According to a leaked image which appears to be from the Japanese version of the Xbox website, Ryse: Son of Rome, Lichdom Battlemage, Red Dead Redemption and BioShock Infinite will be next month’s free Xbox One and Xbox 360 games as part of Microsoft’s Games with Gold programme.
However, there are some things that could suggest the leak isn’t legitimate, such as:
- The image for Ryse: Son of Rome’s box art has a lime-ish green bar at the bottom, which isn’t seen normally and doesn’t even line up with how Lichdom Battlemage is presented.
- BioShock Infinite was previously available for free as part of Games with Gold for March 2015. So far, no games have gone free through the programme on more than one occasion and it seems unlikely that Microsoft would choose to do so.
- Lichdom Battlemage’s performance on consoles is objectively poor. Digital Foundry’s performance analysis of the game shows that it runs at a horrendous 10 to 15 frames per second, stating it has the worst frame rate of any game it’s tested. While it’s not known how games are picked for each month’s Game with Gold lineup, it seems unlikely Microsoft would choose to promote such a bad game, even if it’s giving it away from free.
- The ESRB rating on Red Dead Redemption is out of place. It’s nowhere to be seen on the game’s box art on the Xbox website and seems to be the only game in the image that has an age rating on its box art. On top of that, Japan isn’t one of the countries that uses ESRB, instead using CERO.
While this doesn’t tie-in with the legitimacy of the image, another possibility is that this could simply be a Japan-only lineup, with western gamers getting a different set of free games. Excluding Peggle, the current Games with Gold lineup in Japan appears to feature entirely different games than those available on the western front, lending some credence to the theory.
In addition, we don’t seem to know where the image originated, with ThisGenGaming’s report on the supposed leak lacking any mention of a source. While it might be hard to believe someone would go to such lengths to create a fake of this quality, this is the Internet after all.
But, we simply don’t know. This could be a basic mockup design for the upcoming lineup or it could be a deliberate fake; points made here could indicate either possibility.
We’ve reached out to Microsoft about the leak and will update this article should we hear back.