May Xbox Update Adds Groups, High Refresh Rate, and More

E3 is coming up quick, and the team is hard at work on a bunch of exciting new things that we can’t wait to show you in June. But before E3 arrives, we still have a chance to add in a few more exciting features onto your Xbox One that we think you’ll enjoy.  Some of these build on the new features we introduced last month; others are new ideas that the team has implemented for you, the Xbox Insider community. Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect in the coming weeks:

120Hz Comes to Consoles

In April, we added variable refresh rate, 1440p resolution support, and auto low latency mode. But we aren’t done just yet. In May, we’re adding support for additional panel refresh rates. Gamers with gaming monitors and televisions that support a 120Hz refresh rate can now turn on 120Hz support for 1080p and 1440p output resolutions. This high refresh rate option means you can now take full advantage of displays with 120Hz capabilities.

Group Your Games and Apps

Our fans asked for new ways to organize their library of games and apps. In response, we’re introducing a powerful new enhancement to Pins which we call “Groups.” With Groups, you can create multiple collections of content made up of anything from within My games & apps. You can also assign custom names to each Group, organize and order them, and add individual Groups to Home. Groups will appear across My games & apps, Home, and Guide, so you’ll be able to access your Groups at a moment’s notice. Best of all, Groups are tied to your account, so they will automatically sync across multiple Xbox One consoles. We’ve started you off with a Group that should look very familiar — your Pins!

We’re doing something a little different with the rollout of this feature: Groups will not initially be enabled for everyone in the Alpha ring. In order to gauge interest and collect feedback, we will instead gradually roll out Groups over time within Alpha.

Trim Clips Directly in the Guide

Last month, we added a new sharing feature that helps gamers upload their captured screenshots and videos directly to Twitter. This month, we’re improving on the sharing experience even further; you can now trim your recent game captures directly from the Guide, so you won’t need to switch to Upload Studio to make a quick cut to your saved clips.

Improved Family Settings

Xbox One is also helping parents keep their family safe with updates to family settings. We’re adding a “Details” page where parents can easily find and manage all family settings on Xbox One. Parents will easily be able to tell which family and content settings are set up and configured. Important setting that are turned off or require attention will be flagged as well. Some settings, such as activity reports and screen time limits, can only be accessed through the web: We’ll identify those settings and provide links where parents can easily set them up.

Improvements to the Xbox Accessories App

We’re also modernizing the Xbox Accessories app to make it easier to navigate, and to look and feel more consistent with the rest of the Xbox One dashboard.

Intuitive Button Commands

We’re also making changes to some of the button commands throughout the dashboard. For example, you can now use the View button on Home to edit the order of blocks or reorder items within Groups.  Pressing the “View” button on the main tab of the Guide will also now display additional capture options. If you group your collections in My games and apps by letter, you will now need to select a letter to view all groups.

As usual, a subset of users may also see additional experimental features that we didn’t mention here. These features are only enabled for a portion of the Xbox audience to gauge interest and collect feedback.

Creators Corner: Fighties

Xbox Live Creators Program empowers passionate developers everywhere to share their games with the world. In the Creator’s Corner series, Xbox Live Creators Program developers will share what inspires and motivates them to design and create their games, what challenges and creative solutions they pursue to bring their games to fruition, and how they leverage Xbox Live capabilities to enhance their games for Xbox. Today, we’ll be chatting with Ben and Max Snyder about their experience creating and bringing Fighties to the Xbox audience.

Tell us about your developer journey — what inspired you to start developing games and what continues to motivate you?
We went to school to get software engineering degrees. We like to play games so whenever we could choose our school projects we would make a game. The thing that continues to motivate us is the game ideas in our heads that we want to make.

Fighties Screenshot

What was the first game you created, and how did that experience contribute to Fighties?
Fighties was the first game we created as Pillow Pig Games. Before that we individually made small games for school projects. While making the small games we learned the basics of game development which helped us create Fighties.

Tell us about your team and how you came together (briefly)
We are a team of two. Max does the programming and music. Ben does the art and animation. We are twin brothers.

Fighties Screenshot

What’s been the most rewarding part of developing and shipping your game in the Creators Program?
The most rewarding part was winning the Dream.Build.Play challenge. (Editor’s Note: Dream.Build.Play is a global community of gamemakers. It’s a place where individuals can engage with independent developers around the world, and the companies, technologies, and leading creators that support them. The Dream.Build.Play Challenge is an annual skills-based contest looking for the latest and greatest UWP games form the indie developer community).

