Even more fun and more compelling gaming experiences await gamers on Xbox in 2022

There is no denying that 2021 saw Team Xbox got its groove back as the current Xbox ecosystem (composed of Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One and Windows PC) got filled with not only excellent games but also with the continued rise of Xbox Game Pass (XGP) as the best subscription service in gaming! The most recent additions of backward compatible games also added depth into the Xbox network for users – especially long-time Xbox gamers – to enjoy.

2021 Xbox-exclusive games like Halo Infinite, Forza Horizon 5, and Flight Simulator were acclaimed games and they really showed what the Xbox Series consoles could do when it comes to giving gamers a true, fun-filled next-generation experience.

On the production side of Xbox gaming, the $7.5 billion acquisition and integration of Bethesda (through ZeniMax) into Xbox already showed nice results and there will be even better results in the form of brand new games in 2022.

For some insight on 2022 Xbox gaming, watch the following videos below…

Expect 2022 to be a much bigger and more exciting year of gaming on Xbox in terms of exclusive games, multiplatform games and XGP! Techland’s Dying Light 2 Stay Human will be released on February 4 which should please gamers who have long been waiting for it. Coming out on February 10 is CrossfireX which will have a story oriented single-player campaign as well as robust multi-player system. The high-profile FromSoftware RPG Elden Ring will be unleashed on February 25.

Tunic, a timed Xbox-exclusive game, will be released on March 16 and to this day it continues to get compared with The Legend of Zelda due to its design and art style. Die-hard players of Grand Theft Auto V who wish to replay the game and its multi-player features with the benefits of playing it on Xbox Series S or Xbox Series X will get something from Rockstar Games as the next-gen update for the game will be released sometime this March. For those who love crime-oriented open-world games that are not connected with the GTA franchise, there is the Saints Row reboot which has been delayed to August 2022.

Warhammer 40,000: Darktide, which promises to give gamers a lot of action and cooperative play to enjoy, shall be released on Xbox Series consoles, Windows PC and Xbox Game Pass sometime this year. Similarly, Square Enix’s sci-fi Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) Star Ocean The Divine Force will be released sometime this year. If the game will be released in the 3rd quarter or 4th quarter this year, then it is likely Square Enix will announce the release date at this year’s E3 convention. Still on JRPGs, Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising from developer Rabbit & Bear Studios and publisher 505 Games should be come out sometime this year on Xbox consoles, Windows PC and Xbox Game Pass. A final release date might be announced soon. Another notable video game that should be released sometime this year is Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League which has the potential to be a big hit as it was made by the same developer behind the three most acclaimed Batman Arkham games.

When it comes to the more high-profile exclusive Xbox games set for release this year, Xbox fans as well as S.T.A.L.K.E.R. franchise fans should know that S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl will be released on December 8, 2022 on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Windows PC. The game, which will also be released through Xbox Game Pass, promises to deliver a massive open-world for gamers to get lost in and experience lots of action mixed with horror elements. Redfall, another Xbox-exclusive made by Arkane Austin under Bethesda, should be released sometime in the 2nd quarter this year on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Windows PC and Xbox Game Pass. Expect a pre-release showcase before or during the 2022 of E3.

What is widely considered to be the most anticipated Xbox-exclusive game of 2022 is Bethesda’s next big RPG Starfield which will be released on November 11 for Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Windows PC and Xbox Game Pass. This game’s production is being led by Todd Howard and he and his team at Bethesda Softworks are really challenging themselves to immerse gamers into a brand new, science fiction universe that will emphasize space travel, colonized planets, discovering the unexplored and getting involved in the uneasy peace between the major factions. It is inevitable that a major showing of Starfield should happen at E3 2022 or in an upcoming digital event of Team Xbox.

The above mix of games are just some of the many new games coming to Xbox this year. In fact, there is a possibility that Team Xbox could release some more Xbox-exclusive games this year such as the yet-to-be-showcased Forza Motorsport (note: the latest entry of the FM franchise Forza Motorsport 7 was released way back in 2017) for example. They could also announce new and even timed exclusive games coming through Xbox Game Pass within the year. As for other upcoming undated Xbox-exclusives like Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II and Contraband, I wish those games will be released this year.

Whatever lies ahead, expect 2022 to be more exciting than 2021 when it comes to Xbox games and experiences. There is nothing that Xbox haters and jealous fanboys could do to derail the Xbox machine and its strong momentum.

In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos for your viewing pleasure.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

Gameplay footage of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League looks promising

When Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League was first unveiled with a cinematic trailer during the DC FanDome of 2020, I was just interested with its concept but wanted more in terms of gameplay. After more than one year of waiting, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment revealed at last the first gameplay footage of the Rocksteady Studios-developed game and I find it looking fun and promising. For your viewing pleasure, watch the official gameplay trailer below…

As seen in the above trailer, the developer behind the acclaimed Batman Arkham games really worked hard to not only make a wide variety of action and movements (in relation to the different members of the Suicide Squad), but also have them animate very smoothly and artistically resulting a cinematic look while still maintaining the DC Comics aesthetic.

A quick look at Metropolis serving as the open world environment in the game.
3rd person view shooting sequence with Deadshoot doing the shooting.

The gameplay trailer showed 3rd person view shooting sequences with not only Deadshot but also with King Shark. As for Harley Quinn, there were sequences of her swinging above ground and doing close combat. The in-game Metropolis (the fictional city often identified with Superman) was clearly designed to provide gamers a large, open world-inspired environment which opens up opportunities for action, exploration and storytelling. Metropolis in this game looks detailed and there are visual references to Superman and Wonder Woman shown.

