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Pre-order Wolfenstein: The New Order, earn Team Fortress 2 hats

Alternate history Nazi shooter Wolfenstein: The New Order is now available for pre-order via Steam, and Valve has opted to sweeten the deal by offering free Team Fortress 2 hats to anyone who plunks down early cash for the PC game.

Though Valve's announcement makes no mention of what exactly these hats will look like, it does describe them as both "exclusive" and patterned after some element of Wolfenstein: The New Order. Whether that means historically inaccurate pickelhaubes or the combination helmet and gas mask worn by the grunts in this trailer remains to be seen, but, again, these are free bonuses so try not to look this gift horse in the mouth.

Alongside the newly-revealed gratis chapeaus, a pre-order of Wolfenstein: The New Order also grants players access to a beta of id Software's next entry in the hallowed DOOM franchise. However, as we mentioned earlier this month, that beta will only be available to those who pre-order Wolfenstein: The New Order on PC, PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.

Zenimax Media files trademark for 'Nuka Cola'

Bethesda Softworks parent company Zenimax Media recently filed three separate trademark applications with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for the term "Nuka Cola," a phrase that should be very familiar to Fallout fans.

Not just the favorite carbonated beverage of the post-apocalypse, Nuka Cola is also a handy energy source, and wily vault dwellers have even been known to craft the sugary goop into a deadly weapon. While it's currently unclear what Zenimax plans to do in the event the trademark is granted, it is notable that the applications were filed "based on intent to use," as opposed to "based on use in commerce," despite the fact that Nuka Cola appears frequently in both Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas. This suggests that instead of attempting to protect an existing product, Zenimax has new plans for the Nuka Cola name.

When contacted, Zenimax offered no further information, but we can be reasonably sure the media company is not planning to launch a line of Fallout-themed soft drinks. Two of the trademark applications apply specifically to computer games and related electronic services, while the third applies to branded clothing items. About a year ago, Zenimax renewed its trademark on the Fallout name, however, so it's possible this Nuka Cola trademark may tie in to any upcoming sequels Bethesda has planned for the roleplaying franchise.
[Image: Zenimax Media]

Tackle 'Son of the Crawmerax' in final Borderlands 2 DLC

Developer Gearbox Software has released its final piece of Borderlands 2 DLC. Headhunter 5: Sir Hammerlock Versus the Son of the Crawmerax is available now via Steam, PlayStation Network and the Xbox Live Marketplace for $2.99.

The content sends players to Wam Bam Island to partake in the largest Headhunter DLC mission released, according to a 2K blog post. "At the end of your adventure, you will battle a foe that may look familiar – Crawmerax Jr., the son of the great crab worm from The Secret Armory of General Knoxx add-on from the original Borderlands."

The content now shelves the Borderlands sequel, giving developer Gearbox ample time to focus its efforts on the next installment of the game: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.

Successfully completing the Headhunter 5: Sir Hammerlock Versus the Son of the Crawmerax DLC (boy, that's a mouthful) will allow players to wear a shrunken version of the final enemy's head like a hat. If swanky travel duds are more of an incentive, each character will net a beach-themed skin as part of the content. Taking on Handsome Jack in an "Aloha shirt"? Say no more.
[Image: Gearbox]

Naughty Dog announces final season pass DLC for The Last of Us

Naughty Dog will finish out its planned season pass content for The Last of Us with new weapons, additional multiplayer maps, and a new single-player gameplay mode as part of the upcoming Grounded Bundle.

Grounded Mode puts a new, difficult spin on The Last of Us' single-player campaign, pitting players against "relentless, smart, and brutal" enemy mobs throughout. Naughty Dog notes that survival in the new mode will be "near impossible," and claims that the "Completed Grounded Mode" challenge will be one of the most difficult Trophies players will earn.

The Grounded Bundle additionally features the Reclaimed Territories Map Pack, adding the Wharf, Capitol, Coal Mine, and Water Tower maps to the game's multiplayer component. Players may opt to expand their arsenal with the Survivalist Weapon Bundle, which introduces the multiplayer-only Specter, Double Barrel, Enforcer, and Launcher weapons. Also arriving are the Situational Survival Skills and Professional Survival Skills bundles, which enhance character abilities in online battles.

