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Resident Evil: Revelations 2 Brings the Intense Co-op Scares

February 27, 2015 By: Sniper Category: Whats Up?

Resident Evil: Revelations 2 isn’t a direct sequel to the first game in the survival-horror spinoff series. In many ways, it’s actually a throwback to the series’ roots: You move slowly through tight, creepy areas while confronting zombie-like regular folk that want to eat your face. Ammo conservation is important, as is mastering the art of unlocking various doors.

At any time during the game, a single button press switches between protagonists Claire Redfield and Moira Burton (daughter of series veteran Barry Burton, for those keeping score at home). You’ll need to do this frequently, as they have unique skill sets: Claire is a trigger-happy gunslinger, while Moira is equipped with the all-important flashlight, enabling her to find important hidden items like keys and ammo (she also carries a crowbar, allowing her to open certain doors). Moira can use the flashlight to temporarily blind enemies, thereby allowing Claire to kill them with melee attacks – and Moira also sneak up on enemies and take them out with her crowbar.

Perhaps most excitingly, Revelations 2‘s local co-op mode lets two players take on these two roles together. Rather than both players taking the reigns of very similar characters (as is often the case in co-op games), Revelations 2 creates a unique juxtaposition of these two distinctive approaches to survival-horror. The idea of being accompanied by a companion that refuses to use a gun – and whose role is not simply to add extra firepower – is an ambitious one for what is a relatively modest addition to Capcom’s enormously successful series.

Additionally, Revelations 2 includes Raid mode (which was also in the first Revelations game, and is a variant of the fan-favorite Mercenaries mode). A sort of co-op score attack with loads of unlockable and upgradable extras, the mode sees players deal with waves of undead enemies in a rather alternative approach to survival-horror. While the main game’s co-op is offline-only – the screen splits horizontally, half for each player – Raid mode will feature an online option for Revelations 2‘s retail launch on March 20.

Does the addition of cooperative play run the risk of making Revelations 2 less scary than its forebears? You might think so… but you might want to think twice, as it looks like the masters at Capcom have figured out a way to make it work. Find out for yourself now in the game’s first episode, available digitally for Xbox One and Xbox 360! …read more

Pneuma Breathes New Life into Digital Storytelling

February 27, 2015 By: Sniper Category: Whats Up?

Pneuma: Breath of Life is not your run-of-the-mill first-person shooter. In Deco Digital and Bevel Studios’ upcoming title, players “progress through a narrated story of self-discovery, exploring the fundamental nature of being,” experiencing the world through the eyes of a god. In other words: There is no shotgun.

“Games often shy away from talking about philosophy and religion because it’s such a personal subject, but that’s also what makes it such an interesting subject that games as a medium should explore,” said Deco Digital’s Joe Brammer. That said, don’t think of the game as promoting a specifically religious agenda. “We have different beliefs on the team, and that has always been a key point during development; we would never want to make any player or group feel like the game wasn’t for them,” Brammer continues. “It’s certainly designed to be played by everyone. We approach the story in a way that, by the end of the game, we’d like the player to walk away and think about their experience playing
Pneuma and possibly think further than the game itself.” He says that the hints at religion are used more as a platform for story, and to make the world of Pneuma more interesting.

The classic adventure title
Myst is perhaps the first title that gamers of a certain age will think of upon seeing Pneuma for the first time – if, for no other reason, than its similarly mysterious tone and visual approach. Surprisingly, however, Myst wasn’t the developers’ primary influence: “Myst was actually a game that was released before most of us on the team were even born, so we didn’t really know anything about the game until players came up to us at conferences telling us how much they liked its familiarity,” said Brammer.


Rather, the game’s writer and designer David Jones has said that Irrational Games’
BioShock Infinite had a large influence, particularly with regard to creating a deep and meaningful game based on philosophy. “We wanted Pneuma to have a focus on storytelling that really spoke to players, and would leave them creating their own theories about the game’s ending,” Brammer explained. “I guess you could say BioShock Infinite inspired us to want to create a story like that.” The team tried to steer away from other sorts of popular influences, in an attempt to create something that was more dependent on lateral thinking than having solutions handed over on a plate.

To bring its game to life, the team turned to Unreal Engine 4. “Our programmers found the software easy to adjust to, and our artists love the physically based rendering work flow for 3D work,” said Brammer. “It feels great to be the first Unreal Engine 4 game on Xbox One, and we can’t wait to see how far we can push the engine in the future.” Still, with such a small team size for this ambitious title, there were plenty of limitations to consider. “At the start of development, we found ourselves wanting to add higher and …read more

The Simpsons Meet Minecraft Xbox One and Xbox 360 Editions Today

February 27, 2015 By: Sniper Category: Whats Up?

