Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin coming to Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Xbox One on March 18, 2022

As I mentioned previously, 2022 will be a bigger and more exciting year for enjoying video games on Xbox platforms as there will be more and varied new video games coming out as well as new fun stuff through the Xbox network and Xbox Game Pass (XGP). Adding more depth and excitement on Xbox gaming this year is the fast-approaching release of Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin on March 18, 2022 on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Xbox One consoles!

Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin is an action-packed, Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) being made by Koei Tecmo-owned developer Team Ninja (best known for Ninja Gaiden and Dead or Alive) under publisher Square Enix. For key details about the upcoming game, read the Square Enix press release excerpt below. Some parts in boldface…

STRANGER OF PARADISE FINAL FANTASY ORIGIN blends challenging and strategic action gameplay with the world and lore of the FINAL FANTASY series to create a unique action RPG experience. Join Jack and his allies as they throw open the gates to the Chaos Shrine and step into a world of dark fantasy and exhilarating battles to discover if they are truly the Warriors of Light the prophecy foretold.

Posted below is the excerpt from the Xbox.com article of the game. Some parts in boldface…

From a key cutscene in the game.

In this new tale you’ll play as Jack, a stranger to the Kingdom of Cornelia with a past shrouded in mystery. He must hazard numerous challenges to bring the light of the crystals back to a kingdom conquered by darkness in this hard-core action RPG. Will restoring the crystals’ light usher in peace or a new form of darkness? Or perhaps something else entirely? Keep reading to find out what makes this Final Fantasy story so unique.

Visceral Action Combat

Stranger of Paradise Final Fantasy Origin allows players to experience Final Fantasy action like never before. Real-time combat keeps the action at the forefront of gameplay. But you won’t find success by mashing buttons. You’ll need to turn your enemies’ powers against them to turn the tides of battle. Switch between jobs with a push of a button so you can be prepared for anything that comes your way. When the odds are overwhelming, use the powerful Lightbringer ability to push back the monstrous hordes. Once you’ve broken their spirit, finish them off with a crystal crushing finishing move.

One of the characters in the game.

Deep Character Customization

With each enemy you defeat and every chest you open, you’ll uncover powerful treasure to help you on your journey. Each piece of armor will not only augment your abilities but will also change the look of your character as well. The weapons you find will also unlock new jobs to fit your play style. You might start off as a swordsman, but you’ll quickly discover options to become a mage, dragoon, monk, and so much more. Find the right combination of abilities to fit the way you play and don’t forget to customize your team-mates gear for some added support.

A Dark World to Discover

If you’ve played a Final Fantasy game before you might recognize some familiar creatures and locations, but you’ve never seen them like this. What secrets does each location hold and what manner of monster await you in the darkness?

Anyone who loves real-time action in Japanese RPGs should check this out.

To order the game in advance for your Xbox console, you can go for the regular edition here or the digital deluxe version here. Being a highly stylized action RPG developed by the talented guys at Team Ninja, Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin will surely standout among all other RPGs (regardless of core design or gameplay styles) that are coming to Xbox consoles in this console generation. It is also interesting to see how this upcoming game will perform in terms of visual fidelity and frame rates when optimized for Xbox Series X. Mark your calendars for March 18, 2022 for Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin.

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/

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/

The latest gameplay footage of Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II is very impressive!

Just hours after playing the first five hours and thirty-seven minutes of Halo Infinite on my Xbox Series X which I greatly enjoyed, I got to watch YouTube videos of The Game Awards (hosted by Geoff Keighly). And for the 3rd straight year of the said awards, Team Xbox unleashed another visual showcase for Xbox fans and gamers in general to enjoy about the future of gaming. I’m talking about the gameplay reveal of Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II, the high-profile Xbox-exclusive game being made by Ninja Theory for Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X and Windows PC.

That being said, I urge you all to watch the official gameplay footage below…

Wow! That was a very cinematic and artistic looking gameplay showcase of the Senua’s Saga! When I first saw it, I had this first impression that it was all just a pre-rendered cinematic but when I saw the key moments of gameplay – particularly with Senua carrying the sharp sticks to throw at the monster much like a javelin – I realized it was a game designed to give gamers the cinematic look and interactivity mixed together.

The footage shown had a very cinematic look thanks to the extremely high amount of detail not only on the real-time graphics used but also on the animation and the overall artistic design and work (great job there, Ninja Theory talents!). In addition, the facial expressions, acting and motion-captured action done by Melina Juergens (official Instagram and Twitter) really pushed the immersion even higher!

