Microsoft hosted a special, live episode of Inside Xbox from its XO18 celebration in Mexico this weekend, giving players plenty of news about upcoming games, deals, features, and more. If you've got two hours to spare, you can watch the whole presentation below, or read on for our recap of the biggest and most important announcements:
Crackdown 3 has a firm release date
After several disappointing delays (this game was originally slated for 2016, remember), Crackdown 3 finally has a complete release date. Not a release window, not a release month, a release date. It's coming February 15, 2019, and will be available on Xbox Game Pass starting the same day.
Microsoft also showed off gameplay of Crackdown 3's competitive multiplayer mode, Wrecking Zone. Two teams of five players face off in fully-destructible environments, though whether this will mean more than a simple deathmatch has yet to be revealed.
Perhaps as a show of thanks for fans' patience, Microsoft is making the original Crackdown available for free now through November 30.
Xbox Game Pass is getting 16 new games
Microsoft pushed Xbox Game Pass - a subscription service which lets you download and play as many games as you want from a catalog of more than 100 titles - hard. Sixteen games were confirmed as coming to the service, some even launching on Game Pass the same day as they arrive on store shelves. They are:
- Thief of Thieves (November 10)
- PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (November 12)
- Agents of Mayhem (November)
- MXGP 3 (November)
- Thomas Was Alone (November)
- Ori and the Blind Forest (December 20)
- Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (December)
- Kingdom: Two Crowns (December)
- Mutant: Year Zero (December)
- Aftercharge (January)
- Ori and the Will of the Wisps (2019)
- Supermarket Shriek (2019)
- The Good Life (TBA)
- Pathologic 2 (TBA)
- Secret Neighbor (TBA)
- Void Bastards (TBA)
If you've yet to try Xbox Game Pass, Microsoft has a special promotion going on as well: newcomers can get their first month of Game Pass for $1, now "through the holidays."
A bunch of Final Fantasy games are coming to Xbox One
The Xbox crowd has historically lacked a large number of JRPGs available for their console, but that changes come 2019. Square Enix announced at XO18 plans to bring Final Fantasy 7, Final Fantasy 9, Final Fantasy 10, Final Fantasy 10-2, and Final Fantasy 12 to Xbox next year. And for FF fans who can't wait that long, the entire Final Fantasy 13 trilogy (meaning Final Fantasy 13, Final Fantasy 13-2, and Final Fantasy: Lightning Returns) are coming to Xbox One backwards compatibility next week.
Sea of Thieves is getting a PvP-focused update called The Arena
Sea of Thieves players have always been able to choose whether they want to act cooperatively with or aggressively toward one another, but a new update coming in early 2019 will give the more bloodthirsty virtual pirates among us something to sink their teeth into. The Arena isn't just an update to the Sea of Thieves you know, either; it's an entirely new mode, described by developer Rare as "the best bits of Sea of Thieves condensed."
State of Decay 2 Zedhunter update adds new gear and abilities
State of Decay 2 has been getting a steady stream of updates since it launched in May of this year, and 2019 will be no different. Developer Undead Labs said that the upcoming Zedhunter update, due for release early next year, will give players access to new gear, including a crossbow (so you can live out your Daryl Dixon fantasies) and equipment which will grant you entirely new, fantastic abilities.
Xbox is donating to charity based on your social media posts
From now until December 9, you can help give to charity without needing to touch your own bank balance. For every photo showing what "gaming together" means to you posted to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the hashtag #GiveWithXbox, Microsoft will donate $5 (up to a total of $1 million), spread across four charities. The charities include Child's Play, Gamers Outreach, Operation Supply Drop, and Special Effect. You can read more about each charity and their missions on their respective sites.