Grounded Mode will be priced at $4.99 as a standalone download. The Reclaimed Territories Map Pack is priced at $9.99, the Survivalist Weapon Bundle is $5.99, and the Survival Skills Bundles are $3.99 apiece. All upcoming content is included as part of The Last of Us' $19.99 season pass, but interested players may want to hop on the deal soon, as the season pass bundle will be discontinued in mid-May.

A release date for Grounded Bundle content has not been announced.

[Image: Naughty Dog]

Hearthstone plays its cards on iPad today

Blizzard's collectible trading card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is now available for iPad. The free-to-play game was first announced at last year's PAX East event in March 2013 as a cross-platform, multiplayer strategy game intended for PC, Mac and iPad.

The World of Warcraft developer revealed details for the game's single player campaigh just last week. Hearthstone entered open beta on PC and Mac in January.
[Image: Blizzard Entertainment]

The Blackwell Epiphany demo launches ahead of April 24 release



A demo for The Blackwell Epiphany is available now, just ahead of the independent adventure game's April 24 release date. Developed by Wadjet Eye Games, Epiphany is the fifth and final game in the Blackwell series, which first began in 2006.

As a guest on a special PAX East edition of the Super Joystiq Podcast, Wadjet Eye's Dave Gilbert discussed the upcoming game, remaining independent since his development career began and the engine that powers his studio's projects. Wadjet Eye is also well known for the adventure titles Gemini Rue and Resonance.

At launch, The Blackwell Epiphany will be available for $14.99 via the developer's site, GOG.com, Steam and other online distributors. Pre-ordering the title from Wadjet Eye's website includes a DRM-free copy of the game, redeemable Steam key, soundtrack and exclusive behind-the-scenes development videos.
[Image: Wadjet Eye Games]

Fable Anniversary lead designer exits Lionhead

Fable Anniversary lead designer Ted Timmins has announced his departure from Lionhead Studios. In a multi-tweet explanation of his exit, Timmins said the Microsoft-owned company has been "such an integral part" of his life. Citing that his time at Lionhead made up more than one third of his life, "it's a good time for change."

Timmins' first project with Lionhead was the original Xbox action-role playing game Fable in 2004. Microsoft purchased the studio in 2006. Timmins thanked former Lionhead boss Peter Molyneux for establishing the company that would "give a spotty 18-year-old with no talent or qualifications a chance."

"There's also something quite special that Fable 1 was the first game I was a part of, and Fable Anniversary is my last," Timmins wrote.
[Image: Lionhead]

You can now buy Nuclear Throne straight from Twitch

Developer Vlambeer is offering the option to purchase its latest game, Nuclear Throne, through Twitch, a first for the video game broadcast company.

Purchasing Nuclear Throne through Twitch gives players access to the game via Steam Early Access, specialty Vlambeer emoticons, and a subscription to the official Vlambeer Twitch.tv channel, which offers exclusive streams and subscriber-only chat throughout the week.

"If you're interested in learning about game development, this is where you should buy the game. 60 percent of revenue goes to us," Vlambeer's website says.

Gamasutra points out that the revenue split through Steam is 70 percent to developers, while 90 percent of revenue goes to game makers when titles are purchased via GOG.com.

Vlambeer continues to evolve its latest release. During PAX East the developer added a two-player co-op mode, which co-founder Rami Ismail said was "so crazy and insane that we're not so sure it's a good idea to have four." The crazier, the better!

UK chain GAME to close dedicated Xbox store

GAME and Microsoft deemed the UK retailer's Xbox store a success, after confirming to MCV the London outlet closes its doors later this month. As MCV notes, the store opened in June 2013 on a short-term lease and with a focus of boosting Xbox One sales at launch.

"The short-term contract location for the dedicated Xbox store has given us real insight into what consumers expect from the next generation of retail," said GAME Stores Director Dave Howard told MCV. "We have implemented Xbox sections in all of our stores - we have taken all the best of the Xbox store into over 320 GAME stores around the UK. Customers really showed an appetite for hands-on experience, interactive displays and a way to digitally access Xbox Live content. We will continue to innovate our stores with Microsoft."

