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Pay attention, 007, Persona Q arrives on November 25


Persona Q, the 3DS spin-off which isn't a tribute to James Bond's gadgets man, hits North America on November 25. The release date arrives courtesy of a new trailer re-featuring the game's opening movie, providing you with the perfect excuse to let your heart melt as you re-watch Kanji hugging Koromaru - it just might be too adorable.

Persona Q brings together the characters of Persona 3 and Persona 4, but it also brings in mapping elements from the Etrian Odyssey series. While that may be an unknown quantity to Persona fans, the story will make them feel right at home: It all takes place at a parallel version of Yasogami High School, one that's home to a dark, foreboding tower. The word on the parallel street is anyone who hears the tower bell ring out is certain to die. Naturally, our chibi-fied Persona team sets off to investigate.

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Japanese Mario Kart 8 ad showcases the Luigi Death Stare


Is that a subtle Nintendo endorsement of the Luigi Death Stare? After the House of Mario's understated acknowledgment in its E3 presentation, a new Mario Kart 8 commercial in Japan seems to presents the plumber's ice-cold eyes with another knowing wink. Or is this just inadvertence layered over inadvertence?

Meanwhile below the break, Fire Emblem: Awakening's Lucina remains unamused.

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One-man band covers Banjo-Kazooie theme, all instruments included


Covering the intro theme from the Nintendo 64 platformer classic Banjo-Kazooie is a daunting task for any group of musicians. For one thing, it uses a million instruments -- aside from the obvious banjo and kazoo parts, other sections of the melody employ the trumpet, trombone, saxophone, violin, and piccolo, along with various percussive surfaces and cartoonish bear grunts. YouTuber SquidPhysics has assembled the necessary musical arsenal for the one-man performance above, and the results are as impressive as you might expect. Guh-huh!

[Image: SquidPhysics]

Microsoft unveils 100 cars from Forza Horizon 2 garage

With the debut of Forza Horizon 2 less than two months away, publisher Microsoft has unveiled the first 100 cars included in the open-world racing sim's roster of exotic machines.

Though not a complete list - Playground claims that Forza Horizon 2 will ship with 200 cars in tow - the 100 vehicles mentioned today provide a nice glimpse of what the game's garage will look like. Ferrari, Jaguar, Lexus, Volkswagen, Ford, Audi and all the other manufacturers you'd expect are included, and alongside the typical high-powered sports cars, the Forza Horizon 2 roster even includes a few novelty vehicles, such as the World War 2-era 1945 Jeep Willys and the countercultural icon 1963 VW Type 2 De Luxe van. Notably absent are any vehicles from Porsche, though given the manufacturer's long-standing licensing agreement with EA that omission should come as little surprise.

For a full rundown of the first 100 vehicles included in Forza Horizon 2, pay a visit to the Xbox Wire website.
[Image: Microsoft]

Joystiq Discovers... What's in the box AGAIN!

Once again, we received a box and decided we should open it on our Twitch page for audience participation. We're enjoying doing these, and it seems like you all are too. This time Alexander Sliwinski is joined by Anthony John Agnello, along with a special guest, to find out: What's in the box? Prepare for dogs wearing human clothing.

If you want to skip ahead to the reveal, it happens at about the 5:45 mark. Dog in a t-shirt at 9 minutes if you're into that. This is the internet, of course you're into that!

Spoiler after the break...

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Microsoft's Xbox revenue up 14% thanks to console sales

Microsoft reported an increase in revenue for the Xbox platform to the tune of $104 million, or 14 percent, in its fourth quarter results (ending June 30). Xbox One and Xbox 360 sales teamed with the company's Surface sales to boost its Computing and Gaming Hardware category by 23 percent for the quarter to $1.44 billion (an increase of $274 million). In total, Microsoft reported a 17.7 percent leap in revenue, from $19.9 billion to $23.4 billion in the past quarter.

