skulls of the shogun

Universal game purchases have long been one of the most requested features from avid Windows Phone gamers, right behind SD card support (at last!) and more Xbox games (no luck yet). Already popular on iOS, the universal app concept allows users to buy a game or app once and then play it on both Windows Phone and Windows 8 and RT.

Yesterday Microsoft and 343’s Halo: Spartan Assault officially became the first universal app on Windows Phone and Windows 8. It turns out that several more Windows Phone/Windows 8 Xbox games also went universal alongside Halo. Most are technically free and thus the universal label is more symbolic than anything. But another paid game is now universal as well: Skulls of the Shogun from 17-BIT. Head past the break for more details and word on which mobile Xbox games still need to go universal!

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Are you a bargain hunter? If so, you'll definitely want to remain in the loop when it comes to Red Stripe Deals. Microsoft puts three apps (and/or games) on sale to save you some cash. The selections are generally what you'd want to download too, which is always a. What are the deals for this week? My Notes, Eyez and Skulls of the Shogun make the list.

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Windows Phone Central Roundup: Windows 8 Games

When people think of tablet games, they can’t help but bring to mind apps like Angry Birds, Temple Run, and Bejeweled. Gaming on Windows 8 can be more than just flinging neon colored birds at green pigs though. Whether you want to blast away zombie guts or put some pedal to the medal, here are eight Windows 8 video games sure to bring out the gamer in you.

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Skulls of the Shogun will forever be known to Windows Phone enthusiasts as the game that broke the Xbox release drought we went through earlier this year. It also happened to be a fantastic game, despite a few rough edges here and there.

When we met up with one of the game’s developers a few weeks ago, he promised that updates would soon be coming to all three versions of the game: Windows Phone, XBLA, and Windows 7. At last those updates are upon us! We've got an exclusive screenshot comparison and visual breakdown of the revamped Windows Phone visuals, plus full change logs for all three versions of Skulls of the Shogun.

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Skulls of the Shogun has been an incredibly important game for Windows Phone and the Microsoft ecosystem as a whole. It’s the first Xbox Live game to cross platforms between the Xbox 360, Windows Phone, and Windows 8. It was also the Xbox Windows Phone game that ended the game drought we faced earlier this year. After so many weeks without a new game, Skulls quenched many a Windows Phone gamer’s thirst.

We had the opportunity to speak with Skulls of the Shogun developer 17-BIT twice last year, first at E3 and later Casual Connect. Of course, that was all before the game launched. Now that Skulls of the Shogun is live and in players’ hands, Windows Phone Central jumped at the opportunity to ask 17-BIT’s lead programmer Borut Pfeifer about how the game performed and what players can expect in the future.

Head past the break for the full video interview!

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Microsoft has never released a portable console like the Playstation Vita or 3DS, instead opting to publish Xbox-branded games for Windows Phone and Windows 8… A wise choice given the modern trend towards smartphone and tablet gaming over handheld game systems. With the Xbox 360’s excellent lineup of downloadable games, Windows Phone users rightfully expected the chance to play many of their XBLA favorites on their mobile phones.

Unfortunately, the number of robust, XBLA-quality titles released for Xbox Windows Phone to date is incredibly small. I count only Final Fantasy, Puzzle Quest 2, Castlevania Puzzle, ilomilo, Plants vs. Zombies, Sonic 4: Episode I, and Sonic CD as games with full console-level production values and quantity of content. Crimson Dragon Side Story, Hydro Thunder GO, and Civilization Revolution would be on there too if not for their Playstation One-era graphics. Maybe 11 games out of Xbox Windows Phone’s over 150 titles feel like full XBLA games and not just smartphone/casual titles.

Well, add another game to the top-tier pile because Skulls of the Shogun from 17-BIT and Microsoft Studios fits right alongside the XBLA and Windows 8 versions that released alongside it.

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It's a little early but Skulls of the Shogun is now live in the Windows Phone Store.

Due to be released tomorrow, January 30th, the newest Xbox title not only breaks the drought of Xbox game releases but also spans the full gaming spectrum with versions for Windows 8/RT and Xbox Live Arcade as well as for Windows Phone 8 and 7.x.

With the release comes special pricing as well. The Windows Phone version is discounted to $4.99, the Windows 8 version will run your $9.99 and the Xbox Live Arcade version launches at 1200 Microsoft Point (about $15).

