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Final release version of Scrolls set to unfurl in November

Mojang's card battle game Scrolls has existed in an open beta state since June, but it's nearly time to release the final version, according to a statement made by the developer to Touch Arcade. Er ... maybe. "The guesstimate is late November," Mojang's Owen Hill told Touch Arcade. "But we're not going to release it until it's ready, if you know what I mean."

Mojang recently announced a price drop for the PC version of the game, from $20 to $5, to keep it competitive with other products on mobile platforms. However, when the game launches on iOS, players will be able to download the game for free and play several games as a "dummy" user. A $5 in-app purchase will unlock the full game.

And for those concerned about corporate overlords imposing their will onto a smaller company, Hill told Touch Arcade that he doesn't expect Microsoft's recent acquisition of Mojang to impact their future plans regarding Scrolls. "There's a good chance that the only effect is that we'll have to add a Microsoft logo to the launcher or something."
[Image: Mojang]

Slender: The Arrival stalks ratings for PS4, Xbox One, Wii U

You can't escape Slenderman. Even if you unplug your old consoles and huddle under stronger machines, you're still not safe. That's what new ratings from PEGI (Europe's content rating board) suggest anyway, as a 12-and-up grade has been assigned to Slender: The Arrival's sudden appearance on PS4, Wii U and Xbox One.

Release dates included in the ratings range from October 23 to October 24, which seems ... wrong, given the current-gen port's absence from Europe's digital marketplaces. Majesco Europe Limited is listed as the The Arrival's publisher in each content rating however, so at least that part reflects reality.

Brave souls can also venture into The Arrival's creepy woods on PS3, Xbox 360, PC and Mac, but we propose joining our cowardly sanctuary under the bed, where we're definitely safe and none of life's monsters can ever get us. Well, except for the one that lives down here ...
[Image: Midnight City]

Fists of furry will fly with Ultra Street Fighter 4's costume pack

So what if there hasn't been a new Bloody Roar game for more than 10 years? Gamers dying to make anthropomorphic animals punch and claw each other can at least experience something close, thanks to an animal-themed costume pack coming to Ultra Street Fighter 4.

As spotted by Shoryuken on the first day of Capcom Pro Tour Asia's finals event at Singapore-based GameStart 2014, it looks like at least several of the USF4 cast will channel their inner fursona and stride into battle wearing appropriate suits.

In concept art shared by fighting game blog Furious, series mainstay/hero Ryu is decked out as a white wolf, boxer Dudley is a bulldog, Gen is a gray goat and Hakan is an octopus. Interestingly, while most of the fighters look like a 50/50 hybrid of human and beast, Cammy retains most of her human features, and only dons fox ears and a tail instead of a full suit. Come on now girl, that's just lazy!

No release date or price was announced for the costume pack.
[Image: Capcom]

Lab Zero reveals driver to make PS3 fight sticks work with PS4

Shelling out for a comfortable fight stick makes sense if you're going to pour months or years into a fighting game, but updating with each console generation can get pricey. Thankfully, Skullgirls Encore developer Lab Zero Games is collaborating with Naughty Dog's John "Cowboy" Bellomy on an upcoming driver that will make some PS3 fight sticks compatible with PS4 titles, as reported by Polygon.

Lab Zero CEO Peter Bartholow told Polygon that "any stick that reads as a generic USB gamepad or joystick will work," explaining that this covers MadCatz TEs and "other smaller brands and custom options such as the GodLike Controls' Cthulhu boards."

The driver is not officially supported by Sony, but Lab Zero will allow other developers to use and adapt it for their own titles, so long as they share their work with Lab Zero. Bartholow explained that the team "thinks it's better for the consumer and the industry" for money to go toward new games instead of replacing fight sticks every console generation.

Lab Zero intends to have PS3 fight stick compatibility present when it launches Skullgirls Encore on PS4 and Vita in 2015, but in the mean time, you can see it in development-kit action in a demonstration video after the break.
[Image: Lab Zero Games]

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League of Legends' Halloween event is positively Harrowing

The Harrowing, League of Legends' Halloween-themed event, has begun. To celebrate the spookiest of holidays, developer Riot Games has released two new skins, three new player icons, re-released more than a dozen old skins, introduced a new mode and produced a new cinematic video explaining the in-game lore behind The Harrowing.

