The past two weeks have seen a number of changes to the Xbox One platform. The March update improved social features, yesterday brought Twitch streaming, and new accessories allow users more flexibility with regard to personal audio. Unfortunately, there are reports of issues with the latter.
Users are reporting distorted audio, primarily with chat. Skype and Upload Studio voiceovers seem to be unaffected.
The issue seems to be related to the chat adapter, as multiple models of legacy headsets are affected. This includes models from Astro, Turtle Beach, and Polk. Users suggest that testing with other devices results in normal, problem-free performance.
“We've heard about a small number of users experiencing intermittent issues,” a Microsoft representative told us via email. “We’re actively investigating and are working on a resolution."
We’ll update with more information on a fix or workaround should one become available. For now, it would be worth checking with the manufacturer of your headset to determine if they have a remedy.
[Source: Xbox Forums, Astro Gaming Forums]
Our TakeIt’s unfortunate that the chat adapter, which is designed to reintroduce user choice for personal audio, seems to be malfunctioning with older headsets. However, given the ability to update the controller firmware, a fix could be pushed out via a small update. If so, you’ll need to go through the patch process again, but as we previously shared, it isn’t that cumbersome.
Multiple users have reported problems downloading Call of Duty: Modern War 3 DLC following the shutdown of Activision’s Call of Duty Elite service. Elite, which was first launched in part as a season pass for Modern Warfare 3, was shut down on February 28, 2014.
Unlike Call of Duty DLC for other games, Elite members received monthly Modern Warfare 3 updates that were then bundled together for a la carte purchase in four “collections.” According to users, adding the different collections results in a download error (code 80153003).
Activision reconfigured its approach to DLC prior to the launch of Black Ops 2, which followed a traditional schedule. Elite continued to provide services, including clan and loadout management.
With the release of Call of Duty: Ghosts, Activision transitioned to a new app that serves a similar function. This led to the Elite shutdown last month. We’ve reached out to Activision for comment on this and will update should we receive a response.
Thanks to reader Ryan for the news tip.
[Source: Call of Duty, GameFAQs,TrueAchievements Forums]
Our TakeEven though Modern Warfare 3 is now over two years old, the legacy Call of Duty games still have followings. Even if they didn't, Activision is currently selling DLC, which it cannot deliver (at least on Xbox 360). I expect that there is a workaround for this that Activision can implement, but until it does, the DLC should come down from the affected services.
Geralt’s final chapter will miss its 2014 release window. CD Projekt has announced a delay for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt that puts the game in line for a February 2015 release.
“We could have released the game towards the end of this year as we had initially planned,” the board of CD Projekt shared in a statement. “Yet we concluded that a few additional months will let us achieve the quality that will satisfy us, the quality gamers expect from us.”
CD Projekt is also working on a futuristic RPG called Cyberpunk 2077. That project is being developed in collaboration with Mike Pondsmith, the designer of the Cyberpunk tabletop RPG.
For more on The Witcher 3, check out our coverage from the March 2013 issue. You can also read a recent analysis piece on the wide impact of delays. The Witcher 3 is planned for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.
Our TakeI firmly believe that delays, despite their short-term financial impact, are often the right decision. The Witcher series has a strong following, and while this prolongs the series’ conclusion, I’d rather developers take the time to polish the game.
Project Spark's beta has opened up on the Xbox One, and we've got 20 more codes to giveaway.
We've already given way 20 codes, and we've got 20 more. To be eligible for a code, comment below and let us know what
you will be creating. We'll pick 20 random commenters and send codes
directly to them through their account here on Game Informer. The codes
will get you into Project Spark's beta on both Xbox One and Windows 8.
If and when you receive a code, you can head here to learn how to get started.
Comment below, and check your inbox tomorrow morning at 11 a.m. CT.
For more on Project Spark, check out our recent hands-on time with the game/creation tool here, as well as additional coverage in the latest issue of the magazine.
