TIME Video Games

Watch the New Trailer for Forza 6 on Xbox One

Launch scheduled for Sept. 15

Microsoft gave fans a glimpse of the upcoming Forza Motorsport 6 during its presentation at E3 2015 Monday.

Forza 6, available exclusively on Xbox One, combines impressive graphics with new features such as dynamic weather, allowing users to race in night, day and rain, according to Microsoft. There are also 26 locations, 24-car multiplayer and over 450 Forzavista cars, including the new Ford GT.

Forza 6 will launch on Xbox One on Sept. 15.

TIME e3 2015

Watch: Super Mario Bros’ First Level Like You’ve Never Seen It Before

This looks a lot harder than we remember it

E3 2015 kicked off with a big bang this year. On Sunday night, developer Bethesda held its first-ever E3 press conference unveiling a raft of new games including Doom and Fallout 4. Nintendo, meanwhile, revived its Nintendo World Championship event, at which two new games—Earthbound Beginnings and Blast Ball—were announced.

The Japanese gaming company also showed off its upcoming title Super Mario Maker, a sort of level editor that allows players to create and remix their own worlds for the classic side-scroller. For a demonstration of what can result from giving up that kind of control, look at the footage around the 3-hour, 30-minute mark in the video above to get a substantial gameplay session. It begins with a recreation of the ames World 1-1 stage found in the original Super Mario Bros. Things get pretty wild, pretty fast.

TIME Video Games

Everything You Need to Know About the Halo 5 E3 Demo

Halo 5's E3 spot was short but impressive, including a monumentally grand multiplayer revelation

Mincing no words, Microsoft led its E3 2015 press conference with Halo 5: Guardians, segueing to in-game footage moments after the curtain came up. The watchword for the demo: scale.

Here’s a breakout of what we saw.

It looks like Halo multiplied by Battlefield wrapped in Jupiter Ascending

Halo‘s looked pretty much like Halo since its inception, so what’s Microsoft doing to make the franchise’s Xbox One debut momentous? Blowing stuff up, as in way up. After the demo’s corridor-crawl through trademark neon-glowy environments crosscut by tracer fire, we caught glimpses of giant screen-crowding enemies, crazy-big spaceships, and cyber-insectoid-thingies I wouldn’t want to have to fight with a whole battalion of Master Chiefs.

Master Chief is in the club, Locke is not

The demo was from Spartan Locke’s perspective, but when Locke ran into a glowering Forerunner enemy, we learned Master Chief is in the game’s mythic skull and crossbones club. Locke? Not so much.

It’s all about cooperative play this time

Microsoft calls Halo 5 its “biggest, most ambitious Halo yet,” with “seamless drop-in, drop-out cooperative play.”

And Warzone, a new multiplayer mode, looks epic

Instead of player versus player, Microsoft’s hyping this as “player versus everything.” Think 24 players, vehicle, mech and infantry combat, A.I. controlled adversaries, two squads — one led by Master Chief, one led by rival Spartan Locke — and environments four times the size of any previous Halo map. Microsoft calls it a “giant leap” forward for the franchise.

TIME Video Games

Watch: Halo 5 Has a Crazy New Multiplayer Mode

It's set for an Oct. 27 release

Microsoft showed off new multiplayer gameplay footage from the upcoming Halo 5: Guardians at E3 2015 Monday.

Halo 5, developed by 343 Industries and published by Microsoft, will be available exclusively on Xbox One, said Bonnie Ross, head of 343 Industries, during Microsoft’s presentation. Halo fans were treated to a glimpse of the new Warzone multiplayer mode, which features up to 24 players and artificial intelligence-controlled enemies.

Additional features were also added to the single-player mode, such as squad-based shooter mechanics. Firefly actor Nathan Fillion is reprising his role as a voice actor on the franchise.

Halo 5 will launch on Xbox One on Oct. 27.

TIME e3 2015

Microsoft’s Xbox One Just Fixed Its Biggest Problem

Something players have been clamoring for since day one

Microsoft is adding backward compatibility to its Xbox One console, the company announced at its E3 event Monday to great applause from the crowd. The feature will let Xbox One owners play older Xbox 360 titles on their new console, with added features.

“Last year, the team decided to tackle a feature that has consistently been at the top of your request list,” said Xbox head Phil Spencer. “Your Xbox 360 games, the games you’ve invested your time and money in, and the games you want to continue to play, will be playable natively on your Xbox One.”

The Xbox One backward compatibility will roll out by the holidays with around 100 titles at launch. Players will not be charged to access the Xbox 360 games they already own, the company said.

TIME e3 2015

Surprise, You Can Play the New Fallout Game Right Now

This is the best E3 surprise ever

Game maker Bethesda’s first E3 press conference included one very cool surprise: a new Fallout spin-off game that is available right now.

After showing off its new consoles and PC titles Doom and Fallout 4, Bethesda unveiled a new iOS and Android game dubbed Fallout Shelter. It’s not directly connected to Fallout 4, but rather something Bethesda Studios game director Todd Howard said the company wanted to build for mobile devices “because it couldn’t be done anywhere else.”

