Here we are once again at the start of what's sure to be another fantastic year of XBLA releases. Each day this week XBLAFans will be rolling out a list of eight of our most anticipated Xbox Live Arcade releases of 2013. While we can't possibly cover every single XBLA game planned for this year, we'll be giving you a varied list of 40 of the most promising titles we expect to release on XBLA in 2013. Once it's all done, be sure to check back in next Monday when each staff member makes his/her picks for the game he/she is most looking forward to.
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Developer: Double Fine
An upcoming platform-adventure game, The Cave is the brainchild of Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion creator Ron Gilbert. Channeling Gilbert’s earlier work, The Cave employs classic adventure-style gameplay within an action-platform framework. While we expect The Cave to release this month, an official release date has not yet been announced.
Here we are once again at the start of what's sure to be another fantastic year of XBLA releases. Each day this week XBLA Fans will be rolling out a list of eight of our most anticipated Xbox Live Arcade releases of 2013. While we can't possibly cover every single XBLA game planned for this year, we'll be giving you a varied list of 40 of the most promising titles we expect to release on XBLA in 2013. Once it's all done, be sure to check back in next Monday when each staff member makes his/her picks for the game he/she is most looking forward to.
Developer: City Interactive
Alien Fear is an Unreal Engine 3-powered sci-fi first person shooter headed to XBLA, presumably at some point in 2013. Though we're assuming that the above image is a target screen rather than an actual in-game image, developer City Interactive is promising that the use of Epic Games' ubiquitous engine is allowing them to create an Xbox Live Arcade title that boasts "visually stunning, large-scale environments with impressive long-range vistas and expressionistic lighting." The co-op shooter has yet to be shown in action, but XBLAFans is looking forward to finding out if the game lives up to the promise shown in the above image whenever we get our first real look at it.
Weekly Roundup compiles all the biggest news stories, reviews and features from the week into one handy post on the weekends.
It was a busy week for two of 2012's biggest XBLA games: The Walking Dead and Minecraft. Minecraft saw its The End content delayed out of its next title update to some unknown future point. Meanwhile, we learned that The Walking Dead has sold a lot of episodes, that it may allow players to carry over saves to the next season and that gamers who bought a faulty Xbox 360 retail version of season one will be given a free XBLA copy. If you're still looking for more XBLA coverage, be sure to keep an eye on the site every weeknight this week as we detail the biggest games coming to Xbox Live Arcade in 2013. What games are you looking forward to this year? Let us know in the comments below.
Here’s our week in review:
The story of Skullgirls' development, release and post-release support just may have more twists to it than its top-heavy characters have curves on their pixelated bodies. It started with two men, each with a skill, a passion and an idea. In 2009, longtime fighting game fan and tournament player Mike "Mike Z" Zaimont began programming a fighting game of his own. Elsewhere, unbeknownst to Zaimont at the time, artist Alex "o_8" Ahad was drawing a new fighting game universe of his own into existence, complete with characters to populate it. Eventually the two were introduced and merged their pet projects together at Reverge Labs into the game that released on XBLA and PSN in April of last year as Skullgirls.
Critics generally gave the game a favorable reception, with its combined XBLA and PSN score averaging 80% on Metacritic. Gamers gave it a fairly warm reception, too. The developer was excited when Skullgirls sold 50,000 copies in its first 10 days on the market. Although the development team informed XBLAFans on Thursday that Skullgirls has failed to turn a profit to date, we were also informed that the game has performed well enough that publisher Autumn Games is interested in green-lighting a sequel if it can successfully dodge the sticks and stones City National Bank has thrown its way.
With a PC version, DLC characters and multiple sequels in the plans, things were looking up for Zaimont, Ahad and the rest of the crew at Reverge. Then everything went quiet. Months went by without a single update on the port, downloadable content or the sequel. It was eventually revealed that the Skullgirls team had been let go by Reverge Labs in June of 2012 after developer and publisher allowed their contract to expire without agreeing upon a new one. More sticks. More stones.
Whether it was the entire team that was let go or some fraction of it has been a matter that was up for some debate. Reverge blogged that it was some of the team, while the displaced developers once said it was "the entire" team. When questioned repeatedly by XBLAFans over the past couple of months, neither of those factions nor Autumn has been willing to go on record to clear the air. The one thing that has been abundantly clear, though, is that the contract expiration effectively brought about a game over screen for future Skullgirls content and its would-be creators.
Or did it?
Oh man, we love us some 360 controllers. They fit any size hands, unlike the Sony controllers, and despite the less-than-stellar stock d-pad they're a dream to use. But it's not just about functionality, it's about collectability. And with 33 official Microsoft controllers to hunt down there's no shortage of game for the hunter.
But some controllers may only interest you from an aesthetic standpoint, and so in addition to a rarity rating for each controller we've also listed an availability level for replacement parts should you want to transform your existing controllers. So instead of buying an all new controller you can give that nasty, sticky-buttoned gamepad new life and a wicked shell. When searching for custom shell parts remember to stick with vendors that have high reputability or high eBay ratings. There are a lot of cheap knockoffs that look the same in a picture but fit poorly. As per our recent review, we recommend Quickdrawmods if you're looking for shells that have a Low or above availability rating. Past that go for eBay sellers with high ratings (both in percentage and number of ratings). Also be sure to pick up a Torx T8 security bit screwdriver from whoever you buy your first shell from. It's invaluable, and they're usually dirt cheap.
So without further ado we present the 32 Microsoft produced 360 controllers: row by row, left to right.
UPDATE: Added a missing controller to bottom right of the above, along with a description below.
XBLA Fans recently had the opportunity to chat with Pawel Lekki, COO at Exor Studios. Exor's Zombie Driver HD released on XBLA this past October, and Lekki was more than willing to talk about the title as well as his background in game development.
Pawel, please tell us a few things about yourself outside of the world of gaming.
I think there isn’t much outside the world of gaming because I spend most of my day at work to be honest. But if I’m not working I enjoy travelling by car around Europe. Moving around in your own vehicle gives a lot of freedom, and I annually make road trips with a few friends. Our record braking trip so far was visiting 11 countries in 7 days with a total of 5000km on the road.
How did you get into game development?
The first gaming-related thing I did [actually involved] classic role playing games. I was a game master for 5 years, and together with our team we created our own version of one of the popular RPG systems. I guess you could say we started modding with pen and paper.
When it comes to traditional computer game development, I started by making levels for various games with my brother. The first game for which we made our own maps was Age of Empires, then StarCraft, and later we moved on to first person shooters like Unreal Tournament, Quake 3 and Half-Life. The first Make Something Unreal contest actually played an important role in our journey because it made us go public and share our works on the internet. After that we started working on mods for Half-Life and informally started Exor as a modding group. Our first public mod was ‘D.I.P.R.I.P.’ for Half-Life 2 and because of our work on it we were all hired by a Finnish mobile game development company called Gamelion. That was the beginning of my professional game development career which started 7 years ago.