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Broken Sword 5, Episode 2 out today on Windows, Mac, Linux


The second episode of Revolution Software's classic-styled point-and-click adventure game Broken Sword 5: The Serpent's Curse is out today on Steam, Good Old Games and Get Games, finishing up heroic duo George and Nico's latest globetrotting journey.

The first episode of The Serpent's Curse launched late last year for PC and mobile platforms. Broken Sword 5 exceeded its Kickstarter goal in 2012 during a boom period for crowdfunded point-and-click adventure game projects, earning nearly $800,000 in backer pledges.

Broken Sword: The Serpent's Curse - Episode 2 is due to hit the PlayStation Vita, iOS and Android devices soon.

[Video: Revolution Software]

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Eufloria Adventures hits PS Mobile this week

Omni Systems brings its latest project to the PlayStation Vita and supported Android platforms this week with the release of Eufloria Adventures, a PlayStation Mobile-exclusive follow-up to its ambient real-time strategy game Eufloria.

Eufloria Adventures puts players in control of a single floating Seedling Ship for a series of exploration-based challenges, contrasting the strategic, troop-swarming gameplay of the original Eufloria. Levels are procedurally generated, and players can choose to specialize in Speed, Strength, or Energy attributes as the difficulty ramps up at lower depths.

Eufloria Adventures includes both a casual mode focusing on low-key exploration and a roguelike mode for hardcore players. The game is available from the PlayStation Store for $7.99.

[Image: Omni Systems]

Chaos Reborn funded, births in 2015

Julian Gollop, the creator of X-COM: UFO Defense, has hit the $180,000 goal for Chaos Reborn, an update to his 1985 strategy game, Chaos: The Battle of Wizards. Unlike many, many projects seeking funding on Kickstarter, this game is already in a solid prototype state. We know, because we streamed it with Gollop as our adversary.

The prototype of Chaos Reborn is accessible through the game's Kickstarter page. The game itself now has the funding to gussy up the graphics and hopefully make its May 2015 launch on PC, Mac and Linux.
[Image: Gollop]

Bust-A-Move 4 on the PlayStation Network this spring

Natsume announced that it will release a digital PSone Classics version of Taito's Bust-a-Move 4 this spring, bringing the classic bubble-bursting puzzler to the PlayStation 3, PSP, and PS Vita.

Bust-a-Move 4 expands on the color-matching gameplay of Taito's arcade-born Puzzle Bobble series with new pulley mechanics, challenging players to balance bubble clusters throughout its single-player Puzzle mode. The game also includes a friendship-straining competitive Versus mode, along with an Edit mode that allows players to create and save up to 25 custom level layouts.

A specific release date for Bust-a-Move 4 was not announced.

[Image: Natsume / Taito]

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Indie Royal Bundle 12 says you are not a banana

The Debut 12 Bundle from Indie Royale is live. The pay-what-you-want bundle features eight independent titles looking for Steam Greenlight campaign support: Yrminsul, Selknam Defense, Luna's Wandering Stars, Rot Gut, Storm over the Pacific, You Are Not A Banana: Chapter 1, Pester and GEARCRACK Arena.

At the time of publishing, the bundle's average purchase price is $2.92. By raising the minimum of $5, Indie Royale is offering a bonus album of independent music.

All games in the bundle are available for Windows via the Desura distribution. The sale ends in less than seven days.
[Image: Indie Royale]

Bethesda under fire from barbed wire industry, reports The Onion

Image The Evil Within publisher Bethesda Softworks is under fire from the barbed wire lobby for its portrayal of the industry's spiked resource, The Onion has learned. Remember: The Onion. [Image: Bethesda]... Continue Reading

Infamous: Second Son patch adds Photo Mode, subtracts bugs


Infamous: Second Son lead Delsin Rowe might be able to shoot burst of smoke from his hands and run up walls as a streak of light, but he's not perfect. Hence, developer Sucker Punch has outlined plans for a patch that it hopes to release as soon as April 17.

The highlight of the patch is the addition of "Photo Mode," a new feature designed to make it even easier to capture screenshots of virtual Seattle. Once the patch is installed, players will find a toggle for Photo Mode within the Infamous: Second Son options menu. As long as the option is enabled, players can click the L3 button (that is, the left analog stick) to enter Photo Mode which superficially functions like the PlayStation 4's built-in screenshot capture mechanism, but offers expanded photo editing options, such as adjustable depth of field. For more, see the above video, which Sucker Punch describes as a Photo Mode tutorial.

