In our comparison of Xbox Games with Gold and PlayStation Plus, we point out that, for the most part, Xbox One’s Games with Gold program has been disappointing. After all, the service has offered the poorly received Pool Nation FX three months in a row, and has hardly put out any high budget titles. In fact, the only major retail release for the Xbox One Games with Gold program up to this point has been Rayman Legends a few months back. However, that’s about to change according to Xbox’s Major Nelson, as Games with Gold on Xbox One is getting much sweeter starting next month.
Since July marks two years since the Games with Gold program launched, Microsoft is celebrating by expanding the Xbox One Games with Gold program to include two completely new free games every month. This means that games will stop being carried over into another month, like Pool Nation FX, and means that Xbox One owners are going to have double the new free games now.
Microsoft is kicking off this new age of a better Xbox One Games with Gold program in style, as Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag will be free on Xbox One throughout the month of July. Assassin’s Creed 4 is one of the most critically acclaimed games in the series, and was praised for its portrayal of pirate life. It’s worth noting that Xbox 360 owners already had a chance to download Assassin’s Creed 4 as a part of the free Games with Gold for April 2015, but this is still the biggest game made available through the Xbox One version of the program to date.
The second free Xbox One game is a much smaller title by the name of So Many Me. The game is making its console debut on Xbox One (unless the Ouya counts), and is a unique platformer with a cutesy art style. The player controls a number of small blob-like creatures simultaneously, using them to work together in order to traverse the environment and solve puzzles. These blobs can combine together to take on new forms, and blobs of different colors have distinct attributes as well.
Oddly, the game won’t be available to download until July 16th and won’t be pulled off the service until August 15th. It will be interesting to see if this is a situation that will only apply to So Many Me for July, or if the second Xbox One Games with Gold title will consistently be unavailable until the middle of the month.
This is somewhat similar to how Games with Gold works on Xbox 360, except on 360, one game is available for half a month and they do not extend into the subsequent month in order to hit a full 30 days. Speaking of Xbox 360, Microsoft is far from abandoning the Games with Gold program on their most successful console to date, as they’ve announced the two free Games with Gold games hitting Xbox 360 in July as well.
Firstly, from July 1st to July 15th, Plants vs. Zombies will be available as a free download. Plants vs. Zombies is one of gaming’s most beloved tower defense games, and those that haven’t had a chance to try it out yet should definitely take the time to download it for free on Xbox 360 next month.
The second free game for Xbox 360 in July 2015 is Gears of War 3, and it will be available from the 16th to the 31st. Gears of War 3 is one of the biggest 360 games ever made, so its inclusion on the service is quite significant. Microsoft is likely riding high on the hype from the Gears of War 4 gameplay reveal trailer at E3 2015, and wants to keep fans interested in the franchise for the impending release of Gears of War: Ultimate Edition on August 25th.
For those that have their Xbox 360 consoles stored away and don’t bother downloading the free Games with Gold games for the system anymore, be aware that Microsoft has announced Xbox One backward compatibility with Xbox 360 titles. While not all Xbox 360 games will be playable on Xbox One in the future, it’s a surefire bet that first-party games like Gears of War 3 will eventually be made available on Xbox One, so it may be worth digging out the 360 to take advantage of these free games.
June’s Games with Gold titles will be available until Tuesday, the 30th. That will mark the last day for users to download games such as Massive Chalice and the 2014 Thief reboot for free, so anyone interested in those games should hop to it before their free status expires.
Source: Major Nelson