Xbox Boss Says Microsoft Will Still "Take Risks" After Scalebound Cancellation

Yesterday, Microsoft announced that it had canceled the Xbox One and PC game Scalebound, which was in development at Bayonetta studio Platinum Games. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer said it was a “difficult” decision to cancel the project, but one that is ultimately “better for Xbox gamers.”

Now, Spencer has spoken up again about Scalebound’s cancellation. Writing on Twitter today (via DualShockers), Spencer vowed that Microsoft will continue to take “risks” with the game’s it greenlights.

“I know we have to take risks,” he said. “I realize right now probably sounds hollow but I agree.”

In another tweet, Spencer said the cancellation of Scalebound won’t stop Microsoft from signing third-party games in the future. At the same time, you can expect Microsoft to of course continue to invest in projects from its own studios as well.

“I won’t abandon signing independent studio projects but I agree first-party internal studios are critical,” he said.

Spencer also personally apologized for cancelling Scalebound. “It hurt me as well and to the community I apologize. I want everything we start to turn out great, to take risks, create diversity,” he said.

For more on Scalebound, you can read Platinum’s statement about the cancellation here, while the game’s director responded to rumors that he was taking time off. You can also check out GameSpot’s new roundup, “Everything We Knew About Scalebound.”

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Scalebound
Xbox One
PC

New Mass Effect: Andromeda Screenshot Revealed in Wake of James Gunn's Positive Comments

BioWare has released a new Mass Effect: Andromeda screenshot in the wake of Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn speaking out to praise the franchise overall.

Below is the new screenshot, as shared by BioWare GM Aaryn Flynn on Twitter. He said he wanted to share the screenshot as a thank you to Gunn for his “kind words and excitement” about Andromeda.

New Mass Effect: Andromeda Screenshot Revealed in Wake of James Gunn's Positive Comments

Earlier this week, Gunn said on Twitter that he is trying to clear out his schedule after Guardians of the Galaxy 2 comes out in May so he can play Andromeda. He is a big fan of the series, saying in another tweet that he played every entry in the original trilogy “to the end.”

In yet another tweet, Gunn said that, besides the Guardians of the Galaxy comics, Mass Effect was among his biggest inspirations for the Guardians of the Galaxy film series. He also cited Star Wars, Flash Gordon, and Farscape as inspirations.

A Mass Effect movie is also in the works, though it has been a long time since we have heard anything about it. There is nothing connecting Gunn to the Mass Effect movie, but he weighed in with his thoughts on why video game films have a track record of mediocrity or worse.

“Most of them have failed because they’re bad,” he said. “Many hit the screens too late, after their draw is over. And others are better left as games.”

Andromeda launches on March 21 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. In other news, BioWare announced today that it will share more details about the game tomorrow, January 12.

Stay ready, recruit. A new Andromeda Initiative brief on the Tempest and Nomad will be coming in tomorrow: https://t.co/gV3QgYasNs pic.twitter.com/1rfv3wu7QY

— Mass Effect (@masseffect) January 11, 2017

For lots more on the game, check out all of GameSpot’s previous coverage here.

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Mass Effect: Andromeda
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
PC

Overwatch's Roadhog Hook Continues to Be Tweaked

As its name suggests, Overwatch‘s public test realm is intended to test updates before they go live. It appears to be doing its job, as the recent nerf to certain characters–most notably Roadhog and his Hook ability–are being tweaked again before the update hits the live game.

Principal designer Geoff Goodman outlined the latest round of changes in a forum post. Blizzard has apparently found it was too harsh in its treatment of Roadhog’s Hook, which should now be slightly more effective again.

Overwatch's Roadhog Hook Continues to Be Tweaked

The new PTR update adds “some more line of sight checks towards the left/right of a potential hook target,” Goodman explained. “This means it should be easier to hook someone who is sticking halfway out of a doorway, or behind a thin pole, etc. These checks are also used for the persistent line of sight check, so if a hook target moves behind a slim object like a stump or a light pole, they won’t be released anymore.”

Additionally, targets in the air will be treated differently when hit by a hook. “Hooked targets are now slowed heavily while they are stunned, even if they are in the air,” Goodman explained. “This means if someone is strafe jumping away from you and you land a hook, they are a lot less likely to slide out of line on sight, breaking the hook.”

The update also addresses “a bug that could allow you to hook someone and pull them behind you if you spun around before the hook landed.”

Ana and Sombra, two of the other three characters that were adjusted in last week’s PTR update, receive some attention in the new patch. The duration of Ana’s Biotic Grenade has been reduced from five seconds to four, while the cooldown on Sombra’s Hack drops from 12 seconds to eight.

There’s not yet a date for when these changes will arrive in the live game. Recently uncovered files suggest there may be some new content on the way for Valentine’s Day.

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Overwatch
PC
Xbox One
PlayStation 4

Wrestling Wrap Up: Why Jericho Winning the U.S. Title is Great… Even Though We Know What It Means

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Plus, Undertaker’s exciting announcement, HBK’s not so exciting announcement, the Wyatts fumble again, and more.

Before I get into Jericho winning the U.S. title on RAW this week, I wanted to bring up the fact that wrestlers used to bleed a lot. Like, a concerning amount. It was a savage, cool-looking and dramatically unhealthy element of pro-wrestling that helped sell its “realness” while also adding intensity to feuds and storylines. It would occasionally happen in the old ’80s WWF — usually at a WrestleMania or a similarly pivotal moment — but elsewhere, in the NWA and other promotions, it was rampant. Wrestling magazines used to have bloody faces right on the cover.

Jericho got busted open during his main even handicap match this week. It happens nowadays, sure, but it’s accidental. Unless it’s Brock purposefully elbowing someone’s brow open, guys occasionally get walloped a bit too hard, as a mistake, and start bleeding. Sometimes stitches are needed. Images of these mishaps are then usually Instagram’d backstage for posterity.

