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Newsbits: Outlast, Valiant Hearts, Contrast and more out now

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Looking for something new to play during the post-E3 doldrums? You’ve come to the right place. A wave of new downloadable titles just hit Xbox 360 and Xbox One, so have a look at the fresh merchandise. You can expect full reviews soon for almost all of these.

Outlast: Whistleblower (Xbox One)

Last year’s survival-horror cult hit Outlast made a splash in people’s chairs. Now you can embarrass yourself in front of your Kinect! The main game is available for $19.99, and the Whistleblower DLC is available for $8.99. Get ready to run for your life.
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Opinion: Clementine is ruining The Walking Dead Season 2

Warning: This post contains spoilers from both seasons of The Walking Dead

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The first season of The Walking Dead was phenomenal. It provided one of the strongest narratives in video game history, full of memorable characters and emotionally charged moments. All around the world players instantly latched onto the harrowing and heartwarming tale of Lee and Clementine. The bleak world and tough choices made the game stick with you days after you played an episode. The overwhelmingly positive reception put Telltale on the map, moving them from a company that made niche adventure games to one that can handle some of today’s biggest franchises. The Walking Dead was a success in so many ways, meaning an eventual sequel was a given.

Despite standing on the shoulders of its amazing first season, The Walking Dead Season 2 is not living up to that potential. I loved every aspect of Season 1, which is why I’m disappointed I can’t find Season 2 nearly as captivating. So far, three episodes have released, and like last season they’ve all received critical praise. Unlike last season, I’m not feeling the hype; the story’s not engaging, the characters are underutilized, and the format’s becoming stale. The game’s saving grace is Clementine, but even that may be a problem.

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Xbox One Achievements now viewable on Xbox.com

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Users can now view Achievements on Xbox.com for games and applications across all Xbox enabled platforms by going here. Gamers must be signed in for this to function. The Achievements include all those earned on Xbox 360, Xbox One, Games for Windows Live, Windows Phone, iOS, Android, and the web. This update has not been applied to the activity feed, at least not at the time of publication, and thus Xbox One games remain absent from the feed.

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Deadpool pinball table from Zen releases on Xbox 360 tomorrow

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Deadpool’s rising popularity has justified the creation of his very own Pinball FX2 experience. Starting tomorrow, July 25, the Deadpool table will be available on Xbox 360. Zen has been producing solid Marvel tables for years now, and Deadpool’s sense of humor is a great fit for their franchise. The table has the ability to change and even includes and exclusive “blind mode” where players are only able to see flippers and target rails for a period of time. The dry humor of Deadpool is pretty apparent in the trailer below, enjoy and scoop this one up tomorrow if you are a fan of either Marvel or Pinball FX2.

Source: Zen Studios

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Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition coming to Xbox July 1

Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition

Next month, Xbox owners looking for a fun side-scrolling action-platformer will finally be able to experience what their PlayStation brethren did — and then some — more than a year ago. Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition will release on Xbox One and Xbox 360 on July 1 for $14.99, developer DrinkBox Studios has announced.

The embiggened title features an expanded story including both brand new content and all of the DLC released for the original 2013 version of Guacamelee. The campaign is longer thanks to the addition of the new Canal of Flowers and Volcano areas as well as a new boss named the Trio of Death, a three-headed skeleton residing in the new Volcano area where he helps main antagonist Carlos Calaca by constructing his skeleton army. That also means that Calaca will have new baddies “that want to chokeslam luchadores to sleep” at his disposal.

Players will have the new “Intenso” ability to help them in overcoming these new adversaries. Additionally, when playing in co-op, you will be able to swap dimensions independently, a much-requested ability by fans of the original release.

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XBLA Fans is looking to grow its staff

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The past year has been a really weird transition year for us. If you are familiar with our site and with Xbox indie games in general, you probably know there hasn’t been a ton to write about these past 12 or so months. There have been some fantastic games released, but the quantity of titles that previously existed under the XBLA brand drastically diminished during the transition from the Xbox 360 to the Xbox One. The great news for fans of all things indie on Xbox platforms is that this looks to be changing. E3 brought fantastic games to the spotlight. It was great to see a ton of indies get some love (and as always see Phil Spencer rep a few of his shirts).

As such, we actually have more games to review and cover than we have people able to cover them. This is an awesome problem for us, as it means we get to open things up and give new writers a chance to move on with their goals. We know that we have been and continue to be a fantastic starting position within the industry for dozens of talented writers. Just recently, our own Brandin Tyrrel transitioned over to IGN. We love seeing that and would love to work with you to help you improve and gain experience as a writer. In general, this is not a paid position, though we have helped some editors with monthly stipends when it was clear the amount of time they were investing merited it.

