Amazon purchases Killer Instinct developer

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No, not Rare – Microsoft is likely to never give them up after the massive investment that purchased the studio back in 2002.  The developer of the new Killer Instinct title released on Microsoft’s Xbox One Double Helix has been acquired by Amazon and is a part of their push to “build innovative games for customers.”

The acquisition, unsurprisingly, does not affect Microsoft’s Killer Instinct property which remains theirs; the software giant has also announced that their internal KI team is unaffected and remains dedicated to supporting the game.  Microsoft will be working with a new partner going forward to support the Xbox One launch title and any additional entries in the franchise.  As a dedicated KI fan, this is the good news.  While I was thoroughly pleased with the latest entry in the franchise and commended Double Helix for resurrecting it, I have faith that Microsoft will do well by the fans in curating this fan favorite franchise.

Amazon’s move to acquire a game developer is not terribly surprising given rumors that the online retailer is working on a game console of their own.  At this point, it’s unclear if Double Helix will work on more major releases or “full” games or will be restructured to focus on casual games for Amazon’s Kindle Fire line of tablets.

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Neill Blomkamp may direct the Halo pilot

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Neill Blomkamp has a history with Halo:  he was attached as the director of the Peter Jackson produced Halo film that fell apart some years back and he directed the live action Halo 3 promotional film.  He knows the universe and his style is a perfect fit for the Haloverse.  That said, it’s very exciting that Blomkamp may be directing the première episode of the Halo television series that was announced for Xbox One.  While this has yet to be officially confirmed, the thought of a Blomkamp directed episode of the Halo TV series is exciting.

San Andreas is now available on Windows Phone

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Rockstar Games has finally brought Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas to Windows Phone 8 devices.  Currently, the game is only supported on the following Nokia Lumia devices: 1520, 1320, 822, 820, 810 and HTC’s 8XT.  Consumer reviews on the game indicate that it is running fine on the Lumia 920 and 928 devices.  The game is available on the Windows Store for $6.99.

While it’s great that Rockstar is supporting Windows Phone, it is a bit disappointing to note that this release of San Andreas doesn’t take advantage of Windows Phone’s Xbox support.  Yep, no Achievement support for GTA on your Windows Phone.

Microsoft now wholly owns Gears of War

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Gears of War is a big franchise – one that’s managed to stay exclusive to Microsoft’s Xbox platforms for 8 years due to a close partnership with Epic Games.  Each game in the franchise was published by Microsoft, but the intellectual property still remained in the possession of Epic – meaning that Epic, after fulfilling their agreement with Microsoft, could have potentially brought the franchise to Sony’s platforms.  This has now changed as Microsoft is now the IP owner of the Gears of War franchise – a win for Microsoft who, since the release of the Kinect, has been struggling to boost their library of exclusive titles.

As an avid gamer, I would like to see Microsoft pursue more new franchises, but a Gears game on my Xbox one is mighty tempting.  On the other side, while I have yet to play Judgment, I felt that the third game was a solid conclusion to the franchise.  As much as I love playing Gears of War, I do feel like sometimes it’s okay to let a franchise end – especially when the end pretty well concludes the story.

No plans for Project Spark on Windows RT

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After (finally) getting an invite to Microsoft’s game creation application Project Spark, I was excited to dive in and start creating worlds with my Surface 2 (as it’s the only computer I own with a touch screen).  After encountering an error when trying to download the game from the Windows store, I contacted Microsoft support regarding the error and was informed that Project Spark has only been announced for Windows 8.1, Xbox One, and Xbox 360.  While this is something I’ve known, I assumed that the “Windows 8.1” part of that would include their tablet OS Windows RT – this is not the case.

In response to my query, Microsoft responded with:  “Project Spark beta is currently available only in Windows 8.1.  Eventually, Project Spark will also be on Xbox 360 and Xbox One.  We have not announced any plans for Project Spark on Windows 7 or RT.”  So, there you have it, Surface RT and Surface 2 owners, there are currently no plans for Project Spark on your tablet.

That said, if you’ve received a beta invite for Project Spark, you can still access the game on a Windows 8.1 PC and will be automatically granted access to the Xbox One beta when that rolls out in February.  Microsoft has assured beta participants that a new set of codes will also be sent out to beta participants for the Xbox One beta release in the event that they gave their beta access to another user.

Next Halo coming to Xbox One in 2014

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Halo for the Xbox one has been confirmed for a 2014 release. The game was announced at this past E3 as simply “Halo” and Microsoft states that the reason we haven’t heard a confirmation regarding a release window for the next entry in the Halo saga is due to the newest game not having an official title just yet – suggesting Microsoft doesn’t want to commit to Halo 5 for the Chief’s next battle.

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Hello Games announces No Man’s Sky

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Hello Games, developer of Joe Danger, has announced today on VGX the next gen title No Man’s Sky.  The game will be a science fiction featuring a huge universe that encourages exploration with multiple planets to explore from top to bottom.  The game promises that the stars in the sky are suns featuring planets that can be explored with a “living” persistent world.  It looks like a game with a lot of promise and I’ll be sure to post more regarding this game when more details become available.

Tomb Raider : Definitive Edition announced for next gen

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Tomb Raider was released earlier this year and was well received.  Personally, I found the game to be the best I’ve played this year and easily one of the best on this current generation of gaming platforms.  It had some of the best action platforming I’ve ever experienced and was a much-needed reboot to a stagnating gaming franchise.  Needless to say, I’m ready to get stranded on a hostile island with Lara Croft again with the power of the new game consoles.  The game will feature improved graphics with some of the highlights being a completely reconstructed face for Lara as well as more realistic hair effects.  From the trailer that was shown on VGX, it wasn’t terribly mind-blowing with the graphical improvements, but the hair does look good.  The game will be released on Xbox One and PS4 and will be available next month.

Tales from the Borderlands announced

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Today is the videogame awar… VGX.  And with that, not only do we get some game of the year winners courtesy of GameTrailers, but also some exciting new game announcements.  With that, the first announcement to come from VGX is Tales from the Borderlands.  The game will be a collaboration between Telltale Games, the fine folks behind The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, and Gearbox Software, the studio behind the Borderlands and Brothers in Arms franchises.  The game will be an episodic adventure, in traditional Telltale fashion.  Stay tuned to PowerUp for more on Tales from the Borderlands.

Xbox One has its own SmartGlass app

Gamers looking to get Microsoft’s new game console should note that it will feature its own, updated SmartGlass app. The current app available for using the feature on 360 is not compatible with the Xbox One. The updated app is definitely worth a download for gamers looking to expand their Xbox gaming experience. Dead Rising 3, an Xbox One exclusive launch title, will feature exclusive missions using the SmartGlass feature. The app is available for free download on Windows Phone, Android, and iOS.