Category Archives: Xbox One X

July’s Games with Gold confirmed as Assault Android Cactus and Death Squared

Its that wonderful time of the month where we get to see what our free Xbox Games with Gold are. For the month of July we are getting Assault Android Cactus and Death Squared for the Xbox One, and for you 360 owners (and available on the Xbox One via Backwards Compatibility) are Splinter Cell Conviction and Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown.

Assault Android Cactus is an arcade style twin stick shooter set in a vivid sci fi universe. Junior Constable Cactus is outside her pay grade when she responds to a distress call and ends up stranded on a crippled space freighter under attack by its own robot workers. Utilising a draining battery mechanic in place of lives, Assault Android Cactus challenges you to think fast and keep the bullets flying, blending the gameplay of western styled arena shooters with aspects of Japanese style bullet hell as you charge head first through transforming stages, massive boss battles and an eclectic cast of characters on the way to saving the day.

Death Squared is a cooperative puzzle game for 1, 2 or 4 players, best enjoyed with loved ones who don’t mind a little arguing for the greater good. Prove your teamwork skills in Death Squared as you solve puzzles together or die trying! Each player needs to guide a robot to a colour-coded goal, but the path is beset with deadly traps and hazards. Teams of players will need close observation and communication to keep each other alive and discover a solution together. Complete the main campaign in single player or with two players, then take a group into four-player Party Mode for the ultimate teamwork trial! For those that can’t get enough, head to the ‘Vault’ to find extra experiments recommended only for the brave.

 

Three Fields Entertainment announce Danger Zone 2 and Dangerous Driving

Three Fields Entertainment are the brains behind Dangerous Golf and the Burnout inspired Danger Zone. Fans of the Burnout franchise keep a keen eye on what this studio are up to, as a lot of the talent working there are ex-Criterion, who of course were responsible for the Burnout games.

So, those fans would have been overjoyed to hear the announcement made this week of not one, but two new driving games coming from Three Fields. The first is Danger Zone 2 which promises more action and mayhem but this time on real public roads.

The second is a new IP called Dangerous Driving which is a closed track, competitive racing game featuring boost, takedowns and destruction. Both of these new titles offer a huge amount of appeal to those Burnout fans out there keenly awaiting a spiritual successor!

We wont have long to wait either, with Danger Zone 2 out in July and Dangerous Driving out this winter, all on Xbox One, PS4 and PC.

Life Is Strange 2 releasing on September 27th

Darwin Project moving to F2P on July 4th

Life Is Strange 2 releasing on September 27th

DONTNOD Entertainment have announced that Episode 1 of Life Is Strange 2 will release on September 27th 2018. We don’t know much about the story or the setting of the sequel to the smash indie hit given the events of the previous game, but the developers have promised us more info will be released in August.

I was a huge fan of the original, and the 2017 prequel, so I am incredibly hyped for the proper sequel, and hopefully follow Max and Chloe on their next adventure.

The awesome adventures of Captain Spirit – New Life is Strange title revealed

Life is Strange: Before The Storm – Part 3: Hell is Empty review

Unravel Two officially revealed and available now!

The leak earlier today may have spoilt the surprise a little, with an ESRB listing for Unravel 2 suggesting we were in for a sequel, but fortunately the real meat of the reveal was saved until the EA’s E3 2018 conference. Indeed, Yarny is back in Unravel 2 but not alone, another yarn character joins the fun.

This time around Yarny’s thread is cut during a boating disaster, but after washing up ashore, another, this time blue yarn character, appears and connects the broken thread to their own. Now, you and a friend in co-op, or you alone switching between the two fabric friends, must perform platforming through what appears to be the same kind of gorgeously rendered natural locations at the previous title. The emphasise now is on cooperativeness, solving physics and platforming puzzles together to get to places you couldn’t get alone. Additionally, it was announced that their will be more instances of danger than the first game, with more chase sequences and exciting moments driving the experience, and with a new wall jump ability and the ability to use each other as anchor points to swing around, we can’t wait to try it.

