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Europeans free to buy physical copies of Vita's Freedom Wars

Sony Europe U-turned on its decision to only release Freedom Wars online, and now the Vita action game will be available on European retail shelves. In one of those all too rare cases of publishers listening to consumers, Sony says it gave in to demand for a physical edition. The game's already confirmed to hit retail in North America.

To recap, Freedom Wars isn't a recreation of Braveheart, but a futuristic online multiplayer game in the vein of Vita entries Soul Sacrifice and Toukiden: The Age of Demons. In the game's totalitarian landscape, you play as one of a world of prisoners who are born into million-year sentences. Since a million years is pretty dang long, you'll want to reduce your incarceration by completing missions for your "Panopticon" penal community.

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Report: Former Bungie composer O'Donnell settles case

Former Bungie composer Marty O'Donnell's "without cause" termination from the company has concluded with a settlement between the Halo and Destiny tunesmith and Bungie studio head Harold Ryan, reports VentureBeat.

The settlement will net O'Donnell a little over $95,000 in unpaid work, vacation time and damages. His work can still be found in Destiny.

Previewing WildStar's Daggerstone Pass PvP battleground

What a beautiful day it's going to avoid being.
Before I talk about the upcoming PvP map for WildStar, I feel I should really defend myself for my usual performance in PvP. Here's the simple version: I am all right at PvP. I know enough about what I'm supposed to do to avoid completely shaming myself. I am not the best. But can I turn a ragtag group of other journalists into a fighting force capable of defeating preformed groups of people wearing PvP gear?

Definitely not.

Along with several other journalists, I took to the field with Carbine Studios staff members yesterday, boosted my fresh Exile character up to 50, and took on all comers in the rated version of the new Daggerstone Pass. We lost several times. On the bright side, we lost in such a way that I was able to get a better sense of the map and can talk about it with some confidence, so that's good. In my weak defense, I don't think we had a chance against a fully premade team in PvP gear anyway.

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Games and Twitch at the heart of Nvidia's Shield Tablet

Nvidia believes the market is ready for a specialty tablet that can run Unreal Engine 4 with ease, play your PC games remotely and broadcast your every demise in Spelunky. Built around its Tegra K1 processor and partnered with a wireless controller, Nvidia's Shield Tablet is that specialty product. It plays native Android games, streams your large Steam library (aren't they all inevitably large?) and offers a quick route to Twitch.

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Flameseeker Chronicles: Introducing Guild Wars 2's Dragon's Reach

Can this sharktoothed flopears gnaw through Mordremoth's vines?! Stay tuned!
Today's edition of the Flameseeker Chronicles is a little bit special. We've got the teaser trailer for Guild Wars 2's next living world release, The Dragon's Reach: Part One. We've got some sweet screenshots provided by ArenaNet to feast your peepers on: aw, yeah. And if that's not enough, I got the chance to chat with Associate Game Director Steven Waller about next week's episode. Check out the video, and then read on!

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Disney's Castle of Illusion lowers the bridge for Mac this week

It's not a trick, Michael, it's Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse, and it's out this week on Mac. The 2013 remake of Disney's classic platformer hits the platform on Thursday, July 24, courtesy of Feral Interactive. It's priced $15 in the US and £10 across the pond.

In our four-star review, Danny Cowan deemed Castle of Illusion a "very successful remake." In his words, the new incarnation "captures the original's unique style while expanding on it in a meaningful way, without burdening the experience with unnecessary additions or other concessions to the Disney license. Castle of Illusion is blessed with a magic that transcends licensing, and 20 years after its initial release, it's still a damn fine platformer."
[Image: Disney]

Media Moleceule embraces the glitch in new PS4 video


A warning straight away: There are a lot of flashing lights and colors in the above video, so if you're sensitive to that sort of thing, be careful. That should give you an idea of just how mad this latest Media Molecule madness is.

What you're watching is taken from Media Molecule's unannounced PS4 project, but it's all the result of a rendering error. After discovering the glitch, the LittleBigPlanet dev decided it was freaky enough to publish, so it layered some techno music over the top and sent the video forth onto the Internet. As first looks at a game go, it's... different.

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Wii U update adds system-to-system transfers

Wii U owners can proverbially move home from one system to another using a new feature introduced in the latest system update. The 5.1.0 U firmware adds "Transfer Between Wii U Systems," allowing you to take all system data - user data, games and saves included - from the original console and move it onto the new one.

The most important things you'll need to switch Wii Us are a SD card capable of holding all the data, and both systems to hand, fully updated and each with a GamePad attached. If you don't have your original Wii U, you'll need to contact Nintendo support. Also, be aware the transfer formats the new system before transferring data across, and also formats the original after the process. So when it's over you'll have your new Wii U with all your old Wii U data on it and nothing else, while the old Wii U will be a blank slate. For more info, check out Nintendo's detailed instructions.

