This week we're looking at multi-disc backward compatibility, Project Spark going dark, and the inside story on Lionhead's closure.
We're also giving away a copy of Battleborn to one lucky commenter! Simply leave a reply and join the discussion for a chance to win.
Every week, I summarize some of the biggest Xbox news and rumors into one handy post every weekend. You can also rely on this weekly column to catch up with all the latest Xbox One game releases.
Welcome to the latest edition of This Week in Xbox One News.
Xbox One picks up multi-disc backward compatibility support
Some of the Xbox 360's biggest titles took place across multiple discs, presenting a problem for the Xbox One's backward compatibility feature. Games like Mass Effect 2, Lost Odyssey and others high up on the UserVoice request list simply couldn't make their way across to the platform because the Xbox 360 emulator within the Xbox One was unable to detect whether the discs had been swapped.
Thankfully, Microsoft quietly solved the problem recently, with the launch of Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut which takes place across two discs. Xbox platform head Mike Ybarra confirmed the feature on Twitter during the week.
Microsoft have solved one of the final major technical hurdles preventing certain Xbox 360 titles from hitting Xbox One via backward compatibility – what multi-disc Xbox 360 title would you like to see hit the Xbox One? Let us know in the comments.
Project Spark set to go dark on August 12th
Microsoft's impossibly ambitious Project Spark is the latest Microsoft Studios title on the chopping block, joining Fable Legends and Project Knoxville.
Project Spark is an incredibly powerful game creation tool, developed for Xbox One and the Windows Store. It was among the first titles to exemplify Microsoft's cross-play vision, with roaming purchases across the Windows 8.1 and Xbox One versions of the game.
In its first incarnation, Project Spark was a freemium title which rewarded players with currency for participation. The currency could then be spent on models and other features for use in building games. Players could also spend money to purchase currency, or buy a retail version of the game that came bundled with many of the freemium assets.
Last year, Microsoft decided to remove the micro-transactions, making all of Project Spark's content free – crediting previous buyers in the process. Now, Microsoft has decided to end support of the service entirely, meaning all of Project Spark's content and servers will go dark on August 12th. You can download Project Spark games to play offline before then, but the game itself will be removed from the Xbox One marketplace after this date.
In a statement posted on the game's forums, Project Spark's developer, Team Dakota, noted that most staff members had been absorbed by other projects at Microsoft Studios, meaning that there's nobody left to continue developing the title.
It's certainly a shame that Project Spark has met its end, and we can only hope the products the talented people from Team Dakota are working on prove to have better longevity.
Eurogamer feature details the difficult history of Lionhead following its closure
The legendary Lionhead Studios shuttered recently, having failed to deliver the struggling free to play RPG Fable Legends. I wrote a preview of Fable Legends last summer and found it to be a fun and fluid basis for a much grander title. I feel as though Destiny and The Division re-wrote the landscape on co-operative connected RPGs, and Fable Legends might've missed its opportunity to shine following multiple delays. The reportedly $75 million dollar project ultimately failed to inspire Microsoft Studios' continued support, taking Lionhead Studios down with it.
Eurogamer posted an excellent look at the birth, life, and death of Lionhead Studios, revealing piles of details about the decisions that led to everything from the original Fable, right up to Fable Legends.
One source cited by the article claims that Lionhead were forced to work on titles that showed off Microsoft tech, rather than games the studio – and fans – wanted to see built.
"The game was technically finished, the infrastructure was all in place, work had started on Fable next, and morale was actually quite high again. People were happy that Legends was coming to a close. We never really expected Legends to last a long time, but we never expected them to cancel it. The biggest shock was the closing of the studio though. It felt as that because Microsoft hadn't had the best year with their games that we took the brunt of the attack, rather than a big studio such as 343."
"The biggest stab in the heart though was that for roughly six years the studio had pretty much been tasked to develop games that Microsoft wanted us to make to show off tech. Very few people wanted to make Fable: The Journey and almost nobody wanted to work on Fable Legends."
"It felt like the time was right to finally make that Lionhead 2.0 claim and build the game everyone wanted to play and we all wanted to make - Fable 4. We had some amazing in-house tech by the end, a foliage system to rival any other engines and a dynamic global illumination system which looked beautiful."
The full article offers insights into the difficulties of running a Triple A video game studio and various details about Lionhead and Microsoft Studios themselves. It's lengthy but highly recommended reading for any Xbox fan.
Giveaway – Battleborn for Xbox One or PC!
This week we're giving away a copy of Battleborn! From the minds behind Borderlands, Gearbox Software has tried to combine the best of Team Fortress and League of Legends into a single hero-based shooter package. Simply jump in the comments and join the discussion for a chance to win!
dKp1977 was the winner!
ICYMI - Some of Windows Central's biggest Xbox articles of the week
- Xbox One's backwards compatibility now supports multi-disc games
- Microsoft pulls the plug on Project Spark
- Microsoft: April 2016 was its best month ever 'for global engagement on Xbox One'
- Hitman Episode 2 review: A deadly trip to a coastal utopia
- DOOM is now available on Xbox One and PC
- Watch Dogs 2, Ghost Recon Wildlands and more still on track to release before April 2017
- Halo 5: Guardians Memories of Reach DLC pack released
- Star Trek Online will beam onto Xbox One this fall
- Peter Molyneux would be up for making Fable 4; Fable Legends reportedly cost $75 million
- Go behind the scenes of DOOM's frenetic single-player gameplay
New Xbox One game releases for the week ending May 15th 2016
Grand Prix Rock 'N Racing - Racing - EnjoyUp Games
"Get ready for some speed with your family and friends! Grand Prix Rock 'N Racing gives you the fastest, most exciting races. You can evolve your car, improving the engine, brakes, tires and more until you've achieved the perfect evolution to win the Championship!"
DOOM - Shooter - id Software
"Developed by id Software, the studio that pioneered the first-person shooter genre and created multiplayer Deathmatch, DOOM returns as a brutally fun and challenging modern-day shooter experience."
Raiden V - Shooter - MOSS Co. Ltd.
"After 25 years, shooting has been perfected! A quarter-century after the arcade hit Raiden first left its mark on the shooting genre, the series now comes to the Xbox One in its most modern and advanced form yet!"
And that's a wrap!
This week I've been moving country, and had my Xbox One swabbed for chemicals by Frankfurt airport security – thankfully, we survived the ordeal!
I've been hitting Battleborn and DOOM heavily ahead of review, and also picked up a Surface Book which we'll also be looking at in a gaming context in the coming weeks.
What have you lovely people been playing this week? Let us know in the comments for a chance to win Battleborn!