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www.oxm.co.uk PRESENTS THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO FORZA 5 It’s the world’s most realistic racing game! RYSE Brutal combat and jaw-dropping visuals! DEAD RISING 3 Fight and survive in the ultimate zombie game! TITANFALL Spectacular shooting from the creators of Call of Duty! 43 XBOX ONE GAMES PREVIEWED! 146 PACKED PAGES! THE FUTURE OF GAMING REVEALED DISCOVER THE ULTIMATE WAY TO ENJOY TV EXPAND GAMES TO YOUR PHONE FOR FREE NEW GAMES THAT LEARN AS YOU PLAY MUST-READ HANDS-ON VERDICT INSIDE! ESSENTIAL ADVICE ON EVERY FEATURE EVERY NEW LAUNCH GAME PLAYED!
Transcript
  • www.oxm.co.uk

    P R E S E N T S

    ThE comPlETE guidE To

    FORZA 5 its the worlds most realistic racing game!

    RYSE Brutal combat and jaw-dropping visuals!

    DEAD RISING 3 Fight and survive in the ultimate zombie game!

    TITANFALL Spectacular shooting from the creators of call of duty!

    43XBOX ONE GAMES PREVIEWED!

    146 PACKED PAGES!THE FUTURE OF GAMING REVEALED

    TH

    E C

    OM

    PL

    ET

    E G

    UID

    E T

    O X

    BO

    X O

    NE

    WW

    W.O

    XM

    .CO

    .UK

    EV

    ER

    Y G

    AM

    E E

    VE

    RY

    FEATU

    RE E

    VE

    RY

    QU

    ES

    TION

    AN

    SW

    ER

    ED

    diScoVER ThE ulTimATE WAY To ENJoY TV

    EXPANd gAmES To YouR PhoNE FoR FREE

    NEW gAmES ThAT lEARN AS You PlAY

    muST-REAd hANdS-oN

    VERdicT iNSidE!

    ESSENTIAL ADVICE ON EVERy fEATURE EVERY

    NEW lAuNch

    gAmE PlAYEd!

  • 54Your essential overview of what the new Xbox can do

    76 Hack Chicago in Watch Dogs

    48The man from Microsoft on all the exclusive games

    28 Get gladiatorial in Ryse: Son of Rome

    22Find out why the future of Forza is dirt

    82 Naval-based larceny in Assassins Creed IV

    www.oxm.co.uk

    4

    XBOXONE

    Contents

    XBZ01.contents.indd 4 7/23/13 9:26 AM

  • 20 What tricks has Forza got for us? Arent the cars pretty enough?

    Subscribe to OXM and get more Xbox One details

    every month! Details on p146

    Features Everything you need to know about Xbox One from the best writers in the industry Meet Xbox One 006Say hello to the future of console gaming. Get the full rundown, with contributions from the team at Xbox HQ in Redmond.Q&A 016All the big questions about the name, the launch and the features coming this autumn, answered by our experts..Only on Xbox One 020The spectacular lineup of exclusive games coming to Xbox One this year and beyond.Interview: Phil Spencer 048The boss of Microsofts internal studios on picking the lineup and whats coming next.57 Things You Must Know About Xbox One 054Every important detail broken down into useful, easily-remembered chunks.The Witcher 3 064Find out why the star of Microsofts E3 showcase is the most exciting RPG on Xbox One.Watch Dogs 076Take control of Chicago using your mobile phone in this smart super-connected action game.Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag 082Ubisofts beloved action franchise goes all piratical for its Xbox One debut.Destiny 096The creator of Halo reveals its next game, offering sci-fi shooting on a massive scale.Rainbow Six: Patriots 106Has this long-delayed reboot still got what it takes to top the Xbox Live charts?Thief 122Youve got to hand it to Garratt. Because if you dont, hell just take it anyway.

