This Week in Xbox One News - Halo 5's matchmaking, new Fallout 4 trailers & more!

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.

343i detail Halo 5's Arena multiplayer banning and matchmaking systems

Microsoft has been vocal about their intentions for Halo 5 in the eSport space. For the game to gain significant multiplayer traction, they need to ensure its signature competitive aspects are rock-solid. 343i have outlined some of their intents to keep online play balanced and fair while taking action against transgressors.

Arena is intended to be Halo 5's 'pure' multiplayer mode, where players vie for control of power weapon spawns on a level playing field. Micro-purchasable REQ pack power-ups are unavailable in Arena and are instead available in the game's more chaotic Warzone mode.

Competitive Skill Rating (CSR)

In Arena, players will be ranked using a Competitive Skill Rating system. Each rank is split into six tiers, and you can only ascend by winning. By linking it with victories, 343i hope that it'll encourage team play over kill-counts. There are seven ranks in total per playlist, which were renamed to Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, Diamond, Onyx, and Champion following player feedback.

Losing will lower progression between tiers within a rank, but you'll never rank down from losing. When players step into multiplayer for the first time, they'll play a few placement matches that will determine their skill level for Arena matchmaking moving forward.

The final ranks of Onyx and Champion work a little differently. Players in these ranks can see their CSR numerically, and can compare their scores with other players. Only the top 200 players in each playlist will get awarded the accolade of Champion.


Certain playlists are tied to seasons, which reset on a monthly basis. If you play as part of a season, your CSR will be reset each month, and you'll be able to compete against your previous best rankings. Players who participate in Seasonal Arenas will earn cosmetic rewards unique to that particular month.

343i will also use season boundaries to implement patches and balance changes to the game based on telemetry and player feedback.

Match Making

343i prioritises match quality above all else, and Halo 5 will attempt to match you with players of equal skill, based on your CSR. As seen with Killer Instinct, the game will open up to other CSR levels if it cannot find matching players in a timely fashion.

To emphasise Arena's pure competitive nature, all of its matches begin at the start - you cannot join an Arena game in progress. This system could cause problems when players quit team-based games, creating uneven teams. 343i will discourage quitting by issuing temporary bans to people who leave games early (there's no word on the length of these bans). Additionally, XP and REQ points will only deposit once matches have ended. Whether or not these incentives will work remains to be seen - but players who frequently quit games that are in progress will be tracked by Halo 5's full-blown banhammer.


Banning in Halo 5 appears to be an automated progress. The following behaviours will be tracked and measured by the Microsoft Cloud:

  • Quitting matches
  • Betrayals or team killing
  • Idling (AFK)
  • Intentional suicides
  • Excessive disconnects

If players are found to engage repeatedly in negative behaviours listed by 343i, they can be banned entirely from Halo 5's matchmaking system. The length of the ban is determined by the severity of the offenses, and also whether the player has been banned previously. Ban lengths are cumulative, meaning that the more often you get banned, the longer the bans will become, so play nice!

343i seem utterly serious with their intentions to turn Halo 5 into a respected eSport, adding tools for spectators and running a year-long closed multiplayer beta. Halo 5 multiplayer opens up to press later in the week, so stay tuned for our hands-on impressions and Twitch streams moving forward.

Halo 5 launches on October 27th as a Xbox One exclusive.

EA head talks down HD remakes, backwards compatibility

EA's COO Peter Moore recently discussed backwards compatibility and HD remakes with IGN.

On the subject of HD remakes, Peter Moore said that EA prefers to "push forward", and that they simply don't have the time to produce them.

..."It feels like pushing stuff out because you've run out of ideas. [...] Remakes, because of who we are, and this broad portfolio of intellectual property. You add all that together, I don't know where we find the time to do remakes, we're a company that just likes to push forward."...

Peter Moore conceded that HD remakes can be a good source of revenue, this seems to be particularly true for studios like Capcom, who benefitted so heavily from rebuilding Resident Evil that they've now committed to HD remakes as part of their business strategy.

..."For a lot of companies, remakes are a way to drive revenue. It's sub-cost, it's an IP that's there, you can remaster, and that's great. We don't do that here. I don't think that's ever been in our culture."...

Surprisingly, Peter Moore doesn't seem convinced by backwards compatibility either, describing it as something gamers aren't "ever going to use":

..."In the old days, backward compatibility was to convince your mom to buy the new console -- not that you were ever going to use it. Once you got it? Those things went in the drawer, or on eBay."...

