This week’s launch of Recore, the new offering from the genius behind such games as Mega Man, Lost Planet and Dead Rising is a big deal on a number of levels. But of course what I care about most is that Recore is the first Xbox Play Anywhere title.
And that means that things are about to change. That Microsoft’s Xbox strategy is shifting, that the software giant is giving its biggest fans even more reasons to stick with the ecosystem. It’s important and within the confines of Xbox, or the video game industry, even historic.
Sign up for our new free newsletter to get three time-saving tips each Friday — and get free copies of Paul Thurrott's Windows 11 and Windows 10 Field Guides (normally $9.99) as a special welcome gift!
"*" indicates required fields
And it begins with Recore.
In Recore, you Joule Adams, a young woman trapped on the desert planet of Far Eden and accompanied only by a corebot dog companion named Mack. (Other characters, both human and robotic, enter the scene over time, of course.)
Recore is a third-person adventure shooter, which means it’s about problem solving and story, not mindless action. The name is derived from the energy cores that Joule takes from defeated enemies and repurposes to solve puzzles and then level up. Indeed, there appears to be a lot here for the puzzler crowd.
There’s also plenty here for fans of classic and not-so-classic sci-fi, and for those who grew up on the great adventure video games of the past decade. Joule, for example, harkens to Rey from Star Wars, as Far Eden might remind one of Tatooine or Jakku. Mack, meanwhile, compares most obviously to Dog from Half-Life 2, but there are elements of WALL-E, BB-8, and countless other human-like non-humans from the fiction of our pasts.
And on that note, maybe there are just no original ideas to be had anymore, from the “humans seek new start on distant planets and something goes wrong” background that jumps right out of the pages of countless Asimov, Niven, and Pournelle stories to the characters and settings.
And that’s fine, actually. Recore is undeniably beautiful, and hats off to Keiji Inafune and the other game makers for using a female protagonist that doesn’t grunt and moan her way through the game like Lara Croft in recent Tomb Raider titles. That alone is a huge success.
Of course, the real reason I’m excited about Recore is that this game is the first Xbox Play Anywhere launch title.
That is, this is the first game in which you buy it digitally for one platform—Xbox One or Windows 10 PCs—and get it on the other, for free. And not only the game, but a nice set of cross-platform functionality as well. That is, the game is the same on each platform, so everything—game save/position, achievements, so on—goes with you. It’s like getting one Xbox game that you can play … anywhere. (Assuming by anywhere we mean Xbox One or Windows 10.)
You can also buy Recore in disc form for Xbox One, of course. If you do, you do not get Xbox Play Anywhere functionality.
As it turns out, I haven’t gotten it (yet) regardless. To test the Xbox Play Anywhere functionality, I wanted to do the obvious: Play Recore on the Xbox One, pass a few obvious checkpoints—there are no “saves” per se, just automatic checkpoint progress—and then open up my Surface Book or other PC and pick up exactly where I had left off on the Xbox.
Sounds great, right? The problem is, Recore for PC has some pretty serious system requirements. And now that my son’s gaming PC is off to college with him, I’m a bit stuck in that department.
So I’ll get there—I’m still planning to build my own gaming PC before the end of the year—but for now I’m going to have to follow along with Joule Adams and the mysteries of Far Eden on the Xbox One.
Which isn’t all that terrible of course.
Recore is $40 and is available for preorder now from the Xbox Store or the Microsoft Store. It ships publicly tomorrow, on September 13. And so far at least—I’ve just begun my adventuring—it looks like a solid start to Xbox Play Anywhere and a new era for Microsoft’s video game platform.