Microsoft Studios Archive

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Project Spark exits beta

project spark launch

After almost a year in Beta on PC and an Xbox One Beta stretching from March through October, Project Spark has finally hit the big time. The game-maker provides a framework to customize experiences down to the smallest details and to share the resulting games with the world. In addition to using a controller, players also have the ability to interact with the game via Smartglass and Kinect. Not interested in being a creator? You can still check out the hard work that everyone else is putting in.

The base game is available as a free download, with plenty more content packs available for various prices. Microsoft even announced at E3 2014 that they’d be bringing back Rare’s Conker character in a future pack. Even with the barebones kit, people have been replicating things like Limbo and building Fable-esque adventures.

If you’d like to know more but aren’t interested in actually downloading the game yet, check back soon for an XBLA Fans Twitch stream.

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Killer Instinct coming to retail

Killer_Instinct_Boxshot_Front_ESRB_RGB

Get ready to break some combos: the Xbox One exclusive fighting game Killer Instinct is getting a retail release. Killer Instinct: Combo Breaker Pack comes loaded with content from Season One, including all eight fighters. Jago, Sabrewulf, Glacius, Thunder, Spinal, Sadira, Orchid, and Fulgore will be ready to fight right off the disk. Getting the game will also prepare you for Killer Instinct Season 2, as it includes a bonus code for the upcoming fighter TJ ComboCombo Breaker Pack hits store shelves September 23 for $19.99, and KI Season 2 will begin later this year.

Source: Xbox Wire

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Maya revealed for Killer Instinct Season 2

killer instinct maya

During an Evo panel on Friday, Iron Galaxy revealed the latest addition to the Season 2 Killer Instinct cast: Maya. IGN has rounded up the details shared during the panel, including some information about Maya’s twin dagger playstyle. Apparently, the daggers will be used in punch-based attacks and can be thrown, but if the throw is missed, the dagger (and its associated moves) will be lost until Maya is able to retrieve it. However, if you’re skillful enough to successfully make a number of throws in a row, the daggers will gain new properties and skills.

Season 2 will be hitting Xbox One this fall, and there’s likely to be plenty more announcements between now and then. In the meantime, take a peek after the break for a full look at Maya’s stage.

Source: IGN, Facebook

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Project Spark receives October 7 release date

project-spark-1

Project Spark has finally received an official release date of October 7th, while in the midst of its open beta on Xbox One. There have been over one million creators during the beta so far and all of their work will still playable upon the official release of the game, however; for those that don’t want to wait should get into the open beta.

In addition to a release date, it was also revealed that there will be a physical copy of the game shipping for $39.99 with a ton of extra content including sounds, effects, animations, props, advanced creator features, offline content, and experience boosts. The base game will still be available for free to download upon release and all content included in the physical copy will also be available to purchase digitally.

Source: Major Nelson

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State of Decay: Lifeline Review (XBLA DLC)

State of Decay: Lifeline was developed by Undead Labs and published by Microsoft Studios. It was released May 30, 2014 on Xbox 360 for $6.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.

Lifeline 1

Over the past two or three years, the popularity of zombies in video games has grown to the point where it is now almost impossible for many gamers to differentiate what makes any given option stand out amongst the ever-growing pack of average also-rans. Thankfully, last year’s State of Decay was certainly one of the better zombie titles and was especially impressive as (initially) a fairly modest XBLA exclusive. Undead Labs followed up its initial success with the Breakdown DLC, which, although still very good, left most fans of the series wanting more – in particular a new and expanded location. And that, in a protracted kind of way, is exactly what the Lifeline DLC is all about.

This time, the action takes place in the fictional city of Danforth and centers around a military squad known as Greyhound One, with players exploring a storyline dealing with the activities of the soldiers during the initial days of the outbreak. The structure is similar to the base game, but the fairly large home base is fixed, the missions generally feature a tighter timeline and players will need to contend with periodic zombie sieges that present a stiffer threat to NPCs (and overall success) than anything seen in previous outings. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the military setting adds a tremendous amount of firepower to the player’s arsenal, including more weapons and ammo; plus a raft of new traps, supply drops and assistance resources. Lifeline also features a number of new tweaks — like the ability to place rucksacks in trucks, effectively enabling more comprehensive supply runs — that occasionally have a material impact on the game.

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State of Decay: Lifeline DLC gets release date, pricing and launch trailer

The Lifeline DLC pack for State of Decay will release for XBLA on Friday, May 30 for $6.99, Undead Labs announced in a Memorial Day blog post. The DLC is currently undergoing final Microsoft certification and will release alongside the free Title Update 5 “if all goes well.”

