Microsoft Studios Archive

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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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World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition review (XBLA)

World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition was developed by Wargaming.net and published by Microsoft Studios. It was released on February 12, 2014 following an initial beta release and is free-to-play. Additional in-game resources were provided for review purposes.

WoT Title

A low sun sets over an open field marked by hedges in autumnal colours of yellow, orange and red. The ground is marked only by the brown furrows of a farmer’s plough and the occasional tuft of unkempt grass. A boggy lake glistens to the left, and the only sound – aside from silence – is that of crickets calling out from the reeds. Suddenly, a red diamond appears on your mini-map. A German light tank speeds across the field, and the shots of your comrades begin to ring out as each takes aim and fires. You lead the target by a few metres and make a final adjustment to the height of your shot. You fire. The German tank explodes in a shower of hot metal. Welcome to World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition. Read the rest of this entry »

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Crimson Dragon gets major update and goes on sale

crimsondragon2

Crimson Dragon got a major facelift this week, with a new update adding a new multiplayer mode for co-operative play over Xbox Live as well as a new difficulty level (Insane) for those not satisfied with the current difficulty options. The update is free and users will be prompted to download the 4GB update the next time they launch the game.

Also, Major Nelson announced on his blog that Crimson Dragon will have a 20-25 percent discount (depending on region) this week, starting January 28 and ending on February 3. In North America, Crimson Dragon is currently on sale for $15 (plus tax).

Source: Play XBLA and Major Nelson

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Halo: Spartan Assault review (Xbox One)

Halo: Spartan Assault was developed by Vanguard Games and published by Microsoft Studios. It was released December 22, 2013, on the Xbox One for $14.99. An Xbox One copy was provided for review purposes.

halo1

Halo. It’s a name that carries a lot of weight in the gaming world. The series has spawned countless hits and established itself as a legendary franchise that will no doubt be around for another decade. Now, Vanguard Games has stepped up to the plate to deliver a fresh take on the Halo series. Ditching the standard FPS formula, we are instead treated to a top down view of the universe as a twin-stick shooter. With this new style comes new Spartan protagonists, Sarah Palmer and her partner Davis, who you control across various battles against covenant forces throughout the galaxy.

The Halo universe is full of stories to tell and it’s great to see developers able to step away from Master Chief, but still deliver a fast-paced, action-oriented Halo title. With that in mind, Halo: Spartan Assault is fun, and refreshing to play. It features a lengthy campaign, running players through dozens of missions spanning the time between Halo 3 and 4, and with the upgrade from smartphone to console it packs a new multiplayer mode where 2 players fight together against hordes of Flood in a desperate attempt to survive. Unfortunately, alongside everything Halo: Spartan Assault does well, it struggles to overcome its own glaring weaknesses.

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Microsoft’s Phil Spencer praises Sony and Nintendo

Phil Spencer

As the corporate VP of Microsoft Studios, Phil Spencer’s job is to help make Microsoft’s in-house projects the most killer-app software available for any platform. As such, he pays close attention to his competition to stay ahead of the curve. While that role could stir bitterness, Spencer had only good things to say about Sony and Nintendo in an interview with Official Xbox Magazine.

Speaking about Nintendo, Spencer called its first-party software “an amazing asset” that “can lead what they do as a company and the platforms are almost in service to the IP — not in a bad way.” Unlike Nintendo, Microsoft is only just starting to gain nostalgic opportunities with its Xbox franchises, one of which is the Xbox One’s revival of Killer Instinct. “Obviously the history of Killer Instinct isn’t a history on Xbox, but it’s Rare’s history, and I think the reaction when we announced it on-stage at E3 showed that playing to the people’s heart, I think Nintendo does that as well as anybody in terms of hitting the franchises and having huge success with them.”

As for Sony, Spencer added, “I really respect their focus on investing in new things and creative things, what they’ve done with David Cage and Quantic Dream around Beyond [Two Souls] and Heavy Rain; they stay committed to franchises even if they don’t sell 10 million units, they’ll stay committed to things. I think that long-term commitment to franchises is important, where it’s easy to pull off the Band-Aid and move onto the next thing [if it doesn't sell]. I respect their ‘stick-to-it-iveness.’ I’ll say, they’ve done a nice job with PS4.”

Amidst fanboy wars and press conference potshots, it’s nice to see some positive, professional energy come from a public face at Microsoft.

Source: OXM

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State of Decay: Breakdown review (XBLA DLC)

The State of Decay: Breakdown downloadable content for State of Decay was developed by Undead Labs and published by Microsoft Studios. It was released November 29, 2012, on the Xbox 360 for $6.99. A copy was provided for review purpose.

stateofdecay-breakdown

As Undead Labs’ first dose of downloadable content for the infectious zombie-apocalypse simulator State of Decay, State of Decay: Breakdown is more companion piece than linear expansion. It sidesteps the plot progression of the original, offering instead the chance to drop into the heart of Trumbull Valley to scavenge, fortify and eventually escape, with no strings attached. Breakdown is the missing piece of Labs’ initial equation: an endless nightmarish wasteland that ramps up the difficulty with every hard-earned departure, for as long as you can take it.

To facilitate this grim cycle of survival, you’re issued a random survivor and a broken down recreational vehicle that’s lurched to a halt at one of several random locations around the valley. Your immediate concern is a defensible shelter, where you’ll foster a community while you search for a new RV and the necessary materials to get it up and running. When you accomplish this goal and take flight from the toxic gash that’s become Trumbull Valley – that’s when Breakdown really begins.

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Killer Instinct pricing scheme detailed

killer_instinct_fight

When Killer Instinct was first announced at E3, XBLAfans thought that the pricing model was innovative, allowing for a large install base with a single rotating character for casual players, while introducing a customizable experience for fighting game vets. However, the overall pricing model was a bit confusing for some gamers, so Microsoft recently revealed the pricing structure using a simple chart:

Killer_Instinct_Chart

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Best of the rest: Iron Brigade

ironbrigade

Last week, XBLAFans ran down the 25 best XBLA games to be released on the Xbox 360. This week, some of the games that didn’t make the cut get a second chance as select members of our staff make their cases for their personal XBLA favorites.

After playing MechAssault on the original Xbox, I became a huge fan of mecha action games (words cannot express how excited I am for Titanfall). The MechAssault sequel was fun, but it focused too much on the Battle Armor, which wasn’t as fun to use as the standard mechs. Then the next generation of gaming came around, and Iron Brigade was one of the few fun mecha games made available for the Xbox 360.

Iron Brigade is actually a tower-defense game disguised as a mech title, but the mecha foundation is still there. I first started playing the game alone in single player and thought it was a lot of fun, but then I kind of forgot about it for a few months. I picked Iron Brigade back up in order to clean up some achievements. For anyone who has played Iron Brigade, this is nigh on impossible to do solo, so I jumped online to find people to help out, and that’s when the real fun began.

Iron Brigade is one of the most fun online co-operative titles I have ever played. As I built up my mech with new customizations, I had to work with my team to determine which turrets were the most useful and which guns and armor style I needed to equip in order to complement those chosen by my teammates. Through strong communication we made good headway in some of the tougher survival levels and I finally experienced co-operative gameplay the way it was intended (not like those unrealistic video game commercials portray them). It was a blast to play, and I made some good friends in the process. It may not be considered one of the greatest games on XBLA, but Iron Brigade was probably the most fun I’ve had online.

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