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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Remember, you can watch the interactive version of This Week on Xbox from the Community section of the New Xbox One Experience dashboard in Canada, the UK and the US or at the Xbox YouTube channel (This Week on Xbox Playlist).


 

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.

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

Game Description: Halo Wars 2 delivers real-time strategy at the speed of Halo combat. Get ready to lead Spartans, Warthogs and other classic Halo fighting forces in a brutal war against a terrifying new enemy on the biggest Halo battlefield ever. The Halo Wars 2: Ultimate Edition includes the Halo Wars 2: Season Pass and Halo Wars: Definitive Edition.

Purchase Halo Wars 2: Ultimate Edition for Xbox One 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: Vertical Drop Heroes HD
Check price and availability in your Xbox LIVE region

Game Description: Vertical Drop Heroes is a procedural platformer RPG hybrid with roguelike elements, where your hero adventures through randomly generated stages. Armed with a variety of skills and traits, you must use your cunning and reflexes to survive the dangers of each stage, until you face the final boss and uncover the truth behind the game!

Purchase Vertical Drop Heroes HD for Xbox One from the Xbox Games Store

Product Info:
Developer: Nerdook Productions
Publisher: Digerati Distribution
Website: Vertical Drop Heroes HD
Twitter: @nerdook / @DigeratiDM

Content: Instant Indie Hits
Check price and availability in your Xbox LIVE region

Game Description: The Instant Indie Hits bundle from Curve Digital features 10 games including: The Swapper, Thomas Was Alone, Hue, Stealth Inc 2, Stikbold, The Swindle, OlliOlli, Nova-111, Action Henk and 10 Second Ninja X. From 17th February to 9th March save up to 80% and get 10 amazing games in one bundle.

Purchase Instant Indie Hits for Xbox One from the Xbox Games Store

Product Info:
Publisher: Curve Digital
Website: Instant Indie Hits
Twitter: @CurveDigital

Content: The Jackbox Party Trilogy
Check price and availability in your Xbox LIVE region

Game Description: The greatest collections of party games have been bundled into one gigantic deal! For one great price, The Jackbox Party Trilogy gets you each of The Jackbox Party Packs, which are sure to turn your next party or family gathering into a real giggle-fest. You don’t need a bunch of controllers to join the fun. All of our games are played using any internet-connected devices, like phones, tablets or laptops, as controllers! The only things your guests need are a device and a sense of humor! Unfortunately, they can’t buy the latter.

Purchase The Jackbox Party Trilogy for Xbox One from the Xbox Games Store

Product Info:
Developer: Jackbox Games
Publisher: Jackbox Games
Website: The Jackbox Party Trilogy
Twitter: @jackboxgames

💬 Larry Hryb @majornelson

More @majornelson on Twitter

Xbox is inviting all Xbox Live members without a Gold membership to play online with friends for free during our Multiplayer All-Access event from February 16-19 on Xbox One and Xbox 360.

This is a great opportunity for players across both consoles to experience one of the most-important benefits of Xbox Live Gold membership: network reliability. When it comes to multiplayer gaming, performance is everything. Log in now to play your favorite games on a network that delivers as well as you do.

Play Rocket League and NBA 2K17 Free for Limited Time

Speaking of delivering, how about two free Xbox One games to play with your friends during this event? Not a problem. All Xbox Live members will have free access to play Rocket League and NBA 2K17 for a limited time, from now through February 19. Log in now to join the fun!

Get these games on your Xbox One console (via Home or Gold Members Area).

Plus, to continue playing these epic games, you can save up to 45% on NBA 2K17 until February 20th, and Gold members can save 20% on Rocket League through February 19th.

Game with Stallion83, Owner of the Highest Gamerscore in the World.

To further celebrate this event, we’ll throw in two events where you can Game with Stallion83, who holds the highest Gamerscore in the world. First up is Rocket League on Thursday, February 16 with high-flying cars and amazing stunts. Next, you can warm up for the NBA All-Star Game by joining Stallion83 in NBA 2K17 on Friday February 17.

This is a display of skill you do not want to miss:

Rocket League, Hosted by Stallion83 and the Xbox Team

  • Thursday, February 16 at 1PM PST

NBA 2K17, Hosted by Stallion83 and the Xbox Team

  • Friday, February 17 at 2PM PST

Stallion83 and the Xbox team will be taking your questions live on Beam and Twitch during the event.

These offers* are only available from February 16-19, so log on your Xbox One or Xbox 360 now to get in on the action. More info at www.xbox.com/live/multiplayer-all-access.

*Rocket League and NBA 2K17 limited time unlock is only available on Xbox One.

Halo Wars 2, the sequel to the original Real Time Strategy (RTS) game set in the Halo universe, is scheduled to release on Tuesday, 21 February (those who purchase the Ultimate Edition get early access starting 17 February). To celebrate the launch of Halo Wars 2, I will be co-hosting a live show (details below) and giving away an Xbox One S Halo Wars 2 Ultimate Edition Bundle, Halo Wars 2 Banished Official Wired Controller for Xbox One, a Halo Wars 2 Loot Crate, J!NX gift certificates and of course, digital Xbox One codes for copies of the game.