An action sequence with Harley Quinn.
Harley swinging into action!
Players will get to do some shooting as King Shark.

Having seen the gameplay footage, I can say my interest in playing Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League on my Xbox Series X in the near future has gotten stronger. I should state that it is a spectacle to see Rocksteady’s developers push their creativity hard, possibly more so than what they achieved in the Batman Arkham games. By the way, Rocksteady is being assisted by Unbroken Studios on the game.

As of this writing, Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League does not have a final release date but it will be released for Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Windows PC sometime in 2022.

In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos for your viewing pleasure.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

Saints Row reboot delayed to August 2022

If you are eager to order in advance a copy of the upcoming Saints Row reboot – AKA Saints Row (2022) – you should consider waiting first because the said game’s release has been delayed all the way to August 2022 as confirmed recently by Volition’s Creative Director Jim Boone and the developers simply cannot complete their work on the game based on their current situation.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Saints Row website post by Jim Boone. Some parts in boldface…

Can you imagine Johnny Gat beating all these four and tell them they are not worthy of carrying the Saints Row title? Also what’s with the SJW look on the character designs?

Saints Row will no longer release on the originally announced date of 25th February 2022, instead it will launch worldwide on 23rd August 2022.

Our priority is to create the best Saints Row game yet and, if we released on the original date, it wouldn’t be up to the standards we’ve set ourselves, and that you’re expecting and deserve. The team just need more time to do our vision justice; we’re doing some fine tuning and there won’t be much change in the game outside of overall quality and polish.

In all honesty, we underestimated the impact COVID would have on our schedule, although everyone adapted very quickly to the working from home arrangement and continued to be incredibly productive.

However, due to the size and scope of our new Saints Row, it’s become apparent that to create the best game possible, we need to give our team longer to perfect their craft.

As you can see in the above excerpt, Volition needs more time and opportunities to polish Saints Row (2022) and make it the best and most enjoyable game possible. Volition’s situation of having employees work at home due to this COVID-19 crisis is not surprising at all. I can only guess that their previous announcement of a February 2022 release was decided rather too aggressively. How long exactly have Volition’s workers been working from their homes remains unclear.

Boone also mentioned on his post that Saints Row (2022) will be their “biggest and best Saints Row game ever,” while confirming that “there will not be any changes to the story or the characters.” With those details declared, it’s obviously clear that revising the story or the characters will consume a lot of time given the creative processes involved. Still, I would prefer that they revise the character designs of the new age Saints Row who currently look more like misfits molded with Commie-oriented diversity concepts. Were Volition’s artists influenced by images of the Cancer Culture and Black Lives Matter mobs?

For those who missed out on updates about Saints Row (2022), the game was recently featured by Game Informer with videos showcasing how it plays, what the concepts are, how the writers reacted to its quality, etc. Check out the Game Informer videos below…

Saints Row (2022) will be released on Xbox One, Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X on August 23, 2022. If you have decided already to order the game in advance, click right here.

For the long-time Saints Row franchise fans reading this, classic SR games like the original Saints Row, Saints Row 2, Saints Row: The Third and Saints Row: The Third Remastered can all be ordered online via Microsoft’s store.

In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox and Saints Row-related videos for your viewing pleasure.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/

Halo Infinite campaign overview confirms major improvements that gamers can look forward to and enjoy

Finally! Team Xbox and 343 Industries came out with a much needed preview about the single player campaign of Halo Infinite (set for a December 8, 2021 release for Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X and Windows PC with Xbox Game Pass availability on launch day) very recently and it not only looks awesome visually but also succeeded in showing to gamers a fine taste of how the game will play, how immersive the new Halo is with open-world in mind and why a lot of fun awaits them all.

To start with, watch this official Halo Infinite Campaign Overview video…

Posted next is the official description from the video: The Banished have defeated UNSC forces and taken control of the mysterious Zeta Halo, threatening the survival of humankind. When all hope is lost and humanity’s fate hangs in the balance, the Master Chief returns to confront the most ruthless foe he’s ever faced. Here’s a fresh look at the Halo Infinite campaign that introduces players to true Spartan freedom in the biggest, most wide open and adventure-filled Halo experience yet, launching on December 8 2021.

Check out Dealer Gaming’s Halo Infinite video below and listen to his opinion…

And also check out Colteastwood’s own video about the same game and campaign overview video, complete with visual comparisons that you must see.

My opinion

To begin with, the announcement by Team Xbox that they would release via YouTube the Halo Infinite Campaign Overview video (115K thumbs up and 3K thumbs down reactions as of this writing) was done on a short notice. I learned about its YouTube premiere several hours ahead of time but I made a point to anticipate its launch and view it all not on my smartphone nor on my computer but on our HDTV at home.

Ultimately, the campaign overview video proved to be a great preview and the team behind it went all-out not just to show the improved graphics (I noticed the adjustments made on the in-game lighting as well as the ramped-up detail on textures and many other elements) and in-game art, but also emphasized effectively the gameplay, what the opposition awaits players (as the iconic Master Chief) and what else to expect. Truly it was well worth the wait!

On Zeta Halo is a whole, wide and breathing world for gamers to explore. Think of the world in Halo: Combat Evolved (2001) but with a very detailed open-world design that encourages exploration, discovery and action complete with lots of freedom on doing your objectives.
This map shows a fraction of the world of Zeta Halo and few of the potential many new sites to discover.
Exploring Zeta Halo on foot and discovering one of many facilities of the Banished.
Apart from using it to reach far places, the grappleshot can also be used on enemies for a tactical attack.

