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10 Years, 10 Great Games: Xav's picks

Throughout the week, Joystiq celebrates its tenth anniversary by revealing each writer's favorite - not "best" - games of the last decade. Aside from selecting a number one, each list is unordered.

For his top selection, Feature Content Director Xav de Matos discusses the industrywide implications that have evolved out of the release of a shooter sequel in 2004.

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Alien: Isolation pre-order DLC available separately 'at a later date'

The Creative Assembly moved to answer concern regarding its newly revealed pre-order DLC for Alien: Isolation by confirming the content will be available separately after release.

Earlier in the week, Sega revealed the content starring the cast of the original film would be tied to pre-orders, with one of the two DLC missions, "Last Survivor," only available at GameStop in the US. However, the news drew disapproval from some quarters, with many dismayed to see substantial content limited to pre-orders and used to promote them.

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Put your hands together for Skullgirls Encore on PS4, Vita

Lab Zero revealed Skullgirls Encore is set to make another encore, this time on PS4 and PS Vita. The reborn edition of the 2D fighter is due to arrive later this year, with all Indiegogo-funded DLC characters, stages and story content included. Additionally, the Vita version works on PlayStation TV with local multiplayer support for two DualShock 3/4 controllers.

Lab Zero said it'll have more info on features and pricing info closer to launch - that includes if the PlayStation ports have cross-buy and/or cross-save support. In the interim, players on the game's current platforms can look forward to receiving the third free DLC character, Eliza, later this summer. For an early look at the imperious Egyptian, check out Lab Zero's work-in-progress video below the break.

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Final Fantasy Explorers sets off in Japan this winter

Square Enix announced it's bringing mulitplayer 3DS RPG Final Fantasy Explorers to Japan sometime this winter. The publisher showcased the upcoming game at the start of today's Japan-only Nintendo Direct broadcast, which you can replay here.

First revealed last month, Final Fantasy Explorers combines the series' tropes with four-player co-operative action. For one, the game features classic jobs, including the tank-like Knight, close-combat Monk, and more self-explanatory Black and White Mages. As today's Direct showed, adventurers have to take on monsters big and small in the game, including some familiar summons. Again, Square Enix showcased the heroes doing battle with Ifrit in what looks like his Final Fantasy X form.

Final Fantasy Explorers remains unconfirmed for Western release, despite Square Enix recently trademarking its name in North America and Europe.
[Image: Square Enix]

Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate coming to Japan in October

In Japan, Capcom slapped a release date on Monster Hunter 4G today, provoking millions of the country's 3DS owners to circle October 11 in their calendars. The expanded version of the 3DS action RPG is the same one headed west as MH4 Ultimate, bringing the game to North America and Europe for the first time when it hits in early 2015.

As we saw at E3, among other things Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate brings jump attacks to the game with the Insect Glaive. The new weapon allows adventurers to propel themselves skywards, pogo-stick style, which sounds like way too much fun. Players who successfully pull off a jump attack enough times can then literally take monsters for a ride by climbing on top of it to inflict more damage.
[Image: Capcom]

Limited edition Frozen PS4 only announced for Japan, let it go

If you're a fan of Disney's animated musical Frozen, the sight of Sony's new limited edition PS4 might make you want to sing with joy - give us a sec to get the earplugs. Unfortunately it's currently limited to Japan, where the Frozen-covered system will be available on July 16 for 42,980 yen (around $424). If you're wondering, the answer is no, it doesn't come with a copy of Frozen - that would make too much sense.

If you're surprised to see Frozen of all things on a PS4 in Japan of all places, the film's been the country's box office number one for the 16 weeks prior to this one. The film that finally toppled it? Disney's Maleficent.
[Image: Sony]

Replay Japan's Nintendo Direct on third-party 3DS games [update]

Update: If you missed it earlier, we've now got the replay below the break. As for the news, Capcom announced Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate is coming to Japan on October 11, while Final Fantasy Explorers sets foot in the country sometime this winter.

E3 has come and gone, but the Nintendo Direct train is definitely up and running again in Japan. Today's stream is the second Direct broadcast in the country this month, hot on the heels of one dedicated to Level-5 RPG Yo-Kai Watch 2.

Like the Yo-Kai Watch 2 Direct, today's broadcast on 3DS games from third-party publishers is Japan-only. There aren't simultaneous videos in North America and Europe, so maybe we shouldn't expect any big announcements. Then again, I've said stuff like that before in Nintendo Direct posts only to be proven very, very wrong. Either way, we should see some footage of 3DS games that haven't been announced for the West, maybe including Dragon Quest X.

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Humble Weekly: Stacking, Edge of Space, Windforge

This Humble Weekly Bundle is a lot like an onion (or an ogre, or a cake) – it has a few layers. First note: It's hosted by Gamepedia and Curse.

Available to pick up for any price you want is Windforge, Stacking, ReignMaker (plus its inspiration, Tower of Elements), Paranautical Activity and a key for the Strife closed beta. Pay $6 or more and get Darkout, Signs of Life and a 30-day subscription to Curse Premium, a service that grants users perks on Curse-owned websites. Throw down $10 or more and snag Lifeless Planet and Edge of Space.

