Gamescom 2015: Microsoft's New Xbox Preview Program Titles

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Steve Anderson
The Video Store Guy
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Gamescom 2015: Microsoft's New Xbox Preview Program Titles

I have to admit, I wasn't expecting hearing anything about the Xbox Preview Program out of Gamescom, but the program bringing early-stage release titles to users is making a bit of headway, adding two new titles set to come out in the next few months.

The first of these is coming this winter--which means it might end up seguing into 2016--and is the survival experience par excellence "Ark: Survival Evolved." Meanwhile, sometime this holiday season--which pretty much means before 2016 hits--will be the Kickstarter-funded "We Happy Few," a game described as "a game of paranoia and survival."

I've seen enough Let's Play videos of "Ark: Survival Evolved" to be excited about this one. It looks like nothing so much as a 3D "Minecraft" with a load of weapons--even some guns--and the ability make stuff, roam the world, and tame dinosaurs.

"We Happy Few," meanwhile, I'd never even heard of before this announcement. That was a surprise for me, and the trailer that came out was even more so. Imagine a universe where Guy Fawkes masks weren't creepy enough, and most of the population of a retrofuturistic London decided to wear them. Meanwhile, someone impersonating Mark Hamill's Joker voice slowly reads a slightly modified version of "London Bridge." Yes, I'm freaked out too. I'm not sure this is my cup of tea; the creepy I don't have a problem with but I'm afraid this might focus more on stealth gameplay than I'd really like it to.

There's no word as yet on when other games are coming, including earlier-reported titles like "Sheltered," "Day Z," and upcoming titles like "Chucklefish" and "Rivals of Ether." In fact, there's been a depressing dearth of information about the preview program, and I"m not particularly happy about this. Still, I am happy to see that there's been movement on this front, and that we'll be seeing new games arriving in fairly rapid fashion.

I find the Xbox Preview Program a noteworthy idea, if for no other reason than I'm seeing a lot of PC titles making the migration to consoles, and I've been a lot more comfortable with console gaming for quite some time now. Getting to try more PC gaming on a console platform is welcome, and was likely at least some of the impetus behind the Steam Machine concept. But this is just as good; Microsoft's clear PC connection is likely helping export games from PC-only to Xbox One, and that's a welcome development.

I'm eager to see what else hits the Xbox Preview Program, meanwhile, and though I'll likely have a bit of a wait to find out, hopefully the end result will be worth it.

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