Apart from Halo Infinite having a true next-generation look, I find the game’s concept of a massive, breathing open-world environment on Zeta Halo astounding and it clearly is the true essence of enjoying the game. For comparisons, I find Halo Infinite’s in-game world concept a cross between the memorable ring world in Halo: Combat Evolved and the inviting nature of the open-world maps in certain Assassin’s Creed games that I played. This reflects the new game’s offer of a lot of freedom for gamers to explore the wide environment of Zeta Halo, discover new places here and there, and take on the outposts or strongholds of the Banished in more ways than one. Along the way, gamers will have to find the scattered UNSC soldiers, regroup them and form a stronger force to take down the many enemy forces out there.

The next-generation visuals of this game made this classic Halo foe look more detailed and more menacing yet!
The equipment of Master Chief can be upgraded. This is one of the signs that this new game has RPG-inspired gameplay elements.
Shooting and action in Halo Infinite look intense!

Apart from the core mission, there reportedly will be side missions or additional activities throughout Zeta Halo for gamers to engage in. This game design, I believe, will fully immerse gamers into playing Master Chief in the most engaging and most immersive ways possible. No more playing as the Arbiter (Halo 2) and definitely no more wasting time playing as Agent Locke (Halo 5: Guardians). Master Chief is here to stay for players to portray and that’s the way I want Halo to be about. It’s great that 343 Industries learned from its shortcomings as well as those from previous Halo developer Bungie. That being said, I anticipate that Halo Infinite will offer gamers a lot more hours of gameplay based on their will to complete the game.

Meet the new AI companion called The Weapon. She looks like Cortana but has a completely different personality. Remember Cortana’s evil and destructive acts in Halo 5: Guardians? It seems The Weapon will have a key role to do in the new game.
There is nothing like driving a Warthog and then having surviving UNSC soldiers join you for both the ride and the fight!

More on the story, I was intrigued about the new AI called The Weapon who visually looks like Cortana (who in turn went evil in Halo 5: Guardians) and will be the new constant companion Master Chief will interact with. The Banished, meanwhile, look more varied in terms of presentation this time. Visually, they look like rehashed versions of the Covenant and the Brutes in the first 3 Halo games made by Bungie. In Halo Infinite, 343 Industries went the extra steps forward introducing enemies with personalities and boss fights (take note of the visible health bars on-screen on the boss opponents). And then there are two new enemies that were designed to be so formidable, the UNSC’s Spartans now have true challengers to face.

This is one very dangerous Banished enemy to deal with.
This new enemy is known for slaying Spartans.

The way I see the Xbox-exclusive Halo Infinite right now, it is looking great and its single-player campaign looks very ambitious and promising at the same time. This is truly the one video game to look forward to on December 8, 2021. How it will perform with the game critics, Halo fans, Xbox fans and all other gamers remains to be seen. Still, there is no denying that now is a great time for fans of Xbox and Halo, and gamers surely have something fun to look forward to in the final quarter of twenty-twenty-one. As a long-time Halo gamer myself, I can say that I am more confident about Halo Infinite.

Team Xbox and 343 Industries clearly learned from the criticism regarding Halo Infinite’s initial unveiling in July 2020, and the 1-year delay of the game’s release now looks justified. Remember that this year happens to be the 20th anniversary of both Xbox (click here and here) and Halo. The next thing Xbox fans and gamers should look forward to is the 20th anniversary celebration of Xbox on November 15, 2021.

Halo Infinite is coming to Xbox One, Xbox Series, Xbox Series X and Windows PC on December 8, 2021.

In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos as well as more videos related to Halo Infinite’s campaign overview for your viewing pleasure.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Xbox 20th Anniversary products launching on November 15, 2021

This year, the 20th anniversary of Xbox will be celebrated on November 15, 2021 and on that very day, commemorative products will be released for the fans and any gamer looking for new, high-quality products to have this holiday season! For the newcomers and the Xbox fans reading this, this 20th anniversary development is completely different from the Halo Infinite game and products launch set for December.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the recent Xbox.com article written by Xbox Senior Product Marketing Manager Jerrica Tsujikawa. Some parts in boldface…

November 15 will mark 20 years of gaming together! Fans helped shape what Xbox is today and we can’t wait to see what the next 20 years will bring.

Today, we celebrate our history together with the 20th Anniversary Special Edition Xbox Wireless Controller and 20th Anniversary Special Edition Xbox Stereo Headsetlaunching November 15 and available for pre-order now. We were inspired by our favorite memories together from the last 20 years and created not one, but two unique accessories to commemorate this milestone.

20th Anniversary Special Edition Xbox Wireless Controller

Sleek and sentimental – all in one package. The 20th Anniversary Special Edition controller is a fresh spin on the translucent green of the original Xbox Debug kit. The body of the controller features a translucent black finish with silver internals so you can see every detail. The nostalgic, green Xbox button brings us back to the first green Xbox logo. The iconic color can also be found on the back grips and around the hybrid D-pad.

The 20th Anniversary Special Edition controller benefits from all the features of our newest Xbox Wireless Controllers, such as improved ergonomics, better cross-device connectivity, a dedicated Share button and reduced latency. You can also easily pair and switch between your devices including the Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Windows PCs, Android and iOS via Xbox Wireless, and Bluetooth technology.

When you connect this controller to your Xbox Series X|S console, you will unlock an exclusive 20th Anniversary dynamic background.

Connect your 20th Anniversary Special Edition controller to your friends Xbox Series X|S to gift them this dynamic background as well! Once you choose another background, however, this one will disappear, and you will need to re-connect the 20th Anniversary controller to unlock it again.

