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Microsoft

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In a few weeks time Microsoft will be releasing Forza Horizon 2 and I recently had the opportunity to sit and talk with Ralph Fulton from Playground Games all about it.

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Race through a massive wide-open world featuring dramatic weather and day-to-night cycles. Instantly connect with friends in the ultimate celebration of speed, style, and action-packed driving. Explore beautiful and exotic locations in more than 200 of the world’s greatest cars, all created with precise detail in stunning 1080p.

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Ralph Fulton is the design director at Playground Games. He is responsible for the creative direction of the studio and its projects. Ralph is also a director at Playground Games, having been one of the company’s founders in 2010.

Fulton has 17 years of experience in the games industry in a broad range of genres. Prior to Playground, he was design manager for Codemasters’ award-winning Racing Studio where he was instrumental in the creation of the BAFTA award-winning titles, “GRID” and “DiRT 2.” While there, he also received a BATFA award for his work in establishing the creative vision for “F1 2010.”

So over to Ralph (and there’s a few minutes of new gameplay footage in there too):

Forza Horizon 2 will be available October 3rd on the Xbox One.

As only just last week that Minecraft just made the jump to current generation consoles, but its original creator, Mojang may be jumping onto the Microsoft bandwagon if the current rumours are true.

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A deal could be reached between Mojang and Microsoft as early as this week and is valued at over $2 billion that is a lot of bricks.

If this rumour is true then that would certainly be a feather in Microsoft’s cap as Mojang has been steadily gaining momentum with Minecraft. With each update and new console release, more and more players are become addicted to the title, and keeping it exclusively on Microsoft’s platforms could strike a huge blow to its competition.

 

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Microsoft have announced that Xbox One users in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain will be able to experience premium live TV features on Xbox One, such as the ability to access your favourite shows and channels with the sound of your voice through the OneGuide, with the new Xbox One Digital TV Tuner.

Beginning in October, the Xbox One Digital TV Tuner will be available in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, providing Xbox One users in those markets with an over-the-air digital terrestrial TV experience through the USB single tuner, an alternative to accessing TV content from a cable or satellite set-top box connected through the HDMI-In port. The new digital TV tuner will also support free-to-air DVB-T, DVB-T2 and DVB-C television standards.

Here’s a list of the capabilities enabled by the Xbox One Digital TV Tuner:

•          Watch HD TV on Xbox One: With the Xbox One Digital TV Tuner, you can watch free-to-air DVB-T, DVB-T2 and DVB-C television channels without changing TV inputs. You can receive game invitations and notifications while watching TV and even watch TV while you wait for a multiplayer match to start.

•          TV Viewing in Snap Mode: You can watch TV using the Snap mode, watching TV on the side and leaving the main screen for games, Skype, or other applications.

•          Pause Live TV: Pause your favorite show when you get up to take a break.

•          TV Listings in the OneGuide: TV listings will be available in the OneGuide. From anywhere, say “Xbox show guide, what’s on BBC One?” to quickly navigate directly to that channel’s listings*.

•          Favourite Channels in the OneGuide: Create your own personal Favourites in the OneGuide so you can easily choose what you want to watch.

•          Channel Tuning by Voice: The OneGuide allows you to call out your favourite TV channel by name and start watching it instantly*.

•          The OneGuide on Xbox SmartGlass: Now you have access to the full OneGuide on the new Xbox SmartGlass app with the ability to tune channels on your TV.

•          TV On Demand: TV listings in the OneGuide will indicate which shows are available on demand from video apps.

The Xbox One Digital TV Tuner will be available beginning late October in the UK for £24.99.

TFE

The second set of maps for Titanfall has arrived for gamers to enjoy more Titan bashing fun across 3 more battlegrounds. Whether you’re into your open and wide playgrounds for Titan and sniper heavy duals, to my personal favourite tighter built up arenas to show off your parkour abilities there’s something for everyone here. The Frontier’s Edge DLC adds yet another 3 maps to the game’s playlist giving you more reasons to take down your opponents in a variety of ways.