What’s been the most frustrating roadblock/challenge you’ve faced in developing a game, and how did you solve for it?
The most frustrating challenge We faced in developing a game was making the backgrounds for Fighties. Ben doesn’t like drawing backgrounds and when he does he doesn’t think it looks good. To solve this, we simplified the backgrounds as much as possible.

Fighties Screenshot

Now that the game is available in the Creators Program, what would your team like to work on next?
We are working on our next game. We haven’t come up with the name for it yet. It has trains, sword fighting, and animal riding.

What’s your favorite game, ever, and why?
Max’s favorite game is StarCraft 2 because it’s a really fun and challenging game. Ben’s favorite game is The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker because of the art style.

Fighties Screenshot

If you could be any character in any game, who would you be and what would be the first thing you do?
If we could be any characters in any game, we would be Mario and Luigi. The first thing we would do is race in karts.

Thanks so much to Ben and Max for this interview and bringing Fighties to the Xbox community. Tune in to an exclusive interview and live-stream with Ben and Max on Mixer.com/Xbox on Monday, April 23 at 11 a.m. PST.

Check out all the other incredible games in the Microsoft Store or in-console within the Creators Collection and stay tuned to Xbox Wire for monthly posts featuring Creators Program developers from all around the world!

Thank You For a Legendary Halo World Championship Season

Halo esports comes from humble beginnings. Back in 2001 for Halo: Combat Evolved, we used to lug around heavy CRT TVs and system link original Xbox consoles to compete at a friend’s house – the only prize being the title of best among your friends. Fast forward through the next couple of years – the origin story of our friends at MLG, national championships creating esports royalty out of players such as OGRE2, Walshy, Pistola — and now, more than 10 games later – and we’ve reached the conclusion of the third Halo World Championship.

This past weekend was special in many ways. The Halo World Championship was created from our desire to give the competitive Halo community a north star to look toward – the crown jewel of Halo esports where the stakes are the highest on the biggest stage possible. Sixteen teams from around the world braved the trials of competition, the stress of winning and losing and the characteristically rainy conditions of Seattle to put on a show for the title of Halo World Champion.

And what a show it was – whether it was witnessing incredible game seven matches between Team Reciprocity and Team EnVyUs play out in dramatic fashion, seeing Europe place in the top eight once again or watching Oxygen Supremacy’s Ryan “RyaNoob” Geddes emerge victorious as the FFA World Champion. In the end however, it was Splyce, a team that really showed the rest of the world what the peak of competitive Halo gaming looks like. They absolutely dominated in the tournament, sweeping the former champs Tox Gaming in the grand finals. They’re now the new Halo World Champions and have taken the lion’s share of the $1 million prize pool.

To the fans who tuned in this weekend, we want to thank you for making this year’s Halo World Championship so special. It’s been your continued support that has kept many of us going – you are the reason why we saw a 300 percent increase in the amount of teams competing since we first started doing open events again in 2016. Your enthusiasm for Halo esports is why we expanded our FFA tournaments from select Microsoft Stores to all 82 locations in North America, Australia and Puerto Rico, making the tournaments a community destination and competitive hub for both rookie gamers and champions such as RyaNoob. And your interest in watching Halo esports is why we saw our unique viewership during the Halo World Championship season double this year.

Having the Halo World Championship finals in our backyard at Seattle was also fantastic. Our partners at MLG did a tremendous job making the CenturyLink Field Events Center something special for any Halo fan – walking by the Chief as you enter with Halo’s sonorous music was magical and seeing the names of old champions, more than a decade of Halo history, truly puts the legacy of Halo esports in perspective. We also saw the Halo community come out in a huge way with several thousands of fans showed up in-person throughout the weekend, exceeding the previous attendance of each Halo World Championship finals combined by a landslide! We talked about delivering a finals venue that our community deserves; I hope our fans feel like we met that goal.

It was a legendary weekend at the Halo World Championship finals and it’s been humbling to see the progress Halo esports has made since 2001. With more than $5 million awarded in prizing to-date and our new partnership with our old friends at MLG, support for Halo esports has never been stronger and we’re excited for the future.

New Preview Alpha 1805 System Update – 4/16/18

Starting at 6:00 p.m. PDT today, members of the Xbox One Preview Alpha Rings will begin receiving the latest Xbox One system update (1805.180413-1509). We have a host of great new features that we’ll announce over the coming weeks for future 1805 builds. Stay tuned for more details.

