Posts Tagged ‘Microsoft’

Sea of Thieves is in final beta, finally


Sea of Thieves, the Microsoft open-world Jolly Rodger MMO, is finally in final beta. The title launches for realsies on March 20th, so this is the last chance for the community to test out the swashbuckling adventure before it becomes the biggest time-suck of your spring.

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Sea Of Thieves’ servers need plundering this weekend

Sea of Thieves

While I’ve not had the chance to find my sea legs yet, our Alec has greatly enjoyed his time thusfar with Rare’s upcoming co-op pirate sandbox adventure Sea of Thieves. Over the past month or two, beta testing events for the game have been stepping up, and now it’s in the final stretch of development. There’s just one thing left to do: Bracing for impact.

In order to help ensure that their servers don’t completely melt down on launch day, Rare are going to be running a series of Scale Testing beta weekends from now until release. The first of which is due to kick off tomorrow morning, 10am GMT, and end at the same time on Sunday morning.

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Sea of Thieves to add microtransactions three months after launch

sea of thieves header 620x319

Our Alec had a rum old time with Sea of Thieves‘ beta version, but the rest of us landlubbers will have to wait until March 20th before we can hoist the mainsail, scrub the poop deck, and [insert third funny-sounding nautical thing here]. In the meantime, there are brows to furrow and consternation to be had about microtransactions, loot boxes and the like. If you like the cut of Thieves’ jib, you’ll be pleased to hear that there are no loot crates planned, and that there will be no microtransactions…at least at launch. You may be less enamoured with developer Rare’s plan to implement them as part of the game’s first major post-release update.

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Sea Of Thieves system requirements and recommended specs announced


Has yer galleon got at least 4GB of RAM? Alas, if ye be missin’ that component, you’d best stay in port. *Ahem* Rare have announced the system requirements for their upcoming co-op pirate simulator Sea of Thieves. The game, which is due out on March 20th, has been heavily marketed as an Xbox One exclusive, but it will also be coming to the Microsoft store for anyone wanting to play it with a mouse & cutlass providing you’ve got a PC that can handle it. Read the rest of this entry »

Ships in the night: Sea Of Thieves beta impressions


Today I’ve been playing the Sea of Thieves closed beta, which is available to invitees and anyone who pre-orders between now and Monday Jan 29, and offers a limited slice of Rare’s open-world, mostly multiplayer pirate game. As such, it’s a bit of a rum do.

Between the small playerbase for the beta and assorted missing features (held back until release so as to not spoil too many surprises, apparently), the experience so far is more ghost ship than cosmopolitan Caribbean. It’s not too hard to find a few mateys to avast away with, but rare to bump into anyone else on the high waters. You’ve got to fill the time somehow though, right? So here’s a clip of how it tends to go.
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A new Fable game is reportedly in the pipes


A couple of weeks back, rumours started spreading that a new Fable game was in the works. That seemed odd considering Microsoft shut down Lionhead, the studio that made the Fable games, nearly two years ago. According to Eurogamer, those rumours were on the money: new Fable is coming, and it’ll be “a story and character-focussed open-world action RPG” made by UK developer Playground Games.

They’re the chaps that made Forza Horizon, so we can all look forward to zooming around Albion in Venom GTs and Camero ZL1s.

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Xbox’s giant joypad for mega hands is coming to PC

It's so big it doesn't even fit comfortably into this pictrue

Have you got thumbs the size of two large chorizos? Well good news, sausage hands, the original Xbox pad, aka The Duke, aka the only videogame controller that has ever fit snugly into your colossal claws, is seeing a re-release in March. It has seen a few small changes but the dimensions remain chunky and challenging. And like it’s modern counterparts, it’ll be usable on PC. Read the rest of this entry »

Sea Of Thieves’ latest alpha makes piracy more sociable

Sea of Thieves

Living in the tense geopolitical hellscape that is Earth 2017, it’s easy to forget the childlike thrill of adventure inherent in swashbuckling with a crew of buddies across the virtual seas. It’s been a while since we covered Sea of Thieves, Rare’s game of cooperative piracy, but it looks like development is chugging along nicely and, as far as we know, on track for a release early next year.

Detailed in a rather comprehensive video after the jump, Rare lay out (in piratical form) a list of oddly low-key yet vital features coming to the next alpha build of the game, available to anyone in their Insider Programme.

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Microsoft’s cheaper, lower-spec VR initiative Mixed Reality launches October 17th

Arriving late to virtual reality, Microsoft have rebranded it Windows Mixed Reality et voila, the revolution will begin anew on October 17th. Microsoft have announced that Mixed Reality support will hit Windows 10 in the Fall Creators Update on that day, launching their VR initiative alongside headsets from several companies. Windows Mixed Reality is a term that supposedly will one day encompass both virtual reality and augmented reality (where cyberbits interact with the real world before our eyes), but the launch lineup is all VR headsets starting around £250. They’re not regular cybergoggs, mind, bearing lower system requirements and including built-in sensors that mean you don’t need to set up external sensors for motion controllers. And it’s named Mixed Reality, so it’s clearly different.

