This week, we're looking at Final Fantasy XV info, BioWare founder's comments on the rumored PS4.5 / Xbox One.5, comments from Sam Lake on the possibility of Quantum Break sequels and more!
We're also giving away a full digital copy of Hitman to one lucky commenter! Simply leave a reply and join the discussion for a chance to win.
From next week, this column will become more of a summary as we ramp up our gaming coverage in the main news feed. You'll still be able to rely on this weekly column to catch up with all the latest game releases, biggest Xbox news and more!
Welcome to the latest edition of This Week in Xbox One News.
Bioware founder laments rumored console upgrades
BioWare co-founder Greg Zeschuk isn't a fan of the long-rumored mid-cycle console upgrades. In an interview with GameSpot, Zeschuck, famed for launching franchises like Mass Effect and Dragon Age, said that it would be "irritating" for developers if Sony and Microsoft launched new hardware configurations so soon into the existing console cycle.
Citing the original Xbox, Zeschuck said that simply having different speeds of DVD drives (as was the case with certain Xbox models) resulted in enough variation to cause developers problems:
"I'd say that'd be a gigantic pain in the ass that flies in the face of the purpose of consoles. It's funny; there's actually some stories behind that. For example, the original Xbox... Microsoft actually had multiple different DVD drives. They didn't tell anyone that, but as a developer you discovered that you have different performance, and sometimes you'd have these boxes of refurbished drives and different brands and different equipment. It caused incredible variability."
He goes on to describe the problems in having to account for varied hardware requirements, noting that being able to focus on a single feature set per console gives better results:
"The whole purpose of consoles is the set of requirements that you work against from a hardware perspective. To change that is complete lunacy. [...] I just think it's bad. I think, 'lock it' and let developers do their thing. But at the end of the day, if you can focus your development effort on one set of hardware requirements and target, you are going to get a better result. It's easier than having to split it, adding more people, having to port things across."
"It's like dipping your toe back into the PC pool where you have to consider all these things. It was nice on console not having to consider like performance sliders. But it's just crazy. I guess maybe [Microsoft and Sony] feel the need to."
The discussions regarding upgradable consoles began when Phil Spencer stated Xbox fans shouldn't have to wait to take advantage of the latest hardware innovations, leading to speculation that Microsoft would release an 'upgradeable' Xbox One console. Phil later debunked those rumors, stating that he's not going to ship a Xbox One with a screwdriver and expect users to perform their own hardware upgrades, nor is he a fan of the "Xbox One.5" mid-cycle half-upgrade:
"I'm not a big fan of Xbox One and a half. If we're going to move forward, I want to move forward in big numbers. For us, our box is doing well. It performs, it's reliable, the servers are doing well. If we're going to go forward with anything, like I said, I want it to be a really substantial change for people. An upgrade."
On the other side of the fence, Eurogamer have committed to saying that a PS4.5 is on its way.
An upgraded PS4.5 could entice gamers that have yet to make the jump to next gen, giving Sony another advantage in the voracious console war, but, as noted by Greg Zeschuck and others, it would potentially create issues for developers, giving them another hardware configuration to account for. If Microsoft isn't developing a mid-cycle half-upgrade, Xbox might be forced to entice past-gen holdouts in other ways.
We discussed some of these issues on this week's OneCast podcast, which should be live either today or tomorrow over here.
Sam Lake joins Major Nelson to discuss possible Quantum Break sequels, Quantum Break debuts at the top of UK charts
Without spoiling, there's plenty of ways a Quantum Break sequel would make total sense, and Remedy's Sam Lake seems to agree. On a podcast with Major Nelson, the creator of Alan Wake, Max Payne, and the recent time-shattering Quantum Break discussed a range of topics, including the possibility of giving us a Quantum Break sequel.
"That's something that will be obviously determined by the success of Quantum Break. When we build a new IP, we do a lot of background work on it and kind of build a lot more than just the game. You know, time will tell."
To those that have played Quantum Break, it's fairly obvious that the game was developed with the future in mind (in more ways than one). The next outing for Remedy may well be Alan Wake 2, but if a sequel for Quantum Break is to depend on the game's success, so far, signs are very positive.
Xbox marketing head Aaron Greenberg described Quantum Break's pre-orders "well ahead" of their prior projections, and has since revealed that the game is currently the best-selling game across all platforms in the UK.
Final Fantasy XV could hit PC, DLC plans on the way
Ten years in development, Final Fantasy XV takes place on the world of Eos, amidst a political conflict between warring nations. Tabata noted that the team working on FFXV is comprised of roughly 300 developers, and localization has begun ahead of its September 30th Xbox One launch. Windows users can look forward to a PC version that isn't simply a mere port, but instead pushes the game to a "new technical level." To achieve that, Tabata stated that the team would have to start almost from scratch.
On the topic of DLC, Square Enix have plans to create downloadable content that "prolongs the pleasure of playing the game", and creates "enthusiasm" among players. Square Enix will announce their DLC plans during the summer.
FFXV will feature less cinematic cutscenes than previous Final Fantasy titles, citing the addition of a feature length animated movie, Kingsglaive, that will tie in with the main game.
