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Microsoft Announces New Game Pass Titles, Renames Microsoft Studios, And More

Microsoft just made quite a bit of news. On the company's Inside Xbox streaming show, Microsoft announced several new games for Xbox Game Pass, discussed a rather unexpected name change for its flagship development house, and shared other news items important to the Xbox brand.


First, let's talk Shadow of the Tomb Raider. It's coming to Xbox Game Pass, and it's perhaps the biggest surprise in the February lineup. Shadow is a relatively new title, having released back in September. Unfortunately, it found itself in the, err... shadow... of Spider-Man on the PlayStation 4. It's a great play (regardless of what anyone tells you) and there's expansion content available now, plus more coming in the months ahead. You'll be able to give it a go on Feb. 7.

Along with Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Microsoft plans to add a few more titles over the course of the month. You'll be able to play season one of The Walking DeadBatman: Return to Arkham (which contains both Arkham Asylum and Arkham City remastered), Pumped BMX Pro, and de Blob via Game Pass later in the month. And of course, the already-announced Crackdown 3 will be a day-one Game Pass addition when it launches on Feb. 15.


But that wasn't all Microsoft had to say during Inside Xbox. The company brought first-party studio head Matt Booty out to announce that Microsoft Studios is getting a new name: Xbox Game Studios. The change is apparently being made so the studio can lean more into the Xbox brand. In all honesty, though, it doesn't change a whole lot. And it's rather confusing, given that Microsoft has pinballed back and forth between branding things "Microsoft" and branding them "Xbox". You only have to visit the Microsoft Store on the Xbox One — which used to be called the Xbox Store — to see that the company doesn't exactly have it all straight.

And finally, Halo producer Kiki Wolfkill sat down to talk about a new traveling tour called Halo: Outpost Discovery. This, according to Microsoft, is "a touring fan experience that brings the Halo video game universe to life." Tickets can be purchased at the official Halo: Outpost Discovery website for the tour's five planned locations, which are Orlando, Philadelphia, Chicago, Houston, and Anaheim. If you're a die-hard Halo fan, this might be something you want to check out this summer.

Other tiny items of note: ID@Xbox title Astroneer launches tomorrow; a new Sport Red Xbox One controller is coming March 5; Sea of Thieves is getting a Friends Play Free week from Feb. 6 through Feb. 13; and a major Sea of Thieves update is scheduled to drop on March 20.


So there you have it. New Game Pass titles in the pipeline, a new name for an existing studio, a new Halo tour experience coming to five cities later this year, and a smattering of other announcements. Should more news come our way, we'll let you know.