About Author: Steve Melton

Description
Steve is an Indiana native with a degree in Computer Information Systems and a background in technical writing. He has also written for the newspapers and other periodicals at the schools he attended. A gamer for over 20 years, Steve finds that Xbox Live Arcade is the perfect fit for most of his gaming needs; classic gameplay at a bargain price.

Posts by Steve Melton

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Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate leaps from handheld to XBLA in April

Batman-Arkham-Origins-Blackgate-Deluxe-Edition

Batman: Arkham Origins: Blackgate, the handheld companion game to Batman: Arkham Origins will soon make the jump to the Xbox 360. Subtitled Deluxe Edition, the new Metroid-esque, 2.5D brawler will retain the gameplay of it’s less deluxe parent, but will improve on visuals and adds Dolby 5.1 surround sound. Console players can also unlock a Zero Year Batman suit by signing into (or registering for) their Warner Bros ID account. The Armature studio title feature motion comic-styled cutscenes and a fully voiced narrative. The game arrives April 1, 2014 and will retail for USD 19.99. No word yet on whether any cross-unlocks will occur between the original Origins and Blackgate. Hit the jump for a trailer, additional screenshots, and the press release.

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Assassin’s Creed: Liberation review

Assassin’s Creed Liberation HD was developed by Ubisoft Sofia and published by Ubisoft. It was released January 15, 2014 on Xbox Live Arcade for $19.99. A retail copy purchased by XBLA Fans was used for review purposes.

Assassin’s-Creed-Liberation-HD-1

The Assassin’s Creed series is like an addition. Once you play one, you have this inner compulsion to play them all. It doesn’t matter which game got you hooked, you find yourself needing to complete them all. The polished gameplay and incredibly engaging story of this saga keeps you coming back, even though with each installment you say “I don’t think I can do another one”.

Yet you do. With each game you tell yourself you can put the controller down, but each time you play the next installment. But one game was out of many people’s hands. Assassin’s Creed: Liberation was originally released in October 2012 as a PlayStation Vita exclusive. But most of us didn’t own a Vita. We played our games on a 360, a PlayStation 3, or a Windows PC. The Vita was just too darn expensive to merit the price.

But 2014 brings Liberation to current gen systems in a big way. Finally everyone can experience the story of Aveline, set in the Louisiana swamplands. And brother, it is glorious.

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XBLA’s Most Wanted: Iron Man 3

iron_man_3_coverGames tied to movies have a history of being terrible. They often have rushed development cycles, and most are so tightly linked to the movie that it’s impossible for the developer to have any sort of real freedom during their creation. Sure, sometimes we get an instant classic, and once or twice we’ve been blessed with a genre changer like Spider-Man 2. But let’s be honest, it’s a rare thing when one actually lives up to player expectations.  Developers like High Moon Studios can’t even take their amazing work on the Transformers: Cybertron games and translate that into a good movie title.

Given all this it’s not surprising that publishers are looking for ways to continue to cash in without breaking their development budget. We’ve seen attempts to bring games to Xbox LIVE Arcade, most with poor results. Games like R.I.P.D. and The Expendables 2 are ho-hum on their best day. But smart movie studios have gone mobile. Android and iOS developing giant Gameloft, who were initially known for their console clones N.O.V.A. (Halo) and Modern Combat (Call of Duty), have struck gaming gold with movie tie-ins. By breaking down gameplay to core ingredients they’ve seen success with both Despicable Me 2: Minion Rush and Iron Man 3: The Official Game. Both may be “just” endless runners, yet somehow both are also en..dless fun. And we think Iron Man 3 could be just as fun on the 360.

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Refurbish your 360 part 1: The greatest custom Xbox 360s ever made

ironman 360 case

Let’s be honest here. You love your 360. It’s your baby. But after years of use that white casing is looking more yellow than white. It’s got dings, scratches and that little USB door doesn’t close any more. But under the skin she’s just as good as ever. So maybe it’s time to breathe some new life into the old girl. But since it’s long out of warranty why not splurge and create that 360 you’ve always wanted? Today we present you with the first in a multi-part series on making that old console look new again. We’re going to inspire you by starting with some of the greatest custom 360s ever made. Some are merely case mods, some are so extreme as to turn the console into an on-the-go laptop.

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Behind the scenes with Castle of Illusion

In March of this year rumors of an enhanced remake of the 1990 Sega/Disney sleeper hit Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse began to surface. A month later it was all but confirmed that the remake was indeed real via digital box art and a short teaser trailer. The box art was hastily removed from Xbox.com until the official announcement was made shortly thereafter. And now we get our first look into just what makes this remake tick. The developers have hired Emiko Yamamoto, director of the original game, as an advisor for the enhanced remake. Additionally, the video delves into what sort of licenses they chose to take given the updated technology of our day. No firm date has been set, but the magic 8-ball points to some time in Q3 2013.

