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CastleStorm: Definitive Edition catapults to Xbox One, PS4 next week

If you missed out on CastleStorm's multiplatform launch last year, you'll have the chance to catch up next week with an expanded edition premiering for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, developer Zen Studios announced today.

CastleStorm: Definitive Edition bolsters its physics-driven tower defense gameplay with a visually updated 1080p presentation and a collection of new gameplay modes and features not found in the original release. The package also includes the "From Outcast to Savior" and "Warrior Queen" expansions, both previously released as DLC for the PlayStation 3 and other platforms.

CastleStorm: Definitive Edition will be available for $9.99 when it hits the PlayStation 4 on September 23 and the Xbox One on September 24.

[Image: Zen Studios]

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call review: Take a bow

Music is an essential part of the Final Fantasy series. Players who have spent any amount of time with the franchise likely have a few overworld themes buried deep in their subconscious, and the series as a whole covers a wide variety of musical styles, ranging from catchy 8-bit tunes to fully orchestrated scores.

Theatrhythm Final Fantasy premiered for the Nintendo 3DS in 2012, repurposing a handful of Final Fantasy soundtracks for a rhythm-driven experience with light RPG elements. The result was both a nostalgia trip and a solid game in its own right, supplementing its pedigree with inventive beat-matching gameplay that made satisfying use of the 3DS touch screen.

Sequel Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call easily surpasses its predecessor, tripling the original game's track list while polishing its gameplay to a mirror sheen. It's a loving, reverent tribute to a beloved series that skillfully recontextualizes one of its standout features, creating something worthwhile both for its fanbase and for newcomers.

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WildStar's housing gets huge with Drop 3

wildstar
Housing fanatics (including those eternal level 14s) in WildStar have great reason to cheer for the upcoming Drop 3. Carbine Studios is giving a ton of love to the player housing system, including a huge expansion of how many items can be placed.

In yesterday's Nexus Report, the team answered many housing questions and outlined some of the big changes coming with Drop 3. When it hits, players will be able to place up to 1,000 decor items both indoors and outdoors, which is an increase from the current 300 exterior and 800 interior limits. Other improvements include musical selection, more lights, separate sharing privileges for gardens, and a blank housing choice. The team has also been discussing new base terrains and the ability to move FABkits around.

We've got the full video for you after the break, so chow down!

[Thanks to Greg for the tip!]

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Destiny sales reach $325 million worldwide

Activision has pegged sales of Destiny at $325 million worldwide in its first five days, which follows last week's announcement that the MMO-shooter dungeon crawler shipped over $500 million into retail. We don't have time to explain how Activision has time to explain where it got those numbers.

"Destiny is a platform that will grow and evolve and we will continue to work closely with our partners at Bungie to bring a long line of new experiences and content to life in the game," said Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg. The company spoke to Joystiq yesterday about changes coming to the game, saying it has already "more than doubled" the number of public events players will encounter.

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Quake Live hosts free-to-play arena battles on Steam today

Id Software's free-to-play arena FPS Quake Live unlocks on Steam later today, bringing its '90s-styled twitch gameplay to an expanded audience.

Based on the popular Quake 3 Arena, Quake Live originally premiered in 2010, and currently features over a dozen gameplay modes across 100 featured deathmatch levels. The core game is free for all players, while subscribers receive access to a broad selection of Create Match options and clan features.

[Image: Id Software]

NHL 2K series returns to mobile this fall

2K announced the return of its NHL 2K hockey video game brand today with the aptly-named NHL 2K. The game is in development for iOS and Android devices as a "premium mobile game" slated to launch this fall for $7.99. Players will take to the ice in classic NHL Winter Classic, Free Skate and Shootout modes, a three-on-three Mini-Rink mode, a "detailed" My Career mode and turn-based multiplayer shootouts.