    Powerstar Golf 040Brightly-coloured bogies are yours for the taking.Zoo Tycoon 040Cuddle animals using Kinect. Project Spark 041Make your own Xbox games, on your Xbox.Black Tusk 043What little we know of Microsofts secret project.Killer Instinct 044A cult fi ghting game is reborn.The Elder Scrolls Online 072Bethesdas fantasy RPG goes even bigger. Fantasia 073A Disney legend is remade, but the music masters who created Rock Band.The Crew 074The spiritual successor to Test Drive Unlimited. Trials Fusion 081Highly addictive motorcycle trickery.Call of Duty: Ghosts 090Can Activisions juggernaut endure on next-gen? The Evil Within 094The creator of Resident Evil goes back to horror. Need for Speed: Rivals 095EAs new racer looks surprisingly slick. Cyberpunk 2077 102The other RPG project from CD Projekt RED Dying Light 104More zombie hunting with a nocturnal twist. Batman: Arkham Origins 118Another one thats not yet confi rmed for Xbox One, but we reckon will arrive soon enough.FIFA 14 116The worlds favourite football game returns.Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain 128Kojimas legendary series goes open-world. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes 138Prepare to dish out tiny plastic justice.

    Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 132Not quite confi rmed for Xbox One yet, but we fancy its chances of arriving soon.Battlefi eld 4 140DICEs astonishing tech makes this feel like the fi rst proper next-generation shooter.

    Game Listing Every detail available on the most-wanted Xbox One gamesForza Motorsport 5 022Meet the most realistic racer ever made.Dead Rising 3 026Fight the zombie hordes with DIY.Ryse: Son of Rome 028Don your sandals and get ready for war.D4 030The quirkiest Xbox exclusive yet.Titanfall 032Awesome mech battles from the CoD creators. Sunset Overdrive 034Candy-coloured carnage in an open world.Minecraft: Xbox One Edition 035The PC hit turned Xbox hit will be an Xbox One hit.Crimson Dragon 035Fly dragons, have fi ghts.Kinect Sports Rivals 035A Kinect exclusive from the experts at Rare.Quantum Break 036Time-bending action game meets TV show.Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 037A mobile classic is reborn as a shooter.Below 038What lies within this mysterious indie game?LocoCycle 038Youre a sassy motorcycle from the future. Honestly.Halo 040Master Chief gets an outing on Xbox One.

    26 Face the zombie horde in Dead Rising 332Spectacular mech battles from the creators of CoD

    twitter.com/oxmuk

    5

    XBOXONE

    16 All your Xbox One questions answered

    XBZ01.contents.indd 5 7/23/13 9:26 AM

  • www.oxm.co.uk

    22

    PREVIEW

    XBOXONE

    22

    PREVIEW

    FORZA MO TOR

    SPORT 5

    Impossible detail. Infi

    nite opponents. Con

    stantly

    evolving AI. How Mic

    rosofts racing studi

    o

    harnessed the powe

    r of Xbox One

    DETAILSPublisher Microsoft StudiosDeveloper Turn 10 Players TBCCo-op TBC

    XBZ01.feat_forza.indd 22 7/22/13 1:41 PM

  • twitter.com/oxmuk

    23

    Forza Motorsport 5

    XBOXONE

    Forza Motorsport 5

    FORZA MO TOR

    SPORT 5

    Impossible detail. Infi

    nite opponents. Con

    stantly

    evolving AI. How Mic

    rosofts racing studi

    o

    harnessed the powe

    r of Xbox One

    Words: Jon Hicks

    The clues

    in the codename

    . Prior to

    its unveiling at th

    e Xbox Reveal

    event last month,

    this was known

    only as Flagship.

    Its a name that

    marks the standa

    rd-bearer for all

    Xbox Ones launc

    h titles, the one t

    hat shows

    everything the n

    ew platform can

    do. It sets

    the standard for

    everybody else, a

    nd in a

    fi rst for the franc

    hise its got to d

    o so the

    day Xbox One laun

    ches. It is, says T

    urn 10

    studio head Alan

    Hartman, the ha

    rdest

    thing weve ever

    done.