The 20th Anniversary Special Edition Xbox Wireless Controller launches November 15 and is available for pre-order today for $69.99 USD in select Xbox markets worldwide and can be purchased at various retailers, including Microsoft Store.

20th Anniversary Special Edition Xbox Stereo Headset

Built upon our new  Xbox Stereo Headset, this 20th Anniversary Special Edition is something truly special. The headset similarly features a translucent black body with silver internals so you can see what brings this headset to life. Green accents on the boom mic, inside and outside of the earcups. The left disc is marked with our 20th Anniversary logo in our iconic green and the right dial has our Xbox logo imprinted, as seen on the Xbox Wireless and Stereo Headsets.

Just like our new Xbox Stereo Headset, enjoy ultra-soft large earcups and superb audio and chat quality. You can adjust the volume by rotating the right earcup or quickly mute incoming noise with the convenient on-ear control. The headset also supports spatial sound technologies including Windows Sonic, Dolby Atmos, and DTS Headphone: X (may require additional purchases or app downloads).

The 20th Anniversary Special Edition Xbox Stereo Headset launches on November 15 and is available for pre-order today for $69.99 USD in select Xbox markets and can be purchased at the Microsoft Store and other retailers. The headset is only available at the Microsoft Store in APOC/EOC.

The above article also includes details about two other upcoming products – the Razer Universal Quick Charging Stand for Xbox – 20th Anniversary Limited Edition and 20th Anniversary Xbox Gear. Check out the images below…

For complete details about Razer Universal Quick Charging Stand for Xbox – 20th Anniversary Limited Edition and 20th Anniversary Xbox Gear, click https://news.xbox.com/en-us/2021/10/07/celebrate-20-years-of-play-with-20th-anniversary-hardware/

Things are really looking great and the future of Xbox is more promising than ever before. Xbox fans and gamers who want the best and most enduring sessions of fun have Forza Horizon 5, Halo Infinite and The Gunk to look forward to before the end of 2021. 2022 will be even more exciting on the Xbox ecosystem with games like Starfield, Redfall, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: Heart of Chernobyl, Saints Row reboot and Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising to name some!

In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos for your viewing pleasure.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Dolby Vision on Xbox Series consoles makes home entertainment more pleasing

In my previous article, I made a short reference to the availability of Dolby Vision on Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X. For the newcomers and games still wondering what Dolby Vision’s relevance with the modern Xbox consoles is all about and how it can benefit gamers who have the means, we can take a close look at the details through the September 28, 2021 article published on Xbox.com.

Before examining the said article, let’s start first with a view of Dolby Vision on Xbox Series S and X via this official video released on September 23, 2021.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the Xbox.com article written by XGP Senior Program Manager Katie Slattery. Some parts in boldface…

At Xbox, we want to give gamers the best gaming experience at full audio and visual fidelity. That is why we partnered with Dolby to bring immersive spatial audio to our platform with Dolby Atmos in 2017, and ultra-vivid picture quality for movies and streaming with Dolby Vision in 2018. Then in 2020 with Xbox Series X|S, we launched the first consoles ever to support gaming in Dolby Atmos and with the future capability to support Dolby Vision.

Dolby Vision gaming now available on Series XIS

Starting today, gamers with compatible Dolby Vision-enabled TVs will be able to enjoy full-spectrum visuals with the rollout of Dolby Vision gaming on Xbox Series X|S. With Dolby Vision, epic worlds – such as lush rainforests or neon futuristic cities – are brought to life in more vivid color. Dolby Vision deepens your immersion into the experience by enabling you to see an enemy hiding in the shadows or spot hidden clues through expanded contrast and better clarity in both bright and dark scenes.

To ensure a growing library of games are available, Dolby and Xbox are working together closely with developers to provide the tools they need so their titles can take full advantage of Dolby Vision. They can do this through built-in features within the Xbox platform or they can choose to implement the technology directly into a game’s engine.

There are more than 100 next-gen HDR titles optimized for Series X|S that will feature Dolby Vision, and in the future you’ll see more games like Halo Infinite taking full advantage of Dolby Vision.

Get the complete Dolby experience with Dolby Atmos by downloading Dolby Access today. Pair with Xbox headphones for the ultimate spatial sound experience.

Xbox Series XIS will deliver improved visual experience to thousands of classic games

In addition to this curated set of Xbox Series X|S optimized titles, we also wanted to ensure the robust library of games previously released in HDR or Auto HDR would benefit as well. This led us to work with Dolby to bring new visual enhancement capabilities that utilize Dolby Vision technology to deliver an improved visual experience for thousands of existing HDR10 and Auto HDR games. When you are connected to a Dolby Vision enabled TV and Dolby Vision is enabled on Xbox Series X|S, the consoles will automatically enhance your existing games to deliver a rich, immersive experience unrivaled by any other game console.

How Series XIS and Dolby Vision make your gaming experience better

Dolby Vision takes gaming to the next level through incredible brightness, color, contrast, and detail.  Games in Dolby Vision automatically map to any display that supports Dolby Vision, delivering players the benefit of seeing the best possible picture available. Dolby Vision is also compatible with next-generation features available on Xbox Series X|S such as DirectX Raytracing, automatic low-latency mode (ALLM), Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), and up to 120FPS depending on the capabilities of your TV*.

