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Issue 144 december 2016  the xbox one and xbox 360 magazine

metal gear survive the best co-op since left 4 dead?

dishonored 2

twice the killers, twice the fun?

forza horizon 3

reviewed: xbox one’s best racer!

for honor

tested: Hands-on and limbs-off


ISSUE 144 december 2016 Future Publishing, 5 Pinesway Industrial Estate, Ivo Peters Road, Bath, BA2 3QS, UK Tel: 01225 442244 Fax: 020 7042 4689 Email: Web: Editorial Editor Matthew Castle OXM Pesto Art Editor Mark Wynne OXM Bing Bong Production Editor Kimberley Ballard OXM Kimberley Games Editor Tom Stone OXM Tom Stone Contributors Writing Louise Blain, Ben Borthwick, Jordan Erica Webber, Edwin Evans-Thirlwell, Matthew Gilman, Dan Griliopoulos, Steve Hogarty, Dave Houghton, Leon Hurley, Andy Kelly, Martin Kitts, Kirk McKeand, Jenny Meade, James Nouch, Samuel Roberts, Phil Savage, Chris Schilling, Tom Senior, Ed Smith, Sam White, Justin Towell Art Mark Field

Battle beyond the stars

Advertising and marketing Commercial Sales Director Clare Dove Senior Advertising Manager Lara Jaggon Advertising Manager Mike Pyatt Director of Agency Sales Matt Downs Ad Director – Games Andrem Chorch Head of Strategic Partnerships Clare Jonik Senior Product Manager, Subscriptions Adam Jones Marketing Director Sascha Kimmel Marketing Manager Emma Clapp Subscriptions Marketing Manager Jemima Crow Production & distribution Head of Production US & UK Mark Constance Production Controller Nola Cokely Printed in the UK by William Gibbons & Sons Ltd on behalf of Future Distributed by Seymour Distribution Ltd​, 2 East Poultry Avenue, London EC1A 9PT, Tel: 0207 429 4000 Overseas distribution by Seymour International Circulation Trade Marketing Manager Juliette Winyard (07551 150984) subscriptions UK reader order line & enquiries 0844 848 2852 Overseas reader order line & enquiries +44 (0)1604 251045 Online enquiries Email Licensing Head of International Licensing Matt Ellis Management MD Magazines Joe McEvoy Editorial Director Matt Pierce Group Art Director Rodney Dive

Matthew Castle Editor And with that, Matthew rides off into the sunset. Well, we say ‘ride’. He took the bus. Scared of horses, you see.

About the magazine Xbox: The Official Xbox Magazine is published by Future plc, under licence from Future’s US subsidiary. In the US Future has a licence to publish Official Magazines in all territories, excluding Japan. If you’re interested in becoming a licensee, contact Xbox One and Xbox 360 and the Xbox One and Xbox 360 logos are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Xbox: The Official Xbox Magazine is published under licence from Microsoft, and is an independent publication not affiliated with Microsoft Corporation. The ABC combined print, digital and digital publication circulation for Jan-Dec 2013 is 37,519 (Print 35,961 Digital 1,558) A member of the Audit Bureau of Circulations

Want to work for Future? Visit Future is an award-winning international media group and leading digital business. We reach more than 49 million international consumers a month and create world-class content and advertising solutions for passionate consumers online, on tablet & smartphone and in print. Future plc is a public company  quoted on the London Stock  Exchange (symbol: FUTR). 


Long-term readers will not be surprised to see Call of Duty gracing our cover this month – it’s featured in every October issue for as long as I can remember. For such an ‘old reliable’, it’s amazing how much the series morphs from year to year. Yes, the tired cliché is that CoD is CoD is CoD, but to those who actually play the damn thing, the differences are like night and day. In Infinite Warfare, for example, night and day are no longer a thing, as the fight is taken to the dark depths of space to do battle across inhospitable rocks. We quiz Infinity Ward and play the thrilling zero-g multiplayer to prepare you for its imminent release. And speaking of being banished to the abyss of space… it is with a heavy heart that I tell you this is my final issue in the editor’s chair. It’s time for this editor to prestige, and allow a fresh face to level up. Thanks for reading. Bye!

c o n t r i b u t o r s

Chief executive Zillah Byng-Thorne Non-executive chairman Peter Allen Chief finance officer Penny Ladkin-Brand Tel +44 (0)207 042 4000 (London) Tel +44 (0)1225 442 244 (Bath)

All contents copyright © 2016 Future Publishing Limited or published under licence. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be used or reproduced without the written permission of the publisher. Future Publishing Limited (company number 2008885) is registered in England and Wales. Registered office: Quay House, The Ambury, Bath, BA1 1UA. All information contained in this magazine is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Future cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. Readers are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with regard to the price of products/services referred to in this magazine. If you submit unsolicited material to us, you automatically grant Future a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in all editions of the magazine, including licensed editions worldwide and in any physical or digital format throughout the world. Any material you submit is sent at your risk and, although every care is taken, neither Future nor its employees, agents or subcontractors shall be liable for loss or damage.