And most excitingly of all we won’t have to wait, Unravel Two is available now, right now! In fact, yours truly and Senior Editor Richard Berry will be playing it on Mixer tonight from 2045 (Saturday 9th June) if you fancy taking a look.

Rebellion releases new Strange Brigade trailer

Rebellion have released a new Strange Brigade trailer ahead of E3. The new trailer features a sneak peak at the Hidden Valley level of the game and also features much more heavy firepower than we have seen before, along with some more traps. This is still one of my most eagerly awaited games of 2018, and look forward to seeing much more of it before the August 28th release.

Much more information can be found on the official website.

Strange Brigade release date set to August 28th on Xbox, PS4 and PC

Tix’s Day Out at EGX Rezzed 2018!

 

Warner Bros and IO Interactive announce Hitman 2

OK folks, E3 is cancelled, I have all the news I need right here! Well, maybe a slight overreaction but I am so stoked to hear this news. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and independent game developer, IO Interactive have announced that Hitman 2 will be released on 13th November 2018 with a new Sniper Assassin mode that is available now for anyone who pre-orders.

Hitman 2 is the follow-up to the 2016 released Hitman Season 1 and will feature entirely new hyper-detailed sandboxes full of living, breathing environments to explore. The lack of the word ‘season’ confirms that the episodic release won’t be happening this time, but IO interactive have assured us that the post launch content of the elusive targets and special one-off content drops of new missions will still be present.

Hitman 2 takes players on a global adventure across a mix of bustling international locations, including a vibrant Miami setting with the colourful ambience of an in-progress motorsport race bringing a new backdrop to the series. From sun-drenched streets to dark and dangerous rainforests, each intricate location provides multiple paths to discover and unparalleled game depth.

Continuing the ultimate spy thriller story, Hitman 2 allows players to take on the role of the masterful Agent 47 and embark on a mission to hunt the elusive Shadow Client and unravel his militia once and for all. However, when 47 learns the hidden truth about his past, nothing will ever be the same.

Hitman 2 introduces new ways to play with the Sniper Assassin mode, a standalone feature that brings a co-op experience to the Hitman series for the first time, allowing two players to work together online to take down their targets. Sniper Assassin can also be enjoyed in a single player mode for those who want to play as Agent 47.

Sniper Assassin is available to play now as an early access bonus for consumers who pre-order the Hitman Standard, Gold or Collector’s Edition. The Hitman 2 Standard Edition is available for pre-order now. The Gold Edition is available for pre-order now exclusively at UK retailer GAME. The Collector’s Edition will be available for pre-order soon.

“We are thrilled to partner with IO Interactive on HITMAN™ 2 and bring the latest game in this iconic franchise to the passionate HITMAN™ fanbase and new players,” said David Haddad, President, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “IO Interactive has done a fantastic job with the Hitman franchise, and this new game will provide a distinct gameplay experience for players to be creative in larger sandbox locations.”

“We are very proud to announce HITMAN™ 2 as the next exciting chapter in our ever-expanding world of assassination. Building on the success of our previous game, HITMAN™ 2 introduces exciting new features, new modes and franchise firsts to make for a larger and richer game,” said Hakan Abrak, CEO, IO Interactive. “We couldn’t have wished for a better partner than Warner Bros. to bring this game to our passionate community and introduce new players to our universe. Welcome back 47!”

That sound you hear is me heading off to pre-order!

PlayStation announces daily reveals in run-up to E3

IO Interactive team up with Warner Bros in Hitman publishing deal

PUBG addresses fans with an update on bug fixing

Developer Bluehole have released an open letter to the fans of PUBG about the current state of the game and what they are doing to resolve the issues. In a move to become more transparent – akin to how Rare are handling Sea Of Thieves – the letter goes into great detail about what’s in store for the game on the Xbox One. You can read direct from them here – but all the detail is below for your convenience!

Patch ETA – The next patch is planned to release on June 5th. We may push this patch out earlier. If a critical issue arises, we may delay the update. We haven’t generally given specific dates until we’re completely confident with them, leading to a lot of frustration. Please understand that we want to share important dates as soon as possible, but we also don’t want to disappoint you by giving you a date which may change.