You know a series has permeated the gamer collective consciousness when it can shrug off gravitas in favor of good ol’ rock and roll. Dark Souls II is out today, and its launch trailer features swagger that masks the impending death of each one of the game’s players.
Set to "Locomotive Breath" by Jethro Tull, the series of encounters featured hints at the many ways you’ll die (and triumph from the experience). You can start living in From Software’s dark world on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 today. PC gamers will have to wait until April 25.
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Our review of Dark Souls II is live (we liked it quite a bit), and we’re live streaming later today. You can also check out executive editor Andrew Reiner’s five hour journal chronicling his many deaths.
Yesterday, The Fullbright Company announced that its award-winning game, Gone Home, is headed for consoles. We had a chance to catch up with company co-founder Steve Gaynor to discuss bringing the experience to new audiences.
Given the team’s experience with PC and console action games, they already have an understanding of what is necessary to make the game a living room experience. “The great thing for us, and the reason this was such an easy decision, was that we designed Gone Home as a couch experience as well as a PC experience from the beginning,” Gaynor says. We designed all the text to be readable from the couch, and we tested it playing on the couch.”
Gone Home will be published by Majesco’s indie label, Midnight City. “Midnight City is the scale of organization that we want to work with,” Gaynor says. “One of the fears of working with a big publisher is that you’re going to get lost in the shuffle. Midnight City is a curated indie label within the Majesco organization. It was a partnership that felt right to us.”
Gaynor isn’t able to talk about which home consoles the title is coming to yet, but it will be coming before the end of the year. We asked about whether The Fullbright Company is participating in Microsoft’s ID@Xbox program as part of its planning.
“One of the advantages of a setup like this is that I don’t really have to know that,” he says. “Midnight City is going to figure out what the road to getting the game on consoles is.”
Part of that path is drawing a console audience to the title, which is a departure from much of what’s available on those platforms. Gaynor isn’t concerned about bridging that gap, though.
“I think there are a lot of examples of games that are slightly less traditional in tone and gameplay doing well on console,” he says. “I think that Limbo and Braid are a couple of examples that jump to mind. We’re seeing more of these experiences coming to console. Thomas Was Alone is on Vita and PS3, and the Dear Esther folks are bringing their next game, exclusively launching it on PS4.”
Conventional wisdom is that platform parity (launching on as many platforms as possible simultaneously) is the right way to launch a game. Gaynor sees benefit from Gone Home’s staggered release, though.
“One of the advantages of the approach we’re taking on bringing Gone Home to consoles and the timing of it is, I hope, that the reception to the PC version and the reception that it’s had will give us an advantage when we do come out on console,” he says. “More of the audience will be able to say, ‘I’ve heard of that.’”
Part of that word of mouth has been generated by the YouTube community. “I know from people having written us emails that there have been tons of people that have either watched a Let’s Play and had a very powerful response to the game as a viewer, or that [saw] a YouTuber play through and then bought the game and played it themselves,” Gaynor tells us. “That’s fascinating to me, and I have no objection to it. It’s a different way for people to engage with what’s in the game. Each player’s experience is unique to them, because you’re interacting with it in your own way.”
The Fullbright Company won’t be making any major changes to the title for a console audience. We joke about boss battles and new weapons after.
“We are not adding stuff for the sake of adding it. Gone Home only works because it is a self-contained, complete thing. Our concentration is definitely not on altering the game from what we’ve already released. We’re making sure it is the very best version of the game that it can be on each platform.”
Titanfall is now available on PC and Xbox One, and while the experience is largely the same between the two platforms, one statistic (other than visuals) separates them. The installation size of the Xbox One version is just under 17 GB. On PC though, you’ll need to make room for a Titan-sized 48 GB.
If available at retail on DVD, Titanfall would take up almost six dual-layered discs. Speaking to Eurogamer, Respawn’s lead engineer Richard Baker explained that the majority of the space is taken up by uncompressed audio.
