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Amazon: Wii U game pre-orders up following Gamescom

With all the news that surfaced last week during Gamescom, it makes sense that video game pre-orders would increase at retailers like Amazon. As it turns out, the biggest winner coming away from the show is Nintendo, as Wii U games saw the biggest boost in pre-orders on Amazon (8.67 percent). By comparison, pre-orders for PS4 games rose 5.16 percent and Xbox One games increased 2.81 percent.

The largest increase for a single game was 42.3 percent for Slightly Mad Studios' Project Cars. Bandai Namco announced a limited edition version of the game last week, which likely spurred new pre-orders. Rounding out the top five are Rise of the Tomb Raider (30.25 percent), Bloodborne (16.08 percent), Hyrule Warriors (11.77 percent) and Quantum Break (10.77 percent). You'll find the full list of the top ten games whose pre-orders increased on Amazon after the break, courtesy of MCV.

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New Nintendo eShop releases: Mega Man 6, Blazblue Clone Phantasma

Mega Mega Mega Man, he's up on the eff- okay, yes, that's the Mega Man 2 theme a la Brentalfloss, but he's not done one for Mega Man 6, the NES platformer out on Wii U Virtual Console this week. Of course, in the musical maestro's opinion Mega Man 6 is "okay." How's that for a recommendation? At least it's better than 7, we almost hear him sing. Oh, also on Wii U Virtual Console this week is Gradius spin-off Life Force, if you're looking for something retro in a more co-op flavor.

Meanwhile, with Disney Infinity 2.0 still out of reach, Nintendo's getting things simmering by bringing OG Disney Infinity to the eShop for the first time. You'll still need a physical figure and base to play it, though. As for the 3DS, we reckon top dog this week is Blazblue Clone Phantasma. Nope, not Blazblue Chrono Phantasma, but a 3D action game spinoff of the fighter series. The cast of characters are still there but hyper-deformed and cute, even if they're still beating the bejeezus out of each other.

As always, you'll find the full list of new releases past the break. Sales-wise there are nine new discounts starting this week, which we'd say qualifies as plenty. We refer you to The Big N's press release for the full list, but we like the look of a third off Aeternoblade at $10 and Chasing Aurora half-price at $4.

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UK game devs start to claim 'culturally British' tax breaks

Developers across the UK are donning their Union Jack dresses and piling up on their tea stocks, now that they claim the long-campaigned for "culturally British" tax breaks. We jest of course, but as of this week, qualifying studios are able to claim up to 25 percent on 80 percent of their production costs, a huge change that trade association TIGA believes will lead to £188 million (around $312 million) in additional investment into the national games industry over the next five years.

The still bizarre fulcrum in all this is the Cultural Test itself, which was a sticking point for the European Commission who sees it as vital to the aid. As the EU Commission put it in March, "the proposed cultural test ensures that the aid supports only games with cultural content without leading to undue distortions of competition."

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Final Fantasy Explorers plants its flag in Japan this December

If you live in Japan you can grab your backpacks and lead the way in upcoming 3DS co-op RPG Final Fantasy Explorers. Vámonos indeed because as Jump revealed (via Gematsu), it's only a few months before the game hits retail shelves there on December 18.

Continuing the Crystal Chronicles vibe, Final Fantasy Explorers lets up to four adventurers combine forces in quest-driven action. Players take on classic series jobs like Knight, Monk; Black and White Mage; and as this week's Famitsu reveals, Paladin and Hunter. Just as familiar are the summons players do battle against, including the likes of Ifrit and Shiva.

Final Fantasy Explorers remains unconfirmed for Western release, though US and Euro trademarks suggest a voyage across the oceans is on the cards. For now, make you own trek below the break to see three new vids showcasing the Monk, Knight and Black Mage.

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Minecraft PS4 fails certification as August creeps to a close

It's looking unlikely Minecraft will meets its August release window on PS4 after it failed Sony's certification tests. So it's back to the fixing board for 4J Studios, and the team will have to re-submit the game for certification before it can be released.

