Train2Game News Microsoft at E3

MicrosoftMonday at the Xbox E3 2016 Briefing, Microsoft Corp. unveiled a new family of Xbox One devices, a host of new Xbox Live features and the biggest lineup of games in Xbox history. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer underscored the Xbox team’s commitment to building a future of gaming beyond console generations and inviting gamers to play without boundaries.

Xbox is working to bring Xbox Live to all devices and networks — PC, console, virtual reality and mobile — to create a unified experience where all gamers are welcomed, respected and supported. The new Xbox Play Anywhere program lets gamers buy a game once and play it on both their Windows 10 PC and Xbox One console with shared progress, game saves and achievements. Every new Microsoft Studios title shown at the Xbox E3 2016 Briefing will support Xbox Play Anywhere, with more titles on the way.

“Gamers have never had more choice in how and where they play,” Spencer said. “We are bringing our biggest games lineup ever to Xbox One and Windows 10, uniting gamers across networks on Xbox Live and expanding the Xbox One family of devices with the addition of Xbox One S and “Project Scorpio” to give gamers more choice in how and where they play. There’s never been a better time to be an Xbox gamer.”

Introducing the Xbox One family of devices

The new lineup of Xbox One hardware and accessories delivers unprecedented choice and level of personalization for gamers. All Xbox One devices will play current and future Xbox One games as well as titles in the Xbox One Backward Compatibility program, and all accessories will work across every console in the Xbox One family as well.

Xbox One S. Debuting a sleek new design and “robot white” color, the new Xbox One S is the smallest and most compact Xbox ever. The 40 percent smaller console has an internal power supply and supports 4K Ultra HD for Blu-ray movies and content streamed from partners like Netflix and Amazon Video. High Dynamic Range (HDR) support for video and gaming delivers richer, more luminous colors in games like “Gears of War 4.” 1 Available for preorder beginning today and in stores starting August 2016:500GB Xbox One S is $299/249 pounds/299 euros
1TB Xbox One S is $349/299 pounds/349 euros
Limited launch edition 2TB Xbox One S will be available in select markets for $399/349 pounds/399 euros

“Project Scorpio.” Coming holiday 2017, “Project Scorpio” will be the most powerful console ever created, with 6 teraflops of GPU delivering a premier console gaming experience including true 4K gaming and high-fidelity virtual reality. “Project Scorpio” will join the Xbox One family and coexist alongside Xbox One and Xbox One S and all of your Xbox One games and accessories are compatible.

New Xbox Wireless Controller. We’ve enhanced comfort with a textured grip and introduced a sleek, streamlined design in white. Added Bluetooth radio gives you easy wireless connection to your Windows 10 PCs and tablets.2 The new Xbox Wireless Controller will be available worldwide starting in August for $59.99/49.99 pounds/59.99 euros.

Xbox Design Lab. Now fans can create their own official, one-of-a-kind Xbox Wireless Controllers with more than 8 million color variations to customize the controller body, D-pad, thumbsticks, ABXY buttons and more. Each controller is handmade to order and shipped directly to fans. Xbox Design Lab is open for orders now in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico for $79.99 through  http://www.xbox.com/xboxdesignlab . Laser engraving is also available for an additional $9.99.

Xbox Elite Wireless Controller – “Gears of War 4” Limited Edition. A pro-level controller designed in collaboration with The Coalition, the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller – “Gears of War 4” Limited Edition features laser-etched claw marks and a battle-weathered design, telling the survival story of a confrontation with the Swarm. Available in very limited quantities in early October for $199.99/199.99 euros/159.99 pounds with pre-orders starting the week of June 13 at select retailers.

Uniting gamers through Xbox Live

The goal of Xbox Live is to cultivate a safe, fun and reliable online community, where all types of gamers are welcome, respected and supported. Team Xbox announced a slew of new features to break down barriers between gamers playing on different devices and make gaming more accessible for all.

Clubs on Xbox Live. A new way to connect with gamers and create private communities with people who have similar play styles, personal interests and values.

Looking for Group on Xbox Live. Like a “want ad” for multiplayer, Looking for Group on Xbox Live is the easiest way to seek out players who are available — and qualified — to jump into your multiplayer match right now.

Arena on Xbox Live. A new online tournaments platform designed for everyone, from novice to aspiring pro, Arena on Xbox Live brings competitive gaming to Xbox One and Windows 10 devices. Sign up for tournaments directly through the Xbox UI or the Xbox app and play for prizes and bragging rights.