    Part of that is, of co

    urse, a huge collec

    tion of

    cars recreated in ne

    ver-before-seen d

    etail. You

    cant show up at a

    console launch w

    ith anything

    less than photogra

    phic realism, and t

    his delivers

    although probab

    ly not in the way y

    oure

    expecting. The wo

    rld itself is realisti

    cally

    modelled using las

    er scans accurate

    to six

    millimetres of deta

    il. The score is dyna

    mically

    generated, and the

    audio effects are

    astonishing. But t

    he bit where it rea

    lly feels like

    science fi ction is t

    he AI. There isnt a

    ny.

    The drive of your li

    fe

    Faced with the lim

    itless power of Xbo

    x Ones

    cloud computing, T

    urn 10 has junked

    AI entirely

    and handed things

    over to a vast, slig

    htly

    sinister-sounding

    learning network

    called

    Drivatar, which so

    unds like nothing

    less than

    Skynet with a drivi

    ng licence. It mean

    s

    opponents who ar

    ent pre-programm

    ed, but

    learn from you and

    other players. You

    r Drivatar

    is a digital version

    of you, constantly

    refi ned

    from watching eve

    ry game you play.

    It learns

    how you attack co

    rners and where yo

    u cut. It

    learns how you us

    e the cars unique

    traits and

    technology, how y

    ou drive in traffi c a

    nd where

    you play dirty, ex

    plains Turn 10s D

    an

    Greenawalt. More

    importantly, it star

    ts to

    generalise your tra

    its to similar cars, s

    imilar

    circumstances an

    d similar corners, so

    it can

    recreate your beh

    aviour on tracks an

    d in cars

    youve never playe

    d. As you train you

    r Drivatar

    on more cars and

    tracks, its generalis

    ation

    decreases. But thi

    s isnt simply about

    replicating

    your lap times; this

    is about how you

    are fast

    and how you reac

    t to pressure and o

    pponents.

    It is, claims Greena

    walt, the end of A

    I as we

    know it.

    We unfortunately

    use the word AI in t

    his

    industry to say op

    ponents. And the

    se will be

    opponents. But th

    ey will not be AI, c

    larifi es

    Greenawalt. Driva

    tar is real, genuine

    ReleaseNov

    ON THAT BOMBSHELL

    Our work with Top Gear has changed, so its broadened beyond

    Jeremy, says Greenawalt. its totally integrated throughout the game

    rather than just one button on one place in the game. James May and

    Richard Hammond will now appear in the game alongside Clarkson.

    XBZ01.feat_forza.indd 23 7/22/13 1:41 PM

  • AUDIO DIRECTORNICK WISWELL

    BENDS YOUR EAR

    It seems like Xbox One has given you a lot more toys to play with.

    Racing games are very CPU-heavy on audio because cars are complicated things with

    loads of sounds playing. So musics always been quite simple because weve never had

    the ability to do lots of intricate car noises and complicated music systems running at the same time, but now with the power of

    Xbox One, we can start doing far more interesting things with music.

    Why ditch the soundtrack?A licensed soundtrack is a very divisive thing. We pick music that we think is good for racing

    to. But theres an awful lot of people who would go well, I dont like that. Why didnt

    you put my favourite band in? But nobody ever goes to the cinema and goes oh, I dont like that score. That score didnt work at all. So what were doing here is trying to create

    something that fi ts the game and can actually be used as a gameplay device. One of the goals we had with the audio system,

    or the music system, is that even if you actually werent watching what was

    happening, you could pretty much tell from the music what was going on at the time.

    How do you make cars seem loud without annoying the neighbours?

    In the real world, cars have a lot of low end. And you feel that; you get a sense of boom as the car goes full throttle because theyre so loud. Now, very rarely in your living room

    are you ever going to hear a car at that volume. So were going to use the subwoofer

    to simulate some of that, to really give you that punch as you stamp on the throttle.

    When sound gets to a certain level your ears start to distort, so weve modelled that to

    make the car sound big and loud even though youre playing it quieter.

    intelligence. Its not scripted, its learning its more like search. Its fi guring out oh, I saw what you did there, I see what you did there, Im going to learn something new and Im going to go do it.

