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Microsoft/Xbox E3 conference 2015: As it happened

Did you miss the Microsoft/Xbox Conference? Thumbsticks didn’t, and we’ve got you covered. Here’s a summary from Microsoft’s E3 Press Conference for 2015.

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Xbox E3 2015 - Media Briefing

Did you miss the Microsoft/Xbox Conference? Thumbsticks didn’t, and we’ve got you covered. Here’s a summary from Microsoft’s E3 Press Conference for 2015.

Microsoft’s E3 conference was a rapid-fire assault of some really, really good stuff. For those of us who are time-impaired and can’t sit down through the lengthy presentation, here’s the blow-by-blow of Xbox-related E3 goodness:

  1. Opens with an Xbox games montage to set the stage.
  2. Halo 5: Guardians is next, shown in all its glory; comes out exclusively on Xbox One on October 27, 2015.
  3. A teaser for Recore, a new Xbox One exclusive IP from Keiji Inafune. Set in a desolate dystopian desert with a robot dog, and mechanical enemies. Slated for Spring 2016.
  4. Todd Howard from Bethesda Softworks shows Fallout 4 gameplay and promises mod support for Xbox One version of the game. Fallout 4 releases November 10, 2015.
  5. EA comes out to highlight EA Access and how Madden and Dragon Age Inquisition will soon make their way to EA Access vault. Also, all Xbox Live Gold members get access to all EA vault games throughout this week.
  6. Phil Spencer announces ‘backwards compatibility’ for Xbox One, meaning Xbox 360 games will be playable on the Xbox One. More than 100 games are being made available shortly. Downloads will show up in your Xbox One library and discs can be inserted into the console to download their Xbox One compatible copies. Mass Effect was shown at the conference running on an Xbox One.
  7. Reveal of the new Xbox One Elite Controller happened. They took pride in the customizability of the controller and showed a video to that effect. Also highlighted was the recent deal with Oculus and how each consumer unit comes with the new Xbox One Elite controller in the box.
  8. Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 was announced by EA.
  9. Henry Ford III from the Ford Motor Company took to the stage as part of the reveal for Forza Motorsport 6, comes out September 15, 2015.
  10. A teaser for Dark Souls 3, looks very souls-ey – no surprise there – and its slated for Spring 2016. Visually, it doesn’t blow you away, so maybe they learnt their lesson after the Dark Souls 2 recourse.
  11. Tom Clancy’s The Division gameplay shown; Xbox One players get exclusive beta access in December, release date remains unannounced.
  12. Rainbow Six: Siege shown; the previous two Rainbow Six games are included in Rainbow Six Siege Xbox version, releasing October 13, 2015.
  13. [email protected] is next, showing off 4 independent games that come either first to Xbox or are Xbox exclusive. Steve Gaynor from Fullbright Games shows Tacoma, their next game that comes first on Xbox One and PC (looks BioShock-esque).  Ashen was next, an Xbox One exclusive. Beyond Eyes was shown a dreamy third-person game, looks like the oddest game from the conference, something that would surprise mainstream fans, but real brave gesture from Microsoft. Fourth was Cuphead, probably the most anticipated [email protected] game, comes out in “1936 + eighty years” (their words, not ours).
  14. Xbox announces their Early Access component called ‘Xbox Game Preview’, a program where a demo for select games is available and an early access purchasable copy just like Steam’s Early Access, where players can help the development of games early in their life cycle. Games like The Long Dark, Elite: Dangerous, Day-Z and Sheltered were announced as games slated for the programme. The programme begins with The Long Dark and Elite: Dangerous being available from today: June 16, 2015.
  15. Day-Z creators are working on Ion, a game that will be part of the Xbox Game Preview programme.
  16. Rise of the Tomb Raider was next and went straight to the action. It has Lara, a helper dude and tons of ice climbing, jumping, falling, swinging, sliding. All very unrealistic but extremely fine looking. Got a release date too, coming November 10, 2015.
  17. Rare Replay revealed, a collection of 30 Rare games for $30 as an Xbox One exclusive.
  18. Sea of Thieves a multiplayer pirate game was revealed; it’s very cartoony with ship-based combat – very much reminiscent of Black Flag – and green usertags hanging above characters.
  19. Fable Legends comes out this Holiday, on Xbox One and PC as a Free-to-play game, a trailer was shown.
  20. Minecraft Hololens was announced, a version of the uber-popular game just for Microsoft’s holographic peripheral. It was shown played in conjunction with a Surface tablet and via holographic projection of a Minecraft level on a physical table. It blew the crowds minds, and honestly it was a really inventive twist to Minecraft, probably the best part of the conference.
  21. The inevitable Gears of War: Ultimate Edition was announced; beta begins on June 16.
  22. To finish off, Gears of War 4 was shown in gameplay footage, slated for Holiday 2016, exclusively for the Xbox One.

