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Heavenly Sword movie slicing and dicing in September

Cinedigm announced the Heavenly Sword movie arrives on Blu-ray. DVD and the PlayStation Store on September 2, proving this is still a reality in which the Heavenly Sword movie exists. It's still so weird to see Blockade Entertainment's CGI film in action, knowing it's the first major use of the Sony property since Ninja Theory's 2007 PS3 game.

As IGN reports, the film stars Fringe actress Anna Torv as heroine Nariko, Alfred Molina as King Bohan, Thomas Jane as Loki and Nolan North in a surprise Nathan Drake cameo - okay, that last one's not true, but maybe it should be. North is really in the film, but a man who isn't is Andy Serkis, who wasn't available to reprise his role as the villainous Bohan.

Meanwhile, rumors of a Haze film adaptation remain something we made up just now.
[Image: Sony]

Newly discovered Halo 3 easter egg is short, subtle and sweet

One of the last known but undiscovered Halo 3 easter eggs was finally cracked open this week, nearly seven years after the shooter first hit shelves. While it's not mind-blowingly awesome in terms of spectacle, it does have plenty of d'awwww value.

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Report: Games industry saw $12.5 billion in acquisitions last year

Over $12.5 billion in game company acquisitions were announced in the last year, London-based game advisory firm Digi-Capital reports. The firm's second quarter review, as highlighted by GamesBeat, showed $4.6 billion of the deals involved mobile gaming companies. That was followed by $4 billion for MMOs, $2.5 billion in game technology and $1 billion for console deals.

Digi-Capital managing director Tim Merel pointed to five reasons for the "consolidation crush" that occurred in the past year. For starters, Merel said that companies acquiring mobile developers are "buying into a large, high-growth market," as the firm forecasted that mobile games will generate $33 billion in revenue by 2017, growing from $4 billion in 2011 and $16 billion in 2013. Merel pointed to Zynga's purchase of Backbreaker developer NaturalMotion in January to the tune of $527 million as an example of its second reason for the industry's consolidation, mobile's cannibalization of other media and platforms.

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Train Simulator dev lands Microsoft Flight Sim license

Dovetail Games, a developer best known for its work on the unexpectedly popular Train Simulator franchise, has announced an agreement allowing it to create new entries in Microsoft's storied Flight Simulator line.

Under the terms of the agreement, not only is Dovetail now able to create new Flight Simulator games, but the company is also licensed to distribute 2006's Flight Simulator X on Steam. Dubbed "Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition," the late-2014 re-release will include both Flight Simulator X expansions, as well as the base game. "When it comes to licensing our simulation engine, Dovetail Games is the obvious choice for us to work with," stated Microsoft executive producer Kevin Perry. "We respect their approach in terms of delivering premium quality simulation games and look forward to seeing their vision of the next chapter in flight simulations unfold."
[Image: Microsoft]

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Habitat finds life on Steam Early Access

Habitat, the Kickstarted space-physics strategy game from 4gency, is now on Steam Early Access for $15 on PC, Mac and Linux, published by Versus Evil. This is the game that lets you fight with the Eiffel Tower in space. Now we all remember.

In Habitat, players must use space debris to repair and build their ships, and to create homes for humanity to live in. You're able to create weapons and take out enemy space stations, and then salvage them for parts. It's a blend of strategy, resource management, creativity and zero-gravity physics simulation.

Habitat is in Early Access form at the moment, so it's not yet feature complete, but the game currently allows players to manage their teams, fly around procedurally generated space, build ships and weapons out of 40 different items and connectors, and take on those evil space stations.

Habitat raised $64,000 of a $50,000 goal on Kickstarter in May, and it's due out in full on PC, Mac, Linux and Xbox One by the end of 2014.
[Image: Versus Evil]

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Enjoy 16 minutes of Dragon Age: Inquisition gameplay

Dragon Age: Inquisition Creative Director Mike Laidlaw takes us through 16 minutes of the game's E3 demo, wherein one super-cool dude with horns and a magic staff walks through some beautiful scenery, an aerobic lady with a bow and arrow takes out some baddies, and a hulking guy with a giant axe helps defeat a big, angry dragon.

Dragon Age: Inquisition is due out on October 7, also known as "the day you might accidentally spend $300 on video games."
[Image: BioWare]

Test Mann Co.'s beta maps in Team Fortress 2 starting this week

Feeling adventurous, Team Fortress 2 fans? Valve is beta testing a series of new maps for its hat-filled free-to-play multiplayer FPS, and all current players have a chance to check them out prior to their public launch.

Starting this week, Team Fortress 2 players can opt-in to the beta test by enabling the "Play Beta Maps" option within the "Play Multiplayer" menu. Don't get too attached to what you see, though – Valve warns that beta map layouts will change frequently based on player feedback, and existing rule sets may see "drastic swings" as testing continues.

Valve is also offering a set of official beta servers to power quickplay matchmaking, and community servers are also welcome to host beta maps.
[Image: Valve]

Print your own 3D Evolve figures

The age of purchasing video game figurines from a store, like a peasant, has ... evolved.

You can print out your own 3D Evolve hunters and monsters using files direct from Turtle Rock Studios and 2K Games. Find the 3D file for each character on their individual hunter and monster pages, and print them out at home on the 3D printer that you definitely own, right next to your Twitter-connected refrigerator, talking air conditioning unit, hologram phone system and cotton candy maker. That said, if you don't own a 3D printer, Turtle Rock suggests uploading the files to Sculpteo, Shapeways or Thingiverse, and following the instructions to get the figurines direct from there.

