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Dragon Age Inquisition: Eight romances, no deadly war hounds

Following a lengthy Raptr Q&A session hosted by the developers of Dragon Age: Inquisition, we've learned a number of new things about BioWare's upcoming roleplaying epic.

While combat has been expanded to add new abilities and spells, and to grant the use of bows to all rogues, fans should not expect to fight alongside the noble mabari. According to BioWare, the faithful war hounds will not appear in combat in Inquisition. The game will feature numerous chances for amoré, however: eight in total, two of which require players to meet race restrictions. For those who feel that dipping one's pen in the party's virtual ink is strictly verboten, you can seek affection outside of your crew of like-minded heroes as BioWare is including "at least one" relationship option outside of your companions.

Games.On.Net has a bullet list round-up of the remaining information. There's a lot there, and while it qualifies as "miscellaneous" at best, and offer no details on the game's plot, it should prove informative to fans of the series.

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


Earlier this afternoon we received a chest. We had no idea how to open the box, as you can observe in the stream above we started on our Twitch page to ask the Joystiq biomass if they knew a clever way to get inside the puzzle case. On the stream are Alexander Sliwinski and the quiet voice (sorry about that!) assisting is Richard Mitchell.

If you want to skip ahead to the reveal it's 13 minutes and the tribulations of tools later.

Spoiler after the break...

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Skullgirls player accidentally admits piracy to creators

Well, this is embarrassing. Twitter user "Dan Hibiki" recently asked Lab Zero Games about a curious message they received while playing the PC version of all-female 2D fighter Skullgirls ... only to be informed by its creators that the text only appears for people who pirated the game. Whoops.

Both sides took the situation in stride, however. Hibiki (whose haplessness is totally in-character) claimed to already own the PS3 version of the game, vowing to buy the PC edition after evaluating it. Lab Zero, meanwhile, responded in good humor and even answered a series of questions after the call-out.

The back-and-forth is indicative of Lab Zero's involvement with its own community; the developer earned over $800,000 from devoted fans last year for a crowdfunded content update. It also serves as a valuable lesson – if you pirate someone's game, maybe don't ask customer support questions in a public forum.

[Image: Lab Zero Games]

10 Years, 10 Great Games: Sam's picks

Throughout the week, Joystiq celebrates its tenth anniversary by revealing each writer's favorite - not "best" - games of the last decade. Aside from selecting a number one, each list is unordered.

Weekend Editor Sam Prell talks about being Joystiq's "MOBA guy" with his pick of the last decade, one of the most populated online games available today.

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GameStop will fund unique DLC, won't hinder creative process

GameStop CEO Paul Raines does not deny the company's plans to pay developers to create GameStop-exclusive content for their games, but he does point out that the retailer will not interfere with the artists, writers and designers building the core game content.

"When you think about the business of gaming and the cost of developing games, we think there's an opportunity to put capital at risk with publishers and developers in exchange for exclusive content that would be distributed through our online platforms, in stores, our download business, et cetera," Raines explained to Time, before being asked about the immediate backlash against the idea of GameStop dictating a game's development once it's partially funding development. "I think we'd be foolish to tell developers how to develop games or publishers how to bring product to market. That's what they do extremely well. What we'll do well is put capital at risk and help distribute and connect with PowerUp Rewards customers."

"I think the day you see us in the creative side is when you can tell me we've officially lost our minds," Raines added.
[Image: Ubisoft]

New Nintendo eShop releases: One Piece Unlimited World Red, Bases Loaded

Just five new releases on the eShop in North America this week, and ... nope, not one of them is Pokemon Trading Card Game. Sorry, Poke-trainers, the 3DS Virtual Console port of the Game Boy Color classic is staying in Europe for now, it seems.

So, what's on the menu? Well, One Piece Unlimited World Red is out on Wii U and 3DS this week, as well as PS3 and Vita. If you're planning on getting it on Wii U, don't bother heading to the mall because that version is only on the eShop. If you'd prefer something with less anime, more baseball, and altogether fewer pixels, why sir or madam you're in luck! That's because NES baseball sim Bases Loaded is also on its way to both Nintendo systems.

For the full list of new releases (all five of them), head on below the break. Finally, if you're after sales, new ones are start today for Jett Rocket 2 ($9 to $5), Swords & Soldiers 3D (half-price at $4) and Witch & Hero (30 percent off $4).

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Joystiq Streams: Divinity Original Sin pumps up our RPG bonafides

Larian Studios will never say die! More than a decade on from Divine Divinity, the studios remains committed to old-fashioned PC RPG style. Adventures in the magical kingdom of Rivellon do not need streamlined first-person shooting and aggressive Facebook features in 2014! Quests performed for the Council of Seven need not be augmented by pre-order exclusive DLC! This is turn-based role-playing the way grandma and grandpa used to like it back when you were just a twinkle in SteamOS' eye. Joystiq Streams is ready for a learning experience so we're diving blind into Divinity: Original Sin starting at 4PM EST on Joystiq.com/Twitch. Not only that, but we have a few copies of the game to give out too.

Here's how it's going down. Anthony John Agnello will jump head first into Divinity to create a character and learn the ropes during the stream pre-show at 3:30PM EST. Alexander Sliwinski, a Divinity vet, will join him to help. Then both brave souls will wander into Rivellon starting at 4PM EST on Joystiq.com/Twitch. The chat's open all day so pop in and give us tips on how to play.

Joystiq Streams broadcasts every Tuesday and Thursday at 4PM right here and at Twitch.tv/Joystiq.