NHL 2K is the first entry in the series to surface in four years, the last being 2010's NHL 2K11 for Wii and iOS. The latest game is the result of a cooperative effort between NBA 2K developer Visual Concepts and Virtuos Games, the same studio that lent a hand to Square Enix with Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster in January. NHL 2K will include iCloud support on iOS devices, NHL GameCenter Live connectivity and MFi controller support.

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The Evil Within not without TGS trailer


The Evil Within, from Resident Evil maestro Shinji Mikami, is heading to this week's Tokyo Game Show with a new gameplay trailer. The game already features a cast who know grisly, but the game's environments don't seem to be holding back either.

There's plenty of gore, blood and terror to go around in this trailer, but the room with spinning blades is a nightmare room. No wait, the one with the stamping spikes is a nightmare room. Wait, the barbed wire fishtank of drowning is. It's all a nightmare room!

Final Fantasy 13's new portal page has a Steam logo

In suspiciously timed news, Square Enix launched a new portal page for the Final Fantasy 13 saga that conspicuously features the Steam logo. The site, launched today, features the Steam image next to logos for already confirmed platforms. FF13, FF13-2 and Lightning Returns all initially released on Xbox 360 and PS3, and the trio are also coming to Japan's Dive In mobile streaming app, as announced last week.

So is Lightning about to strike thrice one more time? Square Enix's not announced any PC ports of the JRPG trilogy so take all this with a pinch of salt. That said, the publisher does seem to have a few things up its sleeve for the Tokyo Game Show, which begins tomorrow. Also, earlier this year, Final Fantasy producer Yoshinori Kitase told Eurogamer he was "definitely interested" in pursuing PC versions for future games, and he also touched on why the FF13 saga didn't come to PC in the first place.

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Hyrule Warriors review: Moblin warfare

Though The Legend of Zelda series includes some of the most beloved games of all time, Hyrulean protagonist Link has seen some less than stellar adventures in the hands of developers not named Nintendo. Capcom's Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages Game Boy games were excellent, but both relied on gameplay elements and graphics borrowed from Nintendo's own The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. More notorious are the three CD-i games which transplanted Link into a wholly new gameplay style that's best described as a hybrid of the sidescrolling stages of the second Legend of Zelda game and an unending litany of poor design decisions. The less said about the games' baffling take on Nintendo character design, the better.

Despite this disappointing history, Nintendo has now granted Koei Tecmo – more specifically, its most notable developers, Omega Force and Team Ninja – the rights to craft their own Legend of Zelda entry, a melee-focused Wii U spin-off dubbed Hyrule Warriors. It would be difficult to match the depressing legacy left by the CD-i entries, but it seems an even more daunting task to match Nintendo's pedigree of sterling high-fantasy adventures. Fortunately for fans of both The Legend of Zelda and Koei Tecmo's flagship musou brawlers, Hyrule Warriors is successful on nearly every level.

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Nab a free copy of Bejeweled 3 on Origin

Bejeweled 3 is the latest entry in Origin's On the House program, meaning the normally $5 tile-matching puzzler is free for Windows PC and Mac until October 28. As with the other On the House freebies, once you claim the game, it's yours to keep.

PopCap's super-successful series may be in its teens, but it's only seen five releases to date, including two spinoffs. Bejeweled 3 added four new modes to the mix which you unlock as you play through, but as Joystiq's Richard Mitchell put it in his 2011 XBLA in Brief video, "Why are you still watching this? It's Bejeweled. It's the same game it's been for a decade, except it's prettier and it's got more stuff."
[Image: EA]

The Elder Scrolls Online pushes players to Upper Craglorn in Update 4

I'll up YOUR Craglorn!  I... no, wait, please don't draw your weapons, adventurers.  I'm... I'm so lonely.  I don't know what I'm saying any more.  My life just hurts, and every time I think it's not going to hurt any more it keeps going.  I walled myself away so I could live better, but all it did was make me long for contact I don't know how to have.  I just want friends.  All I need is for you to hear me out, and maybe we - oh.  Okay, you can stab me.  Maybe it's better this way.
You've been to Craglorn? Pff, that's boring now. Upper Craglorn is where the real action is these days. And by complete coincidence, Upper Craglorn is now open on The Elder Scrolls Online's servers, as the game's fourth major update has just dropped. The zone will wrap up the Celestial storyline as your character takes on the Scaled Court. That also ties into the new trial, Sanctum Ophidia, which is a direct strike against the heart of the Court; players will take on the minions and end up fighting the Celestial Serpent.

