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Halo Infinite multiplayer detailed, brings in personal AIs for players
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
It was only yesterday that 343 Industries unveiled the first gameplay of Halo Infinite multiplayer, and already, another information drop has landed. The studio today gave an overview of the free-to-play venture's updated sandbox, the new Academy training system, bots, Spartan customization, battle pass, and other elements.
The Academy will be an onboarding experience for new players to Halo multiplayer, providing tutorials, weapon drills, and even a training mode with bots for those looking for a warmup before matchmaking.
The grappling hook that has gotten a lot of focus is a piece of equipment you pick up in multiplayer, letting you swing around maps while pulling in weapons and other equipment as well as zipping towards players and vehicles. Powerups like overshield and camouflage are now user activated after picking up, and dying before getting to activate means they drop on the ground for someone else to use.
Meanwhile, vehicles now have a damage system, letting wheels and various parts break off in combat affecting their maneuverability. Speaking of vehicles, 343 is introducing the Razorback as a more spacious and robust version of the Warthog, and alongside troops, it can also carry detached turrets, power weapons, fusion coils, and even objective items in a storage compartment on its back.
The new Personal AI system lets Spartans choose a helpful companion in multiplayer, complete with appearance and personality customization. These will give you "moment to moment updates" such as instructions to go back to base after picking up an enemy flag. Don't worry, the Halo announcer is still there for jumping in with quips for the big moments.
Moving on to customization, your super soldier's body type, voice, optional prosthetics, individual armor pieces, weapons, vehicles, and more can all be tinkered with heavily. Moreover, it's not just in-game this can be done, as both the HaloWaypoint website and app will allow the capability from the outside.
The studio reiterated that there won't be any loot boxes in Halo Infinite, and all content that can be unlocked via progression, the battle passes, or purchased on the shop will be cosmetic in nature. Battle passes will also remain in the game after a season ends so players could go back and earn something they missed out on later.
Halo Infinite's campaign and the free multiplayer portion is coming to PC via the Microsoft Store and Steam, as well as Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S consoles this holiday. Head here to sign up for upcoming flights. The title will have cross-progression across all platforms, and while crossplay will also be a feature, it's unclear if this is only for certain modes or if it will be enabled across everything.
Eidos-Montréal is making a Guardians of the Galaxy game, launches this October
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
Square Enix today announced another Marvel superhero game coming out of one of its studios, joining Avengers from Crystal Dynamics. This time, it is the Guardians of the Galaxy that's being turned into video game form, and Eidos-Montréal is developing. The studio is most known for its RPG series Deus Ex, but here, it's all about third-person superhero action while traveling across the galaxy.
This is a completely single-player action game following an original story, and the studio has confirmed there won't be any microtransactions or DLC here.
Interestingly, you will only be taking the role of Peter "Star-Lord" Quill here, the self-proclaimed leader of the Guardians, while the rest of the ragtag team including Rocket, Groot, Drax and Gamora is there for support both in combat and when making dialog choices that continue the storyline.
“The Eidos-Montréal team is honored to have the opportunity to work on such an iconic franchise alongside our trusted collaborators at Marvel Entertainment,” said David Anfossi, Head of Studio at Eidos-Montréal. “Our teams are known for revisiting IPs and bringing their own twists and craft to the stories and the art surrounding them. As you will experience, it’s no different for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.”
During combat, players will be able to use Star-Lord's jet boots for quick dodges and short hovers while utilizing his Element Blasters for dealing damage. Special moves that involve the rest of the Guardians can also be triggered while in combat. Eidos-Montréal is also promising a "killer soundtrack" that is a mixture of hits straight from the 80s and original music.
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy has an October 26, 2021, launch date attached to it, and as for platforms, PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5 are gaining the title. It will also be available for cloud play via the GeForce NOW platform. Pre-orders are now live.
Here are all the Xbox Game Pass arrivals announced at the Xbox and Bethesda Showcase
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
The Xbox and Bethesda Showcase today had quite a hefty selection of premieres and updates, including Starfield and Xbox Mini Fridge, and a massive portion of them was also announced to be Xbox Game Pass arrivals on day one. Alongside those, the company also put together another list of already-launched games that will be coming to its subscription platform today.
