The Tuesday Inbox is still struggling to come to terms with the Xbox Series X name, as one reader rates the best bird-based video games.
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PLEASE NOTE: As usual, GameCentral will only have a minimal service over Christmas and the New Year, although we will be running various end of the year (and decade) features and a preview of 2020. We always like to include Reader’s Features as well though, so if you’ve been meaning to write one but haven’t now would be a great time to send one in for us to use this month.
Silly name aside I think Microsoft will probably be pretty pleased with the unveiling of the Xbox Series X. Not fitting under the TV is clearly going to be a problem but generally I think the fact that the console actually looks cool, instead of boring, is a positive. And that Hellblade 2 trailer did look really good. But nobody’s going to buy a new console for Hellblade, so the problem comes back to games.
Microsoft showed off three in the Xbox Series X intro: a generic football game, racing game, and Halo. Not the most inspiring line-up, especially as presumably the football one is just FIFA, which obviously isn’t an exclusive. So we’re back down to Microsoft’s major exclusives being Halo, Gears Of War, Forza, and maybe Fable.
Gears and Forza are okay but we’ve seen a lot of them the last few years and it really hasn’t moved the needle for Xbox. Fable we don’t even know for sure they’re making, which leaves Halo Infinite as the game to sell the Xbox Series X. Let’s just say it has a lot of work to do. I used to count myself as a fan and even I can’t really remember what happened in Halo 5, so the game has got to reboot the story and find a new way to mix up the gameplay. That does sound like what they’re doing but it’s a hugely important thing for them to get right and if they don’t then the whole console is looking a lot wobblier.
Still being current gen is a bit weird too, but maybe they can do some kind of beta on that and get people excited about it that way? I assume Microsoft will have thought about this, but then I’d also think they would’ve given the console a sensible name, so who knows.
I completely missed the Xbox Series X reveal last week, through a combination of it being announced in the middle of the night here, having a stupid bland name that I barely took notice of the morning after, and everything being overshadowed by the general election. So I’ve probably missed something clarifying this, but it can work on its side, right?
Because the few pictures I’ve seen all having it upright like a desktop PC (or a digital home assistant, I guess is the look they’re going for), which is clearly the default position given the logo alignment. But at 31cm tall, there’s no way that’s fitting in most people’s TV units. Are they just expecting us to stand them behind the TV, nestled in the mass of dusty cables that are absolutely going to get tidied up one day, I swear?
GC: It can work on its side, yes. There are pictures of it that way round here.
Nice Reader’s Feature about essential animal simulators.
The obvious question now is what’s GC’s favourite poultry game? Untitled Goose Game, the Unfinished Swan or… er, Hatoful Boyfriend? Wait, do chocobos count? And I suppose there’s also the ‘chicken’ that started it all, Duck Hunt.
Have I thought about this too much?
GC: Probably not enough, as you’ve forgotten Banjo-Kazooie at least. But Untitled Goose Game is still our favourite.
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A rose would smell as sweet
Reading about the recent reveals/trailers that have people talking over the last few days, and to be honest I’m quite surprised at just how miffed people are with the name reveal for Project Scarlett.
I mean, okay it’s not the best, most catchy name in the world – I didn’t ever suspect it would be – but does that really matter too much? Shortening to XSX or Series X isn’t so bad is it? To be honest I was never that impressed with the name Xbox to begin with, which despite being linked to Microsoft’s tech at the time (so I’m told?) apparently wasn’t even liked by Microsoft themselves, but chosen during testing!
When the Xbox One’s name was revealed I was, for a few seconds, mildly puzzled about why it was labelled with One* when it was the third Xbox, but after that I wasn’t really that bothered and bought one regardless (before later in the gen switching to PlayStation 4, but that was more to do with the gaming than the name!).
In terms of the other reveals, it’s nice to get some initial views of the games coming to the next generation. Hellblade 2 looked really good, although the first is still on my (rather long) to-play list. Godfall looks intriguing too and seeing The Wolf Among Us 2 is coming was really great news. Altho’, despite being someone who always wished for a Fast & Furious game, I felt that trailer looked a bit dated, like it was from the last generation, rather than coming towards the end of the current one.
May be my last write-in before Christmas, so best wishes to all at GC and to all readers!
PS: The point the recent Reader’s Feature made about it being ‘always in the first AV port’ on your TV is interesting, as I’d not heard that one. I read somewhere it was supposed to be like a ‘one’ entertainment system reference, but either way, I stopped being that curious about it quickly enough.
GC: We don’t think anyone thinks it’s that important, but it is an amusingly bad choice. And yes, the name Xbox is derived from the DirectX API. As for Xbox One, Microsoft had two or three different explanations for the name, of which the AV port was one and yours another.
I have just read the article about the drift issue with the Joy-Cons.
Recently I tried to get help on returning Joy-Cons after it developed drift to Argos and they provided me a copy of an internal email they received saying Argos are not allowed to repair any of them from August and everyone must be referred to Nintendo who will refused a repair and charge £20-£40 per Joy-Con ( I was unable to get the same quote from any of their staff).
I think this is further proof Nintendo know about this issue but they are just trying to avoid having to fix potentially thousands of units in Europe.