    Its a massive boost in realism, and in more ways than one. Instead of just being 10 per cent, 20 per cent of Xbox Ones capability, we can make AI 600 per cent of its capability, says Greenawalt. Put it in the cloud and free up that 10 per cent or 20 per cent to make the graphics better on a box thats already more powerful than we worked on before.

    Which is where those new visuals come in, with their remarkable level of fi delity. If it wasnt for the screen tearing on the work-in-progress build, youd have diffi culty distinguishing Forzas BMW M5 from reality. The secret, it turns out, is dirt.

    Everybody wants perfection, and we delivered that in Forza 4 with Autovista, says art team lead Gabriel Garcia. But perfection is

    CREATIVE DIRECTORDAN

    GREENAWALTON DESIGNING IMPERFECTION

    Drivatar sounds a bit like Skynet. Do you actually keep control of it?There is no way to answer that question without foreshadowing the fall of humanity. I can confi rm Forza 5 will feature no weapons. On a more factual note, the system has multiple overrides on the server. We can tinker with the system to alter each Drivatars ability to observe, store or recreate behaviour. For example, as you gain skill as a driver, so does your Drivatar. It does this by forgetting outdated behaviour as you continually refi ne your skills.

    How does the career work?Every car has its own career, broken into segments that are like leagues - American muscle car, or maybe European hot hatch. We tell you what is so awesome about, say, hot hatches, then you pick one and go through a whole career that was made for it. So if you pick the new Volkswagen Golf R, you get a career that was bespokely designed for that Golf R. And you get to fall in love with that car, understand its nuances and what makes it so unique.

    How does experience work now?Now youre going to win XP and get money for everything you do across the entire game. Whether its split-screen, single-player or multiplayer, whether its Rivals mode or asynchronous play, you earn the same amount of money, the same amount of XP, everywhere you go.

    Was there a three-line whip to use all the new features? Were never mandated, and thats the secret. Were the creative organisation. We break off creative teams to start thinking about how to use new hardware. Thats really the process.

    Cars look much more realistic than the uncanny valley gloss weve seen in previous games

    The detail doesnt include rust. Car manufacturers werent keen.

    www.oxm.co.uk

    24

    PREVIEW

    XBOXONE

    XBZ01.feat_forza.indd 24 7/22/13 1:42 PM

  • not authentic. So we introduce telltale signs of the manufacturing process. Paint has a barely perceptible orange-peel fi nish from where the droplets landed. Brake discs display scratches where the pads grip them. Polished surfaces are actually polished, with tiny scratches from buffi ng. Cars look more realistic than the uncanny valley gloss in previous games.

    Added to this is the road grime from racing, and the teeniest of details such as bluing on the chrome, all of which contribute to what Greenawalt calls the story of the car the way it refl ects your journey. In Forza 4 we had about 5460 materials in a car, says Garcia. In Forza 5 were up to 1,300 unique materials that can be applied to any car. And we havent hit the limit. Bathed in the fruits of a new lighting system, its only the swooping camera that gives away the fact its not a real car.

    Dirty drivingThe world itself is rendered in the same level of detail. The setting for the opening race, Prague, was chosen to show off Xbox Ones graphical chops, and in a fi rst for the series is based on 1:1 laser scanning of the road itself. The resulting wireframe data is accurate to within six millimetres, and paired with high-defi nition 360-degree video capture of the track similar to Google Maps Street View, only far higher resolution enables Turn 10 to create a course so detailed you can see moss between paving stones, fog coming off the river, or the paint fi nish on nearby buildings.

