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Microsoft’s Gamescom Offerings: New Fable, Killer Instinct Pricing, and ID@Xbox

Microsoft also had a showing today, and they detailed many different things. They demoed some of their games (while announcing new ones), showed off some exclusive content hitting their platforms and most importantly redeeming themselves to the indie crowd. 

One of the biggest reversals the Microsoft did with the Xbox One was their handling of games developed by independent developers. Today, the company detailed how they’re fixing it. Called Independent Developers @ Xbox (ID@Xbox for short), this is the platform they’ve developed alongside many indie devs (according to Microsoft). Registered developers get two free development kits that’ll access them to toolsets publishers also receive, meaning indies can now incorporate achievements, Xbox Live, cloud services and Kinect functionality into their games. Also announced earlier this summer, Microsoft wants the Xbox One itself to be a dev kit for self publishing, and that’s a long term goal the company hopes to achieve next year. The only true downside to this is that Microsoft seems to have final say of the price of the game, with the developer only able to set a “wholesale price.”

Outside the indie scene, Popcap announced that Peggle 2 and Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare are timed Xbox exclusives, with Peggle hitting the console’s launch and Garden Warfare launching soon after in early 2014.

Microsoft also unveiled the pricing structure for Killer Instinct. The game is free to download, but you’re limited to Jago for online fights. From there, you can invest $5 for each new character and if you want all eight that’s currently planned, it’ll just set you back $20. Six of those eight characters will be unlocked on day one and the remaining two will be released later. There’s also an “Ultra Edition” available to purchase and that’ll get you the characters, accessory packs, costumes and the original Killer Instinct for Arcade. As long as the final product is fun and balanced, that’s quite a good deal.

Ubisoft announces an Xbox One Kinect game called Fighter Within for the system’s launch. From the looks of it, it seems like it’s the successor the not-so-great Kinect launch title Fighters Uncaged. According to Ubisoft, you’ll be able to kick, punch, counter, throw, combo and perform special moves onto opponents. There was no demonstration of the game, so we’ll see if it’s like its predecessor.

Microsoft also announced a couple bundles for the Xbox One for Europe, with the first one is a pretty big deal for the region. Any Day One Edition Xbox One that’s preordered will be bundled with a free copy of the next installment of one of the most popular games in Europe, FIFA Soccer 2014. Speaking of FIFA, Microsoft also announced that the Xbox One and 360 will have the exclusive Ultimate Team Legends, which allows football (soccer) stars from yesteryear to be playable in the Ultimate Team Mode alongside today’s players. The other bundle is the Xbox One bundled with Call of Duty Ghosts, though a price for it is still unknown.

Rare showed off the Champion Creation mode for the now-delayed Kinect Sports Rivals. The Kinect snaps a pic of your body and generates a character that looks like it was ripped from Disney Infinity based on your face, hair, skin tone, body shape. The only thing you have to edit manually is your gender, but I guess that’s better than the alternative…

One of the biggest announcements that came out of Gamescom was the announcement of Lionhead’s Fable Legends. Players can play as swordsmen, giant shield wielding tanks, magicians and rangers, with the ability to combo attacks with one another no matter what class you are via co-op. Legends is extremely colorful and is built using Unreal Engine 4. You can play as a villain and place minions and traps with Smartglass.

Lastly, Microsoft has unveiled the launch lineup for the Xbox One:

Assassin's Creed IV Black Flag (Ubisoft, Ubisoft)
Battlefield 4 (DICE, Electronic Arts)
Call of Duty: Ghosts (Infinity Ward, Activision)
Crimson Dragon (Grounding/Land Ho!, Microsoft Studios)
Dead Rising 3 (Capcom Vancouver, Microsoft)
FIFA 14 (EA Sports, Electronic Arts)
Fighter Within (AMA Ltd., Ubisoft)
Forza Motorsport 5 (Turn 10 Studios, Microsoft Studios)
Just Dance 2014 (Ubisoft Paris, Ubisoft)
Killer Instinct (Double Helix, Microsoft Studios)
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (TT Games, Warner Bros. Interactive)
Lococycle (Twisted Pixel, Microsoft Studios)
Madden NFL 25 (EA Sports, Electronic Arts)
NBA 2K14 (Visual Concepts, 2K Sports)
NBA LIVE 14 (EA Sports, Electronic Arts)
Need for Speed: Rivals (Ghost Games, Electronic Arts)
Peggle 2 (Popcap, Electronic Arts)
Powerstar Golf (Zoe Mode, Microsoft Studios)
Ryse: Son of Rome (Crytek, Microsoft Studios)
Skylanders: Swap Force (Vicarious Visions, Activision)
Watch Dogs (Ubisoft Montreal, Ubisoft)
Zoo Tycoon (Frontier Developments Ltd., Microsoft Studios)
Zumba Fitness: World Party (Zoë Mode, Majesco)

A decent showing, but nothing stood out as something that could sway someone on the fence about the console (at launch at least). The ID@Xbox platform is a great first step and the launch lineup is nothign to sneeze at. However, we still don't know when the thing is coming out. Excited about anything? Let us know in the comments!


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