Considering the piles of older games sold on Steam on a daily basis, I'd argue he's missing the potential it holds for digital sales on Xbox One, but oh well. Regardless of Moore's assertions, EA games are coming to the Xbox One, as outlined by Phil Spencer back at Gamescom. Still, I would've liked to have seen Mass Effect 1 with a bit of extra polish, what do you think?

Bethesda explains how Agility works in Fallout 4, and tantalises with a live-action trailer

Fallout 4 is almost here, and earlier in the week Bethesda took to YouTube to remind us, launching an awesome live action trailer. In the latest game, you emerge from a Vault-Tec bomb shelter 200 years after a nuclear holocaust. Fallout games are known for their open-ended nature, allowing you to play however you like, and Fallout 4 looks to be no different.

Bethesda has also been publishing videos to detail Fallout 4's S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats system, most recently to explain Agility. In Fallout 4, allocating more points into Agility will allow you to use the V.A.T.S. slow-motion targeting system more frequently, as well as deliver benefits for stealthy characters, evading enemy attacks and improving reload speed. Bethesda have already detailed Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, and Intelligence, meaning there's only Luck left to detail. The wait is almost over!

Fallout 4 launches on November 10th for PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Divinity: Original Sin details console controls ahead of its Xbox One launch

Acclaimed turn-based RPG Divinity: Original Sin is launching on Xbox One very soon, and this latest video details how they've altered its systems for controller play.

Divinity: Original Sin was partially funded by Kickstarter, and promised a return to the golden age of isometric turn-based RPGs, albeit with a modern twist. Judging by the game's Metacritic site and user scores, it seems as though they did a pretty good job. Stay tuned to Windows Central to find out how the Xbox One version stacks up in the coming weeks.

Divinity: Original Sin launches on Xbox One on October 27th, and is already available on PC.

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

New Xbox One game releases for the week ending October 18th, 2015

Bedlam (opens in new tab) - Shooter - RedBedlam

"Pitched as a shooter for those who survived online gaming in the 80s and 90s, Bedlam takes a look through an iconic time in online gaming serving up some authentic gaming nostalgia with up-to-date graphics and gaming features."

Rock 'N Racing Off Road DX (opens in new tab) - Classics, Racing & Flying, Sports & Recreation - EnjoyUp Games

"Get ready to enjoy Off Road races with your friends and family! Rock'N Racing Off Road DX offers the most entertaining and exciting races, with loads of skids, crashes and amazing jumps. You will have several modes of play, such as Cup mode, time trial and multiplayer with the option of up to 8 Players at a time."

Crimsonland (opens in new tab) - Shooter - 10tons Studio

"Thousands of aliens, mutant lizards, giant spiders and more are on the attack - can you survive the onslaught? Crimsonland is a top-down dual stick shooter where the screen is filled with literally hundreds of enemies."

Laserlife (opens in new tab) - Music - Choice Provisions

"Do our memories die with us, or do they live on somewhere, waiting to be discovered? Somewhere in the cosmos, the body of a long dead astronaut floats alone through space. A strange presence with the power to rebuild memories and relive lives attempts to stitch together a human's past."

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."

Back to the Future: The Game (opens in new tab) - Action & Adventure - Telltale Games

"Six months after Back to the Future Part III, the DeLorean time machine mysteriously returns to Hill Valley – driverless! Marty McFly must once again go back in time, or else the space-time continuum will be forever unraveled!"

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."

Goosebumps: The Game (opens in new tab) - Action & Adventure - WayForward

"The walk home from school today is going to be a lot spookier than usual… Your sleepy neighborhood's been overrun by monsters! Werewolves prowl the woods, Gnomes roam underfoot, and scarecrows walk at midnight."

Minecraft: Story Mode - Episode 1: The Order of the Stone (opens in new tab) - Action & Adventure - Telltale Games

"THE ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME IN THE WORLD OF MINECRAFT As Jesse, you'll embark on a perilous adventure across the Overworld, through the Nether, to the End, and beyond. You and your friends revere the legendary Order of the Stone: Warrior, Redstone Engineer, Griefer, and Architect; slayers of the Ender Dragon."

WRC 5 FIA World Rally Championship (opens in new tab) - Racing & Flying - Kylotonn Racing Games

"WRC 5: the best rally simulation. Find all the cars, all the drivers and all the official rallies of the 2015 FIA World Rally Championship in THE racing simulation standard."