In the meantime, read on for more about fixes and known issues in the latest system update.

Fixes:

Game Hubs

  • Fixed a problem in which some users receives a black screen when launching full screen Game Hubs.

Mixer

  • Fixed a problem in which some users would lose Interactive channels lose functionality.

Settings

  • Fixed a problem in which some users were unable to enter a user name or credit card number using the virtual keyboard when adding a new payment option.

Spotify

  • The Spotify app search function has been updated in the app and in the console platform.

 System Reliability

  • Resolved a system stability issue that could result in the console crashing when the console was in Instant on mode.

Twitch

  • Fixed an issue in which users when Selecting the (B) button within settings will unsnap the app instead of displaying the Broadcast and chat section.

Known Issues:

Audio

  • Some users may experience intermittent loss of Audio with certain configurations of AV receivers with ATMOS or with changing audio configurations during console use.

Pi-hole

  • Pi-hole users may encounter issues signing in, creating, or recovering accounts upon downloading the 1804 update. This is due to a new configuration file which is downloaded from a URL Pi-hole blocks by default.
  • Workaround: Add clientconfig.passport.net to the Pi-hole allowed IP address list.

Profile Color

  • Sometimes users may encounter an incorrect Profile color when powering on the console.

Next Week on Xbox: New Games for April 17 – 20

Welcome to Next Week on Xbox, where we cover all the new games coming soon to Xbox One! Every week, the team at Xbox aims to deliver quality gaming content for you to enjoy on your favorite gaming console. This coming week we’ll have the emotional and impactful journey of I, Hope, the sci-fi rogue-like Atomic Heist, and the chaotic pinball excitement of Babylon 2055 Pinball — and these are just a few of the excellent games coming to Xbox One next week! Read more below and click on their profiles for pre-order details.

Casey Powell Lacrosse 18 ScreenshotGames
Casey Powell Lacrosse 18 offers fans a dynamic, fast, and challenging experience, with all the excitement, speed, and scoring of real-life lacrosse. Including a completely reworked series of faceoff, shot, stick, and dodging controls in addition to new motion capture animations, improved graphics, an in-depth stadium and logo creator, and updated commentary.
I, Hope Screenshot Games
Play as the young girl Hope in this emotional journey as she battles the dark monster known as Cancer that is attacking and destroying her village. Full of adventure, puzzle-solving, and platforming, I, Hope challenges the mind and spirit. All sales of I,Hope go to the GameChanger Charity, an organization that supports children and families that are fighting cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.
Babylon 2055 Pinball ScreenshotGames
With realistic ball physics, six originally designed tables, and nine unique game modes (and an “endless” special table), Babylon 2055 Pinball has a lot to offer the pinball fan. Complete all the tables and then test your skill against the Endless Table and battle its infinite waves of invaders!
Phantom Trigger ScreenshotGames
With elements from a variety of genres, like RPGs, rogue-likes, and slashers, Phantom Trigger gives players a deep combo system in which to battle through hordes of enemies with a variety of effects like traps, freezing, and fire as you dash from one attack to the next through this neon, demonic world.
Atomic Heist Screenshot Games
In this sci-fi, rogue-like shooter, it’ll be up to you to retrieve “the core” to stop your enemies from creating a doomsday device as you fight your way through an alien-infested space station. To help in your quest, you can enhance your ship with power-ups, use different ammo types to find your foe’s weaknesses, and manage a variety of upgrades.
Space Hulk: Ascension Screenshot Games
Space Hulk: Ascension is a turn-based strategy game taking inspiration from, and building upon, the classic board game experience with new RPG style mechanics. Taking place in the isolated corridors and tomb-like chambers of ancient vessels lost in space, you’ll lead a small force of fearless Space Marine Terminators in a ferocious fight for survival against predatory Genestealers.

This Week on Xbox: April 13, 2018

We know you’re busy and might miss out on all the exciting things we’re talking about on Xbox Wire every week. If you’ve got a few minutes, we can help remedy that. We’ve pared down the past week’s news into one easy-to-digest article for all things Xbox! Or, if you’d rather watch than read, you can feast your eyes on our weekly video show above. Be sure to come back every Friday to find out what’s happening This Week on Xbox!

