Back in June at E3 the Xbox team announced a new initiative called the Xbox Game Preview program. The preview program gives Xbox One gamers the opportunity to download free games that are still being developed for the platform. Gamers in turn act as beta testers and can provide feedback to developers. Late in June, the list of program games were announced, and included:
- Elite: Dangerous is a never ending space simulator and has since been released to the public as an official game for Xbox One.
- The Long Dark is an open-world survival game set in a snowy wilderness. The game is still in the preview program and recently a large patch became available which gives gamers the option to forge metal items, an enhanced weather system and delivers a more polished user interface.
- Sheltered is another survival game where you have to keep your family alive after an apocalypse. It is also receiving constant updates to fix bugs and incorporate user feedback.
The program has been such a success already that the Xbox team is now announcing two new games that will be playable during the preview program:
- Layers of Fear is a 'psychedelic horror' that is apparently as scary as the legendary series Silent Hill. Check out the trailer above to see if you agree. It features a mad painter trying to create his finest (most likely gory) masterpiece, and you must peel back the layers of his life to find out what makes him tick.
- Solus Project is a tale about a lone researcher stranded on an alien planet. His mission is in tatters with the rest of his crew dead, and he must find a way to call for help to get off the unfriendly planet. What will he discover along the way? You can get a feel for the game by checking out the first eight minutes below.
Setting up the Xbox Game Preview program was a smart move by Microsoft. Not only can developers get a sense of what the public expects from their projects but gamers get to play free, albeit unfinished, games to see if they'll like them in the future. It's a win-win for all parties involved.