Pac-Man World Re-PAC, a full remake of the 1999 hit video game Pac-Man World, is coming to Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One and Windows PC via Steam on August 26, 2022. To begin with, watch the video below…
“PAC-MAN WORLD represented a big step in the PAC-MAN franchise, taking the beloved character and fun gameplay to another level evolving this into a 3D platforming game. With PAC-MAN WORLD Re-PAC we are reintroducing an enhanced version for a new generation of fans,” said Herve Hoerdt, Senior Vice President Marketing, Digital and Content at Bandai Namco Europe S.A.S. “We are excited to see people chomp their way through the colourful Ghost Island to rescue PAC-MAN’s family and friends.”
PAC-MAN WORLD Re-PACtakes advantage of current gaming hardware to deliver a HD enhanced full screen version of the original game as well as improvements for more intuitive game play. The game has multiple modes with Quest Mode, a Maze Mode that brings classic PAC-MAN game play to 3D mazes, and a complete version of the original game in Original Mode that players can unlock by completing the main game.
In the main Quest Mode experience, players use a variety of attacks and abilities, including powerups, as they run, jump, solve puzzles, and of-course chomp their way through six exciting worlds of Ghost Island.
PAC-MAN WORLD Re-PAC brings back a wonderfully original world of adventure for PAC-MAN, where our hero is now chasing the Ghosts to rescue PAC-MOM, PAC-BOY, PAC-SIS, Professor PAC, PAC-BUDDY, and Pooka from their clutches only to discover a new nemesis in the dreaded TOC-MAN.
Like any long-time gamer, I played Pac-Man games on different platforms through the decades. In recent times, I’ve been enjoying Pac-Man Museum+ on my Xbox Series X with the benefit of my Xbox Game Pass (XGP) subscription. If you are already an XGP subscriber, I urge you to download and play Pac-Man Museum+.
As for the 1999 critical and commercial hit game Pac-Man World, I missed out on that completely. Because that game became a million-selling success, it spawned two sequels (both of which were released on the original Xbox console). That being said, I am delighted that Bandai Namco went ahead to remake and enhance Pac-Man World with today’s high-definition technologies.
Watch out for the release of Pac-Man World Re-PAC on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Windows PC this August.
Starfield, the ambitious sci-fi role-playing game (RPG) from Bethesda Game Studios led by Todd Howard, is easily one of my most anticipated games for my Xbox Series X since I myself played RPGs of Elder Scrolls and Fallout produced by the said creators. That game, which is set for exclusive release on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series X, Windows PC plus Xbox Game Pass (XGP) sometime in 2023, was one of the highlights of the recent Xbox-Bethesda games showcase which had a real-time gameplay showing which you watch right below…
To put things into perspective, posted below is an excerpt about the related Starfield gameplay reveal as published in an official article at Xbox.com. Some parts in boldface…
The year is 2330. Humanity has ventured beyond our solar system, settling new planets, and living as a spacefaring people. From humble beginnings as a space miner, you will join Constellation — the last group of space explorers seeking rare artifacts throughout the galaxy — and navigate the vast expanse of the Settled Systems in Bethesda Game Studios’ biggest and most ambitious game.
In this next generation role-playing game set amongst the stars, you will create any character you want and explore with unparalleled freedom as you embark on an epic journey to answer humanity’s greatest question: What is out there?
Bethesda Game Studios “can’t wait for all of you to experience the game,” Howard says. “It’s been an incredible journey for us making it, but we know that’s only the beginning, for it’s when all of you play it that the journey begins.”
Like anyone else, I was very disappointed by the news that Starfield would not be released this year. I have been craving for more new, great single-player gaming experiences from Todd Howard’s team and I am done replaying Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Fallout 4. The November 11, 2022 release date was promised several times before the delay happened. As of this writing, there is still no firm date about the new 2023 release for Starfield.
Fortunately, the gameplay reveal of Starfield this past June 12 was very entertaining to see. I really liked the sci-fi look and feel of it while the in-game shooting reminds me somewhat of Fallout 4 which itself was pretty functional and fun with shooting. The gameplay shown did not run at 60 frames-per-second (60FPS) which is insufficient in my view because I personally prefer a 60FPS frame rate even with open-world environments implemented. Like Skyrim, Starfield allows players to view the game in 3rd person or 1st person when controlling the in-game protagonist.
There are also key game features that were shown such as the customization of your character’s own traits and skills, crafting systems (by running in-game research using resources you find), and creating mods for your weapons. What struck me is the new outpost creation feature which I find intriguing and attractive. Have you ever dreamed of creating your very own outpost on the surface of an unknown planet you visited and hire people you find qualified to help you operate it? The Starfield feature looks really promising.
Apart from the exploration and action, they also revealed the in-game construction and customization of space ships complete with varying differences in terms of performance and efficiency which players will realize and feel. Not only that, there was also the showcase of space battles in the game which looks really nice and promising. In recent times, I’ve been playing Chorus on my Xbox Series X (thanks to the benefit of my Xbox Game Pass subscription) which is strongly a space shooter in design with exploration and flying as strong gameplay features.
