‘Killer Instinct’ leads January’s free Xbox Games With Gold lineup

Microsoft has unveiled 2017’s inaugural Games With Gold lineup, announcing that service subscribers will get free access to all characters, modes, and stages in Iron Galaxy’s one-on-one fighting game Killer Instinct Season 2 Ultra.

Xbox One owners with an active Xbox Live Gold membership will also receive free copies of World of Van Helsing: Deathtrap in January, while Rayman Origins arrives as next month’s featured freebie on the Xbox 360.

Before landing a starring role in next month’s Games With Gold lineup, Killer Instinct premiered as a launch title for the Xbox One in 2013. Available as a free download for all Xbox One owners, Killer Instinct includes a single playable character by default, while the remainder of the game’s roster can be unlocked via microtransactions.

Xbox Live Gold subscribers will get access to a slate of nine playable characters by downloading Killer Instinct Season 2 Ultra for free via Games With Gold next month, including returning series favorites Riptor, Maya, Cinder, and T.J. Combo. Other characters bundled with Season 2 Ultra include franchise newcomers Kan-Ra, Omen, Aganos, Hisako, and Aria.

Players who download Killer Instinct Season 2 Ultra will additionally unlock eight costumes, 16 premium accessory packs, and a fully featured port of the 1996 arcade game Killer Instinct 2.

Also on tap for Games With Gold next month is World of Van Helsing: Deathtrap, an Xbox One tower defense and action-RPG hybrid that boasts a cooperative campaign in addition to a single-player story mode. Xbox 360 owners, meanwhile, can look forward to free copies of Double Fine’s adventure game The Cave and Ubisoft’s vibrantly colorful side-scrolling platformer Rayman Origins. Both The Cave and Rayman Origins are also playable on the Xbox One via backward compatibility.

World of Van Helsing: Deathtrap and The Cave will be free to download for Xbox Live Gold subscribers starting on January 1. Killer Instinct Season 2 Ultra and Rayman Origins will join the Games With Gold lineup on January 16.

Gaming

The Teslasuit could turn Black Mirror’s terrifying ‘Playtest’ into a reality

We spoke with Teslasuit co-founder Dimitri Mikhalchuk about VR gaming at CES 2019. With all its features, the future of the Teslasuit and virtual reality look bright. And it also sounds a bit like a Black Mirror episode.
Gaming

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.
Gaming

There’s a secret character in ‘New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe’

It appeared New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe had dropped one of the Wii U version's playable characters, but players have discovered a secret way to unlock them with just a few button presses.
Gaming

Everything we know about the ‘Resident Evil 2’ remake, from gameplay to story

The Resident Evil 2 remake is not a remastered version of the original game, but a fully new title using the source material as inspiration. Here is everything we know about the Resident Evil 2 remake.
Gaming

Still have holiday cash to blow? Grab one of these awesome Xbox One games

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: heat-powered watches, phone cases with reflexes

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Gaming

Verizon video game streaming service leaked, currently testing on Nvidia Shield

Verizon is currently testing a video game streaming service that is already running on the Nvidia Shield set-top box, according to The Verge. The platform, named Verizon Gaming, will also eventually launch on Android smartphones.
Gaming

Dataminers discover SNES games, more emulators for Nintendo Switch Online

Nintendo Switch Online may soon launch SNES games and more emulators, according to data miners. The list of hidden SNES titles include Breath of Fire 2 and Star Fox 2, while the other emulators may be the Nintendo 64 and Nintendo GameCube.
Gaming

‘RollerCoaster Tycoon 2’ ride takes 12 years to complete

A RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 player has constructed a coaster in the game that will take more than 12 years to complete from beginning to end, and is actually a tiny ride taking up a small portion of the landscape.
Gaming

‘Battlefield V’ adds Squad Conquest mode in ‘Lightning Strikes’ update

Electronic Arts and DICE have detailed what is included in the Battlefield V update Lightning Strikes. The update includes access to the mode Squad Conquest through the end of January.
Gaming

Here's everything you need to know to trade in 'Pokémon Go'

After literally years of waiting, Pokémon Go finally gives trainers the option to trade Pokémon with others. It's not easy, though, and the cost is quite high if you try trading with strangers.
Gaming

‘Rocket League’ is the latest game to get full cross-platform play

Psyonix has announced that Rocket League now supports full cross-platform play across PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC, joining Fortnite as the only games to do so.
Gaming

Here's what you need to know about 'World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth'

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is the latest expansion for the now 14-year-old MMORPG. It goes back to the roots of the Alliance vs. Horde conflict. Here's what you need to know.
Product Review

'New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe' is 2D platforming wizardry

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe is the latest Wii U game to come back from the dead on Switch. And wow, it’s much better than we remembered.