The article also has other notable details such as the confirmation that Microsoft and Dolby are collaborating closely with the companies that manufacture HDTVs/smart TVs and enable them to update the firmware to enable Dolby Vision at 120 Hz. That being said, if you own an Xbox Series S or Xbox Series X connected to that high-tech HDTV or smart TV in your household, you might want to check right now if it is indeed a Dolby Vision-enabled machine. There will be some adjustments to be made with the settings of your HDTV and you can see how at the very end of the Xbox.com article at https://news.xbox.com/en-us/2021/09/28/dolby-vision-gaming-now-available-on-xbox-series-x-s/

More on this technological breakthrough, I love the fact that it has been confirmed that thousands of classic games (games from previous Xbox console generations) will have visual enhancements covered by Dolby Vision. In short, when you play an old game on your Xbox Series console via the backward compatibility feature, there will be visual improvements as well as a better use of your TV’s Dolby Vision capability. With regards to the games of this current console generation, there are over a hundred HDR (high dynamic range) games optimized for the Xbox Series consoles using Dolby Vision benefits. Such enhancements and benefits will be present in future games like Forza Horizon 5, Halo Infinite, Starfield, Elder Scrolls 6, Fallout 5, the next Forza Motorsport, Avowed, The Outer Worlds 2, Perfect Dark and a whole lot more!

In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos for your viewing pleasure.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Tokyo Game Show 2021 (TGS 2021) Xbox livestream set for September 30

With Gamescom 2021 and the Tokyo Olympic Games over, video gaming will be highlighted in Japan with this year’s edition of the annual Tokyo Game Show happening at the end of this month and Team Xbox has a new online event set to be streamed on September 30, 2021 (6PM Tokyo Standard Time).

Tokyo Game Show is set for September 30 to October 3.

Before you Xbox fans and gamers get too excited, there is a need to control your expectations first as Aaron Greenberg of Team Xbox tweeted: Well since you asked, @tokyo_game_show is a show for our players in Japan and across Asia. Expect regionally relevant updates, but no major reveals or announcements as our game teams are focused on continuing to ship big releases across October, November, and December.

With major announcements and special reveals ruled out, there will still be fun stuff to show but with Japan and Asia in mind during the 50-minute Xbox livestream. Microsoft’s approach to this event may not be as high-profile as the Xbox-Bethesda games showcase of June but what is clear is that Team Xbox is focused on achieving growth in Japan’s video games industry and already a record number of Japan’s independent game makers have received Xbox development kits.

TGS 2021 is also an opportunity for Team Xbox to emphasize what they have to offer gamers of Asia this coming holiday season. While nothing clear has been made, they could show the latest about Halo Infinite with footage of the single-player campaign. They could also show Psychonauts 2 with the accolades it gained, plus some more new footage of Forza Horizon 5, and reveal details of the limited edition Halo Infinite-themed Xbox Series X console for the Japanese market. Xbox Game Pass (XGP) promos and Xbox LIVE updates for Japan are expected.

TGS 2021 could also be the ideal time for Team Xbox to finalize and announce a precise release date of CrossfireX which has been scheduled for a 2021 release. There are only a few months left before the year ends and I believe that the Tokyo Game Show is the ideal time to announce a solid release date with a huge online audience present.

More on Japanese-related gaming, I can only wish that Rabbit & Bear Studios head Yoshitaka Murayama will make an appearance during the Xbox TGS 2021 livestream and give updates about the developments about their two games Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising and Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes. Previously, it has been announced that those two games will be released on Xbox Game Pass. Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising and Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes will be released in 2022 and 2023 respectively.

There is also Tango Gameworks, a Japan-based game studio owned by Bethesda and Xbox. I wish to see some updates from them for the Xbox livestream, especially when it come to future games.

Watch out for the TGS 2021 Xbox Livestream at the official YouTube channel of Xbox at https://www.youtube.com/c/xbox

In ending this piece, here are some Xbox-related videos for your enjoyment.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

A Look Back at Top Gear (SNES)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from playing Top Gear and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Remember back in the early 1990s how impressive the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES or Super NES) was when it comes to fulfilling your early expectations of the enhanced gaming experience aided by new technology?

Super Mario World was astounding the first time I got to play it on our Super NES. The same experience too I had with The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.

And then there was our first Super NES racing game titled Top Gear (not to be confused with the popular motoring media franchise) developed by Gremlin Graphics and published by Kemco.

The game cover.

Concept and Game Design

Top Gear is a car-focused racing game that had over thirty tracks and creatively emphasized the global locations in it. The very meat of the game is its global tournament in which you need to finish at least in 5th place in order to qualify to join the next race.

Creatively, each race has courses that vary in distance, the sharpness of turns (as far as 2D graphics allowed), number of laps and, strangely enough, have certain obstacles that can distract or even surprise such as stones, iron plates and even trees.

Before choosing a car, you must pay attention to the maximum speed, acceleration, tire grip and fuel consumption.

On the player’s side, there are cars offered and they vary in terms of maximum speed, acceleration, tire grip and fuel consumption. Cars also have nitro which come in limited amounts and can be used to give you a boost

For its visual presentation, Top Gear is strictly a split-screen game even during times you play only single-player. In my experience, split-screen is more lively to watch when playing against a fellow human player.

Quality

I can say clearly that Top Gear was highly enjoyable to play, and it was more fun 2-player sessions. On the very gameplay itself, I enjoyed the high-speed challenges that include overtaking other cars on the road while trying to climb up the rankings enroute to the finish line. Speaking of challenges, the aspect of managing your fuel supply while dealing with speeding and overtaking others is memorable and there were times when my car ran out of gas and stopped because I was not able to make a pit stop during the race.

