New Xbox One Bundle Delivers the Ultimate Tomb Raider Experience this Holiday

This holiday, Xbox is offering unmatched value and choice for gamers with a diverse mix of bundles starting at $349. Every day this week, we’re adding new Xbox bundles to our holiday lineup, giving fans more ways to experience the greatest games lineup in Xbox history.  Today, we’re pleased to announce the Xbox One Rise of the Tomb Raider Bundle – the ultimate Tomb Raider experience that’s perfect for Tomb Raider fans around the world as well as gamers new to the critically acclaimed survival-action series. The bundle features:

  • 1TB hard drive, so fans can play and store more games than ever
  • Full-game download of the highly anticipated and Holiday 2015 Xbox exclusive Rise of the Tomb Raider
  • The exclusive Tactical Survival Kit Content Pack, which contains a new outfit and weapon skin for Lara
  • Full-game download of Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, the HD remake of 2013’s critically acclaimed and award-winning Tomb Raider


Featuring epic, high-octane action moments set in the most beautiful and hostile environments on earth,
Rise of the Tomb Raider delivers a cinematic survival action adventure where you will join Lara Croft on her first tomb raiding expedition as she seeks to discover the secret of immortality. The Tactical Survivor Pack, available exclusively in the Rise of the Tomb Raider Xbox One bundle, equips Lara with a new outfit, upgraded abilities and spec-ops tactical gear taken from enemy forces.

The Xbox One
Rise of the Tomb Raider Bundle will be available starting in November for $399 USD. Discover the Legend Within only on Xbox this holiday, exclusively available at Microsoft stores and Best Buy in the U.S. and participating retailers in all markets where Xbox One is sold except Canada, China and the UK.

The holidays are just around the corner and
with more Xbox One options this year, there’s never been a better time to buy. We’ve got something for everyone this holiday with a variety of Xbox One options, including the Xbox One Elite Bundle, Xbox One Halo 5: Guardians Limited Edition Bundle, the Xbox One Forza Motorsport 6 Limited Edition Console, the Gears of War: Ultimate Edition bundle and more. Stay tuned for more Xbox One news on Xbox Wire each day of this week!

Know Your Genres: MMOs

Just what do we really mean when we talk about “game genres,” anyway? Sure, you’ve probably seen that “fans of the genre will enjoy this” phrase in umpteen game reviews, but the truth is that the most durable game genres have walked some long, ever-evolving, and very interesting roads over the past several decades. In this series, Xbox Wire’s editorial team will break down exactly what shaped your favorite genres, why they’re so timelessly awesome, and where they’re headed – while providing you with some expert advice on the past and modern classics that you should check out!

This time, we’re heading into the dungeon… but we’re not going alone! Nope, we’ve got friends we haven’t actually ever met in person. But that’s perfectly fine, because we’re all after the same thing: glory, adoration, and epic loot in an MMO!

The massively multiplayer online game (usually a role-playing game, but increasingly tackling a diverse array of subgenres), has impacted gaming on a worldwide scale over the past two decades, and we’ll take a look at the long, winding path it’s taken to get there – and the various revenue streams that have also defined the genre in that time frame.

The Past
Sure, RPGs can certainly claim direct descent from Dungeons & Dragons, Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson’s 1974 innovation of geekdom that brought questing around a coffee table to the masses. But MMOs might have an even greater claim as the true heir to pen-and-paper role-playing sessions. After all, what’s closer to an all-night quest to tackle an Umber Hulk than when you finally get off work and it’s time to slay the dragon in an MMO? So much of the massively multiplayer experience focuses on creating a fantasy character and forming a team to take out a big, bad enemy, which was always at the heart of any D&D adventure.

The other major game type that ties all MMOs together is the MUD: the multi-user dungeon, which brought text-based D&D-style adventuring to computers – mostly for university students and faculty lucky enough to have access to early network systems. In fact, the MUD was invented at Essex University in the United Kingdom in 1978, and the genre remained popular – relatively speaking, of course, given the still-tiny number of overall online users – well into the 1980s and ’90s.

