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Pokemon Art Academy hits North America in October

Image Pokemon Art Academy launches on October 24 in North America, digitally and in stores for 3DS. This follows the game's launch on July 4 in Europe. Pokemon Art Academy trains players to be master Pokemon artists, starting with basic shapes and working up to blending, shading, and special lessons in... Continue Reading

Madden NFL 15 kicks off Xbox One digital pre-loading feature

EA's Madden NFL 15 is the first Xbox One game to offer digital pre-loading options for early buyers in advance of its launch, Game Informer reports.

Starting this week, players who purchase Madden NFL 15 via the Xbox One's dashboard or Xbox.com will have the game downloaded and primed for play as soon as it premieres on August 26. Microsoft announced at Gamescom last week that Forza Horizon 2 and FIFA 15 will also feature digital pre-loading, and Sony will offer similar options for future PlayStation 4 releases.

EA Access subscribers can spend up to six hours with the full version of Madden NFL 15 before its public launch next week.

[Image: EA Sports]

You can't join 11-vs-11 Pro Clubs in last-gen FIFA 15

FIFA 15 won't include the Pro Clubs mode on PS3 and Xbox 360, EA Sports announced. The mode allows players to create and join teams for 11-versus-11 online matches, which the last-gen versions of FIFA 14 included. "We're very confident in the amount of innovation and depth we're delivering for FIFA 15 on PS3 and Xbox 360 but there are some things we couldn't do for FIFA 15 on PS3 and Xbox 360, either based on the limitations of these consoles, or our time and resources," EA Sports wrote in an update on the FIFA site.

The previous generation of systems will still enjoy a number of changes in this year's game, such as improved teammate intelligence and player control. It will also feature Chelsea's Eden Hazard alongside Lionel Messi on some European covers and Clint Dempsey in North America, who will wear his Xbox-branded Seattle Sounders jersey on the Microsoft boxes. FIFA 15 will launch on September 23 in North America for Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. It will arrive on September 25 in Europe and one day later in the UK.
[Image: EA Sports]

Final Muramasa Rebirth DLC drags players to hell Sept. 2

Vanillaware will wrap up its DLC plans for the PS Vita brawler Muramasa Rebirth early next month with the launch of "Hell's Where the Heart Is," the fourth and last entry in the "Genroku Legends" expanded storyline.

Muramasa's final DLC chapter stars the Lord of Hell's daughter Rajyaki, who must shift between three playable forms as she hacks away at demonic creatures and confronts classic bosses featured in the game's core campaign. Previous Vita-exclusive DLC releases include "A Cause to Daikon for" and last month's "A Spirited Seven Nights' Haunting."

"Hell's Where the Heart Is" launches digitally via the PlayStation Network on September 2 in North America and September 3 in Europe.

[Image: Vanillaware]

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The Banner Saga journeys to tablets in September

Stoic Studio's Nordic tactical-RPG The Banner Saga goes portable on iPad, Android, and Windows tablets next month. Pocketgamer reported on the updated release window after the game missed its "summer" window.

No pricing has been revealed to take up the banner on mobile devices, but speculation has the port sailing in at a premium price.

Our review of The Banner Saga called it a "challenge on normal difficulty, but not so unforgiving" that you'd want to give up.
[Image: Stoic Studio]

Ascend: Hand of Kul to remain playable on 360 until November

Despite the game being discontinued on Xbox 360, existing owners of Ascend: Hand of Kul will remain able to play it until November 18, after which it will officially close. The news follows Microsoft's removal of the free-to-play action-RPG from the marketplace, a decision developer Signal Studios only learned of as it was investigating player troubles.

"We can confirm that effective November 18, 2014, Ascend on Xbox 360 will close," a Microsoft spokesperson told Eurogamer. "Players will still be able to play Ascend on Xbox 360 and use any content they have already acquired until the game closure date.

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Super Joystiq Podcast 109: Madden 15, Akiba's Trip, PS Vita

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This week's Super Joystiq Podcast spent the last year working on Madden 26, but it got delayed 11 years.

Anthony is in for Ludwig this week after a full five days of podcasts out of Gamescom 2014. Susan, Richard, and Mike are also in talking about the new presentation of Madden 15, the surprisingly not-so-skeezy, yet frustrating Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed, and the current state of the PlayStation Vita ecosystem. Be sure to stick around until the end for a bit of TV time-- Doctor Who, Under the Dome, and Deadliest Catch.

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

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Age of Wonders 3 expansion 'Golden Realms' announced


The Age of Wonders 3 will expand into "Golden Realms" next month. The first premium expansion for the game adds a new race, campaign, 20 new units, specializations and loads more stuff.

Although it looks like fans of the series were hoping for Frostlings as the first new race, it turns out that Halflings will be the new species on the block – don't worry, there's more expansions coming. The Golden Realms campaign involves helping the Halfling survivors of the Heartwood Massacre rebuild, with new enemies like Naga (fish-snake people) trying to hamper their expansion.

Golden Realms has yet to be priced, but will be available as DLC from Steam and GoG on September 18.

Get a free mech-over, Titanfall back on Origin Game Time

Titanfall returns to Origin Game Time, meaning PC users who missed the promotion the first time round can now take Respawn's mech-stuffed shooter for a 48-hour test drive. EA doesn't say how long the offer will be available for, but the good news is your 48 hours of free shootin' only become active when you launch the game for the first time.