See the Evolve 3D printing overview in video form below.
[Image: 2K Games]

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PC and PS4 best in Sniper Elite 3 graphics showdown

The tech geeks at Digital Foundry have put the three versions of brutal World War 2 shooter Sniper Elite 3 to the test, finding that the PlayStation 4 game looks better than its Xbox One counterpart, but not quite as good as the PC version.

The footage above is a comparison pitting the Xbox One against its PS4 competitor. As you can see, the Xbox One game features noticeable screen tearing, reduced image depth and less detail at distance. A later video measures the two games' framerates and found that while the PlayStation 4 version of Sniper Elite 3 averages "a near-solid 60fps," the Xbox One game "trails behind in the mid-40s."

Below the break you'll find a similar aesthetic quality comparison, weighing the PlayStation 4 game against the PC. The latter looks better, but the difference is minor - at least until you push the PC game beyond the PS4's capabilities, into the 4K resolution range. For full technical details, visit Digital Foundry's analysis.
[Image: 505 Games]

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Shadow Warrior slices, dices on Xbox One, PS4 this Fall

Lo Wang's politically incorrect quest to murder a ton of goons using only the power of Asian stereotypes continues in late September as Devolver Digital has announced an agreement with Majesco to re-release the 2013 first-person action spectacle Shadow Warrior for the latest generation of game consoles.

Described as a "bold new vision of the 1997 cult classic," this new Shadow Warrior is an entertaining, happily low brow first-person shooter that combines the typical juvenilia you'd expect from a Duke Nukem 3D offshoot with surprisingly competent first-person swordfights that prove functional and exceedingly bloody. It's unknown what upgrades the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Shadow Warrior might feature, but Devolver has announced a $40 price tag for both versions.

"Our fans have been very vocal about bringing Shadow Warrior to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One so we're absolutely thrilled to be working with our friends at Majesco to put Wang in a box later this year," said Devolver CFO and perennial quote goldmine Fork Parker.
[Image: Majesco]

The Elder Scrolls Online's third update lands in August

ZeniMax says that The Elder Scrolls Online's next patch, which includes the preliminary veteran rank system changes and balance fixes previewed in yesterday's dev blog, is officially on the way next month.
The patch is coming in early August and introduces armor dyes, guild tabards, public guild store locations, a new difficulty mode for Trials, and plenty of fixes and improvements. You'll be able to personalize your look more than ever before, represent your guild, and charge with them into a new level of challenge.
The team has posted a preview video focusing on the many changes to guilds due in the patch. Wanna join our guild? We have tabards, yo! Enjoy the video below.

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Dead Island 2 collector's edition contents up for public vote

Deep Silver is polling Dead Island series fans to determine the contents of the Dead Island 2 Collector's Edition prior to the sequel's multiplatform launch next year.

Available options range from standard fare (art books, character figurines, digital content) to the unexpected (back scratchers, beer coolers, alarm clocks, character-themed maneki-neko) to the outright impossible ("a real zombie"). Dead Island: Riptide's controversial torso statue is not an option, unsurprisingly.

Voting ends July 14, so make sure you vote for the "real zombie" option before then. Assuming their bio-technology is able to keep up with production, Deep Silver could make a real-world zombie apocalypse happen, and you can help.

[Image: Deep Silver]

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Joystiq Deals: iOS 8 development training

Joystiq Deals is taking a moment from highlighting discount games to highlight the software needed to build them. In this case, Bitfountain's The Complete iOS8 + Swift Developers Course. Boasting over 70 hours of guided instruction, The Course is normally priced at $998, but for the next five days can be pre-ordered for only $79.

On the proper gaming side of things, Amazon has Civilization 5: Complete Edition at $25 - half its normal price - while the Dark Souls 2 Collector's Edition has fallen from $90 to $61.56. Day two of Microsoft's "Xbox 360 Ultimate Games Sale" likewise brings big discounts. Both Halo 4 and WWE 2K14 are priced at half off, while Dragon Age 2 is available at $5.

10 Years, 10 Great Games: Susan's picks

Throughout the week, Joystiq celebrates its tenth anniversary by revealing each writer's favorite - not "best" - games of the last decade. Aside from selecting a number one, each list is unordered.

Joystiq Managing Editor Susan Arendt marvels at sentient bear suits with her pick, one of Atlus' most beloved RPG titles.

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Behind the mic drop: Sony re-wrote E3 script after Microsoft backlash

Sony's E3 2013 press conference was the definition of mic drop – Sony Computer Entertainment of America CEO Jack Tretton stepped on stage and devoted his finale speech to tearing down the contentious DRM, always-online and used-game restrictions that Microsoft had just announced for the Xbox One. He never mentioned Microsoft by name, but instead simply listed the things that the PS4 would allow. And the crowd went wild.

Sony Computer Entertainment head Andrew House re-wrote that speech the weekend before E3, after witnessing backlash to Microsoft's policies, he said during the Develop 2014 conference (as reported by Eurogamer).

"I remember reading an article literally the weekend before E3 that was basically saying that this is the direction Microsoft was taking and that it was only a matter of time before Sony adopts the same approach," House said. "That sort of put me on the back foot and I went and re-wrote portions of my E3 presentation script that weekend and we re-crafted the presentation because there was now an onus on us not to be seen to be going down the same path."

House said Sony's policies never changed; only the messaging did. One week after E3 2013, Microsoft reversed the most scandalous of its Xbox One DRM policies. A few of Sony's promised features for the PS4 haven't yet materialized – such as sleep mode and the ability to let a friend take over your game online – but Sony is "working on it."

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