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Latest Halo: Master Chief Collection update addresses matchmaking, stability, more

Halo: The Master Chief Collection has been plagued with matchmaking problems since its initial launch, but a fresh update from developer 343 Industries' should be available the next time you boot up the game. As detailed on Halo Waypoint, the 523 MB patch focuses on "a number of matchmaking issues, fixes various bugs related to UI and the party system, and also improves overall stability."

While a bulletpoint breakdown of the update can be found after the break, highlights include tweaks to how the matchmaking system handles pairing, a change so that custom game settings remain applied to followup matches, and efforts to improve stability both for the user interface and for parties trying to find a match.

Previous updates have also addressed matchmaking issues, but The Master Chief Collection has yet to reach a stable state for many players. 343 Industries head Bonnie Ross has vowed to "make this right with our fans" once the The Master Chief Collection's persisting issues have been resolved.
[Image: Microsoft]

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WRUP: Game of the Year 2014? Go!

We've reviewed a lot of games in 2014 and it's time for the Joystiq crew to begin their annual battle for their favorites to compose the "Top 10" of the year. Those that don't make it are honored in our "Best of the Rest." So, let's hear it from you, what are the tops of the year?

What's everyone playing this weekend?

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Titanfall update brings co-op to Xbox 360 next week

The Xbox 360 version of Titanfall will receive update number eight next Monday, December 1, Respawn Entertainment announced. The update adds Frontier Defense to the game, Titanfall's cooperative multiplayer mode that arrived on PC and Xbox One just over one month ago. Frontier Defense puts a team of four players in charge of defending a "vital objective" from waves of enemies, which increase in difficulty with each mob.

Like the update last month, next week's patch also introduces ranked online play to the first-person shooter, which features Rank Chips that act as "expensive pedometers," measuring players' activity in Titanfall and occasionally doling out rewards. Rank Chips can be turned off at any point, so the ranked play system isn't map-specific. The update also adds new Titan insignias and a full-screen mini-map option to the game.

All of the Lights: Many curious uses for the PS4 light bar

Sony is no stranger to idiosyncratic hardware design. Nintendo and Sega put analog sticks on their controllers in the '90s? Sony adds on an extra stick and redefines console controllers. Touch screens are de rigueur? Sony slaps a touch surface on the front and back of PS Vita. The PlayStation 4 is a sleek piece of modern consumer tech design, but even it's got its quirks.

Case in point: the Dualshock 4 light bar. Every PS4 controller looks like KITT from Knight Rider, with a giant oblate spheroid of light pulsing on the front. Not just good for running down the battery, the light bar actually performs some unusual functions in a variety of games. Below the break is a taster's choice selection of memorable light bar uses from the PlayStation 4's first year of games. After browsing that, take our poll and discuss the light bar's career in the comments.

[Images: Sony]

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EA once again earns perfect score in LGBT workplace equality

Eight months after losing the dubious title of 'Worst Company in America' for the first time in three years, Human Rights Campaign has recognized EA for its commitment to promoting LGBT equality by awarding the publisher a 100 percent score in its latest Corporate Equality Index. This marks the third consecutive year in which EA has earned a perfect score.

EA cites an expanded presence at numerous Pride Parades throughout the past year as well as its long-running commitment to barring any sort of discrimination from its offices as key to being recognized by the HRC for a third straight year. "We are very honored to be recognized again as a 'Best Place to Work'," said EA's head of diversity and inclusion Andre Chambers. "We believe that fostering an inclusive environment helps us to create great games, and represent our diverse set of players and I'm proud to work at a company that has strong employee values."
[Image: EA]

Persona Q DLC schedule and price points

Persona Q players, listen up. Atlus has laid out the game's DLC release schedule, including prices for each piece. Persona Q launched yesterday, alongside a free bit of DLC, the Kaguya sub-Persona.

