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Behind-the-scenes 'Final Hours of Titanfall' app now available

The Final Hours of Titanfall, an in-depth look at the development of Respawn Entertainment's first game, is now available to download on iPad, Windows Surface as well as PC and Mac via Origin for $1.99. Versions of the app are also planned for Android and iPhone, and both a text-only version for Kindle as well as an audiobook version are being considered.

Created over a four-year span by Geoff Keighley, the app is a 25,000-word deep-dive on Titanfall's development and the legal issues that Respawn co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella settled with Activision in May 2012 pryor to West's departure from the developer in March 2013. Keighley conducted interviews with over 80 people to chronicle Respawn's beginnings, which cover the "toxic mix of office politics and creative struggles the build the next great videogame franchise." It also features concept art and videos from the early days of the game's development.

This isn't Keighley's first foray into longform app development, as the behind-the-scenes "Final Hours" series includes an episodic webseries on Square Enix's Tomb Raider reboot, an app for Portal 2 and one detailing the creation of Mass Effect 3.
[Image: EA Games]

Hearthstone plays its cards on iPad today

Blizzard's collectible trading card game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is now available for iPad. The free-to-play game was first announced at last year's PAX East event in March 2013 as a cross-platform, multiplayer strategy game intended for PC, Mac and iPad.

The World of Warcraft developer revealed details for the game's single player campaigh just last week. Hearthstone entered open beta on PC and Mac in January.
[Image: Blizzard Entertainment]

Glorkian Warrior vs Dino Run 2: Crowdfunding before and after Double Fine

Glorkian Warrior: The Trials of Glork is a different game than the one Pixeljam promised in its Kickstarter campaign. It's not unrecognizable – the Saturday-morning-cartoon artwork is still done by graphic novelist James Kochalka and it still stars a three-eyed alien blasting baddies from the sky, but the adventure aspect Pixeljam wanted in Glorkian Warrior didn't make it to the final game.

"We really wanted the Glorkian Warrior to have an epic journey, blasting aliens like Galaga, rolling around like Sonic, exploring like Metroid, making the player feel they were inside one of James' comics," Pixeljam co-founder Miles Tilmann tells Joystiq. "How we thought we could get this going with just $10K, I honestly have no idea. Somehow at the time we thought it was possible. It's interesting how the sheer excitement of starting a new project and raising money for it can make you blind to what's actually realistic."

Pixeljam's Kickstarter campaign concluded on March 22, 2010, after raising $11,200, and Glorkian Warrior launched on March 13, 2014. That timeframe is relevant for two reasons: Pixeljam took to crowdfunding before Double Fine Adventure broke down the barriers for gaming Kickstarters in 2012, and four years is a long time to keep backers waiting for a game.

"A couple of backers have told us that it was worth the wait, which is the best compliment we could possibly receive for the game," Tilmann says. "It reinforces the idea that the backers were simply excited to help us make something with James Kochalka, and were less picky about what the game would actually do. I think that's only the case with niche or small-budget projects, though. If something that raised $100K+ on Kickstarter took four years to deliver and didn't do everything that the original plan entailed, there would be much more of a backlash."

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Microsoft announces Age of Empires: World Domination for mobile


We've known since last summer that Microsoft was looking to bring its Age of Empires series to mobile, but earlier this week we were given an official announcement and title. The game, which is being developed by KLab, is called Age of Empires: World Domination. It's coming to iOS, Android and Windows devices this summer. You can check out the announcement trailer above.

Unfortunately, there's not much else to go on at the moment, other than the game will feature Celts, Huns, Vikings and Franks. It's not clear if gameplay will follow in the series' traditional real-time strategy footsteps or be something else, but the trailer promises "an all new battle system reimagined for mobile."

Cry havoc and let slip the fingertips of war.
[Image: Microsoft]

Harmonix's free-to-play Record Run planned for May release

Record Run, Harmonix's free-to-play, rhythmic runner that builds stages from the music library on a player's device, was announced yesterday at PAX East 2014. According to Polygon, project director John Drake announced today that the mobile game will reach Australia and Canada within a few weeks, with a wider launch on Android and iOS devices following in May.

As a song progresses, players will switch between lanes of pavement to snatch up levitating discs of vinyl. Aside from accumulating a massive record collection, Record Run-ners can take on missions with more specific objectives, like collecting a certain amount of records or points. Weekly leaderboards are planned as well, but all-time scores will also be viewable.
[Image: Harmonix]

The Internet is your storytelling campfire in Storium [Update]



Ever tell ghost stories around a campfire? Or recount your life's adventures at a party? Storium by Stephen Hood aims to recreate those experiences, with the Internet acting not only as your audience, but your collaborators. You begin by choosing a world with a unique setting and history, and from there, create your own tale to tell within it. Other players can then join in on your story, contributing their own characters and actions.