All I’m trying to say here is that this made me laugh forever…

I will never say “I forfeit” I WILL end this. @WWE #205Live pic.twitter.com/vNvXjDVPuH

— Ariya Daivari (@AriyaDaivari411) January 11, 2017

Yes, we’ve come a long way from the crimson masks of Dusty, Billy Graham and The Sheik gracing the cover of Inside Wrestling. Granted, I could be missing the intentional humor here. Maybe Daivari’s playing into his heel gimmick by shining such a massive spotlight on his meager nose boo boo.

Oh, and I did not care for this at all…

Wrestling Wrap Up: Why Jericho Winning the U.S. Title is Great... Even Though We Know What It Means

It only took two quick weeks for WWE to turn Jack Gallagher into a regular old “first strike” babyface. I understand that his extraordinary gentleman gimmick works best as a heel, but he should be able to keep his cool when someone tosses his umbrella. His pride should be wrapped up in the ring, not out of it. Even if he’s given his umbrella a name. Which is William. But should have been Roman Rains.

That being said, Jack’s already gotten two big in-ring segments on 205 (including a contract signing – this early!) and I’m a huge fan. I just don’t want him to have to ditch too much of his wonderful ridiculousness in order to become a bitter “put up or shut up” brawler like everyone else.

Now, back to List Jericho, who managed to capture the U.S. belt in a controversial, yet WILDLY satisfying, fashion…

Wrestling Wrap Up: Why Jericho Winning the U.S. Title is Great... Even Though We Know What It Means

There are two ways to come at this. One is, you can hate it because, by the super scientific laws of opposite momentum, this surely spells doom for Kevin Owens at the Rumble. Jericho winning now, stripping Reigns of his title, means Roman is now free and clear for the title win in two weeks. Yes, that’s what this means. And if it undercuts the deliciousness of Jericho’s win, then I’m sorry.

But the other way to see this is — well — already accepting that Roman is likely going to beat Owens. There’s no way Owens was heading into ‘Mania season as champ. Same goes for Styles too, unfortunately. But especially Owens. Roman and Cena are going to go into ‘Mania as the brand champs, so they can take on Taker and… maybe Braun? We’ll see. But Owens is losing. So we need to enjoy THIS win now, this defeat of Roman, because of what’s coming. Imagine if Jericho didn’t get the belt. Or Roman didn’t suffer a big loss before he topples Owens. That’s a much worse world to live in.

Wrestling Wrap Up: Why Jericho Winning the U.S. Title is Great... Even Though We Know What It Means

Also, we want to see Jericho get rewarded for his stupendous work this year. Yes, there’s an argument to be made about him overshadowing Owens’ title Reign and how the entire Best Friends storyline has sort of marred Kevin’s run. But Jericho is killing it. Both in the ring and out. He can still put on criminally great matches while also re-inventing his persona and getting over asinine things like lists and scarfs and pronouns like “it.” This is WCW-era ARMBAR Jericho and it’s fantastic. Jericho was never going to win the Universal belt, even though they briefly teased him challenging Kevin for it, but the U.S. title was his for the taking.

I have to say, even though it pains me a bit, RAW and SmackDown were sort of neck and neck this week. Mostly because SmackDown didn’t quite offer up anything new and RAW freakin’ cheated by having SMACKDOWN superstar The Undertaker on to make his big announcement about the Rumble. That was out of bounds, to quote Guy Fieri after he does anything. Eat, poop, have sex – literally anything.

Wrestling Wrap Up: Why Jericho Winning the U.S. Title is Great... Even Though We Know What It Means

Continue on for more RAW and SmackDown…

Continues

New Halo Wars 2 Beta Starts Soon, Here's How to Play and What's in It

The second Halo Wars 2 beta will kick off later this month, Microsoft announced today. Xbox One and Windows 10 PC players can jump in starting on January 20–it’s free and open to everyone.

A Microsoft representative told GameSpot an Xbox Live Gold membership is required on Xbox One but not PC.

This beta, which follows the first one from June 2016, features the Blitz mode. This is a card-based mode where players put together a team comprised of air, ground, and infantry units. You can learn a more about the mode in the video above and GameSpot’s preview video here.

This beta has one map, Proving Grounds, and it supports 1v1, 2v2, and 3v3 play via matchmaking.

New Halo Wars 2 Beta Starts Soon, Here's How to Play and What's in It

In an Xbox Wire post, Microsoft explained that all Faction Leaders and Blitz cards that are in the full game will be in the beta. Additionally, there will be daily and weekly challenges that Microsoft rolls out as a means to stress test some elements of Halo Wars 2. The beta ends on January 30.

Progress from the Halo Wars 2 beta will not carry forward to the full game. However, people who play the beta can earn up to two Blitz card packs for the full game. Simply download and log in to the Halo Wars 2 beta and you’ll get one of these, while you’ll earn the second for completing a match.

You can submit feedback to Microsoft through the Halo Waypoint forums.

Blitz is just one of Halo Wars 2’s modes. There is a campaign (playable solo or via co-op) and other multiplayer modes such as Domination, Strongholds, and Deathmatch. Finally, Halo Wars 2 includes a mode called Blitz Firefight.

Halo Wars 2 launches on February 21 for Xbox One and PC. It is an Xbox Play Anywhere title, so buying it digitally on one platform gets you access to the other for free. All progress, including saves and achievements, are available on each platform.

Halo Wars 2 is in development at Total War studio Creative Assembly and Microsoft’s own Halo team at 343 Industries. Earlier this week, Microsoft announced a partnership with THQ Nordic to release a disc-based physical version of the game at retail.

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Halo Wars 2
Xbox One
PC