For $36 or more, you'll also get the "Indie Appreciation Pack," which includes a t-shirt, a Curse wristband, and Curse and Gamepedia vinyl stickers.

Money spent on this week's Humble Bundle benefits, in part, the IndieCade Foundation and First Book, a nonprofit that provides new books and educational supplements to children and areas in need.
[Image: Humble Bundle]

Sonic Jump Fever has spread to iOS and Google Play

Sonic Jump Fever has arrived on both iOS and Google Play, Sega has announced. The game follows up on the Blue Blur's previous mobile outing, Sonic Jump, and it promises even more of the rodent's famous, signature talent: jumping. Players jump and bounce as high as possible, collecting lots of goodies along the way to increase their score.

The big addition to Sonic Jump Fever is the ability to compete with friends and earn prizes. In fact, duping ... er, gently convincing your friends to play will reap rewards, as "the more friends players have, the more elite the prizes up for grabs." The game is free, though there are plenty of microtransactions available if you feel like feeding the Sonic fever.

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Game development is better with friends at Finji

Canabalt creator Adam Saltsman founded Finji, a collaborative development studio, in March. Finji offers publishing and other services to developers, and it runs on revenue share for each project – for Saltsman's new apocalyptic survival game, Overland, this means each of the four development team members will split revenue from the game "basically forever" once it's released.

Finji works with other developers on their own games, such as Infinite Fall's Night in the Woods, and Fernando Ramallo and David Kanaga's Panoramical, which is also backed by Polytron Partners. So far, the collaboration is going better than he'd hoped, Saltsman says. Developers use a combination of text messages, Skype and Google apps to get their work done, and they're figuring out the kinks among everyone's schedules. Most of the team is local to Austin, Texas, but they do have to deal with some time zone confusion and melding different work habits.

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Fluffy platformer Leo's Fortune rolls to Android

Leo's Fortune, the tablet-based platformer from 1337 & Senri, is now available on Android. The game first launched on iOS in May, and stars a mustachioed blue ball named Leopold, who is on the hunt for his missing gold. Players must leap and glide through levels with switches and spiky traps, collecting Leo's gold coins and toppling record times to perfect each area along the way.

Our review of the game praised its touch-based controls as well as its creative, contraption-like level design, though Leo's Fortune is a little on the short side with only a few dozen levels to complete. The game costs $4.99 on Google Play and supports controllers and gamepads made for Android devices as well as leaderboards, achievements and cloud save support.
[Image: 1337 & Senri]

Overland: A lonely game filled with monsters

Overland is not a zombie game. It's a turn-based survival story set in an apocalyptic wasteland filled with monsters, and it plays out as if action figures from Half-Life 2 and Stephen King's The Stand were on a road trip across a chess board, creator Adam Saltsman says. It is a horror game, in a sense.

"It is intended to be scary or unsettling or lonely, but I don't think it will be compared to Resident Evil or Amnesia," Saltsman tells Joystiq. "The thing I'm most interested in right now is, what if the people in a roguelike-type scenario weren't heroes and could not become heroes ... how do they manage? I like that feeling of vulnerability more than the feeling of 'horror' exactly. As a team we're definitely investigating things that are lonely and vulnerable and beautiful more than 'scary' so far, I think."

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Nosgoth founders program incentives get cheaper July 22

The founders program for Nosgoth is undergoing a few changes, Square Enix announced today. The program, which arrived when the game entered its closed beta phase in late February, includes founders packs that give players bonus in-game items and boosts. Those packs will see adjustments come July 22 in terms of their price and contents.

The Veteran-level pack, previously a $20 pack that included 4,000 "rune stones," will now include 1,500 in-game gold and a 30-day "Major All Booster" that ups players' XP and gold production by 50 percent, all for $5 (while still including a Veteran badge and early access to the game). Three of the other founders packs have received similar adjustments, with the Warlord pack dropping from $35 to $13, the Warband pack from $50 to $20 and the most expensive one, the Immortal pack, moving from $150 to $50. The Nosgoth site provides a clear look at the changes between the former founders packs and the new, cheaper ones.

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FTC sues Amazon over in-app purchase practices

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has sued online retailer Amazon for refusing to change its framework for purchases made within its hosted mobile apps, according to a Reuters report.

The lawsuit is an expected result of Amazon's denial of FTC-issued requests to change its in-app purchase policies. To meet FTC guidelines, Amazon would need to add another layer of password protection and overhaul its refund policies in order to curb in-app purchases made by children without parental permission. In a recent letter to the FTC, Amazon noted that it prefers to "defend our approach in court," rather than change its policies.

The FTC's lawsuit seeks refunds for affected customers and a ban on unlimited purchases within Amazon apps. Apple issued more than $32.5 million in refunds to App Store customers following a similar FTC complaint earlier this year.

[Image: Amazon]

10 Years, 10 Great Games: Anthony's picks

Throughout the week, Joystiq celebrates its tenth anniversary by revealing each writer's favorite - not "best" - games of the last decade. Aside from selecting a number one, each list is unordered.

For his number one selection, Community Manager Anthony John Agnello reminds us of a beloved RPG franchise from Square Enix that isn't a Final Fantasy.

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