This week we're looking at Grand Theft Auto 6 rumors, tweets from Phil Spencer on this year's E3, Killer Instinct's vampire, imminent end-game updates to The Division and cactuars!
We're also giving away a digital Xbox One copy of Tom Clancy's The Division to one lucky commenter! Simply leave a reply and join the discussion for a chance to win.
Every week, I give my take on some of the biggest Xbox news, rumors and talking points in one handy post every weekend. You can also rely on this weekly column to catch up with all the latest game releases.
Welcome to the latest edition of This Week in Xbox One News.
Rumor: Grand Theft Auto 6 in production, Tokyo location shelved
File this under 'R' for Rumormill, but a source speaking to TechRadar revealed interesting details about the series' previous and future plans. Chiefly, that Rockstar is indeed working on Grand Theft Auto 6, and that the studio gave serious consideration to moving the franchise to Tokyo, Japan. According to TechRadar's source, the studio went as far as sending research teams to survey Tokyo, but eventually shelved the project for various reasons ranging from the automobile infrastructure to the game's USA-based identity.
"Our source said that Rockstar was "serious" about the idea of making a Tokyo version around the time of GTA 3 and Vice City, however the road system was seen to be problematic and became one reason the idea was canned."
"In December 2003, Take-Two Interactive actually filed trademarks for GTA: Tokyo, GTA: Bogota as well as the particularly mysterious Grand Theft Auto: Sin City."
"Our source added that, as time has gone on, Rockstar has realised the difficulty in moving Grand Theft Auto outside of the USA, where it has firmly embedded itself. There are a number of series staples, from brands to cars, that Rockstar would likely have to change if a future GTA was set somewhere else."
The report also states that the groundwork for Grand Theft Auto 6 has begun, but the location has yet to be decided.
Grand Theft Auto 6 is inevitable, but we're almost certain to hear about a sequel to the Western-themed Red Dead Redemption before the next instalment of GTA. Where would you set GTA 6? Let us know in the comments!
Killer Instinct trailer teases vampiric fighter, rankings to be reset
Killer Instinct's Season 3 is almost upon us, and the roster is shaping up nicely! We already know Tusk, Kim Wu, Halo's Arbiter and a fully-featured Rash will appear in the initial line-up, and now we know that the previously leaked Mira will join the roster too. Mira is expected to be the deceased twin sister of Maya, resurrected as a vampire. Mira leaked in an early build of Season 3, along with Gears of War's General RAAM, which is all sorts of awesome.
In addition to the new balance tweaks and features, Killer Instinct Season 3 will reset all online rankings down to Qualifier. It will give PC newcomers the chance to catch up, and give veterans the chance to slaughter newbies like myself as they ascend back up to the top. Additionally, ranked matches at Gold or above will be best two out of three, giving you a chance to recover from a mishap. Players who remain inactive at the highest Killer rank will be knocked down to Gold as well. Rest assured, though, your stats won't reset as a result of the new season.
Killer Instinct Season 3 will launch on March 29th, for Xbox One and Windows 10, will full cross-purchasing and cross-play.
Team Xbox tease E3 announcements
We're officially on the road to E3, and senior figures at Xbox HQ have begun teasing their plans. This year's E3 Expo will take place on June 14th, and Microsoft will be there in force to announce the latest and greatest games and features for our favorite console.
The Xbox team have begun reviewing their plans for E3, as noted by the following tweet from Xbox head Phil Spencer:
Great E3 review today. Teams did a great job highlighting what they have coming. Inspiring team #TEAMXBOX.— Phil Spencer (@XboxP3) March 26, 2016
An hour before that, Xbox platform head Mike Ybarra tweeted similarly, excited for the future:
What a crazy week. Excited about the future, Xbox Nation. #Xbox— Mike Ybarra (@XboxQwik) March 26, 2016
In my opinion, Microsoft utterly stole the show last year with the announcement of Xbox 360 to Xbox One backwards compatibility. Mike Ybarra teased to me last year that the studio was working on "two or three" features on the same game-changing level as backwards compatibility, so, I think it's safe to set our hype levels into overdrive.
Tom Clancy's The Division promises new end-game activities soon
Tom Clancy's The Division has earned Ubisoft over $300 million dollars so far, but the studio is far from finished with their connected shooter. In this week's "State of the Game" report, Ubisoft Massive praised the game's latest patch, which brought sweeping improvements to the PvP Dark Zones, loot, and other features (head over here for the full patch notes). Regardless, hardcore Agents are already exhausting the piles of content on offer, and are looking towards the future.
The Division will pick up two free updates in the near future, one of which will add Ubisoft's take on the typical MMO "raid" formula, called Incursions. MMO raids are typically longer, more challenging boss-filled dungeons that require groups of coordinated and strategic players, and it'll be interesting to see how Ubisoft puts their spin on this PvE staple.
In the blog post, Ubisoft tease a big upcoming update that'll add new end-game activities. Whether these are the promised Incursions remains to be seen, but the studio will be revealing the details in full this Tuesday on their live stream.
"Coming soon, we will be introducing new end-game activities! You say you want more info? Don't worry, we'll talk more about this big upcoming update within the next few days. We will be livestreaming The Division Special Report show soon where we'll shed some light on the content of the next title update. If you're excited for some early reveals tune into our livestream so you don't miss a thing!"