Starting today, Minecraft players can bring their favorite characters from The Simpsons to life in The Simpsons Skin Pack, the newest downloadable content for Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition and Minecraft: Xbox One Edition, available for $2.99 USD. Create your own blocky version of Springfield with the entire Simpsons family—Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie— plus 19 of Springfield Elementary School’s beloved characters from the Emmy Award-winning animated show and the longest-running scripted show in television history.

A full character list follows:
Homer Simpson
Marge Simpson
Bart Simpson
Lisa Simpson
Maggie Simpson
Principal Seymour Skinner
Mrs. Edna Krabappel
Groundskeeper Willie
Otto Mann
Milhouse Van Houten
Nelson Muntz
Jimbo Jones
Ralph Wiggum
Martin Prince
Kearney
Dolph
Wendell
Database
Üter
Janey Powell
Superintendent Gary Chalmers
Mr. Dewey Largo
Sherri
Terri

Stay tuned for more information on
The Simpsons skin pack on other platforms. …read more

Fable Legends Is Free-to-Play!

February 26, 2015 By: Sniper Category: Whats Up?

One of the goals for developer Lionhead Studios’ upcoming multiplayer action-role-playing adventure Fable Legends is to make it available to as many players as possible. To that end, we’ve got some great news to share: Fable Legends will be free-to-play!

It’s free! As in, you’ll be able to play the entire game, from beginning to end, without paying a cent. All quests, all storylines are open to you – including all future content updates. For any items that directly affect gameplay, you can earn them just by playing. If you choose to do so, you can purchase items to customize your characters or get directly to the gear that matters to you most. Our goal is to engender a happy, excited community of players.

Whether you choose to adventure as a Hero or get up to dastardly deeds as a Villain, you’ll earn silver for all of your in-game victories, which can in turn be used to purchase upgrades for your characters. You can also lay down some real-world cash for gold, which allows you to purchase many of those same items.

When
Fable Legends launches, its wide selection of unique and customizable Hero characters will be on a regular rotation, with four Heroes available during any given cycle. If one of your favorite Heroes leaves the rotation, you can pick up where you left off the next time that Hero pops up – or you can just unlock them permanently for silver or gold!

And if you’d rather scheme against your friends on the Villain side, you can use your silver or gold to purchase allegiance from a myriad of nefarious creatures, or set an array of devious traps for unsuspecting Heroes.

Either way,
Fable Legends‘ free-to-play mechanics will let you play the way you want when it launches later this year for Xbox One. For more information, please head over to the official Fable Legends free-to-play FAQ. We’ll see you in Albion! …read more

How The Escapists Made a Clean Getaway on Xbox One

February 26, 2015 By: Sniper Category: Whats Up?

Good news: You no longer have to commit a horrific crime and be judged and sentenced by a jury of your peers in order to experience the exhilarating rush of a good old-fashioned prison break. In fact, the all-new Xbox One title The Escapists lets you stage a great escape from the comfort of your living room couch. It’s quite a unique little game, and we recently caught up with creator Chris Davis (from The Escapists developer Mouldy Toof Studios) and production director Kel Aston (from publisher Team17) to figure out just where the heck this innovative gem of a game came from.

Xbox Wire: What was the first inspiration behind The Escapists? How did it evolve from that initial idea?

Chris Davis:
It started life as a top-down, school-themed game – a tribute of sorts to one of my favorites from the ZX Spectrum era called Back 2 Skool. It was one of the very first sandbox-style games, and I loved the freedom it gave you to mess about in a school, skipping lessons and being a menace.

I can’t remember what triggered it, but a few weeks into development, I switched the theme of the game to a prison one instead. I felt it was a more unique angle with a better endgame (escaping), so I went with that.

Xbox Wire: Have you ever been to prison? Or is the game based mostly on what you’ve gleaned from watching various television shows and movies? Any in particular that really stand out?

Chris Davis:
Nah, I’ve never been to prison! I just watched every prison-based show, documentary, and movie I could get my hands on, harvesting anything that would translate well into a game. Standouts are obviously “The Shawshank Redemption,” “Escape from Alcatraz,” and “Prison Break.”

Xbox Wire: How did you guys end up coming to the pixel art aesthetic? Was that the plan from the start?

Chris Davis:
It wasn’t really a decision as such; it’s just the way I’ve always done my game artwork. I like to keep it simple, so I can focus on the gameplay. I think Minecraft taught everyone that pixelated retro visuals still have a place in gaming.