GC: We’re not sure what article you’re referring to as we haven’t had anything on this for a while, but we’ve definitely had readers writing in saying that Nintendo fixed them for nothing – have you asked them?
Next gen indie
I’m not drawing any conclusions in regard to hardware capabilities from the two ‘in-engine’ demos on offer for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X at the rather tiresome Game Awards.
I think if anything though Microsoft would be wise to push the boat out to ensure they have the slightly more powerful machine and be the multi-platform machine of choice. Along with Game Pass it would help reach parity with Sony, who for me still have many more aces.
I’m really looking forward to the new hardware though. If the rumoured specs are right, they will be a beefy upgrade and should produce amazing games.
One area of concern is that indie gaming on consoles will be marginalised in a push to promote whose machine can trace the most rays. I hope not as ever since I played Braid on Xbox 360 indie has enthralled and entertained in equal measure and is vital in keeping gaming interesting for me.
GC: There’s no reason indie developers should be left behind next gen more than any other. If nothing else Microsoft will want their help to fill out Game Pass.
Falling into trouble
Just wondering if anyone else is having a few issues with the Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order game? I have enemies falling through the world and enemies popping in after I enter a room. Also, there’s mid-level loading which I haven’t seen in a while. Is it because I didn’t use the disc and downloaded the game instead?
Separate issue. PUBG on the Xbox seems to be really slow at loading the map. A few times I’m not even getting into a game during the drop phase. Anyone else having that issue?
GC: Fallen Order was pretty buggy, but we can’t say we had any of those specific problems (the worst was being catapulted onto the top of a mountain, not falling through the world). But that was on a PS4 Pro.
Catch up on every previous Games Inbox here
Admittedly, I didn’t watch the game awards, so have no context for how the name of the Xbox Series X, was announced, which ultimately may just be as straight forward as that, i.e. that’s what it’s called.
However, I have a theory.
I don’t think the console is actually called the Xbox Series X but rather the X in the title is the moniker for what will be a series of Xboxes, all within the Xbox X brand. With me so far?
Using this hypothesis, the current Xbox One X will, in effect, become the entry level console in the Xbox X series. To add weight to my theory, I note GC reported that Microsoft announced that the upcoming Halo infinite will debut on the new next generation Xbox as well as the Xbox One X but with no mention of the Xbox One S. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
As I postulated in a letter to the Inbox early this year; I opined that with the arrival of the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X, the traditional console upgrade cycle was dead and iterative console releases were likely going to be the way forward. I believe we could now be seeing this come to pass.
The Xbox One X is already a powerful machine with a proven track record of delivering either a 4K experience – albeit at 30fps – or a 1080p one with some extra graphical flourishes. So why go to the effort of developing a new entry level console when you already have one that could be used for this purpose and is already sitting under televisions in people’s homes? From Microsoft’s perspective they don’t alienate some of their existing customer base and get to keep them within the Xbox brand and ecosystem, allowing customers to chose to upgrade to the more powerful X series console when they feel the time is right.
So; if the Xbox One X is the entry level in the new series of Xbox Series X consoles what will the true next gen console in the X series actually be called? Xbox Two X, Xbox Pro X, Xbox Infinite X? I’ve no idea but I’m anticipating a further announcement will come. Just remember; you read it here first.
Xbox 5 would have been much simpler though!
GC: You’re overcomplicating things even more than Microsoft. Besides, surely the Xbox Series S would be the entry level machine? We mentioned Halo Infinite on Xbox One X merely to illustrate the similarity in the names, all Xbox One games run on all consoles – whether they’re S or X.
Will you be reviewing the Disney Classic Games: Aladdin And The Lion King? Although I understand it’s a busy time of year for you at GameCentral. Your work all year had been great. A very informative and interesting
read, and I wish you all the best for a Happy Christmas!
GC: Thanks. We did plan to review them but for some reason review copies didn’t go out until two weeks after release, and now it’s two months old.
Since it’s bound to be acronym-ed I have to ask, are Microsoft Red Dwarf fans? XSX sounds like a move Cat would play in Scrabble.
Postal 2 is free on GOG for the next two days at the time of writing this message (Monday evening). It’s a bit too violent for me so won’t be getting it but here’s the link.
So, when is the deadline for those of us who wish to send in features for consideration over the Christmas break? Asking… for a friend.
GC: The very latest would be early Friday, since that’s our last day in the office till January. We haven’t had very many yet, so if we suddenly get half a dozen on Friday afternoon know that you will be literally stopping us from getting home to our families at Christmas.
This week’s Hot Topic
With the PlayStation 1 celebrating its 25th anniversary this month, the subject for this weekend’s Inbox asks you about your fondest memories of Sony’s first console.
Did you own a PS1 when it first came out and why did you choose it over the alternatives? What was the first game you played on it and what did you think of it? Do you remember the marketing and general buzz over the new console and how did that affect your view of it?
What do you think of the PS1 looking back on it now? Which are you favourite games for it and how well do you think they stand up today?
E-mail your comments to: [email protected]
The small print
New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length.
You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word 4Player viewer features at any time, which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.
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