Available on December 2, the sub-Persona Orpheus Telos is free, while Magatsu Izanagi and Thanatos are $2 apiece. On December 9, players will be able to purchase Margaret, Elizabeth and Theodore navigator voices for $3 each. On December 16, Marie and Nanako voices will be available for $3 each.

Atlus has also released a series of four videos designed to help players navigate the labyrinths. See those below. Also, check out our review of Persona Q – overall, we found it to be "excellent."
[Image: Atlus]

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Report: Pokemon ORAS tops three million sales in three days

If the past two decades of endless merchandising, cartoons and video games haven't tipped you off, people really like Pokemon. So much so that the latest entries in the core roleplaying series, Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, have reportedly sold over three million copies in their first three days of availability.

Famitsu reports (via Siliconera translation) that between the game's November 21 launch and November 24, Japanese consumers purchased over 1.5 million copies of either Pokemon Omega Ruby or Pokemon Alpha Sapphire. Other regions, including North America and Australia, contributed another 1.5 million sales, bringing the three-day total to above three million units sold. Those impressive sales figures could have been even higher, but Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire won't be released in Europe until November 28.

Not just a sales success, our recent review awarded Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire 4.5 of 5 stars. "Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire do little to overhaul the major pillars of a series that's long relied on the same set of classic ideas, but they don't have to," it reads. "The core mechanics of Pokemon remain immensely addictive, and Game Freak's latest coat of polish only enhances an already captivating adventure."

Games with Gold December: Worms, The Raven, SSX

Like its PlayStation Plus counterpart, Xbox Live's Games With Gold service will feature a new roster of free games available to subscribers during December.

Xbox One owners will be able to download anthropomorphic annelid strategy game Worms: Battlegrounds throughout the month. Xbox 360 owners can download point and click adventure The Raven: Legacy of a Master Thief from December 1 through December 15. On December 16, The Raven is replaced by EA Sports' physics-defying snowboarding franchise reboot SSX.

As usual, these free games are only available to Xbox Live Gold subscribers. Three month subscriptions to the service are available at $25 while 12-month subscriptions can be purchased for $60.
[Image: EA]

Hitman HD, Deadly Premonition join December's free PS Plus slate

Sony already mentioned that PlayStation 4 owners with subscriptions to PlayStation Plus will receive gratis access to both Secret Ponchos and Injustice: Gods Among Us in December, but this morning we learned of the other four games joining the service that month.

PlayStation 3 owners with active PlayStation Plus subscriptions will have access to both bizarre horror game Deadly Premonition: The Director's Cut and the Hitman HD Trilogy, an upgraded re-release of Hitman 2, Hitman: Contracts and Hitman: Blood Money. Vita owners will also receive two games: tower defense strategy game Final Horizon and neo-retro shooter Titan Attacks.

As always, these free games are only available to those with active PlayStation Plus subscriptions. A one month subscription is priced at $10, while a year-long subscription features a $50 price tag. Sony has all the information you need to sign up at its online store.
[Image: Ignition Entertainment]

Sonic Adventure, Nights headline Humble Sega Bundle

Sega peeks into its storied past this week with the Humble Sega Bundle, a pay-what-you-want collection featuring a handful of classics adapted from the Saturn and Dreamcast eras.

Pay any amount for the bundle and you'll get the surreal score-attack action game Nights Into Dreams, kart racer Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, and the Dreamcast Collection, which includes PC versions of Sonic Adventure, Sega Bass Fishing, Crazy Taxi, and Space Channel 5 Part 2.

The package also offers Total War: Rome II's "Caesar in Gaul" expansion and the Miles' Tactic DLC for Football Manager 2015. Beat the bundle's average purchase price (currently $3.68) and you'll unlock Empire: Total War, Company of Heroes 2 - The Western Front Armies: Oberkommando West, and additional games that will be revealed as the bundle enters its final week.

Total War: Shogun 2 - Fall of the Samurai is up for grabs as a $12 incentive, and you can also get an exclusive Dreamcast-themed t-shirt with a purchase of $50 or more. The Humble Sega Bundle will be available through December 9.

