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Ascend: Hand of Kul to remain playable on 360 until November

Despite the game being discontinued on Xbox 360, existing owners of Ascend: Hand of Kul will remain able to play it until November 18, after which it will officially close. The news follows Microsoft's removal of the free-to-play action-RPG from the marketplace, a decision developer Signal Studios only learned of as it was investigating player troubles.

"We can confirm that effective November 18, 2014, Ascend on Xbox 360 will close," a Microsoft spokesperson told Eurogamer. "Players will still be able to play Ascend on Xbox 360 and use any content they have already acquired until the game closure date.

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Super Joystiq Podcast 109: Madden 15, Akiba's Trip, PS Vita

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This week's Super Joystiq Podcast spent the last year working on Madden 26, but it got delayed 11 years.

Anthony is in for Ludwig this week after a full five days of podcasts out of Gamescom 2014. Susan, Richard, and Mike are also in talking about the new presentation of Madden 15, the surprisingly not-so-skeezy, yet frustrating Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed, and the current state of the PlayStation Vita ecosystem. Be sure to stick around until the end for a bit of TV time-- Doctor Who, Under the Dome, and Deadliest Catch.

Listen to the Super Joystiq Podcast: Podcast timestamps and relevant links are available after the break.

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Age of Wonders 3 expansion 'Golden Realms' announced


The Age of Wonders 3 will expand into "Golden Realms" next month. The first premium expansion for the game adds a new race, campaign, 20 new units, specializations and loads more stuff.

Although it looks like fans of the series were hoping for Frostlings as the first new race, it turns out that Halflings will be the new species on the block – don't worry, there's more expansions coming. The Golden Realms campaign involves helping the Halfling survivors of the Heartwood Massacre rebuild, with new enemies like Naga (fish-snake people) trying to hamper their expansion.

Golden Realms has yet to be priced, but will be available as DLC from Steam and GoG on September 18.

Get a free mech-over, Titanfall back on Origin Game Time

Titanfall returns to Origin Game Time, meaning PC users who missed the promotion the first time round can now take Respawn's mech-stuffed shooter for a 48-hour test drive. EA doesn't say how long the offer will be available for, but the good news is your 48 hours of free shootin' only become active when you launch the game for the first time.

Those 48-hours are real-time and not in-game. So if you start midday on Saturday your game time runs out midday on Monday, no matter how you've spent it. Still, you can't argue with free. Well, you can, but there are better things to argue with, like paper cuts and the necessity of shaving. Finally, if you did take up the first Game Time offer back in June, you won't be able to take part this time.

The news follows EA's unveiling of the third DLC pack, IMC Rising, which drops sometime this fall. We haven't yet decided if IMC Rising sounds more like a bank or a hip-hop group.
[Image: EA]

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter due next month, new gameplay video

The appearing of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is nailed in for September 25 on Windows PC, priced at $20 in North America and £15 in the UK on both Steam and GOG. Meanwhile, the "first to console" PS4 version is due sometime in 2015.

The Astronauts was founded by the same people who founded People Can Fly, the studio behind the enthusiastically violent Bulletstorm and Gears of War: Judgment. Yet as a new gameplay video shows, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is about discovering the causes of homicide rather than being one of them. You explore the clues lurking in the world's reddened greenery as you try to piece together the events that led to young Ethan Carter's disappearance following a violent murder. There's also a paranormal element, as you can tap into the memories of the murdered to help reconstruct the chronology of events and unearth the answers hidden in the scenery.

Peruse below the break for that new video which features 13 minutes of gameplay with explanatory narration by The Astronauts' Adrian Chmielarz.

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White PS4 Destiny bundle cut to £350 at GAME

Forget those bills, bills, bills UK friends, because GAME is now offering the white PS4 Destiny bundle at £350, the same price as a standard PS4. The new bundle is exclusive to GAME in the UK, and the high street retailer originally listed it at £385 before cutting the price this week. The bundle will be available alongside the game on September 9.

As MCV reports, the price drop follows undercutting by rival retailers like Amazon, which currently has a black PS4 and Destiny bundle going at £330. A standalone version of the white PS4 is confirmed to be coming to Europe later this year.
[Image: Sony]

Corvo, guv'nor! Dishonored also playable for free this weekened

Steam is determined to siphon your free time away this weekend. Not only are the wastelands of Borderlands 2 free to roam in the coming days, but you can also slink in the perilous, industrial shadows of Dishonored without spending a sixpence. Arkane's stealthy adventure is free to download and play now, but only until 1PM PT/4PM ET/9PM UK time on Sunday, August 24. After that, you have to pay up to continue a-stabbin'.

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Vita looking for someone to share in Europe's Adventure bundles

Did you follow the Adventure Line all the way to the end, Stanley? Did you? Because if you had, we wouldn't be stuck here telling you about the new Vita Adventure Mega Pack that's coming to Europe this fall, now would we? You silly goose.

Anyway, it bundles in voucher codes for five games including Uncharted: Golden Abyss, TxK, Tearway, Gravity Rush and Escape Plan. It also chucks in a 8GB memory card for good measure, and wraps up the lot in a 40 euro bow - that's normally the cost of a single new Vita game, Stanley. There's a new 200 euro Vita bundle that includes the handheld too.

So onwards, Stanley! To destiny!
[Image: Sony]

Everything's coming up Gamestop in Q2 2014

Global sales, new hardware and software sales, mobile and consumer electronics sales and net earnings were all up year-over-year for GameStop in Q2 2014, according to the company's latest financial statement.