Champions LeBlanc - a powerful illusionist mage - and Wukong - a monkey martial artist - are the lucky recipients of new skins, while fan-favorite skins like Kitty Cat Katarina and Definitely Not Blitzcrank have made a return. Prices vary wildly for all of the skins available, so check out Riot's full list to see how much it'll cost to deck your favorite champion out in some sweet costumes.

Once you're dressed for battle, you can head into League's Hexakill mode. Hexakill, which pits two teams of six against one another, debuted earlier this year on the game's 5v5 map. This time, the chaos is contained to Twisted Treeline, League's smaller 3v3 map that just so happens to also feature an enormous spider monster. "Claustrophobes - and arachnophobes - need not apply," reads a description on the official announcement.

To learn what The Harrowing is all about, check out a new cinematic after the break.

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Evolve's progression systems dole out perks, boosts, new characters

Evolve players will hunt character perks and general experience in addition to monstrous game, as detailed in a recent update on Evolve's official site. Progress is earned in two ways: Character Progression, which relates to a player's efficiency with a specific character's arsenal, and Player Progression, which is tied to a player's general account rather than one particular class type.

Aptitude with a hunter's (or monster's) weapons and abilities is rated on a three-star scale, and a "permanent perk" is granted with each earned star. For example, you'll need to deal a set amount of damage with Markov's assault rifle to earn a two percent accuracy boost (tied to the first star), while distributing enough pain via headshot will grant a 10 percent accuracy boost and an elite-tier weapon, as well as the rifle's third star.

Player Progression won't be in the Halloween weekend alpha, but when it does show up, it'll dish out medals, awards and levels, with that last element capping off at 40. The update notes that this tier of rewards is "generally earned through time spent playing" and unlocks perks like armor regeneration, jump bonuses and a quicker jetpack recharge.

New characters can also be unlocked by earning stars for their respective class type. If you plan on prowling through Evolve's alpha however, just know that any earned progress will not carry over beyond the event's weekend. Alphas are all about the thrill of an early hunt though, right?
[Image: 2K Games]

How to take a seat on the PS4's virtual couch with Share Play

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for boarding Joystiq Airways. If you'll direct your attention to your screens, our extremely good-looking (and funny, don't forget funny) crew will be going over the Share Play features coming to PlayStation 4 on Tuesday, October 28, courtesy of the PlayStation Blog.

Share Play, if you need a refresher, is the PS4's virtual couch. If you want to play a game with a faraway friend but said friend doesn't own the game, Share Play lets you do just that, one hour at a time. Not so good at first-person shooters but know a friend who is? Use Share Play to have your pal get you through tough spots. Want to play a quick round of competitive multiplayer in <your favorite series here> but your friend doesn't own the game? Share Play will let them join you - again, for an hour.

After the PS4 update - codenamed "Masamune" - arrives, the option for Share Play will pop up when you create a party with a friend. Whoever is hosting the Share Play session will need to have an active PlayStation Plus membership no matter what. If you're the guest though, you only need your PS Plus membership to be active if you want to play with the host simultaneously.

To see Play Share in action, check out an overview video from Sony after the break:

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Super Game Jam's final episode now on Steam

The fifth and final episode of Devolver Digital's Super Game Jam is now available on Steam. Super Game Jam tells the stories of five pairs of developers that craft games during a 48-hour game jam. The final episode follows London-based developers Tom Francis (Gunpoint) and Liselore Goedhart (Remembering, Nott Won't Sleep) as they quickly concoct the game SimAntics under the game jam theme "simulation." The five-episode documentary series is currently 25 percent off ($14.99) on Steam through the end of the weekend, and includes copies of the five games created by the development duos.

Announced in March, the series was directed by filmmakers Bram Ruiter and Daniel Oliveira Carneiro in five cities over the course of six months and features designers such as Vlambeer's Jan Willem Nijman (Ridiculous Fishing, Luftrausers) and Jonatan Söderström (Hotline Miami). Nijman appeared in the first episode, which launched in May. Head past the break for a teaser trailer of Super Game Jam's final installment.
[Image: Devolver Digital]

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Costume Quest 2 drags Sackboy to PS4, PS3 next week

Double Fine's dress-up RPG Costume Quest 2 will launch on PS3 and PS4 next Tuesday, October 28, publisher Midnight City announced. The PlayStation versions of the game will also receive an exclusive Sackboy costume modeled after the hero of Media Molecule's popular platforming brand, LittleBigPlanet.

