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Have some more lore in new Shadow of Mordor trailer

October 7th's helmeted headbutt between prominent fantasy games is officially over: Dragon Age Inquisition is moving to November, while Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor gets an earlier debut, on September 30. According to developer Monolith Productions, the open-world orc-stalker is progressing well enough to reach PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One and Xbox 360 a week earlier than first announced, with the PC version coming in on October 2.

Warner Bros. has also released a new trailer to coincide with the game's promotion at San Diego Comic-Con. The spectral figure paired with Shadow of Mordor's protagonist, Talion, is revealed to be Celebrimbor, the long-departed Elven smith who forged the Rings of Power. Beyond their connection to Middle-Earth's notorious mind-control jewelry, both Talion and Celebrimbor have reason to venture into Mordor and hijack Sauron's army for their own purposes.

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Joystiq Deals: MacBook Air Giveaway, Killer Instinct

Like free stuff? Joystiq Deals is giving you an opportunity to join the Mac community with our 11" MacBook Air Giveaway. Simply submit your e-mail address for a chance to win, and be sure to share the offer on Twitter and Facebook for additional contest entries. A winner will be chosen on September 23.

Xbox One owners get a discount on Killer Instinct and Powerstar Golf as part of this week's Deals with Gold promotion. The Xbox Marketplace is also offering a number of temporary price drops on superhero-themed games this week, including Injustice: Gods Among Us, Marvel vs. Capcom Origins, Amazing Spider-Man 2, and Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate. Sale prices remain in effect through next week.


Joystiq Deals is a partnership between AOL and StackSocial. A portion of sales goes to funding this site. Deals are curated by StackSocial independently of the Joystiq editorial team.

Joystiq Streams: Last licks in The Crew beta

What in the world is in that STREAM, what you got in that STREAM?
Get up out ya hater, we're playing
The Crew beta, wait to take place at a similar pace
So shake, shake it
Roll out! Roll out! Roll out! Roll out!
Get out my business, my biznass


Unable to get the lingering sense of defeat from Tuesday's stream out of our collective heads, the Joystiq driving club is going to get in some last licks with The Crew beta on Joystiq.com/Twitch.

Starting at 4PM EST, we're going to roll back into the crime ridden open world of Ubisoft's new racer. Xav de Matos, Jess Conditt, and Anthony John Agnello will be racing across the land. Alexander Sliwinski will be chilling in the chat, relaying your many questions to, well, the crew.

Joystiq.com/Twitch at 4PM EST! Joystiq Streams broadcasts every Tuesday and Thursday at 4PM EST, but make sure to follow us on Twitch for when we decide to get brazenly weird like we're doing right now.

[Images: Ubisoft]

Iron Banner challenges return to Destiny Beta

Heads up, Destiny level-cappers -- you've got a new challenge waiting for you. Bungie is reintroducing Iron Banner challenges in a series of special Crucible events throughout this weekend, giving Beta veterans an incentive to take on new competition.

To unlock the Iron Banner challenges, players must first visit Lord Saladin in Destiny's Tower hub area. Afterward, the Iron Banner can be accessed in a separate playlist within the Crucible. Make sure to hunt down some quality gear in the game's campaign mode first; Iron Banner matches do not place limits on player equipment, making your weapon and armor power levels key components to victory.

Matches take place across 'Rusted Lands' on Earth, 'First Light' on the Moon, 'Shores of Time' on Venus, and 'Blind Watch' on Mars, with special awards and gear available for players who advance in rank. Iron Banner events will be held today from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m PDT, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., and 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Challenges will also be available tomorrow from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., and 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

[Image: Bungie]

Firefly Online brings the crew back together (for voices)

Well, the important thing is that Sean Maher is working.
Despite the name, Firefly Online isn't really an MMO. But it does feature online interactions, and perhaps more importantly, it does feature the original cast together again. If you were hoping to hear Captain Malcolm Reynolds growl at you while you played the game -- and let's face it, odds are almost certain you were -- you can be happy to know that the main cast will be reprising their roles for the first time since the movie.

Alan Tudyk will also be voicing multiple roles, and Michael Fairman will be playing Niska, who is apparently hiring if you're none too worried about your conscience bothering you. The game is set to release in 2015 on multiple platforms.