Inside Xbox Episode Two News Recap
Earlier today, we aired episode two of Inside Xbox, as we continue to pull back the curtain on Team Xbox to celebrates our games, our features, and our fans. This episode was jam-packed full of everything you could want from a show like this, including the latest on our Xbox Backward Compatibility offerings, exciting news about Xbox FanFest at E3 2018, the debut of new console features, and an appearance from a very special guest. So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at some of the biggest news coming out of this month’s episode of Inside Xbox. Watch the whole show in the player above or on our YouTube channel. Xbox Backward Compatibility Bill Stillwell came on the… Read more

Robocraft Infinity is Available Now Exclusively on Xbox One and Xbox Game Pass
Hello, Xbox fans! I’m from Freejam, makers of Robocraft Infinity, and I’ve been tasked to introduce the game to the lovely Xbox audience. Robocraft Infinity is the second game to launch straight into Xbox Game Pass, following a trail blazed by Sea of Thieves (hey, Rare!) and our unique multiplayer shooter allows players to build awesome-looking highly customisable robots and then take those creations into fast paced 5 vs 5. battles online. Our game retails for $19.99 / £14.99 / €19.99 on the Microsoft Store and active Xbox Game Pass subscribers can play the game as part of their subscription starting now! Pretty cool, right? If you’ve never heard of Robocraft Infinity,… Read more

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More Original Xbox Games Coming to Xbox One Backward Compatibility
Today we’re excited to announce even more additions coming to the Xbox One Backward Compatibility catalog this month, including 19 new Original Xbox games and six Xbox 360 games with Xbox One X Enhancements. Starting today, fans can play Sonic Generations for the first time on the Xbox One family of devices alongside other Xbox 360 favorites that will receive Xbox One X Enhanced updates such as Darksiders, Gears of War 2, Portal 2, Red Dead Redemption, and Star Wars: The Force Unleashed. Later this month, we’ll release two batches of Original Xbox games – the first on April 17 and the second on April 26. All of these Original Xbox games will take advantage of the power of… Read more

Overgrowth is Now Available for Skyforge on Xbox One
The time has come for a new era in the sci-fi fantasy world of Skyforge. The Overgrowth update has arrived and brought with it a brand-new class: the Grovewalker, along with a whole host of new features and changes. The Grovewalkers are fierce protectors. Summoning their powers directly from nature, they can easily protect their allies from harm. With the use of roots, they hold their foes to the ground while scattering seeds across the field of battle, sprouting carnivorous flowers to finish them off. If their foes get too close, the Grovewalker can become the living embodiment of… Read more

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Play The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition for Free This Weekend with Xbox Live Gold
If you haven’t already experienced the snowy splendor of Skyrim, now’s your chance. Winner of more than 200 Game of the Year awards and remastered in stunning detail on Xbox One, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition will be free to play this weekend for all Xbox Live Gold members. From 12:01 a.m. PDT on Thursday, April 12, through 11:59 p.m. PDT on Sunday, April 15, Xbox Live Gold members can check out Skyrim Special Edition for free. That includes the base game as well as all the add-ons Dawnguard, Hearthfire, and Dragonborn. In addition to the free weekend, all Xbox One players will have a chance to pick up Skyrim Special Edition for 50% for a limited time. And for you… Read more

Shocking Upsets Dominate Gears of War Esports Pro Circuit Las Vegas Open
Last weekend, Gears Pro Circuit returned to Sin City for the Gears Pro Circuit Las Vegas Open with teams from around the world all vying for a share of the $200,000 prize pool. In a weekend filled with upsets, Ghost Gaming emerged triumphant to claim their first Gears Esports title. Going undefeated throughout the tournament, Ghost defeated Fable, the top European team, to secure their victory. The event had a large international representation with teams from Europe, Australia and Latin America all finishing in the top 12 – the best showing by international teams ever. However, the most surprising moment of the weekend was OpTic Gaming, reigning champ and the most dominant team in… Read more

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Announcing More Details on Xbox FanFest: E3 2018
Today, on the second episode of Inside Xbox, we revealed brand-new details on Xbox FanFest at E3 2018. When we started doing FanFest a little over 4 years ago, we not only wanted to create global rally venues for Xbox fans; we also wanted gamers everywhere to know how deeply important they are to our past, present and future. This year, we’re looking to do even more. Xbox has two fantastic offers at this year’s E3. First, you can win a chance to be one of the 400 lucky people to experience Xbox FanFest from June 10 through June 11, or win one of 1,000 brand-new Xbox Briefing-Only Fan Tickets! All winners will be able to enjoy the Xbox E3 Briefing in-person on Sunday, June 10 at 1:00… Read more

