‘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.