Microsoft says it shipped 1.1 million consoles during the quarter, which compares to one million in the same period of time one year ago. Just last week, the company said sales of its Kinect-less packages doubled Xbox One sales in June. As of April, Microsoft shipped 5 million Xbox One systems to date. Meanwhile, NPD reported a substantial lift in video game hardware sales across the board last week, an increase of 106 percent in June compared to the previous month.
[Image: Microsoft]

PlayStation Store Play event offers pre-order discounts, bonus PSN credit


Throughout the next month, Sony is launching a selection of new cross-platform games at a discount for PlayStation Plus members as part of its annual PlayStation Store Play event, with cash-back credit offered for buying multiple titles.

Featured games include Cellar Door's roguelike platformer Rogue Legacy (premiering July 29), Facepalm Games' side-scrolling puzzler The Swapper (August 5), Honeyslug's fanciful exploration game Hohokum (August 12), and Dynamighty's espionage-themed CounterSpy (August 19). All games are available as Cross-Buy releases, and are playable on the PlayStation 4, PS3, and PS Vita.

PS Store Play games are available for pre-order at a 20 percent discount for PlayStation Plus subscribers. PSN members are eligible to receive $3 in store credit for buying two featured games, $6 for three, or $10 for all four between July 22 and August 25.

[Image: Sony]

Hulk smash Disney Infinity: Marvel 2.0 on PS4, PS3

The Sony-specific Collector's Edition of Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes 2.0 features all of the Avengers characters available at launch – Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow – plus Hulk, a figure that won't be for sale separately until later on. And the Collector's Edition comes with a huge display featuring the Frost Beast and spaces for all of the characters. And it glows. The Collector's Edition will be available for PS3 and PS4 this fall.

Additionally, a bundle featuring the Marvel Super Heroes 2.0 Starter Pack (which includes Thor, Black Widow and Iron Man), and a 12GB PS3 will launch in the fall for $250.

While the collector's display looks large, it probably won't require any assembly – the Avengers usually have that covered.

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Humble Square Enix Bundle features Hitman, Deus Ex, Anachronox


The Humble Square Enix Bundle launched today, offering multiple games from the Deus Ex and Hitman franchises for a user-determined price with proceeds benefiting GamesAid and Make-A-Wish.

All bundle buyers receive Steam-redeemable Windows versions of Hitman, Hitman 2, Daikatana, Thief Gold, Mini Ninjas, and Anachronox. Toss in a few more bucks to beat the average purchase price (currently $6.10), and you'll also get Deus Ex: Invisible War, Deus Ex: The Fall, Hitman Absolution, Battlestations: Midway, and the Nosgoth Veteran Pack, along with additional bonus games to be announced at a later date.

A purchase of $14.99 or more will also unlock copies of Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days, Just Cause 2, and Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. The Humble Square Enix Bundle will remain available through August 5.

[Video: Humble Bundle]

The Room opens up to Steam next week


The Room will launch on PC via Steam on July 28, Fireproof Games announced this week. The PC edition of the game is a "fully-enhanced HD version," which the developer said has been "many months in the making and has involved recreating almost every asset in the game from the ground up."

Fireproof's puzzler launched on iOS in September 2012, arriving on Android in March 2013 before achieving two million total downloads in May of last year. The game's sequel, aptly dubbed The Room 2, carried on the lock-breaking mystery in December. As for a third game in the series, Fireproof Games only noted that "all we can say is stay tuned." Head past the break for a video comparing the visuals of The Room's mobile and PC versions.
[Image: Fireproof Games]

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PSN Tuesday: Oddworld: New 'N' Tasty, Superhero Sales

This week's PlayStation Store update features a host of games ... you can pre-order! Downloadable PS3 and PS4 exclusives CounterSpy – launching August 19 – and Hohokum – coming August 12 – are both available to pre-purchase ($14.99 each) today. Pre-orders for PS3 and PS4 versions of popular PC titles Rogue Legacy – arriving July 29 for $16.99 – and The Swapper – recently delayed to August 5 for $19.99 – are also available. Plus members can enjoy a 20 percent discount on advanced orders of each title.