Very detailed visuals combined with a very unique art style.

For the newcomers reading this, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II is the sequel to the acclaimed 2017 multiplatform game Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice which was developed and published by Ninja Theory at a time when they were still an independent studio. That particular game was not just a fancy looking action-oriented game…it had a daring concept of tackling psychosis on top of its already intriguing fantasy concept and unique game design.

Going back to Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II, what was shown recently was not the first time it was showcased at The Game Awards. The 2019 edition of the said awards saw the official unveiling of Xbox Series X and the sequel which really generated a lot of positive buzz and showed how serious Team Xbox really is when it comes to creating compelling video games going into this current console generation.

Melina Juergens as Senua is very life-like, right down to the on-screen emotions.

As Ninja Theory is now officially part of Team Xbox as a developer under Xbox Game Studios, it comes to no surprise that Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II is an Xbox-exclusive game being made for the Xbox Series consoles and Windows PC. As there is no Xbox One version at all, this shows that the new game is aiming high with the latest console and PC technologies and that many millions of gamers around the world will eventually have unique gameplay experiences as well as new levels of immersion with Senua’s Saga.

As for the people who hate Xbox and the console fanboys who believe that there should be no exclusive games for Xbox, you are all just wasting your lives with your video game prejudice and you are also proving that video game-related bigotry is true. Similar to Xbox-Bethesda, Ninja Theory is NOT obligated to release new games on consoles that are not Xbox-related. Even though Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice was a multi-platform hit, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II is absolutely not coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5 and Nintendo Switch (not even the eventual Switch successor). Your emotion-led demands for Senua’s Saga to be released on your non-Xbox console do not count as law.If you really want the sequel but vehemently oppose anything Xbox, there is the Windows PC for you. You have a choice!

As of this writing, Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II does not yet have a final release date. That being said, let’s just keep waiting for Ninja Theory to full complete and polish the game first.

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/

Forza Horizon 5 is a super-charged, fun-filled game that must be played!

Ever since I started subscribing to Xbox Game Pass (XGP), I’ve been playing the universally acclaimed Forza Horizon 5 a lot on my Xbox Series X and as of this writing, it is my most played game. Why? Because each time I play it, Forza Horizon 5 keeps on offering me a lot of opportunities to have fun from joining races, touring the fictionalized Mexico setting to taking part in very interesting, tourism-inspired missions/quests.

My name on the plate license.
Out in the open!
I made it in the Hall of Fame!

What I can confirm to you all is that this Xbox-exclusive open-world racing game made by Playground Games consistently delivered a lot of enjoyable stuff for me to discover and experience while also respecting my freedom of choice as to where can I go, what races should I compete in, what places can be discovered and a whole lot more! Very clearly the developers made the game with entertainment in mind and given the exceptional game design concept of the Forza Horizon series as a whole, they delivered a very unique car-oriented video game that keeps on moving into uncharted territories that most other racing games have not achieved.

Forza Horizon 5 is not your typical racing game. It has a fictionalized Mexico as the massive in-game world that is waiting for players to discover complete with the distinct environmental features, architectures, and ancient structures that reflect the nation’s rich culture.

At the Horizon Mexico site.
Speeding along the bridge!
That is the volcano!

There are also a whole of races or competitions for you to choose from. If you love racing at high speed on roads, there’s a lot of them. You love off-road racing and are willing to test your ability to drive over mud, sand, dirt or over some vegetation? Lots of those races are available! If you are looking for unusual challengers to compete with, there are special races in which you get to test your skill and might against a speeding train or an airplane or jet skiers! Not only that, there are also these very enduring special races that are over 30 miles long and I personally love the endurance test while performing my best against all the competitors which make the crossing the finish line a very satisfying experience!

Like its predecessors, Forza Horizon 5 is also rich with customization of your cars and even your in-game avatar (who has a voice and lots of lines to speak with). The cars you have can be customized at a Horizon outpost or in your in-game home, and you will have options with regards to vehicular paint, designs and car parts. Not only that, you can also upgrade the car parts and make your car more powerful and move to a higher rating.

A nice place to enjoy the view!
This is a very intense race!
The in-game sky and clouds have that photo-realistic touch.

