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Super Joystiq Podcast 106: The Crew, Gods Will Be Watching, The Walking Dead, game delays

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This week's Super Joystiq Podcast refuses to believe the apartment in Friends doesn't really exist.

We've somehow managed to rip our hearts and minds away from Bungie's monopolization of the gaming conversation for a week. Ludwig, Jess, Mike, and Anthony convene to talk some of the smaller games, and we've traded one beta for another. Tune in to hear about The Crew beta, the latest episode of The Walking Dead, and the brutal Gods Will Be Watching. Mike shares his thoughts on the Sunless Sea, and the group laments (and celebrates) the ever-shifting release dates of the seasons coming titles.

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

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Kingdom Hearts dev's Batman comes from a canceled project

Whether you love it or loathe it, the Batman Play Arts statue dreamed up by Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts designer Tetsuya Nomura is a curious beast. After revealing the very dark knight yesterday, Nomura told Siliconera the design goes far back in time to a "game-related" project that was eventually canceled.

It goes so far back, Nomura said, that it began before Kingdom Hearts was even conceived. So if you're seeing a bit of keyblade armor in there, that's because the canceled project went on to influence the Disney series and its armor design, and not the other way round.

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Skylanders Trap Team to introduce 'Eon's Elite' premium toy line

Activision announced that it will roll out a new collector-oriented series of Skylanders toys following the launch of the multiplatform sequel Skylanders Trap Team this fall.

The new "Eon's Elite" figures feature a metallic finish, and sit atop a golden base inside a premium-packaged foil display case. If you can bring yourself to crack open the packages and ruin their aftermarket value, you'll find that the Eon's Elite toys summon in-game characters who are up to three times more powerful than their non-premium counterparts.

Today's announcement follows up on Activision's recently revealed Skylanders Trap Team Dark Edition, a bonus-bundled special edition of the game that will carry a premium price tag at retail. Recent announcements suggest that Trap Team will move beyond the series' traditional youth-oriented focus in order to appeal to an expanding collector market.

The first Eon's Elite series features relaunched characters from 2011's Skylanders Spyro's Adventure, including Spyro and Chop-Chop. Prices for the new toys were not announced, but given their focus on packaging and presentation, they're likely more expensive than currently available figures.

[Image: Activision]

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Massively interviews EVE executive producer Andie Nordgren

EVE Online title image
If you've been following the development of EVE Online lately, chances are you've heard of Andie 'CCP Seagull' Nordgren and her mission to make deep space colonisation and player-built stargates a reality. Andie has spearheaded the direction of EVE's development over the past few expansions and has gathered a considerable following in the EVE community. At EVE Fanfest 2014, we heard her plans to overhaul EVE's outdated sovereignty and corporation management systems, and to eventually introduce new deep space colonisation gameplay.

Today CCP announced that Andie Nordgren has been promoted to the position of Executive Producer on EVE Online. I caught up with her for a chat about development on EVE and to find out what this promotion means for the future the game. I've pulled together the important details from the interview in this article, and if you still have burning questions for Andie Nordgren, she's doing an AMA thread on Reddit right now!

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Wayward Manor review: More like Wayward Meh-nor

"Youth is no excuse for bad taste," the crotchety old house in Wayward Manor says as it watches a pair of gluttonous children chow down on sugary snacks within its creaking walls.

If youth doesn't excuse poor taste, then certainly there's no excuse for Wayward Manor's bland appeal, not when it comes from a successful studio – The Odd Gentlemen – and a world-renowned author – Neil Gaiman.

Wayward Manor seems as if it were a mobile game that somehow ended up on Steam for PC and Mac. Maybe it was put on Steam by mischievous poltergeists or vengeful spirits, but the fact remains that it doesn't feel, look or play like a desktop game.

This doesn't automatically equate a terrible experience, but, as a puzzle game, Wayward Manor leaves much to be desired in terms of complexity, and as a showcase for the writing of Neil Gaiman, it just barely scratches the surface of the narrative depth he's proven he can provide in comics, books and online ramblings. Rather than the scritch-scritch of razorblade claws creeping out of your bedroom closet, Wayward Manor's scratches are more like the pawing of a feisty, yet de-clawed, cat.

