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All five prior Scream Fortress maps return to Team Fortress 2

To prepare players for the imminent horror of a new Scream Fortress map, Team Fortress 2 developer Valve has made all five of its previous Scream Fortress releases available to players at no charge.

As its punny name suggests, a Scream Fortress map is a Team Fortress 2 map designed to be extra spooky, with additions like zombies, arcane magic and new, thematically-appropriate achievements. Er, excuse me, according to Valve that should read "Necromannchievements." In practice, new Scream Fortress maps are a usually just a change of scenery for most regular Team Fortress 2 players, but any excuse to gun down magical wizard ghosts is a good one.

There are no caveats attached to these five re-released Scream Fortress maps. Anyone with a copy of Team Fortress 2 can jump right into the Halloween gunplay after a relatively quick, free download.
[Image: Valve]

Sony sets up Season Passes for Video Unlimited, PS Store

Sony has introduced a new feature for the PlayStation Store and its Video Unlimited service, allowing users to buy full seasons of featured content at a discount.

Starting today, PSN shoppers can queue up a full season of their favorite shows with a single "Buy Season" purchase. The feature is available for the PlayStation 3 and online via the PS Store this week, and support for the PlayStation 4, Bravia TVs, and Blu-ray players is coming soon.

Sony commemorates today's feature launch with a collection of discounts for several popular series, including The Walking Dead. Season Pass launch deals go into effect on October 30, and extend through November 17.

[Image: Sony]

Pixel horror finds a Home on PS4 in October

Home, the pixelated horror game from Benjamin Rivers, is due out on PS4 on October 28, "just in time for Halloween," Rivers writes on the PlayStation Blog. The Vita version will come out soon after, and it is a Cross-Buy game, meaning those who buy it on PS4 automatically get it on Vita, too. Home will be on sale for $3 for the first two weeks after the PS4 launch.

"Home has been a weird little trailblazer, and it now has the honor of being the first title developed entirely within YoYo Games' Game Maker Studio environment to natively hit PlayStation consoles," Rivers says. "It's pretty amazing as an independent developer to be able to make console games, and I couldn't think of a better home for it (pun totally intended)."

In Home, players wake up as a man with no memory of how he ended up alone in a stranger's house. As he makes his way to more familiar territory, he finds things that jog his memory, and the story changes as players decide what objects to pick up and what information to digest. We heard Home would hit Sony consoles this year back in March.
[Image: Sony]

The Legend of Korra review: Bend it like Bayonetta

Bending the elements like folks do in The Legend of Korra is an intoxicating dream. Much as they did in the original Avatar: The Last Airbender cartoon, many people born in Korra's world can freely manipulate the four elements through martial arts. The Avatar, born into every generation to maintain the spiritual balance of the world Dalai Lama style, is the only one who can bend all four. Fire from your fingers, literally riding the wind, lifting up the earth to make an easy chair, and never needing a squirt gun; the promise of feeling unity with the physical world, even if you're just playing around, is mesmerizing. Who wouldn't want to do that?

That Platinum Games captures even a little of that feeling in its video game adaptation of The Legend of Korra is impressive, but physical fantasy is only one piece of the show's winning formula. Platinum's made a fun, flighty, sometimes infuriatingly pedantic game that's admirably old fashioned but disappointingly limited. The Legend of Korra is a strong body missing most of its heart.
[Images: Activision/Nickelodeon]

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How Nintendo rolls in 8-player Super Smash Bros.

Moments before attendees grabbed the controllers at a Super Smash Bros. press event, held in a hotel in San Francisco on Thursday evening, Nintendo had a pristine setup (above) aimed at 8 connoisseurs of clash. The configuration - 1 Wii U, 8 wired special-edition GameCube controllers, a token Gamepad and two controller adapter hubs – illustrates just one of the many options you have to exceed the traditional fight between 4 players when the game comes to Wii U on November 21.

Each of Nintendo's GameCube adapters supports 4 controllers – add in another adapter and you open the possibility of 8 active, wired players. The adapter itself plugs into 2 USB ports simultaneously, so you'll be taking up all 4 of the Wii U's ports (2 on the front and 2 on the back) if you try to mimic this setup. If you have external storage hooked up already, you can also lessen the load via a powered USB hub.