In the game, which looks a little like the diorama-style bases in Firaxis’ XCOM reboot, you craft and manage your own vault, working to keep its occupants productive and happy. Howard says the game is free, as in genuinely free, without paywall timers, Internet connection requirements or build queues.

Fallout 4 is coming out November 10, 2015. Fallout Shelter, a game no one had the faintest clue was coming, is available on the App Store.

TIME e3 2015

Here’s a First Look at the Incredibly Violent New Doom Game

It's intense

Bethesda kicked off its first E3 press conference with a splashy, gore-filled peek at its long anticipated Doom sequel.

The demo began on a Martian research facility, in a fiery foundry-like level. Long, steaming corridors were garnished with hellfire, demons and screams. This installment appears to be unabashedly violent, which is to say quintessential Doom. There are a few wrinkles, such as various Mortal Kombat-ish close quarters finishing moves and a chainsaw that now eviscerates bodies segment by segment.

The most interesting wrinkle? “Doom Snapmap,” an in-game level editor designed, says Bethesda, to let any player craft complex maps or fiddle with the game rules on the fly. When you’re ready, you just push a button to play, or share your creation with anyone in the world.

The company didn’t reveal details about multiplayer, but said more information would be doing soon. Doom ships in spring 2016 for PC, Playstation 4, and Xbox One.

TIME e3 2015

Bethesda Begins E3 by Showing Off Doom, Fallout 4

Bethesda

Bethesda jumpstarted E3 2015 with some impressive first looks at its gaming lineup a year out

Bethesda kicked off its first ever E3 press conference at the Dolby Theater in downtown Los Angeles with a splashy, gore-filled peek at its long anticipated Doom sequel, followed by a barrage of revelations, including our first deep dive on the company’s recently unveiled post-apocalyptic open world epic, Fallout 4.

“We’re here to give you a look at what’s coming from Bethesda over the next year,” teased Pete Hines, Bethesda’s head of marketing and the showcase’s emcee. And then he fired up the world’s first look at Doom.

The demo began on a Martian research facility, in a fiery foundry-like level with long, steaming corridors garnished with hellfire, demons and screams. It’s an unabashedly violent, volume-at-11, quintessential Doom, in other words, but with a few applause-generating wrinkles, including various Mortal Kombat-ish close quarters finishing moves, and a chainsaw that now eviscerates bodies segment by blood muscle and bone-filled segment.

In all, it felt like a carefully choreographed tour of the abattoir-quel, highlighting this once-and-future shooter’s ineluctable DNA: preposterous (albeit gratifyingly so) escalating arsenals, and marathon gallops through phantasmagoric mausoleums punctuated by lurid butchery.

Bethesda

After an oblique nod to multiplayer (we’ll learn more about it soon, said Bethesda), the company finished with a peek at Hell, which, as you’ve probably guessed, resembled the cover of an Iron Maiden album lacquered with bile and viscera.

The most interesting wrinkle? “Doom Snapmap,” an in-game level editor designed, says Bethesda, to let any player craft complex maps or fiddle with the game rules on the fly. When you’re ready, you just push a button to play, or share your creation with anyone in the world.

If you’re into the whole sleek, stylish carnage thing, Doom should have at least those bases covered when it ships in spring 2016 for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Alongside sizzle reels for known games like Battlecry (an online free-to-play multiplayer video game for Windows) and The Elder Scrolls Online (just launched for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One), Bethesda unveiled Bethesda.net — essentially its version of Blizzard’s Battle.net, an online hub for all of its games. The company also touted something it’s calling The Elder Scrolls Legends, a free-to-play strategy card game based on the company’s fantasy-verse, queued for PC and iPad later this year.

And we finally got confirmation that steampunk stealth sequel Dishonored 2 exists, though details were scarce. Fans will doubtless unearth more from the showcase teaser trailer, but we know that it’s set in a coastal city, that you’re hunting down new adversaries, that you can opt to play as Dishonored‘s original (male) protagonist or a new one (female) with unique powers and gadgets, and that you can experience the entire game without killing a soul. Dishonored series developer Arkane said the game is in development for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC, but didn’t offer a release timeframe (though if we take Hines literally, the “coming over the next year” statement implies we’ll see it by the close of 2016).

Oh, and Bethesda’s going to release a “definitive” graphically enhanced edition of the original Dishonored for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Look for that this fall.

Last but certainly not least, the company trained its spotlights on Fallout 4, then proceeded to bat the “player expectations” ball so far out of the park it was probably kissing stratosphere. After explaining that the game’s been in development since 2009 (six years!), Bethesda Studios game director Todd Howard said that building this version of Fallout began “with an obsession for detail.”

Bethesda

“It’s every button, every blinking light not just on one terminal, but all of them,” said Howard, as the camera pulled back from machines sporting dozens, then hundreds and eventually thousands of winking computer lights. “It’s our belief that it’s all of these small details coming together that form a much larger whole.”