4J's been busy fixing issues and squishing bugs throughout the month, and not just in the PS4 version but in the upcoming Xbox One and Vita releases too. We've reached out to the studio to confirm a delay, and whether that'll affect just the PS4 version or other platforms too. All three ports are currently due for release this month.

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Microsoft abruptly removes Ascend: Hand of Kul from Xbox 360

Free-to-play action-RPG Ascend: Hand of Kul is no longer available on the Xbox 360 after Microsoft discontinued it this week, apparently without informing developer Signal Studios beforehand. In what's seemingly less a case of "So long, farewell" and more Jazzy Jeff leaving the Fresh Prince's house, Signal Studios said the news only surfaced when the team was investigating player troubles from the weekend.

"We are deeply saddened by this decision and the impact it has on our community," Signal Studios said on its site while urging players towards the Steam version released in May. The studio didn't note what Microsoft's reasoning was behind the decision, and when we approached the publisher a spokesperson told us Microsoft had "no further comment."

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Puyo Puyo Tetris to drop onto PS4, Xbox One in Japan

Puyo Puyo Tetris, a combination of two venerable rival puzzle games that just makes sense to us, is coming to Xbox One and PS4. After bringing the blocky-blobby hybrid to Wii U, PS3, Vita and 3DS earlier this year, Sega announced it's dropping the two new ports onto Japan's retail shelves on December 4.

While Ubisoft's busy pumping Tetris Ultimate onto any system in sight, it seems unlikely we'll see Sega transition Puyo Puyo Tetris onto Western systems given Puyo Puyo's limited penetration outside of Japan. Then again, we live in a time where Sega's releasing Hatsune Miku games across the globe, so who knows?

To see how the game works, check out our lowdown from last year's Tokyo Game Show.
[Image: Sega]

Yoshida: 'I hope' Tomb Raider will come to PS4

During its Gamescom press conference, Microsoft announced that Rise of the Tomb Raider would launch exclusively on Xbox platforms in holiday 2015. This came as a surprise to President of Sony Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida, he said in an interview with Eurogamer.

"It's very interesting the way Phil Spencer said, what we are saying is, in holiday 2015 Tomb Raider is exclusive to Xbox," he said. "So it's open to interpretation. But still, we didn't anticipate something like this would happen."

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PES 2015's pre-order bonuses build your team of the year

Those that pre-order Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 in the UK will receive some bonus goodies, Konami revealed. The pre-order exclusives are for the game's new My Club mode, which stands as an overhauled version of the series' Master League management mode. My Club brings microtransactions to the soccer sim as well, which is where the pre-order bonuses come in.

The exclusive pre-order content was "built around the UEFA Team Of The Year," Konami told Joystiq in an email. The bonuses include "10,000 Game Points, 10 Recovery Items to assist the fitness of the squad, and one player picked at random from the team voted by over 5 million people on UEFA.com." Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 is the first in the series for PS4 and Xbox One, and will launch on November 13. A demo of the game will be available on September 17 for each of its platforms: Xbox One, PS4, PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.

Borderlands 2 free Steam weekend, Pre-Sequel up for pre-purchase

Want a fresh world to explore? If you haven't already entered the insanity that is Borderlands 2, this weekend represents your best bet. Beginning today and until Sunday at 1pm PT, the game is available to play for free on Steam.

As part of the promotion, Borderlands 2 and its content are currently on sale for up to 75% off. You can grab the single game, sans DLC, for $4.99 or double down for $9.99 and nab the Game of the Year Edition, featuring bonus content.

If you're a forward thinking player, this week Steam has opened pre-orders up for the next installment in the series, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. Launching October 14, The Pre-Sequel is coming to PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.