Personally, I don’t expect space flight and shooting in Starfield to be the same as those of in Chorus but I do expect the experience to be fun and that the controls should be fully functional and work precisely. Starfield is, after all, a sci-fi RPG with shooting and exploration as strong features. We will find out soon how efficient and engaging space flight and shooting in the game will really be.
While it is understandable that plot details are very light, I find questionable Todd Howard’s claim that Starfield has over a thousand planet that are open for players to explore. That is pretty wild! I am not a game developer nor am I an expert one making digital worlds but can Todd Howard and his team really deliver on that promise with Starfield? Did his team really in far exceeding what BioWare achieved in their Mass Effect video games that had several worlds composed of those truly explorable (on-foot with the protagonist and teammates engaging on missions or searches) and those which are not explorable (limited to orbital scanning)? Can the developers ensure that each planet has its own distinct environments, alien life forms and other creative designs? Whatever Howard and his team did with regards to in-game world exploration, I can only hope that Starfield will turn out great.
Overall, I am personally looking forward to playing Starfield on my Xbox Series X sometime in 2023. After seeing what was revealed at the recent Xbox-Bethesda games showcase, I can say my disappointment over the delay has waned a lot. Here is hoping that Bethesda will be able to fully polish the game in-and-out, and somehow they can increase the frame rate to 60FPS. Take note that Starfield is just one of many Xbox-exclusive games coming as a result of the seismic Xbox-Bethesda acquisition and integration and the good news is that current Bethesda-published games have been added into Xbox Game Pass and future games will follow! Starfield will eventually solidify Xbox as the best ecosystem for gamers who love role-playing games!
Watch out for more details about the Xbox-exclusive Starfield coming to Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Windows PC plus XGP in 2023.
To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt of the Xbox.com announcement written by SEGA Europe Junior PR Manager Joseph Knoop. Some parts in boldface…
Like a freshman dreading their 8 a.m. class, Two Point Campus needs just a little more time. Two Point Campus’ release date has been pushed back from May 17 to August 9. As always, we appreciate the patience of our wonderful community and all your support throughout development.
In better news, you can check out the first hands-on media impressions of Two Point Campus at some of your favorite gaming outlets today. We’re excited to hear what everyone thinks of the game thus far and what you’re anticipating most. While the decision has been made to delay the release of Two Point Campus by a few months, the vision for the game has remained the same.
Two Point Campus lets you build the university of your dreams (or nightmares, we don’t judge), shepherd students from freshman year to graduation, and let them run wild with outlandish classes like Knight School, fossil-digging archaeology, or even baking giant pizzas in Gastronomy and much more. In Two Point Hospital, players couldn’t spend much time with patients, considering they either healed up and went on their merry way or, you know, died. Two Point Campus lets you really dig into each student’s life, and guide them on their social and academic journey. You can offer them a wealth of life-enriching experiences, be it clubs, social events, or more Cheesy Gubbins vending machines.
You’ll do it all on a campus designed by your very own hand, down to the very last desk and tree, offering way more customization than ever before. Maybe you’ll build a jousting arena for your gallant Knight School students and a tower to practice dragon-slaying from – or maybe you want something a little more cutting edge, and your campus will be a haven for budding mad scientists and building giant robots.
If that all sounds like a good time to you, you can pre-order Two Point Campus now and get some exclusive in-game items for both Two Point Campus and Two Point Hospital.
To order Two Point Campus online, click here. For the Two Point Collection Early Adopter Bonus, click here.
In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos for your viewing pleasure.
As a happy gamer who owns an Xbox Series X console, I should state that I am having fun with turn-based tactical games like Gears Tactics, Empire of Sin and Phoenix Point. Those three games – which as of this writing are still available for Xbox Game Pass (XGP) subscribers to enjoy – have their own concepts and their own approach on gameplay that involves strategy.
To put things in perspective, posted below are excerpts from the official announcement by Square Enix. Some parts in boldface…
This fresh new franchise is developed by SQUARE ENIX in conjunction with Lancarse Ltd, a team of veteran strategy developers, features unique character designs by Taiki (Lord of Vermilion III, IV), concept art by Isamu Kamikokuryo (FINAL FANTASY XII, FINAL FANTASY XIII) and has beautifully orchestrated music by world-renowned composers Ramin Djawadi and Brandon Campbell, known best for their work on Game of Thrones.
The Announcement Trailer unveiled today provides a first look at the story and new, deeply strategic real-time battle system called ‘Real-Time Tactical Battle’ (RTTB). Told through stunning ‘diorama’-style combat scenes, players will assess front line conditions in real-time, issue decisive orders and use a variety of skills, classes, and equipment to gain the upper hand over their foes.
The DioField Chronicle is set in a beautiful and unique world blending fantasy, medieval and modern-day influences. Under the steady hand of the Shaytham dynasty, the Kingdom of Alletain on DioField Island has known peace for 200 years, but suddenly find themselves cast into an age of uncertainty due to the rise of warlike powers and modern magic.
The Kingdom of Alletain is rich in the mineral Jade, prized for its use as a base ingredient in magic and sorcery, and the attention of both the Empire and the Alliance inevitably turns towards the island. Players will take control of a band of elite mercenaries calling themselves “Blue Fox”, but will the name “Blue Fox” come to signify hope or darkest tragedy?
