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Sonic Team's Sonic Runners announced for smartphones

The next game from the hedgehog hive mind of Sonic Team is Sonic Runners, and it's coming to smartphones next year. Sega producer Takashi Iizuka announced the game at a Sonic fan event in Tokyo, and Famitsu says more details will spill next month. For now we just have the name, dev, platform and 2015 window - and no word either way on a Western release.

Sonic Team's last hog roast was Sonic: Lost World back in 2013, and since then the venerable studio's pumped out Puyo Puyo Tetris in Japan. It did supervise work on 2014's Sonic Booms, but they were chiefly developed by American teams Big Red Button and Sanzaru Games.

We may yet see something more sizable starring Sonic next year. Earlier this year a German toy fair promo seemed to let the hedgehog out of the bag, noting a new Sonic game for PS4, Xbox One and Wii U in 2015. Sega quickly stepped in to denounce the info as "incorrect."

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UK charts close out 2014 with CoD: Advanced Warfare as king

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is the last UK No. 1 of 2014, which isn't too surprising since this week's charts are nearly identical to last week's. You can check out that almost static top 10 below the break (along with the sometimes underwhelming but always customary music video). Meanwhile above the break, we're going to look back on a year of UK charts through the hallowed medium of statistics. And so:

Joystiq's Somewhat Scatterbrained UK Charts Statistics of 2014
  • 20 different games topped the charts in 2014 across 52 weeks
  • 5 of those were re-releases, with 7 weeks worth of No. 1s between them
  • Surprise surprise, FIFA 15 scored the longest run of consecutive No. 1s in 2014 (6)
  • Between them, FIFA 14 and FIFA 15 held the top spot for a total of 15 weeks
  • Add in Advanced Warfare and Titanfall, and that total goes up to 25 weeks
  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was Joystiq's lowest-rated game to earn a UK No. 1 (2 stars)
  • Grand Theft Auto 5 became the UK's all-time bestseller when it hit PS4 and Xbox One.
  • No. of times we've badly shopped Chelsea footballer Oscar a la FIFA 15 into images of other games: 3, including this week. Happy holidays, Oscar!

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Stiq Figures, December 15 - 21: 2015 resolutions edition

Welcome to Stiq Figures, where the sales data is after the break and the posts don't matter.

Now that we can count the remaining days of 2014 on one hand, you might hear an awful lot about New Year's resolutions over the coming days. Whether it's a completely new goal or something you committed to last year, changing up comfortable habits can be fun!

Fun or, in the case of my confessed achievement addiction in 2013, exceedingly necessary. I used to spend hours trying to clear achievement lists in their entirety, and unlike some of collectors who enjoy the hunt, I generally despised the effort. Thankfully, I've finally stopped caring – I don't even think to look at a game's remaining achievements before moving onto a new title, and the spared time has conveniently supported my second resolution from last year: To try more games I usually wouldn't go for.

This year, I intend to dig into the deeper cuts of the gaming series that I love. That means more handheld Castlevania and Zelda games, an introduction to the Mega Man X sub-series and plenty of oddball spinoffs like Donkey Kong Jungle Beat. I'll also double down on my existing efforts to try out unfamiliar territory like The Witcher series and unique smaller games, too.

Which gaming resolutions will you commit to for 2015? Share your goals with us, right after you check this week's Japanese hardware sales after the break!

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Joystiq's favorite races in games

It was revealed this week that the Heavensward expansion for Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn would introduce not only new jobs, but a new race for players to enjoy: the Au Ra. Featuring tails, scales and horns, the Au Ra blend humanoid features with those of dragons, and who doesn't want to be a dragon-person?

The news also gave us a chance to reflect on our own favorite races in gaming, which we've collected here for your viewing/judging pleasure. Of course, not everyone will have the same taste in fictional species (though one does make an encore appearance on our list) so tell us: what's your favorite race in games?

Nuclear Throne owners to receive giftable copy in January

The gift-giving season will last until at least January 1, the day that developer Vlambeer intends to give one free copy of Nuclear Throne to "every single person that has ever bought [it]," according to Vlambeer's Rami Ismail. As Nuclear Throne's community has gotten "too damn good at this video game," the extra copies are meant to attract new, novice-tier players to help diversify the feedback Vlambeer receives from the game's community.

The announcement video's text description explains that this will be a one-time gift and that date or timezone-related exceptions will not be able to be made due to logistics. Further terms and conditions will be tied to the gift, which Vlambeer will spell out in a future blog post (presumably for future posting to Nuclear Throne's Steam newsfeed).

Nuclear Throne has received 57 updates since its arrival to Early Access, though Ismail noted that version 1.0 will "hopefully" launch sometime in 2015.
[Image: Vlambeer]

MMO Week in Review: Happy New Year!

