Xbox One price cut to $349 this holiday season

In an effort to combat drooping sales numbers, Microsoft has announced it will drop the price of the Xbox One to $349 in the U.S., starting Nov. 2.

According to Major Nelson’s official announcement, Amazon is one of the retailers who will adhere to this promotional pricing, so overseas servicemembers with an APO mailing address should be able to get in on this deal.

'Rise of the Tomb Raider' will be Xbox One exclusive

Tomb Raider 2013 was a major success for Crystal Dynamics, with it hitting nearly every video game platform, including the PC, PlayStation 3 and 4 along with Xbox 360 and Xbox One. Now, the series will be a Microsoft exclusive title.

Microsoft vice president Phil Harrison and Crystal Dynamics announced today that the next installment in the "Tomb Raider" series would be an Xbox One in 2015.

This revelation, made at the GameCom conference in Cologne, Germany, is especially shocking considering the franchise's roots as the game that helped launch the PlayStation into the mainstream.

Thailand bans dictatorship simulator 'Tropico 5'

This screen capture from the "Tropico 5" announcement trailer shows "El Presidente" in all of his glory.

Video games that draw inspiration from real life sources often are the ones that make the largest impact on the mainstream gaming consciousness. After all, how less memorable would the famous beachfront landing opening of “Call of Duty 2” have been if it had been a battle between two fictional groups, rather than the Allies and the Axis forces?

Sometimes, though, the games ripped straight from yesterday’s headlines can hit a little too close to home.

‘The Sun Also Rises’ promises a different kind of war

When you think of war in video games, the strongest associations are to the testosterone-filled first-person shooters of the modern era. “Call of Duty,” “Battlefield,” “Counter-strike” — games that go through great pains to depict the ferocity and excitement of battle, while leaving the emotion out of it (try as they might with the addition of “dogs”).

It’s altogether different for other forms of storytelling, though. The best war films, for example, connect on an emotional level as well as visual. Perhaps that’s why indie developer Horse Volume is pitching a new type of war game: an exploration of human interactions in the Global War on Terrorism called “The Sun Also Rises.”

'Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare' shows off new toys

Sledgehammer Games, the latest steward of the venerable “Call of Duty” franchise, is documenting the progress of their latest entry into the series, “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.”

Their latest video — seen here — shows off some of the futuristic toys gamers will get to play with when the game launches in November. “Advanced Warfare” is taking “Call of Duty” in a new direction, mixing hard science fiction elements with the grittiness the series has become known for. In this world, hover bikes and armored exoskeletons are part of the everyday arsenal, and if the video is anything to go from, they look to be a blast to play with.  

E3 indie game highlights

The indie title "Cuphead" looks as though it's ripped straight from a 1930s cartoon.

It’s no secret that E3 is about the bombastic celebration of gaming. The massive conference moves along like a raging river, with the large games acting as eddies in the water, gathering spots in which a plurality of gamers gather to ogle the new “Zelda’s” and “Call of Duty’s” of the world.

Those moments make for an exciting time at E3, but just as important are the bits of indie gaming sediment that wash ashore while and bring to life a robust, diverse gaming environment. This year’s press conferences put some of those independent titles on equal footing, while some of those smaller games were pushed aside. We wanted to takes some time to highlight some of these games and give you a look at some amazingly creative titles you may have missed over the past couple of days.

Nintendo’s conference delivers laughs, games

Screengrab from Nintendo's unveiling of the newest Zelda title, slated for release in 2015.

Nintendo has always marched to the beat of their own drum, so it’s really no surprise that the company put their own spin on the normally somber news conferences. Unlike Monday’s conferences, Nintendo’s was all pre-recorded. They also eschewed “humorous” lame jokes in favor of professionally designed skits by the “Robot Chicken” show runners, which was a bit shocking considering Nintendo’s family friendly image.

Oh, and they also managed to squeeze in some talk about their upcoming video game portfolio, too. 

Sony conference brings big names to bear

Each company during Monday’s E3 press conferences took different approaches in getting their message across. Microsoft focused on new experiences, EA took us behind the scenes of the game development process and Sony brought out the big names in their effort to show gamers that PlayStation is where it’s at.

By any metric, they were successful. There was a great look at the much-hyped “Destiny,” along with an alpha signup that PlayStation 4 owners can sign up for here. We got our first look at “Little Big Planet 3,” and Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and “Bloodborne,” the game formerly known as “Project Beast,” from From Software. Their big exclusive, “The Order: 1886” was given a new trailer, with snippets of gameplay woven through the largely CGI movie.

EA conference light on gameplay

Screengrab from the "Star Wars: Battlefront" official trailer.

Electronic Arts started its E3 showcase with a short look at “Star Wars: Battlefront,” followed by a warning that their conference was going to be a little different.

That difference manifested itself in the way they highlighted the dozen or so games targeted for delivery to shelves over the next couple of years. Instead of gameplay trailers, most of the announcements included inside looks at the teams developing the games, with a heavy emphasis on concept art and target renders.

Microsoft kicks off conference with new Call of Duty, Halo collection

Screengrab from "The Master Chief Collection."

Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft's Xbox division, opened this year’s E3 conference  with a promise that video games, and not superfluous entertainment widgets, would be his company’s focus moving forward.

Ninety minutes later, even strident opponents would have to agree that this year’s conference delivered on that front in a way that the sports- and television-filled disaster of last year’s conference never did.


About the Authors

Brian Bowers is Stars and Stripes’ Assistant Managing Editor for Europe and Mideast and one of its video game reviewers. He joined the newspaper in 1992 in Germany, where he worked on the news desk and the city desk. He has a wife and three children, who are always eager to help him test games.

Sam Laney joined Stars and Stripes in 2007 as a copy/layout editor and slowly convinced upper management to support his video game habit. Since then, he’s added game reviews and previews to his list of duties and moved on to the iPad. When he’s not rocking newbies in “Left4Dead2,” he covers PC and Nintendo systems.

Michael S. Darnell joined Stars and Stripes in 2013 as a reporter and quickly annoyed his bosses into allowing him to write about video games in his spare time. He's a PC gamer at heart whose life goals include building the first gaming PC on Mars.