As of now we are looking for the following:

News Editor: Your job will consist of writing news and helping to maintain quality control across all news posted on the site. You will work closely with Managing Editor Nick Santangelo and myself to prioritize stories and seek original news and angles for stories. We expect a larger time commitment from our editorial staff, but we are incredibly flexible. Nick and I would love to chat with you personally and see if this would be a fit for you. Please note that for this position some demonstrable previous experience will be expected.

Staff Writer: This is more or less our catchall position. We will expect at least two posts from you a week (obviously we are flexible around finals and with vacation time). Precise work will depend on rotating needs, but expect the obvious: news, features and reviews. Expectations are higher here than on contributors as we are trying to help push you to be prolific enough to move forward with your career aspirations.

Contributor: If you are doing this entirely for fun, and just want to help when you can, we are still willing to talk to you and see if their is a role that makes sense. Maybe a weekly feature or something or the occasional review when we need help.

General Requirements:

You will need to be comfortable interviewing developers and asking questions, and must be 18 or older, as we use real names for our writers. Beyond that requirement, we can teach the rest. The position is entirely voluntary, but it provides you with a great resume builder. Feel free to talk to our team about what it’s like working at XBLA Fans; we think they’ll give it a pretty great recommendation. For these general writing positions you can live anywhere in the world, all you need is writing ability and an Xbox One.

If any of these positions interests you, please send an email with a resume and writing sample to John@XBLAFans.com. If you have any questions feel free to post them in the comments or include them with your application email.

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Get to know the ID@Xbox games of E3: Part V

ID@Xbox E3 2014

At Microsoft’s E3 press conference on Monday morning, there was a video montage of many games that are coming to Xbox One through the ID@Xbox program. Over the next few days, XBLA Fans is bringing you a slightly longer glimpse of those titles than what the montage trailer allowed for. Our coverage of these titles will be in alphabetical order. Following is a look at the fifth set of those games.


Spectra

Spectra, by Gateway Interactive, is something akin to a cross between F-Zero and Audiosurf. The composer behind Super Hexagon, Chipzel, returns with a driving chiptune soundtrack that should make fans of speed feel right at home with this challenging procedural racer.

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Get to know the ID@Xbox games of E3 2014: Part IV

ID@Xbox E3 2014

At Microsoft’s E3 press conference on Monday morning, there was a video montage of a lot of games that are coming to Xbox One through the ID@Xbox program. Over the next few days, XBLA Fans is bringing you a slightly longer glimpse of those titles than what the montage trailer allowed for. Our coverage of these titles will be in alphabetical order. Following is a look at the fourth set of those games.


Ori and the Blind Forest

Ori and the Blind Forest

Microsoft describes Moon Studios’ Ori and the Blind Forest as “one of the most stylistically gorgeous games we’ve seen on Xbox One so far. Even though the young console doesn’t have much competition in that realm yet, it’s a fair statement to make. The Metroidvania title looked absolutely gorgeous racking up a lot of time in the limelight during Microsoft’s E3 media briefing. Moon Studios was busy quietly working away on the side-scroller for four years prior to its public debut last week. The playable E3 demo received mostly favorable reports from the show floor, but we’ll have to wait until the fall to find out how things come together in the final release.

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Xbox One’s July update upgrades Snap Mode

Keeping track of achievements on the Xbox One has been a hassle compared with Xbox 360’s guide functionality.  Currently, users must entirely exit the game or application they are in to even read the description of achievement(s) recently unlocked.  Having to switch back and forth has made keeping track of repetitious achievements cumbersome and frustrating.  Thankfully, as part of the July update for Xbox One, Microsoft is rectifying this issue by enabling Snap Mode for achievements.  In addition, gamers will be able to “Get Help” on any achievement by enlisting the Xbox to search online for tips and solutions.  Major Nelson demonstrates this new search functionality in the embedded video.

To round out this update, Microsoft is working with publishers to offer “digital bundle and disc compilation offerings in the future,” as well as providing users the ability to “Like” Game DVR clips and items in the activity feed.

Source: Major Nelson

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Gunscape joins the ID@Xbox program

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Gunscape is making its way onto Xbox One via the ID@Xbox program. Gunscape can perhaps best be described as a mix of Minecraft, Duke Nukem and Dungeon Keeper. Players can create levels for single player or online play; co-op and competitive multiplayer game types are both available as well. There is a campaign mode and players can even create their own campaign designs utilizing traps, geometry and monsters.

E3 featured a playable demo of the current Gunscape build alongside many other ID@Xbox projects. The indie support and focus on games at E3 has really been a fantastic change of pace from Microsoft’s 2013 approach to E3. Gunscape is scheduled to release for Xbox One one during November of this year.

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