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All the news from February’s Inside Xbox

Inside Xbox

Inside Xbox is back for 2019. The first show of the year gave us lots of interesting bits of information about upcoming games, game pass, and some great announcements. Rather than drowning you (or our site) in a deluge of news stories we thought we would group them all in one place. Anyway, here are all the announcements and news from the February edition of Inside Xbox.

Crackdown 3

The stream started off with Crackdown 3. The open-world action platformer is due out in a matter of days after suffering one of the more prolonged development periods that we have seen. The game’s creative director, Joseph Staten, was on hand to share some information about the game. One of the first things he talked about was how this is not a direct sequel to the other games. This is a new world with new bad guys. The action, this time, takes place in New Providence which is twice as big and twice as tall as Pacific City (from the first two games). You are tasked with taking down an evil mega-corporation called Terra Nova. These adversaries have been carrying out ‘Blackout Attacks’ and you need to stop them.

Of course, with this being a Crackdown title, it’s not so much about the plot as the open-world that you are presented with. In fact, Staten said, “there’s no tight linear story you have to follow. The game just adapts to whatever you love doing and the game unfolds that way”. He then went on to say “If you want to go straight for the final boss tower, right out the gate, you can totally do that. Climb her skyscraper and just take her down. It won’t be very easy, though.”

He also talked about Wrecking Zone, the multiplayer component of the game. This uses cloud-based physic processing via Microsoft’s Azure servers. This not only allows for some seriously impressive destruction but means that you get the same experience whether you are playing on a launch Xbox One, and Xbox One X, or even a PC. Every physics ‘chunk’ will be the same for everyone. This level of destruction is not just for the spectacle, though. It’s tactical. Staten spoke about how you could use it to punch your way through a building to reach someone or drop a bridge on them.

It was also confirmed what would be available at launch. Wrecking Zone will feature 3 maps and 2 modes for its 5×5 PVP carnage. This will launch alongside the campaign, which can be played co-operatively with a friend, when the game launches on 15th February.

Game Pass

It wouldn’t be an episode of Inside Xbox without a load a slew of new games coming to Game Pass. While there were nowhere near as many announcements as at the X019 event, we did learn of some big titles coming to the service. The most prominent was that Shadow of the Tomb Raider will be available to subscribers from the 7th February. Also on that day Pumped BMX Pro, a 2D racer similar to Trials, will join the service. Two other big-name additions were Telltale’s The Walking Dead – Season 1 and Batman: Return to Arkham, which features remastered versions of Arkham Asylum and Arkham City. Finally, De Blob, the puzzle-platformer from BlitWorks, will be added to Game Pass on 14th February (how romantic). All of these are, of course, in addition to Crackdown 3 which will be available via the service on 15th February.

Mortal Kombat 11

Next up was a conversation with Ed Boon, the director at NetheRealm Studios. He talked about their new instalment in the Mortal Kombat franchise. The first thing he mentioned was how the meters in the game have changed. “The last four games that NetherRealm has done, we had a meter, kind of at the bottom of the screen, that the player would use to enhance his offensive moves and enhance his defensive moves, or save up to do a super. With Mortal Kombat 11 we separated all three of those components. So, there’s an offensive meter which is the horizontal one, there’s a defensive meter which is the vertical one, and the fatal blows are put on the player’s health bar when it reaches below 30%.” He explained the reasoning behind this was so that players weren’t limited and would never be able to perform a super move as they were focusing on powering up their attacks or defence.

He went to talk about how they changed the visuals and particularly the fatalities. The already gruesome animations now end with a big splash with time freezing for you to really see the damage that has been done. The character variations that were introduced in Mortal Kombat X are back and there’s a new option this time to create custom (or kustom) variations. He also went on to reveal that D’Vorah will be returning to the franchise as a playable character. She is ‘a half-human, half-insect fighter who is aligned with Kotal Kahn, the ruler of Outworld.’

Microsoft Studios – Xbox Game Studios

Matt Booty (great name) from Microsoft Studios made an appearance to announce that the game development organisation is changing its name. Microsoft Studios is being rebranded as Xbox Game Studios. He talked about how Xbox is now a brand that is not just a console but is utilised on all the platforms that Microsoft inhabits. This won’t change anything that the organisation does but does continue the developments that have been going within it alongside the numerous studio acquisitions that were announced last year.

Halo: Outpost Discovery

If you’re a US-based fan of the Halo franchise, then this is one for you. Halo: Outpost Discovery is a ‘touring fan experience’ with lots of Halo-themed attractions and interactive exhibits. Alongside life-size exhibits like a real-life Warthog, there’s a laser-tag arena, competitive VR, numerous game stations, as well as panels where you can meet the creators of Halo as well as some special guests. Halo: Outpost Discovery will be visiting 5 major US cities. These are Orlando, Philadelphia, Chicago, Houston, and Anaheim.

Tom Clancy’s The Division 2

Major Nelson interviewed Julian Gerighty, creative director on The Division 2, about the game. First of all, he confirmed that the Xbox One X version will run at 4K with HDR and said that it will be the best console version. He then went on to reveal that your base of operations in The Division 2 will be the White House. Next, he talked about why the action has moved to Washington. He explained that it offers wide open spaces and historic buildings as well as suburbs, commercial areas, and nature. He also announced that the endgame will introduce a new faction.

Sea of Thieves

Joe Neate, executive producer on the game, was on hand to talk Sea of Thieves. First of all he talked about how the game is continuing to be successful. January saw the game have its biggest month on streaming platforms and the active player base has doubled. Their aim now is to make year 2 even bigger than the first year. Crossplay is still a big part of the game but with the addition of The Arena mode, there will be the option to turn it off. He also announced ‘Friends Play Free’. This promotion will run from 6th February to 13th February and allow anyone who owns Sea of Thieves to send codes to three of their friends to have full access to the game during that period.

Jump Force

Highly anticipated anime fighter, Jump Force, is nearing release and producer on the game, Koji Nakajima, was on hand to announce a couple of new characters in the game. Jotaro and DIO from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure will be joining Jump Force. He also explained that the game will have free updates and cross IP costumes. No real specifics were detailed on these things but should at least provide some more anticipation to fans who are already hyped.

Metro Exodus

First off, we got a really trippy trailer for the game that launches next week. Huw Beynon, head of global brand management at Deep Silver, was on hand to talk about Metro Exodus. He talked about how this game really changes the template for the series. For the first time in the franchise you leave Moscow and see different sights and seasons. He confirmed that the game will run at native 4K on Xbox One X. A new trailer for the game was also revealed.


Other news in brief

New Controller – The Sport Red Special Edition controller was announced. It will be available from 5th March.
Astroneer – Astroneer will be leaving the game preview program and having a full release today.

Steve Clist
Joint Editor-in-Chief at Xbox Enthusiast as well as a contributor for Nintendo Enthusiast and PlayStation Enthusiast. Steve is a musician and gamer who loves sharing his passion for each. You will normally find him at the front of the grid in racing games or on the other end of the kill cam when you've just been killed in a first-person shooter.

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