Wasteland 2: Director's Cut (opens in new tab) - Role Playing & Strategy - InXile Entertainment

"From the Producer of the original Fallout comes Wasteland 2, the sequel to the first-ever post-apocalyptic computer RPG. The Wasteland's hellish landscape is waiting for you to make your mark... or die trying. With over 80 hours of gameplay, you will deck out your Desert Ranger squad with the most devastating weaponry this side of the fallout zone, test the limits of your strategy skills, and bring justice to the wasteland."

The Jackbox Party Pack 2 (opens in new tab) - Family, Puzzle & Trivia, Social - Jackbox Games

"The sequel to the party game phenomenon The Jackbox Party Pack, featuring FIVE fresh, rib-tickling party games! Games include: 1) The runaway hit bluffing game Fibbage 2 (2-8 players) with over 500 brand-new questions, more than 2x the original."

And that's a wrap!

This week I've been wholly immersed in the bleak world of Wasteland 2: Director's Cut for Xbox One - a game I wasn't sure I'd like but I have since become hopelessly addicted. We're also planning some extensive Halo 5 coverage over the next few weeks, so keep Windows Central in your cross-hairs for all the latest and greatest.

What have you guys been playing this week? What's piqued your interest from this week's Xbox One news? Kick off discussions below!

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

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

  • Not to fond of how Halo 5 matchmaking and rankings will work. Only making wins matter ignores actual skill, and not replacing people who quit near the start of the game means you punish four people because one quit. Put together, it sounds like playing without a full group of friends will suck.
  • TITLE NOT FOUND again for all of the links in the video section. Fix pls.
  • We have a new app on the way, there's no problems with the links that I can see on my end, but I'll ask tech to take a look.
  • Tried the forums ages ago but to no avail :( thanks for a response! I can send screenshots if needed but I know plenty of other people are having the same error.
  • Agreed. This new CSR system doesn't sound like it fixes the problems with the rankings in Halo 4 on Halo MCC. 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 (and this CSR system described above implies they have, perhaps, exacerbated it). I'm a below-average player, but I've got a level of 18 on Halo 4 in Halo MCC, which consistently pairs me up with really good players for the sole purpose of me serving 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 18 my K/D is like 1/10 every match, meaning I clearly don't belong with those caliber of players, yet I've been stuck at Level 18 for months now when I should, in my opinion, have dropped back down to Level 5 or so. Making the CSR based on wins only while completely ignoring players' performances in those games is stupid. It should heavily factor in K/D ratios as well. It sounds like the same problem will exist: mediocre players like me will get carried by their teammates into ranks where they don't belong, and then they'll forever be stuck in those ranks, getting annihilated with like a 1/10 K/D ratio. Not fun. Bad decision by 343i.
  • Basically, they make it too east to climb the rankings. I'm at 24 or 25 myself, though I'd be higher if I played consistently and with friends. My KD's around 1.25 at the moment, though it was closer to 1.35 when I played regularly. Going up to higher ranks and playing against a lot of teams in a party hurt me because I almost always play solo. It's a hard thing to balance, though. Playing well doesn't equate to being a good player. I've been with crappy people who basically abandoned their teammates, snuck kills off of people after the other team wiped the rest of the team out, and had a decent spread at the end because he played a team game like a loner and hung everyone out to dry. On the other hand, trying to carry a bunch of trash to the finish line and losing because no one else can have a positive K-D shouldn't be punished the same as if you're the person dragging the team down. Not sure how you balance it well, but this isn't the answer.
  • You miss some things with your explanations:
    Objective players would get a very low rank because their KD won't be as good as the one of a main slayer. However the objective player is still a very important part of the team. Same goes with rather supportive players.
    Secondly, and more importantly, if you loose because of bad teammates. This is probably why they changed it in the first place. Not everyone manages to get a full team of halo players all the time. The problem you are facing is more probably because of the lack of players. 343i screwed up big time at the beginning with the MCC not working, leaving many players boycotting the game. While I do not have actual numbers, I imagine that there are not too many people playing the MCC. Therefore the game is having troubles finding evenly matched players at a reasonable time (see Halo 3 which had a very sophisticated matching system and it took ages to find new games at the end if its lifespan). I recommend you playing unranked playlists where people normally are not trying that hard. This might be better to get better, if you want to get better that is (idk, maybe you are just playing sporadic and for fun). Also find someone good to show you some of the tricks. The rest comes down to aim and that only comes with playing a lot.
  • You sound like one of the douche bags that quits when losing.