The game is focused on writing, but mixes in game mechanics such as cards representing characters, items, obstacles and goals to keep players focused and the story moving forward. Think of it like a session of Dungeons & Dragons where the focus is less on killing monsters and more on acting out a scene.

The game has already been funded via Kickstarter, though more funding means more worlds for users to play in. So far, Storium is supporting worlds and settings like Bram Stoker's Dracula, a Red Dawn-like world where Russians invade the US, post-WW2 Los Angeles, and a near future where criminals and law enforcement alike alter their genes to become superhuman. There are no solid release windows or platforms given on the game's Kickstarter page, but it is advertised that players will be able to access Storium "with just your computer, tablet, or smartphone."

Update: Joystiq reached out to Storium creator Stephen Hood for more details, and he has responded. While backers who donate $10 or more gain instant access to the Storium beta, the public launch is expected in November. Storium is also browser-based instead of a standalone client, so any compatible browser, be it on your smartphone, tablet, PC or other device, should work.
[Image: Storium / Stephen Hood]

Magic 2015 deals in Xbox One, out in the summer


This summer, Magic 2015: Duels of the Planeswalkers brings the collectible card game series to Xbox One for the first time, but it looks like the game isn't coming to PlayStation platforms in the near future. Wizards of the Coast announced Magic 2015 for Xbox One, Xbox 360, Steam, iPad, Android and Kindle, with PS3 and PS4 conspicuously absent from the deck; previously editions have traditionally come to PS3 at launch. As for the summer due date, that's only specified for Xbox One, and Wizards of the Coast notes its releases may vary from platform to platform.

Talking of decks, you'll be able to build customized ones in Magic 2015, and Wizards of the Coast promises "more robust" deck-building features to boot. Meanwhile, the story pits players as the prey of primal hunter and generally deadly dude Garruk Wildspeaker.

Of course, we might be seeing Magic: The Gathering on bigger screens in the future, after 20th Century Fox's purchase of the series' screen rights earlier this year. We look forward to the inevitable video game based on the collectible card game based on the movie based on the collectible card game.
[Image: Wizards of the Coast]

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Blizzard reveals Hearthstone single-player campaign

Blizzard announced its upcoming Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft single-player Adventure Mode at PAX East today, detailing the challenges players will face as they progress through the new Curse of Naxxramas campaign.

Curse of Naxxramas features a series of unique enemy encounters and boss battles that take place on a new Adventure Mode-exclusive game board with interactive corners. The mode adds 30 new cards to the Hearthstone deck, including bonus cards awarded for completing nine unique Class Challenges.

The Curse of Naxxramas will gradually roll out new Hearthstone content in the five weeks after its simultaneous launch for Windows, Mac and iPad this year. A release date has not been announced.
[Image: Blizzard]

Harmonix announces 'rhythm-runner' Record Run for mobile

Harmonix announced the development of a new free-to-play game at PAX East in Boston today called Record Run. Described by the developer as a "rhythm-runner," the game is "coming soon" to as-yet-undetermined mobile platforms.

Record Run features gameplay that compares to Gaijin Games' Bit.Trip series, according to Harmonix head Alex Rigopulos. The game uses songs from players' mobile devices as the backdrop for its levels, which features a character running down a sidewalk, avoiding obstacles and collecting music records, all seen during Rigopulous' presentation. He noted that Harmonix has "lots of other irons in the fire on mobile" aside from Record Run.
[Image: Harmonix]

Just rolling with the apocalypse in Mushroom 11

In the aftermath of global annihilation, Mushroom 11 gives rise to a bioluminescent blob that looks like someone made radioactive jello in a murky swimming pool. It expands, contracts, squeezes and climbs through dilapidated nooks and crannies, never losing its total mass while the player prods it into motion. It's easy to play and hard to look away.

The quirky growth must use its weight and mass in clever ways to advance, be it creeping through the windows of a skyscraper about to crumble, splitting itself to trigger simultaneous mechanisms, or to roll past the attacking arms of a mutated plant. The trick is to realize that your touch (or mouse-click) removes adjacent pieces of the blob, which then immediately regrow, attached elsewhere. Closer observation shows it to be a living lattice of gelatinous material, moving and shifting its weight as it grows in response to your prodding. This makes Mushroom 11 a slower, methodical game, and different from fluid manipulation games like Pixeljunk Shooter.