This decision alleviates some of the processing needs to decompress the audio on the fly. 35 GB of the installation is comprised of audio. This also allows Titanfall to run on slower computers, including those only equipped with a dual core processor. The Xbox One has a built-in audio decoder, and therefore Respawn is able to keep the installation size down.
For more on Titanfall, be sure to join us for a live stream today. Looking for our review? Read up on when you can expect it.
Our TakeRespawn’s decision to include uncompressed audio in the PC installation means that more players will be able to experience Titanfall. It’s a neat technical trick that those with more powerful systems might lament, but ultimately broadens the potential market for the game.
Square Enix continues to give players new costume and weapon choices with today's Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII DLC.
The DLC outlined below (which you can also see in the screen gallery) is available for the game on Xbox 360 and PS3, and it joins last month's costume DLC.
Final Fantasy Legends Collection ($9.99)
Sohei Savior ($2.99)
The Samurai Collection ($9.99)
For more on the game, check out Joe's review.
Aksys Games has announced that it's bringing 999: The Novel to iOS next week. The game is a modified version of the DS title 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors.
999: The Novel removes the escape puzzles from the original release (which was a predecessor to Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward), and adds new character art and tools to more easily track readers' progress. In the game, players advance the story by selecting from a series of potential doors and picking one of nine companions to accompany them on the other side. As you can imagine, there are multiple ways the story can ultimately play out, and a large portion of the experience centers around seeing every permutation.
The game should be arriving on the iOS app store on March 17.
[Source: Aksys Games via Joystiq]
Our TakeI would have preferred seeing the puzzles included, but rendered optional, rather than eliminating them altogether. We'll have to see if the story holds up without the added pressure that came with these tricky diversions.
Bandai Namco and From Software have put together an extensive tutorial for new Dark Souls players and returning veterans. The 40-minute video covers series basics, like how death is handled and how different stats affect a player’s abilities in combat.
As is tradition for the franchise, starting class doesn’t matter in the long term, as you can mold your character through leveling up. For those just looking for the changes from the first Dark Souls, there is a section near the end for you.
For more on Dark Souls II, which is out today on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, check out our review. You can also check out executive editor Andrew Reiner’s journal of death kept during the first five hours of the game. The PC version will be out on April 25.
Our TakeIn the video, host “VaatiVidya,” a YouTuber known for his Dark Souls videos, suggests that Dark Souls “won’t conform to your idea of what a video game is.” He’s absolutely correct, and the difficulty and trial-and-error approach required is a reminder of an era gone by.
Videos like this are immensely helpful for new players, and I expect that I’ll be referring back to it when I finally begin my own play through.
Speaking at SXSW this weekend, vice president of Microsoft Studios Phil Spencer addressed some of the criticisms surrounding the company’s Games with Gold program. Through the initiative, which began in June 2013, Microsoft gives away two games per month to Xbox Live Gold subscribers.
“The business around Games with Gold, for us, is just fundamentally different from some of the other programs that are out there,” Spencer said speaking of one of the core differences between Microsoft’s program and the PlayStation Plus offerings Sony distributes each month. Games with Gold titles are still accessible should a user drop his/her membership. For PlayStation Plus, licenses expire with the membership, though renewal will make content available again.
Spencer also suggests that Games with Gold, which offers games that are typically older, will be adapting to user requests. “I think you'll see at least something that feels, at least, more true to what I think Games with Gold should look like with the constraints that are there,” he said.
Our TakeThere is a fundamental difference in licensing between the PlayStation Plus approach to included games requiring an active subscription and Games with Gold, which gives users unrestricted licenses. That isn’t the only difference, though.
Sony has cultivated a stable of indies to flesh out the monthly lineups. Microsoft is lagging behind, with the first ID@Xbox titles yet to arrive. I expect Microsoft to leverage those indie partnerships for the first Xbox One Games with Gold titles.
Before people worried about display resolutions, and even before the NES arrived in American households, text adventures were king. We explored Zork, fought vampires, and wished upon a stone all using our vocabulary and descriptive text.