When it comes to customizing your avatar, you can choose from several pre-designed human models and then adjust the hair style, hair color, prosthetics (note: if you really want this), physical expressions and most notable of all, you will have lots of options on your avatar’s shoes and clothes (shirts, jackets, trousers, skirts and dresses plus hats and eyewear to name some).

Going back into the Forza Horizon 5’s digital Mexico, there will also be some nicely designed places that you can purchase as your avatar’s home and each one is strategically located in different areas that reflect the local look and culture. As of this writing, I already purchased 6 homes, including two each with a 7-figure price tag.

One of my six homes as of this writing.
My newest home that cost 2,000,000 in in-game currency.
If you really want to earn more in-game money, you’ve got win and level-up a lot!

As of my last Forza Horizon 5 session, my car collection is still less than a hundred and already I sent out about ten cars as gifts (note: the barns) for a variety of gamers who play the game. As I was focused on raising money to buy all the homes in the game, my purchasing of new cars has been slow and this only motivates me to keep on joining races, raise as much money from each race and also relying on random winnings from the spin-a-prize sequences. I checked the in-game car shop and I am very impressed with the wide selection of hundreds of cars offered by many vehicular manufacturers from around the world. I like the Porsche cars that made it into the game!

When it comes to gameplay variety, gamers will not only have lots of races to join in, there are also these varied, driving-oriented quests that each have their own story concept and characters who will interact with your avatar. These quests include helping out in stunt car sequences for a movie production, helping a scientist with finding date in key locations, etc. Not only that, there are also these barns to find that each have the remains of an old vehicle that could be restored to working condition. And then there are these timed, limited events/activities you can join in.

A great view of only a portion of the game’s fictionalized Mexico.
A short clip from one of the special activities I took part in.
This Porsche is fast and highly responsive in terms of control! It’s worth spending money on!

I’ve played Forza Horizon 5 for a little over 15 hours now and I can only speculate that there are still a lot more to discover within the game by default. Combine all of those with the seasonal or special events/activities, there is always something new to do and discover in the game!

With Halo Infinite launching in a few more days, I’ve got to play more of Forza Horizon 5 because if the sci-fi shooter is as great and as immersive as what the YouTubers (who had access to 10 hours of the single player campaign) then that would most likely be my regular game to play on Xbox Series X.

As I have yet to complete Forza Horizon 5 as of now, this piece I am writing is NOT a game review but rather my opinion piece based on what I experienced with the game so far. What I can declare is this: if you love cars, exploring, adventuring, good music and if you want the best enjoyment available on Xbox Series X right now, then Forza Horizon 5 is a must-have and must-play game! Forza Horizon 5 is truly a very great game loaded with lots of fun stuff to keep any gamer busy and happy!

I love playing Forza Horizon 5 on my Xbox Series X!

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/

Xbox 20th Anniversary celebrated!

Believe it or not, Xbox is now 20-years-old and I’m not just referring to the line of video game consoles from Microsoft. Xbox today is also a following of dedicated fans as well as a very thriving ecosystem that covers Xbox game consoles as well as Windows PC! Xbox is also home to popular game franchises such as Halo, Forza Motorsport, Forza Horizon and, by means of Bethesda’s integration into Team Xbox, the established franchises of The Elder Scrolls, Doom, Dishonored, Fallout and many others!

The other night, I got to watch live the Xbox 20th anniversary celebration via the official Xbox YouTube channel and I can say that it was worth the wait since it was first announced coming. That being said, I posted below for your viewing pleasure the very Xbox 20th anniversary celebration video which lasts a little over 30 minutes…

Wow! That was a blast of nostalgia, the Xbox development history, games and big-time entertainment there! Were you able to absorb all of that in just one viewing?

Cutting through the stuff, I can say that I was surprised to see 343 Industries announce the sudden release of the Multiplayer Beta of Halo Infinite which itself has a December 8, 2021 release for its very promising single-player campaign. Watch the video below…

That looked awesome! That being said, I should not be surprised of the sudden release of the multiplayer beta because November 15 is the anniversary date of the original Halo: Combat Evolved, and this year also marks 20th anniversary of the said game and the Halo franchise as a whole. Another reason not to be surprised by the announcement is the fact that the multiplayer feature of Halo Infinite was very positively received since it was first unveiled months ago. I believe that having millions of Halo fans play Halo Infinite’s multiplayer beta will add to the growing anticipation of the single-player campaign’s release which is only weeks away from happening. At the same time, I should state that Halo Infinite’s multiplayer aspect will not be limited to last a few years but will be updates more and more and be able to last even more years than any multiplayer feature of past Halo games!

