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    Activision has released yet another trailer for their upcoming Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare DLC pack, known as 'Havoc.' The new pack is due for launch on the Xbox One and Xbox 360 on January 27. This time, the trailer features a humorous live-action clip that shows us who really controls and creates those cool KillCam shots.

    Comedic actor Rob Huebel plays "Randall Higgins: KillCameraman" in the clip, which shows him controlling camera drones in various war zones. It's very funny. Best you just watch and enjoy it instead of me telling you about it.

    The 'Havoc' DLC pack for Call of Duty Advanced warfare will contain four new multiplayer maps, a new weapon, and the first part of the new Exo Zombies co-op campaign mode. The pack will be priced at $14.99 on its own, but players can get it as part of the game's Season Pass, which bundles all four planned DLC packs for $49.99.

    Source: Xbox (YouTube)


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    Saints Row IV Xbox One Twitch stream

    Every weekend, Windows Central streams an Xbox One game or two on Twitch for 1-2 hours, showing you some of the wide variety of games available on Microsoft's latest console. Last week, we streamed Sniper Elite III and dished out codes to 23 lucky viewers.

    Tonight, we'll be playing Saints Row IV: Re-Elected from High Voltage Software and Deep Silver. We want you guys there, chatting along. So we're giving out a variety of codes as prizes – mostly for Steam this time.

    Update: The stream has ended. Continue reading to see the replay and list of prize winners!


    Watch live video from EastXTwitch on Twitch

    Tip: If watching the stream in another window, close this one to avoid audio echoes.

    Saints Row IV: Re-Elected

    The Saints Row series started out as a Grand Theft Auto clone, but eventually branched off in a much different direction. Saints Row IV is an open-world game with an extremely silly storyline and lots of humorous weapons like the infamous Dubstep Gun.

    Players also get super powers with which to navigate the world and defeat enemies, making this the closest thing to Crackdown we have on Xbox One – until Crackdown 3 finally comes along.

    Saints Row IV on Xbox One is available either by itself or bundles with the brand-new standalone 'Gat out of Hell' expansion. Check out the contents of each game:

    • Saints Row IV: Re-Elected: Includes the base game, both DLC mission packs, plus 25+ DLC weapons, 15 new vehicles, 60+ wardrobe items, 15 new homies & 6 new superpower elements.
    • Saints Row: Gat out of Hell: For the first time ever, play as the fan favorites Johnny Gat and Kinzie Kensington, alone or in 2-player online co-op. Features an open world from hell, new supernatural powers, outrageous weapons and more.

    Tune in tonight to see just how well Saints Row IV (which started out on Xbox 360 and Playstation 3) fares on current gen systems.

    • Saints Row IV: Re-Elected – Xbox One – 12 GB – $29.99 – Xbox.com Link
    • Saints Row IV: Gat out of Hell – Xbox One – 7 GB – $19.99 – Xbox.com Link
    • Saints Row IV: Re-elected + Saints Row: Gat out of Hell – Xbox One – $49.49 – Amazon LinkXbox.com Link

    Saints Row IV Xbox One

    The Contest

    We'll be streaming Saints Row IV: Re-Elected for ~2 hours tonight, starting at 8pm Central (9pm Eastern, 6pm Pacific). During that time, we'll be giving out a total of 10 game codes:

    • 1 IDARB for Xbox One
    • 1 Flockers for Steam
    • 1 Defense Grid 2 for Steam
    • 7 Anomaly Defense for Steam

    To enter, just follow me at Twitch.tv/Eastxtwitch and tune in during the stream. You can watch the stream right here in this post, but you need to actually participate in the stream chat to have a chance at winning. We'll deliver codes to the winners via Twitch message (PM) during the stream. No code begging!

    What's the best way to experience Twitch? If you don't have a PC, you can get the Xbox One or Xbox 360 Twitch app and watch from the comfort of your couch. Or grab the unofficial app Livegaming for Windows Phone. It has plenty of great features, including the ability to chat along with your fellow viewers. Unfortunately you'll have to add our channel to your favorites from the Twitch website, outside of the app.

    I'll be available for a few minutes before and after the stream if you have any questions or just want to say hi. If you enjoy the stream, I'd love for you to tune in to future streams. For now, we'll do one every weekend, with a few non-contest streams throughout the week.

    Saints Row IV Xbox One

    Contest schedule

    Want to know what's next for Windows Central's weekly Twitch streaming contests? Here's our upcoming schedule:

    • Wednesday, January 28 : The Escapists from Team17 – See it two weeks before release! No prizes.
    • Saturday, January 31 : The Golf Club from HB Studios
    • Saturday, February 7 : Fibbage from Jackbox Games - Play along with us during the stream!
    • Saturday, February 14 : Guacamelee from Drinkbox Studios
    • Saturday, February 21 : Chariot from Frima Studio

    Set a recurring alarm on your phone and tune in those days for your chance to win each game on Xbox One (and sometimes other platforms)!