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Bayonetta 2's co-op mode bets on your success

Platinum Games' Wii U-exclusive sequel Bayonetta 2 will include a two-player mode. That much was revealed at E3 2013 by Nintendo, and further details on the game's online multiplayer offerings are now available via Famitsu (translation courtesy of Siliconera). The game's "Tag Climax" mode allows players to team up online with friends, strangers and CPU partners to annihilate waves of enemies and large bosses.

Online quick matches will also feature a betting system, in which players can wager in-game "Halos" to challenge their partner in a scoring contest to see who will rack up the most points in a match. The in-game currency can then be exchanged for additional weapon variations, accessories and techniques. Players will have the ability to pick their characters and weapon/accessory loadouts of choice as well as stages and their respective difficulty levels, with tougher matches resulting in higher Halos payouts (but at a steeper cost of entry). The equipment players carry in to Tag Climax mode is based on their progress in Bayonetta 2's main story mode as well. The game is slated to launch this October.

One does not simply move up the Shadow of Mordor release date (but WB did)

Warner Bros. revealed it's moved Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor away from the October 7 madness, bringing the game forward to September 30 in North America and October 3 in the UK.

According to a press release, Warner Bros is releasing the game earlier "based on hearing fans' excitement." It may also have something to do with the number of high-profile games releasing on the game's original street date of October 7. Dragon: Age Inquisition's already abandoned the October 7 ship for November, but the date's still home to the likes of Alien: Isolation, Driveclub and NBA 2K15.

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BioWare tease points to possible Shadow Realms reveal


BioWare may be set to unveil a new project shortly, that's if you go off the clues tied to a teaser the company posted on YouTube. The 44 seconds of footage are as vague as the developer's E3 video, but online sleuths have connected dots that may shed some light on something called "Shadow Realms."

BioWare sent out a mass email today, linking to a "You've Been Chosen" site featuring the new video. The site's text reads, "The time is near. They are watching. Your power is rising. Cologne, Germany. You've Been Chosen." The timing would suggest Bioware will unveil the project at next month's Gamescom conference in the German city.

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Frozen Endzone now Frozen Cortex, original name 'a bit rubbish'

Mode 7's upcoming turn-based strategy game is now Frozen Cortex and no longer Frozen Endzone, after the developer admitted a rebrand was necessary. In a frank blog post, the Frozen Synapse creator revealed its reasons for the change, one being "the original name was a bit rubbish and we got bored of it."

Mode 7 also introduced Mac and Linux versions this week in an update to the Steam Early Access release, as well as "significant" aesthetic changes. The studio added it believes the game looks better in its new guise, and that the original name was tied to perception of a "Madden game with robots."

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Takara Tomy imagines PlayStation as Optimus Prime in disguise

Have you ever looked at the original 1994 PlayStation and wondered if there's more than meets the eye? Clearly Takara Tomy Arts has. The Japanese toymaker is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Transformers and the 20th anniversary of PlayStation by combining the two brands, quite literally. Yes, it's making a PlayStation toy that transforms into Autobot hero Optimus Prime, because why the hell not.

It's not the only system-to-transformer toy the company has in the pipeline, by the way. In September it's releasing a Sega Genesis model that converts into the villanous Megatron - Mega Drive and Megatron, it had to be done.

You can check out that transformation on Takara Tomy's site. Sadly for now there's just art of the PlayStation Prime robot, so you'll have to channel your imagination until the toy hits Japanese store shelves early next year.

LittleBigPlanet 3 private beta bounces in next month

The private beta for LittleBigPlanet 3 begins in August, a community manager writes on the LittleBigPlanet fansite. Media Molecule has hand-picked a small number of members from that site to receive beta invites, set to be distributed via private message in the "next couple of weeks."