We are committed to only using magazine paper which is derived from well managed, certified forestry and chlorine-free manufacture. Future Publishing and its paper suppliers have been independently certified in accordance with the rules of the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).

Tom Stone Games editor Matthew gave each underling a gift, Wizard of Oz-style. “To Tom I give the gift of a massive Call of Duty feature to write over the weekend. Enjoy!”

Kimberley Ballard Production editor To Kimberley he gave the gift of a dictionary. “Your spellchecking is already impeccable. This is for throwing at Tom when he forgets to write captions.”

Edwin EvansThirlwell Contributor “To you, Edwin, I give the gift of one month where I don’t ridicule your ludicrously posh name in your bio. That cool with you, m’lord?”

Paul Taylor Editor, OXM Australia Matthew was going to give Paul a gift but then he looked into the price of shipping it over to Australia and decided he couldn’t be bothered. Sorry, Paul!

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sta rt

contents Everything you can look forward to over the next 100 or so pages

news 008 Xbox Scorpio 012 Destiny 2 014 Need to Know: Ghost Recon Wildlands 015 HyperX CloudX Gears of WaR RevolveR Headset 016 The Big Picture: Mass Effect: Andromeda 018 South Park: The Fractured But Whole 020 oxm opinion


previews 024 For Honor 028 Gwent 030 Metal Gear Survive 032 Dishonored 2 036 The Fall 2

056 040

subscribe now on page 038

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M ore grea t fea tures a t ga m m/oxm

features 040 Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare 050 The big interview: Brian Fargo 056 Watch Dogs 2

reviews 066 Gears of wAR 4 070 Fifa 17 072 Destiny: Rise of Iron 073 Firewatch 074 XCOM 2 076 Bioshock: The Collection 079 NBA 2K17 080 Forza Horizon 3 085 Hitman Episode 5: Colorado 086 Dead Rising Triple Pack 087 Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 088 PES 2017 091 Mount & Blade: Warband 092 Indie Digest

extra 098 tHE wITCHER 3: bLOOD AND wINE 100 wwe 2K16 101 bIOsHOCK iNFINITE: bURIAL aT sEA 102 OXM Explores 104 retrospective: Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 108 15 greatest Online Modes in xbox history 112 directory 114 Disc Slot: Phil Duncan

066 005


080 098


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insider 006

It’s been a roller coaster ride these last 12 months, but if, like us, you refuse to leave the house without your trusty Xbox-green underpants (or if you’re merely the proud owner of one of Microsoft’s fine machines), then what a corker of a year yet awaits. While we still reel from the release of Xbox One S, Project Scorpio (p8) looms like the Colossus of Rhodes, its native 4k banner held high and its six teraflops flapping brazenly in the breeze. We’ve spoken with Aaron Greenberg, head of Xbox Games marketing, to discover his plans for Scorpio and beyond. Speaking of beyond, we’re leaving the realm of solid facts this issue to pitter-patter in the pool of Destiny 2 (p12). It’s one of the most exciting shooters on the horizon, despite not officially existing. We’ve dug deep to discern some probabilities. Keep your peepers peeled for Mass Effect: Andromeda (p16), too. A bevy of new screens has turned up in our cargo hold, and naturally we’ve plastered them all over our Big Picture pages all special, like.

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We’ve seen a lot of her in the trailers, but we’re still waiting to find out exactly who this Asari is...

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xbox of tricks

The Future is Xbox Microsoft’s Aaron Greenberg talks moving from Xbox One S to Xbox Scorpio, winning the Xmas sales battle and rebooting Rare

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above As well as six teraflops of processing power, Project Scorpio will bring 4k and VR to consoles.

