Microsoft Shipping a $399 Xbox One Without Kinect in June

Xbox One 399 no Kinect

Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s new head of all things Xbox, posted an update on the Xbox Wire about changes coming to the Xbox One in June, including a new $399 price point without a Kinect in the box and access to popular video apps like Netflix without requiring an Xbox Live Gold subscription.

This is another case of Microsoft backtracking on the Xbox One, which started out with a mandatory Kinect, an always-online Internet connection and aggressive DRM. With this most recent update, just about a year after its announcement, the Xbox One no longer requires any of these things. It’s a win for consumers, certainly, but not for Microsoft’s previous vision for the console.

The most curious aspect of this for me is that this makes the Xbox One cheaper in Canada than the PlayStation 4, which saw a $50 price bump earlier this year. The $399 Xbox One without Kinect will be available on June 9.

What do you guys think about this news? Does this new $399 Xbox One without a Kinect make the console more appealing to you?

Source – Xbox Wire

Action-Strategy Mech Game Matador Hits Steam Greenlight

One thing I always miss from the good old days of gaming are really bad-ass mech games. Those kind of waned for a long time, but Titanfall seems to be bringing it back. But, if a first-person-shooter is too goddamn casual for you, there’s also Matador, an action-strategy roguelike mech game from developer Stellar Jockeys. You can check out the trailer below and man, does it look gorgeous.

Matador is up on Steam Greenlight for voting and the developer hopes to have it out by March. What do you guys say? Is Matardor right up your alley?

Respawn Confirms 6v6 Matches for Titanfall, Internet Freaks Out

titanfall 12 player count matches

As the old saying goes, “bigger is better” although in the case of multiplayer shooter games this isn’t always true. While Titanfall may go big in terms of the giant mechs it features, the player count for Respawn and EA’s upcoming sci-fi shooter is a little on the smaller side.

While we’ve know for a while that Titanfall would contain a smaller number of players in matches (the E3 demo had 7 on 7), Respawn founder Vince Zampella confirmed on Twitter that Titanfall matches would max out at 12 humans, so 6 versus 6. The backlash to this news has been kind of over the top, as is the way with the Internet, but is 6v6 really that bad?

Many of the best competitive shooters out there, from Counter-Strike to Halo, have always had smaller matches because with more people things just get a little too hectic. Battlefield is one of the only games to pull this off because that’s their gimmick, but sometimes a full 64 player match can get kinda of crazy. Respawn additionally confirmed that the Titans, while capable of being directly controlled by a player, can also be automated to defend a specific area or follow a person around, so the matches are essentially 12 v 12 with some AI enemies padding things out.

I played Titanfall at PAX Prime 2013 and I honestly didn’t notice that it was a smaller game. With all of the AI enemies constantly dropping in, the action felt fast and frenetic and captured the feeling of being a small part of a larger battle. I’ll wait to actually play the game proper before making my judgement, but given how Titanfall felt at PAX, I imagine 6 v 6 will be just fine.

What do you guys think about this? Did the Internet overreact? Are more players essential, or do you prefer things to be a bit more…intimate?

Source – Vince Zampella Twitter

Rumor: Fallout 4 is in Development, Set in Boston

fallout 4 casting documents

While the article about this over on Kotaku reports this leak as legitimate, given what happened with Survivor 2299 and the fact that Bethesda has declined to comment, I’m going to firmly declare this as a rumor until we hear something official.

A series of casting documents obtained by Kotaku apparently confirm the existence of a game codenamed Institute (which if you remember from a Fallout 3 sidequest is the in-universe name for what was once MIT), which you might know better by its proper name, Fallout 4. The word Fallout doesn’t appear in any of the scripts, but it points to Fallout 4 being set in Boston, which makes sense given its codename. The casting script also details the opening monologue (in which the classic “war never changes” line is read by the player character instead of series regular Ron Pearlman) and a few side characters such as Sturges who is apparently a cross between Buddy Holly and Vin Diesel.