    Winners

    Everybody who watches is a winner, but especially these guys:

    IDARB for Xbox One

    • kenzibit

    Flockers for Steam

    • snoochyboochys

    Defense Grid 2 for Steam

    • mtaraylz

    Anomaly Defense for Steam

    • Gusrivero
    • halfblackcanadian
    • xenokalson
    • wildwest310
    • Lantea1
    • cgriffiths86
    • Swizzlerzs

    Thanks to Tylerh1701 for helping out with tonight's stream while I'm away at PAX South. Thanks also to our Twitch stream moderators Kalelcanfly and DerekDoesIt (who goes by isi mcf here at Windows Central) for moderating our streams and giving away the prizes!


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    The next fighter for Killer Instinct Season 2 on the Xbox One has been revealed. Making a cameo appearance at the end of the trailer upcoming Season 2 character Omen, Golem is set to be the next character to make his debut at some point during Season 2. The trailer itself is mostly about Omen, who will be available for Killer Instinct Ultra Edition owners on Jan. 30, and for Combo Breaker Edition owners on Feb. 5. Golem makes his appearance around the 1:45 mark, towards the end of the video.

    Microsoft Creative Director Adam Isgreen revealed the character's name on Twitter:

    Source: Killer Instinct on YouTube, Adam Isgreen on Twitter


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    Heaps of Borderlands news and more from the Gearbox panel at PAX South

    The first ever PAX South (PAX stands for Penny Arcade Expo) has been keeping me extremely busy in San Antonio, TX this weekend. We already reported my impressions of State of Decay for Xbox One, and I have impressions of several more Xbox One and mobile Windows games to share with you soon. But first, let me tell you about this morning's Gearbox Panel.

    Gearbox, best known as the makers of Borderlands, have a significant presence at PAX South. With one dedicated theatre, a community room and non-stop panels all weekend, you could be forgiven for thinking of PAX South as Gearbox's equivalent of QuakeCon. Today's panel took place in the convention's main theater and focused on the future of Borderlands and Tales from the Borderlands, plus Gearbox's Battleborn and Homeworld projects.

    Read on for complete details and photos of everything revealed during Gearbox's highly entertaining presentation!

    Borderlands Handsome Collection

    Borderlands: the Handsome Collection

    The panel started out with Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford and a couple more high-ranking staff members taking to the stage to spread the word about Borderlands: the Handsome Collection for Xbox One and Playstation 4. The collection, which includes Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: the Pre-Sequel, was first announced last week.

    The mainline Borderlands games have always allowed players to play solo or team up online with others for cooperative play (and some versions support 2-player split-screen). New to the Handsome Collection is 4-player split-screen co-op, a first for the series.

    To demonstrate this welcome feature, Gearbox brought four players onto the stage. Each held a Dual Shock 4 controller, as the demonstration build ran on Playstation 4. The team of four basically ran around an indoors environment for a couple of minutes, looking at each other and firing their guns a bit. Not the most exciting gameplay scenario, but we still got a taste of how well 4-player split-screen works on the current generation of consoles.

    Each player's UI (health, ammunition, etc.) was perfectly legible on the quarter portion of the screen. The frame rate maintained an impressive fluidity as well. It looked smoother than the 2- and 4-player split-screen modes in Microsoft's own Halo: the Master Chief Collection. Provided the text for viewing missions, equipment, and other elements isn't too tiny, local 4-player is going to become many fans' favorite ways to play Borderlands.

    Borderlands Handsome Collection

    Gearbox is so busy with its own future projects that it doesn't have the bandwidth and resources to bring these two Borderlands games to the new consoles. Luckily, they recruited Iron Galaxy (developers of Divekick, who also ported Borderlands 2 to Playstation Vita) and Austin-based Armature Studio (Unfinished Swan, Injustice: Gods Among Us) to port the games and spruce them up for the target systems.

    The Handsome Collection started life as simply a current-gen port of Borderlands: the Pre-Sequel. Many players (including yours truly) missed the Pre-Sequel the first time around because it released so close to the Xbox One and Playstation 4 launches.

    Luckily for gamers, the Pre-Sequel runs on the same engine as Borderlands 2. The developers discovered that it would be easy to add Borderlands 2 to the package, and hence the Handsome Collection was born. And yes, that's why the first Borderlands didn't make it into the collection.

    Borderlands: the Handsome Collection includes Borderlands 2, Borderlands: the Pre-Sequel, and every bit of downloadable content that has been created for both of those games – a tremendous value at $59.99. Players can even transfer their save data from the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 versions! The Handsome Collection launches on March 24.

    Borderlands Lady ammerlock

    Borderlands: the Pre-Sequel

    Not only will the Handsome Collection include all of the DLC that has been released for both games so far, it even includes stuff that hasn't come out yet! 2K Australia is still hard at work on Borderlands: the Pre-Sequel, which has title updates and more downloadable content in store for it in the months to come.