Additionally, the patch squashes a few game-crashing bugs, automatically pauses Infamous: Second Son if a controller runs out of juice and adds a clear notification of whether or not players are eligible for the "Unstoppable" trophy, which is earned by beating the game on Expert difficulty.

PlayStation 4 sales exceed 7 million so far

Sales of Sony's PlayStation 4 have exceeded 7 million worldwide, the manufacturer announced today. Games are going along with them, according to internal estimates from Sony Computer Entertainment, selling to the tune of over 20.5 million copies as of early April. This figure includes retail sales in addition to those made online.

Major releases on PlayStation 4 ($399.99) and its competitor, Xbox One ($499.99), are still sporadic, roughly six months after their November launches. However, both are beefing up their portfolios with independent games, and both are coming off well-received flagships: Titanfall and Infamous: Second Son.

The PlayStation 4 is also pursuing a virtual reality component in Project Morpheus, while Microsoft is lining up Xbox One with the likes of Steven Spielberg in its television spinoff, Xbox Entertainment Studios.
[Image: Sony]

Obsidian gives your ears a taste of the Pillars of Eternity soundtrack



Just because we can't play old school-inspired, Kickstarter success Pillars of Eternity right now doesn't mean we can't experience it. Developer Obsidian has released a score from the game's soundtrack to give anxious adventurers a taste of what to expect when the game releases later this year. The music is an ambient background tune for the Dyrford Village area.

Audio Director Justin Bell noted in a forum post that he looks to the Infinity Engine games (Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale) for inspiration, blending "tropes found in European folk and pre-Renaissance modal music" with modern techniques. Bell also wrote that he listens for inspiration during his daily commute to work, and that he reads Johann Sebastian Bach daily.

Video games: classy stuff.
[Image: Obsidian]

Pre-order Wolfenstein: The New Order, earn Team Fortress 2 hats

Alternate history Nazi shooter Wolfenstein: The New Order is now available for pre-order via Steam, and Valve has opted to sweeten the deal by offering free Team Fortress 2 hats to anyone who plunks down early cash for the PC game.

Though Valve's announcement makes no mention of what exactly these hats will look like, it does describe them as both "exclusive" and patterned after some element of Wolfenstein: The New Order. Whether that means historically inaccurate pickelhaubes or the combination helmet and gas mask worn by the grunts in this trailer remains to be seen, but, again, these are free bonuses so try not to look this gift horse in the mouth.

Alongside the newly-revealed gratis chapeaus, a pre-order of Wolfenstein: The New Order also grants players access to a beta of id Software's next entry in the hallowed DOOM franchise. However, as we mentioned earlier this month, that beta will only be available to those who pre-order Wolfenstein: The New Order on PC, PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.

Zenimax Media files trademark for 'Nuka Cola'

Bethesda Softworks parent company Zenimax Media recently filed three separate trademark applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the term "Nuka Cola," a phrase that should be very familiar to Fallout fans.

Not just the favorite carbonated beverage of the post-apocalypse, Nuka Cola is also a handy energy source, and wily vault dwellers have even been known to craft the sugary goop into a deadly weapon. While it's currently unclear what Zenimax plans to do in the event the trademark is granted, it is notable that the applications were filed "based on intent to use," as opposed to "based on use in commerce," despite the fact that Nuka Cola appears frequently in both Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. This suggests that instead of attempting to protect an existing product, Zenimax has new plans for the Nuka Cola name.

When contacted, Zenimax offered no further information, but we can be reasonably sure the media company is not planning to launch a line of Fallout-themed soft drinks. Two of the trademark applications apply specifically to computer games and related electronic services, while the third applies to branded clothing items. About a year ago, Zenimax renewed its trademark on the Fallout name, however, so it's possible this Nuka Cola trademark may tie in to any upcoming sequels Bethesda has planned for the roleplaying franchise.
[Image: Zenimax Media]

Tackle 'Son of the Crawmerax' in final Borderlands 2 DLC

Developer Gearbox Software has released its final piece of Borderlands 2 DLC. Headhunter 5: Sir Hammerlock Versus the Son of the Crawmerax is available now via Steam, PlayStation Network and the Xbox Live Marketplace for $2.99.