The result, though, is a responsive Smash Bros. experience which serves the true challenge of 8-player mode: finding out where the hell you are in all that delirious chaos.

StarCraft 2 and the quest for the highest APM

A game like StarCraft 2, popular amongst both casual strategy fans and professional gamers, showcases the large divide between playing a game for fun and for competition.

There are seven ranked multiplayer leagues per region globally in StarCraft 2, a daunting number of leaderboards that welcome both the infrequent and the dedicated player. The elite players, however, are the Grandmasters – a tiny, region-based pool of StarCraft 2 experts.

The road to Grandmaster is not for the weak. One must be willing to 'play' for hours, days, and months – even years – to get better. The learning curve can be incredibly unforgiving towards a beginner. Forget to scan the battlefield? You could lose you entire Marine army to some burrowed Banelings. Forget to build anti-air defenses? A couple of Void Rays could take out your entire base. Forget to build workers? You won't lose the match immediately, but you'll get destroyed once the game enters its middle phase. And then, of course, there's the cheese – the ludicrous, yet powerful strategies that lead to an instant win or loss.

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Watch Nintendo's awkward Amiibo primer for Super Smash Bros.

Image If you can ignore the obnoxious camera sway, the kids who sound like thirtysomething actors on a CBS sitcom and everything about its clumsy plot, this Amiibo introduction video is a solid primer on the basics of Nintendo's upcoming figurines. [Image: Nintendo] ... Continue Reading

Joystiq Deals: Classic NES, GameBoy cases for iPhone 6

Because the one feature Apple can never include in their phones is a comforting sense of childhood nostalgia, this edition of Joystiq Deals is aimed at wrapping your new iPhone 6 in the iconic aesthetic of Nintendo gaming devices circa 1989.

Available in both NES Controller and GameBoy designs, Rocketcases protective sheaths are available for both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Normally priced at $20 each, for the next eight days Joystiq Deals users can grab the case of their choice for $14. To take advantage of this deal, visit the Joystiq Deals website, or if you're looking for more information on the cases themselves, visit Rocketcases' site.
Joystiq Deals is a partnership between AOL and StackSocial. A portion of sales goes to funding this site. Deals are curated by StackSocial independently of the Joystiq editorial team.

Halloween Horror Streams: Left 4 Dead 2 brings, mauls us together



In the name of Halloween Horror Streams, you've seen Joystiq ask inane questions of Slender Man. You've seen Joystiq wear a schoolgirl outfit while berating, then fearfully running away from a giant psychotic wielding a hammer. Now, with just one week left before All Hallows' Eve, you'll watch Joystiq scream at one another to not use up their dang med packs while a Boomer is still in the room. Seriously, what are you doing, your health is over 50 percent! Just save the med pack. Great. Now we're going to die. Everyone back to the safe room.

Left 4 Dead 2 comes to Joystiq's Halloween Horror Streams on Joystiq.com/Twitch at 4:00PM EST! Thrill as Jess Conditt (@JessConditt) has to save everyone. Swoon as Xav de Matos (@Xav) wields a shotgun like a surgeon. Rage as Alexander Sliwinski (@Sliwinski) hordes all the pills. Gawp as Anthony John Agnello (@ajohnagnello) tries to remember the controls.

Joystiq.com/Twitch is where the magic happens every Tuesday and Thursday at 4:00PM EST. Halloween Horror Streams, however, happen all the time through Halloween so make sure to follow us on Twitch to know when we go live.
[Images: Valve]

Survival horror sequel Outlast 2 in development

Independent developer Red Barrels delivers terrifying news just in time for Halloween, announcing that it is developing a sequel to its first-person survival horror game Outlast.

"After shipping the [Xbox One] version of Outlast, we took some time to analyze our situation and we quickly realized we had at least another horror game in us," Red Barrels co-founder Philippe Morin told horror-themed news site Bloody Disgusting. "So, yes, we are working on Outlast 2."

Morin notes that Outlast 2 will shift its setting and inflict the series' trademark cruelty on a new cast of characters. "The game will be a survival horror experience and it will take place in the same universe as Outlast, but it will have different characters and a different setting," he said. "We might go back to Mount Massive Asylum one day, but for now we have new ideas and themes we'd like to explore and we think we're cooking up something special.