Far Cry 4 promotional contest could send you to Mt. Everest


If you're so excited for Far Cry 4 that you'd risk death by avalanche, blizzard or grumpy yeti just to play the open-world shooter a few weeks early, Ubisoft has launched a PR stunt that may be right up your alley.

Officially dubbed the "Far Cry 4 Quest for Everest" contest, the promotion asks fans to submit a YouTube video explaining why they would be the best candidate to trek to the Mt. Everest base camp for a private, early hands-on session with the game. Ubisoft urges entrants to "be creative" with their videos, and cautions that only those in "very good physical condition" will be eligible to join the expedition. Further, the winner must have a valid US passport and be willing to travel to Everest during the month of October.

Assuming you meet all of these qualifications and can record something pithy and clever (but no more than two minutes in length), you can find details on where to submit your YouTube clip at the official contest website. Before you dash off to submit your entry though, keep in mind that the world's highest mountain has been particularly lethal this year.
[Image: Ubisoft]

BioWare's teaser linked to 'Seeking Henna' ARG mystery

Mass Effect and Dragon Age developer BioWare teased fans with a brief trailer that may or may not be a new project named "Shadow Realms." The developer sent emails with the teaser video and a link to a "You've Been Chosen" website owned by EA that featured the phrasing "The time is near. They are watching. Your power is rising. Cologne, Germany. You've Been Chosen."

That website isn't the only one registered to EA, however, as BioWare's teaser has been linked to a "Seeking Henna" alternate-reality game of sorts. As detailed by Dulfy.net, the Seeking Henna website includes a police report and a blog with some letters being underlined, indicating a code of some sort for fans to crack. The other site in question is for the "Woods-Watson Institute of Higher Learning."

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Crytek calls financial situation a 'transitional phase'

Despite numerous reports and rumblings of staff departures and resignations, Crytek has remained quiet regarding the company's overall financial situation. Until now, that is. A statement provided by a Crytek representative to Games Industry International claims that the company has been going through a "transitional phase" as it moves from being a development studio to an online publisher.

"Ultimately, with our organization, capitalization, portfolio and technologies we have now laid the foundations for securing Crytek's future - not just in the short term, but also long term," the note to Games Industry reads. "Through this period of speculation, we are thankful for the support and encouragement we've received from our community and our partners, and for the contribution all of our staff have made. We remain committed to doing what we are best known for and trying to develop the best interactive experiences and technology possible for everyone who loves gaming."

The statement also claims that while Crytek has secured the necessary capital to move forward, the company "won't be communicating further details about our developments and progress." However, the note also closes with the hope that there will be positive news to share soon. So ... no news unless it's good news, then?
[Image: Crytek]

TMNT movie tie-in mobile game out now, created by Combo Crew dev

Normally we'd ignore a movie tie-in mobile game, except that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was developed by a notable up-and-comer. First spotted by PocketGamer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was created by The Game Bakers, who created the enjoyable Combo Crew and colorful RPG Squids.

"The violence feels robust and chunky," PocketGamer says of the $3.99 premium app. The game is based on the movie, which is based on the show, which is based on the comic, which is based on thoughts conceived when someone mixed Fresca, Tab and pepperoni pizza in the 80s.

[Image: Nickelodeon]

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

Image
This week's Super Joystiq Podcast refuses to believe the apartment in Friends doesn't really exist.

We've somehow managed to rip our hearts and minds away from Bungie's monopolization of the gaming conversation for a week. Ludwig, Jess, Mike, and Anthony convene to talk some of the smaller games, and we've traded one beta for another. Tune in to hear about The Crew beta, the latest episode of The Walking Dead, and the brutal Gods Will Be Watching. Mike shares his thoughts on the Sunless Sea, and the group laments (and celebrates) the ever-shifting release dates of the seasons coming titles.

Listen to the Super Joystiq Podcast: Podcast timestamps and relevant links are available after the break.

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Kingdom Hearts dev's Batman comes from a canceled project

Whether you love it or loathe it, the Batman Play Arts statue dreamed up by Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts designer Tetsuya Nomura is a curious beast. After revealing the very dark knight yesterday, Nomura told Siliconera the design goes far back in time to a "game-related" project that was eventually canceled.