Those 48-hours are real-time and not in-game. So if you start midday on Saturday your game time runs out midday on Monday, no matter how you've spent it. Still, you can't argue with free. Well, you can, but there are better things to argue with, like paper cuts and the necessity of shaving. Finally, if you did take up the first Game Time offer back in June, you won't be able to take part this time.

The news follows EA's unveiling of the third DLC pack, IMC Rising, which drops sometime this fall. We haven't yet decided if IMC Rising sounds more like a bank or a hip-hop group.
[Image: EA]

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter due next month, new gameplay video

The appearing of The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is nailed in for September 25 on Windows PC, priced at $20 in North America and £15 in the UK on both Steam and GOG. Meanwhile, the "first to console" PS4 version is due sometime in 2015.

The Astronauts was founded by the same people who founded People Can Fly, the studio behind the enthusiastically violent Bulletstorm and Gears of War: Judgment. Yet as a new gameplay video shows, The Vanishing of Ethan Carter is about discovering the causes of homicide rather than being one of them. You explore the clues lurking in the world's reddened greenery as you try to piece together the events that led to young Ethan Carter's disappearance following a violent murder. There's also a paranormal element, as you can tap into the memories of the murdered to help reconstruct the chronology of events and unearth the answers hidden in the scenery.

Peruse below the break for that new video which features 13 minutes of gameplay with explanatory narration by The Astronauts' Adrian Chmielarz.

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White PS4 Destiny bundle cut to £350 at GAME

Forget those bills, bills, bills UK friends, because GAME is now offering the white PS4 Destiny bundle at £350, the same price as a standard PS4. The new bundle is exclusive to GAME in the UK, and the high street retailer originally listed it at £385 before cutting the price this week. The bundle will be available alongside the game on September 9.

As MCV reports, the price drop follows undercutting by rival retailers like Amazon, which currently has a black PS4 and Destiny bundle going at £330. A standalone version of the white PS4 is confirmed to be coming to Europe later this year.
[Image: Sony]

Corvo, guv'nor! Dishonored also playable for free this weekened

Steam is determined to siphon your free time away this weekend. Not only are the wastelands of Borderlands 2 free to roam in the coming days, but you can also slink in the perilous, industrial shadows of Dishonored without spending a sixpence. Arkane's stealthy adventure is free to download and play now, but only until 1PM PT/4PM ET/9PM UK time on Sunday, August 24. After that, you have to pay up to continue a-stabbin'.

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Vita looking for someone to share in Europe's Adventure bundles

Did you follow the Adventure Line all the way to the end, Stanley? Did you? Because if you had, we wouldn't be stuck here telling you about the new Vita Adventure Mega Pack that's coming to Europe this fall, now would we? You silly goose.

Anyway, it bundles in voucher codes for five games including Uncharted: Golden Abyss, TxK, Tearway, Gravity Rush and Escape Plan. It also chucks in a 8GB memory card for good measure, and wraps up the lot in a 40 euro bow - that's normally the cost of a single new Vita game, Stanley. There's a new 200 euro Vita bundle that includes the handheld too.

So onwards, Stanley! To destiny!
[Image: Sony]

Everything's coming up Gamestop in Q2 2014

Global sales, new hardware and software sales, mobile and consumer electronics sales and net earnings were all up year-over-year for GameStop in Q2 2014, according to the company's latest financial statement.

Global sales were up 25 percent to $1.73 billion. New hardware sales more than doubled, jumping from $148 million to $332 million in the quarter; GameStop attributed this increase to "very high" demand for Xbox One and PS4 systems. New software sales rose 16 percent from $430 million to $497 million, due to "the strong performance of recently-released new titles, such as Ubisoft's Watch Dogs and Nintendo's Mario Kart 8," GameStop said. Net earnings in Q2 2014 were up 134 percent from 2013, to $24.6 million.

GameStop's largest sales driver was "pre-owned and value video game products," composing 32 percent of total sales. GameStop recently revamped its trade-in process, establishing four tiers of price points that take into account whether customers want cash or store credit, and whether they are PowerUp Rewards Pro members.
[Image: GameStop]

Paradox reveals out of this world RTS 'Ancient Space'

Paradox Interactive and developer Creative Forge have unveiled a game called Ancient Space that the duo describe as "a new story-driven real-time strategy game."

As its title suggests, Ancient Space takes players to the edges of the universe. Specifically, an area known as "The Black Zone." Though objectives vary throughout the game, the core goal of Ancient Space is to build an impressive interstellar fleet that can survive attacks by aliens, space pirates and things that exist only in nebulous regions of the cosmos.

Unlike most real-time strategy games, which are split equally between a b-movie singleplayer campaign and an online multiplayer component, Ancient Space focuses entirely on the former. To that end the developers have enlisted a cast of sci-fi genre regulars to populate the game, including John Billingsley of Star Trek: Enterprise and Dina Meyer of Starship Troopers.

No official release date has been established for Ancient Space, but barring catastrophe Paradox and Creative Forge plan to launch the game on both PC and Mac this Fall. Jump past the break for a trailer.
[Image: Paradox Interactive]

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The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast 109: Madden 15, Akiba's Trip, PS Vita

Latest episode: Friday, August 22nd, 2014

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