Xbox Wire: What were the biggest challenges you guys faced in bringing the game together? How long did the project take?

Kel Aston:
The biggest challenge was the sheer amount of events and outcomes the game has to handle. You’ve got all the A.I. for guards and inmates… then there are the opinions, reactions, and player stats on top of all this, as well the tracking of the days, escape routes, items, and so on. So with this huge amount of logic and data, you need to be ultra-careful when changing things, to ensure that you don’t bring the house crashing down. We spent around six weeks getting the Gamescom demo in place, then after that, we took about five months to build the game and get it ready for Microsoft submission at the end of 2014.

I guess another challenge was taking …read more

Killer Instinct League Play Kicks Off Tomorrow

February 26, 2015 By: Sniper Category: Whats Up?

The battle for the Top 32 starts tomorrow!

Competitive matches are the lifeblood of fighting games, and something that the
Killer Instinct team is passionate about. When we brainstormed what Killer Instinct Season 2 multiplayer would look like, we felt strongly that Season 2 had to bring something fresh to fighting games, not just the same ‘ol thing that only appeals to hardcore players. The all-new Ranked Leagues gives everyone something to play for.

Ranked Leagues is the monthly battle to climb up the ranks and become a feared and renowned Top-32 “Killer.” Like any professional event, Ranked Leagues begin with qualifiers. The first time you enter the Ranked Leagues landing page, you qualify by playing 10 matches that determine where you are initially placed in the League’s tiered ladder system. Based on your performance, you’ll be grouped with players of a similar skill level in the Bronze, Silver or Gold Tiers. Then the battle is on to reach KILLER status!

Every Tier game matches players up with similar skill levels. Bronzes play Bronzes, Silvers play Silver, and so on. A shiny, new Player Card banner will show everyone the status you’ve reached. As the battles rage on, you can gain or lose Ladder points and Rank Titles, but once you’ve made to a Tier, you can’t fall out of it. No need to stress out about flubbing a match or two! Occasionally, you’ll even match up with someone outside of your Tier, but bonus Tier Points make it well worth your while for you and your opponent to take the risk. After you reach a certain threshold of Tier points, you graduate to the next Tier. And once you’ve progressed to the KILLER Tier, everything changes!

KILLER Rules

  • Killer vs. Killer Ranked Matches are now BEST two out of three, a staple of tournament fighting.
  • Unlike Tournament fighting, you cannot counter-pick between rounds, keeping matches as brisk as possible.
  • The Killer Tier is reset every month and the Top 32 Killer players at the end of the month are rewarded PRO Status, immortalizing them in that month’s Leaderboards, in addition to unlocking special Player Card PRO stars.

With the monthly Killer tier turnaround, it’s always a frantic and fun race to the Top 32, especially when the warning bell rings. And if you don’t make it one month, no big deal. There’s always next month, when we reset the KILLER leaderboards, so everyone has a shot to get to the top again. The cool thing is that this ladder structure makes every game count, while also matching you with players that have similar skills. Ranked Leagues BETA starts tomorrow and we hope you’ll join!

-Kraig

…read more

Make Room for Three Amazing Games in March – and Double Games with Gold in April

February 25, 2015 By: Sniper Category: Whats Up?

Clean your couch off and get ready for three awesome titles, completely free to Xbox Live Gold members, thanks to Games with Gold. Rayman Legends is the free game this month on Xbox One, and it is – believe us – one of the best platformers ever made. Xbox 360 owners get Tomb Raider, a fantastic, pulse-pounding reboot of the iconic series. And they also get BioShock Infinite, the multi-multi-award-winning shooter set in a city among the clouds. As usual, all games are available only for a limited time*, as part of the ongoing Games with Gold program.

And if these three amazing titles aren’t enough for you, we have one more big announcement: Since the program’s launch at E3 2013, you’ve collectively downloaded over 100,000,000 Games with Gold games! It’s definitely clear to us that Xbox Live Gold members love to game, and Games with Gold fuels that passion. To commemorate this huge milestone, Xbox is giving you more of what you love, with twice the free Games in April! Next month, you can look forward to four free games on Xbox 360, and two free games on Xbox One.

Seriously, you really can’t lose this month, or in April (and we promise it’s not an April Fools joke). To-date, we’ve featured a diverse set of iconic titles like Tomb Raider, Halo 3, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and Saints Row: The Third – and we’re excited to add many more games to that list in the years to come. It’s never been a better time to be a gamer with Xbox Live Gold!