It goes so far back, Nomura said, that it began before Kingdom Hearts was even conceived. So if you're seeing a bit of keyblade armor in there, that's because the canceled project went on to influence the Disney series and its armor design, and not the other way round.

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Skylanders Trap Team to introduce 'Eon's Elite' premium toy line

Activision announced that it will roll out a new collector-oriented series of Skylanders toys following the launch of the multiplatform sequel Skylanders Trap Team this fall.

The new "Eon's Elite" figures feature a metallic finish, and sit atop a golden base inside a premium-packaged foil display case. If you can bring yourself to crack open the packages and ruin their aftermarket value, you'll find that the Eon's Elite toys summon in-game characters who are up to three times more powerful than their non-premium counterparts.

Today's announcement follows up on Activision's recently revealed Skylanders Trap Team Dark Edition, a bonus-bundled special edition of the game that will carry a premium price tag at retail. Recent announcements suggest that Trap Team will move beyond the series' traditional youth-oriented focus in order to appeal to an expanding collector market.

The first Eon's Elite series features relaunched characters from 2011's Skylanders Spyro's Adventure, including Spyro and Chop-Chop. Prices for the new toys were not announced, but given their focus on packaging and presentation, they're likely more expensive than currently available figures.

[Image: Activision]

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Massively interviews EVE executive producer Andie Nordgren

EVE Online title image
If you've been following the development of EVE Online lately, chances are you've heard of Andie 'CCP Seagull' Nordgren and her mission to make deep space colonisation and player-built stargates a reality. Andie has spearheaded the direction of EVE's development over the past few expansions and has gathered a considerable following in the EVE community. At EVE Fanfest 2014, we heard her plans to overhaul EVE's outdated sovereignty and corporation management systems, and to eventually introduce new deep space colonisation gameplay.

Today CCP announced that Andie Nordgren has been promoted to the position of Executive Producer on EVE Online. I caught up with her for a chat about development on EVE and to find out what this promotion means for the future the game. I've pulled together the important details from the interview in this article, and if you still have burning questions for Andie Nordgren, she's doing an AMA thread on Reddit right now!

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Wayward Manor review: More like Wayward Meh-nor

"Youth is no excuse for bad taste," the crotchety old house in Wayward Manor says as it watches a pair of gluttonous children chow down on sugary snacks within its creaking walls.

If youth doesn't excuse poor taste, then certainly there's no excuse for Wayward Manor's bland appeal, not when it comes from a successful studio – The Odd Gentlemen – and a world-renowned author – Neil Gaiman.

Wayward Manor seems as if it were a mobile game that somehow ended up on Steam for PC and Mac. Maybe it was put on Steam by mischievous poltergeists or vengeful spirits, but the fact remains that it doesn't feel, look or play like a desktop game.

This doesn't automatically equate a terrible experience, but, as a puzzle game, Wayward Manor leaves much to be desired in terms of complexity, and as a showcase for the writing of Neil Gaiman, it just barely scratches the surface of the narrative depth he's proven he can provide in comics, books and online ramblings. Rather than the scritch-scritch of razorblade claws creeping out of your bedroom closet, Wayward Manor's scratches are more like the pawing of a feisty, yet de-clawed, cat.

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Bayonetta 2's co-op mode bets on your success

Platinum Games' Wii U-exclusive sequel Bayonetta 2 will include a two-player mode. That much was revealed at E3 2013 by Nintendo, and further details on the game's online multiplayer offerings are now available via Famitsu (translation courtesy of Siliconera). The game's "Tag Climax" mode allows players to team up online with friends, strangers and CPU partners to annihilate waves of enemies and large bosses.

Online quick matches will also feature a betting system, in which players can wager in-game "Halos" to challenge their partner in a scoring contest to see who will rack up the most points in a match. The in-game currency can then be exchanged for additional weapon variations, accessories and techniques. Players will have the ability to pick their characters and weapon/accessory loadouts of choice as well as stages and their respective difficulty levels, with tougher matches resulting in higher Halos payouts (but at a steeper cost of entry). The equipment players carry in to Tag Climax mode is based on their progress in Bayonetta 2's main story mode as well. The game is slated to launch this October.

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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