Moving on, I am very delighted with the announcement by Team Xbox that a lot more classic games (from past Xbox consoles) have been made compatible with Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S! Among the new additions into the Xbox backward compatibility program were Dead or Alive 3, F.E.A.R., Max Payne, Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe, Oddworld: Munch’s Odyssey, Ridge Racer 6, Skate 2, and TimeSplitters 2 to name some.

Adding even more awesomeness to this backward compatibility development is the confirmation enhancements (note: frame rates, resolution, etc.) being applied on classic games making them play best on Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X! Posted below is the excerpt from the Xbox.com article containing the very specific details…

Backward Compatible Games play best on Xbox Series X and Series S

A core tenet since the very beginning of the backward compatibility program has been to not only preserve the games you know and love, but also to enhance them using the latest technology so they look and play better than ever before while still staying true to the original creator’s vision. With Xbox Series X|S, we introduced innovations and improvements such as FPS Boost, Auto HDR, and faster loading times, which breathed new life into classic titles.

  • Every backward compatible title added today will experience improved visual quality with Auto HDR on supported displays, which automatically adds HDR enhancements on Xbox Series X|S.
  • Original Xbox games will experience a resolution increase on all Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One consoles on supported displays.
    • 4x resolution increase on Xbox Series X and Xbox One X
    • 3x resolution increase on Xbox Series S
    • 2x resolution increase on Xbox One S and Xbox One
  • Players will experience even smoother gameplay on 11 titles added today via FPS Boost, which doubles the original framerate up to 60 FPS, including F.E.A.R., F.E.A.R. 3, Binary Domain, and NIER.
  • We are also excited to announce we enabled FPS Boost on 26 more titles from the existing catalog including top requested titles such as the entire Gears of War franchise, Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Dragon Age: Origins, Dead Space 2 & 3, Alan Wake and Sonic Generations.
  • And beginning today, FPS Boost is rolling out to 33 titles via Xbox Cloud Gaming (Beta) that were previously enhanced on Xbox Series X|S including Fallout 4, Fallout 76, and The Evil Within 2.

Players can easily toggle FPS Boost as well as Auto HDR on or off under the “Manage Game” section for any title. You decide how you want to experience your favorite games, whether in their original form or enhanced with Auto HDR and FPS Boost enabled.

Having played Xbox games since the original Xbox console, I can say that the enhancements on old games running on any Xbox Series console is very delightful. Very soon I will replay The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion on my Xbox Series X console to rediscover its open-world and quests while enjoying the 60FPS frame rate which will make it a buttery smooth gameplay experience! In relation to these, check out the following videos below showing classic Xbox games enhanced on Xbox Series X.

My Xbox story

Some of you might be wondering what my Xbox story is and how does the Xbox 20th anniversary resonate with me. I can tell you right now my personal experience on witnessing the very launch of the original Xbox game console way back twenty years ago!

The day was November 15, 2001. I was in Hawthorne, California and back then I was still a PlayStation gamer who just happened to be intrigued by Microsoft’s entry in the video game industry.

Being very curious and interested, I hiked all the way to the nearest Best Buy. As I did not have much money, I simply went there to enter and observe. Shopping was not the point of my visit.

As I approached Best Buy through the parking area, I noticed a group of about ten people lined up outside as well as some people entering. It turns out the ones who lined up were there for the Xbox console launch, ready to purchase and waiting for their respective turns. Since I was not there to buy the console, I went inside without hassle.

The original Xbox console with Controller S (which was released in 2002 replacing the original bulky controller).

As it turned out, inside Best Buy, there was a controlled approach organized by the retailer to ensure that the customers buying Xbox, its games and peripherals would have ample time to pick up what they wanted and go to the counter for payment and exit. In other words, it was a turn-based approach on launching the Xbox console locally in a very orderly manner. I also learned that the customers waiting outside the front each had numbers for the Xbox console launch.

While walking around, I saw the original Xbox consoles in their boxed stacked together for the numbered customers to pick up. I also saw shelves of Xbox games and accessories nearby.

Among the customers I witnessed buying the Xbox, I saw a lady moving forward with her pushcart full of varied products (DVDs, CDs, video games and more) and the Xbox stood out among them all! That was a sight to behold!