We now know something about those mysterious pre-apocalyptic sequences in the launch trailer. the game gets started before the bomb explode, and that the character you create somehow survives in a vault for two centuries before emerging as its sole survivor. Cryonic storage? Some other form of time travel? That, or something like it (Howard said he didn’t want to spoil anything, but what else could it be?). And yes, the game is set in and around Boston, so there’s the setting finally confirmed. But forget the why, where or when, it’s the how and what that impressed here.

Like the fact that Howard said the company recorded around 1,000 of the most popular names, so you’ll hear your name actually spoken, not just see it onscreen (that’s frankly insane). And Howard claims this is Bethesda’s biggest game ever (as in bigger than Skyrim, people).

Howard confirmed that the game is, as suspected, running on a next-gen version of Bethesda’s Creation engine, including full physics-based rendering and dynamic volumetric lighting. You can play in first or third person, per usual, walk away from encounters at any point if you like, and, to paraphrase Howard, shoot anyone in the face without breaking the game’s story logic.

The dog is back (not the same dog from games past, or at least I’m pretty it’s not), and refined to the point that you can basically just point at something in the environment and tell Fido to interact. Howard demonstrated the dog grabbing an item and bringing it back to you, for instance. The series’ arm-clad PIP Boy computer returns as well, this time tied into new features like a layered armor system and the option to diddle with arcade mini-games that parody real world ones like Donkey Kong and Missile Command.

But the wildest Fallout 4 feature has to be the game’s new do-it-yourself systems. Want to craft weapons no one’s yet thought of, using the game’s terrifyingly granular crafting engine? How about build your own settlement, decrepit wall by wall and moldering chair by chair? It’s all optional, of course, but Howard illustrated how you might cobble together a house from parts, then plant some food, dig for water, lay down a power generator, then run wires to connect your burgeoning domicile. Maybe you want to control stuff remotely, so you build a terminal to do that. Maybe you want to add turrets, to defend against raider attacks (you’ll probably have to, in fact). Or maybe you want to link trade caravans between multiple settlements. You can do all that, and more.

But Fallout 4‘s most impressive trick has to be its release date, confirmed by Bethesda toward the showcase’s close: November 10, 2015. Think about that. From the game’s revelation on June 3 to its release by mid-fall, we’re talking all of five months.

As if that weren’t enough, Bethesda then unveiled a new iOS and Android game it’s cutely dubbed Fallout Shelter. It’s not directly connected to Fallout 4, but rather something Howard said the company wanted to build for mobile device “because it couldn’t be done anywhere else.”

In the game, which looks a little like the diorama-style bases in Firaxis’ XCOM reboot, you craft and manage your own vault, working to keep its occupants productive and happy. Howard says the game is free, as in genuinely free, without paywall timers, Internet connection requirements or loathsome build queues.

Bethesda

The coolest part of the showcase after the Fallout 4 info-dump? Fallout Shelter, a game no one had the faintest clue was coming, is available as I’m typing this on the App Store.

TIME Video Games

Street Fighter’s Ryu Will Now Be Kicking Butt in Super Smash Bros.

US-JAPAN-IT-GAMES-E3-NINTENDO
Frederic J. Brown —AFP/Getty Images Gamers play Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3Ds at the annual E3 video game extravaganza in Los Angeles, California on June 10, 2014.

Time to see how Pikachu deals with a hurricane kick

Gaming powerhouse Nintendo announced on Sunday that Street Fighter’s iconic karate master Ryu has joined Super Smash Bros.’s illustrious roster, while Fire Emblem‘s Roy will be returning to the brand’s flagship fighting game.

Both characters are now available via download for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS gaming systems.

“Today’s update proves that the evergreen Super Smash Bros. games continue to evolve and grow with unexpected new content,” said Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America’s Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing, according to Business Wire.

The introduction of the two latest playable characters accompanies a software update that will allow gamers to explore three new stages along with a range of alternative costumes to select from.

TIME Video Games

The Craziest Video Game Sale of 2015 Just Got Underway

Failbetter Games Sunless Sea

Valve's annual summer sale sees popular PC games marked down by as much as 80%

Welcome back, Steam Summer Sale! If you’re a PC gamer, get thee to the storefront’s splash page and have a gander, because the whole looky-loo thing is still totally free.

The sale began on Thursday, June 11 and runs through Sunday, June 21, right through the heart of the E3 video game trade fair that kicks off (unofficially) tomorrow night with a livestreamed showcase by Elder Scrolls and Fallout developer Bethesda Softworks.

At the moment, my favorite deal is Failbetter Games’ wonderfully bizarre and beautifully scripted roguelike, Sunless Sea, for $14.24 (down 25%), followed by Endnight Games’ creepy existential survivalism simulation The Forest for $10.04 (down 33%) and Tango Gameworks’ classic survival horror The Evil Within for $29.99 (down 50%).

I’m seeing solid discounts on lots of big names everyone knows, and if you’ve been waiting all year to grab one of those, by all means carpe diem. But the thing I like about sales like this, is that they’re a chance to scoop up a bunch of stuff you don’t recognize (but that sounds interesting, or that seems to be resonating with others via the user reviews) with fewer regrets if said stuff turns out not to be your particular cup.

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