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Dig Site is a small industrial mining facility where energy-rich ores are extracted that offers a tighter arena for Titans to engage in combat. Build out of from the interior of a mine this environment incorporates both naturalistic rock formations to parkour on as well as the man made factories to enter into. Players can storm these mines on this medium sized map in numerous ways. From the open ground level you’re exposed a lot more and could be ambushed from players if you’re not quick, cautious or not in your Titan. This map is medium sized compared to the others.

I particularly enjoyed playing Capture The Flag on Dig Site as the various ways to get from one base to the other were plentiful. With the central structure being the key vantage point any team nesting within can control this game mode pretty well.
(A cross between the maps Airbase and Boneyard)

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Haven is a map that features a hotel, several sky scraping buildings and a beach. This is a luxury retreat for the wealthy built on the shores of a natural crater lake and it shows. And with every city-like map in Titanfall comes the tighter, less spacious streets restricting Titans from moving as freely. This map is extra large and offers loads of interiors, a lot of height and cover above if you’re into your sniping.

This map was great for Hardpoint Domination as nothing really beats running from building to building avoiding Titans and capturing bases. With the main hotspot being ‘B’ inside a hotel lobby it is a scene for mayhem as Titan’s can enter as well as a couple of elevated floor for pilots to rain down covering fire from above.

(A cross between the maps Fracture and War Games)

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Export is a dock with an interesting feature that can cause quite a lot of panic. With an exposed generator housed in the centre of the map, shooting this will result in one of pathways from one end of the map to the other to become electrified frying friend and foe. This map is my personal favourite from this pack as it balances a decent amount of building to enter, amazing vantage points for snipers, great open spaces for Titan fights and a decent amount of zip lines to get from the ground upwards out of danger. This map is large and is perfect for pilots to show off their abilities to traverse across the arena.

Playing Last Titan Standing on this map was by far the most enjoyable game mode. With a variety of ways to cross from one side to the other not forgetting the potential electrified easier route, this game mode played differently every time I played Export.
(A cross between the maps Smuggler’s Cove and Relic)

The Frontier’s Edge Variety Pack and Expedition Attrition are 2 playlists you can choose to play if you fancy just playing the 3 maps on rotation. These, the DLC and the added recent update have given more to the Titanfall experience. Since the last DLC we’ve now got the additional OS Voice option to choose what AI speaks to us once inside the Titan. The Titan Insignia is also added as the emblem to show off what challenges we’ve accomplished to heard these. The Black Market is also available to sell you current Burn Cards at and the one stop shop for buying more insignias or packs of Burn Cards, some featuring some rare cards.

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For all the Xbox One users this week the July system update will land for you, within the  new features and improvements based on user Feedback including the new ‘Snap Achievements’ feature. Other additions include:

Snap Mode for Achievements. Microsoft is offering an easier way to track and view your achievements in the moment. With Achievement Snap, you can track your achievement progress in real time without ever leaving the game. You can also ‘Get Help’ on any Achievements you’re struggling with. Xbox will scan the web for you and deliver relevant tips and strategy content right to your TV.

  • Double-tap to Snap.  Double-tap the Xbox button on your controller to bring up Snap Centre, where you can launch Achievements or any other snap-able app, without leaving your game. Already have an app snapped? Double-tap quickly switches between your game and the snapped app.
  • Choice of Spoken Language. Folks in New Zealand, Ireland and Austria, with this update in July, will be able to select voice control using the English or German voice models from other countries.  And if you’re an expat in an English-speaking country, you, too, can choose any of the other English language models that fit you.
  • Future Digital Bundles and Compilation Discs. We’re doing some work now so that publishers will have options for great digital bundle and disc compilation offerings in the future. As we test this feature, we’ll be seeing more flexible combinations of game titles and game content.
  • ‘Like’ Game DVR clips. We’re adding the ability to ‘Like’ all your favourite Game DVR clips as well as activity feed items in SmartGlass.

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In case you missed it last week, Zombie Driver Ultimate Edition has been released on the Xbox One.

