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Out of nowhere, 3D Realms teases return of Major Stryker


In the most unexpected news you'll read today, publisher 3D Realms appears to be planning the return of Major Stryker, assuming a vague, 38-second YouTube clip is to be believed.

For those who don't keep meticulous tabs on the minor shareware hits of 1993, Major Stryker was a 2D, MS-DOS-exclusive vertical shooter that dropped players into the boots of the titular Major as he soared through the skies blasting enemies and collecting power-ups. At debut Major Stryker received middling reviews and the game was released as freeware in 2006.

What 3D Realms has planned for the archaic shooter is unknown - the only reason we know the above teaser is even related to Major Stryker is the video's title and its catchy music - but the tweet accompanying this footage urges fans to "Get Ready for August!" If you'd rather not wait, you can download Major Stryker from 3D Realms' website.
[Image: 3D Realms]

Neverwinter unveils the Dragonborn Pack

FUZZ ROW D'AWW!  Please don't sue.
Were you worried that Neverwinter's fourth major update, Tyranny of Dragons, would feature too few dragons? We're not sure how you could have been worried about that, but the good news is that you can bring even more dragon into your play experience by playing a Dragonborn. No, not that kind of Dragonborn; the kind that's literally half-dragon. Or all dragon, but... humanoid dragon. You get the idea. And you can play one.

Buying the game's Dragonborn Legend Pack unlocks the new race as well as a set of cosmetic armor for your new man-dragon, the special Heart of the Red Dragon artifact, and a variety of other rewards including a race change token. The pack is on sale until August 18th, allowing players a chance to get in on the race at a discount. Whether you want to just one-up roleplayers claiming to be half-dragon or can't get enough lizards in your gameplay, you can pick up the pack now if it's your sort of fun.

2K is teasing something BioShock related

2K Games' UK branch has posted a teaser image recalling earlier entries in the BioShock series, sparking a new wave of fan theories and speculation.

"Come bite the Apple!" reads a faux advertisement from Eve's Garden, an exotic dancing club featured in the original BioShock and BioShock 2's multiplayer component. The Biblical allusion accompanies BioShock's narrative focus on "ADAM," a liquid substance that allows players to equip new Plasmid superpowers.

Developer Irrational Games wrapped up its DLC plans for BioShock Infinite with the release of Burial at Sea Episode Two earlier this year, and series co-creator Ken Levine recently reflected on the now-lost possibility of a turn-based BioShock game for the PS Vita. 2K itself, however, has not elaborated on the posted image's meaning. What do you think they're teasing?

[Image: 2K]

Put those goats to use in Tropico 5's 'The Big Cheese' DLC

Mmm, cheese. Tropico 5's first DLC pack is called The Big Cheese, and it involves actually making cheese in El Presidente's very own artisan factory, The Creamery. The Big Cheese is available now for $4, or free for those who pre-ordered the game via Steam or purchased a physical boxed copy.

"'The Big Cheese' DLC, available today, challenges players to create and promote an artisan cheese brand by introducing a new production chain with The Creamery: a new building that enables you to make the most of Tropico's local goats and llamas," Kalypso says in a press release. "Put on the chef's hat and face international competition in an epic quest to create the best cheese in the world!"

Update 1.04 is live today as well, enabling saves in multiplayer and squashing some bugs. We can't have bugs in the cheese factory, after all.
[Image: Kalypso]

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Joystiq Streams: Killzone Shadow Fall Intercept brings us together [UPDATE: We're live!]



Joystiq Streams simply can't stop shooting things on Joystiq.com/Twitch. We tried not to, we really did. First we tried to play The Crew beta, but technical issues forced Anthony John Agnello and Xav de Matos to retreat to the warm climes of Far Cry 3 co-op. On Wednesday, Joystiq succumbed fully to Destiny's charms, so Susan Arendt, Jess Conditt, and Xav put the beta through its paces on Xbox One. Now it's time for Killzone: Shadow Fall Intercept, the new cooperative campaign for PlayStation 4's signature shooter.

Starting at 4PM EST, Joystiq Streams will play through Killzone: Shadow Fall Intercept with an all-star cast. Danny Cowan and Earnest "Nex" Cavalli will be on hand for some Helghast-flavored firefights, while Xav de Matos pulls off a streaming hat trick for the week. Anthony John Agnello will be hanging in the chat, feeding your myriad questions to the squad.

