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Halo 5: Guardians coming to Xbox One next year

- May 16th, 2014

The next chapter in Master Chief’s saga now has a name and a release date.

Halo5

Halo 5: Guardians will land exclusively on Microsoft’s Xbox One console in the fall of 2015, continuing the story of the cybernetically enhanced super solider we last saw in 2012’s Halo 4.

Mourning the loss of his A.I. companion Cortana, who sacrificed herself to save humanity at the end of Halo 4, Master Chief will be struggling with some weighty moral issues in Halo 5.

“He’s questioning everything,” said Bonnie Ross, general manager of Halo development studio 343 Industries, at the Halo 5 announcement this week in Santa Monica, Calif. “He’s questioning his past, his purpose, what he’s fighting for and why he’s fighting.”

Frank O’Connor, Halo’s franchise development director, said Halo 5 will actually affect the way other games are developed for Microsoft’s Xbox One console.

“It’s a big deal to us because of the transition to the Xbox One platform,” says O’Connor. “All of the Halo games, more or less, have added something to the Xbox One ecosystem.”

343 Industries isn’t saying much more about Halo 5’s storyline right now, but in a blog entry posted to the Xbox Wire website this morning, Ross wrote that Halo 5: Guardians “is a bigger effort than Halo 4. That applies to the content and scope of the game, as well as the technology in what’s now a brand new and more powerful engine.

“Certainly there are some core elements carried over from prior games, but we’ve invested a huge effort in retooling our tech to take full advantage of the Xbox One’s hardware and ecosystem to create worlds and experiences worthy of next-gen.”

While Halo 5 won’t arrive until late next year, Microsoft says there will be some big Halo news unveiled at next month’s E3 Expo in Los Angeles, related to something that will be coming in 2014. Maybe that Halo dating sim will finally be a reality.

What’s inside the giant Xbox One?

- October 30th, 2013
XboxOne_Vancouver

The world’s biggest Xbox One. This is NOT going to fit in my living room.

Might as well get the obvious gag out of the way first: “Hey look, it’s an exact 1:1 replica of an Xbox One!” There. Feel better?

A giant Xbox One has landed in Vancouver, kicking off the Canada-exclusive One Source program, which will see the 40-foot by nine-foot (12-metre by three-metre) behemoth pop up in other yet-to-be-revealed Canadian cities between now and the Xbox One’s Nov. 22 launch.

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Prices for Xbox One accessories announced

- July 29th, 2013
Xbox One

Xbox One is shown on display during a press event unveiling Microsoft’s new Xbox in Redmond, Washington May 21, 2013. REUTERS/Nick Adams

UPDATE: As Dan, the commenter below points out: Canadian pricing has been released for the Xbox One accessories and they are identical to the U.S. prices.  You can find the products here.

Microsoft has announced the pricing for extra Xbox One controllers and other accessories on its U.S. store website.

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E3 2013: Two new ones from Ubisoft

- June 10th, 2013

Which one’s fast, and which one’s furious?

Call it World of Carcraft.

Ubisoft has taken the wraps off The Crew, a next-gen driving game that’s kind of like an MMO on wheels. Set in a virtual USA that includes detailed recreations of New York, Chicago, Miami, Las Vegas and more, the game will urge players to form up into groups and take on Fast & Furious-style missions ranging from races to taking down an armoured truck

I went hands-on with the game Sunday afternoon, and it shows some promise. Developed by new studio Ivory Tower, which includes members of both Eden Games (the Test Drive franchise) and Reflections (the Driver series), the game will allow players to hop into any spot in its sprawling, persistent world, in which each city is the size of Grand Theft Auto IV’s Liberty City.

The game is developed with “co-opetition” in mind, where players group up for missions but then receive individual scores based on how well they perform. There’s a staggering amount of car customizability, and doing missions earns you the automotive equivalent of loot, netting upgrades that improve various aspects of your ride.

I played a very early build of the Xbox One version of the game (which marks my first time using the new Xbox One controller to actually play a game – felt great), and while there’s plenty of visual shine, it’s still got a ways to go. But that very specific Venn diagram overlap between car nerds and MMO fans should go nuts for the game when it comes out early in 2014.

The Crew will feature lots of licensed vehicles to race, roll and wreck.

Also coming up from Ubisoft is a new next-gen Tom Clancy game, called Tom Clancy’s The Division. Now this… THIS sounds intriguing. Based on the idea that society is always “nine meals away from anarchy” – that is, three days without food, water or services until all hell breaks loose – the game will cast players as a decidedly non-super soldier, part of a group of jacks-of-all-trades trained to activate if the world goes to hell.

The backstory of the game involves a pandemic spread through currency on Black Friday, and the game will play as a third-person shooter melded with an open-world online RPG – think Watch Dogs meets Day Z. It’s an ambitious departure for Ubisoft and the Clancy franchise, and I can’t wait to see more.