Sony announced LittleBigPlanet 3 during its E3 conference this year, and it's due to hit PS4 and PS3 in November. We got to play a level designed to show off the new characters in LittleBigPlanet 3 during E3, and found it to be charming with tons of fun level-creation opportunities. Only one disappointment: "Once again, certain parts of the game will be closed off to you if you don't have the appropriate number of play partners." We have to interact with actual people? Fine.

Tomodachi Life stage lets you live inside Super Smash Bros.

Look, we all love fighting each other on top of Castle Hyrule and amongst the bricks of the Mushroom Kingdom in the Super Smash Bros. games. But sometimes, you just gotta step outside your comfort zone and try something new. Something like the Tomodachi Life-inspired stage for Super Smash Bros. coming to 3DS this October, perhaps.

Game director Masahiro Sakurai revealed today that Super Smash Bros. for 3DS - and only the 3DS version - will feature a stage based on the recently-released Tomodachi Life. What's more, it will pull the Mii data from your 3DS so that when you come crashing through an apartment, it could be you or your friends' place you see.

Sakurai also noted that the placement of rooms will be randomized, and that there are several different types of rooms for the game to choose from. While initially it looks as though areas of the level are closed off, walls will fade away when a fighter occupies the room it hides. Sakurai hinted that placing a bomb in an apartment might be a good idea, which is a great example of a thought that would be utterly terrifying if it weren't about a video game.
[Image: Nintendo]

Trials Fusion moto-crosses one million mark in sales

Trials Fusion sold one million copies globally across all platforms, Ubisoft announced today. The game first arrived in April for PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC. Announced alongside Trials Frontier at its E3 2013 press conference last June, Ubisoft's motorcycle-flipping action game entered closed beta for PC players in March.

Trials Fusion also received an update today, which improves the game's tournaments, track central and track editor modes. Now, players can craft custom supercross tracks for local multiplayer use, and can also create four-land motorcross tracks in the game's editor and put forth challenges to their friends. The Uplay Recommended section of the track central area in Trials Fusion has also been refreshed with 15 creations from the game's community, accessible to players on all platforms.
[Image: Ubisoft]

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Halo: Nightfall trailer shows a guardian of the galaxy in action



Couldn't make it to San Diego Comic-Con to check out the first look at the Ridley Scott-produced digital series Halo: Nightfall? Don't worry soldier, the UNSC's got your back. And by "UNSC" we mean Microsoft, 343 Industries and Scott Free Productions, which have collectively released the first trailer for Nightfall. Go on, take a look - this mission intel isn't classified.

If you're just joining us, Halo: Nightfall is the live-action interlude story that takes place between Halo 4 and Halo 5: Guardians. Its plot centers on Agent Locke, a character new to the Halo universe, who leads a team of soldiers from the Office of Naval Intelligence as they investigate terrorist activity on the distant planet of Sedra.

Judging by the trailer, things don't look too bright. Even so, we're not too worried - if Agent Locke and his crew can escape the shuttering of Xbox Entertainment Studios, surely they can handle whatever comes their way in Nightfall. Right?

Halo: Nightfall will be accessible to anyone who buys Halo: The Master Chief Collection for Xbox One this November.
[Image: Microsoft/Scott Free Productions]

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Destiny beta now open to everyone

Bungie has kicked open the doors of the ongoing Destiny beta, inviting all players to join the test regardless of whether or not they were able to score a code.

"Today, at 4:00 PM PDT, we're opening the Destiny beta to anyone who wants to create a character and walk in their boots," reads an update posted to the Bungie website moments ago. The developer then points out the caveats attached to this offer: Interested players must have an Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 or PlayStation 4, and a valid Xbox Live Gold or PlayStation Plus subscription.

Bungie claims this show of generosity is an effort to fully stress test the game prior to its official September launch. If a chance to aid the studio behind Halo is not enough to convince you to join the beta test, keep in mind that those who play Destiny on Saturday, July 26 will be rewarded with a special in-game emblem for their assistance.
[Image: Bungie]

The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast 106: The Crew, Gods Will Be Watching, The Walking Dead, game delays

Latest episode: Friday, July 25th, 2014

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