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Joystiq Streams: Minimum with Human Head and Steam code giveaway

Human Head Studios had a turbulent decade. The Wisconsin-based developer kicked off the HD console generation in 2006 by finishing Prey, a first-person shooter with some interesting ideas about portals released well before cake memes took over the web. After Prey's success, Human Head turned around and started work on a wildly ambitious sequel, but that game met with a rather grisly, obscure end.

After lighter projects on Android and Wii U, Human Head is back with Minimum, an appropriately named third-person shooter with a spare aesthetic. How has the team's development process changed in the era of early access? What's it like making a shooter in 2014 compared to 2006? We'll find out when Human Head sits down with Joystiq for a look at their latest.

Starting at 4:00PM EST, Joystiq Streams will be playing Minimum on Project leader Norm Nazaroff and art director Jim Sumwalt will join Anthony John Agnello (@ajohnagnello) and Alexander Sliwinski (@Sliwinski) to discuss the game. Plus: We'll be doling out free copies of Minimum to folks that come out to watch.

That's at 4:00PM EST. Joystiq Streams broadcasts every Tuesday and Thursday at 4:00PM EST, but we go live other times as well so follow us on Twitch to catch every show.

[Images: Human Head Studios]

NHL 15 update revives a few missing features on PS4, XB1

EA Canada has released a free update for the PS4 and Xbox One versions of NHL 15, adding a number features missing from the franchise's current-generation debut, despite being available on Xbox 360 and PS3.

In addition to tweaks to its Hockey Ultimate Team mode, which transitioned to new consoles unscathed, the update has added a Playoff Mode, Coach Feedback in Be a Pro mode, and an end-game Three Stars selection of a hockey bout's best performers to NHL 15 on PS4 and Xbox One.

The Playoff Mode in today's update allows players to create a 16-team, offline playoff bracket to compete for Lord Stanley's Mug. The added feedback in Be a Pro mode scores players based on the on-ice actions; however, it still does not appear that players can simulate to their next on-ice shift, which will result in watching the game from the bench.

NHL 15 launched earlier this month for Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360 and PS3. In an opinion editorial prior to its release I expressed concern over the game's thinly featured current-generation debut. Following its launch, EA Canada promised to revisit missing modes and add a number of elements to the game, such as those added today and Online Team Play, which has yet to be added.
[Image: EA Sports]

Guild Wars 2 opens limited free trial access

OK, guy in the comment section who always asks whether Guild Wars 2 has a free trial: The answer is finally yes.

But there's a catch; free access to the game lasts for one week only, beginning at 3 a.m. EDT on September 25th and ending 2:59 a.m. EDT on October 2nd. ArenaNet says it has already opened registration for the trial so that interested gamers can start downloading the client ahead of time. Old trial accounts will work for this promotion.

Earlier this month, Guild Wars 2's second feature pack overhauled the early game experience, making this an ideal time to be a newbie in the buy-to-play title.

Blizzard officially cancels Titan

If you were holding onto hopes that Titan would be the next great thing from Blizzard, it's time to douse yourself with a cold bucket of reality. Polygon is reporting that Blizzard has officially canceled the Titan project, saying that it ultimately wasn't fun.

"We had created World of Warcraft, and we felt really confident that we knew how to make MMOs, so we set out to make the most ambitious thing that you could possibly imagine," CEO Mike Morhaime commented. "And it didn't come together. We didn't find the fun. We didn't find the passion. We talked about how we put it through a reevaluation period, and actually, what we reevaluated is whether that's the game we really wanted to be making. The answer is no."

Senior Vice President Chris Metzen said that the decision was necessary as the studio goes forward: "We were losing perspective and getting lost in the weeds a little. We had to allow ourselves to take that step back and reassess why the hell we were doing that thing in the first place."

The studio didn't put out details on what Titan was going to be, except that it had "some cool hooks." Blizzard also said that it isn't going to be working on another MMO at this time, but won't rule out the possibility of a follow-up to World of Warcraft in the future. If you want to tease yourself with "what if," you can read Massively's summation of the Titan project.

