Welcome to our weekly ICYMI for Xbox news!
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.
Halo 5 design director discusses micro-transactions, the Master Chief Collection's launch issues and more
GameSpot recently caught up with 343i's Kevin Franklin to discuss the imminent Xbox One blockbuster, Halo 5.
343i appear to have learned from Halo: The Master Chief Collection, commiting 'thousands' of players to an intensive year-long beta test for Halo 5. During the interview, Kevin Franklin discussed aspects of Halo 5's multiplayer, including balance, micro-transactions, and eSports.
When asked about MCC's launch issues, GameSpot asked what steps 343i have taken to ensure Halo 5 enjoys a smooth launch, Franklin gave a reassuring response.
..."Our biggest thing is that Halo 5 is built from the ground up for Xbox One. All the technology is really lined up. There's only one network layer, we're not trying to build three to four different games in one. That's given us a huge advantage. We did our beta almost a year ago now, that gave us a whole bunch of time to stress test our servers and make sure everything was running, and work through some problems. Lastly, we have a lot of base skill testing we're doing with thousands of players almost every weekend before launch."...
Discussing Halo 5's Arena, Franklin noted that significant changes have been made based on player feedback. Thrust dodging, sprinting, the ground-pound attack and even the maps themselves have undergone significant changes over the course of the closed beta. Franklin notes that 343i want Halo 5 to live up to Halo 2 and 3's multiplayer legacy, citing League of Legends and Blizzard's internal e-sports leagues as inspiration.
..."We want it to be like Halo 2, Halo 3, really show off the legacy of Halo within Arena. We really had to start that from the ground up. We want to say hey, we want to be an esport. We have built our own esport league--we're really inspired by the way Riot Games, Valve, and Blizzard built their own leagues in-house, so we have our Halo Championship Series we built in-house that is awesome."...
Halo 5 has random item content packs called REQs, which are also purchasable with micro-transactions. Gamers are often (rightly) wary of micro-transactions, which can dilute gameplay and favor players with more money. Franklin offered some reassurances during the interview, reiterating that you can earn everything without paying a dime, and players who spend more won't have an advantage:
..."Everything you can get in the REQ system, you can earn whether you spend money or not. There's no crazy special items that are only going to be reserved for people who spend a lot more money. Also, you get a lot of rewards whether you're playing Arena or Warzone, so you're always going to have a ton of stuff that you'll be able to use. The biggest thing for us the moment we started even talking about this system was that the game has to be balanced. At the end of the day, it's a multiplayer game. It's not a spend-more-to-win game. We wanted to make sure that if you spend a whole ton of money, and you thought you could get five scorpions just because you spent more money; it's not going to work. You're still going to have to earn the right to call these scorpions into the battlefield."...
Be sure to read the full interview on GameSpot over here, it contains a bunch of interesting information on Warzone and Halo 5's development. Halo 5 seems more enticing every day, and the wait is nearly over.
Halo 5 launches on October 27th, 2015 as an Xbox One exclusive.
Pete Hines discusses Fallout 4 and other Bethesda titles in a new interview
Bethesda's Pete Hines recently dropped in with The Examiner to discuss Fallout 4 and various other Bethesda titles. During the interview (which you should check out in full here), Pete Hines talked about industry rumors, annualized franchises, Dishonored, DOOM and of course, Fallout 4.
When asked what he'd like to say about Fallout 4 a year from now, Pete Hines said he simply hoped to deliver on the promises made at E3, earlier this year.
..."Truthfully, I hope to be able to say we ended up delivering on and executing on the promise that we showed in the [E3] showcase. Right? Because that is what the showcase is about: the promise and the possibility of what Fallout 4 could be. If we don't deliver on all of that stuff, then that showcase in a lot of ways was just a waste of time. It was much adieu about nothing if we failed to live up to the potential of what all those games can be. I hope in a year, what we're talking about is "last year was about the potential and wow, look what you guys did. Look how great Fallout 4 was, look how popular DOOM was, what a great reception Dishonored 2 received." That's where I want us to be."...
The Examiner asked whether or not they'd considered re-releasing Skyrim on new gen consoles, or even annualizing their biggest franchises in a way similar to Assassin's Creed and Call of Duty. Pete Hines said that Bethesda simply isn't set up to do this and that the company would rather focus its attention on building something special.
..."It's just not how we are setup; it's not in our DNA. We did Morrowind in 2002 and we could've turned around and done another one right away, but we wanted to wait and do a bigger and better thing with Oblivion. We believe in taking time to do the games right so that when they come out they're special, and you pay attention to them. They are worth following because you didn't just get one last year or the year before, you had to wait a while for another Fallout game, which is part of the reason for all of the excitement, interest, rumors and speculating because people really wanted another one. It's because Bethesda Games Studio did Fallout 3 back in 2008 and seven years is a long time. For us, we do what we feel works well for us and the kind of company we are."...
Bethesda is becoming a publishing powerhouse in its own right, with Arkane on Dishonored, Machine Games on Wolfenstein and id Software on DOOM. The real kicker for Fallout 4 will be quality control. Bethesda games are notorious for shipping with bugs and other anomalies, owing to the dynamism of their engines and the sheer scale and complexity they pack into their titles.
Read the entire interview over here, and be sure to let us know if you're picking up Fallout 4 in the comments below.
Fallout 4 S.P.E.C.I.A.L. series continues with a look at Intelligence
Speaking of Fallout 4, Bethesda released another video detailing the different stats available in their upcoming RPG epic. It appears the Nerd Rage perk is making a comeback, and it seems Intelligence will factor into Fallout 4's certifiably insane crafting system.
