This Week in Xbox One News - New interviews on Fallout 4 and Halo 5, additional cut content from MGSV and more! (October 11th, 2015)

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

New Xbox One game releases for the week ending October 11th, 2015

Battle Islands (opens in new tab) - 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 (opens in new tab) - 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 (opens in new tab) - 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 (opens in new tab) - 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 (opens in new tab) - 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 (opens in new tab) - 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 (opens in new tab) - 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!

Jez Corden
Managing Editor

Jez Corden is the Managing Editor for 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 caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • I'm excited for Halo 5, particularly Warzone, but I really wish they had just decided to buck industry trends and say, "Nah, we're not doing and we're not doing leveling-up / unlocks. Gameplay is more important". I don't like multiplayer arenas where peopel can start with different weapons and abilities. It creates a princes-versus-paupers maldistribution that turns off most gamers (those who don't have 30 hours a day to sit in their apartments and 'level up').
  • Completely agreed
  • The veteran players, the elite players, those guys don't need any extra help. They practice and play all the time, so they're already really good. It's the people who don't have time to do that all day that need the boost--at the very least, help them by making everything equal for every match. But this new system rewards elite players (and wealthy players) with extra boosts in Warzone. That's like saying to a junior high school kid who only plays H-O-R-S-E with his friends a couple times a month that he now is going to play against NBA players, except their basket is only 3' tall and theirs is the standard 10' one. I guess we'll see how it plays out, but I think it is a missed opportunity. They could've limited it to cosmetic stuff only.
  • First, arena has no levelling or unlocks, req pack rewards are 100% cosmetic. Second, Warzone uses a MOBA-like levelling system for every single match, nobody has an advantage going in to the match, you need to level up to earn the right to use the REQs you have. It's not as bad as you're making out imo
  • REQ Packs are not all cosmetic...
  • On Arena they can only use cosmetic packs on arena!
  • In arena only cosmetic REQ packs are available, it's the pure experience you'd expect
  • I know that Arena mode is free from these imbalance-causing things like REQ packs or level systems; I was just talking about Warzone, which I find more exciting than Arena (Arena is already hard enough for casual players as it is, and Warzone has--had--the potential to be more friendly). Even if that's true that leveling-up systems are not cumulative--that is, they are only in-match and then reset after every match--that seems like is still a problem, as I presume you increase your level in match by playing well--meaning, you've already proven you don't need the help--so it will just further create imbalance in that match by giving the already elite players even more of an advantage. It seems like a weird system, to me. I'm still excited about it and will still give it a fair shot, but if I find that my fears are founded, it will be really disappointing and, I guess, I'll have to slither over to Big Team Battle instead (whenever that releases) and get dominated the old fashion way. (On a side note, the reason I have a problem with Halo's leveling-up system, in general, is because, however it works in Halo 4 on Halo MCC is a joke, and I don't really trust 343i to fix it. I'm a below-average player, but I've got a level of like 17 on Halo 4 in Halo MCC, which consistently pairs me up with really good players for the sole purpose of me serviing as cannon fodder for everyone else; it's not very fun for me, anymore. It used to be fun, back when I was at the Level 5 to Level 10 range, where I could muster a balanced K/D ratio, but now at Level 17 my K/D ratio ranges from 1/5 to 1/10 every match, meaning I clearly don't belong with those caliber of players, yet I've been stuck at Level 17 for months now when I should, in my opinion, have dropped back down to Level 5 or so).
  • I disagree because of all the cool weapons in req packs that feed into the story and give factions boosts in power levels.
  • Flip it. How about the more you play the crappier your player becomes? That'll teach em'
  • I think that would actually be a really interesting optional game mode: a true handicap system that strives to give everyone a chance to succeed. It's kind of like Mario Kart--what makes Mario Kart exciting is that people getting whalloped still have a chance to come back and, at least compete with the elite players, because the elite players get handed banana peels and the perennial losers get blue shells, power bullets, and lightning strikes. It's a lot more fun that sitting down with someone who is clearly way better than everyone else and watching them win by a minute.
  • Looking forward to my next game. I'm cutting back on what I buy. Halo 5 should make the list.
  • We have been playing Star Wars Battlefront preview. OMG. The visuals are amazing and the whole atmosphere with the sound effects and music is so well done.
    Big debate in the house about whether our 10yr old son should be playing it. We especially didn't like the first person view with the gun barrel and sight zoom, so he has been told to play it in 3rd person mode plus a bunch of other rules. Works for us. Even my wife has been watching him play which is nuts I can tell you. Very cinematic.
    Can't wait for the full game.