Cross-play. Gamers on Xbox One and Windows 10 can now play select multiplayer games together. “Gears of War 4,” “Forza Horizon 3,” “Sea of Thieves” and “Scalebound” all support cross-play between Xbox One and Windows 10 PC, and now “Minecraft” players on iOS, Android, Windows 10 phone and Windows 10 devices can all join together in cross-device multiplayer fun.

Cortana on Xbox One. We’re bringing the popular digital assistant Cortana to Xbox One, featuring familiar voice commands available on Windows 10 devices and new gaming-specific scenarios for Xbox One. Cortana will initially launch on Xbox One in the U.S. and U.K. with additional markets coming soon after.

PC games (Win32) in Xbox Live. With the Xbox update coming this summer you’ll see the top PC games on Xbox Live, with more added every month. Use the Xbox app to see what PC games your friends are playing, view game clips and upload your own, and message and voice chat with friends across games.

Language Region Independence. Based on overwhelming fan feedback, we’re enabling Language Region Independence to give gamers even more control over their Xbox experience and how they engage with their Xbox One. Language Region Independence gives gamers the freedom to choose any supported language on Xbox One, regardless of their location.

Biggest lineup comes to Xbox One and Windows 10

Xbox premiered a wide range of games launching in 2016 and beyond for Xbox One and Windows 10, including a mix of exclusives, blockbusters and independent games through the ID@Xbox program.

“ARK: SURVIVAL EVOLVED” (FIRST ON XBOX ONE AND WINDOWS 10). The wildly popular indie game from Studio Wildcard has sold over 1 million copies on Xbox One via Game Preview, and is soon coming to Windows 10. Stranded naked, freezing and starving on a mysterious island, you must hunt, harvest, craft items, grow crops and build shelters to survive. Learn how to tame, train, breed and ride dinosaurs and primitive creatures living on the ARK as you forge new paths across the beautiful open world in this large-scale survival game. Team up with hundreds of players online, play split-screen locally or brave the island on your own.

“BATTLEFIELD 1” (ELECTRONIC ARTS). Featuring some of the largest, most dynamic battles in FPS history, experience the dawn of all-out war across war-torn France, in the sand dunes of the Arabian Desert, and in the skies over London — only in “Battlefield 1.” Join in massive 64-player battles and experience unexpected Only in Battlefield moments during a time where the old world was destroyed, giving way to the new one. Play it first, exclusively on Xbox One with EA Access beginning Oct. 13. Available worldwide on Xbox One and Windows PC on Oct. 21, 2016.

“DEAD RISING 4” (WORLD PREMIERE). Developed by Capcom Vancouver, “Dead Rising 4” marks the return of photojournalist Frank West in an all-new chapter of one of the most popular zombie game franchises of all time. With an unmatched level of weapon and character customization, ambitious new features including new zombie classes and EXO Suits, “Dead Rising 4” delivers a heart-pounding experience as players explore, scavenge and fight to survive in an epic open-world sandbox. Available Holiday 2016 on Xbox One and Windows 10.

“FINAL FANTASY XV” (SQUARE ENIX). “FINAL FANTASY XV” is the highly anticipated action RPG and 15th mainline entry in the iconic “FINAL FANTASY” franchise. Set in an enthralling world where fantasy meets reality, players will join Crown Prince Noctis and his comrades on an epic journey of brotherhood, love and despair as they unravel Noctis’ destiny and take up arms against the nefarious Niflheim empire. With a captivating cast of characters, breathtaking visuals, open world exploration and action-packed real time combat, “FINAL FANTASY XV” is the ultimate “FINAL FANTASY” experience for fans and newcomers to the series. Available worldwide for Xbox One on Sept. 30, 2016.

“FORZA HORIZON 3” (XBOX ONE AND WINDOWS 10 EXCLUSIVE — WORLD PREMIERE). The best-selling racing franchise returns with “Forza Horizon 3.” Race and explore the rugged wonder of Australia with your friends in over 350 of the world’s greatest cars as you win millions of new fans and build the world’s greatest automotive festival. As the new boss of the Horizon Festival, you can modify every aspect of race events, and how you get to the finish is up to you. Available worldwide as an Xbox Play Anywhere title on Sept. 27, 2016.

“GEARS OF WAR 4” (XBOX ONE AND WINDOWS 10 EXCLUSIVE). A new saga begins for one of the most acclaimed video game franchises in history. After narrowly escaping an attack on their village, JD Fenix and his friends Kait and Del must rescue the ones they love and discover the source of a monstrous new enemy. “Gears of War 4” returns the franchise to the dark tone and intensity of the original and includes split-screen and online co-op, the next generation of the five-player favorite, Horde Mode, 60 frames-per-second Versus multiplayer, and stunning visuals powered by Unreal Engine 4. Available worldwide as an Xbox Play Anywhere title on Oct. 11, 2016.

