Preview: Blood Bowl II, Farming Simulator 15, and Space Hulk for Xbox One and Windows

Last year, French publisher Focus Home Interactive made its Xbox One debut with stealth fantasy game Styx: Master of Shadows and the investigative adventure Crime & Punishments: Sherlock Holmes. This year, the publisher returns to an even more diverse lineup of games for Xbox One, Windows, and other platforms.

Today we look at three of those upcoming games. Blood Bowl II is a fantasy sports game with a strategic twist. Farming Simulator 15 is just what the name says, an agriculture simulator/tractor driving game. And Space Hulk: Deathwing is a first-person shooter/horror game set in the Space Hulk/Warhammer 40K universe. Read on for detailed impressions and trailers for each game!

Blood Bowl II

Anyone who played games during the 16-bit era probably remembers a classic EA Sports title called Mutant League Football. That game was probably inspired by real life board game Blood Bowl, which depicts a very football-like sport played by human and orc athletes. Blood Bowl actually takes place in a cartoonish version of the Warhammer fantasy universe.

After successfully adapting Blood Bowl for PCs a few years back, developer Cyanide is preparing to launch the sequel Blood Bowl II on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows. Are you ready for some extra rough football?

Unlike most sports titles on the market, Blood Bowl is a turn-based game! You give your players commands such as where to pass or throw the ball and then watch as they perform these actions. Players can learn or start innately with over 70 different RPG-like special abilities that give them an edge during the game.

When it comes time to rough up an opposing player, a die roll decides the outcome of the attack. The attacks can be brutal, injuring our even maiming the losing combatant. All told, it's deliciously different, and should appeal to players who don't enjoy traditional sports games.

Blood Bowl II

Blood Bowl II features an extensive single-player campaign in which players must take control of a famous Blood Bowl team before they became famous. You'll lead the Reikland Reavers from their rookie stage all the way to stardom, and probably crush a pile of skulls along the way.

Cyanide hasn't forgotten the game's multiplayer roots either. Naturally two players can compete on the same console or computer, taking turns just like in the board game. Online gets exciting though. The online mode is persistent, with players and teams gaining experience and leveling up as they play. Players can age and retire, or worse – get killed permanently! Luckily, you can always hire new ones to take their place.

With a fun theme, great graphics and art, a clever mix of strategy and sports gameplay, and the unique, persistent online multiplayer mode, Blood Bowl II should be like no console sports game before it. We'll find out whether it scores the touchdown when it arrives on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows later this Spring. In the meantime, be sure to check out the Blood Bowl website for more gameplay details.

Farming Simulator 15

Swiss developer Giants Software's Farming Simulator series has long held a cult following on PCs. Last year's game made it to Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and even Windows Phone and Windows 8 (YES!). The console and mobile versions certainly have their fans, but until now they have lacked one essential feature of the PC games: online multiplayer.

Thankfully the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions of Farming Simulator 15 will finally include cooperative online farming. Players can team up and drive factors, harvesters, and other agricultural machines to their hearts' content. Seeing as how Faming Simulator is a slow-paced game, the ability to socialize with a friend while working on tasks together should make for a fun and relaxing experience. Sort of like Minecraft but without the survival aspects.

Don't think Farmville when you think Farming Simulator – this game offers a much more comprehensive and interactive farming experience. The game's primary activity is crop production, and that means driving tractors. If you grew up fascinated by tractors and other huge agricultural vehicles, you'd be impressed by how realistically they've been recreated in Farming Simulator 15. They even acquire dirt and mud as you're driving around.

Farming Simulator 15

This year's game boasts a new activity: woodcutting. If the nearby forest encroaches too much on your farming real estate, just chop it down. Tree harvesters, chainsaws, chippers, and trailers will help you acquire wood that can then be sold at market. Other farming activities include raising livestock (cows, sheep, and chickens), economy management, and sales – the same stuff that real life farmers you sometimes hear about on NPR have to do.

Farming Simulator 15 includes several ways to play. You can farm within a new open world, building the biggest and best farm you can imagine. Or visit specific maps such as America and the Nordic map to see how farming conditions differ across the world. Missions will pop up as you play, challenging you to complete specific goals within a set time to earn rewards. You know, relaxing farm game-y stuff.

Historically, the Farming Simulator games have been fairly low budget compared to AAA titles. After all, the market for farming games isn't quite as large as shooting and military games. We can expect the Xbox One game to look and run a little better than last year's Xbox 360 entry, but don't think it will amaze anyone on a technical level.

Farming Simulator is all about the farming experience, the relaxing setting, and especially the tractors and machinery. I don't know about you guys, but I'm eager to hop online with a friend and drive some tractors.

Farming Simulator 15 will "plow its way" onto Xbox One and 360 and PlayStation 3 and 4 on Tuesday, May 19. The Windows version is already available.