    Gearbox revealed that current-gen versions of the Pre-Sequel will receive a new title update on Monday the 26th that fixes bugs and other issues. But within the next month or two, a major update will add a much-requested feature: farmable bosses!

    Originally, the game was designed so that when players killed most bosses, they stayed dead. The developers wanted gamers to feel like they had really impacted the game world, wiping the big bads from the map. But loot-seeking players want to get more loot from bosses who will respawn. In the end, the developers acquiesced. Soon you'll be able to revisit past bosses, fight them again, and earn new boss drops for your trouble.

    Publisher 2K will also be releasing a brand-new expansion called 'Lady Hammerlock the Baroness' on Tuesday the 27th. We caught the first glimpse of the new expansion's trailer, a capture of which I'm embedding in this story.

    The trailer introduces us to Lady Hammerlock, a new playable character designed by Jonathan Hemingway, who designed all of the character trees for Borderlands 1 and 2. The team's goal with Hammerlock was to create a more reliable and definitive sniper, so she is better at sniping than existing snipers Mordecai and Zer0.

    Borderlands Lady ammerlock

    Lady Hammerlock's action skill is to fling deadly ice shards at opponents. She can also turn another player into her manservant, which creates a synergy in which each player's actions helps the other. This power is different than any other character's and makes her great for cooperative play.

    Finally, the developers briefly teased yet another campaign DLC for the Pre-Sequel. This mysterious new content will put gamers inside the mind of Claptrap, the lovable/annoying wheeled robot who serves as mascot of the Borderlands series.

    Battleborn Gearbox Panel PAX South

    Battleborn

    Moving on from Borderlands, Gearbox started to hype the audience on its next big IP: Battleborn. A first-person shooter with MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) elements, Battleborn is coming to PC and possibly consoles sometime in the future. Randy Pitchford described it as "the future of the company… What we're betting on."

    Because MOBA games are entirely focused on team-based competition, Battleborn will feature multiple ways to play. That includes a co-op campaign built around lessons learned from the Borderlands series.

    Much of Borderlands' unique appeal revolves around collecting and wielding thousands of different guns and other weapons. Battleborn on the other hand focused on an extensive arsenal of characters. The developers compared the game's character selection to the experience of collecting Star Wars action figures.

    Battleborn takes place in the distant future, after all, but one stars in the universe have burned out. All surviving life exists within proximity to the last remaining star, Solace. And a number of factions want control of Solace. The game will present their conflict through the lens of many characters and perspectives, seemingly implying a wealth of replay value to its story modes.

    Homeworld Remastered Collection

    Homeworld Remastered Collection

    Another of Gearbox's projects is to revive the classic science fiction franchise Homeworld. In 1999, Relic Entertainment released the first Homeworld, and then a sequel followed in 2003. The series storyline concluded with that sequel, and even its creators thought Homeworld would end there.

    Fast-forward more than ten years, and some of those same creators are now at work on a prequel while Gearbox finishes remastering the first two games. The Homeworld Remastered Collection will include freshly revamped versions of Homeworld 1 and 2 as well as the untouched original versions of those games.

    Today's Homeworld presentation started off with the trailer we've embedded into this story. Watch it, and you'll see some monochromatic footage of spaceships and plants. This segues into footage of the classic Homeworld games, and then we see the same scenes Remastered in high definition. The new graphics are much more colorful (even outer space features dazzling patches of color). Explosions, weapon trails, and other effects look more impressive than ever before.

    Gearbox has aimed to go above and beyond typical game remasters with the Homeworld Remastered Collection. They've tried to honor the original and do things right as much as possible. That includes rebuilding all of the Homeworld games' 3D models for ships and other objects and hiring the original audio director to redo all of the sounds for the Remastered Collection.

    Homeworld Remastered Collection launches on PC on February 25th. Fans can preorder it now for under $30 on Steam. No word on console versions yet, but here's hoping!

    Randy Pitchford magic trick Gearbox Panel PAX South

    Magic tricks and giveaways

    Gearbox partnered with gaming hardware giant Nvidia to help future-proof Homeworld Remastered Collection's graphics. On sufficiently beefy hardware, the game can run at an absolutely stunning 4K resolution.

    To promote that partnership, Nvidia gave out free graphics cards to five lucky audience members. Each walked away with GeForce GTX 970 graphics cards based on Nvidia's Maxwell chip architecture.

    The fifth and final winner also had the good fortune to participate in a stage magic demonstration from Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford! Randy presented the 16-year old winner with the Homeworld Remastered Collector's Edition, opening it to reveal a statue, keychain, art book, and more.

    Randy then flipped through the art book and asked the participant to pick insert a Homeworld bookmark on the page of his choosing and focus on a random printed word from that page. Next the magician successfully guessed both the page and the word, the boy had picked (discovery).

    The winner then turned over his Homeworld Steam code sheet to reveal a note saying the exact page and word Randy had just uncovered from him. Looking at the book once again, the page had gone missing. Somehow, it ended up encased in a plastic page holder on a stool behind them! Randy Pitchford explained that the trick requires a time machine – a running joke throughout the presentation.

