About Author: Nick Santangelo

Nick has been a gamer since the 8-bit days and has been reporting on the games industry since 2011. He is not to be interrupted while questing his way through an RPG or desperately clinging to hope against all reason that his Philly sports teams will win any given game he may be watching. Find Nick Santangelo on Google+ and Twitter.

Posts by Nick Santangelo


Sources: retail Xbox Ones will gain ability to become dev kits this year

Retail Xbox Ones to Become Dev Kits

One of Microsoft’s earliest-announced Xbox One features might finally be added to the console later this year. Citing nebulous “sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans,” The Verge reports that Microsoft will reveal at its April Build developer conference details about its plan to allow developers to turn retail Xbox Ones into studio developer kits (SDKs).

In another developer-friendly (and customer-friendly) move, Microsoft will allow developers to bring cross-platform applications to the Xbox One beginning this summer, the sources claim. Currently restricted to a small group of developers, Xbox app creation would be open to everyone at that time. App developers would also gain the ability to run beta tests before launching.

Existing apps would reportedly continue to run until November, but Microsoft would then begin requiring all apps to be built using the new app SDK. The report also states that Windows 10 will support these apps and bring their approval and store policies more in line with those of the current Windows Store.

If the report is to be believed, then Microsoft will make an SDK preview program and the retail-to-dev-kit switch available in May. The latter is an Xbox One feature that Microsoft first promised all the way back in July of 2013. Last September, however, the console holder said it was reneging on that promise, but it then issued a correction stating that talk of the retail SDK plan’s demise was untrue.

Source: The Verge

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Lizard Squad claims responsbility for yesterday’s Xbox Live attack *updated*

Lizard Squad Hits Xbox Live with DDoS Attack

Update: After our story went live, a Twitter user claiming to be a member of Lizard Squad informed XBLA Fans that the cyber attack on Xbox Live took place between 9:00 and 11:00 pm UTC on Sunday. In a follow-up tweet, he stated that the alleged perpetrators “did manage to fix the lower restrictive server that allowed local play to be revived in a couple of hours.” Our original story is below.

Many gamers, including some XBLA Fans staffers, experienced difficulty playing multiplayer games over Xbox Live last night. If you were one of them, you now know who to blame for your woes.

Lizard Squad, the same collective of nefarious internet users behind attacks that brought Xbox Live to its knees this past holiday, has claimed responsibility for the network problems. In conjunction with the group Like No Other, Lizard Squad apparently hit Xbox Live with another shot from its weapon of choice: a DDoS attack.

Though XBL appears to have since fully recovered from the attack, this may have just been the opening salvo of Lizard Squad’s latest offensive. “More to come, it’s about time to re-ignite lizardsquad,” the group tweeted last night. Gamers may recall that the biggest holiday DDoS attack was preceded by a smaller one.

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Game of Thrones choice data not transferring between episodes for some players

Game of Thrones Xbox One choice data error

Choice is everything in episodic titles from Telltale Games like Game of Thrones. Players make decisions in conversation trees and during action sequences that affect how the remainder of a season will play out. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work.

But for some players of Game of Thrones Episode 2: The Lost Lords, in-game choices aren’t amounting to much. Some copies of The Lost Lords for Xbox One are plagued by an issue preventing players’ choice data from migrating across episodes.

“We are aware of an issue with the Xbox One version of Game of Thrones – Episode 2: The Lost Lords, where customers’ choice data may not carry over correctly from Episode 1,” Telltale wrote on its forums. “We are working to determine the cause and will update here as soon as we have more information to share. We appreciate your patience and want to get you playing with your choices intact as soon as possible.”

That forum post was made on February 4 when the game was released. Today, Telltale posted an update explaining that it had submitted a patch it believes will resolve the issue to Microsoft for certification. The studio estimates this patch will be available within the next seven to 10 days.

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Life is Strange Episode 1: Chrysalis review (Xbox One)

Life is Strange: Chrysalis was developed by Dontnod Entertainment and published on Xbox One and Xbox 360 by Square Enix. It was released January 30, 2015 for $4.99. A copy was provided by Square Enix for review purposes.

Life is Strange Chrysalis review for Xbox One

“It’s like Gone Home,” my roommate tells his curious D&D buddies of the game I’m playing for review. A cursory glance at the screen would lead you to believe that he wasn’t wrong, either. The game in question, Life is Strange: Chrysalis from Dontnod Entertainment and Square Enix, does feature a similar protagonist. Main character Max Caulfield is a young, confused girl looking for answers about the disappearance of another girl. After five years away in Seattle she’s returned to her small hometown of Arcadia Bay, OR to attend a prestigious boarding school. Chrysalis‘ setting puts Max in classes, at the school dormitories and at an old friend’s home. She’s not literally alone like Kaitlin Greenbriar in Gone Home, but as the shy kid in the back of the class, Max often feels like it.

If you stopped reading this review after that first paragraph, no one would blame you for describing Life is Strange as that game that’s “like Gone Home.” The two titles have one big difference, however: Gone Home is about solving puzzles, while Life is Strange is about solving conversations. And whereas video game puzzles usually only have one correct solution, conversations have room for many possible options to carry a game forward.

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Life is Strange review hub

Life is Strange for Xbox One

Welcome to the Life is Strange review hub. Here we’ll collect our reviews for the individual episodes of the series as they are released. Once the series is complete, we’ll update this page to have a full review of the entire season. Check out the reviews for the currently available episode(s) below.