This February, real-time strategy makes an explosive return to the Halo Universe with Halo Wars 2. Lead armies of Spartans and other Halo fighting forces like Warthogs, Scorpions and exciting new units in a brutal war against a terrifying new enemy. Featuring campaign, multiplayer, and the all-new Blitz mode, this is the biggest Halo battlefield ever. The action begins February 17th with Ultimate Edition early access. Learn more about Halo Wars 2 here.

Halo Wars 2 Livestream Launch Celebration Details

The livestream will go live on 16 February at 7 p.m. EST / 4 p.m. PST, and will broadcast out on Xbox One, Beam, Twitch, Facebook Live and YouTube. Tune in to watch the festivities, learn more about the game through exclusive interviews with the team and have a chance to win some prizes. Click here for more details.

Halo Wars 2 Giveaway

  • How do you enter for a chance to win?

Simple. All you have to do is watch the Halo Wars 2 launch trailer below and submit your entry using this form:

Halo Wars 2 Giveaway

Note: I’m using a new method for contest entry – Do NOT leave an entry in the comments or on Twitter. Only entries using the entry form above will be accepted.

  • What can you win?

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controller

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Grand Prize Winner: 

*Xbox One S Halo Wars 2 Ultimate Edition Bundle – includes the following:

-Xbox One S 1TB console
-Xbox Wireless Controller
-Halo Wars 2: Ultimate Edition digital code for Xbox and Windows 10
-Halo Wars 2: Season Pass digital code
-Halo Wars: Definitive Edition digital code for Xbox and Windows 10
-14-day Xbox Live Gold trial

*Halo Wars 2 Banished Official Wired Controller for Xbox One from PDP

*Official companion crate for Halo Wars 2 from Loot Crate

*J!NX gift certificate ($50 USD – actual value may vary based on region / exchange rate) – check out the J!NX Halo product line here

*Digital Xbox One code for Halo Wars 2 (Ultimate Edition)

Runner Up Prize (5 winners):

*J!NX gift certificate ($50 USD – actual value may vary based on region / exchange rate) – check out the J!NX Halo product line here

*Digital Xbox One code for Halo Wars 2 (Ultimate Edition)

  • What are the rules?

Submit your entry after watching the trailer using the form above.

Do not @ reply me on Twitter or leave a comment below. That will not count!

Deadline to enter is 7:00 pm ET / 4:00 pm PT on Tuesday, 21 February. One entry per person. Contest is open to everyone but prize availability might not be available in all regionscheck the availability of Halo Wars 2 for Xbox One in your Xbox LIVE region. Winners will be notified on or about 22 February. I will update this post with the winners after they have redeemed their prize.

Have fun and good luck!

Note: Any winner who does not respond to my email notification within 72 hours will forfeit the prize. Only entries received at www.majornelson.com using the submission form will be considered.

If you want to pre-order Halo Wars 2Halo Wars 2: Ultimate Edition or the Xbox One S Halo Wars 2 Ultimate Edition Bundle, you can do that here:

Halo Wars 2 – this bundle includes Halo Wars 2 and Welcome to the Ark, the story missions & multiplayer leaders from the original Halo Wars 2 campaign.

Halo Wars 2: Ultimate Edition – this bundle includes Halo Wars 2, Welcome to the Ark, the story missions & multiplayer leaders from the original Halo Wars 2 campaign and the Season Pass.

Xbox One S Halo Wars 2 Ultimate Edition Bundle – includes 1TB console, Halo Wars 2 Ultimate Edition, Season Pass, Halo Wars: Definitive Edition & Xbox Wireless Controller.

Content: LEGO Worlds
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 (03/07/2017).

LEGO Worlds is an open environment of procedurally-generated Worlds made entirely of LEGO bricks which you can freely manipulate and dynamically populate with LEGO models. Create anything you can imagine one brick at a time, or use large-scale landscaping tools to create vast mountain ranges and dot your world with tropical islands. Drop in prefabricated structures to build and customize any world to your liking. Explore using helicopters, dragons, motorbikes or even gorillas and unlock treasures that enhance your gameplay. Watch your creations come to life through characters and creatures that interact with you and each other in unexpected ways.

Xbox One Pre-Order FAQ

Content: 2Dark
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 (03/10/2017).

2Dark is a grim journey of stealth and courage into the heart of corruption. Use your cunning to infiltrate Gloomywood’s bastions of cruelty. Investigate to uncover the secrets of the deranged psychopaths within, seek retribution for their crimes, and bring the children to safety. A nerve-wracking experience of ruthless consequences with only your wits to guide you. Perfect your plan to infiltrate intricately handcrafted levels and escape with the children.

Xbox One Pre-Order FAQ