We launched Xbox Game Preview at E3 in 2015 with The Long Dark and Elite: Dangerous. In the nearly two years since, we’ve been thrilled to see the range of amazing new titles come to the program and some of our favorites “graduate” out. Game Preview was envisioned as a way for developers to build an early and continuous dialogue with their core fans and work together with them to craft the ultimate final product. Throughout the preview period, fans are constantly providing feedback – either directly, by giving suggestions to the developers, or indirectly, as the developers watch how fans adapt to new features. As such, gamers who want to jump in early can literally immerse themselves in the development process and potentially have a real impact on the game.
This week, in our second week of the month-long [email protected] Game Fest, we’re excited to highlight just a few games in the program. These titles are currently on sale, but because all Game Preview games include a free trial, you can check any of them out for free first and decide if you want to jump in right now, or if you’d rather wait for the full 1.0 release down the road. Just be sure to keep an eye on the Game Hub for any Preview Title you may have played as that will be the best source for the devs to let you know what’s going on with development.
First up, we have Ark: Survival Evolved from Studio Wildcard. It launched in December of 2015 and was an immediate hit. It drops you on a strange island populated with dinosaurs and other creatures, and forces you to figure out a way to survive. It’s currently 50% off. In addition, the Scorched Earth add-on, which launched last fall, is 25% off. Adding to an already massive game, it introduced six unique, desert themed biomes and… dragons!
Pit People, from storied developer the Behemoth, is the newest entrant in Game Preview, having launched just this January. It’s currently 15% off. From the creators of Castle Crashers, Alien Hominid and Battle Block Theater, Pit People applies the Behemoth’s unique art and humor to a fast-paced, turn-based, co-op adventure. A cast of tragically unique heroes awaits as you plot a course across an apocalyptic wonderland.
If you’re a fan of the survival genre, you can’t miss The Long Dark from Hinterlands, which is currently 30% off. It’s a relentless, realistic, thoughtful adventure that challenges you to find a way to survive in an expansive, frozen wilderness. There are no zombies in The Long Dark – only you, the cold, and everything Mother Nature can throw at you. As our very first Game Preview title, fans have been able to follow the development of this amazing experience almost from day one.
Astroneer hit Game Preview last December on both Xbox One and Windows 10, and is currently 20% off on both platforms. But since it’s an Xbox Play Anywhere title, you don’t need to buy it twice – if you buy the Xbox version you get the Windows 10 version at no addition cost (and vice versa, of course). This game is a streamer’s delight since it lets you explore and reshape distant worlds in nearly limitless fashion. Gather resources, craft, build and discover new worlds. Or, if you prefer, reshape an entire planet to create your ultimate space fortress.
Slime Rancher, a game about, well, ranching slimes, is currently 33% off. It’s a colorful, friendly, inviting and unbelievably addictive farming/ranching sim. Explore a huge, wild world, collect slimes, build your farm and stake your claim. It sounds simple, but with features such as slime science experiments and the ability to create your own slime species, its simplicity belies an incredibly deep and compelling game.
Rivals of Aether, currently 50% off, joined the Game Preview program last summer with its indie take on the Smash Bros style of gameplay. Set in a world where warring civilizations summon the power of Fire, Water, Air, and Earth, rival factions possesses skills which can manipulate the battlefield in a unique way, creating an elaborate play style. It’s an amazing couch co-op experience as four players can jump in locally, or you can battle others online.
Last but certainly not least, we have Subnautica, which is currently 33% off. This game is a different take on survival. First of all, it’s all underwater – in a massive, rich, beautiful alien “subnautic” environment. Secondly, it’s not about killing. You don’t survive by shooting everything you see. Instead, you craft equipment and submarines to explore lush coral reefs, volcanoes, and cave systems, and survive by staying one step ahead of the environment.
We’re incredibly proud of the fantastic games in the Game Preview program, including these and others such as We Happy Few and Everspace, and we look forward to bringing you more in the future. Next week in [email protected] Game Fest we’ll be highlighting some of our favorite “amazing indie” games so make sure to keep any eye out for that.