game was "already...
HoloLens photo

Microsoft's HoloLens will feature Xbox Live and ID@Xbox support

Four platforms to rule them all
Aug 04
// Laura Kate Dale
With Microsoft's gamescom press conference mere hours away, little bits of news are starting to pop up here and there that it didn't deem worth making part of the main conference. From the looks of it, some additional HoloLen...
The Coalition photo
The Coalition

Gears of War 4 dev canceling its original game for Gears a 'no-brainer'

Job security, I guess
Jul 29
// Steven Hansen
After Microsoft acquired the Gears of War rights, Black Tusk studio was doomed. It was rebranded as The Coalition, a less discrete and more boring name, and will be to Gears of War what 343 is to Halo. Black Tusk had been wo...
Rare Replay trailer photo
Rare Replay trailer

Rare Replay trailer goes the cardboard cutout route

Now I want to play Parappa the Rapper
Jul 24
// Darren Nakamura
Rare Replay is coming out on August 4. That's in less than two weeks! The collection of games from Rare's past 30 years is showing up on Xbox One with some extra nuggets thrown in as well. The trailer above talks about this ...
Early Access photo
Early Access

Xbox One Game Preview lets you play games still in development

Early Access
Jun 15
// Steven Hansen
Xbox One will allow you to "buy and play a selection games while they're still in active development" with a system similar to Steam's Early Access. Unlike Steam, Microsoft mandates each game on the service has a free trial s...
Forza 6 photo
Forza 6

Forza 6 reps American muscle for Xbox One

Leak details confirmed
Jun 15
// Steven Hansen
Microsoft Euro-trashed the pop fun of Forza Horizon with a somber, American muscle-y showing of Forza 6 at its press conference, confirming all the details that leaked last week: "over 450 cars, 1080p60 visuals, 3D puddle effects, night racing, 26 'world-famous' locales, 2-player split screen, 24-player races, and the return of the Drivatar AI system." It releases September 15.
Rise of the Tomb Raider photo
Rise of the Tomb Raider

New Rise of the Tomb Raider trailer shows off highly unsafe climbing practices

Full reveal at Microsoft's E3 briefing
Jun 01
// Darren Nakamura
Lara Croft reaches the top of the ice wall after a probably-should-be-dead experience. She has several carabiners attached to her belt. Why didn't she use them on her way up? Granted, it wouldn't have helped if all of her an...
Iron Brigade photo
Iron Brigade

Double Fine gets Iron Brigade rights back from Microsoft

But who owns Trenched?
May 26
// Mike Cosimano
Today, indie developer/publisher Double Fine announced that it had regained the rights to Iron Brigade, a 2011 downloadable title originally published by Microsoft Studios under the name Trenched. From this point on, the game...
Killer Instinct photo
Killer Instinct

Killer Instinct's final Season 2 character is a CEO

Send in the drones
May 08
// Jordan Devore
Season 2 of Killer Instinct gave us a golem, a sorcerer, and a Japanese ghost, among other characters. Who's next? The CEO of UltraTech. ARIA may be an artificial intelligence, but that's not about to stop her from getting ph...
Ori is doing well photo
Ori is doing well

Good vibes: Ori and the Blind Forest is profitable

Moon Studios is one to watch
Apr 09
// Jordan Devore
Oh thank goodness: Ori and the Blind Forest "was already profitable a week after release," according to Moon Studios' Thomas Mahler, and publisher "Microsoft is super happy." Ori wasn't just a delight, it was also something o...
Age of Empires photo
Age of Empires

A new Age of Empires II HD expansion in 2015

What a time to be alive
Apr 09
// Jordan Devore
Two years later, Age of Empires II HD is still going strong. So strong that, according to producer Ryan Chaply, more people have spent 50+ hours with the game than there are actual humans living in Little Rock, Arkansas (~200...
Quantum Break delay photo
Quantum Break delay

Quantum Break slips to 2016

Time extend
Apr 02
// Jordan Devore
Max Payne and Alan Wake maker Remedy has delayed its next major game, Quantum Break. The third-person action title will now bring its slick time manipulation to Xbox One next year. "We thank our fans for their patience," said...
Xbox One & PC photo
Xbox One & PC

State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition debut trailer, releases April 28

GOTY 2013, if you don't mention The Last of Us to me
Mar 19
// Stephen Turner
State of Decay was one of those pleasant surprises back in 2013. Sure, the sandbox/RPG-lite horror game was a little rough, but it was an intense experience full of free flow situations, base building, and likable survivors....
Amazing Ori art photo
Amazing Ori art

What a wonderful world: Ori and the Blind Forest

Best-looking game of 2015? Quite possibly
Mar 18
// Jordan Devore
After finishing Ori and the Blind Forest, a heartfelt Metroidvania-style adventure for PC and Xbox One, I wondered just how the hell I managed to know so little about it going in. What a thrill. There were moments -- not mere...
Xbox org shuffle photo
Xbox org shuffle

Remember Kudo? He's now looking after a bunch of studios at Microsoft

Yes, yes, I've included the 'WELL BAM!' video
Mar 09
// Jordan Devore
Kudo Tsunoda, the guy who demonstrated Project Natal (now Kinect) at E3 2009, has been off working on Microsoft's crazy holographic headset HoloLens. He's going to keep at that but will also now lead a bunch of Xbox teams, i...
Killer Instinct photo
Killer Instinct

Killer Instinct is getting a multi-faced golem and a 'Ghost Girl'

Available Feb. 27 with the Ultra Edition, March 5 with the Combo Breaker Edition
Feb 20
// Jordan Devore
From a cosmetic perspective, I'm digging this new round of Killer Instinct characters. While the trailer is focused on next week's Aganos, a golem who looks more like a boss than a combatant, there's also a tease at the end for a character everyone seems to be calling "Ghost Girl." I hope that name sticks. Videogames can and should be weird like that sometimes.
Halo 5 changes photo
Halo 5 changes

Player feedback led to these changes in Halo 5

For starters, you can disable Spartan Abilities in custom games
Feb 05
// Jordan Devore
Given the adjustments to the long-running Halo formula present in Halo 5: Guardians, players were bound to be vocal about what they did and didn't like in the multiplayer beta. 343 Industries is incorporating that feedback in...
State of Decay Xbox One photo
State of Decay Xbox One

State of Decay Xbox One remaster hits April 28, upgrade plan detailed

Improved graphics and 'hundreds of smaller improvements'
Jan 20
// Jordan Devore
Oh, right, State of Decay is coming to Xbox One. Rough as it is in spots, the third-person zombie survival game is worth experiencing (though preferably during a Steam sale). Running around town with your crew, fortifying bas...

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