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In theory, this winter is the calm before the storm for Xbox One. Microsoft’s beefy new Project Scorpio, a backwards compatible mid-generation update with an eyewatering six teraflops of GPU power, won’t be on shelves till 2017, making Christmas 2016 something of an off-period. Except that the publisher has just released Forza Horizon 3, the finest racer in an age, and Gears of War 4, a thunderous return for one of gaming’s greatest shooters. And then there’s the Xbox One S, a slimmed-down Xbox One with 4K resolution and high dynamic range support. Though technically a stopgap to keep up appearances while Scorpio gestates, the new model has sold out fast, with the 2TB special edition proving hard to find. “It’s a good problem to have, I guess,” says Aaron Greenberg, head of Xbox marketing, during a wide-ranging conversation about Xbox gaming present and future. “The demand definitely exceeded what we expected and yeah, we’re working hard to get new Xbox One S models into market as soon as possible.” With three instalments of the Xbox One in shops at once, and Xbox franchises now available across PC and console simultaneously, there’s potential for confusion about which hardware to buy next year. How exactly will Microsoft communicate the different facets of this “ecosystem” to players? The plan, Greenberg insists, is simply to discuss the games themselves, be open about which hardware they look


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and run best on, and let people make up their own minds from there. “We generally want to lead with the game first, and show people the game, talk about the story, the characters, modes – game first, platform second.”

Out of the box above Aaron Greenberg, head of Xbox marketing. below Forza Horizon 3 kicks off Microsoft’s winter blockbusters. Read our review on page 80.

Microsoft won’t necessarily showcase upcoming titles on all platforms, but they’ll always be clear which version of a game is in the spotlight. “There are times we’re going to show stuff on PC, there will be times we’ll show stuff on console, but we’re just going to be transparent about it.” Is Greenberg worried, though, that demoing a game on PC will leave the Xbox version looking rather homely? He points to reactions to Gears 4 on console as evidence that the original Xbox One still has enough grunt to stand comparison with a maxed-out desktop. “It’s always fun when you show something on console that people don’t think is possible. But at

the same time, it’s pretty cool to be able to show some 4K stuff running on Windows 10. And console gamers – they know with Project Scorpio next year we’re going to bring true 4K to the console market as well.” As for the games themselves, Microsoft have been careful not to repeat last year’s pile-up, which saw Rise of the Tomb Raider fighting for breath alongside Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and Fallout 4. The platform holder has spaced out its exclusives carefully – ReCore and Forza Horizon 3 during the relative peace of

“It’s always fun to show something on console that people don’t think is possible” September, followed by Gears 4 during the white heat of October. They have opted to skip November entirely, keeping Halo Wars 2 back for February so that Xbox owners have something to crow about in the spring. “The previous holiday we had six triple-A games, all with big TV blockbuster budgets, that launched in three weeks,” says Greenberg. “And even a gamer with no budget limit won’t have enough time to play six big games in three weeks. I think that we’ve approached that line-up better.” While Microsoft doubtless have more to reveal, their key title next year is likely to be Rare’s co-op pirate ‘em up Sea of Thieves. A colourful, carefree party game in which you sail a gorgeous physics-driven ocean,

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it cuts a strange but persuasive figure alongside Forza and Gears. “It’s a different game to any Rare’s ever made and it’s very innovative,” observes Greenberg. “We’ve been playing this title internally and there’s magic there, and we know there’s nothing else like this.”

Sea you soon

As with Bungie’s Destiny, Sea of Thieves is designed to expand significantly over time and reward players for visiting its world regularly. “We want to be thoughtful about how you bring a more service-based, shared-world type of experience to market,” Greenberg explains. “Eventually we’ll go into a closed beta, we’ll build and refine. It’s not going to be a traditional ‘launch and leave’ kind of game.” The beta, he says, should roll over into a full boxed release once the base game has found its feet. “We do want to be able to allow people to eventually buy it on a disc and online, and we’ll have different gates and stages to do that.” The appeal of Sea of Thieves is simple – it’s incredibly friendly, though there’s room for serious competition when two galleon crews meet on the open sea. “I just played it again

above right Microsoft are spending millions turning Gears 4 into a competitive eSport. below Go on, name another multiplayer game where you can make griefers walk the plank.