While I wish Fallout 4 is real as much as the next person, the rash of hoaxes surrounding the next game in the series over the past few months has made me very skeptical. Although I wouldn’t mind a Fallout game set in Boston and centered around the Institute, the information in this casting document, even if it is real, is subject to change so a lot of what is in there might not even be in the final game.

What do you guys think? Is this the real deal, or yet another hoax?

Source – Kotaku

EA/DICE Stops Work on Future Projects to Solve Rampant Battlefield 4 Issues

battlefield 4 issues

While I’m enjoying Battlefield 4 a lot, I’ll be the first to admit that the game is broken. While DICE has brought out 13 server-side updates and two-client side patches (with more to come) since the October 29 release date, their next-gen shooter is in a sorry state of disrepair.

Even though China Rising just launched this past Tuesday, work on Battlefield 4’s remaining expansions (and other DICE projects, presumably the Mirror’s Edge prequel and Battlefront) have been halted until the majority of the issues with the game have been sorted out. While the previous client-side patch solved the Commander EMP blur effect and the sound bugs on maps like Golmud Railway, there continues to be a large array of problems on every system.

China Rising was apparently too far along to postpone (no word on Second Assault which is an Xbox One timed-exclusive) which is why it stuck to its original release date. DICE recently held a double-EXP event and gave players a 3.4x scope for the 1911 pistol which was formerly a developer-exclusive attachment as a way to make up for the issues that have been plaguing the game.

To editorialize a bit here, I’m a massive Battlefield fan, but the sorry state of Battlefield 4 (and the fact that EA put it on sale for $30 on Black Friday/Cyber Monday) has made me really wary of pre-ordering Battlefield games in the future. I have a huge amount of respect for DICE, but every Battlefield game has been messed up on launch to varying degrees. While DICE has demonstrated that they are working hard on these issues, and postponing work on future projects and DLC is a good move, the fact that we’re over a month after launch and the game is potentially just as, or more, messed up now as it was on day one is a pretty big black mark on their record.

Has anyone else been playing Battlefield 4? What do you think of this move by DICE/EA?

Source – Polygon

Valve Launches Steam Reviews

steam reviews

You have to admire Valve, they really think out of the box. Between XP, trading cards, everything going on with Dota 2 (thanks Volvo for Diretide), they’re turning Steam into not only the premier digital game delivery service on the Internet, but also some sort of weird crowdsourced laboratory.

Take this recent move as a prime example. Steam users will now be able to leave reviews on games they have launched via Steam (purchase not required) without having to recommend it, which was the previous method of doing user reviews (indeed, any previous recommendations will be upgraded to reviews).

The user reviews will exist alongside the Metacritic scores on Steam. I think this is a really cool move for Steam, and I’m eager to copy/paste some GS reviews in there to see what happens (kidding!). What do you guys think about this? Have you written any reviews yet?

Source – Steam

Rumor: Telltale Working on Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones

There really aren’t enough words to describe the affection I have for Telltale Games at the moment. The guys absolutely knocked me off my feet with their astounding take on Walking Dead, and I hear they’ve actually managed to raise the bar with Wolf Among Us. So count me ecstatic then, given the current rumors surrounding the studio.

Today, IGN reports that Telltale is working on none other than Game of Thrones, the HBO series based on The Song of Ice and Fire books by George R. R. Martin. Of course, this is speculation at the moment, as IGN is citing multiple anonymous sources, and Telltale has offered no official comment.

But we can dream, can’t we? If you ask me, Game of Thrones is one of the perfect franchises for Telltale to lend their talents to. What other universe is full of so many great characters, such emotionally charged decisions, so much danger and betrayal. Imagine saying the wrong thing to the wrong family, and have it come back to bite you in a big way games down the road.

So yeah, I am dying to find out if this is true. What do you guys think of this rumor? Yay or nay?

Source – IGN