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Humble Weekly Sale: Guacamelee, Surgeon Simulator, State of Decay

The Humble Weekly Sale features a lineup of PewDiePie-approved games, with sales helping out the Save the Children charity. Available for anything you want is Surgeon Simulator 2013, Guacamelee Gold Edition and QWOP for Android. Up for $6 or more is SpeedRunners on Early Access and Garry's Mod, at $10 or more unlock Probably Archery, and for $15 or more you'll receive State of Decay.

All games are on Steam, except for "QWOP for Android." That one's on – wait for it – Android.
[Image: Humble]

Sniper Elite 3 devs talk multiplayer, co-op, custom guns

Image What the above Sniper Elite 3 trailer lacks in gory, X-ray killcam footage of exploding Teutonic skulls, it makes up for in clear, concise discussion of the joys of stalking Hitler's goons with the aid of a friend. [Image: 505 Games]... Continue Reading

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.

Cult classic adventure Outcast rebooted for PC

Indie developer Fresh3D recently launched a Kickstarter project to fund a high-definition remake of Outcast, the 1999 Infogrames-published PC adventure game. The open-world game will feature re-designed objects, textures, environments and characters, each made from scratch to run in 1080p HD at 60 frames per second. The developer is targeting $600,000 by Wednesday, May 7, to fund the game. So far it's achieved more than $140,000.

Fresh3D includes three designers from Appeal, the developer of the original cult classic adventure game: Yann Robert, Franck Sauer and Yves Grolet. Grolet is involved in the project as a gameplay advisor, while Robert and Sauer are technical and creative directors, respectively. The three designers purchased the rights to Outcast in July 2013.
[Image: Fresh3D]

The first dusty, scary gameplay of Renegade Kid's Cult County

This is the "pre-pre-pre-alpha" video of Cult County, the spooky survival game from Dementium series developer Renegade Kid. Developer Jools Watsham walks viewers through the first look at gameplay for Cult County, making sure to note how the dust, wind and creepy messages painted across signs contribute to the atmosphere.

In the game, you return to their childhood hometown in rural west Texas, only to find a new, cultish group has moved into town, Father Pearce has committed suicide, and a storm is rolling in. As the dust storm gathers, you begin to see shadowy figures on the edges of your vision. It's first-person with melee and firearm combat, though so far the main weapon we've seen is a big, red wrench.

Renegade Kid is the studio behind Mutant Mudds and Moon, along with DS horror games Dementium and Dementium 2. It's looking for $580,000 on Kickstarter, and with 21 days left, it's raised $32,000. Cult County is planned for PC, Mac, Linux, Wii U, Xbox One, PS4, PS3 and Vita.
[Image: Renegade Kid]

That Dragon, Cancer documentary follows a year of development, heartache

Thank You For Playing is a documentary about the development of That Dragon, Cancer, the low-poly adventure game from Ryan Green. The game tells the Green family's heart-wrenching story as their young son, Joel, battles terminal cancer. Joel died in March at age 5.

The documentary covers the past year of development, delving into tense family moments, following Joel to the hospital, and covering That Dragon, Cancer at shows such as PAX and E3. Thank You For Playing comes from veteran filmmakers David Osit and Malika Zouhali-Worrall.

Ryan Green posted about the documentary for the first time on his blog today:

"You wouldn't think it so, since our family has been so public and in the news about sharing the game, and we've been part of a web-based documentary before, but letting a film crew in to our personal, creative and professional lives was a little scary. We are not the producers of this film. It is independent of us. Before this project, we did not know David and Malika, but we decided It was important that people see the parts of our lives in-between the scenes of the game. Life happens in the middle and so does death. David and Malika were with our family the three days leading up to Joel's passing."

Thank You For Playing is currently in production, as is That Dragon, Cancer.
[Images: Osit and Zouhali-Worrall]

Orcs Must Die Unchained spins tower defense into 'fortress siege'

Orcs Must Die! is back, but this time the tower-defense action series is a lot more League of Legends. Orcs Must Die Unchained! is a free-to-play, team-based, 5v5 multiplayer game like the MOBAs flooding the market, with elements known to the series, and adding a card collecting element.

