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GTA Online's San Andreas Flight School update takes off today

Rockstar's latest update for GTA Online earns its wings today on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, giving Grand Theft Auto 5 players access to ten new flight-focused missions.

The San Andreas Flight School Update introduces new planes that players can pilot in a collection of themed Race, Capture, Parachute Jump missions. The update also adds new aerial competitive modes, including the flag-capturing Acquire Targets mode and the Air Force Zero base defense mission.

Rockstar will host an experience-boosting weekend event starting this Friday to commemorate GTA 5's latest update, and 14 new Jobs have launched to give players a chance to earn more in-game cash and reputation points. A full list of changes introduced in today's title update is available at Rockstar's support site.

[Image: Rockstar Games]

Valve just might make that Team Fortress 2 shirt you designed

Valve is giving a chance to the visionaries (and drunk idiots) that have shaped this great land by enhancing common items, paving the way to beer hats and tuxedo-stamped shirts. For a limited time, Valve is inviting other dreamers to join the fray by submitting their own t-shirt and poster designs to be voted on by the Team Fortress 2 community.

"Once the votes are in, we'll curate the top-rated entries, and the best of the best designs will be made available as official merchandise at the Valve Store and various online retailers," a post on the Team Fortress 2 blog announced. "You won't just be ensuring your place in history: You'll also get paid a handsome royalty for every unit sold." Check out the official FAQ for more information on submitting an idea.

Valve has been in the business of selling hats and other apparel for years ... and now you can, too!
[Image: Valve]

Destiny writer joins Telltale Games, seeks the iron throne

Destiny writer Joshua Rubin left Bungie for Telltale Games, announcing his departure via Twitter after two years with the developer. Rubin will be working on Telltale's take on the Game of Thrones franchise, and noted that the creators of the HBO television series, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, have "set an incredibly high standard for writing" and that Rubin is "inspired by their work every season."

"In the end, Bungie makes games about shooting aliens in the head," Rubin told Gamasutra. "And while there's a true art to 'writing between the bullets' - as Mr. Staten once said - I couldn't turn down an offer from Telltale, to create games that are entirely about story." Telltale announced its spin on Game of Thrones in December during the VGX awards, just weeks after reports about the game surfaced. Destiny will launch September 9 for PS4, Xbox One, PS3 and Xbox 360.
[Image: Telltale Games]

Guild Wars 2 plans siege additions for world-vs.-world PvP

As part of its September feature pack rollout, ArenaNet has today discussed the world-vs.-world improvements coming to Guild Wars 2 next month.

Specifically, the team is adding a new Siege Golem Mastery ability line, which renders your character "an unstoppable juggernaut of destruction" with super speed, AoE healing effects, and (of course) an ejection seat to amuse your guildies.

ArenaNet will also add consumable tricks; the first, called a Siege Disabler, is deployed like a grenade and disables weapons and golems and can be purchased with badges and coins rather than karma.

If you aren't into the PvP additions, well, you could always join the folks in Rata Sum protesting the absence of Super Adventure Box. [Thanks, thegirlwiththehair.]

Hotline Miami 2 footage leaks, action figure nears funding goal

Two big pieces of news for Hotline Miami fans: Not only has nearly an hour and a half of footage from Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number appeared on the 'net, but a 12" action figure based on Hotline Miami protagonist Jacket is currently nearing its crowdfunding goal.

The figure, a collaboration between ESC Toy, Dennaton Games, and Devolver Digital, is a 1/6 replica of its murderous virtual source material and includes the character's trademark letterman jacket, interchangeable heads featuring a number of the game's more popular masks, and a complement of weaponry taken from the top-down action gorefest. This figure was only posted to Kickstarter earlier today, but there should be no doubts about its success. Of the $60,000 the toy makers were seeking, the figure has already attracted just over $53,000 and there are 31 days remaining in its fundraiser.

On the opposite side of things, a YouTube user under the name "LennyReviews" has uploaded the first two acts of Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number to the ubiquitous video sharing service. Hotline Miami 2 won't officially debut until later this year, so if you're allergic to spoilers you should probably avoid the clip past the break.
[Image: Devolver Digital]

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Joystiq Streams: Mega Man + Metroid + Castle Pixel = Rex Rocket [UPDATE: Relive the stream!]