The content sends players to Wam Bam Island to partake in the largest Headhunter DLC mission released, according to a 2K blog post. "At the end of your adventure, you will battle a foe that may look familiar – Crawmerax Jr., the son of the great crab worm from The Secret Armory of General Knoxx add-on from the original Borderlands."

The content now shelves the Borderlands sequel, giving developer Gearbox ample time to focus its efforts on the next installment of the game: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.

Successfully completing the Headhunter 5: Sir Hammerlock Versus the Son of the Crawmerax DLC (boy, that's a mouthful) will allow players to wear a shrunken version of the final enemy's head like a hat. If swanky travel duds are more of an incentive, each character will net a beach-themed skin as part of the content. Taking on Handsome Jack in an "Aloha shirt"? Say no more.
[Image: Gearbox]

Naughty Dog announces final season pass DLC for The Last of Us

Naughty Dog will finish out its planned season pass content for The Last of Us with new weapons, additional multiplayer maps, and a new single-player gameplay mode as part of the upcoming Grounded Bundle.

Grounded Mode puts a new, difficult spin on The Last of Us' single-player campaign, pitting players against "relentless, smart, and brutal" enemy mobs throughout. Naughty Dog notes that survival in the new mode will be "near impossible," and claims that the "Completed Grounded Mode" challenge will be one of the most difficult Trophies players will earn.

The Grounded Bundle additionally features the Reclaimed Territories Map Pack, adding the Wharf, Capitol, Coal Mine, and Water Tower maps to the game's multiplayer component. Players may opt to expand their arsenal with the Survivalist Weapon Bundle, which introduces the multiplayer-only Specter, Double Barrel, Enforcer, and Launcher weapons. Also arriving are the Situational Survival Skills and Professional Survival Skills bundles, which enhance character abilities in online battles.

Grounded Mode will be priced at $4.99 as a standalone download. The Reclaimed Territories Map Pack is priced at $9.99, the Survivalist Weapon Bundle is $5.99, and the Survival Skills Bundles are $3.99 apiece. All upcoming content is included as part of The Last of Us' $19.99 season pass, but interested players may want to hop on the deal soon, as the season pass bundle will be discontinued in mid-May.

A release date for Grounded Bundle content has not been announced.

[Image: Naughty Dog]

Hearthstone plays its cards on iPad today

Blizzard's collectible trading card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is now available for iPad. The free-to-play game was first announced at last year's PAX East event in March 2013 as a cross-platform, multiplayer strategy game intended for PC, Mac and iPad.

The World of Warcraft developer revealed details for the game's single player campaigh just last week. Hearthstone entered open beta on PC and Mac in January.
[Image: Blizzard Entertainment]

The Blackwell Epiphany demo launches ahead of April 24 release



A demo for The Blackwell Epiphany is available now, just ahead of the independent adventure game's April 24 release date. Developed by Wadjet Eye Games, Epiphany is the fifth and final game in the Blackwell series, which first began in 2006.

As a guest on a special PAX East edition of the Super Joystiq Podcast, Wadjet Eye's Dave Gilbert discussed the upcoming game, remaining independent since his development career began and the engine that powers his studio's projects. Wadjet Eye is also well known for the adventure titles Gemini Rue and Resonance.

At launch, The Blackwell Epiphany will be available for $14.99 via the developer's site, GOG.com, Steam and other online distributors. Pre-ordering the title from Wadjet Eye's website includes a DRM-free copy of the game, redeemable Steam key, soundtrack and exclusive behind-the-scenes development videos.
[Image: Wadjet Eye Games]

Fable Anniversary lead designer exits Lionhead

Fable Anniversary lead designer Ted Timmins has announced his departure from Lionhead Studios. In a multi-tweet explanation of his exit, Timmins said the Microsoft-owned company has been "such an integral part" of his life. Citing that his time at Lionhead made up more than one third of his life, "it's a good time for change."

Timmins' first project with Lionhead was the original Xbox action-role playing game Fable in 2004. Microsoft purchased the studio in 2006. Timmins thanked former Lionhead boss Peter Molyneux for establishing the company that would "give a spotty 18-year-old with no talent or qualifications a chance."