Undead Community Director Sanya Weathers believes that May 30 may mark the first time ever that a game released ahead of a publicly announced target date, noting that the developer worked overtime alongside Microsoft Studios staffers to accomplish the feat. While that claim might be slightly dubious, such an occurrence is certainly outside of the norm.

The above launch trailer promises a new mission with a new story that requires a new strategy. Lifeline abandons the more rural settings of the original game in favor of the city of Danforth. The DLC puts players in control of the leader of a military unit called Greyhound One. Stationed at the Black Friday Mall, players will be tasked with protecting civilians from zombie aggressors. Black Friday must be protected from zombie attacks while Greyhound does its best to save and evacuate as many survivors as possible.

Title Update 5, meanwhile, will bring with it a feature called “Rucks in Trucks” that Weathers says has been one of the most-requested additions from the game’s fanbase. Rucks in Trucks is an option that allows players to stow bags “full of stuff” into their vehicles before making their getaway.

Source: Undead Labs

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Powerstar Golf goes free to play

Powerstar Golf Stroke

Xbox One launch title Powerstar Golf is now a free-to-play game, reports Eurogamer. Users first noticed a free version of Zoë Mode’s cartoonish golf title on the Xbox Games Stores yesterday before the media picked up the story.

Of course, it may be more fair to refer to Powerstar Golf as “free to try” rather than free to play. Much like how Killer Instinct only offers one rotating playable character at a time for free, Zoë Mode’s title is not being offered to gamers for free in its entirety. Microsoft describes the free version of Powerstar as “a selection of events including a hole from every course.” Free to players will have access to stroke or match play and will be able to accumulate experience, credits and gear, all of which will be savable.

Players wishing to access more of the game’s content will have to purchase four packs (Emperor’s Garden, Burning Sands, City Park and Rocky Ridge) for $5.99 each. Since Powerstar Golf originally released at the $19.99 price point, buying all four packs separately will set gamers back more money than it would have previously cost them to outright purchase the game. Thankfully, those who wish to gain access to the full suite can alternatively do so by purchasing all four packs simultaneously for $19.99.

The previously announced free DLC pack, Coyote Canyon, is also now available.

Source: Xbox Games Store via Eurogamer

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Powerstar Golf Course Coyote Canyon DLC revealed

Powerstar Golf

At PAX East last weekend, Zoë Mode revealed the upcoming free DLC course for Powerstar Golf, Coyote Canyon. Pixxel of Ubisoft’s FragDolls hosts a video preview alongside Design Director Craig Leigh and Community Manager Rukari Austin courtesy of The Next Level.

Leigh reveals that the course is based off of a real-life national park that was converted to be a golf course. The rocky environment looks fantastic, and the green grass really pops against the earthy background. Free content-rich updates to games are always welcome — hopefully it plays as well as it looks. There’s no specific release date, but it is very likely that this will be released in the near future.

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Phil Spencer: ‘Xbox is a gaming brand’

Phil Spencer Xbox Boss

Following the announcement of his promotion to new Xbox boss, Microsoft’s Phil Spencer conducted a brief interview with Game Informer about his vision for the brand moving forward in which he continually stressed the importance of putting games first.

“My goal, first and foremost, is to make sure that everybody understands that Xbox is a gaming brand and it’s going to be gaming first,” Spencer told Game Informer. “That’s a leadership principle that I will bring to the program from day one. It’s not that it hasn’t been there in the past, but if you put the studio guy at the head, you kinda know what you’re going to get.”

Spencer headed up Microsoft Studios before taking over as the leader of all things Xbox. The brand took a huge hit in the eyes of the gaming public last year when its Xbox One reveal focused more on the next-gen console’s ability to play TV shows than to play video games. While Spencer said that performing multiple functions is necessary for any “incredible” electronic home entertainment product, he stressed again that games are priority one for the Xbox brand.

“We have always been, since the beginning, all about games at Xbox,” he said. “I want to make sure that shows up not only internally, but also externally.”

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New Below details coming soon

Below_9

Capybara announced via a forum post on NeoGAF that new details about the highly anticipated arcade title Below were coming soon. The forum post also states that no new info was coming during GDC, held this past week, but that some info could be found in Game Informer’s interview with Capybara, although the information from that interview was from September, so a lot may have changed since then.

Highlights from the interview include:

  • The game will contain drop-in, drop-out multiplayer, similar to that found in the Dark Souls series.
  • The game doesn’t feature one main character, instead, when you die, you will be reborn as a different character each time. The developer states that this is because the story is focused on “a lot of little characters over time working together to solve the mysteries of the world.”
  • The game is made to be tough, but not punishing. The developer mentioned that they tried to ensure the combat was fair, but the game will definitely be a challenge.

Source: Official Xbox Magazine

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