I always try to make a joke title for the Repopulation and it always comes out dirty and inappropriate so I delete it
At the end of every week, we round up the best and most popular news stories, exclusive features, and insightful columns published on Massively and then present them all in one convenient place. If you missed a big MMO or WoW Insider story last week, you've come to the right post.

Inbound indie sandbox The Repopulation dived into its last alpha phase this week, dropping its NDA for testers and landing on Steam in early access form.

At Massively, we discussed our end-of-the-year awards, selected our favorite content of the year, gave out a ribbon for the best MMO soundtrack, and made our list of MMOs to get excited about next year.

Read on for a look at the rest of this week's top MMO stories, and may you many happy holidays. Week in Review will see you next year.

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Outfit your Hyrule Warriors with costume DLC, now available

If you missed out on pre-ordering Hyrule Warriors to snag retailer-exclusive costumes inspired by Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword and Ocarina of Time (or wanted more than one set of said costumes), there's good news waiting for you in the eShop, as four costume packs are now available for $0.99 each. Note: While the full game can be purchased via Nintendo's website, the DLC waits in the wings of the Wii U eShop.

The Twilight Princess, Skyward Sword and Ocarina of Time costume packs each provide Link and Zelda with costumes inspired by the respective game. A fourth pack, called the Demon King Costume Set, provides two new costumes for Ganondorf - one inspired by his appearance in Ocarina of Time and one inspired by Twilight Princess.

All of the costume packs now for sale are the same as those given to customers who pre-ordered (or in the case of the Ganondorf costumes, those in Club Nintendo) so be careful not to make a double purchase.
[Image: Nintendo]

Play through a spoiler-free Night In The Woods ghost story

It will be a while until we can follow a cynical, college-dropout cat's struggle with growing up by playing Night In The Woods, but a taste of the game's universe is available right this moment. Developer Infinite Fall has released a supplemental game on PC, Mac and Linux called Lost Constellation, which plays out as a ghost story told within the Night in the Woods universe.

Lost Constellation follows Adina Astra's side-scrolling trek through a mystical stretch of woods, weaving light puzzles between quirky introductions and playful dialog. It's a standalone game rather than a demo or preview for Night In The Woods, and a tweet from the latter game's account states that Lost Constellation is "a lot like Night In The Woods and nothing like Night In The Woods at all."

A separate tweet suggests that comparable projects are planned, explaining that "NITW supplementals are weird, off-the-cuff, jammed out little games." Regardless of what's to come, Adina's journey lasts for roughly an hour and is available now at the price of your choosing. And don't worry about dampening Night In The Woods' surprises early – Lost Constellation is spoiler free.
[Image: Infinite Fall]

PSA: PlayStation Network back online, service restored [Update]

The PlayStation Network appears to be fully armed and operational, according to an update post on the PlayStation Blog. The update confirms that the PSN suffered a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack on Christmas Eve Day, and though the group that took credit for bringing the service down claimed to have ceased its attack on December 25, it was not until late last evening that service was restored. Sony now reports in no uncertain terms that "PlayStation Network is back online."

If you received or purchased a PlayStation system over the holidays, you should be free to enjoy your new console.

Update: If you're a PS4 user still having difficulties logging in, the Ask PlayStation Twitter account suggests that age-old fix of restarting your system. A tweet reads, "PS4 users: If you are still having issues signing in to PSN today, please reboot the console and try again."
[Image: Sony]

Buy Pokemon XY - Primal Clash cards, get cards for TCG Online

Primal Reversions debuted in Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire as yet another way to boost the power (and cool factor) of particular Pokemon, and the Pokemon Trading Card Game's upcoming expansions will proceed accordingly. Fresh booster packs and two themed decks under the banner of XY – Primal Clash will shuffle into battle on February 4, 2015, introducing 12 Pokemon-EX cards such as Wailord-EX, Camerupt-EX and Sharpedo-EX.

While the Primal Groudon-EX and Primal Kyogre-EX cards seen above will lead themed decks (Earth's Pulse and Ocean's Core, respectively), both the decks and booster packs will reward trainers with codes that unlock digital XY – Primal Clash cards for the Pokemon Trading Card Game Online. With the XY – Primal Clash lineup hosting new Spirit Link, Special Energy, Trainer and effect-granting Ancient Trait cards, there should be a fair amount to add to both physical and digital collections.

The Pokemon Trading Card Game Online recently opened a stadium on iPad, but you can also find battlegrounds on PC and Mac.
[Image: Pokemon]

Destiny's Xur has an extended stay in the Tower this week

'Twas the Friday after Christmas, and all through the Tower / not a Guardian was stirring, not even 420xXxPower.