Devil May Cry 5 has a fighting game-style training mode
XO18 wasn't just about Microsoft and Xbox - it also gave Capcom a chance to show off a new mode for Devil May Cry 5. The Void, as the game calls it, serves as a place for you to practice your combos, try out new weapons, and learn enemy patterns. Much like a fighting game's training mode, The Void is a largely featureless area where you can dictate things like enemy behavior, health, and your own gadgets so you can try out the game's systems without fear of failure. Capcom also revealed a few new Devil Breakers for Nero, including the "Pasta Breaker," which is literally a spaghetti fork on the end of a cybernetic arm. Awesome.
Minecraft is getting cats and pandas
I mean, what else is there to say? Minecraft is getting cats and pandas! Adorable.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider will let you take on a new challenge tomb solo or in co-op
One of the best features in the rebooted Tomb Raider franchise are "challenge tombs" - extra-large ruins and exotic temples that are filled to the brim with puzzles, environmental hazards, and maybe even a death trap or three. These challenge tombs harken back to Tomb Raider's early days, and fans love them. So hopefully fans will be happy to check out The Forge, a special challenge tomb coming to Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
While you'll of course be able to tackle this new challenge solo, you can also bring along a friend for co-op, test yourself in score and time attack modes, and look good doing it with the new grenadier outfit.
Xbox is getting serious about mouse + keyboard support
Gamepads are great, but some folks just prefer the old-fashioned feel of a mouse + keyboard control scheme. Xbox is obliging such players starting November 14, with mouse + keyboard support for 15 games: Bomber Crew, Warface, Children of Morta, Minion Masters, DayZ, Warframe, Strange Brigade, Deep Rock Galactic, Warhammer: Vermintide 2, Moonlighter, War Groove, Vigor, War Thunder, Xmorph Defense, and Fortnite.
In the case of Fortnite specifically, players who opt for mouse + keyboard will be matched with other mouse + keyboard players, so if you want to take your battle royale to the next level, you soon can.
But maybe don't rush out to buy the cheapest USB mouse + keyboard you can right now. While those will work with Xbox One, accessory manufacturer Razer is partnering with Microsoft to make official, wireless, Xbox-branded mice and keyboard with all kinds of fun features like dynamic lighting. More details on that will be available in January 2019.
A Forza Horizon 4 expansion will take you to a treacherous coast
Forza Horizon 4's first expansion DLC, Fortune Island, is said to feature the racing series' most treacherous terrain, featuring steep cliffs, winding mountain paths, and even lightning storms. And, just like Principal Skinner from The Simpsons, you'll be able to see Aurora Borealis from within your house (that's a roundabout way of saying Fortune Island will ignite the Forza Horizon 4 night sky with the northern lights).
Save $100 on Xbox One X this holiday season
The proper Black Friday Xbox One deals may still be a couple weeks away, but Microsoft let everyone know about one particular deal early: from November 18 - 26, you can pick up an Xbox One X for its lowest price ever, $399.99 - that's $100 off its usual price! Not bad for a machine capable of running games like Red Dead Redemption 2 at native 4K resolution. There will be plenty of other deals, of course, including $100 off select Xbox One S bundles, but it's the Xbox One X promotion that's got us tempted to spend.
Obsidian and inXile join the Microsoft family
inXile Entertainment and Obsidian Entertainment are two studios with long and storied histories in gaming. Both are renowned for creating well-told stories as well as complex and deeply satisfying RPG gameplay. Obsidian, for example, is the studio behind games like Knights of the Old Republic 2, Fallout: New Vegas, and Pillars of Eternity. inXile, meanwhile, is just as accomplished, with games like Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenera under its belt. And now they're both part of the Microsoft Studios family.
Microsoft said the two studios will not be condensed or assimilated, and that they will continue to be run independently. With so much recently-acquired talent, it's clear Xbox is looking to come out of the gate strong in the coming years.
That's all from the livestream, but XO18 is still going strong. Be sure to check out Xbox channels on YouTube, Twitch, and Mixer for more information, and keep an eye out here on GamesRadar for breaking news from the event.