The 10 games available today are mostly from Bethesda's catalog that were missing from the previous wave that landed when the ZeniMax acquisition went through. Moreover, Yakuza: Like a Dragon is also here, one of the most well-received RPGs from last year. Here are the games:
Yakuza: Like a Dragon (Cloud, Console, and PC) Arx Fatalis (PC) Dishonored: Death of the Outsider (PC, Cloud, and Console) Doom (Cloud and Console) Fallout (PC) Fallout 2 (PC) Fallout 3 (PC, Cloud, and Console) Fallout: New Vegas (Newly added for PC, Cloud, and Console) Fallout: Tactics (PC) Rage (Cloud and Console) The Evil Within 2 (PC, Cloud, and Console) Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (PC, Cloud, and Console) As for what's coming later, here's what Microsoft had to show regarding Xbox Game Pass locked in games with at least a release window, sorted by the dates:
Microsoft Flight Simulator (Cloud, Xbox Series X|S) – July 27 Hades (PC, Cloud, and Console) – August 21 Among Us (Cloud and Console) – 2021 Dungeons and Dragons: Dark Alliance (PC, Cloud, and Console) – June 22 The Ascent (PC, Cloud, and Console) – July 29 Twelve Minutes (PC, Cloud, and Console) – August 19 Psychonauts 2 (PC, Cloud, and Console) – August 25 Aragami 2 (PC, Cloud, and Console)) – September 17 Sable (PC, Cloud, and Console) – September 23 Scorn (PC, Cloud, and Series X|S) – Fall 2021 The Anacrusis (PC, Cloud, and Console) – Fall 2021 Back 4 Blood (PC, Cloud, and Console) – October 12 Age of Empires IV (PC) – October 28 Forza Horizon 5 (PC, Cloud, and Console) – November 9 Shredders (PC, Cloud, and Console) – December 2021 Halo Infinite (PC, Cloud, and Console) – Holiday 2021 Hello Neighbor 2 (PC, Cloud, and Console) – 2021 The Gunk (PC, Cloud, and Console) – 2021 Finally, we get to the games that do not yet have a launch date attached to them, but will still be day one arrivals to the subscription platforms of Microsoft:
A Plague Tale: Requiem Atomic Heart Redfall Eiyuden Chronicle Hundred Heroes Eiyuden Chronicle Rising Contraband Party Animals Replaced Slime Rancher 2 Somerville S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl Starfield The Outer Worlds 2 As always, Microsoft teased even more game announcements for the service that will be coming soon, which will probably happen later this week to join the first June wave. Xbox Game Pass Ultimate is currently discounted to $1 for three months for anyone who wants to give the subscription a try.
Turtle Rock's Back 4 Blood is coming to Xbox Game Pass on day one
by Pulasthi Ariyasinghe
Turtle Rock Studios, the minds behind the Left 4 Dead series, is currently working on its next project Back 4 Blood. The game had a presence at the Xbox and Bethesda Games Showcase today, both revealing its PVP mode, and that the zombie shooter will be a day one Xbox Game Pass title.
In more good news for Xbox fans, unlike a few other high-profile launch day releases on the service, both its console and PC variants are getting the game simultaneously.
The Back 4 Blood's PVP mode, named Swarm, will be familiar to those who enjoyed Versus mode from Left 4 Dead, where humans and special zombies go head-to-head for a competitive experience. See the unveil trailer below.
First unveiled last year, Back 4 Blood arrives as another cooperative play-focused first-person shooter akin to the studio's previous projects. As a refresher, the zombie shooter lets four players team up against hordes of "infected" that range from the regular walkers (or runners in this case) to special types with various abilities. Eight survivors fill up the human ranks. Each comes with unique abilities like recovering stamina with kills and faster ADS speeds, so players can find a character that fits their playstyle.
The Warner Bros. published title is definitely a big grab for Xbox Game Pass. Considering it is a $60 game that optimally needs four players, going the subscription route with friends may sound like a very inviting option for Xbox players.
Back 4 Blood is launching on October 12 across PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5.
The meme is real: Xbox Mini Fridge, launching holiday 2021
by Florin Bodnarescu
Back when Microsoft unveiled the Series X at The Game Awards in 2019, some said it looked like a fridge. The monolithic design in fact spawned several memes, and the company gave in, creating a real-life Series X fridge, which it sent to influencers.
Some folks expressed their wish for a smaller, mini fridge form factor of the meme, to which Aaron Greenberg, Xbox's GM of Marketing, responded:
Unsurprisingly, Xbox won the voting poll on Twitter and, true to the promise, to cap off today's Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase, Microsoft unveiled a small surprise: the Xbox Mini Fridge.
Powered by the latest in cooling architecture - not to be confused with the Velocity Architecture -, the little appliance mimics the design of its console counterpart, down to the green design of the cooling holes at the top.
The Xbox Mini Fridge is launching holiday 2021 for an as of yet undisclosed price. This will probably come day one to Game Pass as well.