“GWENT” (WORLD PREMIERE OF CLOSED BETA ON XBOX ONE AND WINDOWS 10). “Gwent,”the hit card game from CD PROJEKT RED’s game of the year — “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” — is now its own standalone collectable card game. Inspired by player feedback, with new rules and mechanics, “Gwent” puts players and their style of play, and not only their cards, in the center of the action. In “Gwent,” You are the Wild Card.

“HALO WARS 2” (XBOX ONE AND WINDOWS 10 EXCLUSIVE). The best-selling console real-time strategy (RTS) of all time is back! Developed in partnership by 343 Industries and Creative Assembly, “Halo Wars 2” is an action-packed RTS on the biggest Halo battlefield ever. Get ready to lead armies of Spartans and other Halo fighting forces like Warthogs, Scorpions and exciting new units in a brutal war against a terrifying new enemy, The Banished. Available worldwide as an Xbox Play Anywhere title on Feb. 21, 2017.

“INSIDE” (FIRST ON XBOX ONE). Developed by Playdead, “INSIDE” is the long-awaited follow-up to 2010’s groundbreaking digital hit “Limbo.” Featuring Playdead’s trademark dark art, emotion and game craft, this adventure puzzler ships June 29, 2016, and is available for pre-order now. To celebrate the launch, “Limbo” will be free to all Xbox players from June 13‒20.

“MINECRAFT” (REALMS AND ADD-ONS). Mojang and Microsoft showcased cross-device multiplayer between iOS, Android, Samsung Gear VR and Windows 10 devices, made possible with Monday’s launch of the “Friendly Update” for “Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition” Beta and “Minecraft: Pocket Edition.” With Xbox Live and the “Minecraft Realms” service, Windows 10 and mobile Minecraft players can host their own multiplayer worlds on private, cloud-based servers and play with friends 24/7, even when the original world creator is offline. Starting today, players with Xbox Live accounts can try “Minecraft” Realms on mobile and Windows 10 free for one month through the “Minecraft” app. The team also announced new game add-ons coming this fall that will let players modify their in-game worlds to customize key game elements and create their own maps and minigames.

“RECORE” (XBOX ONE AND WINDOWS 10 EXCLUSIVE). From legendary video game creator Keiji Inafune and Armature Studio LLC, the team behind the “Metroid Prime” series, comes “ReCore,” an action-adventure game masterfully crafted for the modern generation. Play as Joule, one of the last remaining humans, and forge friendships with courageous robot companions to lead them on an epic adventure through a mysterious, dynamic world. Available worldwide as an Xbox Play Anywhere title starting Sept. 13, 2016.

“SEA OF THIEVES” (XBOX ONE AND WINDOWS 10 EXCLUSIVE). Developed by Rare, the legendary creators of “Perfect Dark” and “Banjo-Kazooie,” “Sea of Thieves” is an immersive, shared world adventure game filled with pirates, unexpected dangers and loot for the taking. Be the pirates you want to be, share adventures with friends, and set your own rules, roles and goals in a world where every sail on the horizon is another crew of players with unknown intent. “Sea of Thieves” offers an experience that will evolve over time, landing in players’ hands early and growing based on feedback from the community.

“STATE OF DECAY 2” (XBOX ONE AND WINDOWS 10 EXCLUSIVE, WORLD PREMIERE). The next installment in the fan favorite “State of Decay” franchise immerses you in an all-new multiplayer zombie survival fantasy. Players work together to build lasting communities where choices made shape an interconnected world and form a unique experience every time. Available worldwide as an Xbox Play Anywhere title in 2017.

“SCALEBOUND” (XBOX ONE AND WINDOWS 10 EXCLUSIVE). From critically acclaimed developer PlatinumGames Inc. and renowned Game Director Hideki Kamiya, “Scalebound” brings epic adventures and battles at enormous scales across the beautiful and dangerous open world of Draconis. Customize main hero Drew and your dragon, Thuban, to suit your playstyle as you battle legions of soldiers and massive monsters solo or cooperatively with up to three additional friends on Xbox Live. Available worldwide as an Xbox Play Anywhere title in 2017.

“TACOMA” (FIRST ON XBOX ONE AND WINDOWS 10). It is the year 2088, and humanity has taken to the stars. You step aboard the abandoned space station “Tacoma,” the facility’s Augmented Reality technology your only connection to the crew that once lived here. What happened to them — and what role did the station’s AI overseer, ODIN, play? Discover the truth in “Tacoma,” Fullbright’s follow-up to the genre-defining story exploration game “Gone Home,” when it comes to Windows 10 and Xbox One next year.

