Showtime in negotiations to develop Halo TV series


One of the biggest announcements during the Xbox One reveal was the Halo television series being developed by Xbox Studios and Steven Spielberg’s Amblin TV. It’s been almost a year since said announcement, and there has been little news on the project. Microsoft production unit head Nancy Tellem is reportedly close to making a deal with a pair of showrunners, and the series will be adapted by screenwriter Stuart Beattie. The slow-going may be due to a possible partnership between Xbox Studios and Showtime. According to Variety the two companies are close to making a deal after lengthy negotiations.

“The deal with Showtime has taken a long time to work out because the sides are charting new territory for a show designed to air on Showtime as well as Xbox, with enhanced interactivity built in for the latter platform. Details are still being hammered out, but sources say the plan is to have episodes bow on Showtime first, followed by the Xbox window.”

Source: Variety via IGN


Nutjitsu! releasing Thursday on Xbox One for only $6.49

Nutjitsu Screen 17

NinjaBee announced today that its game Nutjitsu! has been given the go-ahead by Microsoft to release on the Xbox One this Thursday, May 8.

Nutjitsu! is a maze game, similar to Pac-Man, that follows a group of squirrels trying to retrieve their stolen acorns from Kitsune samurai.

Published under the ID@XBox program, Nutjitsu! is the first title to be released on Xbox One for under $10. NinjaBee originally told XBLA Fans last month that it was targeting a $5 price point for its game.


Xbox One’s NFL Draft Tracker now available


Just in time for the NFL draft, comes the announcement that Xbox Live Gold Members will be able to use the NFL channel on Xbox One for real-time updates throughout the three-day event. Draft Tracker is a snappable app that will provide player details, pick information and even quick summaries of a team’s position needs each step of the way. The app will also show highlights and recaps of prior days.

Source: Xbox Wire


Xbox E3 briefing June 9

xbox briefing

Major Nelson just revealed that the Xbox E3 2014 media briefing will take place at 9:30 am PDT on Monday, June 9. Historically, these conferences have featured new game announcements, strategies for the year ahead and some crazy surprises — they are one of the highlights of the year for gaming news.

Spike TV will be carrying the presentation for viewers who prefer to watch on their television. Otherwise, Xbox Live via Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles and Xbox.com will all feature it as well. This is a year to watch, as last year’s hardware announcements didn’t come alongside a ton of games that make the new systems sing — hopefully a month from now, that’s what everyone leaves the conference talking about.

Source: Major Nelson


Habitat: A Thousand Generations in Orbit preview: one man’s trash

Habitat Ramming

You’ll want to steer, but you won’t be able to. Charles Cox doesn’t want you to. Endless space-based video games have taught gamers to manipulate analog sticks, a d-pad or a keyboard and mouse to steer all manner of spacecraft to precisely where they want them to go. Habitat: A Thousand Generations in Orbit doesn’t work that way. Physics have the wheel in 4gency’s strategy game, and they’ll be doing all of the steering. Cox hopes the approach will work.

He showed up at PAX East last month with a playable demo of his ID@Xbox title. Actually, it was more a proof of concept than a proper demo — 4gency put together a playable outer space sandbox and filled it with junk, lots and lots of junk. There was no objective or end point to the demo. Instead, players were free to take the orbiting hunk of junk they started with (the titular habitat), weld whatever debris they pleased onto it and propel the thing through the space. Doing so is easier said than done.

Your habitat is an unwieldy thing, as you might expect a floating mass of rock, rockets and pieces of famous landmarks to be. Movement is based on physics, so, again, there’s no steering controls for your rubble-craft. What you do have control over is the placement of rockets, the rockets you want to fire up at any given time and how much thrust you want from those rockets. A mistake at any of these three levels of propulsion oversight will lead to your habitat either careening off of other objects and being smashed to pieces or performing the spacecraft equivalent of doing donuts in a car parking lot. On top of that, players also have to manage electricity and oxygen levels, as some of one or the other is necessary for rocket power.

Taking control of a habitat, I immediately screw the entire thing up by unintentionally playing bumper cars with surrounding space debris. Crucial parts of the habitat are torn asunder and most of its inhabitants are killed. Cox restarts the demo and advises me on what to do. Even with his over-the-shoulder guidance, it’s next to impossible to not make a mistake. I continually place rockets in ill-advised locations, place one rocket where there should be a pair and apply improper amounts of thrust. There’s no shortage of space junk in the demo, and I crash into most of it during my play session.