* Rayman: Legends ($39.99 ERP) Available from March 1-31 on Xbox One
* Tomb Raider ($19.99 ERP): Available from March 1-15 on Xbox 360
* BioShock Infinite ($29.99 ERP): Available from March 16-31 on Xbox 360

It’s hard to capture in words the sheer wonderment that Rayman Legends brings to the small screen. Rayman Legends was built so that anyone can play it, with every aspect of platform gaming done so well that it’s impossible not to love it. It’s got beautifully drawn levels, hilarious situations, a truly fantastic original score, and – most importantly – brilliantly designed gameplay that challenges you without ever becoming repetitive. Did we mention that it’s an absolutely massive game with branching level design and oodles of unlockable content? Oh, and it’s got local co-op for up to four people, too. You’d better download this one while you can get it for free. Seriously.

In the first half of March Xbox 360 gamers get a fantastic title in Square Enix’s reboot of the Tomb Raider series. Experience the intense origin story of Lara Croft and her ascent from a young woman to a hardened survivor. Armed only with her raw instincts, Lara must fight to unravel the dark history of a forgotten island to escape its relentless hold. Apart from being tremendously fun, Tomb Raider is a beautiful game that features pulse-pounding combat, epic action sequences, …read more

Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious – At No Charge for a Limited Time!

February 25, 2015 By: Sniper Category: Whats Up?

Xbox and Universal Partnerships & Licensing have announced an unprecedented partnership to bring a unique, interactive, and exclusive experience to millions of Xbox fans worldwide. For the first time ever, the thrilling driving and amazing cars of Forza are combining with the unstoppable “Fast & Furious” movie franchise to create an original adventure filled with high-speed automotive action in Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious.

If you don’t own
Forza Horizon 2, don’t worry: This is a standalone, open-world expansion. Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious puts you behind the wheel of more than 11 iconic vehicles from the “Fast & Furious” films – including some exciting new cars from the upcoming “Furious 7.”

In
Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious, you’ll be recruited by Fast & Furious expert mechanic Tej Parker, voiced by Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, to source cars for the Fast & Furious crew’s next big mission. You’ll take part in a series of thrilling car challenges set in the idyllic south of France, and inspired by both the “Fast & Furious” movies and Forza‘s awesome, pulse-pounding gameplay.

As you complete game challenges, you’ll unlock new cars that you can drive throughout the open world in free roam play. You’ll also be able to take photos of your favorite cars and share them with fellow
Forza players via the official Forza website and the Forza Hub app exclusively on Xbox One.

Forza is synonymous with racing and fun, so it’s only natural for us to work with one of the most celebrated action franchises in the world,” said Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox. “This is a great way to bring Forza players into the world of ‘Fast & Furious,’ and in Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast & Furious, every fan will get a chance to go wheels-first into the exciting action of the ‘Fast & Furious’ franchise.”

To celebrate the April 3 theatrical launch of “Furious 7,” the expansion will be available at no charge for a limited two-week period. Players can download the expansion on Xbox One or Xbox 360 (at no charge!) from March 27 through April 10; after this, the expansion will cost $10. Players who downloaded it during the initial two-week window can continue to play without restriction.

“‘Furious 7′ is our biggest ‘Fast & Furious’ movie yet, and partnering with the world-class team at Turn 10 Studios offered an exceptional opportunity to thank our millions of passionate fans in an exciting way and to immerse them in an interactive experience that is both visually stunning and adrenaline-charged,” said Bill Kispert, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Digital Platforms, Universal Partnerships & Licensing. “In this adventure, fans will experience the thrill of the ‘Fast & Furious’ series’ most iconic cars through the amazing gameplay of
Forza, and we couldn’t think of a better combination for gamers and movie fans alike.”

…read more

OXM moves to GamesRadar+ this week!

February 24, 2015 By: Sniper Category: Whats Up?

The time has nearly come – Official Xbox Magazine will be moving over to gamesradar.com this week. From that point on, when you type in totalxbox.com, you’ll be relocated to our new, shiny and totally unique landing page – you won’t find anything but Xbox on there.

Click here to read the full article …read more

Footage of cancelled Legacy of Kain: Dead Sun appears online

February 23, 2015 By: Sniper Category: Whats Up?

Was to be a 360/PS3 Soul Reaver successor.

Footage of a cancelled Legacy of Kain game, Dead Sun, has appeared online, unearthed by industrious NeoGAF member Mama Robotnik. The axed game has been known about for a little while now (also thanks to Mama Robotnik), but this is the first time we’ve seen it in action.

Click here to read the full article …read more