Some people call Rex Rocket a space cowboy. Some people call him the gangster of love. Know this, though: When he travels across a ravaged universe like an interstellar Jason Statham, transporting scientists away from vicious robots, nobody ever calls him Maurice. Not even when he speaks of the pompitous of love.

Rex Rocket, a slick slice of platforming righteousness made by the good people at Castle Pixel, gleefully taps the vein of classic video games. Wrought in the style of Mega Man and Metroid, but embracing the bright, black-lined coloring of 16-bit era games, it pits its space faring hero against deadly spikes, automatons, and other threats to scientists in the future. Joystiq Streams cannot resist such challenges.

We're streaming a solid hour of Rex Rocket starting at 4PM EST on Creators Tyler Bud and Rob Maher will be on hand to talk about the game and hang out in the chat. Anthony John Agnello will be trying to survive the robot onslaught while Alexander Sliwinski asks your questions on air.

Joystiq Streams broadcasts live on Tuesdays and Thursday at 4PM EST on, but other streams go live all the time, so make sure to follow us on Twitch.
[Images: Castle Pixel]

Freedom Wars does battle in NA, Europe on October 29

Freedom Wars is coming to the PlayStation Vita on October 29 in North America and Europe and on October 31 in the UK. The action role-playing game is a collaboration between God Eater creators Shift, Street Fighter X Tekken co-developer Dimps and Sony's Japanese Studio.

Participating retailers are offering "the same pre-order DLC as the original Japan release," a post on the PlayStation Blog announced. Ordering the game gives players access to a limited edition costume, powerful starter weapons, limited edition in-game sticker set and a combat pack item. Digital purchases between October 28 and November 11 will include the bonuses.

When Freedom Wars found its way to stores in Japan this past June, the game climbed to the second-highest debut for the PlayStation Vita in the region, selling over 188,000 copies. Not a complete shock for a Monster Hunter-style game in the region where Capcom's franchise is king.

Freedom Wars is priced at $29.99/ €29.99/ £24.99.

Madden 15 passes CoachGlass to PS4

EA Sports will bring its playcalling and analysis app, CoachGlass, to the PS4 version of Madden 15. The second-screen features for Madden 25 will be marginally enhanced this year, offering players charts that quickly display their opponent's tendencies on either side of the ball, such as blitzing percentages and the amount of run, pass and option plays the opposing team tends to call. Additionally, players will be able to call offensive plays and use their timeouts from the app.

The initial concepts for CoachGlass were briefly shown during a trailer for Microsoft's SmartGlass app during its E3 2012 press conference. EA bypassed SmartGlass features for Madden 13 that year before introducing CoachGlass for Xbox One players in last year's game. Given that EA Tiburon only noted that CoachGlass will be available for PS4 and Xbox One players this year, it seems those with Xbox 360 and PS3 copies of the game won't be able to use the app. Madden 15 will launch next Tuesday, August 26.
[Image: EA Sports]

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Around 335,000 attend Gamescom 2014

Gamescom: The Year of Sechs, according to the Koelnmesse organizers, reduced last year's attendance of over 340,000 to "around 335,000." Things were quieter a few years back - you know, with only around 275,000 attendees - thanks to Microsoft and Nintendo's absence, but that certainly wasn't the case this year.

After the break you'll find our annual roundup of official and unofficial stats from the show. There's also plenty of podcasts to listen to and we've also got a text-based roundup of stories, if you're interested in those. We'll be back at Gamescom in 2015 from August 5-9.

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Ubisoft continues shift away from Wii U, Watch Dogs still coming

Making a rational business decision, Ubisoft is stepping back from whatever Wii U development it had going. With the rapid adoption of next-gen consoles and declining percentages in its portfolio of Wii U sales, neither Assassin's Creed game is scheduled for this holiday on Wii U.

"What we see is that Nintendo customers don't buy Assassin's Creed. Last year, we sold in very small numbers," Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot told Game Informer. Nintendo consoles declined from 20 percent to 14 percent of the company's portfolio over the past fiscal year.