As the Internet gained mainstream availability and acceptance in the mid-’90s, we finally saw the birth of the first commercially available massively multiplayer online games. Archetype Interactive’s Meridian 59 was first out of the starting gate in 1996, and its tag line of “The Internet Quest Begins” was quite literal – it was the first true MMO available to a wide audience, thanks to 3DO CEO Trip Hawkins, who was prescient enough to see the potential of the genre, as he outright purchased Archetype Interactive.

There’s some debate as to whether Meridian 59 actually holds the claim as the first “real” MMO, however, since Sierra Online’s The Realm Online and Nexon’s Nexus: The Kingdom of the Winds also launched around the same time – but both of those games were important innovators in their own right. The Realm Online delivered turn-based MMO gameplay, while Kingdom of the Winds kickstarted the genre in Asia, where it would become spectacularly huge over the next two decades.

There’s no debate as to the first MMO to hit it big, though. That would come in 1997, with Origin Systems’ Ultima Online. It made sense that Ultima would be the first MMO to set itself apart, considering the RPG incarnation of the franchise had always forged its own path with its freeform gameplay – if you had enough guts, after all, you could stroll right up to the king and challenge him. Now, Ultima creator Richard Garriott brought his seminal fantasy world to the MMO realm, and it was a perfect fit. Here, players themselves would fill the roles of Ultima’s denizens – sometimes too well, as “player-killing” became a serious issue inside the game’s world, with various gangs and vigilante groups facing off against each other. In fact, Garriott’s in-game avatar, Lord British, was unceremoniously murdered in a beta test just a month before Ultima Online’s release, hinting at the Wild West mentality that would define the early days of MMOs.

In 1999, Sony Online Entertainment’s EverQuest brought a safer, more streamlined MMO experience to players, particularly when it came to providing them with actual quests and tasks throughout the game’s countless realms. EverQuest, which has seen an astounding 21 expansions since its initial release, reached mainstream consciousness in 2001 when two Major League Baseball players had a public, tongue-in-cheek spat over the game. Pitcher Curt Schilling of the Arizona Diamondbacks – who would later help make an RPG of his own after he retired from baseball with Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning – saw Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Doug Glanville hit two home runs off him in a game that year. Glanville said that the home runs were “payback” for when Schilling left Glanville’s dwarven paladin to perish in-game when the two were Phillies teammates.

Sega’s Dreamcast was ahead of its time in so many ways, and while the open world of Yu Suzuki’s Shenmue gets a lot of credit for that, it’s easy to forget that the ill-fated system also brought us the first console-based MMO: 2001’s Phantasy Star Online, which moved the beloved sci-fi-fantasy RPG online – even through the Dreamcast’s 56k modem, the series built a fanatical base of players that still swears by the game to this day.

At the turn of the 21st century, most MMOs were based around monthly subscriptions that earned publishers a steady revenue stream to keep each virtual world going, but one game bucked the trend in 2001: Jagex Games Studio’s RuneScape, which allowed players to experience the browser-based in-game world at no cost – if they were willing to put up with an advertising banner. It was a small move, but RuneScape’s free-to-play model would lay the groundwork for the genre in the following years.

The Present
Over its first decade of existence, the MMO had gradually, organically built a loyal audience. And, then, in late 2004, Blizzard completely obliterated the path of the genre with World of Warcraft, which brought the developer’s popular Warcraft universe into the massively multiplayer realm.

A few years earlier, EverQuest had greatly improved the pacing and content seen in the genre, but World of Warcraft delivered a revolution that nobody could have predicted. Until that point, MMOs had been defined by a particular type of niche player. Now, gamers of every stripe were diving deep into Blizzard’s world – and calling in sick or even quitting their jobs to play on a full-time basis.

After World of Warcraft, one phrase came to dominate the genre: “WoW-killer.” Not because anyone actually managed to do it, of course – or even come close, for that matter – but because publishers and media latched on to any potential rivalry that might knock the 800-pound gorilla down a peg.

That’s not to say that there weren’t any worthwhile releases post-World of Warcraft, but the landscape had definitely changed. ArenaNet’s Guild Wars put the focus on player-versus-player encounters, separating itself from the MMO pack in a substantial way. Nexon’s MapleStory, with its cute visuals and sidescrolling interface, followed RuneScape’s free-to-play lead in 2005… but also opened up the MMO genre to a much more diverse set of players who didn’t necessarily embrace the bare-chested fantasy that’s come to define so much of the genre.

