Microsoft just wrapped up their big spring press event held in San Francisco, where attendees could get hands on with several titles and the latest in XBox One updates. Of note is that several titles are launching not only on XBox One, but are also coming to Windows 10 this spring.
TechRaptor is also covering the upcoming updates to XBox One and Windows 10 XBox app, this article will cover several games either announced or demoed at the conference.
Coming Soon to XBox One – and Windows 10
First off, we have Quantum Break coming to both XBox One and PC on April 5th. Remedy’s time bending shooter will follow the company’s tradition of storytelling and stylish action. Of special note are the cross platform features: cross saves will be a prominent feature, and even the Windows 10 version will piggyback on top of your XBox LIVE profile. Thsoe that pre-order the XBox One digital version will also get the PC version for free. Speaking of the PC version, those that have built beastly rigs will be able to take advantage of 4K resolution that can play up to 60 frames per second, as well as be powered by DirectX 12. Of interest to Remedy faithful, or fans of Alan Wake, there are a number of easter eggs, even going up to a full trailer of “Alan Wake’s Return”, of which a trademark was filed for on February 25th, though the context is not entirely known at this time. Also of note is that all of the variable live action sequences within the game, which change depending on your actions (hence, many variations of the same episode were filed) are streamed to save hard drive space due to their massive size, but you may download them instead at your discretion on the XBox One version only – the PC version will not get this option, but due to it getting 4K resolutions, the file size would become ever more substantial.
Next up is Dark Souls III. From Software’s continuation of the series known for its’ high amounts of difficulty will be coming to XBox One and PC (and Playstaion 4) on April 12th worldwide, with a Japanese release date in March. Those that pre-order either the standard of Deluxe editions of the game will recieve a code for the original Dark Souls on the XBox 360, which will be playable on XBox One with a reverse compatibility update at a currently unspecified date. The game will take place in the same world as the previous Dark Souls entries, containing quite a bit of lore twists and two more classes to start off with than the previous game, making the total 10 (which is the amount of the first Dark Souls). Of special note is that this game will also be directed by Hidetaka Miyazaki, who directed the original Dark Souls.
Press attendees also got a hands on with Tom Clancy’s The Division. the content available was nothing different from the recently held open beta, so those that have already experienced the open beta already have a fair idea of what was available at the event. The Division will be releasing to XBox One and PC (and Playstation 4) on March 8th.
Also at the event was Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition, which features extra content in the form of new areas, new abilities, extra story sequences, new difficulty modes, and more. Specifically, players are given a new area to explode called the Black Root Burrows. If you’re looking forward to more Ori, it will be coming to both XBox One and Windows 10 on March 11th (please note that the article linked originally erroneously states that the game is releasing “next month”).
Ori and the Blind Forest Definitive Edition will release on March 11 on Xbox One, Windows 10 and STEAM! 🙂 pic.twitter.com/kqRn4VNwKq
— OriAndTheBlindForest (@OriBlindForest) March 1, 2016
Forza Motorsport 6 gains it’s Porsche Expansion Pack starting today, with cars that span the manufacturer’s entire history over the past 60 years in the form of 21 different Porsche models, nine of which have not been on XBox One to date, all of this done through a new eight hour campaign in Career mode. Contained within this pack is also the Virginia International Raceway, with night and wet conditions included.
Next up, we have Killer Instinct: Season 3 finally gaining a set release date: March 29th. This season debuts fan favorite barbarian Tusk and martial artist Kim Wu from Killer Instinct 2. Also debuting is The Arbiter of the Halo universe. True to his image, his moveset sports his trusty Carbine, Plasma Grenades, an Overshield, and a command throw involving the Elite’s trademark cloaking technology. Rash, from Battletoads, also joins the fray, with moves that echo back to his original game. More fighters are set to be revealed later. Of significance is that a Windows 10 version will also release alongside the season releasing on XBox One, with cross-play functionality on both platforms.
Finally, for the XBox One side of the equation, we have [email protected] showcasing two different games: Pit People, a turn based co-op adventure game by The Behemoth sporting a wild art style, and Capy’s Below, a top-down survival exploration game with an unorthodox approach (by modern standards) of using as much of the screen as possible for the level, with the player appearing tiny, making use of a sense of scale above all else. At the moment, neither game has a set release date, but both developers say they will post more details as soon as possible.