  • Farming Simulator 15 – Xbox One – $39.99 – Amazon Link (opens in new tab)
  • Farming Simulator 15 – Xbox 360 – $39.99 – Amazon Link (opens in new tab)
  • Farming Simulator 15 – Windows and Mac – $29.99 – Steam LinkAmazon Link (opens in new tab)

Space Hulk: Deathwing

My first experience with Space Hulk, the Warhammer 40K spin-off, came from an ultra-hard first-person-shooter/strategy game for the 3DO console way back in the nineties. The series recently returned to life in a pair of top-down strategy titles on Steam. And later this year, developer Streum On and Focus Home Interactive will release a brand-new horror-themed FPS called Space Hulk: Deathwing.

The game stars a group of Deathwing Terminators, members of the illustrious Dark Angels. Players take on the role of a Librarian of the Deathwing. The group arrives on a Space Hulk, a massive and labyrinthine derelict ship adrift in space. These ships can contain technological riches, but also great dangers.

Space Hulk: Deathwing

Together the Deathwing will explore the ship's cramped corridors and encounter the Death Angels' greatest foe: the Genestealers. These six-imbed aliens are incredibly deadly, capable of tearing through Terminator armor and flesh alike. Worse, they can convert other species into slaves that produce more Genestealers. If allowed to reach a civilized planet, they can bring it to ruin before it ultimately falls to the Genestealers' Tyranid masters.

Although Space Hulk: Deathwing is a first-person shooter, it still retains some role-playing elements from the original Space Hulk board game. Players will earn Fervor Points from battles. You'll be able to spend these on abilities from four different skill trees. The Deathwings can also find and equip new weapons and armor that will help them survive against the Genestealers.

Of the three games in this preview, Space Hulk: Deathwing is the farthest from completion. It should reach Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows later this year.