For the newcomers reading this, The DioField Chronicle is the fourth new game from Square Enix that will be released on Xbox consoles this year. The others are Star Ocean: The Divine Force (release date still pending), Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin (March 18, 2022), and Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Collection (April 7, 2022). While it is notable that Square Enix won’t be releasing their big-budget RPG Final Fantasy XVI on Xbox consoles anytime soon, their other games mentioned above will still add a good amount of Japanese-style gaming on the Xbox platform for gamers to enjoy. Take note that hot Xbox-exclusive RPGs are coming and Bethesda’s Starfield will rock the gaming world this November. To the Xbox fans reading this, be assured that 2022 will be an even bigger, more exciting and more enjoyable year. Team Xbox has strong momentum that PlayStation and Nintendo cannot even match.
Going back to The DioField Chronicle, it sure looks interesting and intriguing at the same time. The visual style of using 2D art while showing polygonal action in key sequences is notably eye-catching. For more information about the game, visit https://www.diofieldchronicle.com/
In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos for your viewing pleasure.
Before I begin, I want to make clear to all of you reading this that I never got to play Cyberpunk 2077 on any platform when it was first launched in late-2020. Like anyone else, I waited years for that game and I was excited too but Cyberpunk 2077 was released just a few weeks after Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 launched. At that very time in December 2020, I was focused on raising funds for Xbox Series X than buying new games for my console at the time – the Xbox One (which stopped functioning in mid-2021 after 6 years of use). I can also say that the exposure of Cyberpunk 2077’s very flawed state on consoles plus the criticism that followed convinced me to stay away from CD Projekt Red’s promised epic video game.
Very recently, CD Projekt Red not only polished Cyberpunk 2077 with Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 in mind, they also released a free 5-hour trial version (with patch 1.5) which I decided to download and play to really experience the game for the first time ever. This post I’m writing is clearly not a game review but my own observation about what Cyberpunk 2077 offered and what I experienced in the five hours I played.
After downloading it, I got to play the free trial version on my Xbox Series X with the performance mode chosen as I wanted to play the game with the best frame-rate possible. I customized V in female form and chose Streetkid as her lifepath as I was eager to discover Night City.
While I knew five hours was rather limiting to make tremendous story progress or discover much of the city, I still went on with the main storyline of V, discovered the key characters, and went through the tutorials to learn the basics of combat (both guns and melee weapons), stealth, hacking and, late in my limited playtime, the braindance (note: you get to experience life through another person’s own views and experiences in first-person view and externally).
On combat, I find the shooting rather lacking in precision in terms of aiming and controller response when compared to what I’ve played in first-person role-playing games (RPGs) The Outer Worlds and Fallout 4. In fairness, the impact of shots fired against enemies in Cyberpunk 2077 is rather strong, especially when you use powerful weapons like the shotgun. The melee combat meanwhile can be challenging to pull off precisely. Even with the immersive first-person view, I had a bit of trouble estimating if my character’s fists or weapon would be able to reach the opposition figure. I also had similar results with regards to blocking the opposition’s melee attacks on my character. Ultimately, I managed to overcome the opposition to complete the tutorial. Stealth gameplay is challenging as well not only because it was difficult to estimate the farthest reach of the view of the opposing character or security cameras/drones, but also because I found moving around lacking precision.
The hacking system of the game is well-designed and easily outclasses that of Ubisoft’s hacking-oriented open-world games Watch Dogs and Watch Dogs 2. Hacking in Cyberpunk 2077 is not only more user-friendly but also comes with options that make sense within the game’s concept and the many different digital set-ups in each different location I have been to. Since I was limited by the 5 hours allowed in the trial version, I got to use the hacking system as far as I could and I saw how more options become available once I got to level up V’s character level, attributes and tech capabilities. I was enjoying the in-game hacking by the time my trial ended.
Braindance is like a video record of events experienced by other people in which players will get to review, move forward or backward, and be able to spot/scan new details in order to progress. While it is very immersive to see and experience happenings through the eyes and memory of another character, the video editing aspect of braindance is where the detective work really happens which I enjoyed. This part of the gameplay really pushed me to be observant with the moments and details to progress.
When it comes to exploration in Cyberpunk 2077, I can clearly say that moving down the many sidewalks, streets and varied spots of Night City is really intense and immersive to play. For one thing, the first-person view itself is immersive visually and the immersion got enhanced a lot more with the very clever sound editing (all those cars moving around, the people and their steps, the sound of products coming out from vending machines, the sound of the street barbeque being cooked, the voices of people talking and more) as well as the high number of civilians around me doing their own things. As I never got to play this game in its debut version of late-2020, I could not tell if the in-city exploration was this dense and lively. What I can say is that exploring Night City on foot, going through the alleys, entering establishment that are open and observing the people around is a very engaging gaming experience for me.
Going back to combat, the use of an inhaler to keep V’s hit points (note: life) up easily reminds me of The Outer Worlds. In addition, the food and drinks you purchased at vending machines are also helpful to keep not only your life up but also your stamina. As V is cybernetic, hacking is easily a major part of the gameplay and as you upgrade the character’s cyberwear, V will eventually gain more high-tech capabilities like scanning people and machines for information and more.
