Any fan of Mega Man has been keeping a close eye on Comcept’s “re-invention” of the Mega Man franchise, Mighty No. 9, with series creator Keiji Inafune behind the wheel. We’ve received some new gameplay footage, which shows off a few of the transformations and bosses we’ll encounter in the game. After a highly successful Kickstarter, Comcept is going back to crowdfunding to hopefully score some English and Japanese voice acting for the title. You can contribute here if you’d like.
World of Tanks has been updated with the new content “Rapid Fire” that introduces 13 new tanks to the mix, and also adds two new maps to the rotation. The new tanks added include American autoloaders and a second line of German tank destroyers. If you haven’t had a chance to try the free to play game, you can add it to your download queue here, and start blowing up some tanks on your own!
Xbox One’s August system update will bring with it changes inspired by user demand, Microsoft announced today. Several social elements aimed at making it easier for players to share their gaming experiences with their friends headline the list of revealed changes.
Microsoft’s focus for the update is apparently providing users with new ways to interact with friends within each others’ Xbox One activity feeds. Once they receive the update, users will see a single scrolling column that goes on for longer than the current interface. A Facebook-like ability to post comments and “like” items in friends’ feeds will be implemented alongside the ability to share game clips and other content either publicly or with friends only. Much like Mark Zuckerberg’s blue and white brainchild, the system will notify users when others like, share or comment on their content. SmartGlass compatibility is also planned.
The system update will also cater to those gamers looking for more immediate social updates by enlarging the Friends area on the console’s home screen, giving users access to friends’ current activities and most-played games. Users might see their friends engaging in a new activity when they view the larger Friends area: 3D Blu-ray viewing, which will also be included with the update.
Another feature, one that Microsoft says has been frequently requested, won’t require you to directly interact with your Xbox One at all. Users will finally be able to purchase games and add-on content on Xbox.com or via SmartGlass and download them without ever touching their consoles. Xbox One owners will need to have automatic updates set to on in order to take advantage of the feature.
Thanks to ID@Xbox, Xbox One will now have Pinball FX2 gracing its digital shelves come July 31st. The game will remain free for players to download and will even include Sorcerer’s Lair for free. The game will also launch with most of its tables available among them are the Star Wars, Marvel, and Plants vs Zombies sets. More tables are on the horizon with the developer, Zen Studios, planning on supporting the Xbox One version. The only table mentioned so far in terms of the future is for the The Walking Dead but the sheer amount of tables already launching with the base should keep fans satisfied for some time.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella wrote a company wide e-mail entitled “Starting to Evolve Our Organization and Culture” today in which he describes a forthcoming reduction of the Microsoft workforce by as many as 18,000 jobs in the coming year. This is part of a larger effort by the company to focus their efforts more narrowly around cloud-based services and their recent acquisition of Nokia. Xbox is not specifically mentioned in this e-mail, and it remains to be seen how the Xbox division will fit into Microsoft’s new corporate focus moving forward.
Xbox chief Phil Spencer helped to clarify this somewhat in an internal memo, where he writes that Microsoft “is the productivity and platform company for a mobile-first and cloud-first world, and games are the single biggest digital life category in a mobile-first world. Success in this category, by growing a robust Xbox business, brings additional value to Microsoft.” As part of the company’s narrowing scope, Xbox Entertainment Studios, responsible for the Xbox Originals series of television shows, will be closed. A portion of the announced projects will still be happening — namely, the ones focused on games such as Signal to Noise (which will present the rise and fall of Atari) and both of the Halo projects — but the content not focused directly around video games has been cut. Spencer also notes that current media partnerships with organizations such as the NFL, ESPN, and Twitch will remain unaffected, and that the Xbox team remains committed to defining “what the next generation of gaming looks like for the growing Xbox community.”
Many people were excited to hear about the Kinect being unbundled from the Xbox One to make a for a cheaper model and it appears that that excitement led to actual purchases. Since the $399 deal has been available sales for the month June have more than doubled as compared to the month of May. It’s nice to see that more people are finally getting their hands on the Xbox One, especially at a time when so many exciting games are right around the corner. Here’s hoping Microsoft can carry this momentum forward and continue to build the Xbox One fan base and support.
The wait is almost over as Telltale Games are set to release the penultimate episode of The Walking Dead: Season Two next week. Episode 4 named Amid the Ruins will be available to download on XBLA on July 23. Fans of the series will be keen to catch up with Clementine and her companions and face the next batch of tough decisions. The episode will set you back $4.99 USD or ‘free’ if you’ve already purchased the season pass. Check out the newly released trailer for a sneak peak at things to come. Be warned however video also contains some spoilers for the previous episodes.
Microsoft recently announced what games they will be bringing with them to San Diego Comic Con later this month. If you’re lucky enough to be able to go to this year’s mega-con, then be sure to check out this great selection of downloadable Xbox titles:
Stephen “Stepto” Toulouse has returned to Microsoft as director of community engagement for Black Tusk, developer for the Gears of War franchise. Toulouse was the director of policy and enforcement for Xbox Live, but left the company in 2012 after 18 years of employment.
“I’m not a designer of the game,” Toulouse says, “My job is to listen to the fans and make sure that informs the design of the game.” In his personal blog Toulouse mentions that he has been on the Gears of War forums, listening and watching for input from fans of the franchise. He has maintained a vocal presence on twitter and has nearly 30,000 followers as @Stepto.
Smosh Games, creator of the Honest Game trailer series, has parodied Minecraft in their most recent video. There’s lots of excellent parody content to be had here, but the bit that will really hit home for many readers is in the cast list: “…starring stuff you’ve made — like a hole, or a table…and stuff other people have made, like Battlestar Galactica, or Minas Tirith.”
The full video is available below, and well worth taking the time to view. One quibble: while the “Pocket Edition” of the game (most of the portable editions with the exception of the release for PS Vita) isn’t nearly as good as the PC version, the console ports have been excellent, to which the continuing popularity of Minecraft on Xbox 360 and Xbox One can attest.