Calling All Xbox Adventures to Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs
Prepare yourselves for an experience inspired by JRPG classics mixed with good ol’ adventuring, with a vast and vibrant story, skippable battles, an outstanding art style, and unexpected plot-twists! When we started working on Regalia: Of Men and Monarchs, we knew it was going to be much more than a tactical RPG. It’s a game about the restoration of your kingdom, bonding with spirited characters met during your journey, and embarking on the most peculiar quests possible. We also wanted to create a game of unforgettable, rewarding encounters and well-thought tactics… Read more

Inside Xbox One X Enhanced: Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice
Many of gaming’s most compelling stories come from those who’ve helped to create our favorite Xbox One games. In our Inside Xbox One X Enhanced series, these creators will share the behind-the-scenes accounts of the work involved in enhancing these epic games for Xbox One X, how they’ve helped chart the course of the world’s most powerful console, and what that means for the future of gaming. Today, we’ll be chatting with Ninja Theory’s Dominic Matthews, Commercial Director on the epic adventure game Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. What specifically is your development team doing to enhance Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice for Xbox One X? We’ve put a lot of work and care… Read more

Tune-in Tomorrow to the Halo World Championship 2018 Finals
In less than 24 hours, the biggest Halo esports tournament of the year – the Halo World Championship 2018 Finals – will kick off, where the very best professional Halo teams will battle at CenturyLink Field Event Center in Seattle, WA to compete for a $1 million prize pool and the prestigious title of Halo World Champion! The competition kicks off tomorrow at 12 p.m. PDT/3 p.m. EDT with Str8 Rippin vs  Fable Esports on the Main stage, streaming live on Mixer.com/Halo, Twitch.tv/halo, Twitter and Facebook. Also, back by popular demand is the Bravo stream on Mixer.com/HCS, Twitch.tv/HCS, and MLG.tv/Halo, so all tournament matches will be broadcast in their entirety with the finest… Read more

Ghost Recon Wildlands Free Weekend Large Image

Team Up with Sam Fisher During Ghost Recon Wildlands Free Weekend, April 12-15
Ghost Recon Wildlands begins its second year of post-launch content starting April 10, when the first of four major free updates, called Special Operations I, goes live for players who own the game on Xbox One. Adding new items, missions, and features, each Special Operations update will bring a substantial amount of new content, both for the campaign and for the Ghost War PvP mode – and the first update includes an appearance from Splinter Cell’s Sam Fisher, which you can try for free this weekend along with the rest of the game. Voiced again by series veteran Michael Ironside, Sam appears during a new mission in which the Ghosts help him infiltrate an enemy camp at night,… Read more

Wargroove’s Classic Strategy Sandbox Coming Soon to Xbox One
Wargroove is a light turn-based tactics game inspired by classics of the genre but updated with modern features and drawn in a charming, light-hearted pixel art style. Soon after Starbound came out of Early Access on PC and had its official 1.0 release, Chucklefish started an internal pitch process where everyone in the office brought forward their ideas for what games we should start working on next. Everyone in the office was a big fan of light tactical games like Advance Wars, Shining Force, and Battle for Wesnoth, but we found that there hadn’t been many games in that genre in several years. We really wanted to play a modern game like that, so we decided to make it… Read more

PlayerUnknowns Battlegrounds Large Image

Drop in to PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds During Free Play Days Weekend, April 19-22
Get ready for a free trial of PlayerUnknown’s Battlgrounds (PUBG) during Xbox Live Gold’s Free Play Days, beginning Thursday, April 19 at 12:01 a.m. PDT to Sunday, April 22 at 11:59 p.m. PDT. Once the event begins, download the game by clicking on the Gold Member feature area on the Xbox Live home dashboard, or search for the game on the Microsoft Store via the Xbox Dashboard. Developed by PUBG Corp, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is the multi-award winning battle royale experience that drops players into a competitive survival battle where you’ll engage in a heart-racing fight to be the last player left alive. Loot for supplies and weapons, gear-up to take on the competition and… Read more

Starbound’s Story Within a Sandbox is Coming Soon to Xbox One
For those of you unfamiliar with Starbound, it’s an open-ended sandbox game with a strong focus on building and crafting, like Minecraft and Terraria. It presents a whole universe of procedurally generated worlds that you can travel between at your leisure. A strong design principle of Starbound during its development was “a story in a sandbox,” which presented the team with some interesting design challenges to overcome! We had several goals that we wanted to reach so that Starbound would live up to its aim of presenting a typical video-game storyline with progression, without the… Read more