Meanwhile, a few licensed properties built sizable audiences of their own. In 2007, Turbine’s The Lord of the Rings Online allowed players to explore J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy world under the watchful eye of Aragorn and other familiar faces seen in the books and Peter Jackson’s films, while Cryptic Studios’ Star Trek Online, released in 2010, brought the sci-fi rivalry of Vulcans, Ferengi, and Klingons to MMO players. And there have been not one but two epic MMOs set in that familiar galaxy far, far away: 2003’s Star Wars Galaxies and Star Wars: The Old Republic, released in 2011.

But perhaps the biggest move post-World of Warcraft was made by Dungeons & Dragons Online, which originally launched in 2006 but became the first mainstream North American game to go free-to-play in 2009. Other high-profile names, including The Lord of the Rings Online, Funcom’s Age of Conan, and Trion’s Rift quickly adopted this model and turned their fortunes around, heralding a new era for the MMO. Now, free-to-play is often the rule, not the exception.

The Future
In recent years, publishers and developers have focused less on taking out World of Warcraft and more on forging their own path – a development that can only mean good things for the genre going forward.

Bungie’s Destiny – as cross-genre a game as we’ve ever seen – is most certainly an MMO, and it’s taken the concept in exciting new directions with its shooting-based focus. Destiny: The Taken King has raised the game to new heights, with an outstanding new raid that puts the focus on teamwork.

Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn has revitalized the venerable Japanese RPG’s MMO fortunes, while EverQuest Next – which has been in development for the last half-decade – promises to revolutionize one of the genre’s biggest names.

Perhaps the most exciting element, however, is the fact that the MMO is now spreading out in so many innovating directions. Daybreak Games’ H1Z1, for example, is bringing the zombie apocalypse to the massively multiplayer universe. And as the genre moves into its third decade, it’s clear it’s now less about the revenue stream and more about the innovation inside these amazing, sprawling game worlds – and that’s awesome news for both players and developers.

6 Awesome Things You Can Do in Rainbow Six Siege

When Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege arrives on Xbox One in December, it’s going to be the first iteration of this venerable franchise to hit the current console generation. That means lots of fancy new gear to play with – and lots of fancy new technology making it all function. The move to Xbox One brings with it a whole new style of play, centered on the marquee feature of dynamically destructible environments, where one team reinforces and defends a location while the other attempts to plow through their defenses. That leads to some pretty ridiculous new tactics, for both the attacking and defending side of a match. Here are six of our favorites – which you can try for yourself in the closed beta, available now to anyone who pre-ordered the game.

The Kool-Aid Man
Oh yeah! Rainbow Six Siege’s defining characteristic is its wanton destructibility, and nowhere is this more satisfying than when blasting an entirely new doorway in a wall. Simply slap a breach charge on a destructible surface (which is most of them), and enjoy your ad hoc remodeling project. Now, defenders do have a counter against this: They can reinforce walls to render them unbreachable by standard charges. But attackers have a counter-counter: an Operator named Thermite, who can blast through reinforced surfaces.

The Peek-a-Boom
Another amazing perk of Siege’s destructibility is the ability to smash smaller holes in many surfaces. With a few shots from most weapons, it’s possible to create a porthole into an adjacent room, allowing you to see – and shoot – the enemy from unexpected angles. Of course, doing so is pretty loud… and don’t forget that being able to see through walls works both ways.

The Game Over, Man
Speaking of seeing through walls: One Operator on the defense side comes equipped with a heartbeat sensor that can detect enemies through walls. And let’s not forget that you can shoot right through many walls. It’s a pretty devastating ability, is what we’re saying; fortunately, it takes a little while to get the sensor operating, and it doesn’t update enemy positions in real time. But still, attackers want to be very careful when approaching their objective.

The Surprise Party
Of course, the attacking side has its own ways of messing with defenders through walls. One particularly nasty one is the penetrating grenade launcher carried by one attacking Operator. He can punch this thing through a wall, whereupon it pops out a series of small grenades to seriously ruin the day of anyone standing too close to said wall. Defenders do have the ability to plant a device to disable grenades as it sees them… but it can’t see everywhere.