  • Nope, not really. The only time I quit a match is if, in that 5-v-5 game, at least 2 of my teammates have quit, and it has turned into just being spawn killed by a group of enemies. At that point, it's not even playing the game anymore, so I'll leave. Otherwise, I stay through to the end. I'd say my quitting percentage is less than 5%, maybe less than 1%.
  • What's "ado" and why wouldn't we want more of it?
  • It's the secret ingredient in kfc chicken
  • Dictionary: ado
  • "it feels like pushing stuff out because you've run out of ideas." Like EA hasn't already.
  • It could be seen as a bit rich considering they took Visceral off Dead Space so they could make Battlefield spin-offs.
  • EA is the worst ...
  • I'm surprised EA being the money grabbing buggers they are, aren't all over HD re-makes/re-masters. Especially when I last looked they have quite a few titles HD re-make/re-master fans would live to replay or discover
  • They might be restrained by the windows 10 update for xbox one and backwards compatibility.
  • Not sure outright banning people is a great solution. There will be a lot of backlash when someone gets auto-banned from a false positive, and can't play the game they paid for anymore. Seems like it would be much better to just kick those people down to a "cheaters" bracket and let them grief each other all they want, and if you play nice you can work your way back out of it.
  • They're not permanent bans, also it's only for repeat offenses, false positives are hard to build up with this system (hopefully). We'll have to wait and see how it pans out in practice.
  • Ea already do remakes they are called fifa xx, nba live xx etc etc. Lol
  • Good point. I was also surprised by his dig at backwards compatibility. I think it has a huge potential for increased game sales. I for one never owned an Xbox 360 and already have about 15 games lined up that I will be purchasing to play on Xbox One as soon as they become available. Maybe people like me are rare and such sales won't amount to a lot, but when you as the publisher literally have to do nothing but still get these opportunities of increased sales, you would think you would publicly be praising what Microsoft has just done for your rather than dismissing it as irrelevant.
  • Haha :D
  • Is this the same Peter Moore who killed the Dreamcast.
  • In a parallel universe, I'm playing my Dreamcast 3 right now.
  • Looking forward to Halo 5. Minecraft Story Mode was great, quite funny. Jackbox Party Pack, wish it included Drawful expansion, was super fun to play but you get repeat questions and that takes some fun out of it.
  • I can understand bans from highly competitive leagues. I hope that it's much harder for an automatic ban in the more recreational games. Some people play just for fun.
  • The thing is: Quitting ruins the fun for everyone else, since you're going to have a hard time playing against a team with more players in halo. In most other more competitive games you also have harsh penalties for quitting. Like in CS:GO or LoL. I hope they'll enable the ability for other players to join the match as long as it is unranked.
  • Ok this game is garbage allready....your telling me youll ban me for leaving a game early? FUCK YOU.
  • Finally it is that way! Quitters ruin all the fun fir everyone else on their team. Only because they are not manly enough to take a beating from time to time or because they are not capable of proper time-management. (seriously, when I know that I have to go in 5 minutes, then I won't start another match ... people ...)
  • Halo matchmaking used to be about skill in H3, halo Reach and Halo 4 when both ways by mixing up this system and replacing it with global experience, any player who was a high rank could be humiliated by a low rank, I say 343 should bring back the old Halo 3 rank system instead.
  • It is the halo 3 system. And there are numbers between ranks. Which you can go down on. Say there's 30 levels between ranks. If your gold level 20 you can still go all the way back to gold level 1. Just not down further. This is halo 3 but perfected. Love it.
  • The matchmaking sounds perfect. I like the idea if being able to go down in value on the rank your on but not drop lower than the rank your on. Basically a better halo 3 model. Awesome.
  • The irony of EA claiming that HD remakes are nothing but a cheap way of making money, is hysterical. The company that is systematically ruining the games industry through micro-transactions and watering down EVERY IP they get their hands on by turning them all into the same generic action game, is trying to appear like it cares about quality as opposed to money. Then, if that's not bad enough, he dismisses backwards compatibility for the same reason - just think about that. That's how little EA thinks of its own products. Peter Moore thinks EA's back catalogue of games are something no one is interested in, something that will just be 'put in a drawer'. THAT'S the attitude these people have about their own games that they output. It's sickening. And no, Peter Moore - some of us actually CARE about games. Some of us would actually LOVE to play Dead Space or Mass Effect on a new system, with superior graphics. Stop trying to appear like you're about 'moving forward', when all it really is is you don't care enough about your existing games or their fans. You are a cancer on the video games industry systematically destroying everything in the way of art. I hope Peter Moore finds a lump.