Welcome to our weekly ICYMI for Xbox news!
This week, we're looking at Gears of War HD rumours, Square Enix's E3 plans, Deus Ex cat pictures, and more!
We'll still be posting major Xbox announcements in the main feed, but I'll be collecting some of the more nuanced news, rumours and talking points into one handy post every weekend!
So without further ado, here's our latest edition of This Week in Xbox One News.
Gears of War Remastered rumours resurface
The internet has been intermittently ablaze with rumours and speculation surrounding the idea of a Gears of War remastered collection, in the same vein as Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Gears of War lead Rod Fergusson took to twitter last march to debunk rumours, saying that no "Marcus Fenix Collection" existed, but told gamers to stay tuned to hear about other Gears projects at this year's E3.
Turns out, one of those projects could in-fact be a Gears of War remaster, but just the first game, if these latest rumours pan out. Polygon reports that anonymous sources showed them revamped cutscenes and visuals from the purported re-master, and implicated Brink developer Splash Damage and animation studio Plastic Wax as being involved. Click through here for our full take on the rumours.
Former Gears dev leaves Epic Games to join Black Tusk Studios
Speaking of Gears of War, yet another former Gears dev has jumped ship from Epic Games to join the efforts of Black Tusk Studios.
Gears Cinematic Director Greg M. Mitchell announced his new hiring on twitter, but fell short of announcing his new role, but it seems likely that it'll be related to cinematics once again.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided devs troll Treyarch for their suspiciously familiar Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 teasers
Treyarch and Activision have been teasing the latest instalment in the popular military shooter, which is set in a near future reality where humans go through extensive biomechanical augmentations to enhance their weaknesses. Sound familiar?
Eidos thought so, tweeting the below picture in response to Black Ops 3's latest teaser.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided art director Jonathan Jacques-Belletête also had a few tweets for the Treyarch wing of the Call of Duty factory, stating:
...We lied guyz. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided actually takes place on the Eastern Front during World War 2. We felt inspired....
Whilst I'm sure there's little malice in these tweets, they do echo other's questions of how derivative Call of Duty as a franchise has become. Hopefully Black Ops 3 will be different. I need to augment my faith.
Resident Evil 1 remake pushes 1 million purchases on Xbox One and PS4
Amidst years of lack lustre Resident Evil releases, Capcom today confirmed that the remake of the original Resident Evil 1 has pushed over 1 million downloads for its HD re-release on Xbox One and PS4.
Resident Evil is one of my personal favourite franchises, and to see it devolve into a self-parodying corridor shooter has been painful at best, heart-breaking at worst. Resident Evil 1 kick-started the franchise back on the PS1, and has since produced 5 sequels, a huge selection of spin offs, and a fairly terrible movie series. The latest additions to the core series have been panned for dropping the franchises' iconic puzzles, scaling back horror in favour of martial arts action and replacing the dizzying labyrinthine levels with corridor shooting galleries. The original Resident Evil was re-made for the Gamecube, and that version has enjoyed a re-release on Xbox One and PS4 in HD.
Let's hope that the 1 million sales figures for Resident Evil's remake, in addition to holding the record for fastest selling digital title in history on PSN, helps Capcom think twice about its approach to the franchise moving forward.
Square Enix set to host their own E3 conference: Here's what to expect
Square Enix rejoins E3 with its first conference since 2012, owing to the huge selection of IP its bringing to the table in the near and distant future.
- Final Fantasy XV
Expect to see new gameplay and information about Final Fantasy XV, which has been in development for an absolutely ridiculous amount of time. Announced back in 2006 originally as part of the Final Fantasy 13 canon, Final Fantasy XV broke away from last gen and became its own fully fledged game in the beloved RPG franchise. FFXV uses a combination of active and tactical combat, and has responded to criticisms of FF13's lack of exploration by going open world.
The buzz comes hot on the heels of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, a PSP game ported to new-gen consoles which I am currently reviewing (it's rather huge). As a long time Final Fantasy fan beleaguered by MMOs and spin offs, playing FFT-0 and FFXV's bundled demo have imparted some cautious faith on me for the franchises future. Check out my FFXV gameplay impressions here.