"There's also something quite special that Fable 1 was the first game I was a part of, and Fable Anniversary is my last," Timmins wrote.
[Image: Lionhead]

You can now buy Nuclear Throne straight from Twitch

Developer Vlambeer is offering the option to purchase its latest game, Nuclear Throne, through Twitch, a first for the video game broadcast company.

Purchasing Nuclear Throne through Twitch gives players access to the game via Steam Early Access, specialty Vlambeer emoticons, and a subscription to the official Vlambeer Twitch.tv channel, which offers exclusive streams and subscriber-only chat throughout the week.

"If you're interested in learning about game development, this is where you should buy the game. 60 percent of revenue goes to us," Vlambeer's website says.

Gamasutra points out that the revenue split through Steam is 70 percent to developers, while 90 percent of revenue goes to game makers when titles are purchased via GOG.com.

Vlambeer continues to evolve its latest release. During PAX East the developer added a two-player co-op mode, which co-founder Rami Ismail said was "so crazy and insane that we're not so sure it's a good idea to have four." The crazier, the better!

UK chain GAME to close dedicated Xbox store

GAME and Microsoft deemed the UK retailer's Xbox store a success, after confirming to MCV the London outlet closes its doors later this month. As MCV notes, the store opened in June 2013 on a short-term lease and with a focus of boosting Xbox One sales at launch.

"The short-term contract location for the dedicated Xbox store has given us real insight into what consumers expect from the next generation of retail," said GAME Stores Director Dave Howard told MCV. "We have implemented Xbox sections in all of our stores - we have taken all the best of the Xbox store into over 320 GAME stores around the UK. Customers really showed an appetite for hands-on experience, interactive displays and a way to digitally access Xbox Live content. We will continue to innovate our stores with Microsoft."

Pop-up stores for launches are nothing new in London: Ubisoft trotted one out for a game a few years ago, Q Entertainment's Child of Eden. While that game was arguably good enough to warrant its own store, it really could've done with 100 more.
[Image: GAME]

Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn surpasses 2 million registrations

This week's PS4 launch of Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn helped the MMO pass the 2 million mark for registered accounts. Square Enix didn't reveal any hard figures for how many players are exploring Eorzea on PS4, but we know six months ago the number of registered accounts was at 1.5 million. Meanwhile, a trailer from February proclaimed the second-iteration MMO had "over 1.8 million adventurers."

It's worth noting registrations do not equate to active subscribers, although the base game does require a purchase. According to a translated 4Gamer interview with Director Naoki Yoshida, in March around 500,000 people were logging into A Realm Reborn each day.

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Games so bad they're good: Far Cry 2

I was invited to be on the "Games So Bad They're Good" panel at PAX East, but a scheduling conflict prevented me from taking part. Fortunately, my Editor in Chief, Ludwig Kietzmann, was ready and willing to take my place. His selection, Far Cry 2, took more than a few people by surprise - the reaction on Twitter went something like "Are you crazy? Far Cry 2 is awesommmmeeeeee!" His reasoning was ... unusual, to say the least, so we're reprinting his argument. These are the notes he used for his presentation, exactly as he used them, thus the atypical format.

For the record, my choice was going to be Phantasy Star Online. I think Luddy won this one.
--Susan

I tried to be considerate about this, and cognizant of why bad qualities can lead to pleasure.

The thing about bad movies like Plan 9 is that you're looking at an event so awkward and terrible for the people involved that you want to instinctually stop them and protect them, but you can't because it's already committed to film.

It's too late to stop the tragedy, so now you are allowed to enjoy it.

In a game, if your actions don't align with your expectations or what the game is about, it's frustrating.

Most games are good despite their bad qualities, like story and controls, and not because of them.

At first I thought: Okay, what about games that give the player all the power and then back away?

Is that bad game design? Is God of War so bad, because they let you rip out a monster's medulla oblongata and then bash their head in with it and then you're like, "This violence is a bit mindless isn't it?"

Or, what about games that overcomplicate and abstract simple, physical actions, like QWOP, Surgeon Simulator and Octodad?

Then I had an epiphany, I yelled, "Eureka! "and someone said, "Shh, this is a library, keep your revelations to yourself."

I'm going with Far Cry 2, and here's why.

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What's In A Name

http://www.joystiq.com/2012/10/31/whats-in-a-name-red-barrels/

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The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast Special: PAX East 2014 with Capy and Wadjet Eye

Latest episode: Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

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