Spring Sale Add-on Sale Key Art

Save Big on Xbox and PC Game Add-ons
The Microsoft Store Spring Add-on sale starts today, April 10, so save big on Xbox and PC game add-ons! Freshen up your gaming options and take advantage of savings on add-ons and season passes for select Xbox and PC games. Save up to 67% on Xbox game add-ons The Spring Add-on is the perfect time to upgrade your games with over 240 deals on popular Xbox One and Xbox 360 game digital add-ons. Save on Xbox One season passes for Assassin’s Creed Origins, Call of Duty: WWII, Shadow of War, Witcher 3, and more. Discover savings on an array of game add-on content for Xbox from Rise of the Tomb Raider, Gears of War 3, BioShock Infinite, Far Cry 4, and more. Save up… Read more

5 Tips and Tricks to Saving Humanity in Extinction
Extinction is launching today and we’re extremely excited for people to get their hands on a video game that gives players a true experience of going toe-to-toe against enemies of tremendous scale: the Ravenii. Ravenii are a monster race only previously mentioned before in fairytales, legends passed on throughout generations. No one really believed they were still in existence…until now. These bloodthirsty beasts were once close to ending mankind, and only a specialized group of warriors known as Sentinels could hold them back. Unfortunately, the Sentinels, much like the Ravenii, are a rare breed that has long been absent in society. Only one man carries on the Sentinel name, a… Read more

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Welcome to The Un-Halloween Horror Spectacular, April 17 – 23
Step right up and welcome to the Un-Halloween Horror Spectacular Sale! In honor of Friday the 13th and, near halfway point to Halloween, the ID@Xbox team has curated some of our favorite horror games and discounted them by up to 70%. Whether you prefer to play as one of the world’s most prolific horror characters or enjoy a subtler scare with ominous figures and plotlines we have something for you. Starting Tuesday, April 17 and lasting through to Monday, April 23, turn off the lights, close all your blinds, turn up the sound, and terrify yourself with these exciting thrillers that are discounted for a limited time. Friday the 13th: The Game (60% off) – Play as Jason Voorhees, one… Read more

Starbound’s Story Within a Sandbox is Coming Soon to Xbox One

For those of you unfamiliar with Starbound, it’s an open-ended sandbox game with a strong focus on building and crafting, like Minecraft and Terraria. It presents a whole universe of procedurally generated worlds that you can travel between at your leisure. A strong design principle of Starbound during its development was “a story in a sandbox,” which presented the team with some interesting design challenges to overcome!

We had several goals that we wanted to reach so that Starbound would live up to its aim of presenting a typical video-game storyline with progression, without the player being forced on to a linear path. With a game like Starbound, players would want to feel like they are free to accomplish any tasks they want, but we also wanted to make sure that they wouldn’t miss the storyline!

Starbound Screenshot

We decided that the game’s storyline would be separated from the “sandbox” locations of procedurally generated worlds. There would be set hand-crafted missions with a boss to defeat at the end, and players wouldn’t be able to dig their way through these locations like they could on the sandbox worlds. However, they would be able to use all their equipment and weapons that they had accumulated in their travels, so that these missions wouldn’t feel too disconnected. These missions would all be optional except for the first one – that way, a new player would not unintentionally miss the storyline entirely but wouldn’t be forced to carry on with it if they didn’t want to.

Finally, we had to figure out how to encourage the player to explore between the story missions, so that they wouldn’t be given the opportunity to complete them all straight away and to also encourage players to explore through the game’s higher difficulty sandbox worlds. We decided on a system where players would have to “scan” objects and talk to NPCs on new worlds to build intel, which would lead them to unlock the next mission. This meant that players would have to travel to new worlds and find new civilizations to progress, meaning they would also encounter new content, items, and enemies on the way! We found that with this method, players who were only interested in the story content could play through the game quite efficiently, but also players who would prefer to take their time and explore the universe at their own pace would also find a lot of motivation to do so.

Starbound Screenshot

Starbound took us many years to complete and is a labor of love – it also presented us with a lot of fun design challenges to solve! Whether you’re an old fan or a newcomer, we hope that you will enjoy it on Xbox One when it releases later this year!

