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Hackers charged with Xbox One, Valve, Call of Duty data theft

The United States has charged four members of an international hacking ring with stealing up to $200 million in intellectual property and other data from Microsoft, Epic Games, Valve, Zombie Studios and the US Army. The hackers are charged with stealing software related to Xbox Live, Xbox One, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Gears of War 3.

"Specifically, the data cyber-theft allegedly included source code, technical specifications and related information for Microsoft's then-unreleased Xbox One gaming console; intellectual property and proprietary data related to Xbox Live, Microsoft's online multi-player gaming and media-delivery system; Apache helicopter simulator software developed by Zombie Studios for the US Army; a pre-release version of Epic's video game, Gears of War 3; and a pre-release version of Activision's video game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. The defendants also allegedly conspired to use, share and sell the stolen information," the US Department of Justice says in a press release.

The hacking group used SQL injection and stolen usernames and passwords to break into the targeted companies' networks. The men charged are Nathan Leroux, 20, of Bowie, Maryland; Sanadodeh Nesheiwat, 28, of Washington, New Jersey; David Pokora, 22, of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada; and Austin Alcala, 18, of McCordsville, Indiana. Pokora and Nesheiwat have pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit computer fraud and copyright infringement, both scheduled for sentencing in January.

"Pokora's plea is believed to be the first conviction of a foreign-based individual for hacking into US businesses to steal trade secret information," the Department of Justice says. Authorities in Australia have charged an Australian citizen in relation to this conspiracy.
[Image: Microsoft]

Pre-order Alien: Isolation digitally, watch it download in terror

Digital pre-orders for Creative Assembly's frightful first-person game Alien: Isolation are now available. Players can put money down in advance of the game's impending launch in one week on Steam, PSN and Xbox Live to pre-download the game and pick up its season pass.

Xbox One players can pre-purchase the game's Nostromo Edition on Microsoft's store, which includes the full game as well as the "Crew Expendable" bonus content. PS4 and PS3 players can scoot over to PSN to pre-order either the Nostromo Edition or the Season Pass bundle, with individual passes available on launch day, October 7. Likewise, the Nostromo Edition as well as the Digital Deluxe Edition are available to pre-purchase on Steam, the latter of which also includes the game's season pass. The $30 season pass give players access to Alien: Isolation's survivor mode map packs.

They sent a poet: Elegy for a Dead World due in early 2015

Elegy for a Dead World, a game that transforms players into British Romantic poets traversing a sci-fi landscape, is due out in early 2015 for PC, Mac and Linux via Steam, developers Dejobaan Games and Popcannibal announced on their Kickstarter page. Beta keys are due out for eligible backers in October (yep, the October that starts tomorrow).

Elegy for a Dead World imagines the cracked, desolate planets of classic Romantic poets Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron and John Keats, and then asks players to explore the worlds' ruins and write about the symbols and archaeology they find. Players can then share the stories they've written with other people on Steam, or upload screenshots of their own tales to make personalized books via print-on-demand sites.

"We created Elegy so that everyone can write," Dejobaan writes. "As you explore, the game helps you create the narrative .... Each world offers multiple sets of prompts, each intended to inspire you to write a different story about it. Elegy might ask you to write a short story about an individual's final days, a song about resignation or a poem about war. In the more advanced levels, you'll sometimes get new information halfway through your story which casts a new light on things and forces you to take your story in a different direction. We like to think of those as puzzles – writing yourself out of a corner, so to speak."
[Images: Warner Bros, Dejobaan/Popcannibal]

Joystiq Streams: Casting a fiery eye on Shadow of Mordor



JOY-STIQ! JOY-STIQ! JOY-STIQ! STREEEEAAAAAMMMMMMMMS! One day, when we're all War Chiefs in Sauron's army of Uruks, that's what they'll chant. From high and low, they'll call our names out, afraid of our endless wrath and prowess in battle!

Then again, it seems like being an Uruk is hard work. You're outside literally all the time, giant pig-wolf things are always trying to eat you, and there is almost always a bearded dude carrying half a sword skulking in the shadows waiting to stab you. Forget it. Joystiq Streams may not be ready for war chiefdom, but we're certainly ready to play Shadow of Mordor for your viewing pleasure.

Starting at 4:00PM EST on Joystiq.com/Twitch, Richard Mitchell (@TheRichardM) will be playing through Mordor's early missions. Alexander Sliwinski (@Sliwinski) and Anthony John Agnello (@ajohnagnello) will be around to talk about the game's subtleties and hang in the chat. Show up early for the pre-show tomfoolery.