    Tales from the Borderlands Episode 2 Gearbox Panel PAX South

    Tales from the Borderlands

    The final stage of Gearbox's presentation focused on Tales from the Borderlands, the episodic adventure game from Telltale. The Tales staff opened with a trailer for Tales from the Borderlands Episode 1 that included footage from the game's reveal event that I attended last year.

    After that, we saw the first public screenshot from Tales Episode 2. It depicted two new characters, hoodlums Fitch and Croeder (sp?). A second screenshot revealed Athena, a character from Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. What will she be up to in Tales from the Borderlands?

    Last but not least, Telltale played a clip from Tales Episode 2. The clip features the return of Scooter, a mechanic and NPC from Borderlands 1 and 2. Fiona asks Scooter to repair her vehicle, which took some damage in the first episode. Scooter responds with a lewd joke about his willingness to look under any vehicle's skirt, and the clip ends.

    Telltale did not reveal a release date for Tales from the Borderlands Episode 2 (an annoying habit of theirs) but promised it would be soon. And with that, the big PAX South Gearbox presentation drew to a close.

    As for Borderlands 3? Gearbox still has a few more hours of PAX South to announce that game. If they do, we'll be here to report on it!


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    Hands on with The Witcher 3 for Xbox One

    Last week, your friendly neighborhood Games Editor had to miss the Windows 10 event that knocked everyone's socks off. Don't feel sorry for me, though – I was busy with a gaming-specific event in San Francisco. That's where CD Projekt RED hosted the first-ever hands-on event for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, their open-world action-RPG that comes to Xbox One, Windows, and PlayStation 4 this May.

    After a short presentation from the game developers, my fellow journalists and I sat down for several hours of uninterrupted playtime with The Witcher 3 on the platforms of our choice. Guess which one I picked! The event wrapped up with a short question and answer session that provided additional insight into what the finished form of The Witcher 3 will be like.

    Read on for my detailed gameplay impressions, news of the Witcher 3's second playable character and more!

    Witcher 3 press preview January 2015

    A who's-who of gaming journalists waits for the Witcher 3 presentation to begin.

    Welcome to the Witcher

    The Witcher started life as a series of novels and short stories written by Polish fantasy author Andrzej Sapkowski. Four of those books have been released in English at present (plus an excellent original comic miniseries from Dark Horse).

    The characters and the universe rose to international fame with Polish developer CD Projekt RED's first PC game, The Witcher (only ten bucks on Steam). When the Witcher 2 arrived on consoles shortly after PC, a whole new group of gamers was introduced to the adventures of Geralt of Rivia. In fact, The Witcher 2 for Xbox 360 is free through Games with Gold until the end of January. Get it while it's free!

    Players don't need to have read the books or played previous games to enjoy The Witcher 3. The game starts out with a recap (embedded above) that explains the history of its war-torn world and the lonely warriors known as Witchers. Protagonist Geralt and his few fellow Witchers are monster hunters for hire, skilled fighters capable of casting spells called Signs.

    After the recap, the true introduction begins (also embedded in this story). We witness a raging battle filled with swordsmen and mounted troops. The intro cuts between the battle and Geralt's subsequent investigation of it. By examining the bodies and other battlefield evidence, Geralt and his mentor/partner Vesemir piece together the events of the battle and the direction that their quarry (a mysterious woman) has fled.

    The opening hours of The Witcher 3

    The actual gameplay starts with a flashback of sorts. Geralt emerges from a bath, his body covered in scars from years of fighting monsters and humans. His face is clean shaven at this point, but he wears a beard later in the game. Lounging nearby is an impressively nude woman, the sorceress Yennefer. She hurries him along, the two get dressed, and players gain control of Geralt at last.

    We control the hero from a third-person perspective. The graphics show an incredible level of detail even in this incomplete stage, especially the character models. Geralt and Yennefer's castle room indeed looks lived-in, with all manner of furniture, decorations, and other details. Stepping out on the veranda, you'll find a view that rivals those of Skyrim. Castle Kaer Morhen rests inside a mountain pass, with clouds, fog, and birds flying by. A vast number of trees dot the landscape as well. As for the frame rate, it remained fluid and never dipped significantly during my time with the game.

    Geralt's first task is to find the key he needs to leave the room. Holding the Left Trigger activates his Witcher senses, highlighting interactive objects in the environment. Luckily this doesn't distort the colors too heavily as in the Batman: Arkham Asylum series. The edges of the screen just distort a bit, and everything but the glowing interactive elements retains its typical appearance.

    After leaving the room, Geralt discovers that his pupil Ciri has slipped away from Vesemir during a lesson. At this point, Ciri is a young teenager with freckles and curiously white hair, not unlike a Witcher's. The two find her busy jumping between posts and dodging a pendulum while blindfolded. It seems the headstrong and stubborn Ciri much prefers physical training to studying books about monsters and history.

