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Far Cry 4, Assassin's Creed: Unity pre-orders live on Steam

Ubisoft has made it a bit easier for fans to fork over their money by opening Steam pre-orders for two of the publisher's biggest upcoming releases, Far Cry 4 and Assassin's Creed: Unity.

Players will be rewarded for pre-ordering either game with a host of bonus content. A Far Cry 4 pre-order awards players three extra missions starring the lovably combustible Hurk of Far Cry 3 and an exclusive weapon. Those who pre-order Assassin's Creed: Unity will pick up a new mission (dubbed "The Chemical Revolution"), as well as special in-game pants, shirt and rapier.

Both Assassin's Creed: Unity and Far Cry 4 can be pre-ordered from Steam for $60, though especially devoted fans can instead opt to pre-order the Gold edition of either game for $90 which includes a DLC Season Pass. Assassin's Creed: Unity is currently slated to launch on October 28, while Far Cry 4 debuts on November 18.
[Image: Ubisoft]

Catch the Metal Gear Solid 5 preview at the Gamescom gala

In a powerful demonstration of the mantra "go big or go home," Konami will be previewing Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain not on a show floor, but at a special gala event in Cologne, Germany, the company has announced. The celebration will take place at the Cologne Musical Dome at 8 p.m. CET on August 13, coinciding with Gamescom 2014.

The event will also be streamed via Konami's Twitch page, meaning you won't have to be a globe-trotting super-spy in order to attend. Simply tune in at 11 a.m. Pacific / 2 p.m. Eastern to catch the preview as it happens.

A related Konami press release promises a live Q&A session with Metal Gear Solid series creator Hideo Kojima, as well as "a few surprises." Considering the last "surprise" turned out to be a massive fake-out revolving around a fake company and a Swedish pseudonym, we can't even begin to imagine what Kojima has in mind.
[Image: Konami]

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Galaga star makes Super Smash Bros. cameo

For his latest Miiverse Super Smash Bros. tease, director Masahiro Sakurai has put his roster of Nintendo characters on the shelf in favor of a Bandai Namco arcade icon, the Boss Galaga.

"If you get caught in the Boss Galaga item's tractor beam, it will carry you away to the top of the screen," Sakurai wrote. "You can shoot it down, but it won't join you in battle for double the firepower."

For those too young to recall the early arcades, the Boss Galaga made its debut in the 1981 hit Galaga. Unlike other Galaga critters which sought only to destroy the player's ship, the Boss Galaga attempted to draw the ship in via tractor beam. If the Boss Galaga stole a player's ship and was then killed, the ship it swiped would be combined with the player's existing ship, doubling its effective firepower.

As Sakurai mentioned, none of this takes place in Super Smash Bros., but at least now you know why the pixelated bug is attempting to abduct Donkey Kong.

Dead Rising sales still good, can't save Capcom's Q1

Capcom's first quarter in the 2014 - 2015 fiscal year starts on a down note, with a 45.1 percent decrease in net sales compared with the previous year. Operating income is up 75.3 percent, while net income is down 7.5 percent year-over-year, Capcom says in its Q1 financial report.

Capcom attributes the downturn to a lack of major new releases in Q1, though it says that Dead Rising 3 "continued to show a robust sale" during the quarter, as did the online game Monster Hunter Frontier GG. For mobile, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite (iOS) performed well, Capcom says.

"Capcom has promoted measures to improve earnings by reducing the cost of sales in the Mobile Contents sub-segment, etc. and cutting back on selling, general and administrative expenses, which resulted in 75.3 percent growth in operating income," Capcom says.

The company's forecast for the year ending March 31, 2015, remains the same – net sales of 80,000 million yen ($786 million) and an operating income of 10,500 million yen ($103 million).
[Image: Capcom]

Joystiq Streams: Taking a hike through 1001 Spikes

A theme has emerged on Joystiq Streams. Revisiting our recent tours through Secret Ponchos, Gods Will Be Watching, and Killzone Shadow Fall Intercept, it would appear that the Joystiq crew plays video games wherein we die a lot. Rather than try to sit back, reassess our skills, and try to not die so much, we have made the extra bold decision to lean into the death.

Nicalis' 1001 Spikes is our destination, a veritable pit of doom, demise, and destruction perfect for our willfully mad approach to playing games live for your entertainment. Old-style pixelized punishment in the grand tradition of La Mulana, Super Meat Boy, and VVVVVV, 1001 Spikes is primed to tear us apart.

