This Week in Xbox One News: Assassin's Creed Syndicate, Gears of War banning drama, Del Toro laments Silent Hills and more! (May 17 2015)

Welcome to our weekly ICYMI for Xbox news!

Stay tuned to Windows Central for all major Xbox announcements, and check here every Sunday for an ICYMI rundown - in addition to some of the more nuanced news, rumours and talking points.

So without further ado, here's our latest edition of This Week in Xbox One News.

Starting on a positive note, Assassin's Creed Syndicate looks pretty cool

I hate to admit it, but playing Assassin's Creed in industrial revolution era London sounds pretty awesome to this Brit. I still have reservations about the annualization of the series, but Ubisoft seem receptive to criticisms of Assassin's Creed Unity. Syndicate also marks the end of Ubisoft's support for the Xbox 360 and PS3, the studio will henceforth focus only on new gen consoles.

  • You play as twins Evie and Jacob Fyre, as you wrestle with Victorian London's criminal underworld for control.
  • You can switch between both characters in open world play, certain story missions require that you play one or the other.
  • There is no multiplayer mode, as Ubisoft want to take the series 'back to its roots'.
  • You can drive horse and carriages, as well as parkour on them whilst moving, and hide inside them.
  • New toys like the grappling hook allow Jason and Evie to traverse the city more easily than previous protagonists.
  • Victorian era weapons laws mean combat is more close quarters, using smaller weapons that can be concealed.
  • The game is 30% larger than Assassin's Creed Unity.

Assassin's Creed Syndicate will be available on October 30th 2015 for Xbox One and PS4.

Did Microsoft brick Gears of War Beta testers' Xbox Ones? (Spoilers: No)

Some of the larger publications ran stories that those who leaked footage from the practically confirmed Gears of War: Ultimate Edition had suffered their Xbox Ones becoming completely bricked, owing to a leaked memo proclaiming just that. The letter, reportedly sent to the leakers, states that they have violated their NDA agreements and Xbox Live terms and conditions, and that their Xbox Ones would now be unusable.

Alarm spread throughout the community, leading to accusations that the Xbox team included hardware kill-switches into our Xbox One consoles. The whole sorry affair forced Microsoft to make an official statement, which reads to the contrary:

To be clear, if a console is suspended from Xbox Live for a violation of the Terms of Use, it can still be used offline. Microsoft enforcement action does not result in a console becoming unusable. Suspensions for both consoles and accounts are determined by looking at a number of factors. To avoid enforcement action including suspension from the service, users should follow the Xbox Live Terms of Use and Code of Conduct.

I find it hard to feel sorry for the Gears of War: Ultimate Edition leakers, what do you guys think?

Xbox One triumphant in the April sales race, according to NPD

Despite the late-March availability of the PS4 exclusive Bloodborne, the Xbox One managed to emerge victorious in the US April console race, according to the NPD US marketing research agency.

...As the best-selling console in the U.S. in April, fans set record April sales and engagement for Xbox One last month. Xbox One console sales in the U.S. increased 63 percent in April 2015 compared to April 2014 and Xbox Live comparisons showed the number of active global users grew 24 percent. We are grateful to our fans for their passion and support and are looking forward to sharing more on the best game lineup in Xbox history at E3...

It's looking improbable that Sony will have any exclusives titles to compete with the likes of Halo 5, Forza 6 and who knows what else Microsoft have lined up for this holiday season. With the absence of hard cumulative Xbox One sales figures for the US it's hard to judge just how far Microsoft have to go to catch up to the Playstation 4, which has enjoyed a hefty lead so far.

Del Toro mulls the death of Silent Hills as Konami shift to a mobile focus

Speaking with IGN, Silent Hills co-creator Guillermo Del Toro spoke of his disappointment at the hands of Konami and the firms handling of the cancellation.

...Honestly that's what surprised me. It was a sort of scorched earth approach. It was not a gentle and ambiguous cancellation. Hideo and I have been in touch and he knows he would be the only guy I would follow to the ends of the earth on anything. I think if anything can be rescued, I will be more than happy...

Guillermo's comments effectively confirm the rumours that Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima will split from Konami following the completion of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

Perhaps there's a chance Guillermo's comments combined with the fan outcry could rescue Silent Hills? Perhaps not.

Konami's new CEO Hideki Hayakawa was recently quoted describing mobile gaming as 'the future', whilst praising some of the terrible whale-chasing pay-to-win mobile games the studio has put out in recent years.

...Gaming has spread to a number of platforms, but at the end of the day, the platform that is always closest to us, is mobile. Mobile is where the future of gaming lies...

So yeah, your next Metal Gear, Silent Hill and Castlevania games could be free to play, pay to win match-3 Farmville clones, as illustrated by the attached image (by sorrows-chains). Rest in peace Silent Hill.

ICYMI - Some of Windows Central's biggest Xbox articles of the week

New Xbox One game releases for the week ending May 3rd, 2015

Nero - Open World Adventure - Storm in a Teacup

"NERO is a first person adventure game based on puzzle solving and exploration. NERO is a wonderful journey in a magic world where a kid is the key to all locks and the nights aren't as frightening as you think."

Schrödinger's Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark - Platformer - Italic Pig and Team17

"Schrödinger's Cat is a fun, frantic, wacky and colourful puzzle-laden platform game, set in a unique and quirky quantum physics world. There's chaos at the Particle Zoo!"

Lifeless Planet - Open World Adventure - Stage 2 Studios

"While seeking life on a distant planet, an astronaut discovers an abandoned Russian town. He suspects his mission is a hoax until a mysterious young woman saves him from a strange and deadly phenomenon..."

Project CARS - Racer - Slightly Mad Studios

"Guided, tested, and approved by a passionate community of racing fans and real-life drivers, Project CARS represents the next-generation of racing simulation as the ultimate combination of fan desire and developer expertise"

And that's a wrap!

E3 is just a month away from hitting us with a deluge of new game announcements, details and trailers, I'm struggling to keep up with my backlog as is. The Witcher 3 will probably take me from now until then to finish, if I'm lucky. What games have you guys been playing this week?

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!