[Video: Humble Bundle / Sega]

Black Friday Week Joystiq Deals: Game dev training bundle

Learning to develop games takes time, dedication and practice, but Joystiq Deals can help. For the next six days, our readers can purchase a developer's training bundle that includes primers on everything from creating sprites in Photoshop to building games under the Unity 3D engine. The bundle includes tutorials on both desktop and mobile development, and offers separate tutorials on working with Android and iOS devices. The seven courses included in the bundle would be priced at $989 if purchased separately, but the entire bundle is now available at $49. Visit the Joystiq Deals website for details.
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.

Rockstar's Black Friday sale discounts GTA 5 merchandise

Rockstar joins this week's money-saving festivities with a collection of Black Friday price drops on collectibles and apparel featured in its online store.

DIscounted items include traditional fare like lithographs, hoodies, and posters along with oddities like a body bag-styled sleeping bag and a t-shirt that identifies its wearer as a known associate of noted psychopath Trevor Philips from Grand Theft Auto 5. This holiday weekend is also your chance to pick up a cheap iFruit case for your smartphone or a GTA 5-branded beach towel for warmer months.

Rockstar's sale starts this Friday and extends through Monday at 11:59 p.m. EST.

[Image: Rockstar]

Joystiq Streams: Will Shadow of Mordor on Xbox 360 break us?

The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 have, for all their technological advancements, returned the gaming world to a place few expected it would go: the land for the down port. Way back when, PC and arcade games too beefy for consoles would be adapted to run on older, less capable machines, hence why you'd end up with a version of Double Dragon on Commodore 64 that looks like it's made of wood chips or Atari Donkey Kong. With games coming to both Xbox One and PS4 as well as their predecessors, Xbox 360 and PS3, the art of the down port has come back to the fore.

The question, then: What happens to Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, so reliant on its processor-pushing Nemesis system, when it's crammed into the nearly decade-old Xbox 360? Let's find out!

Starting at 4:00PM EST on, we'll be playing the Xbox 360 version of Shadow or Mordor to see how it stacks up to the current gen version. Join us ahead of time for a bonus stream of Geometry Wars 3 and some pre-show banter!
[Images: WBIE]

WWE 2K15 review: Disqualification match

Like past games in the series, WWE 2K15 spends a lot of time looking back on wrestling history. Propped up by years of real-life stories, cuts and bruises, the series continues to be a good source for professional wrestling nostalgia. Still, while 2K Sports' efforts pay off in a few areas, the publisher missed a chance to be the best in the world by a wide margin this year. By dropping a number of customization options and introducing an annoying game mechanic, WWE 2K15 loses touch with what made the series special.

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Assassin's Creed: Unity CEO apologizes for bugs, offers free DLC

Everyone who owns Assassin's Creed: Unity will receive the Dead Kings DLC for free once that launches, Ubisoft Montreal and Toronto CEO Yannis Mallat says in a blog post. The freebie is an apology for the technical issues that have plagued Unity since launch.

"Unfortunately, at launch, the overall quality of the game was diminished by bugs and unexpected technical issues," Mallat says. "I want to sincerely apologize on behalf of Ubisoft and the entire Assassin's Creed team. These problems took away from your enjoyment of the game, and kept many of you from experiencing the game at its fullest potential."

In our review of Unity, we noted that the game was "in dire need of a technical re-tweaking." Today, Ubisoft launched the game's third patch, bringing in more than 300 fixes.

Players who purchased the Season Pass for Unity would have already received the Dead Kings DLC, and they are now entitled to one free Ubisoft game from the following lineup: The Crew, Far Cry 4, Watch Dogs, Assassin's Creed Black Flag, Rayman Legends and Just Dance 2015. Ubisoft is discontinuing sale of the Season Pass, the FAQ reads.


The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast 122: Far Cry 4, GTA V, Assassin's Creed Rogue, WWE 15

Latest episode: Friday, November 21st, 2014

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