Paul Acevedo

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

  • Farming Sim 15 looks interesting honestly. Im not sure what it is about farming games that make them fun and addictive to so many people. I take care of small garden each year, and its fun as well
  • I love it so much and I don't know why. I have purchased the last two on steam and will definitely be buying this for my One.
  • Yeh I played 14 for my WP, but I also like Farmville 2.
  • Mobile is fun, but does not compare to PC (and now Xbox) in any way. The detail and depth is amazing.
  • Yeh, my PC... I've upgraded it to 4GB RAM, 750GB hard drive, but with the 1.3GHz processor, ot still runs pathetically, and it can only be upgraded to 1.6, so my PC doesn't run any kind of games, let alone the developer tools I use to build apps. Once I get a new PC, ill look into all that.
  • I can't wait to drive factors!
  • Yes Warhammer games!!
  • off topic: I write for a site that specialises in Windows games and apps, search 1800ppc.
  • Windows Phone Marketplace
  • Anyone know of a good comments section without off-topic trolls? I don't have a desire for trolls, but do have an Xbox.
  • Its Dark Angels not Death Angels and they are referred to as Terminators, not Deathwings, Deathwing is a Company within an army. I know I'm being picky but this shows whether full research was done or just some highlights. ​
  • Well hello, Comic Book Guy! :)
  • Well he does say teminators and refers to them as Deathwings after that.... because your part of the Deathwings, also they call them that in the books... and if you want to be really picky, original Space hulk called terminator suits Tactical dreadnaught suits...
  • Space Hulk... Again with the roleplaying? Seriously? Choosing weapons and skills isn't roleplaying; interaction with other characters and the development of your own character, physically and mentally... That's roleplaying.
  • Those are elements of role-playing games. They're just not the main elements.
  • Doesn't matter, Tyranids rule!! Lol
  • Wow. I learned something new today. Thanks =). 
  • More games to play :D
  • Yes! Finally, a new 40k game! I know it's not like the Dawn of War series, but this should be really good. Termies are always awesome!
  • Except no Orks. Where's all the dakka?!
  • $40 for a farming sim?!
  • It is a really well built very very in depth game. I will gladly give them 40.
  • How much does yours cost, and what does it do?
  • Never played that type of game. Just thought 40 was a bit high.
  • If you have a PC get it on a Steam sale. =) 
  • Worst defense of something I see on the Internet. As if not having firsthand experience with something means you're too unintelligent to have an opinion. I guess no one can review smartphones without building them either, right?
  • Funny, I don't remember saying anyones intelligence has anyhting to do with it. But, someone with no experience in building it, would have a far less informed idea as to how much it costs to produce, so therefore wouldn't really know what a proper price to sell it for to ensure they turn a profit. 
  • At the same time, that person who didn't make it carries the dollars to potentially buy it, so he has a front-row seat to seeing what a game offers and deciding what its dollar value is. I look at the game and just don't think it offers $40 worth of entertainment to me. Maybe if it hit $20, I'd take a flier on it, but I'm not the target audience. Just because a game was expensive to produce doesn't mean it is a quality title worth the price tag. Look no further than The Order: 1886 on that. Or, look at the fact that Battlefield: Hardline is already down to $40 at Best Buy this week.
  • Again, you're defending against something I didn't say. I never said it was worth $40, I never even said it cost a lot to make. I said that is the price that the company determined they needed to sell it at to recoup costs.You just said it yourself, you're not the target audience. I'm certain that the publisher has plenty of data to predicts how many they are going to sell and at what price so they can determine what to sell it for.
  • Yes, every publisher does that. Games still bomb, movies as well. Research doesn't equal results. The issue I have is still that you threw out a comment that essentially said the guy's opinion is invalid because he's not on the inside. The outside observers are every bit as important, and when people look at a game like this with a quizzical look because of the price tag, it's not a positive.
  • I hate to break it to you, the outside observers aren't all that important. They are gravy sales. When the publisher sees a goal amount of units pushed out and they are satisfied that the sales have slowed down, that's when price drops happen on the sucessful releases. It's how you get the curious, and those who can't afford full price, to get it. Maybe they become a lifelong customer, maybe they don't. Sure, titles in every form of art do poorly for a vast number of reasons, which I won't address as it has nothing to do with this. My point is, if you have no interest in the game, or no knowledge of it, than you really aren't qualified to make a determiniation of the price.
  • Well this conversation got amusing fast. I was only gone for a little bit. Haha.   Anyway, I agree with you, worth is in the eye of the beholder. To me, I take the cost/time spent playing. In my experience with this series of title, I have many, many hours invested. Honestly, probably more than I care to admit. I will get well more than my 40 dollars in value.
  • I played Farming Sim 15 on phone, windows 8 & PC disc version, it was a shame to miss the multiplayer out of the App versions, I might pick it up on the xb1, lets see if theres a demo available
  • Farming Simulator ? Are you serious ? ^^
  • I wish it was more like Sim Farm. I loved that game. But this is an actual sim.  Farmers are cool again. They have that only farmers dating site and a few years of pretty good farm sims ;). 
  • (cue terrible music and off-key singing) "You don't have to be lonely, at!!!!!!!"
  • Do you eat food or just absorb sunshine and survive off vitamin D? Farming Simulator, the developers, the players and real farmers are very serious.
  • A 3rd person perspective for SH would have been nice, but then everyone would call it a GoW clone. In any case, I hope it does stand out and does not fall in the "yeah, it is good" category that Space Marine fell (wich, in my opinion, was a great game)
  • They made a 3rd person space marine game for 360, but it wasn't good. I'm hoping this new one will be better
  • I enjoyed Space Marine, but stopped playing about half way through. Found it too difficult only being able to regain health via executions, which left you wide open to attack from any other orks still around. I might have another go one day because the atmosphere was spot on.
  • Blood Bowl II =D! I am excited about that. Unleash the carnage!
  • Never thought it would happen but I'm excited for Farm Simulator
  • Blood Bowl seems like it'd be pretty sweet. I tried the 2-D version on the browser with my brother-in-law a year or two back, and wasn't very good. Kind of an involved strategy game that didn't have much in the way of a tutorial. Maybe this one will do a better job, and I think the single-player experience will be a good addition to get folks prepped for online play. Given the dearth of titles on the Xbox One over the next few months, I might be compelled to give Blood Bowl a try. I doubt I'll bother with Farming Simulator, though. $40 for it seems like quite the high price tag, though I suppose it works for those actually interested in those more-niche simulators, and the lack of a wide fan base probably begs for a higher per-unit price (as was mentioned with Crimsonland). The trailer could have benfitted from a look at the actual gameplay though, because many are going to be in the dark as to how the title plays, even if going to YouTube can answer those questions quickly. The same applies to Space Hulk, to me, but we seem to have plenty of time before more information needs to be revealed, on the gameplay front. Those kinds of trailers look cool, but I always worry about the actual translation of the world (which looks really cool) to a video game. It's hard to give much of an opinion without a background in the Warhammer universe, so I'll just have to wait and see. Hopefully these are games where previous knowledge of the lore isn't necessary for full understanding of the game. That's a rather eclectic trio of pseudo-strategy ideas coming, though. I'm glad we seem to be getting that kind of varied content for the One, because I've felt the console to be a little lacking of late. Thanks, as always, for a good article on something to look forward to, Paul.
  • I thought mutant football was getting a remake at one point too
  • The creator of Mutant League Football is working on a spiritual successor, yes. It won't play like Blood Bowl II though.
  • Thanks for the update Paul, I am looking forward to the farming SIM!