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Spawn Point: how to get into real-time strategy


Hello. This is Spawn Point, a new not-quite-regular feature in which we take a genre, series or other facet of gaming culture, and try to convince you to give it a shot. It might be those hero shooters you’ve always wanted to get into, or that terrifying space game played by thousands of jerks. We’ll briefly explain the thing, followed by some ways for you to breach it.

First up, it’s… the real-time strategy. Read the rest of this entry »

Should kids be taught in schools using Minecraft?


“The 14-year-old me was weeping inside” says Tom Bennett, the UK government’s school behaviour tsar. He’s recalling the time that Ian Livingstone – the co-creator of both Games Workshop and Fighting Fantasy, the series of role-playing books – called him a “luddite”. “It really upset me, I used to love the books and the games that came from them.”

The reason Bennett became the target of Livingstone’s ire is because of his views on Minecraft in classrooms. Last November, Microsoft released Minecraft: Education Edition, an enhanced version of the game that has extra tools for teachers to plan and set up lessons, whether that’s recreating a Shakespeare play or building the Great Pyramids. They can build worlds faster than usual, monitor their students’ activity and help them build online portfolios of their work. In an interview with The Times shortly after, Bennett said that the game was a “gimmick” that would “get in the way of children actually learning”.

The topic of Minecraft in schools sparks a lot of passion on both sides of the debate: some teachers, academics, and Microsoft itself believe that Minecraft can change the way children learn. By giving kids lessons inside a tool that they’re excited about, they will learn more, the argument goes. But Bennett and others say that in-game lessons hinder children’s learning by distracting from the subject matter at hand. The question is: how do we know who’s right? And, as Microsoft prepares for the first full school year since the Education Edition launched, what does the future of Minecraft in schools look like? Read the rest of this entry »

Have You Played… Halo: Combat Evolved?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.

WHAT. How have we gone so long without mentioning Halo in ‘Have You Played’? Maybe because it’s such an obvious choice, a monster of both profit and influence. Every shooter since has something to owe Halo, for better or worse. Microsoft’s console expedition certainly has something to owe it, not that we care. Read the rest of this entry »

Halo fan game Installation 01 gets ‘OK’ from 343 Industries

We learned last year that Installation 01 [official site], a multiplayer-only fan remake of the early Halo games, was in the works, when they announced that they were aiming for a Halo 3 style of play. They’ve also been following Microsoft’s own legal rules for fan projects, said the team behind it, in the hope they’d avoid the SHUT IT DOWN message these projects often get from cross-looking men in suits. Well, it looks like their careful tip-toeing around those rules paid off, at least for now. They’ve been told by 343 Industries that the fan game is “not under imminent legal threat” so long as they keep abiding by those rules.
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Sea of Thieves’ storms, skeletons and treasure hunting

Pirates, the most untrustworthy of the Cowboy-Pirate-Zombie triumvirate in charge of the videogame industry, are getting their fill of the E3 booty this year. While Ubisoft revealed Skull and Bones, Microsoft have shown off more of the type of thing you’ll be doing in their online co-op plunder-em-up Sea of Thieves [official site]. You can see a Scottishly narrated (and highly scripted) example of a treasure hunt reaching its stormy conclusion in this trailer below deck.
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Deck-based beat ’em up Phantom Dust out now free

Phantom Dust is one of those games that lots of people talk about but nobody I know actually bought back in the day. Originally released for the Xbox None in 2004, it’s a 3D fighting game set in destructible environments. The twist is that all of your character’s abilities are determined by a deck of cards, so you can switch in new attacks, blocks and specials when you earn/buy new cards.

Today Microsoft re-released it free on both Windows 10 and Xbox One, with cards available as microtransactions. You can, I believe, unlock every card in the game by playing. Here’s a video from Microsoft explaining how it works.

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Halo Wars: Definitive Edition trundles onto Steam today

I went for the word “trundles” in the headline because “warthogs” isn’t really a verb and I don’t know if I have the literary capital to pull off that particular innovation. Sorry, everyone. Anyway, a spruced-up version of Halo Wars the First has come out on Steam, allowing many to play the spin-off’d RTS for the first time. Previously it was only available as an inclusion on a special edition of the recent Halo Wars 2, which is a Windows 10-only affair as far as PCs are concerned. This is good news nonetheless, but there is a multiplayer catch. You can’t play with Windows Store chums.
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What Xbox ‘Project Scorpio’ means for PC gaming

Microsoft has dished the deets on its upcoming ‘Scorpio’ hardware update for the Xbox console, and in what amounts to uncharacteristic detail and candour given the ruddy thing isn’t going on sale until the end of 2017. But what are we poor PC peasants to make of the Beast of Redmond’s latest game box and its towering on-paper capabilities? In short, what influence will Project Scorpio’s trick new hardware have on future PC games? Read the rest of this entry »