Microsoft Then and Now: Old Franchises Coming Back in New Ways
While the video game world anxiously awaits the banquet of announcements being served up at next week’s E3, Microsoft has slammed two appetizers on the table especially for impatient fans.
First up, Microsoft is trying to give you reasons not to box up your 360 and send it to trade-in pasture (Xbox One’s lack of backwards compatibility should’ve already convinced you not to but that’s another battle – and a losing one). Lionhead Studios is digging up their roots and giving their acclaimed RPG-adventure an HD overhaul for the Xbox 360 in Fable Anniversary. Not content on settling for an HD port, this re-addition is a full-on graphical remake that plays host to updated textures, Unreal backed lighting and rendering, a brand new UI, and all sorts of pretty 1080p uplifting.
Completionists will be pleased as hell to hear the Platinum Hits version’s Lost Chapters are included with Anniversary, as well as new achievements that play up the choice/consequence nature of the original title. Fable Anniversary places the classic back on store shelves Holiday 2013.
Halo – a moderately known sci-fi shooter that might’ve made a blip on your radar sometime in the past two console cycles – may be famous for its larger-than-life action but 343 Industries looks to shrink that signature epic experience and let you go mobile with Halo: Spartan Assault, a twin-stick shooter dropped in the gap between Halo 3 and 4’s events.
The story follows Spartan Sarah Palmer and chronicles the rise of the Spartan Ops program that sought to bolster the UNSC with Master Chief-a-likes. Though bite-sized, Spartan Assault’s 25 mission campaign shares the same DNA as its console brethren; you’ll man a multitude of vehicles, customize your loadout with weapons spanning the series’ history, and generally mop the battlefield floor with Covenant dregs. Some cross compatibility comes into play as blasting away in Spartan Assault earns you experience and unique emblems within Halo 4 so you can blast away with style there.
Unfortunately, this enticing little shoot em’ up is only bound for Windows 8 phones and tablets. If it proves successful, though, it’s very unlike Microsoft to avoid a mean stream of green, possibly paving a path for an XBLA version (we’ll keep our SMG’s crossed). Expect Halo: Spartan Assault out sometime in July.
Fable Heroes Reveals Itself as a Co-op Spin-Off to the RPG Hit
A listing has cropped up on Xbox’s site for an XBLA branch off of Lionhead’s Microsoft exclusive RPG series, Fable. Far removed from the adventure RPG elements that make up the backbone of the core games, however, Fable Heroes teams up to four players in a co-op hack n’ slasher that has you tangling against Albion’s miscreants and monsters.
Collecting as many coins as possible in the game serves you well by allowing you to upgrade your character, buy new ones, waste coin on items, and even unlock special items for the Kinect-frenzied sequel to the main series, Fable: The Journey. Unlike a lot of gamers, I’m all for publishers dipping their properties in new genres. But I sort of already bought Castle Crashers. In lieu of a sequel to that downloadable classic, I suppose a Lionhead backed brawler doesn’t sound quite so bad at all so long as they maintain the humor and style of Heroes’ bigger brothers.
Stay posted for more info as Microsoft sheds some light on Fable Heroes.