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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.