    This process is a key example of how the studios achieving such obsessive levels of detail without requiring a blank cheque and infi nite staff; capturing such detailed reference material makes it easier to model the track, leaving artists free to focus on, well, artistic detail. Like more dirt. The idea is that were in the 23rd hour of the 24-hour Le Mans, says content art director Matt Collins. Every track really feels like its really been raced on; its telling a story as you go round it. If youve seen the end of those races, theres rubber, theres

    marbles, it just feels like its been through a war.It also has to feel like a race that people are

    attending and caring about. Still more of Xbox Ones graphical horsepower is thrown at creating denser crowds, and still more at a remarkable new audio system that makes it sound like a real crowd, thanks to physics-powered sound mixing that juggles thousands of sounds and music samples simultaneously. The detail lavished on the audio rivals that of the visuals, and possibly because its more unexpected to arguably superior effect. Every signifi cant part of every vehicle has been recorded and mapped against a dizzying range of variables everything from RPM to distance from you to proximity to the wall and for every car on the track, rather than just yours as was the case in previous Forzas.

    Hollywood callingThen theres the soundtrack. Or rather, there isnt. Where previous games used up all the hardware for car sounds and had to use licensed tracks for music, Forza 5 has a dynamically generated score. Orchestral strings, pounding drums and choral chants have been separately recorded and are mixed together on the fl y. It sounds more like Halo than a racing game, and it builds from the serenity of inspecting your garage to the pending drama of the imminent battle, then following the purposefully tense

    quiet of the 3, 2, 1 build-up to a stirring cinematic score.

    Were inspired by the Hollywood car chase, says audio director Nick Wiswell. And we can control elements of the mix based on whats happening in the race. If youre towards the back, we can dim it out; if youre towards the front, we can push it up. We even have an element where, as you hunt down the guy in front, you have a tension layer we can bring in and build. And it releases and starts again as you get to the next guy.

    Better yet, the audio team have borrowed from Hollywood to crank up the emotional impact. Tyre screeches have been mixed with human screams; a throaty supercar throttle has been infused with a lions roar. The result tingles the nervous system in the way a simple engine note never could, and in-game it delivers a knockout blow.

    As three cars thunder wheel-to-wheel under an arch and into a square, an awesome combination of duelling engine notes bounces off surrounding buildings, the roar of the crowd and the thumping rotors of a camera helicopter. Its here, with the city stretching off into the seemingly limitless draw distance and the sunlight glaring off the windows, that it feels like the next generation is here. It will, quite literally, put you closer to the vehicles and the track than any other game.

    The audio team have mixed tyre screeches with human screams

    Its easy to win when youre the only car on the track.

    SWEET RIDE

    Custom paint jobs have been overhauled. When you get a new car, youre presented with custom

    liveries; your choices feed back into an Amazon-style recommendation

    engine, which displays similar choices for future cars. It means

    the best user-created designs are served up

    automatically.

    twitter.com/oxmuk

    25

    Forza Motorsport 5

    XBOXONE

    XBZ01.feat_forza.indd 25 7/22/13 1:42 PM

  • 64

    XBOXONE www.oxm.co.uk

    PREVIEW

    64

    XBOXONE www.oxm.co.uk

    PREVIEW

    DETAILSPublisher CD Projekt RedDeveloper CD Projekt RedPlayers 1Co-op None

    XBZ01.feat_witcher.indd 64 7/23/13 8:22 AM

  • Pull my nger. Go on. Well, my hoof. Go on.

    65

    XBOXONEtwitter.com/oxmuk

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

    Wild Hunt, who Geralt could fi ght and even kill. At the end of The Witcher 2, the series debut on Xbox 360, Geralt managed to recover his memories, recalling that hed traded himself for his love, Yennefer, whod

    been taken by the Wild Hunt of his world a group of otherworldly Elves, with a taste for genocide.

    However, riding with the Wild Hunt seems to trigger amnesia, hence

    Geralts confusion. Having also ridden with the hunt, Yennefer might well not know who she is or remember Geralt and the end of The Witcher 2 implies that shes in the enemys city of Nilfgaard itself. Were betting that Geralt will catch up with his adopted daughter, Cirilla, a powerful sorceress, princess and trainee Witcher, who

    once resurrected both Geralt and Yennefer, who has spent time in the Elven otherworld, and who the Elves of the Wild Hunt might be searching for.

