Welcome to our weekly ICYMI for Xbox news!
This week, we're looking at comments from Phil Spencer accompanied by new details from Mass Effect Andromeda, Deus Ex Mankind Divided and Final Fantasy XV!
We'll still be posting major Xbox announcements in the main feed. However, I'll be collecting some of the more nuanced news, rumors and talking points into one handy post every weekend!
So without further ado, here's the latest edition of This Week in Xbox One News.
Mass Effect Andromeda details trickle out - No returning characters, no competitive multiplayer, and more!
EA revealed Mass Effect Andromeda at E3 earlier this year to rapturous applause. The new game takes place in the Andromeda galaxy, which is over 2 million light years beyond our own Milky Way. In Mass Effect Andromeda, you play as a galactic explorer charting unknown worlds. This mission takes you to Andromeda, "years" after the events of Mass Effect 3.
There's not a great deal of information about the game available at present, except that exploration will be key, complete with a Mako like space buggy. The team at Bioware have made comments on social media about the game's development.
Replying to a fan inquiring about Mass Effect Andromeda's multiplayer, developer Chris Wynn implied that any multiplayer components would remain cooperative only. Balancing Mass Effect's classes for competitive play would probably be a nightmare, so this makes sense.
File this under 'O' for obvious, but Wynn also confirmed that Andromeda would feature new alien species. Wynn also seemed to confirm that Andromeda would feature an entire new cast of characters, stating that it "wouldn't make sense" to feature characters from the previous trilogy. Indeed, they have a bit of a mess to clear up after the events of ME3. Wynn did say that the game will have rudimentary connections to the previous trilogy, promising that fans will "feel at home".
Mass Effect Andromeda is targeting a Q4 2016 launch for Xbox One, PC and PS4.
Phil Spencer discusses the challenges of new IP, third-party devs using the cloud, and more!
Xbox head Phil Spencer has been making the rounds, discussing Xbox One's future and news announced at Gamescom 2015.
Speaking to Gamespot, Phil Spencer noted the challenges of developing new IP, stating that sometimes, failure is a good thing.
..."The thing with new franchises is that they're difficult. This is going to sound funny, but you want to fail, because when you fail, it means you're pushing the boundaries of what's expected. So, you kind of need to know what the boundaries are of what's possible."...
..."When you're starting new games, in terms of new ideas and mechanics, your fail rate is much higher. That's why the ratio of new IP [versus old] is not going to be much higher. But I'm so proud we opened the show with Quantum Break and Scalebound, and I know it's not a new IP, but I'm so glad we closed the show with Halo Wars 2."...
I think what Phil Spencer means here is that making mistakes is part of a game developer's learning curve. Microsoft has a pretty hefty backlog of failed experiments across their departments, but I'm not sure if I'd say the same of Microsoft's game development studios. I'd argue that Halo and Gears play it pretty safe in terms of experimentation, but Quantum Break, Crackdown 3 and Scalebound certainly look to be pushing the boundaries of their respective genres.
Speaking of pushing the boundaries, Phil Spencer added on Twitter that he'd like to see third-party developers adopt Crackdown 3's ridiculous cloud-powered destruction.
..."I'd like to see 3rd parties pick up the tech as well. Innovation moves more quickly as more games push what's possible."...
Microsoft's capacity for innovation with Xbox is pretty unprecedented. They've managed to perfect Xbox 360 emulation on the Xbox One despite the wildly different hardware. The Azure-powered destruction of Crackdown is nothing short of jaw-dropping, and we now have Xbox One to PC game streaming. Phil Spencer isn't content, though.
Speaking to Polygon, Phil Spencer talked up Xbox One's long-term plans, stating his intention to develop "great, unique ideas".
..."This is where you've got to come up with some real great, unique ideas. I love where we're going. I think of the next year as we start to tell more and more of the story, it'll be great."...
..."There'll be certain people who'll throw eggs at certain parts of it and people embrace other parts of it. But I'm really happy around the foundation that we've been able to put in place over the last whatever it's been, 15, 16 months."...
Phil Spencer also states in the interview that the team is glad to be looking ahead, hoping to "delight people in some ways that aren't just fixing some backwards looking things". Presumably Phil Spencer is referring to the unpopular DRM, always-online and bundled Kinect policies of yesteryear.
The future is certainly looking bright for the Xbox One, as detailed by our Managing Editor Richard Devine here. I'm personally excited to see if Microsoft can top their backwards compatibility announcement.
Check out this awesome multiple-choice Mad Max trailer
This trailer for the upcoming Xbox One game Mad Max has made me feel I haven't been giving the game the attention it deserves.
Avalanche Studios is building Mad Max for Xbox One, and the game looks every bit as chaotic as you'd expect from the company that created Just Cause. Mad Max takes place in the same deserted wasteland as the popular movies, taking design inspiration primarily from the recent Mad Max: Fury Road. The game sports riotous vehicular combat, vast upgrade systems, lots of destructible environments and Batman-like melee combat. Unlike Batman, however, Max is quite happy to use guns, explosions, fire and all sorts of violent apparatus to vanquish his enemies.