The Sackboy costume will be available for free to PS4 and PS3 players as part of an update to the game. To unlock it, quest-goers must find four pieces of the costume tucked away in the game. While there's no set release date for the Sackboy update, it is expected to go live "in the coming weeks." Costume Quest 2 is already available to PC, Mac and Linux players via Steam for $14.99. No launch date has been announced for the Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Wii U versions as of yet.
[Image: Midnight City]

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Shelter 2's first gameplay trailer says 'click this lynx'

Stockholm-based independent developer Might and Delight offered up its first gameplay trailer of Shelter 2 today, the studio's next PC exploration game. Found after the break, the video demonstrates the motherly lynx's survival and protection methods, including tracking down prey and cautiously trotting close to her cubs.

The survival sequel features "more elaborate gameplay features than its predecessor," according to the game's site. Shelter 2 will add stamina as well as a greater variety of movement and killing abilities. Players will also be able to call their cubs to their side, carry them and encourage them to drink from streams. First announced in March, Shelter 2 is expected to launch on Steam, GOG and other digital platforms in February 2015 following its delay earlier this month.
[Image: Might and Delight]

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Theatrhythm Final Fantasy issues its final DLC pack

Publisher Square Enix has revealed that yesterday's burst of Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call downloadable content is the last planned for the excellent 3DS rhythm game.

As with prior DLC releases, this final push includes nine additional songs and a new character who can be added to a player's in-game party. That character is the Kingdom Hearts 2 incarnation of Auron, a stoic fighter best known for his supporting role in Final Fantasy X, while the new tunes range from Final Fantasy 2's "Chocobo Theme" and Final Fantasy 7's "The Chase" to more recent songs like "We Have Come" from Final Fantasy Type-0. For a full track listing, visit Square Enix's blog.

Like all Theathrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call DLC releases, each individual song and character bears a $1 price tag via the Nintendo 3DS eShop. Unfortunately, there's no discount for buying the entire slate en masse.

Barely Related: Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer is full of surprises

Surprise! It's Friday! Now let's get down to some geeky business.

Welcome to Barely Related, a conversational Friday column that presents the non-gaming news stories that we, the Joystiq staff, have been talking about over the past week. And no, we're not stopping our focus on industry and gaming news. Think of this as your casual weekly recap of interesting (and mostly geeky) news, presented just in time to fill your brain with things to discuss at all of those weekend shindigs.

Grab a fresh drink, lean back in your armchair, and get ready to talk nerdy with us.

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Super Smash Bros. Amiibo figures are part trophy, part protégé

Nintendo is getting into the figurine game with a lineup called "amiibo" (disregard for capitalization included). Set to cooperate with several different games, most prominently this holiday's Wii U version of Super Smash Bros., the Amiibo statues capture the company's fanciful characters in a cute, tangible form. "Capturing" might be too strong a word, though, because it implies more fiction than there really is.

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WRUP: And the moral of the story is...


Don't send people death threats. More specifically, if you're a developer, most certainly don't threaten to kill Gabe Newell.

What's everyone playing?

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All five prior Scream Fortress maps return to Team Fortress 2

To prepare players for the imminent horror of a new Scream Fortress map, Team Fortress 2 developer Valve has made all five of its previous Scream Fortress releases available to players at no charge.

As its punny name suggests, a Scream Fortress map is a Team Fortress 2 map designed to be extra spooky, with additions like zombies, arcane magic and new, thematically-appropriate achievements. Er, excuse me, according to Valve that should read "Necromannchievements." In practice, new Scream Fortress maps are a usually just a change of scenery for most regular Team Fortress 2 players, but any excuse to gun down magical wizard ghosts is a good one.

There are no caveats attached to these five re-released Scream Fortress maps. Anyone with a copy of Team Fortress 2 can jump right into the Halloween gunplay after a relatively quick, free download.
[Image: Valve]

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