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Corvo, guv'nor! Dishonored also playable for free this weekened

Steam is determined to siphon your free time away this weekend. Not only are the wastelands of Borderlands 2 free to roam in the coming days, but you can also slink in the perilous, industrial shadows of Dishonored without spending a sixpence. Arkane's stealthy adventure is free to download and play now, but only until 1PM PT/4PM ET/9PM UK time on Sunday, August 24. After that, you have to pay up to continue a-stabbin'.

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Vita looking for someone to share in Europe's Adventure bundles

Did you follow the Adventure Line all the way to the end, Stanley? Did you? Because if you had, we wouldn't be stuck here telling you about the new Vita Adventure Mega Pack that's coming to Europe this fall, now would we? You silly goose.

Anyway, it bundles in voucher codes for five games including Uncharted: Golden Abyss, TxK, Tearway, Gravity Rush and Escape Plan. It also chucks in a 8GB memory card for good measure, and wraps up the lot in a 40 euro bow - that's normally the cost of a single new Vita game, Stanley. There's a new 200 euro Vita bundle that includes the handheld too.

So onwards, Stanley! To destiny!
[Image: Sony]

Everything's coming up Gamestop in Q2 2014

Global sales, new hardware and software sales, mobile and consumer electronics sales and net earnings were all up year-over-year for GameStop in Q2 2014, according to the company's latest financial statement.

Global sales were up 25 percent to $1.73 billion. New hardware sales more than doubled, jumping from $148 million to $332 million in the quarter; GameStop attributed this increase to "very high" demand for Xbox One and PS4 systems. New software sales rose 16 percent from $430 million to $497 million, due to "the strong performance of recently-released new titles, such as Ubisoft's Watch Dogs and Nintendo's Mario Kart 8," GameStop said. Net earnings in Q2 2014 were up 134 percent from 2013, to $24.6 million.

GameStop's largest sales driver was "pre-owned and value video game products," composing 32 percent of total sales. GameStop recently revamped its trade-in process, establishing four tiers of price points that take into account whether customers want cash or store credit, and whether they are PowerUp Rewards Pro members.
[Image: GameStop]

Paradox reveals out of this world RTS 'Ancient Space'

Paradox Interactive and developer Creative Forge have unveiled a game called Ancient Space that the duo describe as "a new story-driven real-time strategy game."

As its title suggests, Ancient Space takes players to the edges of the universe. Specifically, an area known as "The Black Zone." Though objectives vary throughout the game, the core goal of Ancient Space is to build an impressive interstellar fleet that can survive attacks by aliens, space pirates and things that exist only in nebulous regions of the cosmos.

Unlike most real-time strategy games, which are split equally between a b-movie singleplayer campaign and an online multiplayer component, Ancient Space focuses entirely on the former. To that end the developers have enlisted a cast of sci-fi genre regulars to populate the game, including John Billingsley of Star Trek: Enterprise and Dina Meyer of Starship Troopers.

No official release date has been established for Ancient Space, but barring catastrophe Paradox and Creative Forge plan to launch the game on both PC and Mac this Fall. Jump past the break for a trailer.
[Image: Paradox Interactive]

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The Last of Us picks up two new, free maps

Naughty Dog is handing out two new maps for the Factions multiplayer mode in The Last of Us on both PS3 and PS4, the developer announced today. The maps will be distributed for free "in appreciation for all of your continued patience" in regards to issues plaguing the game's online matchmaking.

"We know this can be frustrating and the team here at Naughty Dog wants everyone in our community to know that working on this issue continues to be our number one priority," a post from Naughty Dog's Arne Meyer reads on the developer's blog. A release date for the free maps has not been revealed.

Although improvements have been made to the matchmaking process in The Last of Us, Naughty Dog says there is still work to be done. Utilizing teams "inside and outside of the studio," the developer anticipates new updates to alleviate further issues will be rolling out "on the short side of weeks, rather than months." A specific date has not been solidified, the blog post notes.