You can download Final Fantasy XV's Platinum Demo on Xbox One right over here, just be aware that the game will undergo further optimizations before launch!
Giveaway – Hitman (The Full Experience) Xbox One Digital Key
Square Enix's episodic Hitman reboot is up for grabs this week! Hitman sees a return to the stealth puzzle series' roots, taking place in all-new, gargantuan open world levels with unprecedented levels of freedom. Unlike previous titles, this edition of Hitman is launching in an episodic format. This key will grant you access to a total of six levels as they're released over the course of the year.
Besides two brief training missions, Hitman currently features a single open-world area. You play as Agent 47, on a mission to assassinate a corrupt businessman amidst a bustling Paris fashion show. April and May will add a further two levels, with more launching later in the year. To enter, simply join the discussion in the comments!
The winner was eddp77! Congrats!
ICYMI - Some of Windows Central's biggest Xbox articles of the week
- How to chat like a pro in Neverwinter for Xbox One
- Quantum Break pre-order bonus codes for Windows 10 will arrive by April 15th
- Alan Wake's two DLC expansions are now free for Xbox owners
- Make the most of Neverwinter Double XP Weekend with our Leveling Guide
- Gears of War 4 website posts a countdown clock for April 11 annoucement
- Telltale to help bring zombie survival game 7 Days to Die to Xbox One
- New report claims Fable Legends might not get canceled after all
- Outland and Gunstar Heroes added to Xbox One backwards compatibility list
- DOOM multiplayer open beta starts April 15, three post-release DLC packs planned
- Fallout 4's Wasteland Workshop will let you capture its many post-apocalypse creatures
New Xbox One game releases for the week ending April 10th, 2016
Quantum Break - Action & Adventure - Remedy Entertainment
"In the aftermath of a split second of destruction that fractures time itself, two people find they have changed and gained extraordinary abilities. One of them travels through time and becomes hell-bent on controlling this power. The other uses these new abilities to attempt to defeat him – and fix time before it tears itself irreparably apart. Both face overwhelming odds and make dramatic choices that will determine the shape of the future."
Blues and Bullets - Episode 2 - Action & Adventure - A Crowd of Monsters
"Eliot Ness, the former leader of the legendary Untouchables, wished only to spend the rest of his days working in his diner, not dwelling too much on the cesspit of corruption his city, Santa Esperanza, had degenerated into."
Letter Quest: Grimm's Journey Remastered - Puzzle & Trivia, Role Playing - Bacon Bandit Games
"Spell words to battle monsters and earn gems that can be used to purchase upgrades, books, special items, potions, and much more! Letter Quest is a turn-based RPG featuring high-res artwork, clever wordplay, and two great soundtracks. Use your linguistic skills to survive!"
Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek - Puzzle & Trivia - Artifex Mundi
"Imagine waking up after a powerful storm as the sun goes down. You find yourself just outside a small town on the side of the road. A shiver runs down your spine as your body remembers the recent dramatic events that your mind cannot or will not recall..."
Stikbold! A Dodgeball Adventure - Sports & Recreation - Game Swing
"Stikbold! is a groovy 70s-themed single and local multiplayer fantasy dodgeball game with intense, quirky arenas and chaos-inducing random events which change the outcome of each round. Stikbold! is a single and local multiplayer dodgeball game heavily inspired by the 70's, back when tacky was cool, and there was no such thing as bad style."
TRON RUN/r - Action & Adventure - Sanzaru Games
"Return to the world of TRON with TRON RUN/r, a new lightning fast, action-adventure runner with a twist! Blaze through dynamic circuits, facing-off against virulent adversaries while taking on all challengers."
Steredenn - Shooter - Plug In Digital
"Steredenn is a frenetic and chaotic space shooter, carved in big beautiful pixels, with insane boss battles. Embark in your ship and engage the fight against dreadful space pirates in a never-ending combat for your survival."
DiRT Rally - Racing, Sports, Strategy & Simulation - Codemasters
"DiRT Rally is the most authentic and thrilling rally game ever made, road-tested over 80 million miles by the DiRT community. It perfectly captures that white knuckle feeling of racing on the edge as you hurtle along dangerous roads at breakneck speed, knowing that one crash could irreparably harm your stage time."
And that's a wrap!
This week I was on vacation, thousands of miles from my Xbox. Thus, I played some MouseCraft on my Lumia 950 XL, which is an excellent mash-up between Lemmings and Tetris, and will pick up Xbox Live integration shortly. I'm also planning to stream a blind sojourn into Dark Souls on Xbox One backward compatibility very soon. Watching me get destroyed might be fun if you have a sadistic streak.
From next week, these articles will get smaller as we begin ramping up our day to day Xbox One news coverage in the main feed, but we'll still be here to give away games, summarize this week's Xbox news and list all the latest game releases. I started this column almost exactly one year ago when I first joined Windows Central, your continued support and feedback has been, and continues to be both awesome and humbling. Thanks, all.
What have you lovely people been playing this week? What do you think of this week's Xbox One news? Let us know in the comments for a chance to win Hitman for Xbox One!