Don’t have Xbox Live Gold? Want to try out Netflix or HBO GO on your 360 but don’t want to pay for it? If so, you’re in luck this weekend, as Microsoft’s Major Nelson announced today that a number of media apps will be free Thursday through Sunday – no Gold subscription required. This doesn’t mean subscription fees for those apps won’t apply, but Nelson notes that Hulu Plus, Netflix and EPIX are all offering free trials to coincide with the weekend (however, you’re out of luck if you’ve already taken advantage of Netflix’s free one-month trial, as that content is free to new customers only).
If we are to believe the XBL Marketplace then we can be confident that upcoming racing game Mad Riders will be released on May 30. Boasting 12 player online multiplayer and over 45 tracks this game looks to have plenty of content. An over the top attitude and tons of crazy aerial stunts give it some edge. Mad Riders was developed by Techland and is being published by Ubisoft. There is no word yet on the price.
Good news, children of Gotham! Monolith will be delivering yet another free update to Gotham City Impostors. The new update will feature a brand new map, The East End, as well as the first new game type since the game’s release. Bounty Hunter is a team deathmatch where killed enemies drop bounty, and collecting said bounty gives your team points and you a damage boost. Also included is a new customization feature which lets you pick the language your impostor will speak, including English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish. No more new customization options were discussed, but the voice list mysteriously shows a “Pirate” option which isn’t currently available. There is no date for the update yet, but we’d expect it to be sooner rather than later.
The moment we’ve all been waiting for, the release of Trials Evolution as the start of Microsoft’s Arcade Next promotion. If you’re a huge fan of the original Trials HD, you’re getting everything and the kitchen sink with this new addition. Players will not only get the single-player but there’s some brand new multiplayer thrown in the mix for the game. Some of the tracks are true mindbenders, while some have a certain Limbo-esque look to them. The track editor is bigger than before with the option of making completely different genre of game from pinball to FPS. You’ll be able to pick the game up for 1200 MSP. We’ll have a review soon but we know what you’ll be doing this XBLA Wednesday.
We haven’t heard much about Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus since its announcement in February. There’s now a release window for the game and it’s coming out this summer, alongside another fighting game with Virtua Fighter 5: Final Showdown. Developed by Arc System Works, who’ve worked mainly on the Guilty Gear series, in addition to last year’s Hard Corps: Uprising. It’ll have ranked and player matches for online support and we have some new screenshots to show off much of the fighting action. Get ready to start a brawl this summer and check out the new screenshots after the jump.
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Exalted puzzle/platformer Fez has hurtled into pole position in this week’s Live Activity leaderboards, warding off strong competition from Skullgirls which debuted at number 2. Comments from controversial helmsman Phil Fish have done little to prevent Polytron’s title from raking in top honors having been available on the marketplace for less than a week. Despite positive reviews, The Splatters only narrowly made it into the the top 20, inching in at number 20, while Capcom’s half-game, half-advertisement World Gone Sour managed 17th.
Ubisoft’s I Am Alive and Monolith’s Gotham City Impostors each enjoyed strong weeks with I Am Alive in third and Gotham City Impostors notching fifth place. Stalwarts Castle Crashers, Trials HD, Pinball FX2 and Fruit Ninja Kinect all earned top 10 spots while critically mauled robot-brawler REAL STEEL continues a streak in the top 20 that stretches back to October of last year.
Ranks are based on full versions purchased and no sales data has been made available. However, as a rough barometer there are currently 47,124 players populating the Fez leaderboards. Major Nelson has the full top 20.
A LinkedIn profile page for Praveen Rutnam, group product planner at Microsoft, has outed the publisher’s plan to roll out a new strategy for generating revenue through Xbox Live starting this a holiday season. The experience section of Rutnam’s profile explicitly states that he created a “strategy to further monetize [the] Xbox LIVE subscriber base.” It mentions this holiday season as the target date for the new monetization efforts to go into effect.
Although no specific details as to what the strategy will entail are laid out in the listing, Joystiq has gone ahead and done some speculating. One possibility is the implementation of an online pass of some sort, not unlike those utilized by publishers EA, Ubisoft, THQ, Sony and Warner. The publishing houses using them have seen a strong backlash from gamers over online passes, but the consumer resistance has done little to stop their growing ubiquity.
Focus Interactive, the publishers behind dungeon crawler Realms of Ancient War or just R.A.W. if you’re feeling particularly brutal, have released a new trailer showcasing the Warrior. The Warrior is the first of 3 playable characters in the game which also includes a Wizard and Rogue, and is described as:
Courageous, hot-headed and expert in close combat, the Warrior thrives at the very heart of the battle. Swinging his dual blades with power and speed, his powerful melee attacks are devastating, sometimes allowing him to strike down dozens of enemies at once! And when his health goes bad, bloody rage embraces him and make him even more powerful, more resilient, enabling him to cause even more damage…
Realms of Ancient War is being developed by Wizarbox and said to include drop in, drop out co-op. No details on pricing just yet but it’s expected to release on XBLA Q2 this year.
The first chunk of third person shooter Deep Black arrives on Xbox Live Arcade April 25. Scant details have emerged regarding the XBLA version, but the full PC game, which has been available since early March, saw players dabble in the art of underwater third-person combat. Biart made a bit of a splash with its underwater spearfishing game Depth Hunter earlier in the year but failed to win over pundits with Deep Black: Reloaded, which weathered a rasping volley of criticism when it launched on PC last month.
Episode 1 will cost 800 Microsoft Points when it launches on XBLA April 25.
Mike Reagan, composer of titles like God of War 3 and Darksiders, signed on as composer for the upcoming Trials: Evolution, Ubisoft announced today. Reagan has also worked on God of War: Ghost of Sparta and Transformers 3. The game is developed by RedLynx, an Ubisoft studio. RedLynx has been getting questions about the game’s composer since the first trailer hit, said creative director Anitti Ilvessuo, but the studio has kept that information close to the vest – until now. “It has been a secret for some time, but now the secret is out,” Ilvessuo said. “Mike’s driving beats and pounding rhythms are the perfect complement to Trials’ fast, frantic gameplay and ‘take no prisoners’ approach.”
Trials: Evolution revs onto XBLA Wednesday for 1200 Microsoft Points.