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Zombie Driver Ultimate Edition is published through the ID@XBOX program, exclusively on the Xbox One. Ultimate Edition includes all of the downloadable content that was ever created for the game, plus a new pack of car skins that hasn’t been released on any other platform. We didn’t want to just throw the extra DLC into the package so we’ve modified the Blood Race campaign to include the additional cars as rewards for winning the tournaments. The game now features 31 story missions, 36 Blood Race events, 9 Slaughter arenas and 15 drivable vehicles.

Zombie Driver Ultimate Edition is available now from the Xbox Store priced £11.99.

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In case you missed it, Another World 20th Anniversary Edition was released last week on Xbox One.

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Also known as Out Of This World, Another World is a pioneer action/platformer that released across more than a dozen platforms since its debut in 1991.

Along the years, Another World has attained cult status among critics and sophisticated gamers alike.

An immersive adventure with unique storytelling, Another World chronicles the story of Lester Knight Chaykin a young scientist hurtled through space and time by a nuclear experiment that goes wrong.

A remastered presentation: a joint effort between visionary game-designer Eric Chahi and developer Martial Hesse Dreville, Another World is back in its 20th Anniversary Edition with Full High Definition graphics faithful to the original design.

It’s available now from the Xbox Store for £6.49.

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In case you missed it, Sixty Second Shooter Prime was just released for the Xbox One.

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Sixty Second Shooter Prime is a twin stick shooter with a sixty second time limit. You’ll be surprised how fun that is. You have one minute – and one life! – with which to deal as much destruction as possible. The enemy hordes are relentless, so only the sharpest wits and the fastest reflexes will prevail. Will you press your luck and fly to the deep levels where the truly treacherous foes await? The clock is always ticking in this fast-paced dual-stick shooter. But thankfully, our intrepid scientists at Happion Laboratories have developed all-new weapons to help you in those sixty seconds of hell. Use missiles to build a large chain bonus or lure your opponents into deadly remote-detonating bombs. With these tools at your disposal, you can develop all kinds of strategies to make that minute last a lifetime!

Sixty Second Shooter Prime is available now for £3.99.

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Microsoft have released a special edition Xbox 360 Arctic Camouflage Controller, and we got a closer look at it.

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This controller has the following features:

  • Camouflage design inspired by snow-covered environments
  • Transforming D-pad that switches from plus to disc for better control
  • Special edition wireless controller with 30-foot range

Here’s a closer look at the controller:

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What do you think of the Camouflage Controller? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

And thanks to Xbox for the controller.

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Microsoft has revealed over the weekend the contents of next month’s Xbox One update. Snap Mode for Achievements is the headline feature for July. It enables users to keep track of their Achievements without leaving a game and also receive tips about how to unlock them.

It will also bring the ability to ‘like’ Game DVR clips, as well as activity feed items in the SmartGlass second-screen application.

Xbox One users in New Zealand, Ireland and Austria will be able to select voice control using the English or German voice models from other countries when the update has landed.

The update also has implications for publishers, giving them the option to release digital bundle and disc compilations in the future.

A release date for the Xbox One July update is yet to be announced.

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Today Microsoft announced that on 11th November with “Halo: The Master Chief Collection.” Landing just in time to celebrate “Halo 2’s” 10-year anniversary, this fan-pleasing package contains “Halo: Combat Evolved,” “Halo 2,” “Halo 3,” and “Halo 4” on a single disc for $59.99.

More than a mere bundle of previously released games, however, “The Master Chief Collection” is a beast of an offering brimming with more bonuses, enhancements, and extras than you can shake an Energy Sword at. For starters, each title is optimized to take full advantage of the Xbox One’s power and will run at 60 frames-per-second. So, even the series’ most recent releases – “Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary” and “Halo 4” – will benefit from the jump to Xbox One, sporting much higher fidelity, better shadowing, reflection, and lighting effects, as well as an overall level of detail that trumps the previous console generation.