"In the meantime, if you find yourself waiting to get into a match, the best thing you can do is exit matchmaking and select 'Find Match' again," Naughty Dog suggests.
[Image: Naughty Dog]

Mobile MOBA Witcher Battle Arena seeks beta testers

While the interminable wait for The Witcher 3 drags on, developer CD Projekt RED has opened beta sign-ups for the game's spin-off multiplayer online battle arena game, the aptly-titled Witcher Battle Arena.

Though developer Fuero Games offers no word on when the beta test will commence, it does explain what would-be testers are signing up for. "Upon being granted access to the event, selected participants will be given the possibility to playtest 8 heroes on two maps playable in Conquest Mode -The Arena and Korath Desert," reads the developer's official announcement. "Players will also have the opportunity to develop their player profiles in an RPG fashion, as well as help to test several other functionalities present in the full game coming later this year."

To sign up for the imminent beta test, CD Projekt RED asks that fans enter their pertinent details on the game's beta website. Be aware though, this beta test is only seeking Android users. Sorry Apple fans, but if it's any consolation you can find a brand new trailer for Witcher Battle Arena beyond the break.
[Image: CD Projekt RED]

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Azure Striker Gunvolt includes free Mighty No. 9 crossover minigame

Players who hop on the Azure Striker Gunvolt bandwagon when it launches in the 3DS eShop next week will receive a free bonus minigame that features a playable character from fellow Keiji Inafune project Mighty No. 9.

Mighty Gunvolt is a five-level, NES-styled platformer starring Azure Striker's Gunvolt, Mighty No. 9 main character Beck, and Ekoro, a supporting character from developer Inti Creates' Japan-only rail shooter Gal*Gun. Players who purchase Azure Striker Gunvolt within its first three months of release will receive a download code for Mighty Gunvolt once it premieres in the 3DS eShop.

Azure Striker Gunvolt launches digitally in North America on August 29.

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Assassin's Creed Memories out now on iOS

Starting today, you can look back fondly on all your favorite murderous moments from Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed series with Assassin's Creed Memories, a free-to-play mobile spinoff out now for iOS devices.

Revealed last month, Assassin's Creed Memories is a card-battling RPG that pits armies of players against one another in strategic online skirmishes. Gameplay takes place across multiple eras featured in previous Assassin's Creed games, and players can upgrade their character stats and equipment before engaging in 20 vs. 20 online guild battles.

[Image: Ubisoft]

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Go 'Deep Under the Sky' on Venus as a weird jellyfish

In Deep Under the Sky, you're an acrobatic jellyfish navigating the neon world of Venus, flying through fuzzy passageways to collect glowing orbs and stars, all while avoiding the dangerous native creatures. Deep Under the Sky comes from Incredipede creator Colin Northway and Pineapple Smash Crew creator Rich Edwards, so it's really no wonder this is a psychedelic platforming romp of a game.

Deep Under the Sky is out now on iOS and Android for $3, and it's due to hit PC and Mac tomorrow, August 22.

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Gamescom 2014: WildStar abandons monthly update pace

wildstar
Yet another MMO has fallen into the trap of promising monthly updates after launch only to realize that it's not as feasible as once thought. A mere two content updates into the live game, WildStar announced that it will be abandoning its monthly pace in favor of major drops every few months.

At Gamescom, Senior Game Designer Megan Starks fessed up to the change of release cadence: "Originally our idea was to have a really aggressive post-launch schedule, just constantly provide stuff for our players so that there's always things for you to do. Now that we've put out two of our updates, our schedule is still planned out. [...] We decided to work on [the upcoming patch Defile] until it's a really good quality state. We do know that we want it to come out in the next few months. Instead of saying that we have this hard deadline, that it's going out no matter what, we're going to take the time to make sure that the quality is there."