That’s it folks, a pretty lengthy affair but extremely impressive showing from Microsoft. Bring on the backwards compatibility…

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Monish is a lover of all things complex: RPGs, Fighting Games, puzzles, skill trees, combo setups, time-limits, roguelikes, languages and alternative music. I write well – or so I am told – so read away.

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A delightful indie game is free on the Epic Games Store

Pikuniku, a pleasantly daft indie adventure, is free on the Epic Games Store.

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Pikuniku ghost
Devolver Digital

Pikuniku, a pleasantly daft indie adventure, is free on the Epic Games Store.

Be sure to grab Sectordub and Devolver Digital’s brightly coloured delight, Pikuniku, before it’s too late. The deal is good, no strings attached, through next Thursday.

Our own Tom Baines loved it, writing in his review: “The dialogue in Pikuniku switches from casual, off-hand, inane chatter – delivered in all lower-case, with little punctuation – to statements shouted and all in caps, with multiple exclamation points and the text literally jumping up and down for dramatic effect. It’s a use of language and delivery that is born of Twitter, wholesome memes, and a degree of internet and media-savvy that most self-proclaimed ‘comedy’ games can only dream of. It’s genuinely very funny.”

In addition to its brilliant little main story, Pikuniku also features a fun co-operative mode, where two players get to play as the titular Piku and Niku. Some of the co-op levels feature little cars, and something really neat happens if you beep the horn to the right rhythm.

And I know I said there are no strings attached, but there is one string. You’ll need an Epic account. (You can sort that out here.)

Once you do, you’re all set to grab Pikuniku. And, now that Pikuniku is free, Epic has unveiled next week’s pair of freebies. Abzu and Rising Storm 2: Vietnam will be up for grabs on October 8.


You love free stuff, right? You could always bookmark our dedicated free games landing page – or follow us on Twitter or Facebook – to get the latest updates.

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Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

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Four new Minecraft fighters announced for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

The shock reveal of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s new Minecraft characters coincided with a Twitter outage as delight poured in.

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Minecraft Steve Super Smash Bros Ultimate
Nintendo / Microsoft

The shock reveal of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s new Minecraft characters coincided with a Twitter outage as delight poured in.

Nintendo announced on stream that Minecraft’s Steve, Alex, Zombie and Enderman will all be joining as playable fighters for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Once this second Fighters Pass is through, the total roster will number an impressive 86.

The announcement coincided with widespread Twitter downtime, leading to many users (half-) joking that the announcement had “broken Twitter“.

Nintendo confirmed that Steve and Alex will either be available to players who purchase the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Fighters Pass Vol. 2 for £26.99 or Challenger Pack 7, which can be bought separately for £5.39. This challenger pack includes the two fighters as well as a new stage and seven music tracks. 

The Fighters Pass Vol. 2 currently boasts only Min Min from ARMS, but four more characters/challenger packs are yet to be announced.

A full live-stream presentation on the Steve & Alex fighters is due October 3rd, which you can watch on the Nintendo UK YouTube channel. Expect a release date during that stream.

Minecraft seems a natural fit for the mega-franchise, given smashing is among Steve’s main activities. As for building, I’m not holding my breath that we’ll see a redstone calulator in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate anytime soon.


Follow Thumbsticks on Twitter and Facebook for daily video game news updates.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

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Nintendo: Remember to charge your Switch at least every six months

Nintendo Support tweets out a warning to all those letting their console gather dust – it might not be the same when you return.

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Nintendo Switch Battery Charge
Nintendo / Thumbsticks

Nintendo Support tweets out a warning to all those letting their console gather dust – it might not be the same when you return.

Lithium batteries are a pain as much as they’re a convenience. Whilst we’d love them to be magic items we can imbue with power, instead the darn things are subject to real-world physics and require good maintenance practice. Typical.