  • Episode 1: Chrysalis — “Life is Strange is about solving conversations.”
  • Episode 2: Out of Time (coming soon)
  • Episode 3: Chaos Theory (coming soon)
  • Episode 4: Dark Room (coming soon)
  • Episode 5: Polarized (coming soon)

Life is Strange is Dontnod Entertainment’s first stab at an episodic game. It tells the story of lead character Max Caulfield reuniting with childhood friend Chloe Price and their investigation of a missing girl in a small Oregon town. Max quickly learns that she somehow has the ability to rewind time and, armed with knowledge from the future of how certain decisions play out, change her past actions.


Take a look at these early Cuphead sketches

Cuphead for ID@Xbox Sketches

StudioMDHR’s Cuphead grabbed a lot of headlines when it was teased as part of Microsoft’s ID@Xbox program during a montage video shown at E3 2014. Since then, however, news on the game has been hard to come by.

Speaking with Game Informer for a feature in the magazine’s latest issue, however, the game’s designers revealed some of the early sketches that were thrown out before the team landed on the final design for its titular character. Co-founder Chad Moldenhauer’s sketches show how he was inspired by numerous famous game characters early in the creative process. But he also tried his hand at a number of designs influenced by random items: a light-bulb-headed drawing made the…well, light bulb go on in Moldenhauer’s head. The sketch made him realize he should try his hand at more inanimate object designs.

“The fifth guy is one of the first Cuphead sketches,” Moldenhauer explains. And if you head over to GI you’ll get a deeper look at the sketchbook, including a number of 1990s-inspired anthropomorphic designs that StudioMDHR decided against because they didn’t fit well into the world the developer is creating.

Cuphead is scheduled for release later in 2015 on Xbox One.

Source: Game Informer


XBLA Fans’ 25 most anticipated games of 2015

Most Anticipated Xbox Games of 2015

You’ve read our picks for the best XBLA and ID@Xbox games of 2014. Now it’s time to look forward with us at what might be the best games of 2015. While fully acknowledging that some of these games likely won’t up to their billing and others may get pushed into 2016, these are the 2015 games that XBLA Fans is currently most looking forward to. If these releases aren’t on your radar yet, they will be after you’re done reading.


Developers: Other Ocean Interactive and The People of the Internet

#IDARB is a particularly interesting game to say we’re anticipating in 2015, seeing as XBLA Fans got our hands on what we were told was the “final” game in December and published our review already. This zany handball-meets-platformer game from Other Ocean Interactive and the fine folks of the internet — many features crowd sourced — isn’t officially out until February, though, when it will be part of the Games with Gold promotion. It’s difficult to explain just what #IDARB is, but it’s easy to recommend that you go play it when it releases next month.

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Ori and the Blind Forest to release on March 11

Ori and the Blind Forest Gets a Release Date

Ori and the Blind Forest will release March 11 on Xbox One for $19.99, developer Moon Studios announced today. The side-scroller will also be made available on PC the same day.

Following its announcement at E3 last year, Ori and the Blind Forest was said to be coming in late in 2014. That didn’t happen, however, as Moon Studios in November announced a delay that it said would afford the development team the time it needed to “add a final layer of polish” to what it hopes “will be an unforgettable gaming experience.”

In conjunction with today’s release date reveal, Moon also gave those looking forward to its game more than five minutes of new footage to watch. Set in the game’s Forlorn Ruins section, the video demonstrates what appear to be two of Ori‘s main hooks: defying gravity while platforming and shooting weaponized bursts of light from a floating orb.

Source: Moon Studios


Rogue Legacy coming to Xbox One this year

Rogue Legacy Is Coming to Xbox One

Rogue Legacy is coming to Xbox One in 2015, developer Cellar Door Games has revealed. In response to a fan question about the rogue-like’s chances of making it to Xbox One, Cellar Door tweeted simply, “It’s coming.”

In case there was any doubt as to the veracity of its tweet, the studio re-confirmed with Polygon and announced that Rogue Legacy would arrive on Microsoft’s console this year. “It’s definitely coming this year,” a representative for the game told the site.

Cellar Door appeared unwilling to further narrow down the release window for the game, stating on Twitter only that it was “coming sometime-ish.”

The game, which Cellar Door refers to as a “genealogical rogue-lite,” originally released on PC in 2013 before making its way to PlayStation 3, 4 and Vita last year. Although players die frequently in the brutally difficult dungeons of Rogue Legacy, they have the chance to take control of deceased characters’ ancestors and set about avenging them.

Sources: Cellar Door Games and Polygon


XBLA Fans’ 2014 Game of the Year awards


It’s January, which means it’s time for XBLA Fans to take a look back at the best and brightest games of the last year.

2014 was a transitional year for the Xbox brand. It was Xbox One’s first full year on the market, and it bore witness to Microsoft going all-in on its complete reversal of the console’s strategy and public image. Redmond distanced its next-gen console from being some sort of multimedia wonderbox as much as possible and did its best to focus on the games. Despite a litany of exciting ID@Xbox game announcements, the program got off to a bit of a slow start, though. Ports and re-releases dominated much of 2014’s ID@Xbox release calendar, and last-gen Xbox Live Arcade releases on Xbox 360 were used to buoy Microsoft’s greater indie library.

If you paid as much attention to ID@Xbox as as XBLA Fans did, though, then you know there were some standout stars even if there was not a terribly high quantity of them. We’ve played the games and cast our votes, and how we present you with our 2014 Game of the Year awards. Don’t like our picks? Fair enough. Head to the comments and make your case for why yours are better.

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