Microsoft Game Studios Archive


July Games with Gold titles announced


Just in from Major Nelson today is the list of games that Xbox Live Gold members can download for free during the month of July. For the Xbox One, these include Guacamelee: Super Turbo Championship Edition and Max: The Curse of Brotherhood (which was also available this month). For Xbox 360, games will be able to download Gotham City Impostors the first half of July, and Battleblock Theater toward the end of the month.

Guacamelee is an excellent platformer that is welcome on the Xbox platform — Playstation and PC gamers have already had it for some time — readers will be able to check out the XBLAFans review shortly after it goes live. XBLAFans thought Max: The Curse of Brotherhood was “one of the best XBLA-styled Xbox One games to date” when the review originally went live in December, so platforming fans are in for a treat next week when July rolls around. For 360 players, the focus is towards multiplayer action instead. When it released in 2012, the XBLAFans review of Gotham City Impostors is “one of the most downright fun shooters available today.” Similarly, BattleBlock Theater, with its focus on multiplayer, “is the one of the best multiplayer games to hit XBLA” according to the XBLAFans review.

One last reminder: if you’ve not yet downloaded Halo: Spartan Assault, you have only another four days to do it before that rotates off of the free list, so make sure you get it soon!


Max: The Curse of Brotherhood heading to 360 this April


Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, the 2.5D puzzle platformer from Press Play, is going to be gracing the Xbox 360 on April 9, 2014. This announcement comes via Phil Spencer’s Twitter account and is great news for those holding out for the Xbox 360 version. It will cost $14.99 and we highly suggest picking it up and giving it a go, especially if you missed it on Xbox One. We loved the game when it originally came out and we can’t wait to see more people get their hands on it.

Source: Major Nelson


The Xbox games of 2014: Part III


We’re late, and it seems that’s become somewhat of a trend for us lately. Our Game of the Year awards weren’t doled out until January, and now our look forward at the XBLA and Xbox One XBLA-type games of 2014 is just making its way to you in February. You were on your own when it came to planning out January’s releases, but now it’s time for our annual look ahead at the top downloadable games likely to arrive on an Xbox platform during the (remainder of) the year ahead. Read on to find out what you can expect out of Xbox over the next (not quite) 365.

Minecraft: Xbox One Edition

Developer: 4J Studios, Mojang and Microsoft Studios

As was announced at Microsoft’s E3 2013 presentation, 4J Studios will be bringing its open-world block-building game to the Xbox One. The 360 edition of Minecraft was a huge success and 4J is looking to build off of that success by bringing a “bigger” world to players. The Xbox One edition promises to deliver on the power of next-gen gaming by giving players more of what they want. Maps, Adventures, multiplayer features and console specific enhancements will all be improved and larger in scale on the Xbox One than they were on the Xbox 360. Minecraft: Xbox One Edition will be released sometime in the month of March of 2014.

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1 vs. 100-style experience coming to Xbox One

1 vs. 100 Question

Polygon‘s Brian Crecente writes that Microsoft is interested in bringing something similar 1 vs. 100 to the Xbox One. Dave McCarthy, general manager for Lifestyle Entertainment at Microsoft Studios, revealed in an interview that Microsoft “will do something in the future for Xbox One that is like that [1 vs. 100], because spiritually we thought it was a pretty cool experience ourselves.”

McCarthy goes on to say that “bringing a large number of people together in both a social and let’s say a more casual gaming format is something we believe in a lot.”

XBLA Fans wrote last year that 1 vs. 100 was in many ways ahead of its time, one of the only experiences on the previous console generation that truly fulfilled the promise of integrated and accessible massively multiplayer gaming. This type of game — with its live programming joining the 1 vs. 100 game to create an emerging form of entertainment — speaks directly to the interconnectivity promised by the Xbox One.

1 vs. 100 is one of the few “casual” games that is remembered fondly by all types of players and was a critical success despite its inability to become profitable for Microsoft. It’s no surprise that Microsoft is looking to replicate the unique community experience that it briefly achieved with the game. A lack of advertising revenue sealed its fate in 2010, and there exists a much more stable infrastructure by which to attempt to fund such a venture in this next generation.

Source: Polygon


Skulls of the Shogun originally had a more serious tone

Skulls of the Shogun General Akamoto

When developer 17-Bit’s Skulls of the Shogun released in early 2013, it did so with a light, humorous script that mixed pop culture references with a near-constant string of jokes of the developer’s own creation. According to a recent interview of studio CEO Jake Kazdal by Pocket Gamer, however, the original plan was for the game to have a very different tone. The plan called for more austerity and less clowning.

That all changed when original scribe Ben Vance — who also served as the game’s programmer and designer — penned a joke-filled draft that clashed with 17-Bit’s more restrained vision of the game. Vance’s approach resonated with other members of the team, and everyone began slipping even more humor into his script during the game’s protracted development cycle.

“Since the game was in development for so long, everyone involved kept throwing in jokes and massaging the script,” Kazdal told Pocket Gamer. “And then we got a complete editing pass from localisation company, 8-4, where script doctors Mark MacDonald and Alan Averill just nailed it.

