Here we go…a special episode of This Week On Xbox plus a message from Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, about the games lineup coming to Xbox in 2017.

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Today is a big day for Team Xbox as we celebrate the worldwide launch of early access for Halo Wars 2. Since the launch of the original Halo Wars on Xbox 360 eight years ago, the passionate Halo community has been urging us to publish a sequel. I am incredibly proud of the action-packed experience the talented teams at 343 Industries and Creative Assembly have created on the biggest Halo battlefield ever.

From the in-depth, story-driven single-player campaign to the innovative and accessible Blitz mode, to the more traditional Deathmatch, Halo Wars 2 is designed for players of all skill levels to have fun. And, with Xbox Play Anywhere, players get both the Xbox One and Windows 10 PC versions of Halo Wars 2 with a single digital purchase, including shared progress and achievements across both platforms. I have been playing Halo Wars 2 behind the scenes for a few months now and the game feels like a return to what made the first Halo Wars great with a new take on RTS that will attract even more gamers to the genre.

2017 is shaping up to be one of the most exciting years ever for Xbox gamers. We are preparing to launch the most powerful console ever made this holiday – Project Scorpio – along with a diverse lineup of games.  In fact, we are committed to delivering even more exclusive games for both Xbox One and Windows 10 this year than we launched in 2016.  I was very proud of our first-party lineup in 2016 and I am encouraged by an even bigger and more differentiated first-party lineup in 2017, starting with today’s launch of Halo Wars 2.

Our studio partners at Rare, Undead Labs and Sumo Digital/Reagent Games are working hard to develop exclusive Xbox One and Windows 10 games this year, from new IP like Sea of Thieves to all-new chapters of fan-favorite franchises like State of Decay 2 and Crackdown 3. Sea of Thieves is currently in technical alpha and is taking a community-oriented approach that lets players participate in the development process, and both State of Decay 2 and Crackdown 3 are looking and playing great.  And of course, we’ll have more in store for you at E3 2017 in June.

I’m also excited about the return of two original Xbox classics coming to Xbox One and Windows 10 this spring – Phantom Dust and Voodoo Vince. Fans of the original Xbox game Phantom Dust can look forward to the re-release of the original classic with Xbox Play Anywhere support and cross-play, as well as improvements to game balance and frame rate. And Voodoo Vince: Remastered is coming to Xbox One, Windows 10 and Steam through the ID@Xbox program. This new edition features high-fidelity visuals and Xbox Play Anywhere support, along with the classic gameplay and brilliant soundtrack fans know and love.

There’s a lot to look forward to this year from independent developers as well.  Between Cuphead – one of my personal favorites and an Xbox One console exclusive also coming to Windows 10 – and Below, Thimbleweed Park, Tacoma, Ark: Survival Evolved, We Happy Few and more, 2017 is shaping up to be an incredible year for the ID@Xbox program.

We are focused on building the largest games library in Xbox console history, which means our Xbox One Backward Compatibility lineup will continue growing this year.  We’ve delivered top fan favorites like Grand Theft Auto IV, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and the BioShock and Mass Effect trilogies to our catalog in recent months, and we’ll continue adding more  games throughout the year.

In addition to all the amazing exclusives, ID@Xbox and backward compatible games coming this year, I’m thrilled with the great games our third-party development partners are creating, including upcoming titles For Honor, Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands, TEKKEN 7, Mass Effect Andromeda, South Park: The Fractured but Whole, Prey and Injustice 2.

With such a broad and varied roster of games and first party exclusives on the horizon, continuous improvements across Xbox Live, and the upcoming launch of Project Scorpio, 2017 is going to be an incredible year for Xbox One and Windows 10 gamers. On behalf of everyone at Team Xbox, thank you for your continued passion and support.

Phil Spencer
Twitter: @XboxP3
GT: P3


Leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter and let me know what you think of the show.

For the month of March, Xbox Live Gold members will receive four new free games – two on Xbox One and two on Xbox 360 – as part of the Games with Gold program. You can play both Xbox 360 titles on your Xbox One with Backward Compatibility.