"We're still a small indie studio (12 people), so we'll need a little bit of time to ship our next game, but hopefully it will be worth it."

Outlast premiered for PC platforms in 2013, and later hit the PlayStation 4 as a free download for PlayStation Plus subscribers. A release date and target platforms for Outlast 2 were not announced.

[Image: Red Barrels]

Heads roll in gorgeous Witcher 3 intro cinematic

Image As this meticulously rendered intro cinematic for The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt demonstrates, Geralt of Rivia's world is a dark place, full of arcane magicks, hardened warriors and horse heads flying through the air like so many bloody pigeons. [Image: CD Projekt] ... Continue Reading

World of Warcraft gives a week of free game time to lapsed players

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If you're a former World of Warcraft player who's been away from the game for a while, you might want to check your account for a nice surprise. Blizzard has activated a free seven-day pass to the game for all lapsed players. This pass includes all of the content up through Mists of Pandaria.

World of Warcraft is also throwing a 25% off sale for its extra services, including character transfers, faction changes, guild transfers, and (you guessed it) guild faction changes.

Hitman Go adds Hitman 2-inspired levels, on sale this week

Square Enix updated Hitman Go yesterday, adding new levels to the diorama-style puzzle game on iOS and Android. The game's eight new levels are based on Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, Eidos' 2002 game for PC, Xbox and PS2. Additionally, the publisher dropped the price of the game to $1.99 (€1.79/£1.49) for one week, so those that have been on the fence about buying the assassination-themed puzzler may want to act fast.

The Hitman 2 levels are locked to players at the outset, but can be accessed in one of two ways just like the game's "Airport Box" update in July. Players will naturally unlock the Hitman 2 set by progressing through the game or can choose to pony up an extra dollar (€0.99/£0.69) to access the eight puzzles. The update brings the total number of levels in Hitman Go up to 91. Developer Square Enix Montreal's next mobile Hitman spinoff, Hitman: Sniper, soft-launched in Canada on iOS earlier this month and will arrive in the rest of the world this winter.
[Image: Square Enix]

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How 8-way fights work in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

Super Smash Bros.' 4-player fights have been chaotic but properly described by subtitles like Melee and Brawl. With the introduction of 8-player fights in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, though, those fights are going from brawl-ish to downright riotous. How will 8-ways in Smash Bros. for Wii U even work? The official Smash Bros. website offers up a handy guide for octuple pounding.

First and most importantly, only certain stages are available for 8-way fights. Screenshots show a Super Mario Galaxy stage, the Xenoblade stage seen in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, the Earthbound stage, and the Kid Icarus desert scene. The site does not specify if these are the only stages available for 8-player fights.

Those fights are restricted to Stock (set number of times you can be knocked out) and Time (knock out as many players before the clock runs out) settings. Players can split into as many as four color-coded teams of two as well.

How will these fights control? Players can use as many as eight Nintendo 3DSes or eight Gamecube controllers, but there are some restrictions. Only seven Wii remotes or Wii U Pro controllers can be used simultaneously, and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U only supports a single tablet GamePad. Plan those Smash parties accordingly.
[Images: Nintendo]

PS4 update rolls out USB music player, Share Play next week

The PlayStation 4's version 2.0 system update will arrive next Tuesday, October 28, PlayStation announced via Twitter. Codenamed "Masamune," the update adds the ability to play music from a USB stick connected to the console. As revealed earlier this month, it also features more game broadcast tools, such as the ability to archive sessions and search for specific games being broadcast, as well as themes to spice up the system's layout.

One of the major features being added to the console next week is Share Play, the pass-the-controller-style cooperative multiplayer game sharing mode announced by Sony at its Gamescom 2014 event in August. Though limited to one-hour increments, the feature will be inherent to all PS4 games, allowing PS Plus members to let a friend take over a game the latter doesn't own via PSN. The Masamune update also adds a dedicated YouTube app as well as improved game library filtering options.
[Image: Sony]

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The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast 117: The Evil Within, Far Cry 4, Bayonetta 2

Latest episode: Friday, October 17th, 2014

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