“TEKKEN 7™” (BANDAI NAMCO ENTERTAINMENT INC.). An engrossing story intertwines the past, present and future fates of fan-favorite characters in “TEKKEN 7.” Known for revolutionizing the fighting genre through both its hard-hitting gameplay and diverse cast of characters, “TEKKEN 7” introduces enhanced fight mechanics alongside a slew of new combatants to ensure that your next fight won’t ever be your last. Available worldwide for Xbox One in early 2017.
“TOM CLANCY’S THE DIVISION™ – EXPANSION I: UNDERGROUND” (UBISOFT®). Dive into the underbelly of New York to save what remains in Underground, the first expansion for “Tom Clancy’s The Division.” Explore the randomly generated mazes of subways, tunnels and sewers to fight deadly enemies and recover powerful loot. Experience an all-new incursion and find the latest weapons, gear and more. Available first on Xbox One and Windows PC beginning June 28.
“WE HAPPY FEW” (FIRST TO CONSOLE ON XBOX ONE). Developed by Compulsion Games, “We Happy Few” is coming to Windows 10 and Xbox One this summer. In a dystopian, mod 1964 England that lost World War II, the citizens of Wellington Wells are taking a happy drug called “Joy,” and living in denial of their grim existence and a terrible past. Can you survive among them once you stop taking your Joy become a “Downer?”

Train2Game News TEKKEN 7 Announced

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Leading interactive entertainment media publisher and developer BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc. today announces TEKKEN 7 for home systems.

With the TEKKEN franchise celebrating its 20th anniversary; the newest chapter of the series returns to its gameplay roots with classic 1 vs 1 bouts and its canon storyline centered on the eternal struggle for power amongst the members of the Mishima clan. With newcomer Kazumi Mishima joining the fight, the epic battle between father and son, and also husband and wife, will come to its fated conclusion in TEKKEN 7.

TEKKEN 7 is currently in development at BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc.’s Tokyo, Japan studio under the leadership of franchise director, Katsuhiro Harada. Powered by Unreal Engine 4, TEKKEN 7 sets a new standard in graphics quality for the series, featuring highly detailed characters and dynamic environments.

In its first appearance on home systems, TEKKEN 7 will feature numerous modes and enhancements beyond its arcade counterpart, including an in-depth story mode that lets players fully experience the canon storyline. Players will also be able to check out new fighters Kazumi Mishima, Claudio, Josie, Shaheen, Katarina, Lucky Chloe, Gigas, and more for the first time outside of the arcade.

“The TEKKEN series is not only a cornerstone series in BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc.’s illustrious line-up of game franchises; it has also been a foundational game in the fighting game tournament community for over two decades.” said Eric Hartness, Vice President of Marketing at BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment America Inc.

“TEKKEN 7 promises to deliver an uncompromising fighting game experience that will deliver groundbreaking graphics, animation, and tournament style gameplay. Fighting game tournament players should be on notice as we’re setting our sights on lighting up the tournament scene with the hardest hitting TEKKEN game ever.”

Train2Game News Tekken 7 announced

Tekken 7At the Evolution Championship Series (EVO) fighting game tournament held in the Westgate Las Vegas Hotel & Resort, BANDAI NAMCO announced TEKKEN 7, the latest installment of the venerable franchise, powered by the award-winning Unreal Engine 4.

“The power and flexibility means that we can focus our efforts on making TEKKEN 7 the best possible game without worrying about spending time creating a stand-alone graphic engine,” said Katsuhiro Harada, TEKKEN series Executive Producer/Game Director at BANDAI NAMCO. “With Unreal Engine 4, we could rapidly achieve visual quality expected on next-gen platform and go beyond it. Not only is Unreal Engine 4 powerful and easy to use, but it allows us to immediately bring TEKKEN 7 to any platform we desire.”

TEKKEN 7 took center stage at EVO, bringing the competition to a halt with a sizzling trailer hinting towards the ambitious technical feats that Unreal Engine 4 will make possible for Harada and the TEKKEN development team. Working closely with the Epic Games engine group in Japan and leveraging the might of UE4, these two teams are fueling the next generation of fighting games.

“The Tekken franchise is beloved and we couldn’t be more excited to be working with the talented team at BANDAI NAMCO,” said Taka Kawasaki, Studio Head at Epic Games Japan. “This marriage is perfect – the most powerful engine in gaming along with one of the most enduring brands in fighting games. We have no doubt that these forces coming together will yield fantastic results.”