“We originally were going to have a much more stoic, serious script, but people responded so well to the goofy offbeat humor we had stubbed in we just decided to run with it. We wanted to entertain players, while reinforcing our stereotypes, and just rolled with it.”

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Max: The Curse of Brotherhood review (Xbox One)

Max: The Curse of Brotherhood was developed by Press Play and published by Microsoft Game Studios. It was released on December 20, 2013 for $14.99. An Xbox One copy was provided for review purposes.


Max: The Curse of Brotherhood is a 2.5D puzzle platformer in which players take on the role of Max, a young boy who uses a curse on his annoying brother, Felix, and then has to rescue him when the curse turns out to be real. Players are equipped with a handy marker that can alter the environment, helping them to solve interesting puzzles in their quest to save Felix from the evil Mustachio.

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Undead Labs sign multi-year, multi-title agreement with Microsoft Studios

State of Decay

Undead Labs, the Seattle based development studio behind last year’s XBLA hit State of Decay, have announced that they’ve just signed a multi-year, multi-title agreement with Microsoft Studios. Founder Jeff Strain was light on the specifics but hinted, “suffice to say there are big things going on with State of Decay.” More details are expected to be shared later in the year but gamers who have been following the developer may like to take a guess that this involves the MMO followup to State of Decay codenamed Class4.

Last year proved to be a huge success for the indie studio with State of Decay becoming the fastest-selling original XBLA game in history and not only that, but State of Decay was also just awarded XBLA Fans’ coveted Game of the Year for 2013. Check out our full review here.

Source: Undead Labs


Has Microsoft done enough to lure indie developers to the Xbox One?

versus-consolesAny time a new game console is revealed, the spotlight is invariably turned toward the biggest and loudest AAA-caliber games that will accompany the console at launch and beyond. Last month’s release of the Xbox One was no exception. Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag, Dead Rising 3, and Battlefield 4 have taken top billing in conversations about Microsoft’s new console. However, we shouldn’t forget the many great indie developers that have helped to make the Xbox Live Marketplace the veritable treasure trove it’s become.

A strong precedent

The last console generation, the Xbox 360, was home to some truly great indie games, including Cthulhu Saves the World, Escape Goat, Braid> and Limbo. These aren’t necessarily Xbox exclusives, but the fact that they call the Xbox 360 home has been an encouraging sign that Microsoft will continue courting indie game developers on the Xbox One. Even so, public opinion seems to favor Sony’s PlayStation 4 as the best console for indie developers. Given that, what can Microsoft do to win back the love of indies? It may already be on the right track.

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LocoCycle is a ‘different’ game for a new console — and an old one

LocoCycle Motorcycles

On Friday, Microsoft will launch its next-generation console, the Xbox One. If you’ve been paying attention to the games industry at all this year then you already knew that, and you also know all the blah, blah about TV features, the new UI, the improved Kinect camera, upgraded graphical power and the like. But if you’ve ever purchased a games console before — and since you’re reading XBLAFans, chances are fairly high that you have — then you know that none of those things really matter when you get down to it. Sure, all of that stuff might be exciting, but games are what really matters.

One of the developers that’s helping to round out the Xbox One’s launch lineup is Twisted Pixel, a former indie studio now owned by Microsoft known by XBLAFans readers for bringing several great games to the XBLA platform. Twisted Pixel’s launch title, LocoCycle, would have been an Xbox Live Arcade game had it been an Xbox 360 exclusive title; instead, it’ll arrive first on Xbox One Friday before coming to the Xbox 360 at an unspecified future date. And since there is no XBLA on Xbox One, Twisted Pixel’s goofy action game, which stars a sentient motorcycle with wheels that dish out martial arts attacks, will be sold in the Xbox One dashboard alongside of every other Xbox One game — not just those that sell for $20 or less.

XBLAFans caught up with Twisted Pixel Studio Director Mike Wilford and asked him what it was like working on a game for the Xbox One launch. “It’s been cool! We obviously love console gaming and have been making console games for a long time now, but none of us have been involved in a launch before,” Wilford tells XBLAFans via email. “It certainly has its challenges, but it’s awesome to be a part of it.”

We asked him if anything felt different about releasing a game alongside a major console launch, or if LocoCycle was a game release like any other. Although he called this release “a special occasion,” he took care to point out that, of course, Twisted Pixel takes all of its game releases seriously. “But as a kid I would always be so excited to bring home a new system and spend hours with each launch game that celebrated the dawn of a new era of gaming with untold potential. Now we get to contribute to that feeling and it’s so awesome!”

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Live-action Lococycle trailer features Twisted Pixel’s strange humor

From the weird and wacky minds that unleashed ‘Splosion Man and The Gunstringer onto the world, comes the action-racer Lococycle for the Xbox One. To celebrate the launch, developer Twisted Pixel has released another live-action trailer featuring some of the zany antics and humor that will likely be scattered throughout its new title. Lococycle launches for $19.99 alongside the Xbox One this Friday, November 22.

Source: Polygon

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