As Dusk Falls set for July 19, 2022 release on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Windows PC plus Xbox Game Pass (XGP) and PC Game Pass

Before Microsoft’s megaton acquisitions of Bethesda and Activision-Blizzard, Team Xbox organized its very own Xbox Games Showcase in mid-2020 and one of the announced games back then was As Dusk Falls which I found intriguing and artistic at the same time. The game, which is being developed by London-based Interior/Night in cooperation with Xbox Game Studios Publishing, resurfaced at last during the recent Xbox-Bethesda Games Showcase and here are the hot news…As Dusk Falls will be released on July 19, 2022 for Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Windows PC, Steam, and will be available also via Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass! Watch the official release date announcement video below…

For the newcomers reading this, the game is an interactive drama that has a very stylized visual design. To understand As Dusk Falls better, posted below is an excerpt from the official article published at Xbox.com written by Kelly Lombardi. Some parts in boldface…

As Dusk Falls has been eight years in the making for CEO and Creative Director at Interior/Night Caroline Marchal. Her goal was to create a deep interactive experience for all levels of players, something meant to be shared with loved ones. Inspired by prestige TV shows, Interior/Night’s debut game is an uncompromising tale of family, resilience, and sacrifice, coming to Xbox Series X|S, Windows PC, Steam, and with Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass on July 19.

This cinematic story is brought to life by the performance of actors that are digitally rendered into a beautiful art style, creating a unique experience that plays like a motion graphic novel.

In As Dusk Falls you’ll have agency over the lives of relatable, far from perfect human beings, inviting you to empathize with their real-life struggles and aspirations. Starting in 1998 with a robbery-gone-wrong in small town Arizona, the choices you make have a powerful impact on the characters’ lives in this decades-spanning story told across two intense books:

  • Sacrifice vs Survival: Can you break free from your family’s toxic influence? What will you sacrifice for the ones you love? Can you overcome your past? Your decisions will shape the characters’ fates.
  • Interwoven Destinies: Follow two families in their struggle to survive, protect, and endure through challenges rooted in the previous generations’ mistakes.
  • Experience Together: Reveal insights about yourself and those you play with as you discover the underlying values of your decisions in cooperative gameplay with up to 8 players at a time, locally or online (or a mix). The As Dusk Falls companion app makes making choices in game easy, just use your phone or tablet to vote with or against your friends.

Replay the story again and again to uncover vastly different outcomes for the characters and explore hidden nuances behind every decision. Will your characters survive unscathed? What kind of people will they ultimately become?

The above article ended stating that As Dusk Falls will also be made available on mobile phones, tablets and lower-spec PCs via Xbox Cloud Gaming.

A law enforcer in a scene.

Considering the obvious lack of high-profile Xbox-exclusive games for the 2nd half of 2022, As Dusk Falls is definitely on my list of games to play on my Xbox Series X with the benefit of my Xbox Game Pass subscription. As such, its July 19, 2022 release date is good news as it has been two years since the game was first announced. This is an Xbox-exclusive of a very different kind!

In terms of game design, As Dusk Falls is highly unusual and also intriguing to look at. I really am interested to play it and witness how the actors will perform and bring their characters to life on-screen. The mentioned decision/choice making as a gameplay function alone interests me as I used to read Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) pocket books long ago. How high the quality and fun factor As Dusk Falls is a question mark right now but the wait for it will end very soon.

Looks like these two characters are up to something. As Dusk Falls will be released on the Xbox ecosystem.

If you are the type of gamer who loves narrative adventures, decision-making interactivity or if you simply want a really new form of video game that stands out among the rest, watch out for As Dusk Falls on the Xbox ecosystem.

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Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Collection all set for release on Xbox and Windows PC on April 7, 2022

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
  • Auto-battle function
  • 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*
Graphics, text and art in the game got cleaned up and look sharper than before.
In-game options during battle.
The world map from a distance.

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.

Be reminded that Square Enix is set to release Star Ocean: The Divine Force on Xbox consoles and Windows PC sometime this year, while Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin will be released on the same platforms on March 4, 2022! To all Xbox gamers reading this, we as consumers can convince Square Enix to release even more games to our platforms by buying their games. Chrono Cross: The Radical Dreamers Edition on Xbox is something worth looking forward to.