Conclusion – For the sake of the people who have not yet played Cyberpunk 2077, I decided not to reveal much about the story of V in my limited playtime. I can say, however, that players are allowed freedom to choose places to visit and activities to do. There is also the freedom for players to take time away from doing main story mission in favor of side-activities or moving around freely to do what you think you could do. My playtime ended as I was in the middle of a main story mission that involved the supporting character Jackie, a high-tech small robot (pet-like in design) and infiltrating rooms and devices while V stays inside the room of a very high-end hotel.
As of this writing, Cyberpunk 2077 is selling at 50% off on the Xbox online store. Now you must be wondering…should you buy the game now that it has been polished and updated with the current generation of game consoles?
In my honest opinion, I prefer to wait first for CD Projekt Red to improve the game even more. I can say that I had an overall positive experience playing the Streetkid path of V during my 5-hour trial play and I had an astounding experience exploring Night City on foot and discovering many new places which show how talented CD Projekt Red’s designers and artists really are. As mentioned earlier, the shooting aspect is still lacking which is unfortunate because it is clear that shooting is the core method of combat. If you don’t like shooting, melee combat is available but that one also needs more refinement to be truly responsive and engaging.
As much as I enjoyed my five hours with Cyberpunk 2077’s free trial, I am not yet convinced to buy the game’s full version for my Xbox Series X now. Not even the 50% discount is enough to convince me to buy it. The game is fun and has its unique ways of entertaining me, but there is still more work needed be done to really make it the great game it was promised to be. To say the least, CD Projekt Red is moving on the right direction on improving the game.
Of course, you my readers who have the means to buy and play Cyberpunk 2077 can decide for yourselves. It’s a risk to take if you really want to spend your hard-earned money on the game now. I’d rather wait for further improvements to be made first before buying it.
Way back in 2000, I got to play Chrono Cross on the PlayStation which was a hot release from Squaresoft. Due to a lack of time as well as the breaking down of the console (bought in late 1996), I never got to finish the Japanese role-playing game (JRPG).
Just days ago, I got very surprised as Square Enix announced that it will be re-releasing Chrono Cross in remastered form in Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition which is set for an April 7, 2022 release on Xbox One (compatible with Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S) and Windows PC (via Steam). The good news is that you can order it already online now for only $19.99. Anyway, watch the official video below…
To put things in perspective, posted below are excerpts from the official announcement by Square Enix. Some parts in boldface…
CHRONO CROSS, which was never before released in Europe, returns as a remaster in CHRONO CROSS: THE RADICAL DREAMERS EDITION. Follow the story of Serge, who stumbles into another world and learns of the connection between his existence and the future of his planet. A classic time-bending tale of adventure and friendship, featuring one of the largest and most diverse casts of playable characters of any RPG. With over 40 potential party members, each character brings their own element affinity and unique skills. Additionally, “RADICAL DREAMERS – Le Trésor Interdit -“, a text-based adventure video game released for Satellaview in 1996, which forms the bedrock of the story, is also included in this edition.
Players can look forward to some exciting new features, such as:
3D models converted to HD*
Brand new artwork and character redesign by Nobuteru Yuuki*
Refined background music by Yasunori Mitsuda
Switch enemy encounters on or off
Background filter feature*
Battle enhancement features
French, Italian, German and Spanish localization now added
Switch between imitation pixel font and HD font*
The inclusion of Radical Dreamers, never before released in the West.
Players can choose between playing with original or updated graphics*
As I am writing this, I still am very surprised by the announcement as I never anticipated Chrono Cross would be made for Xbox, even though I wanted Square Enix to release many of its RPGs – both classic or modern ones – on Xbox. It is, however, nice to see Square Enix including Xbox in the worldwide release of Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition which is one of many Japanese RPGs (Japanese role-playing games) that has always been identified with PlayStation. Its strong legacy with PlayStation even made certain gamers – including the people who hate Xbox – believe that it would never ever be released on any Xbox console. Well, Square Enix proved them wrong and it is clear that the company needs to sell to the many gamers who own an Xbox One or Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S console. The Windows PC release through Steam makes business sense.
For the newcomers reading this, Chrono Cross is set in the same world as the classic JRPG Chrono Trigger. It should not be perceived as a sequel. On its own, Chrono Cross was very playable and engaging, and it is notable for allowing players to recruit lots of characters and take them on quests as they play along. As for the common elements between Chrono Cross and Chrono Trigger, learn from producer and designer Hiromichi Tanaka’s statement below.
