Microsoft has announced that over 200 developers are working on titles for the Xbox One via its ID@Xbox initiative and has released the names of 65 of these developers that are joining the 32 developers they already announced back in December.
Some of the highlights in the list include The Behemoth, developers of the extremely popular Castle Crashers and BattleBlock Theater; Playdead, the developers of eerie XBLA title LIMBO; Ska Studios, the team behind the beautifully violent games Charlie Murder and The Dishwasher: Vampire Smile; Warhorse Studios, the developers behind the highly successful Kickstarter Kingdom Come: Deliverance; and Zoë Mode, the developers of Powerstar Golf.
Dear Xbox 360,
Where to begin? How do you start something like this? Is there any “right” way to do it? I don’t think there is. Maybe by saying that I’m sorry? Yeah, a sincere apology feels right. It’s not the type of sincerity you express at the end of a cover letter to someone you’ve never met in your life and couldn’t possibly have sincere feelings for, mind you; it’s the kind that means something, as you have meant much to me these past eight wonderful years. I know I’m rambling now, but this isn’t easy for me. What I’m trying to say is, I sincerely apologize, Xbox 360. I’m sorry, but it’s time to move on. It’s not you, but it’s not me, either — it’s that dark temptress known as the next generation.
Know that we now head down different paths not necessarily because of some sort of monumental “paradigm shift,” but rather because it is simply the way of things. This is how it has to be, and we both knew this day was coming the morning I brought you home from Best Buy after waiting in line overnight for somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 hours. It was cold, and it was raining. I had to take time off from the crummy Postal Service job I was working at the time to do it, but I did it for you, and, given the chance, I’d do it all over again.
Do you remember that morning? You were sitting cozily inside the heated store; you didn’t know me yet, but I was sitting on the pavement with four or five layers of clothing on when it happened. The man in the blue shirt and yellow name tag got to my point in the line, and he gave me ticket number 41 — out of 42. I was both relieved and horrified all at once. My efforts to brave the elements would not go to waste. I would take a shiny new Xbox 360 home with me that day. I would take you home, but, truth be told, you weren’t the one I wanted. Sorry again, but I had eyes for another.
Xbox Live Arcade began its life on Microsoft’s Xbox 360 simply enough. When eager gamers bought up Xbox 360s on launch day (November 22, 2005), they found a free copy of Hexic HD pre-loaded on their hard drives. Of course, it was another launch title that secured the platform’s success. Bizarre’s Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved both gave birth to the twin-stick shooter craze and demanded gamers take Xbox Live Arcade, which started in disc form back on the original Xbox, seriously as a digital games platform. Bizarre’s side project paved the way for the enormous variety of retro revivals, HD remakes, original indie projects, major studio releases, free-to-play games and more that have come to call XBLA home in the years since.
Today, we’re approximately one month away from the launch of the Xbox One, which will signal the end of XBLA as we have come to know it these past eight years. While Microsoft’s Xbox line will continue to be home to myriad low-cost downloadable video games, the XBLA moniker will not make the transition to Xbox One. It’s going down with the figurative (and literal) Xbox 360 boat. So what better time than now to count down the best XBLA games to ever grace the Xbox 360?
It wasn’t easy, but our staff has sorted through all of the best XBLA releases over the years and picked the ones that we feel are the true standout stars of the platform. Check back with us throughout the week as we run down five of Xbox Live Arcade’s top games every night. And don’t forget to head to the comments to let us know how much you love (or hate) our picks.
(Editor’s Note: Voting was conducted in early September. No games released post-Summer of Arcade 2013 were considered eligible.)
Nathan Bowring, Reporter — Minecraft’s impact on XBLA has been huge; it’s been beating sales records ever since its release, and it continues to top the Xbox Live activity charts. There’s just something magical about that simple, blocky world that’s hard to resist. Every new, randomly generated world is the start of a new adventure. In Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition, you’ll map out the landscape, explore deep caverns to collect precious diamonds, fight terrifying nocturnal monsters and build to your heart’s desire. The resources you collect may turn into your new house, or maybe you’ll turn them into weapons to fight the Ender Dragon. The only thing that limits the game is your imagination, with every new title update adding so many more possibilities.
This week’s deal offers up some of the very best Xbox Live Arcade has to offer, dropping names and prices on a couple of the year’s bigger titles and …
It’s out now. For 1200 MSP, you can buy it and start playing it right away if you’d like. Funny thing about that, though — that should be old news. And it would be if The Behemoth had followed through with its plan to release BattleBlock Theater on XBLA back in 2010. Obviously, things didn’t quite work out that way, with the beat-em-up platformer having only just released yesterday. What happened? How could the developer have been so confident about 2010 that it was ready to tell the world that was the year and then ultimately be unable to finish BattleBlock Theater until three more calendar years passed it by?
Level Designer Ryan Horn has an explanation: the game wasn’t as fun as the team thought it was going to be. “I think we were hopeful about where the game was gonna be when we [planned] to release it,” he tells XBLAFans while sitting down for an interview at last month’s PAX East. “And then in between the time when we announced [the release window] and when we planned to release it at the time, we saw the game going in a direction that was fun, but we realized that we could take it in a slightly different direction that was going to be a lot more fun.”
With Horn having said his piece, studio President and co-founder John Baez expounds upon why The Behemoth felt its game could reach a state in 2010 that was up to The Behemoth’s considerably high standards of fun. Instead of going back to 2010, though, he looks a little deeper into his past. “The other component of [the delay] is that in our previous experience — I mean, Alien Hominid? Fifteen months, two consoles. Done out the door with an Xbox [version] following three months after that,” he begins. “And then Castle, it’s like, ‘OK, bigger game, three years.’” The prevailing feeling around The Behemoth’s San Diego office during the earlier development phase of Game #3, as BattleBlock was codenamed back then, was that it would not be as an ambitious of an undertaking as Castle Crashers.
If you scroll to the Games page on your dashboard, you can find a panel for “Microsoft Studios Sale” that includes a plethora of big XBLA Games. Some of our favorites like Dust: An Elysian Tale and Mark of the Ninja can both be picked up 600 MSP (50% off). You might also want to jump on the Trials bandwagon, because both the original Trials HD and Trials: Evolution can be picked up for 400 MSP and 800 MSP respectively.
The sale will be available until April 8th Here is the complete list of games, including a few extras that you won’t find in the dashboard (like Retro City Rampage). Here is the full list of what’s on sale:
While physical retail software sales appear to have trailed off at this stage in the Xbox 360’s life cycle, XBLA has reportedly experienced its strongest year yet in 2012. …