- Just Cause 3
Just Cause 3 is an open world third person shooter with a heavy emphasis on vertical freedom and wicked explosions. The over the top action game enjoys a staunch fan following, and its sequel was announced last November. We haven't heard a great deal since, and it makes sense to think that Square Enix have been holding back for their costly E3 gig.
- New Hitman project
Square Enix are the purveyors of Hitman, the voraciously beloved stealth series that polarised long term fans with its 360 outing, Hitman: Absolution. Whilst the game enjoys a strong score on metacritic, reviewers were keen to point out that the open-endedness of its approach to assassinations had been painfully diluted.
Following layoffs, IO Interactive took to their official website to calm fans, and let them know that a new Triple A Hitman was in production, specifically for Xbox One, PS4 and PC. It also states at length their intention to repair the damage the linearity did to Absolution. That open letter was filed over a year ago, so it seems fair to presume we could see something fresh at E3.
- Deus Ex: Mankind Divided
The recently announced follow-up to Deus Ex: Human Revolution will undoubtedly feature front and centre at Square's E3 conference. The popular RPG/Stealth/Shooter hybrid enjoys unprecedented levels of freedom, across a progression of open-world like hubs. Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Mankind Divided follow the exploits of Adam Jensen, and serve as a prequel to the original PC titles. There's little I can say to hype the game any more than this trailer will. We'll know more come E3.
- Rise of the Tomb Raider
Ah yes, the controversial one. Rise of the Tomb Raider is a sequel to Tomb Raider, a reboot of the legendary Eidos franchise that spans video gaming all the way back to the PS1. Tomb Raider has enjoyed a re-release in HD on Xbox One and PS4, and sold a boatload of copies across all platforms. The same cannot be said for Rise of the Tomb Raider, as it is (at least for now) an Xbox One exclusive.
Crystal Dynamics' Darrell Gallagher discussed the exclusivity on their Tumblr page:
...We know they will get behind this game more than any support we have had from them in the past - we believe this will be a step to really forging the Tomb Raider brand as one of the biggest in gaming, with the help, belief and backing of a major partner like Microsoft...
The franchise however, is still firmly owned by Square Enix. Owing to the controversy over their decision to outsource the IP to Microsoft Studios for publishing this time round, it remains to be seen whether Square Enix will feature Rise of the Tomb Raider as part of their conference, or instead leave it to their partners at Microsoft. My instincts tell me it'll be the latter, but we'll see.
New Xbox One game releases for the week ending April 26th, 2015
Happy Wars - Online Multiplayer Action - Toylogic Inc.
"Happy Wars is a large-scale online multiplayer action game, involving up to 20 players per match. Go wild in over-the-top melees in a fantasy setting featuring comical characters!"
Aaru's Awakening - 2D Platformer - Lumenox
"Aaru's Awakening is a hand-drawn, fast-paced 2D action platformer. The game puts players in charge of Aaru, a mythical creature with two unique abilities teleportation and charging."
Infinity Runner - Endless Runner / Action Adventure - Lumenox
"In Infinity Runner, the player controls the protagonist, the prisoner, from a first-person perspective as he is challenged to escape from the gargantuan spaceship. This is accomplished by use of techniques and movements inspired by the disciplines of parkour and mixed martial arts, the game-play conveys the players strain and physical contact with the environment whilst dealing with the constantly changing and expansive surroundings."
Assassin's Creed Chronicles: China - Side Scrolling Action Adventure - Ubisoft
"Exact Shao Jun's vengeance on the Chinese Emperor in stunning 16th century China with fresh 2.5D stealth gameplay."
And that's a wrap!
Another week in video gaming news collated, dissected and served up on a proverbial polygonal platter. To kick start discussions below, I want to ask how you guys feel about the deluge of remakes and remasters we're seeing hit new gen consoles? On the one hand, its nice to pick up a game you might've enjoyed several years ago again from a fresh perspective, but I understand that some people may be tired of seeing low budget cash-ins slither their way into our wallets every few months. Having said that, I'd sell my body for a Mass Effect Collection on Xbox One. No shame.