One of the most well known titles in the interactive fiction genre is based on Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and penned by the author himself. The title was released in 1984 (and again in 2004), but has just received an update on the BBC website in honor of its 30th anniversary.
The title was programmed by Steve Meretzky of Infocom (the studio that produced Zork and many other text adventures) and sold 350,000 copies in its first year. The 2004 20th anniversary release included illustrations, though nothing that would detract from the original design and intent.
Now, in honor of the game’s 30th birthday, it’s been given a new coat of paint and Twitter integration. You can now tell your friends about your wonderful towel and that you are quite the hoopy frood (but we already knew that because you have your towel).
You can check out the re-polished version of the classic text adventure on the BBC website. Good luck. You’re going to need it.
[Source: BBC via Eurogamer]
Our TakeI'm old enough to remember playing the Infocom classics when they were new. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was one of the most difficult, and I kept coming back to it as I got older and read through Adams' books. If you have a love of sharp, witty writing, this is worth your time.
Evolution's Driveclub was one of the first PlayStation 4 games to be announced over a year ago. It was later scheduled to release at the system's launch in November with a special PS4 Instant Game Collection edition. In October it was announced that the game would be delayed into 2014 and now it seems that that might not even happen.
In a recent interview with IGN, Sony Worldwide Studios' Scott Rohde explains that the company, which owns Evolution, doesn't want to release the game before it's ready.
“So, I think that at PlayStation, perhaps more than at other places, we’re willing to kinda eat that [cost],” Rohde says, “and go back to the drawing board and make sure the game is great before we ship it. And that’s what’s going on right now with that game.”
When asked if the game would release in 2014, Rohde wouldn't say and a PR representative promised more details soon. For the full quotes, head to the original story on IGN.
Our TakeWhile it's disappointing to hear that Sony fans will not have an exclusive racing title on PlayStation 4 for some unknown span of time, I'd rather see a quality, innovative title that takes a long time to come out than an ignorable, mediocre product.
Today saw the release of Titanfall's latest commercial which showed a Titan smashing up a real-life city block. The commercial is the latest release in a common practice of bringing games into reality in advertising rather than predominantly showing clips of the game itself.
If you've watched any sports television programming in the last several years, you've seen live action ads for games like Mass Effect 3, Borderlands 2, and several Call of Duty titles (the top image is from the recent Ghosts ad).
Do you like seeing a big budget, realistic take on upcoming games, or would you rather they show more gameplay?
When the ID@Xbox independent publishing program for Xbox One was announced at Gamescom 2013, it signaled a change in Microsoft’s approach. Since then, one issue continues to give some small developers pause.
Microsoft’s ID@Xbox guidelines require “launch parity,” meaning that titles must be released simultaneously across platforms or be a timed exclusive launch on the Xbox One. In a comment to Edge, Microsoft has softened a bit on this policy, suggesting that it will evaluate timed exclusives for other platforms on a “case by case” basis. This could pave the way for titles like Outlast, Don't Starve, and Contrast to make their way from PlayStation 4 to Xbox One.
Microsoft is anticipating its first wave of ID@Xbox titles soon, possibly as early as this month. We also know that the program will have a presence at GDC 2013, taking place next week in San Francisco.
Our TakeIf at all possible for developers, launch parity makes sense because it centralizes one marketing and awareness push. However, for small development teams, it might not be possible to simultaneously work on multiple platforms and navigate the certification processes. Evaluating circumstances on a case by case basis makes sense, because a late game on the Xbox One is better than it not appearing on the platform at all.
Sony has generously offered us two (extremely) limited edition Infamous: Second Son Delsin Rowe statues to give away to you. Both are going to require you to make a comment on this post, but we’ll be picking winners in two different ways.
For your shot at one of the Delsin statues, you’re going to have to get creative. As you may know, Delsin can borrow the powers of other conduits. We know about his default smoke abilities and we’ve seen a bit of his Neon skills.