When asked if this is going to be the case for updates in the future, Starks said, "Yes."

Upgrade Disney Infinity Wii to Wii U free of charge

Still on the fence about buying a Wii U? Disney Interactive is offering a new reason to move to Nintendo's latest home console by allowing Disney Infinity players on Wii to upgrade to the Wii U version free of charge. Beginning today, those that own the Disney Infinity Starter Pack on Wii can download the Wii U version of the sandbox game from the eShop, including the game's multiplayer components.

The offer arrives just in time for the next game in the series, Disney Infinity 2.0, which stars Marvel's super heroes when it launches on September 23. The upgrade deal also makes sense for the publisher, as Disney Interactive would certainly love for the series' sizable fanbase on Wii to make the trek to Wii U, given that Disney Infinity 2.0 won't be available on Wii.
[Image: Disney Interactive]

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Adventure Time: Nameless Kingdom debuts November 21 in Europe

WayForward's next Adventure Time game, The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom, premieres in Europe for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo 3DS, and PC platforms via Steam on November 21, publisher Bandai Namco revealed this week.

Announced earlier this year, The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom takes gameplay cues from classic entries in Nintendo's The Legend of Zelda series, and models its structure after the lauded 16-bit action-RPG A Link to the Past. Gameplay focuses on solving environmental puzzles to progress through the game's many dungeons, ditching the roguelike-styled gameplay of its predecessor Explore the Dungeon Because I Don't Know! for a more traditional approach.

A North American release date for The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom was not announced.

[Image: Bandai Namco]

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Humble Bundle adopts Mobile tab, launches Sega Android bundle


Humble Bundle organizers have added a dedicated Mobile tab to the Humble storefront, pledging to increase the frequency of Android-focused bundle releases from today forward.

Humble Bundle kicks off its new initiative this week with the Humble Sega Mobile Bundle, which collects the Android versions of ChuChu Rocket, Virtua Tennis Challenge, and Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1 for a buyer-chosen price. Beat the bundle's average purchase price (currently $3.83), and you'll also get copies of Crazy Taxi, Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, and Sonic 4: Episode 2.

Bundle proceeds benefit the Child's Play Charity, WaterAid, and UNICEF. The Humble Sega Mobile Bundle is available through September 4.

[Video: Humble Bundle]

Devs would rather work for Valve than go indie, IGDA finds

Given an open field, developers in the gaming industry would most want to work at Valve, according to the 2014 Developer Satisfaction Survey conducted by the IGDA. The IGDA surveyed more than 2,200 developers to gather the top 10 most desirable employers in the gaming industry.

Valve tops the list, followed by "my own company," Activision Blizzard, BioWare, Ubisoft and "current employer." According to these results, the desire to go independent is alive and well in the industry, trumped only by what we assume is a deep need to know the status of Half-Life 3. See the complete list in the below press release.

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Op-ed: NHL 15 and the Case of the Missing Modes

It would come as no shock to anyone, as stereotypical as it may seem, that I have been looking forward to NHL 15 on Xbox One and PS4. I am, of course, Canadian. Some of my chief complaints from the series in recent years have been its presentation, which has made a habit of reusing animations, commentary, presentation packages and more. I apparently wasn't the only one with these issues. By E3 2014, the language coming from EA was "We heard you, NHL 15 is going to pull out all the stops."

A brand new and impressive presentation package, in collaboration with NBC Sports, was created bringing the quality of the NHL series to heights that I haven't seen (or felt) since I watched an animated Ron Barr welcome me to a game in NHL '94. EA Canada also added a new commentary team to the mix, piled on new physics that brought the series closer to reality and seemingly shoehorned an impressive list of other technical ideas into a game that, on paper, seemed bursting at its seams (or laces, whatever floats your boat).

And then the shoe (or skate, perhaps) dropped.

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The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast Special: Gamescom 2014 Day 5

Latest episode: Friday, August 15th, 2014

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