PlayStation Network and Xbox Live outages kept many Destiny players offline this weekend, and while that may sound like inconvenience enough, Bungie's sci-fi shooter happens to feature a merchant, named Xur, who only appears on the weekend to sell high-level gear. His assortment of goods is also different each time he appears, so if you miss him the weekend that he has something you want, it can be a good, long while before you'll get another chance to barter.

Thankfully, Bungie is keeping Xur around just a little bit longer this week in an effort to give players time to browse ol' tentacle-face's otherworldly wares. In a post on the Destiny forums, Community Manager David "DeeJ" Dague announced that Xur will remain in the tower with his current inventory until Monday, 10 p.m. Pacific. Dague also wrote that the team will "keep an eye on the overall situation, and prolong the extension, as needed, for as long as is feasible."

"No problem," said Xur. "I'll stick around. / After all, no one can buy when the internet's down." / His tentacles curved into a smile of delight / "Merry Xur-mas to all, and to all a good night!"
[Image: Activision]

Weekly Webcomic Wrapup got good gifts this year

Welcome back, Joystiq readers! Last year around this time, I asked you what you gave someone as a gift for the holidays. This year, it's okay to brag a little bit about what you got. But of course, as I am a sentimental sort, I'll tell you one of my favorite gifts I got this year: time with my dad.

Now, this wasn't some super sappy father-son heart-to-heart moment or anything. On Christmas, my dad wanted to go into town and workout at the gym, and since I had some extra time before I needed to head out, I joined him. We played some classic rock that we both liked and did our routines, and he showed me some new tips and tricks to help me out (he's a big guy himself, and has trained with a former Mr. Universe competitor). Again, nothing deserving of a Lifetime movie, but I still appreciated his help and the time we spent together doing something we both enjoy.

How about you? Tell us about your favorite gifts in the comments, after you vote for your favorite webcomic after the break!

Critical Miss (Critical Missmas)
ReadySoup (Cockadoodle-who) (NSFW-ish)
Ctrl+Alt+Del (Anything is game)
ActionTrip (Merry But Not Very)
Nerf NOW!! (Mourning)
Awkward Zombie (Easy-Bake Coven)

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Mistwalker head shares trailer for canceled JRPG, Cry On

Cry On, a JRPG collaboration from Blue Dragon and Lost Odyssey developer Mistwalker and the now-dissolved Cavia, was once planned for release on the Xbox 360. While the project was canceled on Christmas Day in 2008 due to the state of the market, studio lead Hironobu Sakaguchi took to YouTube yesterday to share the above concept trailer.

As archived by Unseen64, Cry On's story was intended to star a young girl named Sally in a Middle Age-esque time period. In this world, miniature creatures called Bogles were placed on rooftops as protective charms. Bogles once lived beside humans as giants, and with knowledge of their past in mind, humans attempted to restore their towering figures for the sake of war. Players would have progressed through the game with the aid of a special, human-language-speaking Bogle, allowing them to experience puzzle-focused, RPG scenarios while playing as Sally and slightly action-like bouts while guiding Sally's Bogle.

Neither the studio nor potential fans may ever get the chance to see a full realization of Cry On, but with more-recent outings like The Last Story and the mobile, tile-based Terra Battle, at least the studio is still crafting RPGs.
[Image: Mistwalker]

Mevius Final Fantasy to suffer from amnesia on iPhone, Android

There are fresh Final Fantasy games to play or look forward to on most gaming platforms, and Square Enix is looking to expand its RPG portfolio with Mevius Final Fantasy on Android and iPhone. Touted as a "full-scale, high-quality RPG," Mevius FF is due to reach Japan this spring, with a Western release date still to be announced.

A Gematsu report touched on Mevius FF's story earlier this month, which plays out in Paramatia, a bleak land with a populace untouched by the "Light of Hope." Players wake in this world without a single memory, but a mysterious voice will guide them along their path.

As busy as Square Enix is working with the Final Fantasy series, those that would prefer a fresh RPG adventure should still have something to anticipate – the developer began assembling a studio to make a brand-new console RPG three months ago.
[Image: Square-Enix]

Please notice the Crunchyroll app on Wii U, senpai

Thousands of hours of anime are now available on Wii U consoles via the Crunchyroll app on the eShop, Nintendo and Crunchyroll have announced. The app, which hosts shows like Naruto Shippuden, One Piece and Sword Art Online, features sample videos for free, but if you want total access, you'll need a Premium membership.

Crunchyroll offers several different Premium memberships: one that provides unlimited selection of manga ($4.95/month), one providing unlimited selection of anime ($6.95/month), and an "all-access" version which combines anime and manga while adding drama shows to the mix ($11.95/month).
[Image: Crunchyroll]

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The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast 127: Notable games of 2014 and GotY discussion

Latest episode: Friday, December 26th, 2014

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