a couple of weeks ago,” Greenberg adds. “I was at Rare and I played it with multiple folks, multiple times – we all want to keep playing the game, by the way, which is a good sign! And depending on who you’re playing with, things can go very differently. “I’ve played it with a very cooperative group, and it’s like ‘hey, who’s getting the sails? Who’s driving?’ And then before long someone’s shooting cannons at us, so the last time I played I had to go underwater and patch the holes. And then we used the anchor to turn – at least in the current build, you can drop the anchor and do a really hard, pinpoint turn. But of course, then you’re sitting still because your anchor is down.” We’re eager to find out whether Sea of Thieves will be a Scorpio launch title, but the biggest question for us, right now, is simply how much the new console will cost. Phil Spencer has suggested that Scorpio’s pricing will compare to that of other recent consoles at launch. Greenberg declines to name a figure, but points out that offering a massive power hike at a relatively low price is part of the marketing proposition for Scorpio. “It was about if we could go and

make a premium console that had incredible capabilities – six teraflops of GPU power, true 4K capabilities, [the ability to] support high-fidelity VR – things that people can get in the PC space, but they’re spending thousands and thousands on super high-end PCs. How can we bring that at scale to the console market?” He reminds us, however, that the Xbox One S will be sold alongside the Scorpio as a budget-friendly counterpart – Microsoft have the option of pricing the new console a little higher, in other words, because it already has the cheaper end of the spectrum covered. The world of Xbox is changing fast, and only time will tell how Scorpio’s arrival will affect the industry. Is this truly “the end of console generations”, with all titles available to all Xbox customers regardless of their kit, or just another in a long line of hardware upgrades? Whatever the outcome, you can bank on one thing – if it’s got “Xbox” written on it, it’s about games first and foremost. And if this winter is a ‘quiet period’, our brains can only boggle at what next year will offer. OXM Xbox One S is available to buy now, with bundles starting from £249.99

what do you think of project scorpio? tell us at

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the future is light

Exotic pastimes As rumours of Destiny 2 loom on the horizon, here are the changes you can expect to see


Obviously there’s going to be a Destiny 2. You didn’t expect that ten-year plan Activision kept going on about to come from one game? New rumours suggest that a sequel is very much under way and could be arriving late in 2017, bringing big changes. First the bad news: It sounds like you won’t be able to keep your current Guardian. Current plans to shake up the sequel are so large you could think of it as a do-over. Apparently the game has already hit technical limitations that are holding it back and Bungie are keen to create a new and future-proof framework. While you might not be able to bring your Hunter, Titan or Warlock with you to this new world, there have been whispers of plans to reward current players. The planned upgrade also means old Destiny content could disappear for a while (although let’s be honest: you’ve probably had enough of saving ailing warmind Rasputin, haven’t you?). Developers are apparently trying to make the old stuff work in the new engine but the scale of the

OXM says Matt Gilman

technical improvements are making it hard. One option that could be on the table is to rebuild some old locations from scratch after launch. Now the exciting stuff. One of the new terms being repeatedly mentioned is ‘play-in destinations’. The idea here is to create more interesting spaces to explore.

“Bungie are keen to create a future-proof framework”

right Destiny 2 could see the Cabal becoming a much more prominent enemy. below You spend hours of your life with your Guardian and a sequel could mean saying a hard goodbye.

well, reasons. New races and factions are also hotly tipped. All this extra content will mean a lot of work, and word is that other Acti studios including High Moon and Vicarious Visions have been drafted in to help Bungie create Destiny 2’s expanded universe. If the late 2017 date is indeed true, expect to see a reveal early in the new year. OXM

So instead of maps built around missions, the new areas will be more populated. There’s talk of towns and outposts to make things feel more alive, as well as more developed quests instead of patrols. These rumours have been corroborated from multiple sources, such as Kotaku, but there are other interesting titbits worth mentioning. For example, gossip is pointing to a complete narrative overhaul with a focus on the Cabal and Saturn for… “‘Who’s this?’ you might reasonably ask. Never mind that for now. All you need to know is that if Destiny 2 is to re-Light my fire then it needs to sort out Raid matchmaking. Bungie need to stop making their best stuff their least accessible.”

 imberley K Ballard

If you uncover more juicy Destiny 2 rumours, let Team OXM know “I’m excited about a sequel after spending a huge chunk of 2015 boosting my Light levels, and I’m looking forward to exploring new areas. But I’m a bit sad that my pink-haired, tattooed Hunter might not be joining me *inserts crying emoji*.”

Tom Stone

“Apparently The Taken King’s storyline is pretty strong. This shocks me, given I’m still haunted by Peter Dinklage rambling on about moon wizards. Hopefully Destiny 2 will knock it out of the narrative park from day one.”

Excited? Horrified? Let the world know at WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/OXMUK

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Official Xbox Magazine 144 (Sampler)  

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