In the main, Microsoft have kept their cards pretty close to their chest around which titles are going to make up the “over 100 titles at launch”, not even giving any clues as to a shortlist, with every single Xbox 360 game available to be voted for on the Xbox Feedback website. Some titles we do know however, due to them being available to us currently on the Preview Program.
A World of Keflings, Alien Hominid HD, Banjoo Kazooie, Banjo Tooie, Battleblock Theatre, Borderlands, Defence Grid, Gears of War, Geometry Wars Evolved, Hexic HD, Jetpac Refuelled, Kameo, Mass Effect, N+, Perfect Dark, Perfect Dark Zero, Shadow Complex, Small Arms, Super Meat Boy, Toy Soldiers, Toy Soldiers Cold War, Viva Pinata, Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise and Zuma are the 24 games that make the games available in the Preview Program.
Further to this, we already know players of Gears of War Ultimate Edition, as long as they play the game before December, will receive the entire franchise in digital backwards compatibility form; whilst purchasers of the Xbox One edition of Fallout 4 will also receive a Fallout 3 disc in their package, thus confirming that titles backwards compatibility and taking us up to 28 titles.
A lot has been recently made of a Microsoft Backwards Compatibility Presentation featured at Gamescom which, if taking as gospel, will add the following titles:
A Kingdom of Keflings, Alan Wake, Assassins Creed II, Assassins Creed Brotherhood, Bayonetta, Bioshock, Bioshock Infinite, Brothers in Arms: Hells Highway, Cars, Child of Eden, Civilization Revolution, Dark Souls, Dead Space, Disney Universe, Endwar, Fable 2, Far Cry 2, Far Cry 3, Risen, Risen 2 and Trials.
So we are now almost up to the halfway stage with 49 titles.
So where can we look to get an idea of the remaining 51 titles that will make up the Backwards Compatibility launch package?
Games with Gold? Not really, as Microsoft has officially stated that only titles released from gamescom onwards will definitely be Backwards Compatible. Although this does not rule out any previous Games with Gold titles and we already know some of them will be (both Gears of War 3 and Gears of War Judgement have featured in Games with Gold). This does, however add Metro 2033, Metro Last Light, Battlestations Pacific, Crysis 3, Metal gear Solid: Ground Zeros and The Walking Dead Season 1
Microsoft have also said recently that they listen to their user base now and will continue to do so which, if true, points to the Xbox Feedback vote having some weight behind it but the impact of believing the vote 100% is that
A) The remaining games will all be physical disc games.
B) Will be completely made up of the Call of Duty and Halo franchises.
No. To look at this objectively we need to look at why some of these games will not feature and before we begin there is and probably always will be exceptions to all of these rules.
First off, if you look up Rock Band, Guitar Hero, Kinect Sports and Rocksmiths entries on the Xbox feedback vote all of them state that no game that requires a hardware accessory will be included as this is a software only emulation. This rules out all games that require any additional peripheral as its controller, including Microsofts own Kinect. This does not include games which can be played with a normal controller but support other peripherals – See Child of Eden. This rules out the above titles as well as, thankfully, Kinect Star Wars and Hole in the Wall.
Next up, Servers. I imagine there will be a huge backlash if Microsoft launch Backwards Compability with titles that are known for the multiplayer aspect but have their servers turned off. This rules out WWE2K14, Call of Duty 2, Battlefield 1942 and such like.
Then we have availability. Some games are simply not available on the store anymore for a number of reasons. Licensing, Publishers no longer existing, age, MetaCritic score, the list goes on. I personally can’t see Microsoft paying out, again, for these games to become available. As such we probably are not going to see Wallace & Gromit, Crash Course or Yaris appear in the programme.
Let’s also not overlook the cash cow aspect. I think we will be hard pressed to see many titles that have been, or are due to be, re-released with a Next Gen polish or even had a next gen release at launch. It just does not make business sense. Why would a game company cut off their next gen income by allowing the last gen version to be made backwards compatible? Unless the monetary incentive is exceptionally large of course. We will disregard the money hat and in turn disregard titles that have been next-gen’d ruling out Sleeping Dogs, Saints Row 4, the Halo franchise, Borderlands 2, AC: Black Flag, Lego Marvel Heroes and Dishonored.
Finally, and this one requires the biggest leap of faith, EA. Although they have signed up as a supporting partner and although Dead Space clearly featured in the Gamescom presentation and although Mass Effect already features in the Preview Program, why would EA let Microsoft have access to all of their games when they have a Vault with absolutely no further Next Gen titles left to go into it, once Battlefield Hardline enters this month, other than this years releases. This viewpoint became even more clearer when EA themselves announced that they would be looking into featuring backwards compatible games in the Vault in the future. So for the sake of argument we are going to discount a number of games featuring in the Feedback vote, such as the remainder of the Mass Effect Franchise, the Need for Speed franchise, all EA Sports titles and the Dragon Age franchise.
So now let’s combine all of the above with the current Xbox Voting Position – All entries in bold have been announced or officially alluded to.
|Title||Xbox Feedback Voting Position*||In Preview Program||In MS BC Presentations||Previously in Games with Gold|
|Call of Duty: Black Ops 2||1|
|Red Dead Redemption||2|
|Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2||4|
|Gears of War 3||8||Yes|
|Call of Duty: World at War||11|
|Fallout: New Vegas||13|
|Batman: Arkham City||17|
|Gears of War 2||18||Yes|
|GTA: San Andreas||21|
|Assassin’s Creed 2||22||Yes|
|Batman: Arkham Asylum||23|
|The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings||27||Yes|
|Gears of War||31||Yes|
|Assassin’s Creed 3||32|
|Gears of war: Judgement||40||Yes|
|Batman: Arkham Origins||42|
|Far Cry 3||45||Yes|
|Assassin’s Creed: Rogue||50|
|Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood||51||Yes|
|Just Cause 2||56||Yes|
|Saints Row: The Third||57||Yes|
|Assassin’s Creed: Revelations||63|
|Metal Gear Solid 2 & 3 HD||65|
|Resident Evil 4||69|
|Star Wars: The Force Unleashed 2||70|
|Max Payne 3||72|
|Star Wars: The Force Unleashed||74|
|Resident Evil 5||75|
|Forza Motorsport 4||76|
|Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell Blacklist||80|
|Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition||84||Yes|
|Dead Rising 2||85|
|Deux Ex: Human Revolution||86|
|Bully: Scholarship Edition||87|
|Resident Evil 6||89|
|Lego Star Wars: The Complete Collection||96|
|The Walking Dead Season 1||195||Yes|
|Far Cry 2||224||Yes|
|Metro Last Light||364||Yes|
|Perfect Dark Zero||372||Yes|
|Geometry Wars Retro Evolved||424||Yes|
|Brothers in Arms: Hell’s Highway||460||Yes|
|Toy Soldiers: Cold War||501||Yes||Yes|
|Viva Pinata: Trouble In Paradise||502||Yes||Yes|
|Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes||505||Yes|
|Super Meat Boy||519||Yes|
|Tom Clancy’s Endwar||572||Yes|
|A World of Keflings||605||Yes|
|Alien Hominid HD||632||Yes|
|A Kingdom of Keflings||645||Yes||Yes|
*Position at time of publication at 09:00 on 28/09/2015
So what do you think? Have we missed a title that should be ruled out due to the exceptions above? Have we included something that has already been discounted? Have we even missed a title that has already been announced?
What title(s) do you think are a dead cert for the Backwards Compatibility programme?
If the above list is correct, and it will be a miracle if it was, how many titles will you be able to download on Launch day?
Let us know in the comments below.