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Seen@E3: The Joystiq Project Morpheus Luge Experience

Project Morpheus didn't loom large during Sony's E3 2014 presentation on Monday, but the company's VR helmet did peek its head above ground and was available for brief demos on the show floor. In addition to the knight combat demo that appeared at the headset's GDC debut and CCP's Valkyrie, Sony had a brand new luge racing game. In the game, you're hurtling down a mountain road, hugging turns and dodging speeding semi trucks, with none of the forgiving distance of just watching a digital vehicle on a television screen.

First, Anthony got into the Project Morpheus to try the luge. Then Richard got in the luge. Then Susan got in the luge. Then all of them freaked right the heck out. It looked kind of like this.


Then it kind of looked like this.

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'More than 200 cars' available at Forza Horizon 2 launch

If you were disappointed with the relatively paltry selection of exotic rides in Forza Motorsport 5, the developers of Forza Horizon 2 have good news for you: The car culture incarnation of the franchise will boast over 200 cars when it debuts on September 30.

Following a developer-led demonstration of the game's lovely European vistas and wildly expensive vehicles, I asked Ralph Fulton, creative director at developer Playground Games, if Forza Horizon 2 would follow the Forza Motorsport 5 tradition of debuting alongside a handful of cars, then trickling the rest out to fans in the form of downloadable content. Though Fulton admits that post-launch DLC vehicles are nigh-inevitable, he told me that "more than 200 cars" would be available at launch, ranging from exotic supercars to off-road vehicles to hatchbacks.
[Image: Microsoft]

Nintendo Direct E3 2014 recap: Amiibo, squid-girls, Smash Bros.

Nintendo skipped the traditional stage-based press conference this year at E3, but considering that allowed for a Robot Chicken-animated introduction and a Super Smash Bros.-inspired fistfight between Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime and Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata, we're okay with that. Hopefully you were with us when our jaws dropped in a mixture of surprise and confusion, but if you weren't, we have a consolation prize for you:

Recaaaaaaaaaap! Shall we?

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Skylanders Trap Team takes character-driven action to ridiculous extremes

Today, I saw a monstrous piñata who spews candy and bludgeons his enemies with a gigantic lollipop, a tomato-blasting sentient artichoke who eats his own ammo to grow stronger, and an honest-to-god rock'n roll werewolf who shreds on a guitar and slides into his enemies on his knees, Pete Townshend-style.

Believe it or not, I have not yet contracted E3 Flu, and my brain is not currently being wracked by fever dreams. These characters are all part of Skylanders Trap Team's playable cast, and developer Toys for Bob is clearly ramping up the creativity for the latest entry in its toy-powered adventure game series with an army of ridiculous characters and outlandish settings.

[Image: Activision]

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Alien: Isolation's challenge mode is a space-time conundrum

In addition to the main story-based campaign, Alien: Isolation features a separate time-based challenge mode that combines the game's space-based scares with an inherent need to get a move on. In the E3 demo I played today, the Xbox One build tasked me with escaping an area while a timer ticked upwards. There were three achievable bonuses that would cut into that accumulation of time spent, won by doing things like finding ID tags, locking down the stairwell and not using the motion tracker. That last one was never going to happen, especially without a map this time around to fall back on.

The first time I played Alien: Isolation it creeped me out, but I only suffered death at the xenomorph's hands once. This time I died a total of 7 times across just over 20 minutes, and barely made it anywhere near the supposed exit. My drooling hunter gruesomely killed me no matter what I tried to do, be it crouching quietly behind barrels, hiding in a locker, or torching the fiend with a flamethrower. One full blast - all I had - merely scared the pursuer off, but my new found safety was always brief.

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Oculus Rift and Alien: Isolation: I see you

Alien: Isolation is running in prototype form on Oculus Rift at E3. Two things about that:
  1. The full game isn't coming to Oculus Rift for sure just yet.
  2. It's terrifying.
Creative Lead Al Hope first saw the Oculus Rift's horror potential after a demo at GDC in 2013, he told Joystiq. Creative Assembly decided to give it a try and built the demo now stalking the booths of E3 2014.

"To be clear, what we announced last night is that we're showing a prototype of Alien: Isolation on Oculus Rift," Hope said. He made it clear that a demo didn't equate a full game, at least not for now.

This is a blessing and a curse, because Alien: Isolation on Oculus Rift is great, and also greatly horrifying. We sat down with it on Oculus Rift dev kit 2.0, and those few dark minutes were easily 10,000 times scarier than the standard controller-and-screen version.

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Seen@E3: The Fallen and Sparrow of Destiny

Guarding the entrance to E3 2014's South Hall is this detailed statue of a Fallen, from Bungie's upcoming "dont' call it an MMO, but it totally is" Destiny. Attendees at the show are getting their first chance to check out the game's co-op and competitive modes.

After the break we've got a fuller version of the Fallen above, along with a Sparrow bike from the game, which is apparently set up for photo ops, but wasn't first thing this morning. Yeah, we're gonna have to go back and do that!

