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Here's everything Microsoft announced at Gamescom 2015

Germany's video game trade fair has begun; here's everything Microsoft announced.


Nate Ralph

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Microsoft at Gamescom 2015

The Gamescom expo doesn't technically start until August 5, but Microsoft has held its official press conference. First the bad news: most of the good stuff isn't coming until 2016. But then there's the good news: old favorites, new features and a few surprises are in store.

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Quantum Break

Quantum Break is the natural progression of the now-classic Bullet Time trope that Remedy first made popular with Max Payne. There's quite a bit of cover-based gunplay that intermingles with the game's focus on frenetic time travel. If you're into non-interactive entertainment, there'll also be a live-action show that flows along with the action. Both will be arriving on April 5, 2016.

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This action-RPG is sort of like Pokemon meets Devil May Cry: you'll cleave your way through foot soldiers and giant monsters, aided by a gigantic fire-breathing sidekick. There will also be four-player co-op play, so friends can help you take on some decidedly larger foes. Scalebound arrives sometime at the end of 2016.

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Crackdown 3

Crackdown certainly wasn't the first open-world game, but it arguably set the bar for comical, go-anywhere tomfoolery. You'll leap over rooftops, scoot through streets in shapeshifting vehicles, and generally take out wave after wave of bad guys in a sprawling, crime-ridden metropolis. Your friends can get in on the action too, with destructible environments that encourage you to be a little less careful with your aim.

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Full-featured DVR on Xbox One

You'll soon be able to use the Xbox One as a DVR for over-the-air HDTV. All of the shows you record can also be streamed to any Windows 10 device you own (including Windows Phones). You can schedule recordings while you're out and about, and download your recordings to your devices. And there's no subscription, either -- you will need a $60 Xbox One TV tuner, and an external USB hard drive to store all of the content when DVR functionality arrives in 2016.

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Xbox One backward-compatibility with Xbox 360 arrives in November

We first got wind of this back at E3 2015, but it's nice to get some closure: backward-compatibility with the Xbox 360 will be coming to the Xbox One in November. Over 100 Xbox 360 games will be supported at launch, including the Halo and Mass Effect series. All of the free Games with Gold titles will be backward-compatible from here on out, and there'll be no extra fees or charges, provided you already own the game and are an Xbox Live subscriber.

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Windows 10, on your Xbox One

We'll also be getting an entirely new Xbox One experience in November, as Microsoft brings Windows 10 to the console. That includes support for Cortana, Windows 10 apps, and an all-new user interface.

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DirectX 12 on Windows 10

This one may feel a little down in the weeds, but bear with me here: DirectX 12 is built into Windows 10 and represents a nice step forward for game developers and hardware manufacturers looking to beef up performance and graphics in the games of the future. We saw Square Enix's gorgeous DirectX 12 demo earlier this year, but it remains an awesome showcase of where gaming is heading in the coming years.

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Thimbleweed Park

Ron Gilbert, the creator of Manic Mansion and Monkey Island, is back with another point-and-click adventure game. Details are scant, but expect much of the same bizarre and witty humor we've come to expect from those efforts.

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We Happy Few

"Join the Fun" -- forgive me for not being convinced that this survival horror game has anything pleasant in store. The game sports a creepy, mysterious vibe that's almost reminiscent of Bioshock and Dishonored -- it should arrive in June of 2016.

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Cobalt is competitive, run-and-gun game that's reminiscent of the old Contra series: you'll shoot, then roll, and shoot some more, with the harrowing barrage of explosives thrown in for good measure. And there's co-op too, lest all this shooting start to feel a little antisocial. The game is being developed by Oxeye Game Studio, but it's being published by Mojang (of Minecraft fame), and arriving in October of this year.

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Halo Wars 2

I loved Halo Wars. That's not exactly a popular position, but I'm OK with this -- it's perhaps the only example I've ever encountered of a real-time strategy game not being terrible on a console. That said, I should also give a nod to Herzog Zwei, one of the progenitors of the genre.  More of that will certainly be appreciated when the game arrives in fall of 2016.

13 of 13 Josh Miller/CNET

Where's Sony?

Microsoft had a pretty strong showing here, but where's PlayStation? Skipping town: Sony has opted to pass on doing a big Gamescom press conference this year. Instead, we'll hear more from Sony at a media briefing during Paris Games Week on October 27.

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