On Xbox One, Xbox Live Gold members can download Layers of Fear ($19.99 ERP) for free during the month of March. Evolve Ultimate Edition ($49.99 ERP) will be available as a free download from March 16th to April 15th.

  

On Xbox 360, starting Wednesday, March 1st, Borderlands 2 ($19.99 ERP) will be free for Xbox Live Gold members through March 15th. Then on March 16th, Xbox Live Gold Members can download Heavy Weapon ($9.99 ERP) for free through March 31st.

  

Read more about March Games with Gold titles over at Xbox Wire.

See last month’s Games With Gold here.

*Titles are available as free downloads for qualifying Xbox Live Gold members in all markets where Xbox Live is available. Some regions may offer different titles depending on market availability.

 

Content: Zombie Vikings
Check price and availability in your Xbox LIVE region

Game Description: Embark on a dead funny adventure with the Zombie Vikings. A putrid posse sent on a mission through the most epic of worlds to retrieve Odin’s lost eye. Play as the most fearsome Vikings ever raised from Norse soil – Gunborg, Seagurd, Hedgy and Caw-kaa. Hack through the gingerbread swamps of Molgaga! Cruise through the intestines of the Midgaard Serpent! Zombie Vikings is a co-op story brawler for 1-4 players featuring 25+ levels in 8 different worlds. Choose among four different Zombie Vikings, each with unique power moves and over 40 unlockable weapons.

Purchase Zombie Vikings for Xbox One from the Xbox Games Store

Product Info:
Developer: Zoink Games
Publisher: Zoink Games
Website: Zombie Vikings
Twitter: @ZoinkGames

Content: Shift Happens
Check price and availability in your Xbox LIVE region

Game Description: Shift Happens presents Bismo and Plom – two loveable jelly creatures who got merged due to a comical yet dramatic accident. Together they have to solve lots of puzzles, survive daring jump- and climbing actions. And they have to collect lots of valuable coins. Get yourself taken into a totally unique gameplay experience which can also be enjoyed together on a couch. In over 40 levels. Separated into four different worlds, Shift Happens offers everything a true Jump & Run fan will ever need.

Purchase Shift Happens for Xbox One from the Xbox Games Store

Product Info:
Developer: Klonk Games 
Publisher: Deck13
Website: Shift Happens
Twitter: @klonkgames / @Deck13_de / @BismoAndPlom

Content: Trulon: The Shadow Engine
Check pre-order price and availability in your Xbox LIVE region

Game Description: You may pre-download this game, but it will not be playable until 12:01 AM EST on the release date (02/24/2017).

Enter a world of steampunk and magic by experiencing the debut title of the Trulon series. The adventure RPG is based on a new novel from Jak Koke, an award-winning author who is known from the best-selling Shadowrun trilogy, The Dragon Heart Saga. Featuring a unique card combat system that combines traditional deck management with random elements, the tactics are intuitively activated using over 50 cards in an easy to play way. This makes both RPG veterans and new players feel immediately at home.

Pre-Order now and save 20% – Limited Time Offer.

Xbox One Pre-Order FAQ

💬 Larry Hryb @majornelson

More @majornelson on Twitter

Content: Halo Wars 2
Check price and availability in your Xbox LIVE region

Game Description: Real-time strategy makes an explosive return to the Halo universe in Halo Wars 2. Lead Spartans, Warthogs and other classic Halo fighting forces in a brutal war against a terrifying new enemy on the biggest Halo battlefield ever.All-new, Action-packed Story – The heroes of Halo Wars return to find themselves – and the galaxy – in more danger than ever. Following the events of Halo 5, the all-new story is told in action-packed missions set on the legendary Halo destination known as the Ark. Players will strategically command overwhelming firepower in large-scale battles against a terrifying threat facing the UNSC and all of humanity.

Purchase Halo Wars 2 for Xbox One from the Xbox Games Store
Purchase Halo Wars 2 for Windows 10 from the Xbox Games Store

Purchase Halo Wars 2: Ultimate Edition for Xbox One from the Xbox Games Store
Purchase Halo Wars 2: Ultimate Edition for Windows 10 from the Xbox Games Store

Product Info:
Developer: 343 Industries
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Website: Halo Wars 2
Twitter: @Halo

NOTE: Supports Xbox Play Anywhere: yours to play on both Xbox One and Windows 10 PC at no additional cost.

