Minecraft is to launch a Battle mode that will see players fight each other in new maps.
The free release is the first in a series of mini-games being developed by Microsoft, Mojang and 4J Studios to help Minecraft fans quickly access action games.
Battle matches can be played with up to four players in split-screen and up to eight players online via Xbox Live. Or, you can find other community members to join your game via an in-game matchmaking system.
Players use randomly generated resources found in chests to fight each other until only one character is left standing. Fallen players can watch the combat among remaining players in the match by turning into a bat and flying around the arena.
Roger Carpenter, Executive Producer at Microsoft Studios, said: “This mini-game has been in development for around two-and-a-half years, off and on. Up to now, we have made quite ‘traditional’ changes to Minecraft but this will be the first big change, the first step into something different.
“We’ve been promising multi-player to fans for a long time and now we’ve delivered.”
The new Battle mode will be rolled out for free to all Minecraft players on Xbox 360, Xbox One and other consoles via an update. This will include three maps with additional “map pack” add-ons released at a later date, priced at £2.39.
Minecraft fan and YouTube star SeaPeeKay, who played the Battle mode prior to its release in June, said: “The whole experience was incredible, the gameplay was easily some of the most fun I’ve had playing Minecraft. The multiplayer aspect is something I’ve always enjoyed and the parameters that have been allowed make for an exciting, fun-filled game mode.”
Minecraft sees players placing blocks and going on adventures, exploring randomly generated worlds and building anything from the simplest of homes to the grandest of castles.
It is one of the most popular video games in history, with more than 100 million downloads on PC alone since its launch in 2009. It is also the most popular online game on Xbox.