The Elder Scrolls Online asks players for a tale of the dead

And I bet someone's wondering why he doesn't write any more.
Aw, jeez. That can't have been happy. There's a story behind that picture, you just know it; people don't just grow spears while sitting down with some wine and cheese. And what is that story, you ask? Well, that's up to you! The Elder Scrolls Online is challenging players to construct yet another tale of the dead, a 500-word story in any format outlining how the unnamed skeleton in this screenshot wound up in this unfortunate predicament.

Players who'd like to participate need only post their entry to the official contest thread before 11:59 p.m. EDT on September 26th. The three winners will each receive a $25 electronic gift certificate to the Bethesda store as well as a free t-shirt. If that sounds good to you and you think you can tell a convincing story about this guy, it's time to crack your knuckles and get writing.

Steam reaches 100 million users, adds Curators feature

Valve's digital distribution platform Steam surpassed 100 million users this week, adding over 25 million customers and 3,700 unique titles since January.

Valve commemorates the milestone with the launch of the Steam Discovery Update, making it easier for users to find games that fit their interests. Homepages now closely reflect user activity and preferences, and players can further refine their recommendations to include new releases, Early Access games, and DLC.

Steam's new Discovery Queue further refines the store browsing process, giving players a daily lineup of recommendations that they can choose to follow, ignore, or add to their wishlist. The update also introduces a Steam Curators feature, allowing users to craft lists of recommend Steam games with short blurbs and supplemental links.

[Image: Valve]

Xbox One price cut in UK

The Xbox One is now £329.99 in the UK, a 20 squid drop from the console's previously suggested price of £349.99. Oh, I'm sorry, quid? And here I thought it was a calamari based economy. Videogamer notes this is the third price cut in the region within 10 months for the console, which originally launched at £429.99. The latest model does not include Kinect nor bundled games.

We've reached out to Microsoft about a price drop in the States. The console's price has held steady in the region at $499 for a unit with Kinect and $399 for the currently available Kinect-less version.

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Xbox Deals with Gold discounts Spider-Man, 1001 Spikes

This week's Deals With Gold lineup is now live on the Xbox Marketplace, giving a 33 percent discount on the Xbox One versions of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, shadowy puzzle-platformer Contrast, and maddeningly difficult side-scroller 1001 Spikes.

Xbox 360 owners, meanwhile, can grab The Orange Box for 75 percent off of its regular retail price. Syndicate, Fuse, and Grid Autosport are also on sale this week, and a number of DLC packs from Mass Effect 2 and 3 are currently half-off.

Sale prices are exclusive for Xbox Live Gold subscribers. Current discounts are available through September 30.

[Image: Activision]

WildStar puts megaserver names up for a vote

I promposed naming one of them something to the effect of 'so long, roleplayers' but the suggestion was not heeded.
Do you have strong feelings about the name of your server? Then you'll want to make sure to get involved with the poll for WildStar players that's running until September 24th at 12:30 p.m. EDT. While the megaserver system has not yet been rolled out, the team is nearly ready and is looking for feedback on just what to call the new PvE and PvP servers for each region.

Both server types have five names to choose from. Currently, the North American vote is leaning toward Entity for the PvE server and Deadeye for the PvP server, but there's still enough time for players to change that trajectory. If you don't care about your server name, it's nothing to worry about, but if it matters a lot, jump on over and share your feelings.

The Long Dark ventures to Steam Early Access

Hinterland Studio launched its first-person exploration game The Long Dark on Steam Early Access this week, making the in-development survival simulator available for PC and Mac users for $20. Set in the pacific northwest, the game forces players to scavenge for resources and survive the threat of starvation, wolves and more.