"We've been calling it a fortress siege game," said Robot Entertainment CEO Patrick Hudson to IGN. Now players will not only compete against each other, but will be able to lead AI allies into battle.

The first Orcs Must Die! was strictly a single-player experience, with the sequel adding two-player co-op. Now developer Robot Entertainment seems ready to throw in the kitchen sink with Unchained!. The game is expected to launch later this year, with pre-orders already available. Heck, you can play the game now if you pay $150, but there's also a $20 option if you want to wait until beta. Waiting for beta is sooo 2012. Premium buy in-pre-alpha is the new hotness.

If you're attending PAX East, you can try before you charge into battle. The game will be playable on the show floor.
[Image: Robot Entertainment]

Below confirmed for Steam

Below is coming to Steam as well as Xbox One, developer Capybara Games announced today with a new trailer.

Microsoft revealed Below on its stage at E3 2013. In August, we learned that Below and Capybara's Xbox 360 game, Super TIME Force, would both come to other platforms "after a period of time." This is the first confirmation of a Steam launch for Below.

Below is a roguelike-like, throwing the tiny character into randomized dungeons with a shield and a weapon; death is permanent. It's exploration-based and features music by Indie Game: The Movie composer Jim Guthrie. There's no launch date for Below.
[Image: Capybara]

Double Fine COO wants to keep indies premium with consistent pricing

Double Fine chief operating officer Justin Bailey expressed a desire to maintain premium status for indie-developed games in a recent interview with USgamer, explaining that a continued "race to the bottom" in terms of pricing could prove disastrous for the developing marketplace.

"I think what indies really need to watch out for is not becoming the new casual games," Bailey said, referencing a looming indie bubble and casual gaming's free-to-play shift. "I don't think that's a problem from the development side. Indies are approaching it as an artform and they're trying to be innovative, but what's happening in the marketplace is indies are being pushed more and more to have a lower price or have a bunch of games bundled together."

In an effort to stave off marketplace dilution, Bailey says that Double Fine will encourage its publishing partners to maintain consistent pricing without spurring sales through bundles or deep discounts.

"Double Fine wants to keep indies premium," Bailey stated. "You see that in our own games and how we're positioning them. We fight the urge to just completely drop the price. That's one of the things we want to encourage in this program. Getting people to stick to a premium price point and to the platforms that allow you to do that."

Double Fine recently kicked off its indie publishing initiative with Escape Goat 2, providing creator Ian Stocker with "promotional assistance and distribution" at launch.

"Our biggest interest is to have a vibrant indie ecosystem," Bailey said. "Our thought is the best people to provide that are going to be the indies. We'd like to help make other indies successful, keep them independent, and have a place where they can go and in turn, help out other indies. That makes the ecosystem stronger."

[Image: Double Fine]

SimCity 4: Deluxe Edition returns to Mac in updated digital release

While fans may never forgive EA for the disastrous launch of SimCity, those would-be city planners devoted to OS X will be happy to hear that the fan-favorite SimCity 4: Deluxe Edition is making a return to Apple hardware.

This new version of SimCity 4: Deluxe Edition has been designed from the ground-up for modern Apple hardware. It requires OS X Mountain Lion or a more recent Apple operating system, but alongside this shift into the modern, Aspyr claims the game boasts new bug fixes, performance improvements and native resolution support – a huge boon for anyone who'd rather not play SimCity 4 at a muddy, pixelated 1024x768. Otherwise, this is the same SimCity 4: Deluxe Edition that so many players have spent so many hundreds of hours immersed within.

Best of all, you Apple devotees need not wait for this game's launch. As of this morning, SimCity 4: Deluxe Edition is available on the OS X App Store at a price of $20.
[Image: Aspyr Media]

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First-person synthesizer Fract debuts April 22

Ambient first-person puzzler Fract is gearing up for a PC release later this month via Steam, Good Old Games and the Humble Store, developer Phosfiend Systems announced this week.

In Fract, players build and shape their surroundings by solving puzzles, bringing derelict machinery to life against a backdrop of customizable electronic music. Fract's development was backed by Indie Fund, a company that previously supported indie standouts Monaco, Dear Esther and Antichamber.