A short scene taking place.

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)

Kid interacting with Serge.

As I mentioned already before, Xbox is becoming the definitive and best place to play RPGs. If it is Japanese RPGs you want on Xbox, Square Enix’s upcoming releases are not just the only ones to look forward to as there are also the Eiyuden Chronicle RPGs coming as well! Already 2022 is looking great for Xbox gaming and there is also the much anticipated Xbox-exclusive RPG juggernaut Starfield from Bethesda coming before the end of this year!

In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos plus a few Chrono Cross-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

Forza Horizon 5 on Xbox consoles, PC and Xbox Game Pass this November!

If you are looking for a great looking and fun-filled racing game this year, the one to go for is definitely Forza Horizon 5 coming out on November 9, 2021 on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, Windows PC and on Xbox Game Pass (XGP)!

Very notable for having an excessive amount of time to itself during the Xbox-Bethesda games showcase,  Forza Horizon 5 is the newest entry in the best-selling game franchise developed by Playground Games. For the newcomers reading this, the Forza Horizon game franchise that started in 2012 is known for its open-world approach to racing which is more focused on street racing action and stunts (in contrast to the realism focus of the Forza Motorsport series of simulation racing games). The fictional Horizon Festival is an essential part of the core concept of the Forza Horizon series. Creatively, the said festival moves from one country to another as seen in each game of the series – Colorado in Forza Horizon, Southern France and North Italy in Forza Horizon 2, Australia in Forza Horizon 3, and Scotland and England in Forza Horizon 4.

This year, Forza Horizon 5 is set in Mexico which looks stunning as the game was not only made with the most modern Xbox technologies but also the experts of Playground Games really proved what they could do both artistically and technically. The result is a highly photo-realistic game (note: ray-tracing available in Forzavista mode), high frame rates (60FPS performance mode included), super smooth gameplay and a whole lot more!

For greater perspective, watch this demo video that was part of the Xbox-Bethesda games showcase…

As seen in the above video, Forza Horizon 5 is more than racing and exploring the diverse locations of Mexico…it was made to be a whole lot of fun to play. The expedition looks really adventurous while the Pinata Park and Events Lab emphasize creative fun racing! This is racing game design that must be experienced!

And there is more! Check out this excerpt from the official Forza blog emphasizing Forza Horizon 5. Some parts in boldface…

Experience a deep and rewarding campaign, where you’ll meet new characters and determine the outcome of their Horizon Story missions. You’ll take on expeditions across the map, battling the elements in hundreds of the world’s greatest cars.

In multiplayer, experience the most social and connected experience we’ve ever created. The Horizon Open takes the best parts of the traditional Forza Horizon online competitive experience and smashes them all together. Seamlessly jump into Races, Drift challenges, Eliminator sessions, and more. Horizon Tour is your chance to meet up like you would at a car meet and race co-op against Drivatars on circuits all over the map, forming up as a convoy as you hop from one race to the next. From there, you can head to the Horizon Arcade, where you quickly and seamlessly take on some truly wild challenges and minigames with other players.

Next, our creator community can hit up the EventLab. Imagine the Blueprint Builder you’re familiar with in modes like Super7 and Blueprint races, but blown way out with a powerful new toolset that includes custom races, challenges, stunts, entirely new game modes and so much more that you control, down to the rules of the game itself.

After that, it’s time for Gift Drops, like a personalized Barn Find Blueprint. Tune a car, paint it, then leave it hidden for others to find somewhere on the map. It’s a whole new way to share your prized cars with friends or others online.The social aspect of Forza Horizon 5 is huge, with systems like Kudos that allow you to reward other players for positive acts and encourage clean, friendly driving, as well as the Forza LINK system, which enhances your ability to join up with other players by recognizing the things you like to do and finding other players to do similar things with.

Wow! Not only are the experts of Playground Games making Forza Horizon 5 fun and engaging, they are also working hard on making it the most accessible game socially speaking. This is a major Xbox-exclusive game to watch out for this November. Not only will Forza Horizon 5 stand out well among the many, many games on Xbox Game Pass, it will stand out among all racing games for this year and even into 2022!

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