Joystiq Streams regularly broadcasts at 4PM EST on Joystiq.com/Twitch every Tuesday and Thursday. Little secret: We stream a lot outside that regularly scheduled programming, so make sure to follow us on Twitch to know when we go live!
[Image: Sony Computer Entertainment]

No bones about it: Silent Scope returns to Japanese arcades


After more than a decade, Konami's fan-favorite sniper simulation franchise Silent Scope is making a return to the arcade with the decidedly anime-styled Silent Scope: Bone Eater.

What peering through the lens of a high-caliber rifle has to do with munching skeletons is anyone's guess, but according to the intro cinematic seen above, Bone Eater bears all of the series' trademarks: a reduced, simulation-style field of view, bonus points for long distance headshots and endless legions of nondescript thugs unwittingly begging for a bullet through the brain pan.

According to Siliconera, Silent Scope: Bone Eater boasts network connectivity, allowing up to four snipers to work together to dispatch enemies. Bone Eater is currently in development for Japanese arcades, with an estimated launch date of later this year. An international arcade release is possible, though given the dearth of arcades elsewhere in the world, it's unlikely you'll ever see a Silent Scope: Bone Eater machine outside of Japan.
[Image: Konami]

Halo still evolving its combat, graphics and more on PC



Halo: Combat Evolved has already had its Anniversary edition on Xbox 360, and later this year, we'll see its remastered form once again as part of The Master Chief Collection on Xbox One. But official efforts from Microsoft and 343 Industries aren't the only ones working to update John-117 and Cortana's adventures; a group of modders has created "SPV3," a mod that improves the visuals while adding features not only from later Halo games, but some completely new ones as well.

Want to hijack a Ghost? Take out a Brute with the Battle Rifle? Such are the dreams that SPV3 makes into reality. The mod is a work-in-progress, however, and won't be ready until later this year. The recently-released trailer shows that instead of being made available all at once, the group behind SPV3 is aiming to release individual levels over the course of two months later this year. Check out the full list after the break:

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Titanfall adds 'Black Market' and in-game currency system

Respawn Entertainment added a new in-game market to Titanfall known as the "Black Market," which allows players to redeem credits in the game for burn card packs and insignias. For instance, the game's standard burn card pack costs 5,000 credits and contains six random pilot and Titan burn cards. Players will have access to the Black Market once they reach level 11 and have opened the burn card menu.

Respawn emphasized that the game's new currency and market updates do not indicate that Titanfall players will be spending real money in the game at any point, driving the point home with an all-caps "NO MICROTRANSACTIONS" note in its announcement.

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Kickstarter-funded game developer at heart of Airbnb squatter scandal

Reports from multiple sources identify the culprit behind a recent high-profile Airbnb squatting case as Maksym Pashanin, a game developer who turned to Kickstarter last year to fund the courier-themed roguelike RPG Confederate Express.

Airbnb is an online service that allows travelers to seek out low-cost temporary lodging provided by independent homeowners. According to CNN Travel, Pashanin is taking advantage of a California law that protects squatter's rights. After using Airbnb to negotiate a 30-day stay at a privately owned condominium in Palm Springs, Pashanin and his brother refused to move out afterward, claiming that tenants who occupy a living space for more than 30 consecutive days are automatically granted a month-to-month lease under state law.

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Court approves settlement over Sony's 2011 PSN breach

The US District Court for the Southern District of California approved a settlement for the class action lawsuit resulting from Sony's 2011 PSN data breach. The settlement may result in Sony doling out as much as $17.75 million, which includes an offer for one free game (PS3 or PSP only), three PS3 themes or credit for three months of PlayStation Plus membership (valid only for new subscribers).

The claimant groups are divided based on whether PSN account holders prior to May 15, 2011 took advantage of the "Welcome Back" program following the intrusion. Those that did not accept the PSN Welcome Back offer can claim two of the benefit options among the games, themes and PS Plus membership credit on a first come, first served basis until a $6 million allocation from Sony is reached. For those that did take advantage of the program, they will receive one of the benefits above until a $4 million allocation is reached.