[Images: Larian Studios]

Ubisoft reports first-quarter growth of 374%, bolstered by Watch Dogs

Ubisoft announced its financial results for the fiscal quarter ending on June 30, revealing that it has shipped more than 8 million copies of its hacking-themed sandbox action game Watch Dogs to date.

Reporting €360 million (approximately $490 million) in sales for the first quarter of 2014-2015, Ubisoft notes a year-on-year improvement of 374 percent compared to the €76 million recorded for the same quarter last year.

The publisher attributes its growth to the release of Watch Dogs and a strong showing in its digital segment with recent games like Valiant Hearts, Child of Light, and Trials Fusion. Ubisoft previously reported a 32 percent jump in year-on-year digital sales for the 2014 fiscal year.

More details regarding Ubisoft's first-quarter financial performance will be available soon.

[Image: Ubisoft]

Watch Dogs ships 8 million copies

Ubisoft has shipped 8 million copies of Watch Dogs since the game's launch in May, the company announced in its Q1 2014 – 2015 financial report.

Sales for the quarter were above expectations, hitting €360 million of an expected €310 million, and that's thanks in large part to Watch Dogs, Ubisoft says. In its first week at retail, Watch Dogs sales hit 4 million, making it Ubisoft's "best-selling game ever in week one." It also broke the publisher's day-one sales records.

"The success of Watch Dogs and the quality of our games portfolio presented at this year's E3 highlight our strategic positioning as well as our continuous drive for innovation, and affirm our long-term approach," Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said in today's report. "Watch Dogs is now well-positioned as a major franchise and we will be able to replicate and build on its success in the coming years. Its sales performance testifies to Ubisoft's expertise as a creator of blockbuster brands."
[Image: Ubisoft]

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10 Years, 10 Great Games: Thomas' picks

Throughout the week, Joystiq celebrates its tenth anniversary by revealing each writer's favorite – not "best" – games of the last decade. Aside from selecting a number one, each list is unordered.

For his top game of the last decade, Weekend Editor Thomas Schulenberg talks about one of the latest games starring the video game industry's most beloved mascot.

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Apple Design Award sale discounts Threes, Monument Valley, and more

The iTunes App Store is hosting an unannounced sale on several Apple Design Award-winning apps, giving frugal players the opportunity to check out some of the best games to hit iOS devices this year.

Featured games are Asher Vollmer's sliding number-cruncher Threes (99 cents), ustwo's perspective-shifting adventure game Monument Valley ($1.99), and Denis Mikan's touchscreen puzzler Blek (99 cents).

Other award-nominated sale highlights include Tengami ($1.99), Eliss Infinity (99 cents), and Lost Toys ($1.99). There's no word as to when these app discounts will expire, so grab 'em while you can.
[Image: ustwo]

Xbox 360 deals: Black Ops 2, Garden Warfare, Oblivion

The third day of Microsoft's Xbox 360 Ultimate Games Sale features discounts on five games through Xbox Live. Activision's 2012 first-person shooter Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2 is half-off today ($29.99 / £24.99 / €34.99), as is today's lone XBLA deal, Assassin's Creed Liberation ($9.99 £7.99 / €9.99).

Three other digital Games on Demand titles are on sale through the end of the day, starting with Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare at 33 percent off ($20.09 / £16.74 / €20.09). Bethesda's 2006 RPG The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion is 75 percent off today ($3.74 / £2.99 / €3.74) as well, and wrapping the day's deals is Red Faction: Armageddon at 77 percent off ($6.89 / £4.59 / €14.94). Microsoft is also sporting a number of deals that extend further into the month, such as Titanfall at $20 off and 40 percent off the Call of Duty: Ghosts season pass, both for Xbox One and discounted through July 14.
[Image: EA Games]

Roundabout spins onto Steam Sept. 18, consoles in early 2015

Finally on September 18 we can live our dream of becoming the world's most famous revolving limo driver, all thanks to Dan Teasdale's Roundabout. In addition to September's Steam release, the former Harmonix and Twisted Pixel designer is also bringing the dream to Xbox One and PS4 in early 2015.

The long and short of Roundabout is it's exactly like being a chauffeur in the 1970s, except your limo is always spinning around. Teasdale's No Goblin studio joshes the game includes "cutting edge full motion video technology," with games industry faces taking the limelight.

Check out a new trailer below the break.

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Blizzard boss responds to lack of diversity in games, marketing

Every few years the lumbering entity that is Blizzard forgets its demographics and diverse player base and goes on an apology tour. The latest one comes courtesy of the male-heavy marketing for World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, a potentially tone-deaf April Fool's joke and pivoting on a diversity issues the company dealt with nearly ten years ago already.

"And we know that actions speak louder than words, so we are challenging ourselves to draw from more diverse voices within and outside of the company and create more diverse heroes and content," wrote Blizzard President Mike Morhaime, responding to a rather well-detailed bit of criticism. "We are also actively looking at our story development and other processes to ensure that our values are fully represented."

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Danganronpa 2 trailer is 219 seconds of madness


A new trailer for Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair claims to offer a "simple explanation" of the class trial. And it's true, we can't say it doesn't explain the game's Survivor-like twist on its Ace Attorney-esque gameplay. That said, it's also utterly bonkers.

Suffice to say, here's a warning if you don't like talking rabbits getting thumped by talking bears, or NSFW content (Teruteru, man, what's up with you?) Anyway, Spike Chunsoft's Vita game hits North America on September 2 and Europe three days later.

If you'd prefer something a bit lighter, below the break there's another NIS America trailer for Vita platformer The Firefly Diary, which is due on PSN this fall.

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