Welcome to The Un-Halloween Horror Spectacular, April 17 – 23

Step right up and welcome to the Un-Halloween Horror Spectacular SaleIn honor of Friday the 13th and, near halfway point to Halloween, the ID@Xbox team has curated some of our favorite horror games and discounted them by up to 70%. Whether you prefer to play as one of the world’s most prolific horror characters or enjoy a subtler scare with ominous figures and plotlines we have something for you. Starting Tuesday, April 17 and lasting through to Monday, April 23, turn off the lights, close all your blinds, turn up the sound, and terrify yourself with these exciting thrillers that are discounted for a limited time.

Friday the 13th: The Game (60% off) – Play as Jason Voorhees, one of the most iconic villains of all time, in Friday the 13th: The Game. Stalk your prey, ambush them whenever you see fit and strike fear in the hearts of so many hapless victims as you become the legend himself! Friday the 13th: The Game will include a variety of kills, new and familiar, that will help you set the tone for the Jason Voorhees that you want to be. You’ll even get to unlock various Jason incarnations from the movies!

Hello Neighbor (33% off) – Somehow, TinyBuild managed to create a game that is both kid-friendly and chillingly creepy. Hello Neighbor is a stealth horror game about sneaking into your neighbor’s house to figure out what horrible secrets he’s hiding in the basement. You play against an advanced AI that learns from your every move. Really enjoying climbing through that backyard window? Expect a bear trap there. Sneaking through the front door? There’ll be cameras there soon. Trying to escape? The Neighbor will find a shortcut and catch you. There is a reason this game has over 1 billion YouTube views. We highly recommend playing with Mixer interactivity.

Outlast 2 (67% off) – If you’re prepared to be terrified within the first minute of gameplay, this is the game for you. In Outlast 2 you play as Blake Langermann, a cameraman working with your wife, Lynn. The two of you are investigative journalists willing to take risks and dig deep to uncover the stories no one else will dare touch. You’re following a trail of clues that started with the seemingly impossible murder of a pregnant woman known only as Jane Doe. The investigation has lead you miles into the Arizona desert, to a darkness so deep that no one could shed light upon it, and a corruption so profound that going mad may be the only sane thing to do.

Layers of Fear (70% off) – Sometimes true self-realization can be the scariest thing of all. Layers of Fear is a first-person psychedelic horror game with a heavy focus on story and exploration. Delve deep into the mind of an insane painter and discover the secret of his madness, as you walk through a vast and constantly changing Victorian-era mansion. Uncover the visions, fears, and horrors that entwine the painter and finish the masterpiece he has strived so long to create.

Dead by Daylight: Special Edition (50% off) – The game for the social, sociopath. Dead by Daylight is a multiplayer (4 vs 1) horror game where one player takes on the role of the savage Killer, and the other four players play as Survivors, trying to escape the Killer and avoid being caught, tortured, and killed. The Survivors’ goal in each encounter is to escape the Killing Ground without getting caught by the Killer – something that sounds easier than it is, especially when the environment changes every time you play

This is just a taste of all the great games included. For the full list, be sure to check on the Microsoft Store from your home console or visit the Un-Halloween Horror Spectacular Sale homepage starting on April 17. The sale will run from April 17 all the way through to April 23, so scoop up one of these frighteningly fun games before they… disappear.

Robocraft Infinity is Available Now Exclusively on Xbox One and Xbox Game Pass

Hello, Xbox fans!

I’m from Freejam, makers of Robocraft Infinity, and I’ve been tasked to introduce the game to the lovely Xbox audience. Robocraft Infinity is the second game to launch straight into Xbox Game Pass, following a trail blazed by Sea of Thieves (hey, Rare!) and our unique multiplayer shooter allows players to build awesome-looking highly customisable robots and then take those creations into fast paced 5 vs 5. battles online.

Robocraft Infinity Screenshot

Our game retails for $19.99 / £14.99 / €19.99 on the Microsoft Store and active Xbox Game Pass subscribers can play the game as part of their subscription starting now! Pretty cool, right?

If you’ve never heard of Robocraft Infinity, essentially our game is a unique take on the multiplayer vehicular shooter subgenre, where you can build any type of robot you can imagine from ice cool looking mechs to flying ostriches with top hats – the only limit is your imagination. You can build your robot from scratch, or you can utilise the Body Builder and snap together different classes of bodies together to find something that speaks to you. We cater for all different skill sets and we’re confident that all those who like building-orientated sandbox games like Minecraft and Crossout will really thrive in our game.