As for actual releases, the PlayStation 4 welcomes Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty today. The game, a "re-crafted take" on Abe's Oddysee from the original PlayStation, is available for $29.99.

PSN also features a slew of discounts on superhero games. Injustice: Gods Among Us (PS3, PS4), for example, is down to $27.99 or a staggering $8.40 for Plus members. Never has punching Lex Luthor in his dumb, bald head been so cheap! The sale includes everything from Batman: Arkham Origins ($27.99, $8.40 for Plus members) to Lego Marvel Super Heroes (PS4) ($34.99, $10.50 for Plus members).

For the complete listing of superhero-sized sales, check out the PlayStation Blog.

[Image: Oddworld Inhabitants]

League of Legends unveils A New Dawn cinematic

In this cinematic, people hurt each other, with no attempts to connect any of that to a larger theme.
Did you know that a game of League of Legends involves your team fighting another team? It's true! And you can watch a dramatized version of exactly that in the game's latest cinematic trailer, A New Dawn, embedded just past the cut. Spoiler warning: There is blood, people die, and it would all be very dramatic if not for the fact that most of them will respawn in the not-too-distant future.

Want a peek behind the scenes? You can get more than that; Riot Games has also released a full making-of featurette that shows exactly how the newest cinematic went from concept to completion. And you can also check that out past the cut. Consider it the bonus feature.

[Source: Riot Games press release]

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Guardians, the Destiny beta is back and early on Xbox

Maintenance on the Destiny beta has concluded early, Bungie has announced, and Guardians are invited to proceed on their galaxy-saving quests.

"We know you've been waiting, so we busted our asses to finish our chores up early," a post on Bungie's blog says. "Every single Guardian with a pre-order code is welcome to join us in the Tower," it adds. This appears to include Xbox One and Xbox 360 users, as Destiny beta codes are now available for Microsoft's platforms.

While the beta was scheduled to begin tomorrow for hardware crafted by Bungie's previous overlords, codes work right now. Download the beta on Xbox One or Xbox 360 and help join the fight.

Remember, on Saturday, Bungie has something special in store: "If you've already played, you haven't seen everything yet. We've got some surprises in store, and if you play on Saturday, July 26th beginning at 2pm PDT, we've got a permanent reward on reserve that will commemorate the experience."

The beta is scheduled to end on July 27.

Meet Agent Locke, star of Halo: Nightfall

Though you'll have to wait until San Diego Comic Con to watch Halo: Nightfall in action, thanks to Variety we can introduce you to the series' protagonist, Agent Locke.

According to Variety, Agent Locke is played by Mike Colter, an actor best known for his roles in American Horror Story and The Good Wife. Plot details are scant, but during the course of Halo: Nightfall, Locke is reportedly sent to a "distant colony world" to investigate terrorist activity on behalf of the Office of Naval Intelligence. There's more to this story than Locke initially suspects and while investigating the colony, he discovers an ancient alien artifact that kicks off the series' major plot points.

Beyond his appearance as the lead in Halo: Nightfall, Locke will also appear in the upcoming Xbox One-exclusive Halo 5: Guardians. It's currently unknown what role he'll play in the game.
[Image: Microsoft]

Let's all dye our armor black in The Elder Scrolls Online

ESO
When The Elder Scrolls Online's third patch arrives next month, players will be bombarded with customization options, says a new developer blog on the official website. ZeniMax outlines its plans for armor dyes, which come in over 200 colors in accordance with the "artistic scheme" of the game, including rare iridescent shades. Just wanna dye everything black to show what a badass you are? You're in luck; in ESO, unlike many other MMOs, black will be a snap to obtain. In fact, dyes unlock as players complete specific achievements in a variety of gameplay modes from PvP to questing to crafting.

The studio will also shower guild leaders with new guild ranks to play with, new heraldry for use on guild tabards, and new traders that guilds can rent to vend guild goods to the public.

The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast 105: Wildstar, Dragon Age Inquisition, The Wolf Among Us, GaymerX2

Latest episode: Friday, July 18th, 2014

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