Square Enix estimates 50 hour length for Final Fantasy XV, cactuars confirmed
When it comes to Final Fantasy XV's length, the studio estimates that the JRPG will run at around 50 hours for the main quest alone. If Final Fantasy XV follows its predecessors, it'll likely be crammed with side activities and hidden bosses as well, pushing the final play time much higher for completionists.
"As for the play time, at first Square Enix estimated that it would take about 40 hours to clear the main scenario, but this has since then been bumped up to 50 hours. They're currently not at the final stages of balancing out the game, but making optimal balances. They say that the game has more volume than they thought it would."
When it comes to frame rate and resolution, they expect it to clock in at 30 frames per second, but acknowledged that it occasionally dips below 30. This would still be an improvement on the game's Episode Duscae demo, which suffered from significant pre-optimization frame rate issues on Xbox One.
"Maintaining a frame rate of 30fps is their objective. This has not been completely optimized as of yet, as there are times where it breaks 30. They will continue making adjustments until the last minute before the game goes gold. If they're unable to fixate on the 30fps, they will do something different.
Finally, the franchise's iconic cactus creatures, the Cactuars, will be making an appearance. The Cactuars have taken various forms in Final Fantasy games, but in XV, they'll be potent enemies capable of avoiding even powerful Shift Break attacks.
The game's final resolution will be revealed on March 31st, along with a brand new trailer. Most of the topics discussed were in reference to the game's PS4 version, given the Xbox One's tiny footprint in Japan, but hopefully we'll hear Square Enix's plans for the Xbox One version as well next week.
OneCast Ep.11 - Quantum Break extravaganza!
This week I was lucky enough to get early access to Remedy Entertainment's time-abusing shooter Quantum Break ahead of its April 4th launch. In our latest podcast, I give some of my early impressions on the game's first act and first TV episode, in an addition to a random discussion about Dell's XPS 15 9550 laptop that I recently picked up (and subsequently returned...)
Check out the podcast for details on our Ask #OneCast game giveaways, which will happen weekly for our listeners henceforth!
Giveaway – Tom Clancy's The Division for Xbox One (Digital)!
Speaking of giveaways, this week, you can win another copy of Tom Clancy's The Division digitally for Xbox One! Ubisoft's apocalyptic connected shooter has already become the fastest selling new IP in history, and is slated to get tons of updates and new content moving forward — both free and part of the game's season pass.
If you'd like the chance to jump in and get gear grinding with the rest of New York City, then simply join the discussion in the comments section below!
The winner was peachy001! Come back next week for another giveaway!
ICYMI - Some of Windows Central's biggest Xbox articles of the week
- Microsoft lets you link your Xbox contacts to the Windows 10 'Redstone' People app
- Friday Fun: Ten awesome Xbox One video game Easter Eggs
- Quantum Break's episode pack is a massive 75GB download
- Microsoft is 'not actively planning' a way to trade in digital Xbox One games
- Sunset Overdrive and Dead Space are among April's free Xbox Games With Gold
- Killer Instinct Season 3 bundles revealed for Xbox One and Windows 10
- Five indie games coming to Xbox and Windows 10 that we're really looking forward to
- Dark Souls, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 join Xbox One backwards compatibility list
- Xbox One system update rolling out, along with Xbox Windows 10 app update
- Controller Chaos turned my Twin Peaks Xbox controller concept into something awesome
New Xbox One game releases for the week ending March 27th, 2016
Sébastien Loeb Rally EVO - Racing - Milestone S.r.l.
"Play SLR EVO and experience real rally! More than 186 miles of faithfully-reproduced track and 58 cars which have made rally history! From legends of the past, such as the Stratos and Celica, to jewels of the modern era, like the Citroën DS3 and C4."
Stranger of Sword City - Role Playing - Experience Inc.
"STRANGER OF SWORD CITY is the next step in the evolution of the traditional dungeon RPG genre, which will be released on the Xbox One. This title contains the three core elements of attraction for dungeon RPGs: character creation, conquering various dungeons, and dungeon crawling gameplay."
Trackmania® Turbo - Racing & Flying - Ubisoft
"Available for the first time on Xbox One, Trackmania offers you the ultimate arcade racing universe. Test your skills in outlandish tracks and challenge your friends at home (offline splitscreen) or online."
101 Ways To Die - Platformer, Puzzle & Trivia - Vision Games Publishing Limited
"In this puzzle-platformer you'll play assistant to mad scientist Professor Splattunfuder - a scientist, inventor and weapons manufacturer of questionable sanity. ."
And that's a wrap!
This week I've been playing Quantum Break to prepare for our review, which will go out ahead of the game's launch on April 1st. For some early impressions on the game, head over to here.
Beyond Quantum Break, I've also been mulling over the idea of diving into the murky world of Dark Souls, given its availability on Xbox One backwards compatibility. I'm a tad afraid that the punishing combat will make me smash up my controller in a newb-induced rage, but we'll see.
The week ahead is going to be a big one for Microsoft, and potentially Xbox, as the annual Build conference gets underway on March 30th. So keep your eyes on Windows Central where we'll have all the latest and greatest news and events emerging from Microsoft's big event.
What games have you been playing this week? How do you feel about this week's Xbox happenings? Let us know below!