Welcome to our weekly ICYMI for Xbox news!
This week we're looking at the possibility of Halo 5 on PC, Ubisoft's new shareholder, fresh details about Quantum Break, and Hideo Kojima's "vacation" from Konami and more!
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. You can also rely on this weekly column to keep up to date with all the latest game releases too.
So without further ado, here's the latest edition of This Week in Xbox One News.
Microsoft clarifies Frank O'Connor's statements regarding a possible Halo 5 PC port
..."Microsoft has made a huge commitment to normalise the Windows experience across multiple platforms, so you're seeing elements of Windows 10 are going to appear on the Xbox and Cortana and stuff like that. There is plenty of chance that Halo 5 could appear on the PC. There's nothing new to announce at this point, but it's absolutely not out of the bounds of reason, and we developed the game on an Intel platform, so it wouldn't be the hardest thing in the world to move it to PC and take advantage of PC stuff."...
In full context, Frank O'Connor simply stated that it's theoretically possible from a technical point of view. I think it's fairly obvious that O'Connor is simply sharing his opinion as someone who's been following Microsoft's ecosystem convergence efforts. Still, Xbox marketing head Aaron Greenberg had to debunk the swirling rumors about Halo 5 for PC, stating:
..."This is not true. Game is being made exclusively for Xbox One."...
I think it would frankly be a bit odd should Halo 5 randomly hit PC, skipping over ODST, Reach, 3 and 4. It's far, far more likely The Master Chief Collection would hit PC first to bring that audience up to speed on the story without having to hit YouTube. Halo: MCC has probably exceeded its ability to sell consoles at this point.
Halo has tremendous leverage as a series, and right now, it's hard to dispute the idea that its impact is best served to help sell the Xbox One. I do believe the plans could change in the future, however.
Phil Spencer has gone on the record to say that Windows gaming forms part of his responsibilities. A big Halo banner would undoubtedly drive users to the Windows Store. I don't think any core PC gamer could glance over the current store's free-to-play laden game area with enthusiasm. We know that Gigantic, Fable Legends and Killer Instinct will all soon arrive on the Windows Store to spearhead Microsoft's renewed interest in PC gaming. Once Halo 5 has finished its initial console-selling push on Xbox One, it seems like bringing Halo's core games to PC will be something worth exploring. For the foreseeable future, though, Halo 5 is firmly a Xbox affair.
What do you think? Would Halo 5 on PC be good for Microsoft? Let us know below, and don't forget to tune into Windows Central around 7 hours from now for our comprehensive Halo 5 review!
Halo 5: Guardians launches exclusively on Xbox One on October 27th, 2015.
Kojima leaves Konami, or does he?!
Earlier in the week, the New Yorker reported that the creator of Metal Gear Solid, Hideo Kojima, had finally left Konami. The news follows months of reported turmoil between Kojima's production company and Konami during the development of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. The New Yorker followed up their piece with a photograph, purporting to show Hideo Kojima at a leaving party, which is supposed to have taken place on October 9th.
Konami, initially refusing to offer a comment, later followed up with a contradicting statement, implying that Kojima is simply on vacation.
..."Currently, Kojima and the development team are finished developing Metal Gear Solid V and are taking a long time off from work. Because the development time for console games is so long and fatigues builds up, it's common for employees to take extended periods of time off when development is finished."...
Hideo Kojima is reported to have a non-compete clause in his contract, essentially meaning he's unable to work in the industry in a way that competes with Konami until after December. Konami has insisted that Metal Gear Solid games will still be made after MGSV, but given the haphazard end product and their treatment of Silent Hill, I'm not sure that's a particularly great idea. Let's hope they prove me (and many other fans) totally wrong.
Quantum Break concerns addressed by Remedy's Thomas Puha
Remedy's time-bending Quantum Break looks utterly incredible, but as someone who feels a tad fatigued by third-person cover shooters, I've had some legitimate concerns. Thankfully, Remedy's PR head Thomas Puha recently took to NeoGAF to discuss the game, putting some of those concerns to rest.
Puha initially discussed concerns about game balance in Quantum Break. The game's main character, Jack Joyce, can manipulate time at will, slipping out of view from enemies as time slows around them, and creating fields of frozen time to trap bullets and assailants alike. During the presentation I saw at Gamescom, the developers did note that balance was an on-going process and that the frequency of the game's time powers had been ramped up to accommodate the trailer length. Puha reiterated the above, adding that Remedy has improved the game's AI, granting enemies will new abilities to counter Jack's time-warping attacks:
..."We get a lot of feedback that it seems Jack is completely overpowered compared to the enemies. I can understand why the trailers give you that impressio[n]. In the Gamescom15 demo (that we have not released online) the enemies are rather static for the simple fact that AI of those enemy types was not very ready at that point. I think it would go without saying that the final game will offer a real challenge."...
..."There are a variety of Monarch enemy types you come up against. Some of them like the Strikers (and the Juggernaut you saw in the bridge sequence) have experimental Chronon technology which levels the playing field as it allows them to warp around as Jack does, and they really do now so, it's nowhere near as easy to kill them."...
..."The players Time Powers have got cooldowns, which in demos were not in place, so of course in the final game, you cannot be Time Stopping all the enemies all the time. Dont worry."...
For those who think Quantum Break seems a little too linear, Puha went on to note that it does in-fact feature exploration and NPC interactions beyond the incessant planting of bullets.
..."Also, some people have commented how there is so much going on during action, all the VXF and such...of course that's not the entire game. There is a lot of just exploring, talking to NPC's and being immersed in the world...rest assured, we got a great balance of action, adventure and time breaking down craziness."...
We're only just hitting the full swing of 2015's insane holiday line-up, and it seems there's already plenty to look forward to in 2016. Are you hyped for Quantum Break?