WB Games have shown a master class in developing games built on existing franchise properties, including Lord of the Ring's Shadow of Mordor and the popular Batman: Arkham series. Mad Max looks to be no different.
Mad Max launches on Sept 1st for Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided developers discuss the game's new features
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is coming in early 2016 and promises to be every bit as open ended as its predecessor.
In this new video, Eidos Montreal discusses some of DE: MD's new features.
- The UI will be more customizable, including the ability to change scaling and remove some 'augmented reality' aspects.
- New Game+ mode is coming, which will allow players to start a new game from scratch, retaining the abilities they'd unlocked from a previous play through.
- Gameplay styles will be balanced, stating that they're not favouring one playstyle over any other (be it stealth, or guns blazing).
Eidos Montreal also clarified previous statements that suggested you could talk your way out of boss fights. In an interview with IGN, Patrick Fortier explained that what you've learned about a particular character may help you resolve a boss fight without conflict.
...What we said is that through your social interactions leading up to a boss fight you might have talked to people, or you might have explored, or you might have obtained certain elements or means to deal with the boss fight."...
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided is shaping up to be a must-buy title for fans. If you're into action games, this is one to check out.
Deus Ex: Mankind Divided launches in Q1/2 2016 for PC, Xbox One and PS4.
Final Fantasy XV hopes to launch simultaneously across the globe
Final Fantasy XV could be hitting Japanese and Western markets simultaneously for the first time according to director Hajime Tabata. Speaking to Gamespot, Tabata implied that he felt embarrassed the publisher hadn't been able to achieve this previously:
..."This may be something that we are little bit embarrassed to talk about, but really, this is the first time that we've done a packaged, standalone Final Fantasy game with a simultaneous global launch, so we didn't have the setup to deal with that, really. The first thing we had to do was rearrange our internal structure to create something that could do that. That was the first important work on the project."...
Final Fantasy XV has been in development for almost a decade, following multiple internal reboots and direction shifts. The final product follows the adventures of Noctis, a young prince on a quest to save his nation from a catastrophic war. Final Fantasy XV ditches previous games' turn-based battle system, instead opting for an action-RPG real-time system used by games like Final Fantasy Type-0 and Kingdom Hearts.
Final Fantasy XV will launch in 2016 for Xbox One and PS4.
ICYMI - Some of Windows Central's biggest Xbox articles of the week
- Velocity 2X interview: Bringing the game to Xbox One and Windows
- How to fix sign-in error code 0x800488AB in the Xbox app for Windows 10
- Call of Duty Black Ops III multiplayer beta details for Xbox One and PC revealed
- New Xbox One firmware update gets it ready for the big Windows 10 UI experience
- Xbox One US sales up 44% in July, Xbox 360 disc game sales second to PlayStation 4
- SMITE for Xbox One officially launches Aug. 19, Founder's Pack offer ends on Aug. 31
- Phil Spencer says Xbox One's mouse and keyboard support 'makes sense' to launch with Halo Wars 2
- Dying Light: The Following breaks out of Harran into the big, bad, infected world
- The future of Xbox is bright, and it's everywhere
- Capcom does the right thing, begins work on a Resident Evil 2 remake
New Xbox One game releases for the week ending Aug 16th, 2015
The Bridge - _ Platformer, Puzzle & Trivia_ - The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild
" The Bridge is a puzzle game that forces the player to reevaluate their preconceptions of physics and perspective. It is M. C. Escher meets Isaac Newton."
Commander Cherry - Action & Adventure, Platformer, Kinect - Grandé Games
"TAKE A PHOTO OF YOUR BODY YOU CAN WALK ON! Welcome aboard, cadet! Help Commander Cherry on his adventure and get creative with your body! You play the game using Kinect and a gamepad simultaneously."
Super Mega Baseball - Family, Sports & Recreation - Metalhead Software Inc.
"Hilarious. Hardcore. Hardball. Super Mega Baseball packs ultra-tight batting/pitching mechanics, a novel difficulty system dubbed "Ego", and a deep baseball simulation with accurate physics and comprehensive statistics tracking."
Dragon Age™: Inquisition - The Descent - Role Playing - Bioware / EA
"In this new adventure, playable within the Dragon Age: Inquisition campaign, you will fight new adversaries, gain epic weapons and armor, and solve one of Thedas' greatest mysteries."
Brothers: a Tale of Two Sons - Action & Adventure - Starbreeze / 505
"Share in the epic journey of two brothers, as they set out to find a cure for their dying father. Travel across beautiful vistas, through dark and foreboding forests, down perilous rivers, up hazardous mountain sides and experience the wonders of Nordic mythology along the way."
Toy Soldiers: War Chest - Action & Adventure - Ubisoft
" Kaiser, Starbright, Phantom and Dark Lord Armies There are four different armies to command, each with different strengths, play styles and personalities. Kaiser returns with his disciplined WWI-era German forces, and Starbright brings her cuddly army of Buddy Bears, Ponies, and Pixies."
And that's a wrap!
This week I've been running through Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes in preparation for The Phantom Pain, which is likely to be the last real Metal Gear Solid title ever released. It's hard to imagine a previous year so jam-packed with killer games, what games will you be picking up this holiday season?