    The Witcher 3

    Fight like a Witcher

    Lucky for her, it's time for more combat training. Vesemir gives Geralt the choice of reviewing the fundamentals of combat, a clever way of letting players play or skip the combat tutorial. The lesson starts by explaining the Witcher's arsenal: two swords, an array of signs (one-handed spells), and alchemy (potions, bombs, etc.).

    The Witcher 3's combat is mostly intuitive, an improvement over the slightly complicated controls in the Witcher 2. Geralt carries two swords: a steel blade for human enemies and a silver one for killing monsters. Tapping left or right on the d-pad draws the corresponding sword. X and Y perform light and heavy slashes.

    Evading attack is an essential part of battle. Holding Left Trigger will block oncoming attacks. Enemies will often block your attacks as well, in which case you may need to gain the advantage on them with a parry. Pressing and holding Left Trigger just as the enemy attacks causes Geralt to parry and kick the enemy, creating a window for additional attacks.

    The Left Bumper opens the Quick Access menu, from which players can select signs and bombs to use. Geralt's signs include Axii (muddle the enemy's mind), Aard (telekinetic blast), Igni (fire blast), Quen (shield), and Yrden (a magic trap that slows anyone within its radius). Different enemies are weak to different signs, which players can discover by experimentation or reading the game's detailed bestiary.

    Finally, Geralt can throw bombs with the Right Bumper. At this point, the aiming reticle is small and difficult to see. The developers assured us that they will refine bomb aiming before the game's release.

    The Witcher 3

    A rude awakening

    The training session ends as a huge ship emerges from the sky. Standing on the castle wall before it we see the Wild Hunt, a group of ghostly warriors. Geralt finds himself powerless to move or resist them – an effective and frightening scene.

    We return to the present to discover that the flashback was only a dream. Geralt is now grizzled and bearded, his dream of Ciri's youth having taken place several years before. Our hero and his companion Vesemir are tracking Yennefer, who they were supposed to meet in the town of Willoughby. Unfortunately Willoughby has been burned to the ground before Yennefer's friends arrived, forcing her to flee to some unknown location.

    As the duo travels towards the nearest town, Geralt must follow Vesemir on horseback. Steering the horse is fairly intuitive. You can just hold A and your mount will travel along the pathway automatically. By taking direct control, you can move much faster. Double-tapping and then holding A makes the horse gallop. Galloping consumes stamina, which recharges over time. Horses will panic and throw off their riders when they stay around monsters too long, so you'll also need to watch out for predators as you ride.

    Geralt and Vesemir soon chance upon a man being attacked by a gigantic and terrifying griffin. The two scare the monster off and save him, but players will still need to battle the monster later on. Geralt can choose whether or not to charge the merchant for his rescue, a choice that often comes up during quests. It will be interesting to see whether this affects how other characters react to you throughout the game.

    The Witcher 3

    Welcome to town

    Finally our heroes reach the nearest town. Here they can visit the inn to ask whether anyone has seen Yennefer. Inside the Inn you'll meet a scholar who plays a card game called Gwent. Beat him and you'll win a card, one of the game's collectibles. Geralt also encounters locals who are (foolishly) prejudiced against Witchers, and a scrap ensues.

    The Witcher 3 is an open-world game, and you're free to pursue the main quest-line, side quests, or simply explore the vast world. You pick side quests up from a local notice board or by meeting citizens in trouble. The ones I completed were far better than mere fetch quests. Each told their own interesting little tales.

    The Witcher 3

    One standout quest started when a man hires Geralt to frighten off the Noonwraith (a grossly disfigured female ghost) that haunts the local well. You don't just fight the ghost outright. Instead, you'll investigate the area and try to figure out what binds the woman to the area. The tragedy behind her death is quite moving.

    Having searched the well (which involves swimming) for a significant object, you'll finally light a fire to summon the Noonwraith. She's no easy opponent, but the information learned from the Bestiary should alert you to her weakness to Geralt's Yrden sign.

    The Witcher 3

    An epic adventure awaits

    I also played a section of the Witcher 3 that takes place much further into the game's story. This portion takes place in Crach an Craite, a snowy mountain fortress. The residents invite Geralt to a feast on the eve of the election of their next ruler. The festivities go sour when three gigantic bears emerge from the banquet hall, killing several hapless victims. Geralt had only begun his investigation of the attack when my time with the game expired.

    Although we didn't get to see it firsthand, we did learn that players will sometimes play as Ciri, Geralt's former student. Ciri is a "source," a person of great magical power. Geralt will spend much of the game searching for her, while she must avoid the dark forces that would abuse her power. You won't be switching back and forth between Geralt and Ciri at will. Instead you'll just play as her briefly throughout the story, gaining an insight into her perspective and tribulations.