When creating a series, one method is to carry over a basic system, improving upon it as the series progresses, but our stance has been to create a completely new and different world from the ground up, and to restructure the former style. Therefore, Chrono Cross is not a sequel to Chrono Trigger. Had it been, it would have been called Chrono Trigger 2. Our main objective for Chrono Cross was to share a little bit of the Chrono Trigger worldview, while creating a completely different game as a means of providing new entertainment to the player. This is mainly due to the transition in platform generation from the SNES to the PS. The method I mentioned above, about improving upon a basic system, has inefficiencies, in that it’s impossible to maximize the console’s performance as the console continues to make improvements in leaps and bounds. Although essentially an RPG, at its core, it is a computer game, and I believe that games should be expressed with a close connection to the console’s performance. Therefore, in regards to game development, our goal has always been to “express the game utilizing the maximum performance of the console at that time.” I strongly believe that anything created in this way will continue to be innovative. – Hiromichi Tanaka (source – GamePro)
To be clear, this year marks the 25th anniversary of the Klonoa franchise and releasing the first two Klonoa games in a single package in remastered forms is not only commemorative but also ideal for gamers who want the best value for their money as well as a nice combination of nostalgia and fun platforming. Watch the official announcement video below…
To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the official announcement by Bandai Namco. Some parts in boldface…
Celebrating the 25th birthday of the franchise, Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series will feature Klonoa: Door to Phantomile and Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil. The titles’ graphics received an elegant revamp running at 60fps and up to 4K resolution, while Klonoa’s beloved world and classic gameplay have been faithfully preserved for new players and fans of the original to enjoy.
Released initially in 1997 by Namco, Klonoa is a side-scrolling platform game featuring a colourful character roster and vibrant game world. It’s up to the player to embark on a journey to save Phantomile, stepping in Klonoa’s shoes. The remaster will add an adjustable difficulty level and a 2 player co-op option, allowing franchise newcomers to delve right into the action, and long-time fans to get reacquainted with ease.
Below are the story descriptions of the two Klonoa games.
Klonoa: Door to Phantomile – One night in his home village of Breezegale, where the wind is plentiful, Klonoa saw a peculiar dream. Most dreams he forgets, but this one—this nightmare, in which the world was devoured by darkness—he didn’t… When he awoke, an airship had crashed into the nearby hill— mirroring the exact scene he’d witnessed while dreaming. Our hero departed to investigate, along with Huepow, ring spirit and childhood friend. At the hill, they chanced upon Lephise, a songstress with the power to restore light and life to the world—as well as the Dark King Ghadius, in whose evil clutches the songstress lay trapped. Hoping to thwart Ghadius’s sinister plans, Klonoa and Huepow then embarked on a grand journey spanning all of Phantomile.
Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil – Lunatea a world in which the power of four bells maintains order. It came to pass that a dark fifth bell materialized, threatening the balance that had been hitherto maintained. Amidst the brewing chaos, Klonoa too, materialized in Lunatea, falling into a tempestuous sea. He came onshore, where he was greeted by Lolo, a Lunatean priestess-in-training, and Popka, her trusty companion. Though the pair had never met Klonoa before, they identified him as the “Dream Traveler,” and sought his aid in restoring Lunatea from its chaos-riddled state. And so, the trio set off to save the mysterious realm from the darkness looming overhead…
Honestly, I am very surprised by Bandai Namco’s announcement as the Klonoa games have always been associated with the PlayStation brand. While it is understood that Bandai Namco needs to maximize its re-investment in their old properties (in this case, Klonoa which is turning 25 this year) and sell as many copies to as many console and PC gamers around the world, to see Klonoa games coming to Xbox platform is quite stunning.
In my experience, I played the original Klonoa on a PlayStation console way back in 1998 but I never got to finish it. As for the 2nd Klonoa game (originally released on PlayStation 2), I completely missed out on it. Respectively Klonoa: Door to Phantomile and Klonoa 2: Lunatea’s Veil earned mostly positive reviews from game critics. As such, Klonoa Phantasy Reverie Series set for a release on Xbox consoles is a very pleasant surprise and I am looking forward to it!
In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos plus for your viewing pleasure. Time to catch up with the latest about Xbox and Activision Blizzard as well.
I am a subscriber of Xbox Game Pass (XGP) and I’ve been enjoying lots of games on my Xbox Series X. For the month of February 2022, there are new additions announced recently by Team Xbox and already three of them have just been officially released (February 3, 2022) through the service for subscribers to enjoy. There are also DLC updates as well as perks for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate (XGPU) subscribers.
Contrast (Cloud and Console) ID@Xbox – February 3 – Explore a dreamlike, vaudevillian world of the 1920s, in which you can shift freely in and out of shadow. Tasked with helping a young girl named Didi, you will unravel the mysteries behind her troubled family and the dark secrets that must be exposed to re-shape her future.
Dreamscaper (Cloud, Console, and PC) ID@Xbox – February 3 – An endlessly replayable action roguelike with a waking/dreaming gameplay cycle. By night, delve deep into your subconscious, facing nightmares in an ever-changing world filled with unique items, abilities, and challenges. By day, explore the city of Redhaven, build relationships and unlock permanent upgrades to take on the next dream stronger than ever.
Telling Lies (Cloud, Console, and PC) ID@Xbox – February 3 – An investigative thriller game with non-linear storytelling, Telling Lies revolves around a cache of secretly recorded video conversations. Starring Logan Marshall-Green, Alexandra Shipp, Kerry Bishé, Angela Sarafyan, and directed by Sam Barlow, creator of Her Story and writer/designer of Silent Hill: Shattered Memories.
Besiege (Game Preview)(Cloud, Console, and PC) ID@Xbox – February 10 – Besiege is a physics building game where you construct war machines to obliterate fortresses, annihilate legions of soldiers, navigate hazards, and solve physics puzzles. In the single-player campaign, you’ll conquer your way through four distinct islands, each with its own theme, packed with fully destructible levels and see you bring your enemies to their knees. Learn more about Besiege (Game Preview)here!