The other trick to Mushroom 11, according to designer Itay Keren, is to teach players how to handle their blobs without resorting to text and obvious tutorials. The game is striving for subtlety, both in its story of how the earth came to ruin, and in its teaching phase.

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Four new tables join Star Wars Pinball on April 29


Zen Studios continues to expand its nigh-ubiquitous virtual pinball offerings with the April 29 debut of four additional tables for Star Wars Pinball.

Included in the quartet of tables, collectively dubbed "Heroes Within," are Han Solo, Star Wars: Episode 4 - A New Hope, Star Wars Pinball: Masters of the Force, and, newly-revealed today, Star Wars Pinball: Droids. As its name suggests, that last one is a table focused on the adventures of R2D2 and C3PO. While you'd think an effete stereotype and a beeping trash can would live sedate lives, as the trailer above demonstrates, our plucky metallic duo must contend with Jawas and inexplicably dangerous machinery while attempting to escape the iconic Sandcrawler.

Though no price has been assigned to the Heroes Within DLC, Zen Studios notes that these four tables will be available to all Star Wars Pinball platforms on April 29.

Hitman Go launches April 17 on iOS, Android 'shortly after'

Square Enix Montreal will launch mobile strategy game Hitman Go on iOS on Thursday, April 17. Based on the publisher's popular Hitman series, the diorama-style, turn-based game will cost $5 (£3 / 4.50 euros). Announced in February, the first game from the developer has players navigating fixed, grid-like spaces while using familiar tools from the series, such as Agent 47's Silverballers.

Hitman Go will include eight special "Curtains Down" levels based on Hitman: Blood Money. While Square Enix didn't set a release date for it, the Android version of the game will arrive "shortly after" it launches on the App Store.
[Image: Square Enix]

Minecraft Pocket Edition chips off 21 million copies

Minecraft Pocket Edition has sold more than 21 million copies, developer Jens Bergensten says in a tweet. To celebrate this ridiculously large number, the Minecraft mobile team will host a live panel broadcast from Mojang offices on Monday, April 14, allowing fans to ask them anything. Whether they'll answer anything is up to them.

Players can submit questions to this reddit thread. Mojang will pick the best ones and address them live online – there's no specific time for the stream yet, but it will be archived. Mojang says to check the site for more info as it comes in.

"We're extremely grateful to all players for your dedication and creativity," Mojang writes. "Without that, Minecraft wouldn't be anywhere near as significant as it is today."

Minecraft recently passed 12 million sales on Xbox 360 and 14 million on PC. In its first month on PS3, Minecraft hit 1 million sales. In total, Minecraft has sold roughly 576 squidillion copies across all platforms.
[Image: Mojang]

Digital board game Armello blends furry critters with strategy-RPG mechanics


Australian indie developer League of Geeks announced the upcoming release of Armello, a digital board game and strategy-RPG hybrid due to launch in 2015 for Windows, Mac, Linux, and iOS.

As we previously saw at GDC, gameplay in Armello unfolds in the context of a multiplayer board game with card-based mechanics. Players choose among multiple playable clans, and can forge temporary alliances with other players as they quest for a ruling seat at the royal palace. Defining gameplay components include a day/night cycle, a dice-rolling combat system, and an in-depth equipment system that can be managed between turns.

Armello seeks $200,000 AUD to reach its initial funding goal. Ports for Android and Windows tablets are also being considered, pending stretch goal funding.

[Video: League of Geeks]

Game of Thrones: Ascent studio developing strategic mobile Star Trek game


Disruptor Beam, the developers behind Game of Thrones: Ascent, announced the development of Star Trek Timelines today. Published by CBS, Star Trek Timelines is a story-driven strategy RPG for iOS, Android and browsers in which players explore galaxies and resolve conflicts through diplomacy, combat and science. Players will build a starship and crew and go on missions with characters from the many series of Star Trek TV shows and movies.

The studio's CEO, Jon Radoff wrote a blog on the developer's site detailing its vision for the multiplayer game, comparing it to Game of Thrones: Ascent. While Radoff said the game will be familiar to Game of Thrones players, Star Trek Timelines will feature a "more immersive exploration system" as well as "a more detailed tactical system" for conflict resolution. Disruptor Beam currently doesn't have a release schedule for the game.
[Image: Disruptor Beam]

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Marvel superheroes to join Disney Infinity


After years of superhero films from Marvel Studios igniting the box office, it was inevitable that Disney would add Marvel's characters to open-world license mashup Disney Infinity.