    The disaster linked to the Wild Hunt isnt just in the past, though. As The Witcher 3 starts, war has come to the Witchers world, a war thats been brewing from the very fi rst moments of the fi rst game. The assassinations of the previous instalment, care of a party of rival Witchers, have left the worlds north in chaos. Now the Nilfgaardians, a Rome-style empire from the south of the world-spanning continent, have invaded, intending to dominate the entire area. The armies of the north are falling before them and they seem unstoppable.This is where the plot of The Witcher 3 starts; with Geralt free of his

    Release2014

    twitter.com/oxmuk

    The Wild Hunt is a strange pan-European myth focusing on a spectral hunting party skimming above the ground, in pell-mell pursuit of

    whatever quarry they can chase down. To see the Wild Hunt is to bring disaster at best, your death, but most likely a war or plague.

    For Geralt of Rivia, the Witcher of the series, that disaster has already

    come. (If you want to avoid spoiling the earlier games, we recommend

    skipping the next two paragraphs.) During the PC-only The Witcher,

    the amnesiac Geralt was repeatedly taunted by a spectral fi gure calling himself The King of the

    Witcher 3 The

    Wild HuntDoes anyone fancy telling Geralt about the hunting ban?

    Ice giants dont like the Igni spell up em.

    XBZ01.feat_witcher.indd 65 7/23/13 8:22 AM

  • www.oxm.co.uk

    90

    XBOXONE

    PREVIEW

    XBZ01.prev_cod.indd 90 7/22/13 1:33 PM

  • twitter.com/oxmuk

    91

    Call of Duty: Ghosts

    XBOXONE

    The Sub D process equals jaw-dropping textures.

    Its one of the biggest, most successful, and most widely recognised gaming franchises on the planet. Call of Duty s next-generation launch-day debut in November will

    doubtless impact upon the Xbox One consoles immediate sales success, and just as when Call of Duty 2 launched alongside the Xbox 360, how Infi nity Wards top-of-the-line engine fares with the next generations technology will set a benchmark for all triple-A titles that follow.

    This latest iteration in the series is a fresh start, hence Infi nity Wards decision to drop Modern Warfare from the title and craft an entirely new Call of Duty universe, with new direction, an original cast of characters, and an all-new story. The studio enlisted the help of Oscar-winning writer and director Stephen Gaghan to pen the single-player script; it focuses on a group of skilled survivors forced to forge a new unit, the Ghosts, from the scattered remnants of other special ops forces when Americas status as a superpower is suddenly and irrevocably shaken. Infi nity Ward is still being coy about the details, but a wide-scale disaster of some kind strikes, and both the government and military are left decimated in its wake. The US no longer has the resources or the superior fi repower that it once did, so the titular Ghosts are a ragtag, if suspiciously well-equipped, bunch of soldiers banding together against the enemy.

    Under the seaActivision debuted three new levels at E3: Into the Deep, No Mans Land, and a behind-closed-doors exclusive, Federation Day. Taking place somewhere in the Caribbean Sea, Into the Deep displays a level of graphical fi delity tantamount to sensory overload. Natural beauty and man-made

    destruction collide as stunning coral reefs give way to the rusting wreckage of abandoned ships rotting on the ocean fl oor. Sunlight and shadow dance on the sandbar; shoals of brightly coloured fi sh dart and fl ee as you pass, and translucent fronds of seaweed gently sway in the warm Caribbean current. Instead of the usual browns, greens and greys were accustomed to seeing in modern military shooters,

    everything on screen is bathed in a brilliant cerulean blue. Its so astonishingly beautiful it almost feels like a shame when the sightseeing inevitably gets cut short by sub-

    aquatic shooting.Executive producer Mark Rubin cites

    this as his favourite level. It really encapsulates what were trying to do with Call of Duty: Ghosts. It shows off great new tech, really immersive environments and some really interesting new gameplay.

    While Rubin may be right on the fi rst two counts, the really interesting new gameplay is more debatable. Take away the watery setting and its functionally identical to any Call of Duty single-player mission you could name. Follow your leader, sneak for a bit, take out enemies with co-ordinated shots, infi ltrate somewhere, hide from a passing patrol, complete your objective, watch as something goes wrong, shoot some guys, and escape in grand fashion. The demo ends before we get to see that last bit, but itll be there as sure as the post-release DLC will be.