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New Nintendo eShop releases: Siesta Fiesta, Wooden Sen'Sey, Master Reboot


As we're still stuck in the July drought of major new releases, now's as good a time as any to check out some of the smaller games hitting systems. The Wii U has a few such games this week, including some that have made the journey from other platforms.

If you like the sound of sci-fi first-person horror, Master Reboot's exploration of uploading consciousness may be for you. If you'd prefer something lighter, Wooden Sen'Sey promises action-platforming with "Japan Steam Rock" humor - y'know, like all those Japanese Steam Rock sitcoms. Both games are also available on PC, and PS3 too for Master Reboot.

The game that catches our eye this week, though, is on 3DS, and it's Siesta Fiesta. It looks like Breakout combined with the colorful, over-cheery craziness of games like Rayman and LocoRoco, and it's definitely the season for something like that.

As ever, faithful readers of this weekly post, you'll find the full list of new releases below the break. That just leaves new sales to talk about: Trine 2 is 60 percent off - that's down from $20 to $8 - until August 12, while Atlus games Devil Survivor Overclocked ($15), Shin Megami Tensei: Soul Hackers ($15), Shin Megami Tensei 4 ($24) and Code of Princess ($15) are all on sale until August 4.

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Dark Souls 2 'Crown of the Sunken King' review: Lost and crowned

After losing days to just navigating Lordran, I understood the switch to more linear pathways in Dark Souls 2. Still, I missed getting truly lost in the first game's open world. It was a labyrinthine mess that coiled in on itself in the most confusing ways, and it added another layer to an already oppressive game. The world itself was against you in Dark Souls, and it magnified those feelings of dread, challenge and, eventually, satisfaction.

It's great to see Crown of the Sunken King, the first Dark Souls 2 DLC expansion, is closer to the first game's mazey madness, albeit in a more conscise form. Its rocky inclines and crumbling chambers don't so much twist and turn as gently lead you astray, and the interconnections are more foreshadowed. It makes sense for the DLC's scope; it takes five hours to find and defeat the final boss, and that's even if you lose your way a few times.

All the same, in its stone-cold heart of hearts, Sunken King is just more Dark Souls 2, albeit inevitably tougher. There are a few new enemies - some total bastards - while others are more reworked and re-skinned, but generally the higher difficulty comes from placement and numbers.

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Disney Infinity 2.0 hits North America on September 23.0

The Marvel-stuffed Disney Infinity 2.0 is officially hitting North America's store shelves on September 23, a date that's been rumored for a while. We've confirmed with Disney the release date applies to the PS4, Xbox One. Wii U, Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the sequel.

Disney also confirmed the pre-order program GameStop's been advertising, which bundles in an extra $14-value Disney Infinity 2.0 figure, is available at "top retailers nationwide." We reached out to Disney to find out the figures are available in the promo - UK retailer GAME says players can choose between Nick Fury, Hawkeye and Iron Fist.

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Akiba's Trip 2 brings the full monty, including PS4, to North America


Akiba's Trip 2 AKA the helpfully named Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed is confirmed for PS4 in North America. Acquire's action-RPG leaves its hat on the PS4 sometime this holiday season, after arriving on PS3 and Vita on August 12.

One of this year's more intellectual games, Akiba's Trip 2 tasks you with taking the clothes off vampire-like enemies terrorizing Tokyo. Because you want to shine sunlight onto their vampiric skin, of course. There's no other motivation than that, as the above NSFW trailer clearly shows.
[Image: XSEED]

Final Fantasy's Tetsuya Nomura envisions a new Batman

Square Enix unveiled a new Play Arts Kai statue that provides a glimpse of what a Batman game might look like in the hands of Tetsuya Nomura. The figure is one of a new Batman line dreamed up by the Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts designer, and it's on display at the San Diego Comic Con, which kicks off today.

The word that springs to mind for us is sharp, literally. The cape looks sharp, the horn-like ears look sharp, the additional claw things look sharp - generally the caped crusader looks dangerous to even touch. The most surprising aspect? We can only see the one belt.

Check out a larger shot of the very dark knight below the break. If you prefer your Batmen more 8-bit and purpley-blue (who doesn't?), take a gander here.

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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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