Welcome to our weekly ICYMI for Xbox news!
This week we're looking at comments on background music for Xbox One, Xbox controller button remapping, Mass Effect Andromeda updates, Halo 5 vehicle designs 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.
Phil Spencer comments on Xbox One background music functionality, Xbox Live disruption
It's been a busy week for Xbox news. Microsoft unveiled a ton of holiday bundles. We got a slick new trailer for Halo 5 Guardians and the Xbox division snapped up Havok, a popular physics middleware developer.
It hasn't all been good news, though. Xbox Live suffered some considerable disruptions this past week, neutering Xbox Ones around the globe and blocking access to services like Groove Music.
Phil Spencer fielded questions on Twitter about the outage, noting that the disruption hurts consumer's trust of the Xbox platform.
..."We have to earn the trust, each day, and I know service disruptions hurts that trust."...
Prominent Microsoft watcher Tom Warren complained about the way Xbox Live is required to use non-Xbox services like Netflix, Phil Spencer agreed that the functionality could be improved.
..."I think you are right. The dependencies between the services needs to be minimized."...
I suspect a lot of these issues are to do with the fact the Xbox One used to be a connected console. Since removing the requirements of Kinect and a permanent internet connection, various systems and features have been retrofitted, such as freeing up system resources previously reserved for Kinect. With the new dashboard update, Microsoft should be able to address some of these archaic problems more easily.
The Xboss also discussed the upcoming background music implementation, which rides high on the list of requested features.
..."This one is just a prioritization thing with other work. We like the feature."...
Microsoft has previously noted that the upcoming dashboard update would lay the groundwork for background music, so the wait will likely be over sooner rather than later.
Button remapping is coming to all Xbox One controllers, not just the Elite Controller
One of the signature features of the Xbox One Elite Controller is the fact it has additional buttons, and will ship with a Windows 10 app allowing for button remapping. A concerned fan asked platform chief, Mike Ybarra, why button remapping would be limited to a 'premium' device. Ybarra replied that the feature would be coming to all Xbox One controllers, not just the Xbox One Elite Controller.
..."It's coming for all controllers soon."...
I'll be particularly happy to use this feature with Mad Max, which has some pretty awkward control schemes. Button remapping will also go a step towards maximizing accessibility for users who suffer from certain disabilities. Stay tuned for updates.
Check out these updated Halo 5 vehicle designs
..."The new generation of Ghosts feature a sleek biomimetic carapace wrapped over the latest boosted-gravity drive components. The T-54 RAV offers a greater level of protection and higher performance to give operators an edge during ground engagements."...
As the Halo universe expands, so does the depth of its lore. While we're not at official vehicle schematics like Star Wars yet, we certainly seem to be heading in that direction!
Halo 5 Guardians TV Trailer
Speaking of Halo - if you haven't checked it out already, here's the Halo 5 Guardians TV trailer, originally slated for a debut during an ad break for The Walking Dead this week. The trailer leaked prematurely, forcing Microsoft to launch it on their YouTube channel. The trailer confirms that the previous teaser was simply propaganda, ONI (the Office of Naval Intelligence) are concerned that the Master Chief has gone rogue, and are sending in Spartan Locke and his team to bring him in.
Halo 5 certainly looks like it's shaping up nicely, and it launches on October 27th as a Xbox One exclusive.
Mass Effect Andromeda improved since E3 reveal, new info landing during the winter
The Bioware team spend a fairly significant amount of time teasing fans on Twitter about the upcoming space epic Mass Effect Andromeda. As its name suggests, the next Mass Effect takes place in the Andromeda galaxy, placing you in a team of explorers tasked with expanding our knowledge of the universe. Planetary landings are said to return, along with vehicular exploration akin to Mass Effect 1.
Bioware's Chris Wynn took to Twitter recently to say that more recent builds are an improvement over what we saw at E3 (embedded above). He also reiterated that the E3 teaser was indeed in-engine, and wasn't a conceptual pre-render as some had suspected.
..."Spending a lot of time in the latest Mass Effect Andromeda build. Looking better than what we showed in the E3 teaser."...
Studio director Yannick Roy also hinted that new information on Mass Effect Andromeda would arrive around winter time. Morsels of Mass Effect Andromeda info would be a welcome Christmas gift in this household.
..."Like squirrels do with nuts, we're hoarding them for winter. Is that stupid enough, Mike? ;)"...
Square Enix cancels Deus Ex Mankind Divided's controversial pre-order program
Pre-order incentives are a sensitive topic at the best of times, but Square Enix managed to pour gasoline on the issue with their convoluted pre-order program for Deus Ex Mankind Divided.
The "Augment Your Pre-order" program allowed gamers to select which pre-order incentives they'd receive, rewarding more DLC if higher numbers of pre-orders were achieved. The backlash was considerable, as gamers felt they were being encouraged to persuade other fans to pre-order the game on Square Enix's behalf. The final reward would've pushed the game's launch date ahead by 4 days.
Square Enix realised the error of their ways, and has decided to open up all the game's DLC incentives to anyone who pre-orders or buys the Day One edition. The game will now launch on February 23rd, 2016. Fans who have already pre-ordered will receive the benefits outlined above instead.
..."At both Square Enix and Eidos-Montréal, we've been listening to everything you've had to say about the Augment Your Pre-Order program. When it was first conceived, we wanted the program to give you more choice about what you received in terms of pre-order incentives - because we've seen in the past that when we choose those packages ourselves, and split them across regions, it has caused frustration. We quickly noticed that this approach created even more frustration than before, resulting in a resounding amount of negative feedback."...