Patch Info – The next patch, currently planned for June 5th, will include fixes for GameHub stats not updating, as well as a fix for a common cause of crashing. We’ll also be implementing improvements to Elastic Accuracy Control for Characters (EACC), a system we recently introduced to reduce crashing and lag in heavily populated areas. We’ll detail EACC more later on in this post. There will also be improvements to our Prediction-based level streaming (PBLS) system, which we’ll also elaborate on.

There are many issues that need to be fixed in regard to performance, stability and gameplay. Some will take more time than others. We’re working hard to address all issues that can negatively affect your gameplay experience, as quickly as possible.

We’ll share more information about what will be included in the next patch as we get closer to its release.

Now, we will detail some of the most important, and common player concerns.

Stability (Crashing / Dashboarding) – There are various reasons crashes can occur and we are working hard on fixing them all. Until the most recent patch, the instances of crashes experienced by players was decreasing each time we patched the game.

The recent patch has increased instances of crashing for many players. This is unacceptable.

We’re currently working on fixing the two most common causes of crashing, with the first being fixed in the next patch:

1. We introduced some back-end changes to prepare for an upcoming feature and in some cases, the game would try to interact with this unfinished feature, causing the game to crash.

2. A crash is occurring in relation to caching memory, which is used to improve performance. We’ve been actively addressing this issue since December, steadily reducing the instances of crashes related to this each patch. We are focusing on resolving this problem entirely by the end of June.

As players have noticed, crashes and lag happen more often in highly populated areas.To combat this, on top of our standard ongoing performance and stability work, we recently introduced a system designed specifically to improve performance and reduce crashes in highly populated areas.

Previously, we handled character resources in full for everyone that was near the player, within a 1km radius. This was causing lag/FPS drops and crashes at the early stages of the game after landing, as too many resources were being handled all at once, in populated areas. We have been working on introducing a dynamic system for these specific situations and have implemented a system called “Elastic Accuracy Control for Character, or EACC. Each resource was refreshed at a constant rate within 1km radius of your player. When characters were picking up items, changing clothes etc, this was causing all items within the 1km radius to be refreshed.

We made this system dynamic with EACC. It will now work depending on many factors, mainly distance. It will handle resources (refresh resources faster or slower) depending on those factors.

Much like PBLS, with each patch, EACC will become more effective at improving performance and in turn reducing crashes, as we gather more data each patch cycle and our engineers implement improvements based on the analysis of that data.

Map Selection – Map selection is still in development, we’ve still got some further work to do and we’ll get this out to you as soon as possible.

World Rendering (Loading) – The rendering (loading) process is different in each match, for each player, in each location. We need to find the best process to load resources in all scenarios, for every player. As mentioned in our previous dev letter, we’re using a system called prediction-based level streaming (PBLS) to speed up the rendering process. Our engineers are adjusting and optimizing this system every patch, based on data accumulated during that patch cycle.

PBLS is used specifically when parachuting, as it uses a lot of resources which can cause lower FPS for players. We use a different non-prediction-based level streaming system while on the ground, as it is more efficient.

When parachuting and falling through the air, a lot more resources have to be loaded than when you’re moving in on the ground. Imagine a chessboard as our map, with each square representing a square on our map. Your character occupies a square on that chessboard while on the ground and the game will load three squares in front of you (in a T shape), as your movement is somewhat predictable—we know where you’re going.

This is much different when in the air, parachuting. When you’re parachuting and falling towards the ground, everything around you has to be loaded, because we can’t predict where you will go. Instead of having to only load three squares in front of you, an area of 3×3 squares around you will have to be loaded. With PBLS, this system intuitively decides where in that 3×3 area to load first, to improve rendering times in the area where you’re going to land.

As you all know, there are often problems with rendering happening too slowly when driving vehicles, where buildings can suddenly appear in front of you, or you can get stuck inside a building which didn’t appear to be there previously. We have a level streaming system (separate from our prediction-based system) which is used while on the ground specifically, this system will load resources that you’re heading towards and instantly dump resources far behind you to improve performance. When travelling at high speeds, rendering can often not happen quickly enough, and we’re working to improve this system.