Cox says that there’s “an art to this.” If so, Leonardo Da Vinci I am not. A successful go at things seems unfeasible, but then again, there are no conditions for success in the demo, so perhaps things will be different in the final game.

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First screens of The Walking Dead: In Harm’s Way


Clementine has been through some tough times, but in the next episode of The Walking Dead she really will be In Harm’s Way. Telltale has released the first screenshots from the new episode, showing the terrors Clem and her group will face after the brutal finale of Episode 2. The episode will feature characters from Season 1’s 400 Days DLC, as well as more of Michael Madsen’s villainous William Carver. Episode 3: In Harm’s Way is coming soon, with the release date anticipated to be announced in the near future. Check out the screens after the jump.

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Super Time Force releasing May 14

Capybara Games’ long-in-development Super Time Force will release simultaneously for Xbox 360 and Xbox One on May 14, Capy President Nathan Vella announced yesterday on Twitter.

A launch trailer published alongside the release date announcement displays a robust cast of wacky playable characters for the side-scrolling shooter. Among the newcomers is Merlin of Arthurian legend and Dolphin Lundgren, a dolphin named after action movie star Dolph Lundgren. Several new stages are also highlighted in the video, including a medievil castle and a speeding locomotive.

The trailer focuses heavily on the fact that anyone who plays the game can expect to die early and often thanks to its seemingly never-ending onslaught of enemies and projectiles. Super Time Force‘s steep difficulty is offset by the game’s main hook: the ability to rewind time prior to the point of death, select another character and play alongside the versions of the player character that have previously died. Capybara refers to this mechanic as “single-player co-op.”

The studio originally planned to release Super Time Force on the Xbox 360 in 2013, but delayed its debut so that it could release an Xbox One version at the same time.

Source: @CapyNathan via Polygon


Xbox Originals coming this June

Xbox Originals

Microsoft recently announced that next month it will begin publishing original programming for the Xbox platform under the moniker “Xbox Originals.” Given the recent success of original programming by Netflix such as House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black, it’s not a surprising announcement that Microsoft is entering the same arena, especially given its marketing history of talking about the Xbox One not as a video game console, but as an entertainment platform.

The Xbox Originals programming will come to Xbox 360 and Xbox One, so people yet to upgrade won’t be missing out on the content.

The biggest show announcement is a Halo television series, for which Stephen Spielberg will serve as executive producer and collaborate with 343 Industries and Amblin Television. Additionally, Microsoft lists a Halo digital feature as well, which will be produced by Ridley Scott and directed by Sergio Mimica-Gezzan (from Battlestar Galactica, among others). These big names signal a big commitment by Microsoft to making these adaptations worthy of the franchise, and releasing them exclusively to the Xbox platform is a fantastic way to add value relative to the competition on the console front.

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Pre-loading digital games remains focus for development on Xbox One

Xbox One

Pre-loading is still on the way for Xbox One, Major Nelson has confirmed in a Reddit thread. This is the second such affirmation of the feature making its way to the new console, which for many users lacks important features for its digital marketplace, including pre-loading and unlocking content by time zone. These problems were evident in the recent Titanfall launch; users had to wait until midnight in the Pacific time zone to begin downloading the game, and, even then, the speed was slow.

With this feature already in place on Steam and the PS4, Microsoft is playing catch-up. Nevertheless, the news that it will eventually come may somewhat quell, or at least delay, the frustration for gamers.

Source: Reddit via CVG


Say hola to Guacamelee: Super Turbo Championship Edition

It’s a shame that Xbox owners missed out on last year’s smash hit Guacamelee, but DrinkBox Studios is about that by bringing bring Guacamelee to all platforms with an expanded version called Super Turbo Championship Edition (STCE). XBLA Fans caught up with DrinkBox Co-founder Graham Smith at PAX East and spoke to Lead Designer Greg Lesky via email to find out more about what this new version of Guacamelee is all about, how it has evolved and why you should be excited.

For those not acquainted with Guacamelee, Lesky describes it as “a metroid-vania platformer where you play a farmer named Juan whose girlfriend gets kidnapped by a guy named Carlos Calaca bent on ruling both the Land of the Living and the Dead. He then kills Juan, who finds a mystical Luchador Mask that gives Juan the powers of a Mexican wrestler and [Juan returns] to the Land of the Living to stop him.” With these powers, the player fights, jumps and dimension-swaps to defeat Calaca’s undead hordes and save his girlfriend…and the world. The Super Turbo Championship Edition features all-new levels, enemies, upgrades, fixes and a boss fight, making this the definitive version of DrinkBox’s biggest game yet.

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