Joystiq Streams airs every Tuesday and Thursday at 4:00PM on Joystiq.com/Twitch, but if you want to catch all our streams make sure to follow us on Twitch.

[Images: WBIE]

Dreamfall Adventures debut chapter arrives in late October

Despite earlier reports, developer Red Thread Games has announced that its episodic adventure game Dreamfall Chapters will premiere on October 21.

"Book One of the Kickstarter-funded game will be distributed to project backers, and will be available to download on Steam for PC and Mac, and on Linux on Tuesday, October 21," reads the developer's announcement. No specific date is offered for the PlayStation 4 version of Dreamfall Chapters, but the developer claims the console game will be available in "early 2015."

According to Red Thread, Book One will cover the game's prologue and first two chapters. The game's remaining four Books will complete the tale, though there's no word on when those additional episodes might arrive.
[Image: Red Thread Games]

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PSA: Dark Souls 2's 'Lost Crowns' DLC trilogy now complete

Following a recent, unexpected delay, Dark Souls 2 fans can now download the final entry in the dark fantasy game's DLC trilogy, dubbed Crown of the Ivory King.

Like its predecessors, Crown of the Sunken King and Crown of the Old Iron King, Crown of the Ivory King is designed to test those Dark Souls 2 players who have bested the game's core challenges and are now ready for something even more difficult. "[O]nly the most hardcore, determined, and unrelenting fans will survive the onslaught of new enemies, traps, and bosses that have been devised to stop players from completing their quests in Crown of the Ivory King," reads the DLC's official description.

Like the other Dark Souls 2 DLC releases, Crown of the Ivory King can be purchased for $10 from the PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Marketplace or Steam. Those who would prefer to buy all three DLC packs at once and are playing Dark Souls 2 on a PC can grab the game's Season Pass from Steam for $25.

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The Legend of Korra difficulty level just for Platinum fans



The Legend of Korra has a special difficulty level tuned for fans of Platinum Games – Bayonetta, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance – producer Atsushi Kurooka says in the latest behind-the-scenes video. Activision approached Platinum to do The Legend of Korra, and the show's depth and silky smooth fight scenes convinced Kurooka it was "worth the challenge," as he puts it. And the final boss fight? It "has Platinum Games written all over it."

The video shows off a few cool fight scenes between the talking heads, too. The Legend of Korra is due out on October 21 on PS3, PS4 and PC, and on October 22 on Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Korean League of Legends shoutcasters are too much fun



Riot's shoutcasters – the hosts, analysts and interviewers on the ground during League of Legends tournaments – are professional, friendly and informative across the board, but there's something special about the Korean casters. Something energetic, frenzied and, most importantly, so much fun. YouTube user BaegMon collected a few stand-out moments from Korean shoutcasters during groups A and B in the 2014 League of Legends Worlds tournament earlier in September.

The 2014 League of Legends World Championship is heading into its Knockout Stage, slated to start on October 3. The Finals take place on October 19. See who's in, who's out, and the tournament schedule at lolesports.
[Image: Riot]

Retro demake 'Hammered' recreates brutal Oldboy fight

Korean tragedy epic Oldboy features a scene of protagonist Oh Dae-su assaulting a mob of thugs in a claustrophobic hallway, armed only with a hammer. It's one of cinema's most vicious fights, and that spirit of wanton violence lives on in Hammered, a pixelated homage to director Park Chan-wook.

According to Kill Screen, Hammered was created as part of the Leamington Underground Cinema Festival by Oldboy fan "DavidDraws." Despite being described as a demake, Hammered merely borrows a classic aesthetic while utilizing entirely modern technology. Instead of firing up an NES emulator, those wanting to play Hammered need only visit its website where they'll find a convenient Unity Engine embed and a guide to the game's simple control scheme.

Let's be clear, though: Hammered pales in comparison to its source material. It's just not possible to capture the stark brutality of the original scene in faux 8-bit graphics, and there's no reason to bother when YouTube offers instant access to Park Chan-wook's far superior interpretation. On the other hand, at least DavidDraws didn't spend $30 million on his unnecessary remake.
[Image: DavidDraws]

Realistic racer Assetto Corsa takes a lap on Rainbow Road

Thanks to Italian developer Kunos Simulazioni, racing sim Assetto Corsa features some of the world's most famous race tracks. Now, thanks to a dedicated fan, the game also offers access to Mario Kart staple Rainbow Road.