    All Rileyd upThe second level demoed at E3, No Mans Land, treads more familiar Call of Duty territory. Taking place ten miles north of San Diego, its the kind of rubble-strewn set-piece scenery weve long grown accustomed to with a few caveats.

    ReleaseNov

    Its got the style, but has it got the substance?

    Call of Duty:Ghosts DETAILS

    Publisher ActivisionDeveloper Infinity WardPlayers 1Co-op None

    XBZ01.prev_cod.indd 91 7/22/13 1:33 PM

  • How different an experience can each player have?The way you saw this section being played was just one of the ways to play it. A bold player would have a different experience to a cautious player. One might use destruction to create a path, one might use a vehicle to fl ank the whole thing and use the turret machine-gun. One might pick up a weapon from an enemy and use the grenade launcher to blow a hole in the wall; you create this path for you in any way you like. The beauty of that is it becomes your story, it becomes the way you play it. Thats what we want the single-player to be. These self-authored experiences combined with dramatic storytelling. They can co-exist.

    Does that mean youre going to have fewer cutscenes and the like?Were letting the player be in control of situations as much as possible so that theyre always part of the event, not a passive bystander. Player autonomy and this sense of control is really important to us. And to the player, it keeps you engaged and part of the drama at all times. Youre not putting down the controller knowing that its movie time. We want to keep you on your toes.

    How have you improved on the storyline of Battlefi eld 3?Weve taken the best elements from multiplayer and tried to incorporate them into the single-player. If you play multiplayer you improvise, you make a decision, you stick with the consequences, and theres this sense of urgency that we really love. Theres this feeling of having all these options, where the use of destruction and vehicles play a major part in how you reach the end goal. And looking back on Battlefi eld 3 single-player, this was something that we really wanted to improve. Vastly. We felt that we needed a heart, and that we needed to let the player play how they want, not the way we want.

    What was the thinking behind squad fi re? Is it something you borrowed from Brothers in Arms?Its a fast and accessible tool that will enable the player to choose different strategies. Its not a rigid mechanic like in Brothers in Arms its looser, its faster, you dont have to aim in a precise way. Its basically I need to get out of here, provide covering fi re, or you can use it in offensive ways as well. Just like in multiplayer when you can use your squad, its this group of support around you on the ground.

    GAME DIRECTORSTEFAN STRANDBERG MIXES IT UP

    BETTER PHYSICSParticle effects now bounce off surfaces naturally rather than flying through them. The character animation system has been redone with input from FIFA and Fight Night creators.

    SWEET, SWEET DETAILYou can watch drops of sweat dribble down faces, if that takes your fancy. Lighting has been improved, too the shadows of individual leaves are visible on tree trunks.

    SMARTER AINPCs now react not just to your presence but minutiae of the world such as passing cars. DICE says theyll behave more like (competent) friendlies in multiplayer, less the trolling.

    FROSTBITE 3: WHY SHOULD

    YOU CARE?SINCE WHEN DID TECHNOLOGY

    MAKE A GAME WORTH YOUR TIME? SINCE THIS

    Lots of seagulls con rmed for next gen.

    Open missions offer greater freedom.

    www.oxm.co.uk

    144

    XBOXONE

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  • individually modelled fragments, taking out most of the factorys roof. Through that roof the squad then plummets, still trading shots with grunts, to a sticky and explosive landing. The overkill is enough to rouse even nerves long-deadened by exposure to triple-A excess, but just as important, perhaps, is game director Stefan Strandbergs observation that players retain a measure of control throughout.

    For DICE has bigger fi sh to fry here than even Russian attack choppers. Battlefi eld 4 takes aim squarely at the supposed gulf between freedom of action and narrative control, seeking to direct and guide without actually checking the player, or locking us into movie time. The aim is to instil a true sense of choice in this visceral and sometimes chaotic experience, Strandberg explains a balance between agency and helplessness that seems to mirror Reckers gradual transformation from a follower to a leader. Good characters, indeed, are crucial to this endeavour, as players are happier to be directed if they think its what the person theyre inhabiting would do.