The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind and The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion lead designer Ken Rolston joined the developer earlier this month. Rolston adds to a well-credited crew at Hinterland, which includes Far Cry 3 Narrative Director Raphael van Lierop. The Long Dark's journey took off with its success on Kickstarter in October 2013, at which point the developer earned $248,899. Those that want a taste of the game should revisit Joystiq Streams' archive from July, in which Hinterland took us through the dark woods for an hour.
[Image: Hinterland Studio]

Why Omeed Dariani left EverQuest Next

Don't fall in love with videogames, they'll just break your heart.
When SOE Brand Manager Omeed Dariani left the EverQuest Next team suddenly, there was no small amount of curiosity and speculation over his reasoning. Obviously he knew something that fans didn't, but what was it? He recently appeared on Reddit to briefly explain his departure, stating that it was the result of an ideological difference that could not be corrected. Dariani states that his immediate supervisors did not support the community-first structures that have been established for both Landmark and EverQuest Next, so he ultimately felt that he had no options beyond resigning in protest.

No personal issues were involved, contrary to some fan speculation, and Dariani was quite clear that his departure was entirely voluntary and he was in no way given an ultimatum. He maintains that he has the utmost respect for the teams still working on the games and that neither of them caused his departure. It might not be the happy news of another job just waiting in the wings that fans would like, but it at least explains why he left.

Triad Wars is online PC game in Sleeping Dogs universe

United Front Games has begun detailing Triad Wars, the studio's follow-up to Sleeping Dogs and set in the same world, which was revealed by trademark filing last year. Using Sleeping Dogs as a foundation, Triad Wars is an online open-world action game.

"Your goal is to rise to power as a criminal kingpin of the Triad underworld. As an Enforcer and mastermind of your criminal enterprise, it's up to you to construct an empire the likes of which your enemies would never dare to mess with," United Front Community Manager James Baldwin describes on the game's site.

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2DS to go see-through in EU with new designs, out in Nov.

Two new transparent 2DS skins are coming to Europe in November, letting continentals take a peek at the innards of the 3DS variants. The red and blue models first launch in the region on November 7, with Pokemon Alpha Sapphire and Omega Ruby bundles arriving alongside the Poke-remakes on November 28. Nintendo of Europe didn't disclose prices in its press release (2DS standalones are regularly priced £110 on Nintendo UK's online store)

The transparent bundles clearly come with the games pre-installed on a 4GB memory card, with the red system including Omega Ruby and the blue system Alpha Sapphire.

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Legend of Grimrock 2 plumbs the depths in mid-October

Developer Almost Human has revealed that its classically-styled first-person dungeon crawl Legend of Grimrock 2 will debut on October 15.

Alongside the announcement, the developer also revealed that pre-orders for the game are now open, and those who purchase the game within the next 22 days will receive a 15 percent discount, which reduces the game's price to $20.39. Additionally, fans who somehow missed the original Legend of Grimrock can purchase a bundle which includes both that game and its upcoming sequel. Like the aforementioned pre-order this bundle has also been discounted, allow players to grab both fantasy adventures for a total of $25.49.

For more details on Legend of Grimrock 2, including its required tech specs and a bullet list of features, visit the game's website. If you'd rather just toss your money at Almost Human immediately, drop by the new pre-order page.
[Image: Almost Human]

A trio of Super Smash Bros. TV ads settle everyday disputes

Someone on Twitter once told the internet a story that is slightly related to these three Super Smash Bros. 3DS television ads, so we'll paraphrase it here: This person was playing Pokemon X PVP on the bus, against someone else also on the bus. The storyteller defeated the opponent just as the bus stopped and its doors opened so people could disembark. As passengers began to shuffle out, someone shouted "GG" and disappeared into the crowd.

Life sure is strange when online-only terminology makes its way out of the screen. Nintendo thinks it's pretty cool when this happens, if its new round of "Settle it in Smash" Super Smash Bros. ads are anything to go by. See all three below.
[Image: Nintendo]

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The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast 113: Hyrule Warriors, The Master Chief Collection, Murasaki Baby, Theatrhythm

Latest episode: Friday, September 19th, 2014

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