Let us know in the comments what kind of power you want Delsin to borrow and use. Be creative. Be descriptive. We’ll pick our favorite.
Click to enlarge.
For the other statue, all you need to do is comment. We’ll pick one of you at random. One entry per person.
You have until Wednesday, March 12 at 5 p.m. Eastern to enter. Good luck!
Blacksmith Tony Swatton in his "Man at Arms" Youtube series regularly makes iconic video game weaponry, like a few weeks ago when he crafted the energy sword from Halo. You may then be asking yourself why he has created a Pokémon in his latest video? Well, because that Pokémon is also a sword.
Gaze upon a real-life Honedge. While Honedge's elaborate scabbard wasn't also recreated, this video is more than worth watching to see a man dressed as Ash Ketchum wielding a deadly weapon and spouting off cheesy Pokémon related one-liners. The Steel/Ghost type and its two evolved forms, Doublade and Aegislash, are relative newcomers to the world of Pokémon, first appearing in Pokémon X and Y for the 3DS. Watch what might be the closest the world will ever get to a real Pokémon in the video below.
While we encourage you to read April's cover story on Rocksteady's Batman: Arkham Knight, we also want to show off new aspects of the game with our month of exclusive video coverage for the game. While visiting Rocksteady Studios in London, the team let us film their motion-capture process and speak with lead animator Zafer Coban. Outside of the Batmobile, the team at Rocksteady is adding new moves and changing the way Batman fights for their final entry. The video also features cinematic director Paul Boulden directing the game's cinematics, including an early conversation between Oracle and Batman.
Watch the video below to learn about Batman's new moves and the team's approach to cinematics for Batman: Arkham Knight.
To learn more about Batman: Arkham Knight, stay tuned to our constantly updating hub of exclusive content by clicking on the banner below.
You can also follow our Batman: Arkham Knight updates and other stories by following Game Informer on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.
Twitch is pushing the new version of its Xbox One app out the door in advance of Titanfall's release.
This week’s addition to the PlayStation Plus Instant Game Collection is pixel-based horror title, Lone Survivor. The Director’s Cut of the game is a cross-buy and cross-save title, meaning you’ll get both the PS3 and Vita versions this week.
Today marks your last day to download Ibb & Obb for PS3. This is also the last week that Worms: Battle Islands for Vita and Binary Domain for PS3 will be available in the Instant Game Collection. For more of what to expect in March, check out our previous coverage.
[Source: PlayStation Blog]
Our TakeThe trailer we ran for Lone Survivor before its arrival on PlayStation 3 and Vita is sufficiently creepy, especially when you factor in the pixel-based visuals. I’ll be playing this on my Vita.
The Fullbright Company announced today that it is bringing its award-winning PC title, Gone Home, to consoles. Midnight City, the indie publishing arm of publisher Majesco, is partnering with the studio.
The news was announced on IGN’s Up at Noon show today. No platforms or specific release window beyond some time in 2014 were confirmed. You can read our review of the original release of Gone Home for more.
Our TakeGone Home was a fantastic experience on PC, and I’m excited to play it again on a console. It isn’t the traditional console experience, but given the indie upswell in that space, the audience is primed to enjoy an experience without enemies, combat, or jump scares.
Double Fine’s Amnesia Fortnight, a two-week period each year during which employees drop what they are doing to prototype new games, has born a number of exciting projects. Some of those titles, like Stacking, even go on to become full games.
It’s rare that Double Fine revisits a series, but fans have been demanding a Costume Quest sequel. Today, we learned that will be happening this year (in time for Halloween, of course).
Costume Quest stars children on a quest to save their town (and Halloween) from invading monsters. Combat is traditional turn-based RPG fare with a Mario RPG reaction system. Different costumes offer different special powers and benefits, and putting together the right team is crucial to victory.
For more on Amnesia Fortnight, check out our recent feature about this year’s event (and why you should be watching the documentary about it). You can also read up on the games chosen for further prototyping this year.