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Next week’s Xbox Windows Phone release Skulls of the Shogun is possibly Microsoft’s most ambitious game yet. Not only will it be launching on Windows Phone, but also XBLA and Windows 8/RT simultaneously. Take that, WSOP: Full House Pro! Sorry, I just ate some sour grapes. On top of the three-platform release, Skulls also supports shared campaign progress across devices thanks to cloud saving and asynchronous cross-platform multiplayer.

The only problem with Skulls coming to all Xbox-supporting platforms at once is that Microsoft has yet to establish a ‘universal app’ pay structure like iOS and the Playstation 3/Vita support. Thankfully the game’s developer 17-BIT and Microsoft have just announced special launch pricing that will make picking up all three versions (or even just one) more attractive to gamers.

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We’re still unsure about the next couple of weeks, but the drought of Xbox game releases for Windows Phone will definitely cease by the end of the month. Microsoft has made a rare advance release date announcement for a mobile game – and it’s a good one. At long last, Skulls of the Shogun from 17-Bit and Microsoft Studios will debut on January 30th for Windows Phone 7 and 8, Xbox Live Arcade, and Windows 8 and RT!

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Our recent visit to 17-BIT, Seattle-based makers of upcoming Xbox Live strategy title Skulls of the Shogun included a studio tour and interview with founder Jake Kazdal. As much as I enjoyed those parts of the visit, I was still dying to get my hands on the game itself once again. We had a few minutes with the Windows Phone game at E3, but that wasn’t much time to get a grasp on the story mode. Luckily, this time I got to play through the entire first campaign level as well as set up a Skulls Anywhere online game. See our latest hands-on video after the break!

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Jake Kazdal (left) and Paul Acevedo

At E3 this year we interviewed Ben Vance and Borut Pfeifer, two members of 17-BIT about their upcoming Xbox Live game Skulls of the Shogun. Yet we still had much to learn about the unique multiplatform strategy title, and so 17-BIT kindly invited us to visit their studio during the week of Casual Connect Seattle. One of the highlights of the visit was our interview with Jake Kazdal, studio founder and Skulls’ creative director/lead artist. Check it out after the break!

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One of the biggest highlights of E3 2012 for us has been playing Skulls of the Shogun on Windows Phone and Xbox Live Arcade and meeting two of its creators at 17-BIT. Skulls is an amazingly beautiful and accessible turn-based strategy game in development for XBLA, Windows 8, and Windows Phone. Yesterday we posted our Windows Phone impressions; today we follow up with an interview and in-depth demonstration of the XBLA game in action. (The color shifting in the interview video is due to fancy overhead lights on the show floor.)

Head past the break for more Skulls of the Shogun details and gameplay footage!

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Windows Phone news at E3 2012 has been slim pickings, but that doesn’t mean we’re not turning over ever stone in our efforts to discover it. In this case, we actually turned over a skull, and out popped Skulls of the Shogun! Windows Phone Central is proud to present this exclusive first look at the mobile Xbox Live version of Skulls of the Shogun (Skulls for short) in action. We had very little time with the mobile build, but we'll follow up as soon as possible.

Skulls comes from indie developer 17-BIT and Microsoft Studios. Set in a feudal Japanese fantasy world, the game tells the story of a deceased general who rallies his troops in the afterlife. The core mechanic is a fast-paced turn-based strategic battle system. Each side starts with up to five troops, each of whom can collect resources, attack, or take strategic positions every turn. Both players (human or AI) have a powerful general character; if he bites the dust, that player loses the battle.

We weren’t able to check out the mobile Skulls’ multiplayer component, but it supports both local play and an online mode called ‘Skulls Anywhere’ which is being kept tightly under wraps for now. There’s also a good chance of connectivity with the Xbox Live Arcade version of the game, but 17-BIT couldn’t confirm one way or the other at this point.

Skulls of the Shogun comes to Windows Phone, Xbox live Arcade, and Windows 8 sometime near the launch of the Windows 8 operating system. Check back soon when we’ll have an in-depth demonstration of the XBLA version as well as a Windows Phone-centric video interview with 17-BIT!

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E3 2012 – the Electronic Entertainment Expo kicks off with Microsoft’s press conference this Monday, June 4. We’ve already outlined our predictions and plans for the event, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing new to share right now. A number of developers have released trailers of the console games they’re showcasing at E3 ahead of time.

First up is Skulls of the Shogun from Haunted Temple Games and Microsoft Studios. Skulls is a beautiful and fast-paced strategy game that’s scheduled to arrive on Xbox Live Arcade, Windows 8, and Windows Phone as an Xbox Live title. We’ll be playing it at E3, so look forward to our impressions!

Head past the break for a big batch of E3 Xbox 360 game trailers!

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