While “Halo: Combat Evolved,” “Halo 3,” and “Halo 4” will melt your eyeballs, “Halo 2” raises the bar even further… then chucks it, javelin-style, through the heart of your high expectations. Because the Master Chief’s second outing is celebrating a big anniversary, his handlers are giving it an extra coat of awesome. All of the cinematics have received a retina-searing makeover courtesy of Blur Studios; the crazy-talented team is also applying the movie-making magic to a brand-new prologue and epilogue that sheds some light on the Chief’s forthcoming journey in “Halo 5: Guardians.”

Those who replay “Halo 2” will also be treated to new narrative elements via story-expanding Terminals, much like those found in “Combat Evolved Anniversary.” Also like its predecessor, “Halo 2” will see the addition of game-customizing Skulls, as well as the cool ability to swap between its original visual presentation and the optimized version at the touch of a button. Finally, “Halo 2’s” massive multiplayer following can celebrate the big 10 by diving into six map remakes, built from scratch for the Xbox One.

Speaking of fragging friends online, “The Master Chief Collection” features all the multiplayer content from each of the four games, including all previously released download-only maps. While sorting through this enormous amount of solo and multiplayer content might sound like a daunting task on par with fixing a Warthog flat, 343 Industries has got your back. Thanks to what they’re calling the “Master Menu,” players won’t have to hop from menu to menu when navigating this epic offering. All campaign chapters are unlocked from the get-go, so fans can use this intuitive interface to play any mission, any time, at any skill level. Multiplayer will also benefit from the Master Menu, as a variety of user-friendly, streamlined features – such as maps being broken into gameplay types – are being implemented.

The final game will also leverage this seamless UI to offer curated playlists, such as ones that, say, allow you to play through each of the four games’ final missions consecutively, or let you experience every Warthog mission in one sitting. While the prospect of piloting the Chief’s slick ride for several hours straight is exciting, it’s but just one of the reasons this collection will have you up way past the wee hours.

On top of all the tweaks and enhancements to four of our all-time favorite games, “The Master Chief Collection” also features the debut of “Halo: Nightfall,” an all-new digital series executive produced by legendary director Ridley Scott and directed by Sergio Mimica-Gezzan (“Battlestar Galactica,” “Heroes”). While details on the project are protected as fiercely as UNSC secrets, we can reveal that the series – airing weekly – will tell the origin story of an all new character that is pivotal to “Halo 5: Guardians.”

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While “Nightfall” will offer a tease of what’s to come in “Halo 5: Guardians,” “The Master Chief Collection” will give fans an actual taste of what it’s like to play it with access to the “Halo 5: Guardians Multiplayer Beta.” Welcoming fans this December, the “Halo 5: Guardians” Multiplayer Beta offers a taste of the new multiplayer gameplay and features coming next year with the game’s full release.

Whether you’re a new Xbox One owner wondering what the fuss is about, or a seasoned Spartan looking to revisit gaming’s signature sci-fi epic, “Halo: The Master Chief Collection” is a must-have that will keep you locked, loaded, and littering the landscape with Covenant corpses until “Halo 5: Guardians” lands next year. There’s over 100 maps, running at 1080p 60fps and 4000 Gamerscore points. 

Major Nelson posted the new PC drivers for the Xbox One controller, with promising support back at the original console launch in November of last year, the drivers are now available for x86 and x64 copies of Windows.

Xbox One Controller

The drivers include support for the Xbox One controller to be used with any game that supported the Xbox 360 controller

Quote from Major Nelson

“We know our fans have wanted PC compatibility, and we know they wanted to be able to use the Xbox One controller with the same games and applications they have been playing with using the Xbox 360 controller. We can’t wait for them to play their favorite PC games with what we consider the best controller ever made and we’re excited for fans to experience the improved D-pad, redesigned battery compartment, new comfortable design and offset analog sticks. The new PC drivers will enable the Xbox One controller to be used with any game that featured gamepad support for the Xbox 360 controller. Simply download the drivers, connect your Xbox One controller to your computer through a micro USB cable and you’ll be gaming in no time.”

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