Fallout 4 launches on November 11th, 2015, for Xbox One, PC and PS4.
Guard dogs and 'Battle Gear' gameplay tutorial uncovered by Metal Gear Solid V data miners
Data miners are discovering cut content from Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain on an almost weekly basis. The internet has thus far uncovered missing endings, cutscenes, and an entire third chapter (spoilers).
Now data miners have discovered the resolution of the seemingly pointless 'Battle Gear' sub-plot (via GamingBolt).
In MGSV, you can develop a tank-like mech called a Battle Gear, which looks like the missing link between MGS3's Shagohod and MGS1's Metal Gear REX. Throughout the game, you're given minor cutscenes that show the mech in development - once it's finished, however, that's it. The plot ends, and Battle Gear appears only in some of the automated Combat Deployment missions, which allow you to send NPCs out to do computerized battles for resources. Kojima stated in the Collector's Edition that Battle Gear got cut as a playable vehicle because it caused balance issues. However, other equipment items that could be considered 'overpowered' simply limit your mission score, so that argument doesn't seem to make a lot of sense.
Data miners discovered new audio files, one of which is a tutorial for Battle Gear. It's joined by an overview of how guard dogs work - another gameplay feature that was apparently cut, and a missing conversation between Ocelot and Big Boss about Quiet (spoilers).
Content gets cut from games during development for all sorts of reasons, but I'm beginning to feel like these data mined caches of missing elements could form part of MGSV's long-term legacy. What do you guys think?
ICYMI - Some of Windows Central's biggest Xbox articles of the week
- Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows available for pre-order on Amazon for $24.99
- Microsoft teams up with Blizzard to stream BlizzCon 2015 to the Xbox One
- Xbox (beta) for Windows 10 updated with interactive notifications, party text chat, and more
- Rise of the Tomb Raider goes gold for Xbox consoles, more details on Season Pass revealed
- Xbox leader Phil Spencer still wants to regain the trust of former fans
- Battlefield Hardline will join the EA Access Vault on the Xbox One October 14
- Here's a quick look at Cortana on the Xbox One dashboard preview
- Fallout 4 Pip-Boy app will be released for Windows Phone
- Far Cry Primal takes us back to the Stone Age on Xbox One and PC Feb. 23
- Halo 5: Guardians to add Forge map editor sometime in December
New Xbox One game releases for the week ending October 11th, 2015
Battle Islands - Strategy - 505 Games
"It's 1942, and deep in the South Pacific your platoon of crack troops lands on a tropical island, but can you defeat enemy forces and hold your ground to fight another day? You'll need to act quickly in this action-packed, WW2-themed battle strategy game – Control air, sea, and land forces, build your garrison, battle against friends and create powerful allegiances!"
Kaiju Panic - Strategy & Action - Mechabit Ltd
"Kaiju Panic is an Action-Strategy game with a bright and unique art style where you have to rescue survivors and guide them to the safety while defending against the giant monster Kaiju. Take control of the field commander. Build, fight and rescue your way through a wide variety of locations around the world."
Monkey Pirates - Action & Adventure - Henchmen Studio
"In Monkey Pirates you control the boat of one of the four Monkey Captains and you fight regarding different game modes over multiples arenas based on four seas environments (Artic, Caribbean, Egypt and China)."
TRANSFORMERS™: Devastation - Action & Adventure - Platinum Games
"he TRANSFORMERS are back, and this time they're in the hands of acclaimed developer PlatinumGames, who has married their over-the-top brawler action with comic book inspired art to create a TRANSFORMERS game like none other."
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."
Rock Band 4 - Music - Harmonix
"Rock Band 4 delivers the ecstatic rush of a live band performance like never before. The most recent offering from acclaimed music game developer, Harmonix Music Systems, Rock Band 4 allows you to add your personal touch to every performance through innovative features that reward player expression, whether you are playing by yourself or with your band."
Teslapunk - Classics / Shooter - klutzGames
"Teslapunk is a classic 2D shoot-em-up with fast-paced arcade gameplay. You have to defend earth against an invasion from Mars lead by Emperor Zangórax who back on Mars is a popular DJ by night and a frantic invader by day."
And that's a wrap!
This week I've been hitting Star Wars Battlefront's beta pretty hard, which has gotten extended to Oct 13th. I'm finding it enjoyable in short bursts, but I'm not sure whether it's something I'd drop £45 on, especially given its lack of single player campaign and proximity to Halo 5...
How do you guys feel about Star Wars Battlefront's beta? What else have you been playing this week? Let us know below!
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Twitter PWA picks up a simple tweet scheduler in latest update
Twitter's PWA is now showing a tweet scheduler, which was previously only in testing for some users. The feature has long been a part of TweetDeck, but it is now available to anyone using twitter.com or the Twitter progressive web apps, including from the Microsoft Store.
Best Minecraft Dungeons character builds we've found so far
Minecraft Dungeons is a game all about the loot. As such, we thought we'd share some of the endgame builds we're currently using, that might help you get started with your own creations.
Check out these excellent Windows 10 laptops that come with LTE support
Need a quality Windows 10 laptop that can stay connected while on the go? Check out this roundup of the best devices complete with LTE modem.
Best Xbox-themed Pride Accessories
June is LGBT Pride Month, which means that it's time to show your spirit! Check out these awesome Xbox-themed LGBT Pride accessories.