    For all the importance of a single-player mode to set the stage, teach players about the arsenal and appease those who lack the holy gift of Xbox Live, multiplayer is without doubt Battlefi eld s silver bullet, its abiding success. The new instalment shows no sign of breaking this run, using the boosted power of Xbox One to enable 64-man multiplayer matches and gigantic maps with truly astonishing potential for destruction. You and your team-mates can level skyscrapers, which not only look incredible as they crumble, but also affect the layout and conditions of a map once toppled. During a hands-on session in the Siege of Shanghai multiplayer map, we had the chance to experience exactly this. The only problem we were inside the thing when it went down.

    Our squad of fi ve struggled to overtake the building, as it was home to a hotly contested control point. With its main entrance guarded by a tank, we made a new opening with a blast from a rocket-propelled grenade, promptly killing an enemy soldier standing on the other side. Our team easily dispatched the hostiles encountered within before riding a lift yes, a lift to the structures top fl oor.

    After taking the control point, we glanced the battle raging below as two factions vied for map dominance. Alas, our victory was short-lived. Soon after capturing our objective, the skyscrapers supports gave way thanks to a well-placed C4 charge. As the structure began

    to quickly collapse, our team-mates shot out the nearby windows and jumped through, deploying parachutes. Overcome with the moment, we attempted to follow suit, but hit the wrong button and smashed into the pavement. Rookie mistake.

    What we saw after respawning was nearly as breathtaking as the preceding event. Leftover rubble from the fallen skyscraper fl ooded the streets, blocking off paths wed passed through minutes before while creating new opportunities for cover. Dust enveloped the area, obstructing our view and forcing us to adapt our tactics accordingly. The destruction of a single building didnt just remove it from play, it altered half the map.

    Shock and aweThis was only one of the many moments that made us realise just how much spontaneous detail Battlefi eld 4 could achieve (disclaimer: we played on a PC, but were told it was running at settings Xbox One will easily be able to handle).

    Not only has environmental destruction received a much-

    needed overhaul it has a much larger presence than in

    Battlefi eld 3 but so too have the fi ner subtleties.

    Everything from the lighting to the particle effects look exponentially better.

    Before, standing next to a tank as it fi red a shell was

    more of an auditory experience than a visual one.

    Now? Youll practically choke on the residue that erupts from the tanks

    cannon as it hurls a slug at enemy armour. Sensory overload aside, on the fi elds of Xbox

    Live, Battlefi eld 4 plays just like its predecessor. Youll select from the same four classes at the start: the medpack-equipped Assault; rocket launcher-wielding Engineer; Support, which refi lls team-mates ammo; or a Recon sniper. Kits can be customised with weapons loadouts, gadgets and passive buffs, which either increase offensive capabilities such as sprinting and reloading speed or defensive ones, like suppression and damage resistance. Vehicle customisations also had a face lift: you can customise buffs specifi c to the gunner seat position, like extra armour or fi repower, a feature mysteriously absent from Battlefi eld 3.

    Such modest additions to the combat indicate that, like arch-rival Call of Duty, Battlefi eld isnt using Xbox One as a reason to radically reinvent online shooters. Unlike Call of Duty, though, it feels like its really using all that next- gen power: creating combat thats simply bigger, brighter and more spectacular than anything youve played before.

    MORE DESTRUCTIBLESConcrete, wood, cloth and metal are pecked apart with the utmost fidelity, revealing stunning interior textures. Even non-explosive weapons get impressive results.

    Its delivering combat more spectacular than anything youve played before

    OMAR COMIN

    Making your squad credible characters that you care about

    is a big focus. As well as the inevitable performance capture one member is played by The

    Wires Omar squad AI has been boosted so they respond naturally to the events

    around you.

    Expect the usual array of nely-detailed rearms.

    Yes, its a living, breathing world. Again.

    twitter.com/oxmuk

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