The game, which drops players into a sandbox-style environment populated with famous faces from throughout Disney's vast catalogue of lucrative characters, has long been a suspected destination for Marvel's heroes. In February, we reported on layoffs at Disney Infinity developer Disney Interactive, at which time the Wall Street Journal claimed that Marvel characters would join Disney Infinity in a "new version" of the game. Presumably that explains the "2.0" designation at the end of the above trailer, though so far we've found no further information on what might also be included in this new incarnation of Disney Infinity.

There's no word on when Marvel's heroes might join Disney Infinity, nor word on which heroes will make the cut. Given the title of the video, "Get Ready To Assemble," we think the Avengers will be a safe bet, but otherwise we're in the dark. When contacted, neither Disney nor Marvel had anything further to add.

Cartoon Network publishing Kickstarted Zelda-like Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake

Indie developer SleepNinja will get a little help to bring Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake to Steam and mobile devices later this year, as it agreed to a publishing deal with Cartoon Network Games, the publisher confirmed to Joystiq. The developer earned $26,091 on Kickstarter in February 2013, enough to reach a stretch goal that will bring the game to Android in addition to PC, Mac and iOS.

"Cartoon Network have been great to work with and have definitely kept our backers in mind," SleepNinja Creative Director Justin Baldwin said via email. "Our publishing deal with them will not affect our backer's rewards; everyone will still be getting what was promised, and the game they were promised."

Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake is an "environmental puzzler" in the same vein as Nintendo's Legend of Zelda series that features a colorful 16-bit aesthetic that "doesn't rely on pixel art." While Cartoon Network Games primarily focuses on games related to its current properties such as Adventure Time, Monsters Ate My Birthday Cake will be its first original IP on Steam. Cartoon Network said it plans to publish "more than 10 mobile titles and at least four on Steam."

Mojang's Scrolls in the works for iPad

Scrolls - the other game by Mojang - is on its way to iPad, courtesy of Boulder Dash XL 3D and Magicka: Wizards of the Square Tablet dev Ludosity. The collectible card game makes sense for a touchscreen experience, but as for what might be unique to that experience, we'll have to wait and see. Mojang said it'll have more news on the tablet port "soon."

The Minecraft studio also plans to deal out a few tweaks to Scrolls, including a visually clearer ranking system, and some audio and visual additions to give duels a bit more pizzazz. There are also revamped, "snappier" tutorials in the works, as well as a new demo.
[Image: Mojang]

Telepathic crime and noir stealth due in spring with Third Eye Crime

Third Eye Crime, the telepathic stealth game from a team of former Bungie developers at Moonshot Games, is due out in spring for mobile devices from publisher gameblyr. Moonshot will have a playable iOS build at PAX East later this week.

Third Eye Crime stars Rothko, a criminal with the ability to predict the moves of his enemies – Rothko must use his telepathic powers to set up false leads for the authorities, allowing him to get away with nasty deeds. It's top-down puzzle and stealth in a noir setting, and it was almost a completely different game.

Moonshot Games entered the indie industry with Fallen Frontier, a downloadable co-op shooter for consoles, but funding fell through. Moonshot switched up its business plan, targeting the mobile market, and until now it funded Third Eye Crime from the team's own pockets.

"Post-PAX [2011] we came to the grim realization that the market had shifted pretty substantially since we first started working on the game," Moonshot co-founder Damian Isla said in 2013. "The console downloadable platforms had plateaued somewhat, and publishers were less excited about investing there. A game that had sold itself easily the first two times all of a sudden became a much harder sell the third time. By that time, the real interest and the accompanying dollars seemed to had moved on to mobile and social."

We'll see if Moonshot is still on the right path with Third Eye Crime in spring.
[Images: gameblyr]

Halo co-creator gets $5 million investment for tablet shooter

Accel Partners has invested $5 million into Alex Seropian's startup studio, Industrial Toys. Seropian previously co-founded Bungie, where he acted as President and CEO during the creation of Halo: Combat Evolved. His new game, Midnight Star, looks to be something of a spiritual successor to the Halo games; a sci-fi first-person shooter (with some familiar imagery, judging by screenshots) for tablets.

Accel has previously invested in studios like Rovio (Angry Birds) and Supercell (Clash of Clans). A representative of the company told GamesBeat that the investment was "about the game," and that "[Industrial Toys] have a vision and focus on quality. They made their first product on a scrappy budget, but it is going to be very polished."

Seropian also commented to GamesBeat, saying that it seems "obvious" that core gamers will migrate from consoles to mobile platforms.
[Image: Industrial Toys]

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