Starting at 4PM EST, we'll be streaming 1001 Spikes on Joystiq.com/Twitch. If you've ever wondered what it sounds like when a South African man struggles desperately to not curse like a sailor, you're in for a treat, because Ludwig Kietzmann will be playing. Anthony John Agnello will be hanging out in the chat, whispering your words of encouragement to Ludwig even as we silently laugh at his failures.

Joystiq Streams broadcasts every Tuesday and Thursday at 4PM EST at Joystiq.com/Twitch, but we often stream other times, so make sure to click that follow button on Twitch to get an alert when we go live.
[Images: Nicalis]

Crazy Taxi's touchscreen-oriented offspring is out on iOS



Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah!

Taxi cabs are burning rubber on iOS devices today with the release of Crazy Taxi: City Rush. The new game is designed by Kenji Kanno, creator of the original Crazy Taxi, and developed by Hardlight Studios, of Sonic Dash and Sonic Jump Fever. The game is free to download on iPad, iPod touch and iPhone today, and is scheduled for Android release "very soon," according to a press release.

Controls have been designed "from the wheels up" for touchscreen devices, with players using their fingers to swipe and poke at a 3D, explorable city on the bay called ... Bay City. Well, no one could accuse the Crazy Taxi series of being obtuse. Other than the touchscreen controls, City Rush works much the same as the original Crazy Taxi games: find a fare, pick them up, get them to their destination as fast as possible, traffic laws (and physics) be damned.

No word on how often the game will cycle through the same seven songs from The Offspring and Bad Religion. Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah!
[Image: Sega]

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New Nintendo eShop releases: Mega Man Battle Network, Steel Empire

The Nintendo eShop brings us multiple blasts from the past this week, as the Nintendo 3DS hosts a remade 16-bit shoot-'em-up while the Wii U nabs a classic Mega Man game.

Capcom's Mega Man Battle Network joins the Wii U's Virtual Console lineup today, introducing the 2001 Game Boy Advance RPG spinoff to a new generation of players. Other Wii U eShop games premiering this week include the arcade-style shooter XType Plus, logic puzzler IQ Test, and Frederic: Resurrection of Music, a story-heavy rhythm game starring a reanimated Frederic Chopin.

3DS owners can expect to see the kid-friendly action game Lego Ninjago: Nindroids, slicing puzzler Tangram Attack, and Steel Empire, a remake of a steampunk-themed shoot-'em-up originally released for the Sega Genesis.

Looking for 3DS deals? Starting today, you can pick up Sweet Memories: Blackjack for 30 percent off ($2.79), WAKEDAS for 34 percent off ($1.99), and Darts Up 3D for 67 percent off (99 cents) through August 20. A full list of this week's releases is available after the break.

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On my iPad: Ephemerid

My iPad is rapidly becoming one of my favorite gaming platforms. It's lightweight, has a nice big screen, and there's a wonderful variety of gaming experiences available for it. The app store, on the other hand, is a nightmare, and finding quality games in there just by poking around is nearly impossible. I find most of my favorite stuff via word of mouth or just plain dumb luck, which is a less than ideal methodology. With "On my iPad," I'll point you to some games that I've found to be worth checking out. They may be new or just new to you, but hopefully you'll discover something that you'll enjoy.

Ephemerid is a "musical adventure" starring an unlikely hero: a mayfly. Part rhythm game, part musical storybook, Ephemerid takes you through the charming little bug's life as he flutters through the trees, rescues bees, is trapped by a spider, and meets the night amongst the stars. Real mayflies aren't nearly as adorable as the star of Ephemerid, but they share one sad trait: an extremely short life span. Adult mayflies typically live for just one day, an odd quirk of nature that suits the brief format of the game extremely well. Plus, it makes our little winged hero quite the underdog; the poor guy only has from sunup 'til sundown to make the most of things, so naturally you want to help.

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Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition pre-order bonuses for the PS4 player's soul

Previous editions of Diablo 3 had plenty of evil on tap, but Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition will render those versions moot when it comes out on August 19. While Blizzard is releasing the Ultimate Evil Edition on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 as well as their predecessors, the digital pre-orders which opened on Wednesday are only available on PS3 and PS4. Those that take advantage of PSN pre-orders will also get their hands on some exclusive content, including the truly odd add-ons themed around some of Sony's signature games.

"The Guise of the Colossi," the first of these add-ons, lets you transmogrify armor into six freaky, human-sized avatars based on the monsters from Shadow of the Colossus. It's unclear if these armor variants will also make Diablo's enemies feel horribly guilty about killing you in battle.