The pit stop itself can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on situations. If you are low on fuel and you still have a long way to go, you need to refuel at the pit stop. However, the more time you spend on the pit stop, the more your opponents traveled catching up with you or increasing their lead over you. There were also memorable times when I had sufficient fuel and my opponent had to refuel at the pit stop. While opponent was refueling, I just kept driving and used the nitro to increase my speed and keep on moving forward.

Split-screen all the time, even when you play single.

Going back to the fuel management aspect, there were times when my car ran out of gas and stopped. Suddenly, an AI-controlled car from behind hit my car and gave me some forward movement. There were a few, unexpected times that my gas-empty car got pushed enough to cross the finish line.

Visually, race courses are limited in the sense that the game only shows split-screen views. You always have a road to travel on which can suddenly turn left or right depending on the race course. What adds visual variety are the surroundings specifically the elements on the sides of the road (examples: the desert environment Las Vegas, the snow of Sweden, the rain forest trees of Brazil) and background art (example: the metropolitan view of Tokyo). Sprite scaling is limited but that is understandable given the limits of the Super NES. Even so, the feeling and look of 3D is sufficient.

Night driving in 2D.

While the sound effects of cars bumping, tires screeching and engines are satisfying, what really stood out is the soundtrack which, for the most part, is energetic and even encouraging enough to keep me and my friends playing. Barry Leitch produced the music and due to the lack of time provided to him, he had to literally recycle and arrange his other musical works from Lotus games.

Conclusion

One car still racing on the road with low fuel, the other car is in the pit stop refueling.

Top Gear was truly a well-made game and it succeeded not only in delivering a true console generation upgrade over our NES for console racing but also created lots of bouts of fun for me and my friends. In my experience, this Kemco-published game was the first true gem of multiplayer on the Super NES. Even by today’s standards, Top Gear remains unique and still is very enjoyable for anyone who loves 16-bit, 2-dimensional console racing.

Overall, Top Gear is highly recommended!

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Xbox strategies taking shape with Microsoft’s full support and strong dedication!

We are just days away from the highly anticipated Xbox-Bethesda games showcase! Very recently, Team Xbox emphasized further its overall strategy of delivering interactive entertainment that goes way beyond the traditional model of selling consoles and games, and behind it all they have the full support of Microsoft itself!

Let’s start with the special presentation involving both Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Xbox chief Phil Spencer. Watch the video and listen very closely.

“Gaming is fundamentally aligned and woven in our mission as a company,” Satya Nadella said. “When you talk about Xbox’s mission to bring the joy and community of gaming to everyone on the planet, which I absolutely love, this is precisely what I think of when we think about Microsoft’s mission, which is to empower every person, every organization on the planet to achieve more. As a company, Microsoft’s all-in on gaming.”

Microsoft’s CEO confirmed that the corporation has indeed gone all in for Team Xbox and this is clearly a radical change compared to what happened in the previous console generation when the team was not a true priority for the corporation.

When it was a non-priority within the corporation’s hierarchy, Team Xbox was severely limited in producing first-party exclusives, severely limited in making big-time partnerships with other game developers/publishers, and designed a very flawed console with Xbox One. The result was a doomed 8th console generation (or the 3rd Xbox console generation) and the Xbox One sold much less than Xbox 360 worldwide and could not match the high number of exclusive games on Sony’s PlayStation 4 (PS4). Phil Spencer did what he could since taking over as Team Xbox chief.

That is all in the past now! With the full support of Microsoft and with Phil Spencer and his team now a clear priority for the corporation, Team Xbox has a lot of momentum moving forward in this 9th console generation. Mega publisher Bethesda has been integrated into Team Xbox and there will be Bethesda-produced exclusive games that gamers with Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Windows PC can look forward to. With 23 game developers under the Xbox Game Studios umbrella, several 1st party exclusives are already being produced like Avowed (plus the expected The Outer Worlds franchise) from Obsidian Entertainment, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II from Ninja Theory, the next-generation Forza Motorsport game from Turn 10 Studios and Perfect Dark from The Initiative to name a few. When it comes to paid subscription services, it was reported that Xbox Game Pass (XGP) subscribers reached 18,000,000+ and right now Sony and Nintendo have no serious services of their own to compete with it. I should also mention Team Xbox is continuing with plans of acquisitions of game developers.

With the forward momentum clear, we can now take a look at the strategies as published in Xbox.com written by Xbox Wire Editor-in-Chief Will Tuttle. Some parts in boldface…

Xbox Game Pass is Changing the Way We Discover, Connect, and Play

  • Xbox Game Pass members play 30% more genres and play 40% more games. And more than 90% of members said they played a game that they would not have tried without Game Pass.
  • On average across the Game Pass library, partners see engagement go up by more than 8x when they enter Game Pass.
  • Whether it’s purchasing games inside or outside of what’s available in the library, or purchasing additional content for the games they like, members spend 50% more than non-members.
  • Xbox Game Pass has become a true discovery engine, a platform for connection and community, and is driving game sales. New insights we’re sharing today include:
    • Since we started our partnership with EA Play in Game Pass Ultimate, our players have been engaging with EA’s subscription service in a significant way. Compared to before the integration, EA Play has seen record usage on Microsoft platforms, driving hours played on these platforms up by more than 200%. As a result, EA’s incredible portfolio of games has reached and gained millions of new fans on the Xbox platform.
    • The new Square Enix game Outriders is in Game Pass and was also the #1 selling digital game on Xbox during its launch week and a top 10 selling digital game on Xbox in the month of April. Game Pass helped introduce millions of players to the game.
    • During launch week, MLB: The Show 21 was the biggest sports game of the past year on Xbox and the second biggest sports game of all time on Xbox. Game Pass added millions of new fans and grew Major League Baseball’s player base significantly. MLB: The Show 21 was also the #1 selling paid game on Xbox for the month of April. 