And that was my personal Xbox 20th anniversary testimony for you all!

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

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Xbox-exclusive The Gunk all set for December 16, 2021 release!

The wave of high excitement and fun for both Team Xbox and all the gamers playing on Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X or Windows PC continues to be felt as the universally acclaimed  Forza Horizon 5 achieved tremendous success before and during launch in terms of being played by MILLIONS of gamers around the world! The success was so tremendous, Team Xbox chief Phil Spencer confirmed it on Twitter!

In addition, the Grand Theft Auto Trilogy – The Definitive Edition just launched digitally and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas became available on Xbox Game Pass (XGP). Oh yes, Bethesda just released The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Anniversary Edition which has new content related to its predecessors The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (note: this I played on Xbox 360 way back in 2006.)

Adding even more to the excitement of gaming on the Xbox ecosystem, Thundeful announced officially via Xbox.com that The Gunk will be released worldwide on December 16, 2021 exclusively on Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X, Windows PC and also on Xbox Game Pass! To start with, watch the latest video about the game below…

Personally, I am interested in playing The Gunk on Xbox Game Pass as soon as it becomes available. At the same time, I am more interested in the talents of game developer Thunderful which is responsible for the SteamWorld franchise of games. I never got to play any SteamWorld game before and as such, The Gunk will be the first Thunderful-made game for me to play ever!

The Gunk, as it turns out, will NOT be the last Xbox-exclusive coming from Thunderful. In fact, the SteamWorld developer is working on another console-exclusive game for Xbox Series consoles and the aging Xbox One which will be released in 2023…Planet of Lana. Check out the trailer below…

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

Xbox-exclusive Forza Horizon 5 gathers lots of rave reviews!

The high excitement for gaming on Xbox One, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X, Xbox Game Pass and Windows PC is real right now as Forza Horizon 5 gained lots of rave reviews from video game critics and YouTubers! As of this writing, the Playground Games-developed Xbox-exclusive game is averaging a score of 91 (out of 100) out of 81 published reviews according to Metacritic!

If you are wondering how does Forza Horizon 5 looks like and what the reviewers said, we can start by taking a look at each of the following video reviews below…

And now, let’s take at some text-based reviews of the game with key quotes highlighted. I highly recommend you read each of their respective reviews for the best possible insight and immersion.

Windows Central Gaming: Forza Horizon 5 is grand and beautiful. It also launches on more platforms simultaneously than any previous Forza game, giving people more ways to experience everything this game across Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC, and Xbox Cloud Gaming through Xbox Game Pass. Absolutely a game of the year contender for 2021, Forza Horizon 5 is the quintessential choice among the best racing games.

TheGamer: Collectively, Forza Horizon 5 does everything right, and in doing so makes Playground Games’ latest entry into the Forza franchise an absolute must-play for any racing enthusiast or casual racing fan.

Game Revolution: Forza Horizon 5 is the best Forza yet and, not only that, but it also makes a strong case for being the best racing game period. A joyous combo of arcade racing and simulation-level depth, all wrapped up in a beautiful bow thanks to its diverse, expansive Mexico setting, this is an unmissable iteration in what is arguably gaming’s most consistently fantastic series.

Press Start Australia: I’ve played a few open-world racers in my time, but I’m not sure I’ve ever come across one so feature-rich. It really is comprehensive, nailing the scope of its world while filling the world with meaningful things to do, offering a suite of multiplayer and co-op possibilities, and free-roam of a boiled-down vision of Mexico that’s begging to be explored.

Now that the game critics and YouTubers have spoken, it is clear that Forza Horizon 5 is a great game just waiting to be played by gamers worldwide and the 3-year wait for it is worth it. Playground Games worked hard to make the Xbox-exclusive racing game and it looks very polished and almost flawless. Forza Horizon 5 is set for a general release worldwide on November 9, 2021. If the rave reviews it gathered have convinced you already, you can acquire a copy (digital or physical) online here, here, here or here to name a few.