Redditor "N64AC" adapted the technicolor circuit for the racing sim using the Nintendo 64 incarnation of Rainbow Road as source material. This mashup of disparate gameplay styles is not without problems - N64AC warns that some cars can break their suspension by attempting Rainbow Road's sizable jump - but if you can avoid wrecking your car the track looks like a solid alternative for those moments when yet another lap around Silverstone sounds a bit dull.

To witness the Rainbow Road course in action, click the video found below the break. If you like what you see, N64AC has included full instructions on how to install the addition to your copy of Assetto Corsa which can be found on Reddit.
[Image: Kunos Simulazioni]

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Shadow of Mordor season pass trailer tastes a little Sauron

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment may have revealed its $25 season pass for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor last month, but it's now offering a closer look at the add-ons that pass holders are guaranteed access to. The DLC includes an exclusive Guardians of the Flaming Eye mission and two story missions, Lord of the Hunt and The Bright Lord.

The latter quest has players controlling Celebrimbor, "the great Elven smith of the Second Age," eventually encountering the Tolkien universe's primary antagonist, Sauron. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor will launch tomorrow for PS4, Xbox One and PC. The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game were delayed to November 18 earlier this month. It received good marks critically, including our five-star review that praised the Mordor's Nemesis system. Head past the break to see the game's season pass trailer.

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PvZ: Garden Warfare's Legends of the Lawn update drops tomorrow


A sizable update for PopCap's team-based shooter Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare launches on September 30 across all available platforms, publisher Electronic Arts announced today.

The new "Legends of the Lawn" update introduces over 200 new customization items and seven character variants, including Golf Star, Centurion, Paleontologist, Chomp Thing, Alien Flower, Jade Cactus or Sanitation Expert. Also featured is the new "Taco Bandits" gameplay mode, a Capture the Flag variant that challenges the Zombies team to steal away delicious tacos from the defending Plants. Mmm, tacos.

Legends of the Lawn will be available as a free download starting tomorrow for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PS3, and PC platforms.

[Video: Electronic Arts]

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Mashup platformer Team Indie hits Steam on October 9


CommanderVideo from the Bit.Trip series, Awesomenauts' Clunk, and other indie luminaries will partner up in next month's Steam launch of the crossover platformer Team Indie from developer Brightside Games.

Team Indie's levels revolve around the unique powers and abilities of its superstar cast. Players can rewind time and embark on multiple simultaneous runs through each level, using their previously recorded input to solve puzzles as they race toward each stage's exit. Featured cast members include Dustforce's Dustgirl, Braid's Tim, Super Crate Box's protagonist, and other familiar faces from the indie scene.

Team Indie premieres on October 9 for Windows and Mac platforms.

[Image: Brightside Games]

Rejoice! Visceral says Battlefield Hardline 'will work' at launch

Battlefield Hardline will operate as expected at launch, according to Ian Milham, creative director at Visceral Games. "What you're basically asking is, 'Is your game going to work?' And the answer is yes, it's gonna work," Milham told Game Revolution.

The statement follows a rough launch for the last game game in the series, DICE's Battlefield 4, which suffered months of connectivity issues after its October 2013 arrival. That led to multiple law firms alleging that publisher EA issued "materially false and misleading statements" regarding Battlefield 4's playability. When a CEO like EA's Andrew Wilson publicly deems a game's launch as "unacceptable," questions about the next game's stability will certainly come up.

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FIFA 15 kicks Destiny from top spot in UK

It's the post-FIFA portion of the year on the Chart-Track UK sales charts. Historically this means we'll likely have EA Sports' FIFA XX at the top until Activision's Call of Duty shows up, but there's always the possibility for Just Dance or a Zumba game to mess with that.

Anyway, FIFA 15 is out now and it accounted for 80 percent of all software sales and 87 percent of all revenue for the week. Chart-Track estimates if one were to align all the week-one FIFA sales for every platform (it was staggered last year), FIFA 15 unit sales would be flat year-over-year, with a 6 percent revenue increase. The Xbox One and PS4 versions account for 54 percent of unit sales.

The only new release last week to break the Top 40 is Fantasy Life, the Level-5 (Prof. Layton, Dark Cloud) RPG, which debuted in the eight spot. The UK top ten can be found after the break.

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