A Renewed Push for PC Gaming
Despite the name of the conference, a common theme is that not only XBox One has several release dates coming, but also that several of these are also coming to Windows 10. Of special note is that several franchises, formerly either being XBox exclusive, or maintaining a stronger presence on XBox are finally coming to Windows 10 or are making their long awaited return. Many of Microsoft’s heavily backed titles will see a release through the Windows Store. Yeah, we know how the Windows Store has worked out for big name games such as Rise of the Tomb Raider where the Steam version of the game had easier to reach configuration options, Microsoft has stated that they are working on making it a better experience. Given Microsoft’s past actions in regards to their statements, we can only hope they mean it this time. Regardless, Windows 10 exclusives did have a respectable showing this year.
Today, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition marks the Gears series return to the PC, if only in the form of a remastered version of the only game to see a PC release in the entire series. Ultimate runs on DirectX 12 and supports 4K resolutions, as well as controls for both mouse and keyboard users as well as controller users. It is currently available in the Windows Store for download, though it appears that if you have a high end AMD card, or a NVidia 980 Ti, you might want to avoid it for a little bit due to stutters and other technical issues.
If you ever wondered that it would be like to explore the block filled world of Minecraft firsthand, your wish will get closer to reality when Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition comes out this Spring, as it will ship with Occulus Rift support. Those that already posses the original PC version (also known as the Java Version) will be able to get into the beta currently being held for the Windows 10 version, which is also being done in the same style as the original.
Also at the conference were several DirectX 12 demos of a number of recent releases, particularly Rise of the Tomb Raider, Ashes of the Singularity, and King of Wushu. DirectX 12 marks a significant step forward in that it allows developers to get the closest thing to “bare metal” access to system hardware possible, a perk that console developers have enjoyed for years. Ashes of the Singularity is making use of Direct X12’s multi-adapter tech, which would allow PCs to use multiple GPUs without the necessity of them being from the same manufacturer, while Rise of the Tomb Raider had a complete playable demo in Direct X12 available.
Finally, marking a significant XBox franchise making the jump to Windows 10, Forza Motorsport 6: Apex will be releasing sometime this spring and will be available for free. If you cocked your eyebrow up and asked “What’s the catch, more microtransactions?”, design directory Andy Beaudoin insists while there are microtransactions, they are not integral to advancing in the game, saying it was “built from the beginning, all the way to the end, not to be a microtransaction driven game.” The game will also lack the normal $20 VIP Membership that has been a staple of Forza games since 3. Apex will feature 64 cars, 6 track locations (Brands Hatch, Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Rio de Janeiro, Sebring International Raceway, the Top Gear track, and Yas Marina to be specific) with 20 total configurations, night and wet including among these. As you would expect from a Microsoft backed game, it will be powered by DirectX 12 and go up to 4K resolution. Apex will feature a new “Showcase Tour” with an objective system and a “Spotlight Series” that will change over time, the former of which appear to be tailored to newer Forza players. Drivatars and Forzavista will be available on Apex as well.
“Not About What Others Can’t Play, but About What Our Customers Can”
Finally of note was a statement Phil Spencer, the XBox Division head, made during the press conference. Starting off, Spencer felt that the lineup of games previewed at the conference was “the best first half of the year lineup that we’ve ever had at XBox.” Considering the amount of established series and major AAA releases by both large and respected developers in the pipes, Phil has many a right to be confident in this statement. What followed is of more interesting a note.
“We have a vision that we believe puts the gamer at the center of everything we’re doing. 100% of our focus is on making sure that games that people can play on our platform are as great as they can be.
We spend zero time thinking about what games other people can’t play. It’s not something that’s core to who we are. We’re embracing the gamers that are on our platforms, we’re incredibly proud of the breadth of games that are there, and our long-term commitment is that we’ll stay exactly focused on that. What games can you play on Microsoft platforms, making sure that it’s the best platform, best service, best content, best games that you can find. That is our long-term commitment to you.”
Phil later added that they will be be showing more at the upcoming GDC. In addition, he added that Microsoft’s Build conference this year will see “more focus on gaming that we’ll ever had”.
What do you think? Is this Microsoft’s strongest showing to date or did they fall flat? Do you think Microsoft is serious this time about trying to make amends with the PC gaming crowd? Are you interested more in warping time to shoot things, or experienced Minecraft in VR? Let us know below!