Nintendo Support took to Twitter to push this message home for the Switch, saying:

“The battery built into the game console may become unchargeable if it has not been charged or used for too long. Please charge it once every six months.”

I’d go further and recommend you cut that to every month. Keep your batteries at room temperature and aim for partial discharges over full ones (around 50% is the sweet spot). Since batteries are under the most strain when they’re fully charged or completely empty, neither overcharging nor completely draining is ideal.

A few months ago PSPs were similarly suffering from underuse, leading to battery swelling and even bursting.

Who are these Switch-owning monsters who leave their consoles so unloved for half a year at a time? Have they not seen that Super Mario 3D All-Stars is out? That said, I know I’ve been guilty of leaving my own console discharged for perhaps two months at a time. Don’t look at me.

Whether it’s the battery of your Switch, your phone, (or for god’s sake check that PSP now!), we could all probably do better to look after the future explosives we sleep next to at night.


Follow Thumbsticks on Twitter and Facebook for daily video game news updates.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

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Super Mario Bros. 35 is out now on Nintendo Switch

The new Super Mario battle-royale game is out now for Nintendo Switch Online members.

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Super Mario Bros. 35 - Nintendo Switch
Nintendo

The new Super Mario battle-royale game is out now for Nintendo Switch Online members.

The Super Mario Bros. 35th anniversary celebrations continue apace with the release today of Super Mario Bros. 35 on Nintendo Switch. The game is based on the 1985 NES classic but adds a battle-royale gameplay twist similar in format to Tetris 99.

The game sees 35 players compete online across classic Mario courses, beginning with the iconic World 1-1. The platforming gameplay comes as naturally as breathing, but this time, defeated Koopa Troopers and Goombas are sent over to other players’ courses to disrupt their progress. You’re also up against the clock which counts down from 35 seconds and has to be topped up by stomping on enemies. The fun continues until there’s one Mario left standing.

It’s a simple concept, and in our brief time with the game, a well-executed one. Matches are chaotic and pleasingly clumsy with familiar levels made significantly more challenging. The game is also exquisitely produced with a user interface that echoes Super Mario Maker.

Here’s the launch trailer.

Super Mario Bros 35 is free to download and play for Nintendo Switch Online members at no additional cost. Weirdly – and just like the recently released Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection – the game is only available until March 31, 2021. To get it, navigate to the Nintendo Switch Online section of the Switch eShop.


Get updates on the latest Xbox One, Switch, and PlayStation 4 video games via our new releases page. And follow Thumbsticks on Twitter and Facebook for daily news updates.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

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October’s PlayStation Plus games are fast and frightening

Sony has confirmed the two PlayStation 4 games coming to PlayStation Plus in October 2020.

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PlayStation Plus
Sony / Thumbsticks

Sony has confirmed the two PlayStation 4 games coming to PlayStation Plus in October 2020.

First on the starting grid is EA’s Need for Speed Payback. Which Need for Speed is that you ask? It’s the 2017 effort from Ghost Games. The racing isn’t actually that bad, but the game is dragged down by creaky storytelling and aggressive microtransactions. It’s worth a quick spin.

Next up is Vampyr, Dontnod’s 2018 tale of bloodlust and revenge set in Edwardian London. It’s a distinctly AA game but not without merit for fans of gothic fiction and Hippocratic hokum. In our review, we said that a “vivid sense of time and place, and a fantastic central idea, soon turn pale with repetitive combat and a forest of conversation trees.” It certainly doesn’t suck.

Both of next month’s free PlayStation Plus games are available to download from October 6, 2020.

PlayStation Plus free games – October 2020

  • Need for Speed Payback
  • Vampyr

September’s PlayStation Plus games – PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and Street Fighter V – are available to download until next week. And if you’re playing on Xbox One, Microsoft has also confirmed the four titles coming to Games with Gold in October.


Take a look at our new releases page for regular updates on the latest Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PS4 games. You should also follow Thumbsticks on Facebook, Google News, Twitter, and Flipboard.

Enjoyed this article?

Found it interesting, entertaining, useful, or informative? Maybe it even saved you some money. That's great to hear! Sadly, independent publishing is struggling worse than ever, and Thumbsticks is no exception. So please, if you can afford to, consider supporting us via Patreon or buying us a coffee.

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