..."We've spent a lot of time reading through all of your comments, working to understand how we can try to make things right for you. After much thought and reflection, we decided to close down the program and make all of the incentive content available to anyone who pre-orders Deus Ex: Mankind Divided or purchases a Day 1 edition of the game. Additionally, the release date will no longer be changed in accordance with pre-order numbers, and everyone will gain access to the game on February 23rd, 2016."...
Read the full statement over here.
Fallout 4 details Charisma, game development in new videos
Fallout 4 is coming to irradiate our Xbox Ones and PCs on November 11th, and the hype train is showing no signs of stalling. Bethesda are preparing prospective wasteland wanderers with a series of videos designed to educate us on the game's updated systems.
In the latest S.P.E.C.I.A.L. series video (embedded above), Bethesda describes how players with high Charisma stats can manipulate other characters in the game, and even stave off the effects of addictive substances.
Bethesda also discussed Fallout 4's development at length in an interview which took place around their E3 presentation. Parts of the dev team who have completed their tasks have since moved on to play testing, with one emphasising that he's been playing for 400 hours and still hasn't seen everything in the game. Lead developer Todd Howard remarked that Fallout 4 is so huge, that even he hasn't seen everything the game has to offer:
..."You'd think that I would know everything in the game, I actually don't. We have a studio that's worked together for a long time - I know most of the stuff in the game. I'll be playing the game and run into something and be like, 'who built this? what is this?' because [Fallout 4] is so big."...
ICYMI - Some of Windows Central's biggest Xbox articles of the week
- Cortana is coming to Xbox One in 2016, preview users to get it later this year
- New Halo 5: Guardians trailer leaks ahead of planned Oct. 4 reveal
- Xbox (beta) for Windows 10 updated with interactive notifications, party text chat, and more
- Get hyped for Halo 5: Guardians with these Master Chief wallpapers
- Rise of the Tomb Raider Xbox One Season Pass confirmed by Amazon listing
- Microsoft acquires in-game physics developer Havok from Intel
- Xbox One 1TB Fallout 4 bundle will include Fallout 3 and 4 for $399
- Hands-on impressions with the latest demo build of Star Wars Battlefront, coming soon to Xbox One & PC
- Smite for Xbox One picks up a new god, skins, and more in latest update
- Rise of the Tomb Raider first hands-on impressions
New Xbox One game releases for the week ending October 4th, 2015
Polychromatic - Shooter / Action Adventure - Brushfire Games
"Polychromatic is a physics-based arcade shooter with a pop of color. Take on waves of enemies in multiple game modes while competing for a top spot in the leaderboards against your friends or the entire Xbox Live community."
The Escapists: The Walking Dead - Strategy & Simulation - Team 17 Digital Ltd.
"Merging the award-winning, smash-hit, indie game The Escapists with the worldwide phenomenon that is The Walking Dead, comes The Escapists: The Walking Dead. In this unique game, recreated entirely in the charming 8-bit pixel art style of The Escapists, you play as Rick Grimes as he takes on hordes of zombies let loose upon the world."
Orbit - Shooter - 4Bit Games
"Warning: ORBIT is a local multiplayer only game. No single player or online is available. Anyway it's a totally nuts game, grab some friends and try it on! Maneuver your ship between planets at breakneck speeds and take gravity into account as you crush your competitors with an epic spaceship arsenal."
Standpoint - Platformer - Unruly Attractions
"A labyrinth fades into view; a space you control but that holds you. Completely lost with nowhere else you could be. Standpoint is a first-person puzzle platformer where the player possesses the ability to change the orientation of the world."
Toto Temple Deluxe - Family / Platformer - Juicy Beast Studio
"Toto Temple Deluxe is a fast-paced, local-multiplayer king-of-the-hill style game in which players must steal an egg-laying goat from their friends and try to keep it on their own head for as long as possible. You know, normal stuff. Infinitely dash in any direction to swiftly move around and powerfully headbutt the goat carrier to steal its four-legged booty."
EA SPORTS™ NBA LIVE 16 - Sports & Recreation - EA Sports
"Rooted in self-expression, NBA LIVE 16 takes player customization to another level. Whether it's how you look or play, your entire journey is all about you. Put yourself in the action with an all-new, easy-to-use HD face scanning app, GameFaceHD and outfit your player with the freshest gear before you even hit the court."
NBA 2K16 - Sports & Recreation - 2K Games
"The NBA 2K franchise is back with the most true-to-life NBA experience to date with NBA 2K16. Featuring an all-new MyCAREER experience written, directed and produced by acclaimed filmmaker Spike Lee. Guide your MyPLAYER through the complete NBA journey, take control of an entire NBA franchise, or hone your skills online competing against gamers from around the world."
Tony Hawk's® Pro Skater™ 5 - Sports & Recreation - Activision
"Drop in & out of parks & rip with your friends! Tony Hawk's® Pro Skater™ 5 offers a fresh take on combo-driven skateboarding, the most advanced online multiplayer experience, and a state-of-the-art skatepark builder. Ride, build, and repeat!"
And that's a wrap!
I've barely touched my Xbox One this week, but I've been playing an awesome indie shooter called Guns, Gore and Cannoli which I'm hoping to write about some time in the near future.
What have you guys been playing this week? Any thoughts on this week's news? Let me know below!