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Dolphin Up is a Wii U aquatic stunt sim with a porpoise in life

Science tells us that dolphins are the smartest creatures of the sea, but video games tell us they'll put down the calculus textbooks in the pursuit of big air. Dolphin Up is an upcoming Wii U downloadable that shows us just how graceful the dolphin can be, with multi-flip jumps, dangerous tricks and air so big it takes our fusiform friend up through the atmosphere and into the firework rings of space. Because video games.

If you recognize Dolphin Up, that's probably because you've already seen it or played it on iOS and Android. Rawkins Games says the Wii U version features everything found in the mobile version and optimizes it for TV and GamePad fun and frolics. There's no concrete release date as yet, but the game's targeted to surface some time in September.

Take a dip in a new trailer below the break.

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Flappy Bird creator's new game is vertically challenging

Apparently solving the equation "Flappy Bird + Y axis," creator Dong Nguyen has unveiled the follow-up to his mobile phenomenon, and it's Swing Copters. As Touch Arcade reports, Swing Copters features the same visual style as Flappy Bird, but this time the idea is to move vertically rather than horizontally. You control another little critter, this time with a rotary wing attached to his helmet, and the aim is to float up into the skies. A tap sends your beady-eyed chopper left or right so you can avoid the girders and swinging hammers, and a single hit results in game over.

If it sounds familiar, check out Touch Arcade's gameplay video below the break. Curiously, Swing Copters doesn't look like the "next game" Nguyen teased a few months ago, though he did say in March he had three different projects in the pipeline, so to speak.

When Swing Copters launches on iOS and Android this Thursday, August 21, it'll be a free download with a sole in-app purchase of 99 cents to remove the ads. Whether or not it'll beat the clones to the chase remains to be seen.

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Ninja Theory: Hellblade isn't tied to Heavenly Sword at all

Like many of you, when Ninja Theory showed its new game at Gamescom we turned to each other and whispered "Heavenly Sword 2? Come on, that's totally Kai!" But no, it was Hellblade, and in an Eurogamer interview the studio's confirmed the PS4 game has no ties whatsoever to the 2007 hack-and-slash. And no, it's not even a spiritual successor.

"It's a brand new IP," Ninja Theory's Dominic Matthews said. "Senua is a new character. It's not tied to Heavenly Sword at all. I saw someone describe the name as someone just putting Heavenly Sword into and going, oh it's Hellblade. It's not something where we've gone, 'Yeah, let's make people think it is this.' We really like Heavenly Sword. We loved making that game. So it's actually more just we like making female protagonists that look in a certain style. And we like swords. And we like hell. It's more that."

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Upvote while you showboat with Xbox One's Reddit app

Xbox One becomes the first console to get a Reddit-based app when Reddx launches on the console today in the US and Canada. Fans of the aggregation site/social hub/gif-abase can snap in the exclusive Reddx app, allowing them to play games or watch shows in one window while upvoting and downvoting in the other.

According to the developer Stern Beast, ReddX supports image panning and zooming; gif playing with rewind, pause and fast forward features; and full input support across controller, voice, Kinect gestures, SmartGlass, USB keyboards and Xbox One media remotes. Also, it's free to all Xbox One users, so yes, you can lose yourself to the time-eating clutches of the Trees Sucking at Things subreddit without a Gold membership.

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Super Meat Boy dev teases 'A Voyeur for September'

What to make of this, hmm? Super Meat Boy and Mew-Genics studio Team Meat is teasing a new "live-action stealth game" called A Voyeur for September, which in and of itself is a bit weird. Let's face it, live-action stealth... whatever that is... would be a seismic departure from what we're used to from the team of Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes.

Is there another explanation? Smarty-pants online sleuths reckon so, having discovered A Voyeur for September just so happens to be an anagram of Super Meat Boy Forever. That does sound more plausible, although we've discovered the title's also an anagram of Tea Proves Beefy Rumor. Does that mean the answer's in the tea? Somebody, put the kettle on!

Check out Team Meat's mysterious teaser trailer below the break.

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The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast Special: Gamescom 2014 Day 2

Latest episode: Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

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