Global sales were up 25 percent to $1.73 billion. New hardware sales more than doubled, jumping from $148 million to $332 million in the quarter; GameStop attributed this increase to "very high" demand for Xbox One and PS4 systems. New software sales rose 16 percent from $430 million to $497 million, due to "the strong performance of recently-released new titles, such as Ubisoft's Watch Dogs and Nintendo's Mario Kart 8," GameStop said. Net earnings in Q2 2014 were up 134 percent from 2013, to $24.6 million.

GameStop's largest sales driver was "pre-owned and value video game products," composing 32 percent of total sales. GameStop recently revamped its trade-in process, establishing four tiers of price points that take into account whether customers want cash or store credit, and whether they are PowerUp Rewards Pro members.
[Image: GameStop]

Paradox reveals out of this world RTS 'Ancient Space'

Paradox Interactive and developer Creative Forge have unveiled a game called Ancient Space that the duo describe as "a new story-driven real-time strategy game."

As its title suggests, Ancient Space takes players to the edges of the universe. Specifically, an area known as "The Black Zone." Though objectives vary throughout the game, the core goal of Ancient Space is to build an impressive interstellar fleet that can survive attacks by aliens, space pirates and things that exist only in nebulous regions of the cosmos.

Unlike most real-time strategy games, which are split equally between a b-movie singleplayer campaign and an online multiplayer component, Ancient Space focuses entirely on the former. To that end the developers have enlisted a cast of sci-fi genre regulars to populate the game, including John Billingsley of Star Trek: Enterprise and Dina Meyer of Starship Troopers.

No official release date has been established for Ancient Space, but barring catastrophe Paradox and Creative Forge plan to launch the game on both PC and Mac this Fall. Jump past the break for a trailer.
[Image: Paradox Interactive]

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The Last of Us picks up two new, free maps

Naughty Dog is handing out two new maps for the Factions multiplayer mode in The Last of Us on both PS3 and PS4, the developer announced today. The maps will be distributed for free "in appreciation for all of your continued patience" in regards to issues plaguing the game's online matchmaking.

"We know this can be frustrating and the team here at Naughty Dog wants everyone in our community to know that working on this issue continues to be our number one priority," a post from Naughty Dog's Arne Meyer reads on the developer's blog. A release date for the free maps has not been revealed.

Although improvements have been made to the matchmaking process in The Last of Us, Naughty Dog says there is still work to be done. Utilizing teams "inside and outside of the studio," the developer anticipates new updates to alleviate further issues will be rolling out "on the short side of weeks, rather than months." A specific date has not been solidified, the blog post notes.

"In the meantime, if you find yourself waiting to get into a match, the best thing you can do is exit matchmaking and select 'Find Match' again," Naughty Dog suggests.
[Image: Naughty Dog]

Mobile MOBA Witcher Battle Arena seeks beta testers

While the interminable wait for The Witcher 3 drags on, developer CD Projekt RED has opened beta sign-ups for the game's spin-off multiplayer online battle arena game, the aptly-titled Witcher Battle Arena.

Though developer Fuero Games offers no word on when the beta test will commence, it does explain what would-be testers are signing up for. "Upon being granted access to the event, selected participants will be given the possibility to playtest 8 heroes on two maps playable in Conquest Mode -The Arena and Korath Desert," reads the developer's official announcement. "Players will also have the opportunity to develop their player profiles in an RPG fashion, as well as help to test several other functionalities present in the full game coming later this year."

To sign up for the imminent beta test, CD Projekt RED asks that fans enter their pertinent details on the game's beta website. Be aware though, this beta test is only seeking Android users. Sorry Apple fans, but if it's any consolation you can find a brand new trailer for Witcher Battle Arena beyond the break.
[Image: CD Projekt RED]

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Azure Striker Gunvolt includes free Mighty No. 9 crossover minigame

Players who hop on the Azure Striker Gunvolt bandwagon when it launches in the 3DS eShop next week will receive a free bonus minigame that features a playable character from fellow Keiji Inafune project Mighty No. 9.

Mighty Gunvolt is a five-level, NES-styled platformer starring Azure Striker's Gunvolt, Mighty No. 9 main character Beck, and Ekoro, a supporting character from developer Inti Creates' Japan-only rail shooter Gal*Gun. Players who purchase Azure Striker Gunvolt within its first three months of release will receive a download code for Mighty Gunvolt once it premieres in the 3DS eShop.

Azure Striker Gunvolt launches digitally in North America on August 29.

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Assassin's Creed Memories out now on iOS

Starting today, you can look back fondly on all your favorite murderous moments from Ubisoft's Assassin's Creed series with Assassin's Creed Memories, a free-to-play mobile spinoff out now for iOS devices.

Revealed last month, Assassin's Creed Memories is a card-battling RPG that pits armies of players against one another in strategic online skirmishes. Gameplay takes place across multiple eras featured in previous Assassin's Creed games, and players can upgrade their character stats and equipment before engaging in 20 vs. 20 online guild battles.

[Image: Ubisoft]

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Go 'Deep Under the Sky' on Venus as a weird jellyfish

In Deep Under the Sky, you're an acrobatic jellyfish navigating the neon world of Venus, flying through fuzzy passageways to collect glowing orbs and stars, all while avoiding the dangerous native creatures. Deep Under the Sky comes from Incredipede creator Colin Northway and Pineapple Smash Crew creator Rich Edwards, so it's really no wonder this is a psychedelic platforming romp of a game.

Deep Under the Sky is out now on iOS and Android for $3, and it's due to hit PC and Mac tomorrow, August 22.

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The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast 109: Madden 15, Akiba's Trip, PS Vita

Latest episode: Friday, August 22nd, 2014

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