    Another thing we learned is that the developers haven't quite settled on whether we'll be able to continue playing the game after completing the main storyline (which has something like 30 different endings!). Another memorable open-world RPG, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion formerly prevented players from continuing after the story's conclusion. Eventually, Bethesda responded to fan requests by patching the game to allow players to continue indefinitely. Hopefully, CD Projekt RED will allow that same option rather than waiting for player feedback.

    The Witcher 3

    I only played three hours of a game that will last for more than a hundred hours (including side quests). But I came away extremely impressed with The Witcher 3. It grabbed me in a way that few games do. The world, characters, and quests are all fascinating and well-realized. If you're a fan of fantasy games, The Witcher 3 should be on your radar.

    The Witcher 3 will launch on May 19th. You can preorder it now at Amazon.

    As for the Windows Phone and Windows 8 versions of mobile spin-off The Witcher Battle Arena, they sound like they're still several months off. We'll keep you posted!


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    Xbox One

    Finally, we have our first real week of game releases on Xbox One and there are a couple that you probably haven't heard from. The biggest release of the week is of course Dying Light which is the only AAA game of the week as well. We also will finally see the release of #IDARB this weekend as it will become available for free as February's Games with Gold game.

    However, these games are not the one that I'm anticipating the most from this week's lineup. You're going to have to continue reading to figure this one out.

    Dying Light

    the ultimate parkour zombie-fest

    Dying Light is a first-person open world survival horror game from Techland that will have players scavenging for supplies to send to safe zones and crafting weapons to help defend yourself. But there is one huge problem, the town has been infested by zombies and they're looking for a snack. Hopefully you're not out when the sun goes down because that's when all hell breaks loose.

    The game also features a four-player co-op mode and some asymmetrical multiplayer action. However, the coolest multiplayer feature is the "Be a Zombie" mode. This mode allows you to take the role of a zombie and join other players' worlds as you try to hunt them down. Dying Light invades the Xbox One Tuesday, January 27.

    -Dying Light - Xbox One - 21.21 GB - $59.99 - Xbox Store - Amazon

    #IDARB

    the red box awakens

    #IDARB or It Draws a Red Box Is a chaotic 8-player eSport jumping jetpack future arena ball game that is as inspired by Bomberman, Smash Bros., and NBA Jam. Creators of the game over at Other Ocean started the game just for fun and started using feedback from fans on Twitter to add enhancements to the game. The objective of the game is to score the ball into your opponent's goal. Unfortunately, this sounds easier than it is, but that's part of the fun and competitiveness of the game.

    The game allows up to 4v4 locally or online. I've had the game since early December, and it is loads of fun to play and it will have us creating tournaments. #IDARB comes to Xbox One this weekend and will be free for Xbox Live Gold members.

    Life is Strange (Episode One)

    choose wisely

    'Life is Strange' is a five part episodic series from Dotnod Entertainment. The game features an interactive play-style like the one seen in games such as D4 and The Walking Dead. You play as Maxine, who has returned to her hometown only to find out that a lot has been going on since she left. She reunites with her best friend, and they begin investigating a disappearance on their own. The deeper they look into the disappearance the more secrets they find about their city.

    Life is Strange spices up the interactive gameplay by adding time manipulation, which allows you to turn back time after you have made a decision or action. The game is also said to hold substantial short, mid, or long-term consequences for the decisions that the player makes. Life is Strange is easily my favorite game of the bunch coming out this week. It launches Friday, January 30 with episode one and episode two coming about 6 weeks later.

    Unmechanical: Extended Edition

    bring your best puzzle solving skills

    Unmechanical: Extended Edition finally brings the beautiful puzzle platform to next-gen consoles with exclusive levels, story, and puzzles. The game is set in a world filled with, flesh rock and steel and you play as this tiny robot who is trapped in an underground lab. It is up to you to set the robot free by solving puzzles and platforming.

    Unmechanical: Extended Edition becomes available on Friday, January 30.

    What game will you be grabbing this week?


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    Xbox One

    Microsoft's Fiscal 2015 Q2 results are out and as the first set of numbers after the holidays we've got a clearer picture of how well Xbox performed through the busiest shopping time of the year. The numbers are generally good, with massive unit sales coming despite a drop in overall revenue.

    This is in no small part due in both cases to aggressive pricing throughout. In the period around Black Friday and into the Christmas period, the Xbox One could be had with substantial discounts and there will have been a lot of consoles sold without Kinect. All-in-all great for getting the console out there, not so great for the immediate revenue figures.

    MSFT earnings slide

    Unit sales for the quarter were at 6.6 million, a staggering 4.2 million more than the previous quarter. Total revenue was down 20%. The strong promotional pricing ultimately made a serious mark on Microsoft's share of the console market, while lost revenue can be clawed back through successful first and third party game titles. Which it's fair to say Microsoft isn't doing too badly with.

    Not forgetting the venerable Xbox 360, either. Microsoft commented that sales of the previous generation console were down for the quarter, due to customer preference for the latest generation of consoles. And now there are a lot more Xbox One consoles out there, it'll be interesting to watch where the numbers go from here.