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Scourge: Outbreak released

The cooperative action-shooter Scourge: Outbreak was released today. It’s a third person cover shooter with online cooperative and competitive modes. From what we know of the game it’s like an XBLA-priced Gears of War, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Coverage of the game is limited across the web, so we’d recommend trying the trial before dropping 800 MSP on the game.

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Don Mattrick leaves Microsoft

don mattrick

Yesterday it was announced that Don Mattrick, president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business division, would be leaving the company to pursue a career as CEO of social games giant Zynga. The news comes less than two months after the reveal of the Xbox One. Mattrick joined Microsoft in 2007 following his retirement from Electronic Arts in 2006. During his time at Microsoft Xbox LIVE memberships increased 800%, from 6 to 48 million, respectively. The Xbox 360 install base also saw a similar leap, jumping from 10 to 76 million in six years. Mattrick was also influential in the launch of Kinect, which has sold over 24 million units despite mixed feelings from consumers. Microsoft chief executive officer Steve Ballmer will temporarily handle Mattrick’s duties as no successor has been announced.

But with all of this one can’t help but why Mattrick chose now to jump ship. It’s no secret that the reveal of the Xbox One and its original DRM policies have been a public relations nightmare, but on the inverse moves like this are often months in the works. Perhaps Mattrick simply felt his work was done and saw opportunities elsewhere. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Microsoft

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Rumor: Microsoft no longer charging devs for patches

Microsoft Xbox

According to multiple sources reporting to Eurogamer, Microsoft is no longer charging developers for title updates. Eurogamer reports that the change came quietly earlier this year. Previously reports were that the first patch was free, with remaining updates being charged. Reports are that the reasons for charging were two fold: first, that it helped to pay for the certification process, which ensures the patch works properly and does not contain anything to harm your console, and second that it kept excessive patches from being released–in layman’s terms that simply means that players wouldn’t be prompted to update a game once a week.

In February of last year Double Fine’s Tim Schafer cited a 40,000 dollar cost to update their games, something that the internet ran with and took out of context. The Behemoth’s Dan Paladin clarified costs in the comments section of are recent feature we published on indies and their relationship with Microsoft:

The $40,000 number for title updates was originally brought up by Tim Schafer and later misconstrued over time as the flat fee for every single 3rd party developer. However, having to pay over 50 employees was factored in for the amount it would take the studio to produce and test their changes. Later it was perpetuated inaccurately by others whose team sizes were in the single digits, so it’s a bit misleading as the fee’s sum. I don’t know what my limits are on discussing this area any further, but I just wanted to point that out since it was brought up!

It’s not surprising that a patch can be expensive for both a developer and Microsoft. For the developer, they need to pay everyone involved for their time in completing the patch, and depending on the team size and depth of the problem, that can get expensive. It’s no surprise that between internal costs incurred and what Microsoft charged that Schafer’s rather large company would shell out more. Regardless things may be significantly less expensive now if Microsoft’s certification charge is no more. And while we could see new patches for games that have needed them for some time, remember that even such a patch still costs the developer money, and there is no return on a patch–it serves to keep fans loyal, but goodwill only goes so far in a business.

Source: Eurogamer

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Trials Tuesday – Episode 16

Full Disclosure: RedLynx now sponsors Trials Tuesday each week, allowing us to bring you even more tracks in a new cleaner format.

Today it’s all about randomness. Aside from the one RedLynx pick featured every track was found today, and all in one play session. It’s proof positive that no matter when you sign into Trials Evolution you’ll always be able to find some great tracks to go for a ride on.

To download these tracks enter Track Central, select Get Tracks, then press X to search. Enter the gamertag in the video to find the track. Be aware that the search is case-sensitive. Our videos also assume that you own Trials Evolution (obviously) and the Origin of Pain and Riders of Doom expansion packs. If you haven’t picked them up be sure to head over to xbox.com to grab them. You won’t be disappointed.

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Trials Tuesday – Episode 15

Full Disclosure: RedLynx now sponsors Trials Tuesday each week, allowing us to bring you even more tracks in a new cleaner format.

Apologies. Looks like this didn’t auto-post yesterday as it should have.

Holy cow! Trials Fusion? That’s awesome.

Yep, if you were marooned on an island during E3 you probably don’t know about Trials Fusion, the next major installment in the Trials series, coming to Xbox 360 and Xbox One, among other platforms. This week we forgo level commentary to focus on what’s important: our wishlist for Trials Fusion. Extra special thanks to the Trials community this week as we borrowed some videos due to technical issues. No skill games or supercross this week, but the tracks showcased are gorgeous and fit all skill levels, so tune in.

To download these tracks enter Track Central, select Get Tracks, then press X to search. Enter the gamertag in the video to find the track. Be aware that the search is case-sensitive. Our videos also assume that you own Trials Evolution (obviously) and the Origin of Pain and Riders of Doom expansion packs. If you haven’t picked them up be sure to head over to xbox.com to grab them. You won’t be disappointed.

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