The new Dragonstar Arena also debuts with this patch, asking players to fight against waves of oncoming enemies. Plus there's a new crafting trait available, improved grouping mechanics, various bugfixes, the usual assortment. So if you can't wait to go knife up a really important snake and check out the places that all the hip new kids are heading for, go check out the update.

Destiny's Vault of Glass already cleared

The Primeguard clan of Destiny guardians were the first to break through the Vault of Glass, some 11 hours after the raid launched yesterday. The six-person team posted proof of their exploits on Twitter, and soon after Bungie acknowledged them as first to finish the mission, while coyly suggesting they now do it on the harder difficulty.

Bungie posted Primeguard's Vault of Glass stats, and they show the marathon mission was tough going for the team. As DestinyDB elaborates, the sextet of three Titans, two Hunters and a Warlock, all across level 26 to 28, died a staggering 1,606 times in total with a combined kill-death ratio of 3.59. The team's average lifespan? Just 2 minutes and 22 seconds.

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Battleborn and the rise of the friendly shooter

"We are absolutely, deliberately targeting the idea that we want a game that people can just pick up and play," says John Mulkey, design director on Gearbox's new shooter, Battleborn (PS4, Xbox One, PC). His team's latest design, which favors collaboration, community input and a heavy focus on testing and tuning, couldn't be more different from the cult classic he built levels for – years ago.

Just how much community input and playtesting went into No One Lives Forever anyway, I ask Mulkey. "Oh, god," he says, briefly thrust back into a previous life. "None."

Propelled chiefly by the strength of its clever vision, a game like No One Lives Forever seems to be an outlier now. It was a game made without a steady stream of analytics, feedback and pushback, though meant to be consumed more succinctly, and for what was then a much smaller audience. "A game like this, we hope, it's not just this game that hits and fades away," says Scott Kester, the man in charge of Battleborn's look. "We want this to go. We want to keep making it."

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Goat Simulator gives us the billies on iOS, Android

Goat Simulator puts the dumb into smartphones starting today, and it's available to purchase on iOS and Android now. The ports of Coffee Stain Studios' ridiculous phenomenon are priced $5, and the studio proudly proclaims they include "all the bugs from the PC version."

Goat Simulator can be boiled down to causing as much physical destruction as possible with a goat... or other animals which Coffee Stain claims are goats too. The Sanctum dev admits it's a "completely stupid game" with "millions of bugs," but it's also a game with almost one million sales, largely thanks to an inspired marketing campaign that riffed on Dead Island's own viral trailer. The buck doesn't stop with the mobile ports, because Goat Simulator is also flying onto Xbox One, courtesy of LittleBigPlanet Vita co-developer Double Eleven.
[Image: Coffee Stain Studios]

Sony ups loss forecast to $2 billion following smartphone struggles

Sony is now forecasting a 230 billion yen ($2.15 billion) loss for the fiscal year ending in March 2015, a revision nearly five times more than the company previously projected. The Japanese electronics giant was expecting a 50 billion yen loss, but today it announced it's downgrading the value of its mobiles business by 180 billion yen ($1.68 billion) following an internal review.

Sony began the review in July after cutting forecast smartphone sales by 14 percent following a sluggish opening quarter. The mobile business' "mid-range plan" is now no longer focused on growth, but instead designed to "reduce risk and volatility, and deliver more stable profits."

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The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast 112: Danganronpa 2, Azure Striker Gunvolt, downtime & future games

Latest episode: Friday, September 12th, 2014

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