Tekken 7 joins a long line of games that have been announced recently and shown to be powered by Unreal Engine 4. Crackdown, EVE: Valkyrie, Fable Legends and many others round out the rapidly growing list of games using the engine. Developed by Epic Games, the award-winning Unreal Engine is known for its cutting-edge graphics technology, world-class toolset and scalability across PC, console and mobile platforms.  Since its public launch as a $19 per month subscription-based service at the 2014 Game Developers Conference (GDC),  Unreal Engine 4 has been evolving at a rapid pace. Development of the engine has been driven further by feedback from the community and numerous updates from Epic’s team of world-class engineers.

Train2Game news: Tekken director – Button bashing ‘not a bad thing if it gets people into the series’

Train2Game blog readers may enjoy their games being a challenge to play, but making a title too complex could result in potential players being turned off.

That’s what Tekken director Katsuhiro Harada told Gamasutra about the balancing act of adding complex new features without forcing players to put down the game.

It’s an interesting view on game design that Train2Game students may have to consider when developing their own games.

“What we’ve found is that a lot of players never even touch practice modes,” said Harada, suggesting players tend to avoid tutorials and learn by playing against the computer or friends.

And he points out that when the fighting genre began in the arcades, tutorials were a virtual unknown and that game design was built in a certain way to compensate for this.

“It’s worth noting that when the fighter genre first hit arcades, there weren’t any real tutorials,” said the Tekken director.

“Instead, the designers tweaked the difficulty level such that after a couple of credits, you had already gone from beginner to intermediate player — something you could then improve upon by learning more moves and practicing.”

And Harada suggests that instead of players practicing alone in single player mode, “an online mode where players can just beat on each other without any life gauges, chatting each other while learning the moves,” could be the best way for players to get to grips with fighting games like Tekken.

He also believes that games being simple to pick up is a great way for people to get into a series, using Tekken as an example.

“A lot of other people say that it’s too easy for beginners to enter the game and beat people by mashing buttons! Personally, I don’t see that as such a bad thing if it gets more people into the series, gets them curious about it.”

Harada made the comments in an extensive interview with Gamasutra that Train2Game students, especially those who are fans of the Tekken series, should find interesting.

He also manages to condense the whole Tekken series to just a couple of sentences.

“Basically, there’re these three generations of father and son that don’t get along, and two of them have this Devil Gene, so their dad wants to know what the Devil Gene is, and so they argue with each other about it for a bunch of years. All the other characters just sort of get caught up in it.”

Train2Game students will be aware that needing to condense complicated information can be an important part of any discipline of game development.

So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on Harada’s comments on game design and tutorials? Is it still important to include them in games? Do you still play tutorials?

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

[Source: Gamasutra]

Street Fighter vs Tekken announced. Who will win?

Namco and Capcom are set to make history by each producing a version of the newly announced Street Fighter vs Tekken games.  The two titles, revealed at last weeks Comi-Con, will bring together characters from the developers flagship beat ‘em ups.

Capcom are currently developing the first of these titles, Street Fighter X Tekken.

Utilising the same technology that powered Street Fighter IV & Super Street Fighter IV, TekkenTM characters such as Kazuya Mishima and Nina Williams will make the transition into the Street Fighter universe with suitable redesigns. They’ll retain their unique characteristics and signature moves as they go head to head with the likes of Ryu, Blanka and Chun Li. Paul vs Guile in a battle over the most ridiculous haircut perhaps?

As in Street Fighter IV, game play will feature fully realised 3D character models battling it out in both new and familiar 2D environments. In addition to modes such as Versus and Training that will feature new enhancements , Street Fighter X Tekken will include Tag Team combat where players select two fighters to deliver knockout assist attacks and special combos. How about teaming up Ken and Jin then? Or Heihachi and M. Bison?

The announcement was made by the Producer of Street Fighter X Tekken, Yoshinori Ono, and Tekken series Director, Katsuhiro Harada. Commenting on the origins of the project, Ono said:

“This is history we’re making. Two fighting games that have rivalled each other are finally standing on the same stage. This isn’t just a showdown between Tekken and Street Fighter, but a decisive battle for Capcom and Namco Bandai Games. So I’m going to give it my all.”

Street Fighter X Tekken will be released on both the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360. Namco are also working on their own title, Tekken X Street Fighter, which will transfer the Street Fighter characters into the Tekken universe.

So, Train2Game students, how do you feel about the arguably two top developers of beat ‘em ups working together to produce one game? Which title will work better, Street Fighter X Tekken or Tekken X Street Fighter? And which characters would you like to team up?

As usual, leave your comments either here or on the Train2Game forum. Don’t forget, you can also leave your thoughts on the Train2Game Facebook page too.