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Put down your tea and watch this Shadow of Mordor gameplay


We're not sure why the narrator isn't more excited in this video about the Wraith abilities in Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. Everything we've seen about this game makes us more and more stoked about it, so this guy's mellow demeanor is a bit confusing. Maybe he just had some nice chamomile tea. That could be it.

Seriously, check out our video preview. This game is looking legit. A small blessing for the game is that it was moved up to a September 30 launch away from the October bloodbath.

F1 series making last-gen pit stop ahead of 2015 upgrade


Codemasters announced the next entry in its annual F1 series is coming to PS3, Xbox 360 and PC on October 17 in Europe and October 21 in North America. Then next year, the UK developer plans to release the series' first entry on the latest consoles, a separate game that's confirmed for Xbox One, PS4 and PC.

Interestingly, Codemasters Community Manager Luke Spring said the 2015 game will hit store shelves earlier in the F1 season - typically F1 seasons run from March to November. Spring added the new game will add "2015" content throughout the season, adding that players will be able to compete "against the same drivers and teams you watch week in and week out." - F1 rosters are much more static throughout a season compared to other sports, so it'll be interesting to see what the additional content exactly entails.

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PlayStation Now subscription option 'definitely in the works'


With PlayStation Now ready to enter its open beta today, Sony's Jack Buser answered calls for a subscription model by saying it's "definitely something in the works." The director of the game-streaming program elaborated on the PS Blog, writing, "...we've heard you loud and clear for an update on a PS Now subscription option and want to reassure you that we are working on it."

To recap, PlayStation Now lets players stream PS3 games from Sony's cloud servers to PS4, and other systems in the future. Currently the beta only offers rental options, with players able to access games for either 4 hours, 7 days, 30 days or 90 days. As displayed in a new video, there are different prices for different games - Vigil Games' Darksiders, for example, is $3 for 4 hours, $6 for a week, $8 for 30 days and $15 for 90.

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Check your mail, Evolve alpha invites are out in the wild

You may want to investigate your inbox for signs of evolution, because 2K announced it's sent out invites for the Evolve alpha. According to images posted online, the alpha PC test will run this weekend between Friday, August 1 and Sunday, August 3.

If you signed up but didn't get an invite, 2K says there'll be more opportunities in "future alphas." In the meantime, you can live Turtle Rock's Kraken-cracking shooter through our video preview. In it, Editor-in-Chief Ludwig Kietzmann describes the game as similar to that Jurassic Park scene where Robert Muldoon is alone hunting the velociraptor, but now there are four Robert Muldoons and the velociraptor is Godzilla. But no Jeff Goldblum, sadly.

If you'd rather wait for the game proper, Evolve hits PS4, Xbox One and PC on October 21.
[Image: 2K]

Hyrule Warriors gets its own Nintendo Direct stream next week


Nintendo is bringing Hyrule Warriors directly to you in another idiosyncratic broadcast on August 4, with an English version confirmed courtesy of Nintendo of America. The game's Nintendo Direct airs on YouTube and the company's site, and the Zelda-themed carnage is set to begin at the not-so-friendly time of 8PM PT/11PM ET.

The news follows confirmation Ocarina of Time's Sheik, Darunia, and Princess Ruto join the Wii U game's cast of heroes - you can see all the playable characters unveiled so far in the video up top. However, there's one must-have inclusion we're still waiting on...

Hyrule Warriors hits Europe on September 19 and North America on September 26. In the interim, check out our E3 preview to see why Joystiq's Danny Cowan describes the game as the Zelda beat-em-up you never knew you wanted.
[Image: Nintendo]

There's something about Marie in Persona 4 Arena Ultimax

Atlus confirmed Marie as the second DLC character for Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, and like Adachi she'll be free to download during the fighter's launch week. After that, Persona 4 Golden's cap-clad scamp will revert to being paid-for content.

Marie's also starring in the new Persona 4 Golden anime, which began airing on Aniplex earlier this month. So, if you're a Persona fan waiting for the deluge of games on the way - including Ultimax, Persona Q, Persona 4: Dancing All Night and Persona 5 - that might be worth a watch before things kick off this year. Persona Q is already lined up for November 25, while Ultimax remains ready to hit PS3 and Xbox 360 sometime this fall.
[Image: Atlus]

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The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast 106: The Crew, Gods Will Be Watching, The Walking Dead, game delays

Latest episode: Friday, July 25th, 2014

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