Our TakeI love the first Costume Quest and have revisited it multiple times around Halloween. I’m excited that a sequel is finally happening, and while I don’t expect Double Fine to ever annualize the franchise, this is one I wouldn’t mind going that route.
On almost any list of 2014’s most anticipated games, Titanfall is likely to make an appearance. How do we think the game turned out? Our final review will post in the coming days, but first we want to observe how the game performs once the servers are active and filled with players. We’ll be continuing to play Titanfall in the coming days, and as soon as we can, we’ll post our final review.
The live server environment of Titanfall will undoubtedly have a major impact on how enjoyable the final game can be. In advance of our final evaluation, it’s worth noting how much I’ve enjoyed the game so far.
The broad variety of thoughtfully designed maps, excellent balancing between pilot and titan gameplay, and a consistently rewarding progression system are all standout features. In addition, after many hours of play, I’m especially enthusiastic about the way each match feels like it has a beginning, middle, and end – a loose dramatic structure that does a lot to ratchet up the tension of a multiplayer session.
The mysterious campaign multiplayer turns out to be relatively modest in scope and ambition. While it adds some story context to matches, the campaign matches themselves are Attrition and Hardpoint matches redressed with some additional voiceover and cinematic moments. While this mode isn’t as robust as some fans might have hoped, it isn’t a major detractor from what is an excellent addition to the competitive shooter marketplace as a whole. If the online experience shapes up well, gamers have a lot of exciting matches ahead.
Make sure to check back in the coming days for our final verdict. In the meantime, feel free to check out our original cover story hub from last year, some early tips for getting started with the game, or reasons you should be excited about checking out Titanfall.
Titanfall will be available on Xbox One and PC on March 11, and Xbox 360 on March 25.
It wouldn’t be the first time in recent months that a game’s display resolution has been updated with a patch, but it could be the most significant. Titanfall will launch at 792p, but Respawn is investigating ways to bump that up post-release.
Speaking with Eurogamer, Respawn lead engineer Richard Baker confirmed the game’s resolution. The team is targeting 900p with anti-aliasing or 1080p without. “We’re likely to increase the resolution after we ship,” Baker says.
Equally notable is that Titanfall is not firmly locked at 60 frames per second, though optimization did take place following the beta to improve performance. “The average is probably about the same as the beta,” Baker says. He does note that optimization did take place following the beta to improve “worst-case scenarios” and that some elements have been improved to bring up the frame rate.
Resolution patches aren't exclusive to the Xbox One. Call of Duty: Ghosts and Assassin's Creed IV on the PlayStation 4 received updates to boost resolution to 1080p.
Our TakeThe Eurogamer article includes more technical information about how the Respawn team is approaching optimization. As we’ve mentioned before, there is a learning process when it comes to new hardware, and the Xbox One is at a slight power disadvantage to the PS4. Learning the tricks to coax the most out of both systems is part of early console development. I fully expect that in short order, developers will know exactly what to do to reach target resolutions and frame rates.
PC players have been able to rent Battlefield 4 servers, and it looks like console players will be able to follow suit as well.
When asked about the possibility of seeing server rentals on the PS4, an EA rep responded, "Indeed, it is coming. I'm afraid we don't have any information on this quite yet, but it is coming soon! Keep your eyes peeled on the Control Room and Battlefield blog, as those are most likely where you'll see it announced first."
Pricing for rentals on PC varies, but 10-player support typically runs about $13 a month, with a $90 monthly fee supporting 70 players. Console players were supposed to be able to rent servers on day one, but that clearly changed between our talk with the game's producer and its launch. Similar functionality was available on consoles for Battlefield 3.
[Source: EA via Polygon]
Our TakeBattlefield 4 didn't have the smoothest launch, and its post-launch support has been problematic as well. Are server rentals the answer? We'll see. One thing's inevitable: People aren't going to be pleased if they're asked to pay an unreasonable amount of money for the privilege of playing something that barely works. Rental servers can be great for players who want them, so long as they don't decrease options for players that want to continue on public servers.