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Doctor Who-inspired animation one of Sunset Overdrive's most requested respawns

Since it revealed "next-gen respawning" in Sunset Overdrive – the popular culture-infused animations that return players to the action after death – developer Insomniac Games has been flooded with suggestions from fans.

Insomniac Creative Director Marcus Smith says that one of the themes most suggested to him by fans is something inspired by Doctor Who. "People want to see that Tardis spinning in," he told me at an event showcasing Microsoft's upcoming lineup. Smith wouldn't give away any final respawn animation secrets.

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The massive, bloody world of The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt

Though the first two Witcher games offered a very convincing dark fantasy, roleplaying experience, too often they forced players to follow a linear, almost claustrophobic path. Not so in The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, where climbing to the top of a mountain offers an immense vista populated entirely by locations players can actually visit.

But it's not just the structure of the virtual realm that impresses, as The Witcher 3 is defined by its smaller components: the slick of a puddle lying in the middle of a city street, a murky, methane haze rising from swamplands and mummified bats decorating the home of a magically-inclined crone. "At CD Projekt RED we pride ourselves on our attention to detail," the developers told me during a screening of the game's early moments. "It's all these details and more that make The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt a true open-world experience."
[Image: CD Projekt RED]

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Sonic Boom trailer explains who we're fighting this time

Image Now that the Sinister Six are done and dusted, Sonic and friends have found a new menacing force to enrage in Sonic Boom. Luckily for them, everything in this trailer seems to be conquerable by hoarding rings, wearing trendy athletic tape and running really fast. [Image: Sega]... Continue Reading

Killzone: Intercept using the buddy system on June 25



Shooting up Helghasts is about to become a co-op affair, with Killzone: Shadow Fall's wave-based multiplayer component, Intercept, launching as DLC on June 25. As a reminder, anyone that owns a season pass has already paid their way for Intercept. If your interest is piqued but you don't own Shadow Fall, you can still wait around for the standalone release of Intercept, which is due later this year.

The related PlayStation Blog post also details Petrusite capsules, which can be returned to the team base in exchange for bonuses like an instant restock on health and ammo. They'll also let you go full Oprah by doling out jetpacks or mini guns to your entire team's load out. You might need it though, as your opposition can call in "special Helghast champions with unique abilities" to make things as difficult as possible.
[Image: Guerrilla Games]

Music union threatens Journey composer with $50K fine


The American Federation of Musicians has threatened Journey composer Austin Wintory with a $50,000 fine for working on video games, Wintory explains in a video. AFM President Ray Hair and a committee enacted a video game recording contract in 2012 that bars union members from working on new projects in the games industry. The contract was passed without a vote from union members, Wintory says.

Wintory composed the score for The Banner Saga, and days before the game launched, he received a letter charging he worked against union regulations and threatening a $50,000 fine. Wintory has been vocal online about his stance on AFM's anti-gaming contract.

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Final Fantasy Type-0 upgrades to HD on Xbox One, PS4


Final Fantasy Type-0 is heading west for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, Square Enix announced today. The PS4 version is confirmed for a North American launch, and Director Hajime Tabata notes both Xbox One and PS4 versions in a trailer. Xbox One and PS4 versions are confirmed in a European press release. Type-0 originally launched on PSP in Japan in 2011.

Final Fantasy Agito, the free iOS and Android game set in the same world as Type-0, is also on its way to North America and Europe.

"The voice of our Western fans was instrumental in the development of Final Fantasy Type-0, and we're very excited to release this title soon," Director Hajime Tabata said in the release. "The new PlayStation 4 system and Xbox One platforms have really helped to re-envision this dynamic and turbulent world of Orience."
[Image: Square Enix]

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In Madden 15, defense wins championships

It's commonly agreed that Richard Sherman is the best cornerback in the NFL. The Seattle Seahawks player was voted by fans as the star of Madden NFL 15 late last week, making him one of a few rare exceptions in a long line of offensive players like quarterbacks and running backs to grace the game's cover. He also may wind up being one of the most fitting cover stars.

Madden is typically an offensive player's game. The football sim traditionally favors bold spins and jukes or strong-armed throws over the understated defensive player's actions, and Creative Director of Gameplay Rex Dickson knows that well. In a phone conversation with Joystiq, Dickson recalled choice quotes from fans on how playing defense in Madden was previously "boring," or that players would opt to simulate their snaps on that side of the ball.

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Video preview: Crossing the thin blue line in Battlefield Hardline



Battlefield Hardline pulls players out of the military's theatre of war and puts them in the role as cops and robbers, vying for the biggest stack of cash.

In Joystiq's latest video preview, Editor-in-Chief Ludwig Kietzmann battles for both sides: As an officer in the world's most brutal police force (yikes) and as a criminal on the hunt for his next big score.

Developed by Visceral Games – makers of the Dead Space franchise – Battlefield Hardline is coming to the PC, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PS3 on October 21. EA surprised onlookers at its E3 media briefing, announcing and launching a beta for the game on PC and PS4.

The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Show: Live at PAX East 2012

Latest episode: Friday, April 13th, 2012


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