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For more information on Xbox Play Anywhere, check out this article at Xbox Wire.

Content: Vaccine
Check price and availability in your Xbox LIVE region

Game Description: Vaccine is a new approach on Survival Horrors inspired by those of the 90s. You can choose between the two members of a special bio-hazard rapid response team, each starting with their own unique differential abilities. They are trapped in a strange house populated by dangerous mutated creatures, they will have to find a vaccine for another team member who is infected with a deadly virus. Unless you uncover the mystery of the house, every time you bring back the vaccine, the infected team member will relapse and you will be presented with a new randomly rebuilt house.

Purchase Vaccine for Xbox One from the Xbox Games Store

Product Info:
Developer: Rainy Night Creations – RNC
Publisher: Rainy Night Creations – RNC
Website: Vaccine
Twitter: @RNC_FreezeMe

Here are this week’s games and add-on deals on the Xbox Games Store. Discounts are valid now through 27 February 2017.

    

Xbox One Deals

Content Title Content Type Discount Notes
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Xbox One Game 35% DWG
Forza Motorsport 6 and Forza Motorsport 5 Bundle Xbox One Game 50% DWG
Forza Motorsport 6 Complete Add-Ons Collection Add-On 67% DWG
Deadpool Xbox One Game 60% DWG
King’s Quest: The Complete Collection Xbox One Game 50% DWG
NASCAR Heat Evolution Xbox One Game 35% DWG
Dovetail Games Euro Fishing Xbox One Game 50% DWG
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare – Digital Deluxe Edition Xbox One Game 20% DWG
Doodle God: Ultimate Edition Xbox One Game 33% DWG
Don’t Starve: Giant Edition + Shipwrecked Expansion Xbox One Game 40% DWG
Toby: The Secret Mine Xbox One Game 20% DWG
Hunter’s Legacy Xbox One Game 25% DWG
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare – Digital Legacy Edition Xbox One Game 25% DWG
Hand of Fate Xbox One Game 67% DWG
Shadow Complex Remastered Xbox One Game 50% DWG
DUCATI – 90th Anniversary Xbox One Game 60% DWG
Attack on Titan* Xbox One Game 50% Spotlight
BLAZBLUE CHRONOPHANTASMA EXTEND* Xbox One Game 50% Spotlight
WARRIORS OROCHI 3 Ultimate* Xbox One Game 40% Spotlight
Grand Theft Auto V* Xbox One Game 50% Spotlight
Grand Theft Auto V & Great White Shark Cash Card* Xbox One Game 50% Spotlight
Grand Theft Auto V & Whale Shark Cash Card Bundle* Xbox One Game 60% Spotlight
Grand Theft Auto V & Megalodon Shark Cash Card Bundle* Xbox One Game 60% Spotlight

*These offers are valid for all Xbox Live members.
Please note: prices and availability are subject to change and may vary by region.

    

Xbox 360 Deals

Content Title Content Type Discount Notes
Call of Duty: World at War Games On Demand 50% DWG
Deadpool Games On Demand 63% DWG
Blue Dragon Games On Demand 50% DWG
BloodRayne: Betrayal Games On Demand 60% DWG
Double Dragon Neon Games On Demand 60% DWG
Monaco: What’s Yours Is Mine Games On Demand 60% DWG
Slender: The Arrival Games On Demand 60% DWG
Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack Games On Demand 60% DWG

*These offers are only valid for Xbox Live Gold members.
Please note: prices and availability are subject to change and may vary by region. 

Content: Typoman
Check price and availability in your Xbox LIVE region

Game Description: Typoman is a 2D puzzle platformer. You slip into the role of a character made of letters, struggling to make your way through a dark and hostile world. Despite your small stature you have a powerful gift: You can craft words to alter your environment. Choose your words wisely. They can either be a blessing… or a curse!

Buy now and save 20% – Limited Time Offer.

Purchase Typoman for Xbox One from the Xbox Games Store

Product Info:
Developer: Brainseed Factory
Publisher: Brainseed Factory
Website: Typoman
Twitter: @brainseed_fcty