Xbox and Xbox Game Pass are Coming to More Screens

  • Xbox is working with global TV manufacturers to embed the Xbox experience directly into internet-connected televisions with no extra hardware required except a controller.
  • Xbox is exploring new subscription offerings for Xbox Game Pass so more players around the world can experience the most immersive and fun games across devices, geographies, and financial realities.
  • Xbox is working with telecommunications providers on new purchasing models like Xbox All Access, which allows consumers to buy both a console and Game Pass for a low monthly price, rather than spending money up front.
  • Xbox is building its own streaming devices for cloud gaming to reach gamers on any TV or monitor without the need for a console at all.
  • Cloud gaming through Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will launch in Australia, Brazil, Mexico, and Japan later this year.
  • In the next few weeks, cloud gaming on the browser will open to all Xbox Game Pass Ultimate members. With Edge, Chrome, and Safari support, players will be a click away from gaming on almost any device. 
  • We’re in the final stages of updating our Microsoft datacenters around the world with our latest generation of hardware, the Xbox Series X. This means gamers will see faster load times, improved frame rates, and experience Xbox Series X|S optimized games.
  • Later this year, we’ll add cloud gaming directly into the Xbox app on PC and integrate it into our console experience to light up scenarios like try before you download

An Incredible Pipeline of Games

  • With more than 23 studios worldwide creating games for Xbox, our goal is to release at least one new, first party game into Game Pass every quarter. Role playing games, shooters, strategy titles, adventure games, and more are all being built by our first party teams to ensure that there is a steady stream of compelling exclusive content to explore.
  • Our independent developer program ID@Xbox has earned developers over $2B dollars since the program’s inception, with over 2000 titles launched and many more on the way. This model is now being used for ID@Azure, allowing independent devs to build cloud-based experiences. These programs bring new voices from diverse backgrounds into the world of game development.
Xbox Game Pass is leading the way when it comes to paid subscription services on video games and it will be made more available to gamers around the world, including those who cannot afford an Xbox console.

Whew! That was an overload of details above! As the Xbox-Bethesda event on June 13 is focused on games (and possible studio acquisition announcements), it makes sense for Team Xbox to make clear what their strategies are and what developments are happening.

To examine the above information, Microsoft is taking Xbox and Xbox Game Pass to newer heights that the traditional model of selling consoles (hardware) and games cannot reach. The Xbox-Windows connectivity has been re-emphasized and it has indeed been working for XGP users who are paying $15 a month. Moving forward, Xbox will be integrated into smart TVs/HDTVs (connected to the Internet) and the only hardware needed is the Xbox controller. Once Microsoft’s deals with telecommunication firms have been finalized, consumers can buy a console (most likely Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X for gamers who want high-end experiences) and XGP through Xbox All Access and pay it all on a monthly basis (this will spare consumers from the trouble of paying so much for a new Xbox console at retail). This also shows the benefits of subscribing over doing over-the-counter retail transactions. Furthermore, the Xbox ecosystem will eventually become more accessible to many millions more gamers (who cannot afford consoles) through their Internet-connected HDTVs/smart TVs using streaming devices with cloud functionality.

Think about all those highly ambitious strategies and how they can eventually positive impact interactive entertainment and even expand video gaming as we know it. Nintendo and the PlayStation team at Sony (hey Jim Ryan, are you still learning yet?) did not anticipate this latest barrage by Team Xbox, nor have they formulated new ways to enhance the gaming experience and attracting many more consumers who cannot afford game consoles.

Whether you like it or not, Team Xbox is clearly pushing hard with its plan to reach many millions more consumers around the world without being limited by the traditional console business model. Consumers will be offered a lot of choices as to how they want to play games via Xbox and how they want to enter the Xbox ecosystem based on their respective financial standings and purchasing power. Consumers also love being offered multiple options which Nintendo and Sony seem to ignore. It seems the Japanese traditions of doing video game business set Nintendo and Sony back.

The consumer can become the center of gaming with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate!

Let me ask you readers: Are the new strategies by Team Xbox look exciting or complicated to you? Are you a gamer who wants to enjoy high-definition gaming at home without the hassle of buying a new console? Do you prefer to acquire an Xbox Series X through a subscription with your telecommunication provider? If you are running a retailing joint selling video game hardware and software, what do you think about the newest Xbox strategies announced?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

To watch the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase on June 13, posted below are the links for your reference.

In closing this article, posted below are Xbox-related videos for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com

Bethesda finally integrated into Team Xbox!

Welcome back fellow gamers, geeks and Xbox fans!

Finally, it has been accomplished and it is something truly worth celebrating and become more optimistic about the future of video games! Very recently, Microsoft announced that it has officially completed the $7.5 acquisition of ZeniMax media which effectively integrated Bethesda Softworks and its eight game studios (Bethesda Game Studios, id Software, ZeniMax Online Studios, Arkane, MachineGames, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog, and Roundhouse Studios) and their respective communities into Team Xbox! The completion was realized after getting approved by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and the regulators of the European Union (EU). Bethesda themselves posted a fine video about their legacy in gaming and the confirmation of becoming part of Team Xbox. Watch it below…

Bethesda and Xbox is a formidable combination!