Robocraft Infinity Screenshot

We have two explosive game modes for you to exercise your creative muscle as well as your trigger finger: the capture point-based Battle Arena and Team Deathmatch.

Team Deathmatch is the simplest mode on offer. Like all Robocraft Infinity game modes, it’s 5 vs 5. and the first team to achieve 25 kills wins. If the score isn’t reached in 10 minutes whichever team has the highest score wins. If the score is tied, when the time expires, the game enters a sudden death scenario where the next kill wins!

Battle Arena is a more strategic experience. It’s a capture point based game mode, where you need to fill your reactor with protonite energy by capturing and keeping three mining points on the map for as long as as possible. The more points your team controls, the faster you gain energy, and the less progress the enemy contributes to their score. Once one team has filled their reactor to 100%, indicated by the percentage bar at the top, they claim victory and the game is over. In the event that neither team has fuelled their reactor within the time limit, the team with the most protonite energy wins by default.

Robocraft Infinity Screenshot

Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, you can also share your robots online for free but simply uploading them to the Factory and for every download you receive some currency which allows you to download other robot designs or unlock new parts to build with. We give you all the tools you need to be a superstar creator in the Robocraft Infinity community.

Speaking of tools, we’re also super excited to confirm that all those who play Robocraft Infinity during the month of launch (April 2018) get a super cool Retro Pilot Seat cosmetic.  This item doesn’t give you any benefits in battle, it’s really just a way to make your robot look a bit nicer.

Robocraft Infinity Retro Pilot Seat Key Art

Launch is just the beginning for us as we have lots of updates planned for Robocraft Infinity heading into the future, including new weapons, movement types, and loads more.

If you’d like to be with us on that journey, start playing the game today and tell us your thoughts about the game. We’re looking to hear from players as much as  possible so if you’d like to give us your feedback be sure to ping us a message on Twitter at @RobocraftINF or on Facebook. Alternatively if you’d like to learn more about the game before jumping in visit RobocraftInfinity.com.

We can’t wait to see what you’ll create!

Inside Xbox One X Enhanced: Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice

Many of gaming’s most compelling stories come from those who’ve helped to create our favorite Xbox One games. In our Inside Xbox One X Enhanced series, these creators will share the behind-the-scenes accounts of the work involved in enhancing these epic games for Xbox One X, how they’ve helped chart the course of the world’s most powerful console, and what that means for the future of gaming. Today, we’ll be chatting with Ninja Theory’s Dominic Matthews, Commercial Director on the epic adventure game Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.

What specifically is your development team doing to enhance Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice for Xbox One X?

We’ve put a lot of work and care into making the Hellblade really sing on the console. We’ve given players the choice of three enhanced modes to choose from: Enhanced Visuals mode, High Framerate mode and High-Resolution mode.

How do these enhancements impact the gaming experience, and why did your development team choose to focus on these enhancement areas?

We wanted to give players the option to enhance Hellblade in the way that they want. Different players care about different things. Enriched Visuals mode offers increased visual richness throughout the experience, such as additional fog, foliage density, shadow quality, and higher resolution textures. High Framerate mode runs the game at a silky smooth 60fps. This is for players who choose smoothness of the action over higher resolution. High Resolution mode runs the game with dynamic resolutions that scale throughout the game up to 4K. This is for players who are happy with 30fps and want to see just what their Xbox One X can do when partnered with a 4K TV.

How do you expect fans of Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice will respond to playing it on Xbox One X with these enhancements?

Xbox One X players are looking for an experience that gives them an opportunity to showcase what the console can do. Hellblade’s Xbox One X enhancements, combined with HDR support, will give them just that.

What enhancement were you most excited about to explore leveraging for Hellblade: Senua’s on Xbox One X?

We always like to see where we can push resolution and framerate, but for Xbox One X being able to add additional richness in the Enriched Visuals mode was particularly exciting. Hellblade is a very cinematic experience and the additional touches of quality help to immerse you in the game even deeper.

What does 4K and HDR mean for your game, games in the future and development at your studio?

We see 4K and HDR as being important steps in improving the cinematic experience that games can offer. In the case of Hellblade, we took the Xbox One X release as an opportunity to great our first 4K HDR trailer, which can be seen at the top of this post.

Thanks to Dominic for taking the time to chat with us about Xbox One X Enhanced. We’ll bring you more interviews with more developers in the future, so stay tuned to Xbox Wire!