    Source: Microsoft


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    Xbox One controller

    Microsoft is rolling out a firmware update for the Xbox One controller that enables the controller to connect to the console in roughly two seconds, down from the five or so seconds it used to take to pair previously. The firmware update also brings a host of user-requested fixes along with improved stability.

    Members in the Xbox Preview Program are receiving the update now, with a wider rollout to all Xbox One owners likely scheduled for later this quarter. If you're in the preview program, here's how to update your controller firmware:

    • Connect a controller to your Xbox One with a USB cable. Keep any headsets connected to the controller.
    • Connect to Xbox Live.
    • Press the Menu
    • Go to Settings > Devices & accessories. Select the controller.
    • If you have multiple controllers attached, you can select Buzz– which will cause the selected controller to vibrate.
    • Then select Update to download the new firmware to the controller attached via the USB cable, and the screen will show the Updating controller… progress screen
    • When you see the Controller updated screen, press 'B' to go back to the Devices & accessories main page
    • Reselect the controller, the Firmware version, should now be: 1.2.2236.0

    If you run into any difficulties during the update, be sure to head to the Xbox One controller page as well as the troubleshooting guide.

    Source: Major Nelson

    Thanks John and Nicholas for the tips!


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    Xbox One games dashboard

    EA is offering heavy discounts on several Xbox One games including the likes of Titanfall, which is now available for $10, with the deluxe edition of the game valued at $12.50. The season pass is also getting a price cut, and is now at just $6.25. Other games on offer include Battlefield 4, which is available for $13.20, Dragon Age: Inquisition at $35.99 and more.

    You have to be logged in to your Xbox.com account to see the discounted prices. Here's a list of all the games on offer:

    What games are you interested in buying during the sale?

    Source: NeoGAF


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    Xbox One Console

    The GameStop website is currently selling a online downloadable code for 12 months of Xbox Live Gold for just $39.99. That's a $20 savings compared to its normal $59.99 price tag. The codes are limited to emails with US addresses.

    The membership is good for accessing, among other things, online multiplayer features for both the Xbox 360 and Xbox One. It also offers special sales and even free games every month for both consoles. Even at its normal $59.99 price level, you get your money's worth, and more, just with the free games, so this $20 discount makes it an even bigger value. There's no word on when this new promotional offer from GameSpot will end so it might be good to act quickly to secure the lower price.

    Source: GameStop

    Thanks to Paul for the tip!


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    Xbox One TV

    Microsoft has finally brought the Xbox OneGuide and digital TV tuner to Australia, which will soon enable consumers in the region to take advantage of not only the latest games, but also favorite TV shows on the Xbox One. The OneGuide is available as of today in preview form, meaning that only those in the Xbox One Preview program will be able to use the feature for the time being.

    Once the feature is available to all consumers, it will be possible to enjoy FreeView and catch-up TV, snapping playback to the side of the screen so you can crack on with some racing or Bing searching. The Digital TV Tuner will arrive in March for AU$39.95, which will plug into the console via USB. It's available for pre-order if you're looking to pick one up.

    The OneGuide is expected to make it out of the Preview stage as a full public release sometime in March, coinciding with the launch of the digital TV tuner.

    Source: Microsoft Store Australia


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    Join us on Twitch tonight for a first look at The Escapists for Xbox One

    Windows Central has been livestreaming a wide variety of Xbox One games on Twitch every Saturday for quite a while now. As our viewership continues to grow, so does the number of games we want to share with you! Thus we'll now be streaming a different game every Wednesday as well. That's twice the chances to tune in and chat along with your fellow readers while our staff showcases a great game.

    Tonight we kick off our regular Wednesday streams with an early look at The Escapists, the Xbox One exclusive sandbox game in which players have to break out of prison! The Escapists doesn't launch until February 13th, so our stream is a great chance to learn what the game will be like before release.

    To tune in during the livestream, follow me on Twitch.tv/Eastxtwitch and watch along at 8pm Central (9pm Eastern, 6pm Pacific). You can also watch the stream right here live or after the fact.

    Watch live video from EastXTwitch on www.twitch.tv

    Tip: If watching the stream in another window, close this one to avoid audio echoes.

    The Escapists

    In this game from Mouldy Toof and Team17, you play as a prisoner who is determined to escape the prison from where he has been incarcerated. It plays out like a sandbox game mixed with simulation and role-playing. Your prisoner can hit the gym, earn funds by performing jobs like laundry and mail delivery, and more typical prison activities.

    To break free of the gray walls of confinement, you'll have to work and plan. A crafting system allows you to create useful tools like wire-cutting shears or a life-size dummy from scavenged objects. The bits and bobs you pick up and make will come in handy when you finally make a break for it – there are approximately 200 items to find and more than 50 things to make with them!

    The Escapists features six different prisons to break out of, starting with a minimum security hole and escalating all the way to the hellishness of a POW camp. With an impressive degree of freedom and many possible solutions, this one should keep players who have finished Grand Theft Auto V busy with more delightful video game crime.