CrossfireX (Console) – February 10 – Available on day one with Xbox Game Pass: Play the first CrossfireX single-player campaign, Operation: Catalyst, developed in partnership with Remedy Entertainment. Take control of a Global Risk unit, as they traverse through enemy territory to save their captured teammate and uncover the dark secrets of the Black List Mercenary group.
Edge of Eternity (Cloud, Console, and PC) ID@Xbox – February 10 – Available on day one with Game Pass: Wage epic turn-based battles as you follow Daryon and Selene on their quest to find a cure to the all-consuming Corrosion in this grand tale of hope and sacrifice, created by a small team of passionate JRPG lovers.
Skul: The Hero Slayer (Cloud, Console, and PC) ID@Xbox – February 10 – Skul is a fast-paced action rogue-lite where losing your head is encouraged. Featuring 100 playable characters each with their own unique abilities and a ton of items that can create wild synergies, the battles are as electrifying as they are challenging.
The Last Kids on Earth and the Staff of Doom (Cloud, Console, and PC) – February 10 – Battle hordes of zombies and monsters in The Last Kids on Earth and the Staff of Doom, a semi-open world action RPG that tells a new story in the post-apocalyptic town of Wakefield. Playing as teen survivors Jack, Quint, June, or Dirk, you’ll explore zombie-infested streets on your quest to stop Malondre, a powerful adversary from obtaining the Staff of Doom.
Ark: Ultimate Survivor Edition (Cloud, Console, and PC) ID@Xbox – February 14 – Experience everything that the Ark franchise has to offer with Game Pass in this definitive collection! Tame and ride primeval creatures as you explore savage lands, team up with other players to compete in epic tribal battles, and travel together on the greatest dinosaur-filled adventure of all time.
Infernax (Cloud, Console, and PC) ID@Xbox – February 14 – Available on day one with Game Pass: Infernax is the adventures of a great knight who returns to his homeland only to find it plagued with unholy magic. While on your quest to find and destroy the source of this corruption by any means necessary, you will face ruthless creatures, dangerous beasts, and precarious terrains.
The Xbox.com article also confirmed that there will be games leaving the Xbox Game Pass service on February 15. Those games are Control, Code Vein, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, The Medium, Project Winter and The Falconeer. If you are an XGP subscriber and you have not played those games on your Xbox console, now is the time to download what titles interest you the most.
Going back to the games for XGP this month, CrossfireX, Contrast and Edge of Eternity are the most interesting to me. Contrast is an old game made by Xbox game studio Compulsion Games which was released many years ago when the said developer was still independent. I completely missed out on Contrast back then and the opportunity to try the game without paying anything extra is a welcome move. Edge of Eternity is a fantasy role-playing game that was clearly influenced by Japanese role-playing games (JRPGs). It was released on Windows PC in 2021 and being added on XGP (apart from being scheduled for release on multiple platforms on February 10) will surely interest Xbox gamers who love JRPGs.
In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos plus for your viewing pleasure.
To begin with, watch this official trailer of Two Point Campus.
Developed by Two Point Studios, Two Point Campus has a school setting and players will be challenge to establish and manage a university campus complete with setting up its many parts (like classrooms and laboratories to name a few), hiring a staff of good quality educators, and managing how the students will behave in and around campus. As it is a piece of fantasy, the game has a cartoony vibe on its art and expressions.
To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the official announcement on Xbox.com written by Two Point Studios Creative Director Gary Carr.
In Two Point Hospital there is very little time to really get to know your little people, because patients come in for their treatment, you cure them (or they die…oops) and then they leave your hospital. In Two Point Campus this process is very different. Your students will be with you for much longer during their campus experience, giving you the chance to help them on their academic journey to success, or in some cases failure. You’ll have to figure out what’s going on. Are they happy? Are they enjoying their courses? Are they making enough friends? You’ll need to take the time to get to know them, nurture them and pull them through this process. Each student has their own unique character traits, so you’ll have to cater to all their needs to develop them into well-rounded individuals who will do the legacy of your university proud.
We just really want you to care more about your little people, so in Two Point Campus we’re giving you the tools to create an incredible university experience for your students. Keep them entertained with extracurricular activities, such as socials, gigs, clubs and even ‘CheeseBall’ – the highly entertaining sports activity in Two Point Campus. However, too much of the fun stuff will result in students falling asleep during class, which impacts their grades and eventually your overall Campus prestige. It’s the perfect balancing act, to on one hand give your students the adventure of a lifetime, and on the other hand, run a successful Campus environment.
Anyone that’s familiar with Two Point Hospital will know that we like to give our games a humorous twist. That’s no different in Two Point Campus. Rather than the typical academic fare, students in Two Point County will experience some very unusual courses. They can learn how to cook giant pizzas in the Gastronomy course or attend Robotics and get into the techy stuff where they build huge robots. We really enjoyed brainstorming about all the different courses in Two Point Campus. It usually starts by thinking of theme or a pun, and from there we think of how we can build it into a course. We love thinking of big and absurd machines or items that the students interact with during their courses, so players are wondering “what on earth going on there??”
