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.