Finally, if you - like us - get frustrated with having to relocate the GamePad when visiting the eShop, those woes are over now. Yes, the update also introduces eShop browsing using other peripherals including the Wii Remote, Wii U Pro Controller and Classic Controller.
[Image: Nintendo]

Take a break in Destiny's beta

Image There are some who may want a break from all the gunfire in Destiny, Bungie's latest FPS that entered its beta phase on PS4 last week and will arrive on Xbox One tomorrow. We compiled a list of things to do in Destiny's beta in this gallery to keep you busy when it returns.... Continue Reading

Facebook's acquisition of Oculus is now official

Facebook's $2 billion acquisition of Oculus VR closed today, officially cementing the deal that was announced in March. Oculus and Facebook are as inseparable as a vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity. Or a tech company and another tech company targeting a slightly different market.

To celebrate their unity, Facebook and Oculus released a single, joint statement regarding today's finalization: "We're looking forward to an exciting future together, building the next computing platform and reimagining the way people communicate."

We discussed the Facebook deal with Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe at E3: He said that Oculus always planned to reach a mass market, and Facebook, with its 1.2 billion users, helps the company reach that goal.
[Image: Oculus VR]

Modern Combat 5 cracked, pirated by contest winner

Pirated copies of the mobile first-person shooter Modern Combat 5: Blackout flooded torrent websites this weekend, reportedly originating from a copy of the game distributed by the developer as part of a contest.

Gameloft held the giveaway recently, inviting players into the game early. "One of the winners cracked and uploaded it," Touch Arcade editor-in-chief Eli Hodapp tweeted. Thousands of players are already online, he added.

"As you can imagine I am really pissed off," Gameloft community manager Florian Weber wrote in a message on a Modern Combat Facebook group HUB page. "To anybody who got MC5 already, shame on you! We are making games for you and all you can do is pirate them? Anybody which is talking to me and shows in some way that he already has MC5 will get an instant ban."

In a separate statement, Gameloft said it has activated its anti-piracy measures in the game and that all "illegitimate users on a non-official version have been incapacitated." Modern Combat 5 officially launches for iOS, Android and Windows 8 devices on July 24. "We will continue to stay alert and respond adequately to all hacking attempts," Gameloft further promised.

[Art: Gameloft]

Newbee wins first place, $5 million in Dota 2 International

Newbee takes home more than $5 million in prize money after defeating ViCi Gaming in The International Dota 2 Grand Finals today. This is part of the largest payout ever in an eSports competition, with a final pool of $10.9 million. Even second place isn't too shabby: ViCi Gaming takes home $1.5 million.

Newbee entered the finals with a 7-8 record, compared with ViCi's 12-3 record. Newbee lost the first of five matches in the Grand Finals, but rallied and won the following three in a row. Both teams hail from China.

Third place, Evil Geniuses, wins $1 million, and fourth place, DK, gets $819,000. See the complete breakdown of winners on the Dota 2 website.
[Image: Valve]

Happy 50th birthday, Ryu!

Street Fighter's iconic world warrior Ryu has just hit the big 5-0, a Reddit post pointed out earlier today. Feel free to send him "over the hill" birthday cards and jokey coffee mugs to mark the start of his sixth virtual decade. He'd love that.

A red-headed Ryu got his start in 1987's awful arcade brawler Street Fighter, overcoming clunky controls to beat Sagat and claim the title of world champion. Ryu later starred as the default character choice in the moderately more successful Street Fighter 2, and went on to appear in countless sequels, spin-offs, and side-stories alongside his brother-from-another-mother Ken.

Happy 50th, Ryu! Here's hoping you're still punching that waterfall when you're 100.

[Image: Capcom / kotogo]

Tetris Ultimate stacks exclusive challenge modes on 3DS

Ubisoft announced that its upcoming revamp of the classic block-stacking puzzler Tetris will feature platform-exclusive challenge modes when it hits the Nintendo 3DS this fall.

The 3DS version of Tetris Ultimate includes a "Master" mode inspired by Arika's Tetris: The Grand Master, challenging players to form lines with blocks that drop instantly and appear at the bottom of the screen. Tetris Ultimate also features a "Rotation Lock" mode that freezes falling pieces in random orientations, an "Escalation" mode that demands players clear more lines as levels ramp up in difficulty, and an "Invisible" mode that turns blocks invisible as they approach the bottom of the screen.

Tetris Ultimate is also slated to launch for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 this summer. A digital release for the PlayStation Vita and PC platforms will follow in the fall.

[Image: Ubisoft]

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Hori's 3DS accessory gives one hand a second circle pad

One of the bigger issues with playing a Monster Hunter game on the 3DS is the hand cramping that accompanies the game's camera controls. As discussed in our Deja Review of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate, the Circle Pad Pro add-on is essential for the 3DS version of the game, and now Hori is taking the concept for the accessory and tweaking it for Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (4G in Japan) players.

Dubbed the Extended Slide Pad, Hori's new accessory adds an extra shoulder button to the right half of the 3DS or 3DS XL and a second circle pad to the left half for players' nimble index fingers to take hold of. The controller add-on also adds a "ZL" shoulder button to the underside of the 3DS near its Monster Hunter 4G branding, turning compatible games into a workout for players' left hands. There are two versions of the Extended Slide Pad controller, one for 3DS and another for the 3DS XL, and each cost 2,980 yen ($29). The accessory will arrive in Japan on the same day Monster Hunter 4G launches, October 11.
[Image: Hori]

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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