Like Two Point Hospital, Two Point Campus is a charming, accessible, and deep management sim, but for the first time, you will be able to build your Campus from the ground up, from the buildings to the grounds they sit in. You can design stylish dormitories for your students, lay down ornamental pathways or pimp up your Campus with super cool items, such as Cheesy Gubbins vending machines. One of the things we enjoyed most at Two Point Studios when Two Point Hospital launched, was watching people play our game and get super creative with the design of their rooms and hospitals. In Two Point Campus we take this a step further, where players can go all out and design absolute masterpieces, or total trash if they wish… However, there will still be plenty of options for people who don’t like that total freedom when it comes to building. We’re keen to cater to all the different playstyles.
The above description really sounds interesting. I wonder if the game will allow players to fire socialists/Communists/Marxists among the university’s educators to prevent the radicalization of students which has been going on for a long time in North America in real life. If I were to establish the campus of my dreams, there definitely will be no Leftism and no elements of the Satanic Left. The focus will be strictly on education, no political ideologies. No socialism, no Marxism and no Communism at all!
As mentioned earlier, if you are convinced to buy yourself a copy of Two Point Campus for your Xbox console or Windows PC ahead of time, you can do it online and you will get some bonus items in return. However, if you are already subscribing via Xbox Game Pass or PC Game Pass, you only need to wait for the May 17, 2022 launch to download it and play it without extra charge. I myself am an XGP subscriber and I will be playing Two Point Campus on my Xbox Series X this May, and only then I’ll find out how good the game will turn out.
In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos plus a Two Point Campus video for your viewing pleasure.
Take note of Spencer’s words “existing agreements” and “our desire to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation.” Existing agreements most likely refer to what Activision Blizzard made with Sony which I believe are years-long deals on games with regards to platform releases, marketing, post-release downloadable content, etc. Of course, such agreements can last long but NOT FOREVER. The business benefit for PlayStation from Activision Blizzard will someday come to an end.
As for Microsoft’s desire for keeping Call of Duty on PlayStation, that clearly means that the corporation of Xbox is technically in-charge of not just the COD franchise but on the decision making, marketing and releasing its games on specific platforms. Sony and its PlayStation team are not in the driver’s seat here anymore. Whatever deals Activision signed with PlayStation before the acquisition will expire and they certainly will not be renewed once Microsoft and its Xbox team takes over. In due time, future COD games as well as other upcoming games and new intellectual properties of Activision Blizzard will become Xbox-exclusive in accordance to what Spencer declared before…
“We have games that exist on other platforms, and we’re going to support those games on the platforms they’re on. There are communities of players. We love those communities and will continue to invest in them. And even in the future, there might be things that have either contractual things, or legacy on different platforms, that we’ll go do. But if you’re an Xbox customer, the thing I want you to know is this is about delivering great exclusive games for you that ship on platforms where Game Pass exists, and that’s our goal, that’s why we are doing this,”
This brings me to my next point – Sony as a global business entity is way behind Microsoft, Apple, Google and Amazon when it comes to establishing ecosystems that result tremendous business growth and reaching billions of customers worldwide respectively. The decades-old console-focused approach by Sony with PlayStation was indeed successful but not great enough to help it grow big time. Not even their Hollywood business nor Spider-Man could lift them up greatly. The weird thing was that Sony in previous decades had established an old ecosystem before PlayStation began.
To put things in perspective, posted below is a long excerpt from a recent Nikkei Asia article. Some parts in boldface…
The 10% drop in Sony’s stock price this week following Microsoft’s announcement that it will buy game content developer Activision Blizzard shows the market has belatedly awakened to an existential flaw in Sony’s kingdom. It lacks an ecosystem.
In terrifying contrast, Microsoft is a formidable ecosystem whose component elements, such as devices, operating system, browser, search engine, applications, content, cloud memory, work hand in glove to suck in captive users and never let them go. The ecosystem effect is all too familiar to owners of PCs that run on the Windows OS, which maddeningly redirects users to Microsoft’s Edge browser and Bing search engine against their will.
It is no accident that five of the world’s seven largest companies by market capitalization — Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet/Google, Amazon and Meta/Facebook — are ecosystems. Every consumer decision to buy a device, be it a PC, smartphone, Kindle reader, or game console, entails a surrender to an interconnected ecosystem. Promiscuity among ecosystems is possible but, by design, not easy. The ecosystems are at war and want to make you their captive.
Ironically, Sony was early to recognize the strategic significance of the ecosystem effect. Its decision to acquire CBS Records and Columbia Pictures in the late 1980s was inspired by the notion that controlling entertainment content could somehow push device sales, such as Betamax VCRs and Sony Walkman.
What Sony overlooked was that it would be self-defeating to make its controlled content exclusively available on Sony devices. Very few consumers would buy a Walkman just because it was the only way to listen to Michael Jackson. And Sony’s refusal to license Michael Jackson to non-Sony device users would perversely shut down third-party royalty revenue from the controlled content. Sony saw, but misunderstood and misapplied, the ecosystem effect between devices and content.