The Spider-Man
In shooters, we’re conditioned to recognize threats from human-shaped figures. But what if that figure is upside-down? You’ll be able to conduct your own psychological experiments, thanks to Siege’s grapple/rappel system: You can creep down rappel lines head-down, peeking into windows from unexpected angles. Which can often result in unexpected losses for the opposing team.

The R.C. Pro-Am
Operators in Siege are equipped with drones to scope out enemy territory, which is pretty cool on its own. What’s even cooler is that those drones can tag enemies to let your teammates know where the bad guys are hiding out. And what’s coolest is that one Operator gets drones with electrical charges; not only can she disable some electronics, she can shock enemies. That makes for a heck of a distraction.

We can’t wait to try out even more insane tactics when Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege hits Xbox One on December 1.

Fight the Dark Side Starting on October 8 in Star Wars Battlefront’s Open Beta

From October 8 to October 12, Xbox One and Windows PC gamers are invited to participate in the Star Wars Battlefront open beta, for a glimpse at what you’ll be in store for when the game launches on November 17. Star Wars Battlefront gives you the chance to jump into the epic battles of the Star Wars saga as Rebels or Imperials, and includes never-before-seen locations that will make their big-screen debut in this December’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

The Battlefront beta includes three missions, on three iconic Star Wars planets. Walker Assault on Hoth is a massive 40-player battle, pitting Imperial AT-AT Walkers against a fleet of Rebel Y-wings. Drop Zone on Sullust is an eight-on-eight battle for control, as you rush to take possession of crashing escape pods. And finally, Survival Mission on Tatooine allows you to play solo or co-op (via split-screen) as you fight waves of Imperial units, including AT-STs, TIE fighters, and elite Stormtroopers.

Awesome, right? Join in on the open beta, starting on October 8. And make sure to pre-order your copy of Star Wars Battlefront – available November 17 on Xbox One and Windows PC – to get a full week of exclusive access to the Battle of Jakku content pack.  And don’t forget: if you’re an EA Access member, you’ll be able to play the game before its release for a limited time, only on Xbox One.

Rainbow Six Siege – New Operators and Devious White Masks in the Closed Beta

It’s down to the wire, and I’m the last person standing. Only a few minutes ago, my squad breached the makeshift defenses surrounding the central building at Hereford Base, where two bombs had been rigged by the mysterious White Masks. The shield-carrying Montagne was the first to enter, along with the breaching specialist Thermite, and through the lens of Twitch’s shock drone, I watched both of them immediately die at the hands of an Alpha, the White Masks’ heavily armored bomber archetype. I scouted ahead to find a bomb as my surviving teammates did their best to repel the sudden and unpredictable appearances of White Mask gunmen. After carefully reinforcing the bomb room’s defenses with barbed wire and a last-minute flurry of smoke grenades, we slapped the button on the defuser and did our best to hold fast as waves of enemies crashed in through every opening.

The villains of Rainbow Six Siege’s Terrorist Hunt mode – which will be playable in the now-live closed beta starting September 24 – are exhausting in the best way possible. In groups, they’re relentless, overwhelming you by rappelling through windows, flooding through doorways and using explosives to create new holes in the walls. Alone, they’re crafty in ways few computer-generated opponents are, making excellent use of hiding spots and waiting for you to slip up – say, by reloading or turning your back – before they lurch out of cover to strike. Survival takes quick reflexes and, more importantly, the support of your teammates – something I was about to learn the hard way.

Before we defused the first bomb, we took a second to catch our collective breath and plan. Hereford Base is a huge map, with points of entry that include a wide-open parking lot, SAS training course and shooting range, but the action unfolds in a huge, warehouse-like building filled with treacherously narrow hallways, cover-filled rooms and eerie mannequins – all perfect cover for the White Masks. Holed up in a little top-floor room with the human-sized bomb, we carefully set barbed wire by the windows, and got ready to toss smoke grenades as we took up positions that would let us watch entrances the others couldn’t.

Rainbow Six Siege

Once we hit the switch to start defusing the bomb, we had only a few seconds before the White Masks began storming in, alternating between run-and-gun tactics and darting into corners in the hopes we wouldn’t notice them in time. When the smoke cleared, all three of us were still alive, if a little overwhelmed. The sense of relief was palpable… until the announcer ordered us to the next bomb.