Quantum Break launches exclusively for Xbox One on April 6th, 2016.
Vivendi muscles in on Ubisoft purchasing a 10.4 percent stake
French media company Vivendi, recently purchased a 6.6 percent stake in Ubisoft, and has since upped it to 10.4 percent according to a Bloomberg report. Notably, Vivendi previously held a controlling share of Activision Blizzard, who bought out Vivendi's stake in 2013 with some controversy, becoming independent in the process. Since the loss of Activision, Vivendi hasn't had a great deal of involvement in the games industry, but they could be looking to change that.
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot described the initial purchase as unwelcome:
..."Our intention is and has always been to remain independent, a value which, for 30 years, has allowed us to innovate, take risks, create beloved franchises for players around the world, and which has helped the company grow into the leader it is today."...
..."We're going to fight to preserve our independence. We should not let this situation - nor any future actions by Vivendi or others - distract us from our goals. Our best defence is to stay focused on what we have always done best - deliver the most original and memorable gaming experiences."...
CEO Yves Guillemot probably has good reason to worry, considering the bad blood between Activision's Bobby Kotick and Vivendi chiefs prior to their split. Regarding the purchase, which also includes a stake in Gameloft, Vivendi noted that they was part of a wider strategy for their sizable content portfolio, which includes Universal Records and DailyMotion.com:
..."These investments are part of a strategic vision of operational convergence between Vivendi's content and platforms on one hand and the Ubisoft and Gameloft productions in video games on the other."...
Guillemot's comments suggesting that Vivendi lacks the expertise to be successful in the video games industry is probably unfair, considering Vivendi Games oversaw World of Warcraft during its most profitable period before Blizzard's merger with Activision (which, also seems to mark the beginning of World of Warcraft's decline). Still, Ubisoft has been nothing short of a roaring success without Vivendi's billion dollar involvement. This story is one to watch.
ICYMI - Some of Windows Central's biggest Xbox articles of the week
- Xbox Live's Eric 'e' Neustadter announces departure from Microsoft
- Review: Fill the post-apocalyptic void with Wasteland 2: Director's Cut for Xbox One and PC
- Smite for Xbox One snags new god, refer a friend system, and much more
- Xbox (beta) for Windows 10 updated with Facebook friend finder and more
- Fallout 4 has gone gold; UK residents can celebrate with Fallout Beer
- Microsoft will reportedly judge Xbox division based on Xbox Live numbers
- Nyko Intercooler for Xbox One review
- Microsoft will reportedly judge Xbox division based on Xbox Live numbers
- Preview: Halo 5 Guardians - Hands on with the first three missions (spoiler free)
- Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Review
New Xbox One game releases for the week ending October 25th, 2015
Adventure Time: Finn and Jake Investigations - Action & Adventure - Vicious Cycle Software
"What time is it? It's time to crack a case! Adventure Time: Finn and Jake Investigations is an all-new, story-driven graphic adventure game. Strange stuff is happening in the Land of Ooo (stranger than usual anyway). Luckily, Finn and Jake are on the case."
Instant Indie Collection: Vol. 2 - Action & Adventure, Puzzle & Trivia, Sports & Recreation - Curve Digital
"Hack, steal and sneak your way around victorian steampunk London in The Swindle, explore space in a quest to rescue 111 scientists caught in the aftermath of the universe's greatest experiment in Nova-111, and throw down your best stunts and tricks to become the ultimate BMX star in Pumped BMX +."
Assassin's Creed® Syndicate - Action & Adventure - Ubisoft
"London, 1868. In the heart of the Industrial Revolution, lead your underworld organization and grow your influence to fight those who exploit the less privileged in the name of progress."
Layers of Fear (Game Preview) - Action & Adventure - Bloober Team
"Layers of Fear is a psychedelic adventure horror game about a madness-engulfed insane painter striving to create the work of his life. You will learn the dark story of his past while gathering carefully crafted personal items that can be found in the game."
FORCED - Action & Adventure - Beta Dwarf
"Forced is a one- to four-player co-op arcade action RPG with puzzle and tactical elements. You are cast as slaves in the toughest fantasy gladiator school of them all, condemned to fight as a gladiator and eventually win your freedom."
Life Is Strange Episode 5 - Action & Adventure - DotNod Entertainment
"Max learns that time is impossible to control as she moves inexorably towards the most agonising decision of her life. Life Is Strange: Polarized is the Season Finale of a five part series that sets out to revolutionise story based choice and consequence games."
Hasbro Family Fun Pack - Card & Board - Ubisoft
"The Hasbro Family Fun Pack includes Monopoly, Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit and Risk all in one compilation! The original games become more fun and interactive than ever on console!."
Overlord: Fellowship of Evil - Action & Adventure - Codemasters
"Step into the warped fantasy world of Overlord: Fellowship of Evil, the dark and twisted Action RPG filled with the series' signature black humour!"
Just Dance® Disney Party 2 - Family & Music - Ubisoft
"Just Dance and Disney are back with Just Dance®: Disney Party 2! Be ready for: ♦ Best songs from this summer's hit movies: Descendants, Teen Beach Movie and Teen Beach 2!"
Just Dance® 2016 - Music - Ubisoft
"Introducing Just Dance 2016 - the newest game from the top-selling franchise - with a brand new way to play! Bust a move to "Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson Ft. Bruno Mars and feel the beat in "All About That Bass" by Meghan Trainor!"
And that's a wrap!
This week I've been soaking up the radioactive glare of Wasteland 2: Director's Cut, hyping myself into madness for Fallout 4. Next week I'm going to write up some of the things Xbox fans can look forward to in 2016, and discuss Microsoft's focus on Xbox Live engagement as a measure of the Xbox division's success.
What have you been playing this week? What do you think of this week's news? Hit the comments!