Pop-up stores for launches are nothing new in London: Ubisoft trotted one out for a game a few years ago, Q Entertainment's Child of Eden. While that game was arguably good enough to warrant its own store, it really could've done with 100 more.
[Image: GAME]

Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn surpasses 2 million registrations

This week's PS4 launch of Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn helped the MMO pass the 2 million mark for registered accounts. Square Enix didn't reveal any hard figures for how many players are exploring Eorzea on PS4, but we know six months ago the number of registered accounts was at 1.5 million. Meanwhile, a trailer from February proclaimed the second-iteration MMO had "over 1.8 million adventurers."

It's worth noting registrations do not equate to active subscribers, although the base game does require a purchase. According to a translated 4Gamer interview with Director Naoki Yoshida, in March around 500,000 people were logging into A Realm Reborn each day.

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Games so bad they're good: Far Cry 2

I was invited to be on the "Games So Bad They're Good" panel at PAX East, but a scheduling conflict prevented me from taking part. Fortunately, my Editor in Chief, Ludwig Kietzmann, was ready and willing to take my place. His selection, Far Cry 2, took more than a few people by surprise - the reaction on Twitter went something like "Are you crazy? Far Cry 2 is awesommmmeeeeee!" His reasoning was ... unusual, to say the least, so we're reprinting his argument. These are the notes he used for his presentation, exactly as he used them, thus the atypical format.

For the record, my choice was going to be Phantasy Star Online. I think Luddy won this one.
--Susan

I tried to be considerate about this, and cognizant of why bad qualities can lead to pleasure.

The thing about bad movies like Plan 9 is that you're looking at an event so awkward and terrible for the people involved that you want to instinctually stop them and protect them, but you can't because it's already committed to film.

It's too late to stop the tragedy, so now you are allowed to enjoy it.

In a game, if your actions don't align with your expectations or what the game is about, it's frustrating.

Most games are good despite their bad qualities, like story and controls, and not because of them.

At first I thought: Okay, what about games that give the player all the power and then back away?

Is that bad game design? Is God of War so bad, because they let you rip out a monster's medulla oblongata and then bash their head in with it and then you're like, "This violence is a bit mindless isn't it?"

Or, what about games that overcomplicate and abstract simple, physical actions, like QWOP, Surgeon Simulator and Octodad?

Then I had an epiphany, I yelled, "Eureka! "and someone said, "Shh, this is a library, keep your revelations to yourself."

I'm going with Far Cry 2, and here's why.

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Twitch funds chat-driven game Choice Chamber


Twitch matched funds pledged to Studio Bean's chat-driven Kickstarter project, Choice Chamber. The developer's crowdfunding campaign ends Sunday evening and raised nearly half of its $30,000 goal, and Twitch's contributions put it near the finish line. According to the project's reward tiers, the game is expected to launch in December.

Following up the success of Twitch Plays Pokemon, Choice Chamber is a PC and Mac game that is designed to be played while streaming live on Twitch. Described as a "real-time, crowdsourced, procedurally generated game," it allows stream viewers to use Twitch's chat functionality to either aid or hinder the progress of the game's primary player by voting on game-changing polls.

The player, who can choose to go the single-player-only route with offline mode, navigates an "endless series of dangerous chambers" while wielding a variety of weaponry with which to defeat enemies. In the prototype version of Choice Chamber, viewers vote on said weapons in addition to powerups, abilities and special maneuvers, though Studio Bean plans to add many more modifiable elements.
[Image: Studio Bean]

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Glorkian Warrior vs Dino Run 2: Crowdfunding before and after Double Fine

Glorkian Warrior: The Trials of Glork is a different game than the one Pixeljam promised in its Kickstarter campaign. It's not unrecognizable – the Saturday-morning-cartoon artwork is still done by graphic novelist James Kochalka and it still stars a three-eyed alien blasting baddies from the sky, but the adventure aspect Pixeljam wanted in Glorkian Warrior didn't make it to the final game.

