Microsoft's popular console platform is gearing up for the important holiday season this year with hardware and game sales at most major retailers, but it's the free games for Xbox Live Gold that has many members most excited.
Traditionally, Microsoft releases one free game at the beginning of the month for the Xbox 360, and then another one replaces that for the second half of the month. For the newer Xbox One, only one game is offered. Last month saw Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise and Red Faction: Guerrilla for the 360 and the indie hit Volgarr the Viking for the Xbox One. But what can we expect for December?
While no official list has been released for December's Xbox Live Gold free game offering yet, there has been plenty of speculation on social media and all over the internet. Crytek's Ryse: Son of Rome is a popular prediction, as is Capcom's Dead Rising 3.
Ryse: Son of Rome is an action-adventure game set in a third-person perspective during the height of the Roman Legion era. You play as Marius Titus, a Roman general who must rise up as one of Rome's greatest leaders with a little help from his legion. While Titus is controlled by the player with the console controller, the legion is controlled through Kinect voice commands. Ryse: Son of Rome was a launch title with the Xbox One on November 22, 2013, but is expected to be free just after its one-year anniversary.
According to Gamepur, Ryse: Son of Rome was recently offered as a free game for those who bought the limited edition "Sunset Overdrive" White Xbox One bundle, so they may have been testing the waters. Plus, the game recently became unavailable for purchase on the Xbox Store, which may be in preparation for a free offering.
Dead Rising 3 was also a launch-day title with the Xbox One's release. The game is an open-world survival horror game that is set in the third-person perspective as well. You control Nick Ramos, a survivor in the zombie apocalypse as he battles his way through the rotting undead to find supplies and weapons to complete certain story missions. The choose-your-adventure nature of the game allows for multiple endings to the main plot, depending on how you progress through the game.
As for the third free game, we're placing all bets on this one being an indie. While a few of the Xbox 360's free Gold games have been indies, almost all of the Xbox One's free Gold games have been indies.
The popular side-scrolling sandbox Terraria just released for the Xbox One last week, so that's a good possibility, as well as the puzzle platformer Kalimba! which is set to release on December 17 for the Xbox One. While that release date may be a little late for inclusion on December's list, it's a good possibility for January.
We'll be sure to keep an eye out for the official Xbox Live Gold free games list coming in the next few days.