The Elder Scrolls Online plans 4v4 arenas, veteran rewards

ESO
In a fresh entry on The Elder Scrolls Online's official site, Game Director Matt Firor has penned the latest Road Ahead update, in which he discusses the game's recent patch as well as what's in store for players next month. Of note, Firor says ZeniMax aims to make combat "more responsive," push out new Craglorn content, complete the last trial in the constellation storyline, and introduce a new 4v4 PvE arena. Work on the champion system, which revamps the MMO's character development and customization mechanics, continues; in fact, ZeniMax implores players to help test the inbound content on the public test server.

The team plans to formally announce a loyalty program later this week; it's expected to dole out traditional MMO veteran rewards like minipets.

Reus picks up 700K sales ahead of Renowned Explorers launch

Abbey Games has sold 700,000 copies of its 2D god game, Reus, designer Manuel Kerssemakers told Joystiq at Gamescom. Reus launched in May 2013, and within its first three months, it brought in 235,000 sales. The 700,000 count comes from copies sold across Steam, GOG, Humble, Desura and Gamersgate.

Sales of Reus have allowed Abbey Games to establish a studio with 16 people, some full-time and others as needed, Kerssemakers said. Abbey is now working on Renowned Explorers, a turn-based strategy game about a group of 19th century adventurers traveling the world and gathering treasures to show off at the World Expo. It's inspired by XCOM: Enemy Unknown, Fire Emblem, Indiana Jones and Jules Verne.

Renowned Explorers is due out in the first quarter of 2015 for PC, Mac and Linux via Steam, and so far Abbey isn't interested in launching an early access version. "We're kind of traditional in that we want to release a full version," Kerssemakers said. "Reus people seemed to appreciate getting a full game."

Diablo 3 Ultimate Evil Edition round table: Should you upgrade?

Diablo 3 raises a lot of questions. If angels don't have heads and faces, why do they exclusively wear hoodies? Does the witch doctor have a chronic illness or is he just shaking like that because he drank way too much coffee? Biggest of all, though, is this whopper: Should you take this chance to upgrade?

With Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition gracing PlayStation 4 and Xbox One this week, the Joystiq crew has been asking that very question. Richard Mitchell, a Diablo veteran back to the original game, joins console-only player Susan Arendt and complete Diablo neophyte Anthony John Agnello for a roundtable discussion of how best to enter the series while discussing their experiences with Ultimate Evil Edition on PlayStation 4.

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Silent Hills Swedish radio broadcast hints at aliens



The playable teaser for Hideo Kojima and Guillermo del Toro's Silent Hills offers a hint at the game's premise: aliens. A creepy Swedish radio broadcast outlines a world of tortured paranoia, including the phrase, "The radio drama from 75 years ago was the truth," as translated by YouTube user dimhoLten. This timeline aligns with Orson Welles' radio performance of The War of the Worlds on October 30, 1938.

Welles' broadcast of The War of the Worlds incited mass panic among the US radio audience, as it was presented as a series of news bulletins describing a live alien invasion, which many listeners took at face value. The radio drama was based on HG Wells' 1898 novel The War of the Worlds.

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The Golf Club climbs into a tiny cart, departs Early Access

To coincide with its Xbox One debut earlier this week, HB Studios' picturesque golfing simulation The Golf Club has just exited Steam's Early Access program.

Now available on Steam at $35, The Golf Club offers players a spartan simulation complemented by a wealth of gameplay options, including online multiplayer, impromptu tournament creation and a fully-featured course editor. The Golf Club lacks extraneous bits such as a tutorial or any useful guide to learning the game's unique swing mechanics, but that falls in line with The Golf Club's aim of being a golfing simulation aimed not at gamers, but at those who consider themselves both gamers and golfers.

Alongside its Early Access exit, The Golf Club has been updated with a handful of new features including female golfers, additional objects and wildlife for the course editor and improved graphics. Full details on the final release version of The Golf Club can be found on Steam.
[Image: HB Studios]

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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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