Seconds later, a teammate was flattened by a shotgun blast, courtesy of a White Mask who stepped out of a doorway he’d just run past. It wasn’t long before my other teammate was cut down in a hail of gunfire from another White Mask, and I foolishly revived him before killing his assailant. He went down for good when he stood right up into a second wave of bullets, and I was alone.

R6S_screenshot_Kanal2k_GC_150805_10AM_CET_1438625272

It’s entirely possible to play Rainbow Six Siege on your own, but it’s not easy. Without teammates, there’s nobody to warn you when enemies do things like duck into a room you just cleared to set up an ambush the next time you enter. If that seems oddly specific, it’s because one of them tried to pull that on me. Luckily, my dead teammates were paying more attention to my surroundings than I was.

My luck didn’t hold out for long. Reduced to creeping forward and listening carefully for telltale shouts and clicks, I stepped off a stairwell and immediately traded shots with a White Mask who stepped out into the hall in front of me. He was an easy target, but his real job was to distract me from his buddy at the back of the hall, who was crouching behind a barricade. As I reloaded, he stood up, and – camouflaged against a white wall – tossed a flashbang my way. I fired blindly, only to be treated to a view of myself taking a fatal shotgun blast to the face.

R6S_screenshot_SpectatorCamFPS_GC_150805_10AM_CET_1438625293

Terrorist Hunt is just one of the modes available in the closed beta; there’s also Hostage Rescue, in which one team fortifies a structure while the other does their best to attack it and wipe out the defenders. Apart from having a smaller number of more unpredictable opponents, the biggest difference between PvE and PvP is that PvP allows the attackers to make use of a planning phase where they can scout ahead with their drones without it eating into the round time. It also broadens the pool of available operators considerably, giving me a chance to play around with some of the newer, sneakier operators. On the defending side, Bandit was an instant favorite, as his ability to hook an electrical device up to barbed-wire patches makes them a wonderfully devious trap for players expecting to just be slowed down. Meanwhile, Blitz’s flashbang-equipped shield made him an obvious choice for breaching defenses and clearing rooms, so long as I could avoid blundering into any traps, or – in Terrorist Hunt – bombers.

All told, the closed beta gives players a choice of of seven attackers, seven defenders, and a blank slate recruit for those who want to play without special abilities, but with a few more customization options. With three maps, two modes and a smattering of different objectives, the closed beta offers a substantial taste of the Rainbow Six Siege experience, which debuts in full on December 1 for PS4, Xbox One and PC. In the meantime, those who have a code can get started on the closed beta today.

For more on Rainbow Six Siege, check out these stories:

Rainbow Six Siege TerroHunt Tips

Rainbow Six Siege – Inside Rainbow #3

Rainbow Six Siege – Meet Six

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ID@Xbox Titles Playable at EGX This Weekend

EGX – previously known as the Eurogamer Expo – is the UK’s largest video games event attended by thousands of gaming fans, alongside some of the most influential figures in the industry. Held over four days this week at the NEC in Birmingham, the event showcases the most anticipated upcoming console and PC games, with presentations from world-renowned game developers, and areas dedicated to esports.  

As you’d expect, the Xbox team will be at the show, offering fans the chance to play the greatest games line-up ahead of the game launches this holiday. You can expect an exciting and varied line-up of playable ID@Xbox titles from developers based in the UK and around the world – all playable on the show floor to fans attending the show from 24 – 27 September.

  • Cuphead – Studio MDHR
  • Flame in the Flood – The Molasses Flood
  • Superhot – Superhot
  • The Solus Project – GRIP Digital & Teotl Studios
  • Anarcute – Anarteam
  • Gear Gauntlet – Drop Dead Interactive 
  • Aaero – Mad Fellows
  • Bedlam – Red Bedlam  
  • Jump Stars – Pixel Blimp
  • Hue – Fiddlesticks
  • Mousecraft – Crunching Koalas (playable at the Rezzed booth)


The ID@Xbox area can be found on the Xbox booth, alongside blockbuster titles such as Halo 5: Guardians, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Forza Motorsport 6. And be sure to check out the stage area on the Xbox booth for special announcements, developer Q&As and giveaways throughout the event.

 

For more information on EGX please visit the website here.