Sony’s next, more costly, wrong turn was its failure to anticipate and keep up with the morphing of portable audio devices like the Walkman launched in 1979 and iPod in 2001 into the iPhone debuted in 2007. The iPhone integrated, in a single handheld device, all of the functions formerly provided by the multiple discrete products in Sony’s consumer electronics lineup: phone, TV, camera, video and audio player and recorder, clock, calculator, and so on.
Sony’s stock price plunged from 30,000 yen ($260) per share in 2000 to 1,668 yen in 2009. Sony and the entire Japanese consumer electronics industry are still in disarray from the iPhone paradigm shift.
Unlike Sony, Apple founder Steve Jobs was a master at creating and orchestrating an ecosystem. In particular, he understood when to link content exclusively to a device and, just as important, when not to. Even now, Apple’s iOS is available only on Apple devices, unlike Microsoft’s device-agnostic Windows OS.Initially, Apple’s iTunes music store platform was available only on Apple’s own devices. Then, in October 2003, “the day that hell froze over,” Jobs made the strategic decision to make iTunes compatible with and freely downloadable by non-Apple devices.
The result was not only to massively increase the audience and revenues of the iTunes platform. Non-Apple device users discovered how great iTunes was and that it worked even better on an iPod, leading to a surge in new iPod owners conveniently prepped for the coming transfiguration of the iPod into the iPhone.
The same interplay between devices and content is at the center of intense competition in the $180 billion global PC gaming industry. Dedicated gamers have a choice among three game-specific consoles — Microsoft’s Xbox, Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo’s Switch.
The choice of device, in turn, entails a menu of device-specific exclusive content. Xbox and PlayStation each offer about 2,000 titles, but the bestselling 200-300 games for each tend to be exclusive to one or the other. A gamer’s choice of console implies a decision about preferred content.
But the relationship between game devices and content is evolving rapidly, tracking changes elsewhere in the internet universe. Games today can be played on any device, PCs and smartphones, not just a dedicated game console.
Gaming is now mobile. Game content is increasingly being streamed, just like Netflix and Amazon Prime. You can play games on YouTube. And an Xbox can be used as a PC to surf the Internet and do your homework.
The immediate threat to Sony posed by Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is that Microsoft will make the content it is acquiring — global blockbusters like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft — exclusive to Xbox users and invite defections from PlayStation users who want to keep playing their favorite games.
But this is just one element of the multifaceted ecosystem effects Microsoft can deploy to squeeze Sony. Sony should be nervous, for example, that it has no cloud or streaming capability of its own and relies on Microsoft’s own Azure platform to deliver streaming content to Sony users.
Sony’s game and network services segment now accounts for 30% of its revenues. It is hard to see how Sony can compete in the long-term in a narrow game-specific segment without credibly competing with the likes of Microsoft, Alphabet/Google and Amazon across the board in all segments of the device-content spectrum.
From a financial point of view, Sony is not only behind the tech giants with ecosystems. Sony simply does not have the major financial muscle needed to pull off massive acquisitions of game publishers (massive meaning more than $5 billion per each acquisition) that each have lots of game developers, intellectual properties and technologies. The Japanese giant does have a business ecosystem but it’s too small and too narrow compared to its Western competitors. This also means Sony reaches much less customers worldwide.
In a possible response to Xbox-Activision-Blizzard deal, Sony can try to acquire its fellow Japanese gaming entities like Capcom, SEGA or Square Enix and integrate the entity(s) into PlayStation, but that will require not just a whole bunch of money but also willingness to not just make big offers the other party cannot turn down, but also the willingness to overcome all the legal obstacles, solve all the complications, absorb all the employees, fund future projects already in development, etc. If the PlayStation team is willing on building up its very own exclusive properties, they could expand the work forces as well as the projects of their very own game studios.
The Xbox-Activision-Blizzard deal is very hard to match not just because of the financial value and organizational weights involved, but also because the said deal covers consoles, Windows PC, mobile devices, cloud gaming, browser gaming and much more. The PlayStation ecosystem is still console-focused and so far team PlayStation released only a few of its games on PC. Is Sony even working to improve PlayStation Now? Are the PlayStation executives realizing that their 3rd party marketing deals won’t lift up their corporation and consumer base anymore? Has it occurred to the PlayStation executives that future games of the Crash Bandicoot and Spyro The Dragon franchises (both of which are permanently identified with Sony’s gaming brand due to exclusive games released on the first PlayStation console) will be released only on Xbox platforms?
As mentioned in the Nikkei Asia article above, business ecosystems are not perfect and they have their flaws that affect customers in bad ways. As such, the ecosystem powers and organizers should do their work to be more user-friendly and be more consumer-oriented. Still, the ecosystem approach to business has proven to be very effective with regards to reaching the widest number of consumers worldwide as well as driving business growth to new heights, not to mention generating economic benefits for business partners involved (example: credit card companies whose users buy on Amazon, Xbox network, Google, etc.) No amount of sales of Final Fantasy games and Street Fighter games exclusive to PlayStation consoles will ever match that.
As for the console fanboys who still hate Xbox, they should learn to stop living with fantasy and wake up to reality. Time to grow up.
In ending this piece, posted below are videos related to Xbox and the Activision Blizzard deal…