To put things in perspective, below is an excerpt (note: key parts in bold) from the completion announcement written by Xbox chief Phil Spencer over at Xbox.com. Pay close attention…

Now that everything is official, we can begin working together to deliver more great games to everyone. At every step building toward this moment, I’ve been inspired and motivated by the creativity, insight, and community-first approach of the talented people at Bethesda. Our goal is to give these teams the best foundation for doing their greatest work and to learn from them as we continue to build Xbox into an inclusive platform for all players.

This is the next step in building an industry-leading first party studios team, a commitment we have to our Xbox community. With the addition of the Bethesda creative teams, gamers should know that Xbox consoles, PC, and Game Pass will be the best place to experience new Bethesda games, including some new titles in the future that will be exclusive to Xbox and PC players.

As seen above, Phil Spencer led the welcoming of Bethesda into Team Xbox. This is clearly not a simple acquisition because Bethesda is a very big company complete with eight game developers (lots of very talented employees) and very well-established franchises of games such as The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Dishonored, Doom and more.

Speaking of Bethesda’s new games, Spencer made clear that the Xbox ecosystem is not just the definitive destination for the said games, it is indeed the best. Xbox consoles clearly includes the many millions of Xbox One consoles still in use as well as the growing number of Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X consoles. PC refers to Windows 10 while Game Pass refers to Xbox Game Pass (XGP) which is a highly successful paid subscription service which has reached 18 million subscribers worldwide. No surprise, PlayStation and Nintendo consoles were excluded. Microsoft, after all, has a stake in Bethesda while Sony and Nintendo do not.

As for Spencer’s line – some new titles in the future that will be exclusive to Xbox and PC players – I believe he was referring to upcoming games divided between those that can be made only for the Xbox ecosystem (Xbox console owners and PC users), those that can be released on other platforms (note: Spencer mentioned before the case-by-case aspect) and those that are legally bound to be released on a different platform (note: Bethesda has two timed-exclusive games for PlayStation 5).

The way I see it, future games like Starfield and sequels such as The Elder Scrolls VI, Fallout 5, future Doom, future Dishonored and the like will be made Xbox-exclusive (geared more towards the Xbox Series consoles and PC) which makes business sense because Xbox consoles and Windows 10 PCs are what Xbox Game Pass subscribers use. The addition of Bethesda games into XGP will help the service attract even more subscribers from around the world! I also believe that games made with strong single-player gaming experiences in mind will be designated for Xbox and PC gamers.

Future Bethesda games that will cater more on multiplayer and on being a service (technically) can be made for multiple platforms, including the PlayStation and Nintendo consoles.

As such, Phil Spencer’s use of the words “some new titles” makes sense. In due time, I believe, Microsoft and Bethesda will make clear that the Xbox ecosystem is top priority for them and this means eventually locking out Sony and Nintendo consoles when it comes to most new Bethesda games. It should happen in the years to come.

The integration of Bethesda into Team Xbox does not necessarily mean that Microsoft will change the culture of the company to conform to its own. The tech giant will provide Bethesda funds and lots of technical support while respecting their culture. Pay close attention to Phil Spencer’s words in the excerpt below…

As we shared previously, it’s vitally important that Bethesda continues making games the way it always has. We look forward to empowering Bethesda’s creative teams to reach even more players around the world, helping make future Bethesda titles the biggest and most popular games in their history. Xbox and Bethesda have long shared a common vision for the future of gaming. Both as fans and as creators, Bethesda understands the potential of Xbox Game Pass.

The head of Xbox also took the opportunity to lead the honoring of the late Robert A. Altman, who founded Bethesda’s parent company ZeniMax Media. Read on below…

We would also like to honor the life and memory of my close friend Robert A. Altman, founder of ZeniMax Media. Robert believed deeply in the power of gaming and we are privileged to be able to continue his work by joining forces with the teams he built and led for many years.  I will miss the opportunity to work directly with him on the future of our combined teams but I know that his spirit will live on in the shared work we do and motivate us to make this partnership all he envisioned.

With the completion of the $7.5 billion deal, Team Xbox and Bethesda have officially started a brand-new chapter in the history of gaming. To say the least, Team Xbox’s years-old problem of lacking high-profile exclusive games has clearly been solved and Bethesda’s integration adds a ton of value as well as very rich intellectual properties into the Xbox Game Studios group whose other game developers include 343 Industries (Halo), Obsidian Entertainment (The Outer Worlds), The Coalition (Gears of War), Compulsion Games (We Happy Few), Double Fine Productions (Psychonauts), The Initiative (Perfect Dark), inXile Entertainment (Wasteland 3), Mojang Studios (Minecraft), Ninja Theory (Hellblade) and others. Each and every one of those game developers have new games in development and will be released exclusively on the Xbox ecosystem in the years to come. In effect, this makes Xbox Series consoles even more attractive for gamers and consumers in general. This also makes Team Xbox more competitive and even intimidating towards PlayStation and Nintendo when it comes to producing console-exclusive games.

Just what will PlayStation and Nintendo do to counter the Xbox Game Studios juggernaut now that Bethesda is part of it? Buy out Sega? Sony paying Square Enix a lot more money to secure their future games as PS5-exclusive? Sony reviving their White Knight Chronicles RPG franchise to combat Xbox RPGs from Bethesda, inXile and Obsidian? Will the troubled Sony fanboys demand PlayStation’s Jim Ryan to raise money so that the company will buy as many game studios as possible to beef up PS5 1st party games? Time will tell.

In ending this, posted below for your viewing pleasure are varied gaming-related videos including some video reviews of past Bethesda games for some fun nostalgia.  

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below and also please consider sharing this article to others. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me as well. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me at HavenorFantasy@twitter.com