Very clearly, the age of “Xbox has no games” is over and Forza Horizon 5 is just one of many upcoming Xbox-exclusive games realized. Given the open-world racer’s massive critical success, it is clear that Team Xbox has indeed reached a turning point heading towards a new age of super fun and high quality Xbox-exclusive games. Neither Sony nor Nintendo has anything to compete with Forza Horizon 5 with regards to the open-world racing genre. Now is only the beginning of a new age of high excitement for Xbox fans (reminder: Xbox 20th anniversary celebration will take place on November 15, 2021) and anyone who loves games on Xbox platforms and Windows PC! I believe Forza Horizon 5 will impress even the most rabid Xbox-haters when they play it enough. I would not be shocked if Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi is playing Forza Horizon 5 in secret somewhere, to learn from it so he can complete his work on Gran Turismo 7.

In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox and Forza Horizon 5-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

The Banner Saga developers and Team Xbox working together on a new Xbox-exclusive game

Can you feel the excitement of video games right now? The highly acclaimed Forza Horizon 5 is just days away from launching globally while the anticipated Xbox 20th anniversary celebration on November 15, 2021 is gradually approaching! A little over a month from now, Halo Infinite will be released globally and already its single-player campaign is very promising.

Adding more to the excitement was the recent article written by Jez Corden (the same guy who wrote the recent hot scoop about the Xbox fantasy RPG Avowed) about another Xbox-exclusive game being made by Stoic Studio, the team behind The Banner Saga trilogy of games. The said game is referred to as Project Belfry.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from Jez Corden’s article published recently by Windows Central Gaming. Some parts in boldface…

I mentioned a couple of weeks back about a codename ‘Belfry’ I’d discovered pertaining to an upcoming Xbox game on my Xbox Two podcast show with YouTuber Rand Al Thor 19. Up until now, I wasn’t sure exactly what the game was, besides a vague reference to bell towers. I knew Stoic was building a game with Xbox too, but it wasn’t until Jeff Grubb put the final pieces together on his show today that everything fit into place. Grubb also gave us key details about the game and some snippets about what to expect.

Project Belfry will sport similar painted art styles to that found in The Banner Saga, depicted above, while sporting side-scrolling brawling combat, similar to the likes of the PlayStation exclusive ‘Dragon’s Crown’. Grubb specifically linked the art style to the anime movie ‘Princess Mononoke,’ which sounds like it could be quite gorgeous indeed. The “Belfry,” hinted at by the game’s codename, will form some sort of base for crafting and upgrades, too.

Belfry is another title joining what seems to be a vast expansion of Xbox Global Publishing’s footprint, working with developers big and small to bring more titles to Xbox Game Pass. We’ve seen larger studios jump on board, featuring Avalanche on Contraband, and we have strong rumors about Project Dragon, built in partnership with Hitman’s IO Interactive. Belfry may be on the smaller side, joining the action RPG from Brass Lion Entertainment codenamed Shaolin, but given the quality of The Banner Saga, Project Belfry may well punch far above its weight.

If you haven’t already, you should definitely give The Banner Saga a go, given that it’s now available as a neat and tidy trilogy package. Your decisions carry over between games too, affecting the way the story pans out in a big way.

Now watch this video about The Banner Saga trilogy below. It should give you an idea about what kind of games Stoic Studio makes and what kind of visuals you can expect from them.

While I myself have not yet played any games of The Banner Saga, the above scoop by Jez Corden (with acknowledgement to Jeff Grubb) is indeed very pleasant and only shows that new and more Xbox-exclusive games are coming. The catch here is that this an exclusive project that does not involve any of the internal Xbox game studios at all business-wise. Xbox Global Publishing is an arm of Team Xbox that negotiates and deals with independent game developers for new projects exclusive on the Xbox ecosystem. This Stoic-made Xbox project should remind you about Contraband, the upcoming Xbox-exclusive game made by Avalanche Studio, the team responsible for the 2015 Mad Max game.

As it is true that Team Xbox will continue to acquire more game studios and while fully funding the many, many Xbox-exclusive games in production for release in the near future, it is really nice to see that they are still negotiating with independent game studios to make exclusive stuff. It comes to show that Microsoft values business partnerships and they are aware that there are lots of game studios or even publishers which are not yet willing to be acquired as they still prefer to be independent even though they may be struggling financially. Just recently, Microsoft and Sega started a new business partnership in the form of a strategic alliance. That being said, the Stoic Xbox project called Project Belfry is something to look forward to.

By the way, have you all bought yourselves an Xbox Series S or an Xbox Series X console? Have you subscribed to Xbox Game Pass already? The definitive edition of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas will launch on XGP on November 11.

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