"We really wanted the Glorkian Warrior to have an epic journey, blasting aliens like Galaga, rolling around like Sonic, exploring like Metroid, making the player feel they were inside one of James' comics," Pixeljam co-founder Miles Tilmann tells Joystiq. "How we thought we could get this going with just $10K, I honestly have no idea. Somehow at the time we thought it was possible. It's interesting how the sheer excitement of starting a new project and raising money for it can make you blind to what's actually realistic."

Pixeljam's Kickstarter campaign concluded on March 22, 2010, after raising $11,200, and Glorkian Warrior launched on March 13, 2014. That timeframe is relevant for two reasons: Pixeljam took to crowdfunding before Double Fine Adventure broke down the barriers for gaming Kickstarters in 2012, and four years is a long time to keep backers waiting for a game.

"A couple of backers have told us that it was worth the wait, which is the best compliment we could possibly receive for the game," Tilmann says. "It reinforces the idea that the backers were simply excited to help us make something with James Kochalka, and were less picky about what the game would actually do. I think that's only the case with niche or small-budget projects, though. If something that raised $100K+ on Kickstarter took four years to deliver and didn't do everything that the original plan entailed, there would be much more of a backlash."

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Trials Fusion review: Lean to live


We've all had our secret victories in the war against wobble: freely standing in the shower on one foot while washing the other, or rejecting the easy-mode handrails of a jostling train. Trials Fusion is about those quick, instinctual corrections you make – or fail to make – when there's a bump in the road.

Balance is divine in Trials Fusion, and mastering it makes you a god on a motorcycle. But that's jumping ahead to the conclusion of the journey; this story of a tenacious man driving with abandon over hills and valleys, trying not to fall his little face off.

There's a lot to think about as you constantly fiddle with your speed and your driver's posture in a world of steep angles and dangerous pits, and yet it feels thoughtless in the moment. You just know it in your gut: You need to lean forward to keep the bike on this incline. Almost there, almost - oh that's too much acceleration, you're lifting up front. You can get out of this, you can bring it back, just wiggle a bit and – nope. You've gone and done the banana peel again. Now your bike is upside down and crushing your bones.

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Sony to sell all its Square Enix shares

Sony announced it's selling its entire stake of 9.52 million shares in Square Enix, with the PlayStation company booking a gain of 4.8 billion yen (around $47 million) in the current fiscal quarter. At the time of writing, Sony is the third-largest shareholder in Square Enix with an sizable equity of 8.2 percent.

Sony says it's agreed to sell the shares to SMBC Nikko Securities Inc, one of Japan's leading financial security companies; the sale price will be disclosed tomorrow. We'll learn more of the reasons behind the sale when Sony announces its full-year financial results on May 14.

While the PS4 is doing better than expected, Sony's financial troubles of late have seen the company enact numerous changes to its operations. Following the sale of its Tokyo offices and several thousands of layoffs, earlier this year Sony announced plans to sell off its Vaio PC business and overhaul its TV arm into its own subsidiary. Those moves will result in a further 5,000 layoffs over the next year or so.
[Image: Sony]

Conception 2 coming to Europe in May

European role-playing game fans will be able to enjoy Spike Chunsoft's Conception 2 in May, publisher Atlus has revealed. Though Atlus has yet to solidify dates, an email blast revealed both a demo for the game and the official release will come to the region next month.

"If you pick up the game, but haven't played through the demo, you may want to give it a shot! Your save data transfers over, and you'll get a set of free goodies," the promotional email noted. For the first month of release players can download the Disciple Weapon Pack DLC for free, which offers five weapons for players to distribute within their game's party. Additional quests will be released as free DLC in May, Atlus says, with more content rolling out each week.

Conception 2: Children of the Seven Stars launched in North America yesterday for the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita. The Joystiq review said of the game, "none of its elements manage to rise above a general feeling of mediocrity."
[Image: Atlus]

Minecraft PS3 boxes clever with a disc version in May

Mojang is releasing Minecraft: PlayStation 3 Edition onto store shelves on May 16 in North America and May 14 in PAL regions, which is no surprise given how the Xbox 360 discs continue to strike gold. Mojang revealed the physical PS3 port includes everything in the sandbox game as of title update 14, but there's no word yet on a price. Check out the PS3 Edition box art by digging below the break.