    The Escapists will be available to download on Xbox One on February 13th, just in time for Valentine's. It should cost $14.99, just like the Steam version.

    The Escapists

    The Stream

    We'll be streaming The Escapists for 60-90 minutes tonight, starting at 8pm Central (9pm Eastern, 6pm Pacific).

    To join us, please follow me at Twitch.tv/Eastxtwitch and tune in during the stream. You can watch the stream right here in this post, but you'll need to watch from the Twitch website or a separate app to participate in our always delightful stream chat.

    What's the best way to experience Twitch? If you don't have a PC, you can get the Xbox One or Xbox 360 Twitch app and watch from the comfort of your couch. Or grab the unofficial app Livegaming for Windows Phone. It has plenty of great features, including the ability to chat along with your fellow viewers. Unfortunately you'll have to add our channel to your favorites from the Twitch website, outside of the app.

    I'll be available for a few minutes before and after the stream if you have any questions or just want to say hi.

    The Escapists

    Streaming schedule

    Each Wednesday, we'll livestream a new, classic, or upcoming game just for fun with no prizes. Every Saturday, we'll stream a different game and give out free copies of that game as prizes. The stream always starts at the same time: 8pm Central (9pm Eastern, 6pm Pacific).

    Here's our upcoming schedule:

    • Saturday, January 31 : The Golf Club from HB Studios
    • Wednesday, February 4 : TBA
    • Saturday, February 7 : Fibbage from Jackbox Games - Play along with us during the stream!
    • Wednesday, February 11: TBA
    • Saturday, February 14 : Guacamelee from Drinkbox Studios
    • Wednesday, February 18: TBA
    • Saturday, February 21 : Chariot from Frima Studio

    We hope you'll tune in as often as you can! Set a recurring alarm on your phone so you'll always know when it's time for the stream to start.

    Thanks to our Twitch stream moderators Kalelcanfly and DerekDoesIt (who goes by isi mcf here at Windows Central) for moderating our streams and giving away the prizes!


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    IDARB

    Microsoft will offer its Xbox Live Gold subscribers a chance to download #IDARB for the Xbox One for free during the month of February. Xbox 360 owners can download Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and Sniper Elite 2 for free next month as well as part of the Games for Gold program.

    Also known as It Draws a Red Box, #IDARB will be making its Xbox One debut in February as well and will be free for Xbox Live Gold members the entire month. The game, with retro-style graphics, will be a mashup of different game genres, including sports, platforming and fighting. The game will be available for $14.99 for non-Gold users. Microsoft says:

    "IDARB features tight controls and a frenetic, eight-player local co-op core that makes it a blast to play offline or online. The game was built based on suggestions that developer Other Ocean Interactive received from fans on Twitter, and includes some truly unique game options, including the ability to make your own music, characters, and spectator interaction with real-time games via social media! One of the most exciting things about the game is that it's ever-changing, and the developer has promised to continue adding new content, characters, and even gameplay elements over the course of #IDARB's life cycle."

    Make sure to check out our recent interview with Other Ocean game designer Mike Mika on the subject of #IDARB.

    The fantasy-themed game Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, will be free for Xbox 360 owners from Feb. 1-15. Developed by Starbreeze Studios, it normally costs $14.99 to download. Here's a quick description:

    "Control both brothers at once as you experience co-op play in single player mode, like never before. Solve puzzles, explore the varied locations and fight boss battles, controlling one brother with each thumb stick. This is one journey you will never forget."

    Finally, the Xbox 360 version of the WWII-themed third person shooter Sniper Elite V2, from developer Rebellion, will be free for Xbox Live Gold subscribers from Feb. 16-28. It's normal price is $29.99.

    Source: Xbox Wire


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    EA Access members rewarded with free copy of Battlefield 4 'Second Assault' expansion

    Good news for Battlefield 4 fans out there: EA announced today that it is giving out free copies of the Battlefield 4 Second Assault expansion pack to EA Access members on the Xbox One starting tomorrow, January 29.

    From EA:

    "From January 29 to February 28, active EA Access members can grab the Battlefield 4™ Second Assault expansion pack, featuring four fan-favorite maps from Battlefield 3 remade for Battlefield 4. It's available at no extra cost, exclusively for EA Access members. Just load up the EA Access Hub app on your Xbox One to find it. Once it's redeemed, it's yours forever."

    EA says this is a thank you to all of its EA Access members, and it is looking forward to a great 2015.

    Are you pumped to pick up Second Assault tomorrow?

    Source: EA


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    PSA: Xbox Live is down yet again

    Update: And everything appears to be back to normal, folks. Happy gaming!

    Just a quick heads up for those of you who were hoping to get some gaming in tonight: yet again, Xbox Live is going through hiccups for some users. We'll keep an eye on the service status page and let you know when things are in the clear.

    Source: Xbox Live Service Status