We’ll be making adjustments to level-streaming, further taking into account vehicle speed to improve the process of rendering resources you want to see and dumping those that are no longer needed.

For both our predictive and regular level-streaming systems, our engineers will be making improvements each patch to improve their efficiency and improve rendering times, after analyzing data from the patch cycle.

Server Performance – At the start of each match, the server is under the most stress due to having to keep track of 100 players all at once. We’ve recently applied some network improvements to the PC servers to help alleviate some early game load and we’re working to push these optimizations to Xbox as soon as possible, once they’re proven to be stable.

We’re constantly working on improving server performance, this is an ongoing process.

Vehicles – There are many bumps and sharp terrain geometry around the maps which can cause vehicles to explode in situations you wouldn’t expect and this is, obviously, extremely frustrating. We’re working to smooth out the terrain on all maps and reduce instances of these frustrating situations.

We expect to push some of these improvements later in June.

Other important issues we’re investigating – This list doesn’t include all issues we’re investigating, but these are some of issues being discussed the most:

1. Player teleports to a different location after vaulting

2. Match not ending, as the game believes another player is still alive, even though you cannot see anyone else in the final circle

3. Vehicles flipping or exploding for seemingly no reason

4. GameHub stats not updating – This will be fixed in the next patch. All of these stats have been tracked since the May update, but just haven’t yet been reflected in the GameHub. GameHub stats will not be restored instantly, but over time. Once the patch goes live, we’ll keep you updated through the process.

While we work to fix these bugs, optimization and stability are still our top priorities. We have different teams who work on different aspects of development, based on their skill sets and experience.

We will continue to address bugs, while improving performance and stability.

Star Wars games force their way onto Xbox Game Pass

Did you like what I did with that title? Not bad for early Saturday morning! Yes, Star Wars fans, four games from your favourite franchise are heading to Xbox One Game Pass. Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic, The Force Unleashed, The Force Unleashed 2 and LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga are all available, for free, now!

For a full list of all the games available on the service click here!

E3 2018; Where to watch the all the Xbox announcements

Insane Robots coming to a Console near you in July

Insane Robots was one of my picks of the show at EGX Rezzed in April and has now been given a release date of July 10th on PS4, July 12th on Steam and July 13th on Xbox One.

Insane Robots is a unique card battler with a brave tale of robot rebellion. Its a quirky, “rogue-lite” 2D strategy game where you battle for survival with token-based skirmishes in random-generated arenas. Each tournament brings tales of loyalty and betrayal; cold logic and insane risk. Power up your robot, lock down your slots, hack your opponent and launch your attack. Discover branching, reactive stories; strange and rare augments; special boosts that bring surprising twists; dynamic hazards like the acid cloud or ring of death; and deadly enemy robots ready to fight you and each other. Only a cunning player can survive the tournaments, unlock enough memory fragments and overthrow the Kernel to discover the terrible truth.

The core Insane Robots battle system was originally created in 15 minutes as a tabletop prototype using a pile of old business cards. This was only the start of a substantial physical and digital design process. The Playniac team has been playing and iterating the game since then, running tabletop sessions in their studio and at festivals worldwide during 2013-2014. Development of the digital game started in Jan 2015 and 15 people have formed the core team, including developer/designer Tom Kail (80 Days, Biome); artists Catherine Unger (Snipperclips, Detective Grimoire, Haunt the House, The Swindle), Fran Court (Hue, Stealth Inc 2, Frozen Synapse 2, New Art Academy 3DS), Belinda Leung (Total War, Pokemon Art Academy), Karen ‘bitmOO’ Teixeira (Twelve a Dozen, Oceans Heart), and Alice Duke (Fantastic Beasts, Lazarus); writers Yasmeen Khan (Fallen London), James Wallis (The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Paranoia RPG), and Charlie Carter; and designer/developer and Playniac founder Rob Davis (International Racing Squirrels, Cat On Yer Head, Anomaly X, Battlefield Academy). The game’s soundtrack includes tracks by Noise 5000 and legendary French electro producer Kid Loco.

Check out the official website and social media channels on Twitter and Facebook.