The PS3 port sold one million copies within its first month of availability, adding to the 12 million sales on Xbox 360, 14 million on PC, and 21 million of the Pocket Edition. But why stop at gajibillions when you can try to take over the world?

To that effect, UK porters 4J Studios have PS4, Xbox One, and Vita versions in the works, although there remains no word on when to expect them.
[Image: Sony Computer Entertainment]

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CoD: Ghosts DLC adds Snoop Dogg voice pack and other, less awesome, stuff



Infinity Ward is launching DLC for Call of Duty: Ghosts on Xbox platforms that will add narration to multiplayer matches by the one and only Snoop Dogg. As you terrorize the battlefield, Snoop becomes your own personal hype man, which sounds like just about the most amazing thing in the world. Want something a little gruffer? A voice pack featuring Full Metal Jacket drill instructor R. Lee Ermey is also in the works. Each DLC pack is priced at $2.99.

IW is launching a number of new customization DLC packs for weaponry featured in Ghosts, as well. Continuing to show its friendliness towards all things 420, Ghosts players can purchase the puntastic Blunt Force Personalization Pack, which delivers "chronic lethality" camo, a reticle, patch, player card and background. The Blunt Force pack and other customization packages are available for $1.99.

Finally, the latest set of DLC features player skins, one of which features past CoD heroes Soap and Ghost. According to the Call of Duty blog, customization DLC packages "are non-transferable and cannot be carried forward or backward" between last generation's console and the new Xbox One.

All DLC will launch on April 22 for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
[Image: Activision-Blizzard]

GaymerX president on LGBT convention closing: 'We're still here'

LGBT-focused gaming convention GaymerX will be no more after this year's GaymerX2, being held July 11-13 at the InterContinental San Francisco hotel. But Toni Rocca, president of GaymerX and organizer of the con, isn't sad.

Rocca told Joystiq she and the GaymerX organization did something new, something no one was doing two years ago, when the con was first announced. She's proud of what the GaymerX convention accomplished, and what's more, GaymerX as an organization will continue forward.

This isn't the end of GaymerX, but a new beginning.

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PSN Store Update: Final Fantasy 14, Trials Fusion, FIFA World Cup

It's football, fantasy, and FMX in this week's line-up of PlayStation Store additions for North America, starting with the full launch of Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn. PS4 players can hook up with the subscription MMO for $40, or $60 if they fancy some in-game items from the Collector's Edition. You can also transfer a PS3 copy across to PS4 - Amazon has the PS3 version going for $25.

Next it's FMX: RedLynx's next attempt to break your controllers is Trials Fusion, and it's the first in the series to arrive on PlayStation. The PS4 game - also available on Xbox One, 360, and PC - adds freestyle tricks to the trademark mix of motocross and puzzle-platforming. The regular game is $20 but if you're wheelie keen for the upcoming DLC, a Deluxe Edition is $40 and comes with the season pass.

Speaking of puzzles, the PS4 also gets a few brainteasers this week. Pure Chess and Backgammon Blitz are $8 each - you can get a game-pack stuffed Deluxe Edition of Pure Chess for $15 - and finally, That Trivia Game will set you back That Ten Dollars.

Onto to PS3, and football - the rounder, kickier kind. The catchily titled 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil is only on PS3 and Xbox 360, and you can score it as a $60 download on the former. Meanwhile, Beyond: Two Souls has been out for a while, but it's also now on PSN as a $60 download. Don't forget, this week's PS Plus freebie is the new Castle of Illusion, and that comes bundled with the Genesis original as a nostalgic bonus.

Finally, the Vita has plenty of new releases including Conception 2 ($40, also out on 3DS) and Cross-Buy portable versions of Dead Nation ($8) and Ethan: Meteor Hunter ($10). For the full list of new releases, sales, and Plus discounts, head over to the PlayStation Blog.
[Image: Ubisoft]

What's In A Name

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The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast Special: PAX East 2014 with Capy and Wadjet Eye

Latest episode: Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

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