Fract will be released for Windows, Mac and Linux on April 22. Pre-orders are available now at a 10 percent discount.
[Image: Phosfiend Systems]

Joust, Pin*Bot artist Python Anghelo passes away

Python Anghelo, the artist behind many iconic illustrations from the golden age of arcade gaming, passed away at his home yesterday after an extended battle with cancer.

Born in 1954, Anghelo created marquee and cabinet artwork for Williams' landmark 1982 arcade game Joust. Anghelo had a prolific career in the pinball industry afterward, working as an artist and designer for tables like Pin*Bot, Taxi, Fish Tales and High Speed.

Friend Paul Kiefert confirmed Anghelo's passing yesterday. Kiefert established a GoFundMe project to pay for Anghelo's cancer treatment last month, earning nearly $20,000 in donations from friends, family and devoted fans.

"I can say with 100 percent certainty that with the help of this great Pinball Community we were able to deliver great joy and happiness during his final time on this earth and that the legend most people knew will continue to be honored for generations to come," Kiefert wrote.
[Image: Williams / Arcade Crusade]

Ethan: Meteor Hunter chases space rocks to Vita on April 15

Following the announcement of a Vita version of Ethan: Meteor Hunter earlier this year, developer Seaven Studio has unveiled an official release date: April 15.

Ethan: Meteor Hunter centers on a rat who strayed too close to the sorts of falling heavenly bodies that can cause a mammal to develop special abilities, specifically the telekinetic power to stop time and move objects. Now, Ethan uses these powers to hunt down more meteorites, in his ultimate quest to take revenge on the fiend who destroyed his house. It's not Dostoevsky (or even Stan Lee), but the premise does offer ample reason for players to hop through Ethan's world.

New to the Vita game are optional touchscreen telekinesis controls, though otherwise it's identical to the game currently available on both PC and PlayStation 3. On debut, Ethan: Meteor Hunter will bear a $10 price tag.
[Image: Seaven Studio]

E.T. cartridge excavation becomes a documentary for Xbox

Come April 26, giant machines will plunge their blades deep into the soil of Alamogordo, New Mexico, in search of a rumored treasure trove of awful video games, and Microsoft wants you to be there.

The event kicks off at 9:30AM MDT at the Alamogordo Landfill on Highway 54, and is slated to run through 7:30PM MDT. Presumably that time period will be much more interesting if there actually are cartridges containing the famously terrible E.T. The Extraterrestrial buried beneath the New Mexican soil, but even if this is a modern day Capone's Vault, there should still be plenty of spectacle. According to Microsoft, X-Men 2 writer Zak Penn will be on hand documenting the dig, alongside archaeologists, representatives from Fuel Entertainment and E.T. The Extraterrestrial designer Howard Scott Warshaw.

More details are available at Xbox Wire, though be wary of the hype. This all sounds exciting, but never forget that you're being invited to spend the majority of a day watching people root through an old New Mexican landfill.
[Image: Gene Spesard]

The Division shoots for realistic weapons from Tom Clancy studio

Rainbow Six studio Red Storm is helping Ubisoft's Swedish house Massive Entertainment and UK studio Ubisoft Reflections with development of The Division, the open-world Tom Clancy game due out in 2014. Mainly, Red Storm's help comes in the form of realistic weaponry.

"I, personally, have been doing it for about six years now," Red Storm Lead Weapons Designer JD Cragg says in an Ubisoft blog post. "One of the guys on my team has been doing it for almost nine. This is pretty much all I do – authentic military weapons, vehicles and that sort of thing."

Red Storm is focusing on the weapons artwork, and it has an in-house authenticity department and connections with the local military. The studio has "tens of thousands of photos" of broken-down firearms.

"We've had manufacturers come in and literally disassemble the entire weapon all the way down to the nuts and bolts, and our guys are taking hi-res photos of those things," Red Storm Producer Tony Sturtzel says. "We probably have unparalleled access to these types of things because of our authenticity department and their focus on relationships. We're not ever gonna let the cat out of the bag on some of the relationships we have."

The Division is due out in 2014 for PC, PS4 and Xbox One, though that release window is reported to be "laughable," according to a Massive Entertainment team member.
[Image: Ubisoft]

The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Show - 019: Game of the Year Talk 05

Latest episode: Friday, December 30th, 2011

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