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Joystiq Streams: Secret Ponchos grudge match giveaway

This is what Joystiq knows about ponchos: they keep you warm, look cool while you're riding a horse in a storm, are appropriate attire for selling burritos outside a Phish concert, and they make excellent dog beds when you're done with them. The things we don't know about ponchos? That's a secret.

Switchblade Monkeys has the arcane knowledge that Joystiq covets. Secret Ponchos is Switchblade's new PvP shooter, hitting PC and PlayStation 4 this year and currently available through Steam Early Access. Always willing to fight for our right to party and know things about ponchos, Joystiq will take on Switchblade Monkeys in their own game on Joystiq Streams.

We'll be playing the brand new 4-versus-4-player mode in Secret Ponchos on Joystiq.com/Twitch at 4PM EST. While Joystiq pits its negligible skills against Switchblade, we'll also be giving out free copies of the game in the chat while we play.

Joystiq Streams broadcasts regularly on Tuesday and Thursday at 4PM EST on Joystiq.com/Twitch, but if you never want to miss a surprise stream make sure to follow us on Twitch!
[Images: Switchblade Monkeys]

Trials Fusion rides into the rustlands in first DLC pack


Ubisoft takes players to a grittier side of the Trials universe today in "Riders of the Rustlands," the first of six planned Season Pass DLC packs planned for Trials Fusion.

Riders of the Rustlands takes place in a wasteland outside of the squeaky-clean cityscapes featured Trials Fusion's core content, challenging riders with level layouts made up of makeshift metal platforms and rusty abandoned structures. The pack introduces six new Classic Trials tracks, two Supercross levels, one Skill Game, and one FMX track, along with a collection of 18 new Track Challenges.

Riders of the Rustlands is available as part of Trials Fusion's Season Pass, and is priced at $4.99 as a standalone download.

[Video: Ubisoft]

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PAX 10 spotlights Framed and Duet

This year's PAX 10, a collection of games from independent developers, has been determined and will be highlighted at next month's PAX Prime convention. The ten games were hand-picked by 50 industry experts, starting with Duet, Kumobius' elegant arcade-style action game for iOS. Duet is joined by LoveShack's Framed, a narrative puzzle game trapped in a comic world. Both Duet and Framed received attention earlier this year when the games were among six total mobile titles in the PAX East Indie Showcase.

Those two games are joined by an abstract 2D PC platformer from DigiPen's Neat Snake known as Flickers. Infinity Monkeys' Life Goes On is also in the mix, in which players set out to find the Cup of Life by ironically sacrificing knights to the game's deathly contraptions. Untame's amorphous puzzler Mushroom 11 will be included in the showcase, as will Funktronic Labs' sci-fi, turn-based adventure game Nova-111.

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Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky lands on Steam, out today


If you're unfamiliar with Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, that may be because Nihon Falcom's acclaimed PSP JRPG only headed West towards the end of the system's life cycle. The good news is there's now a new way of playing it, with the trilogy's first chapter coming to Steam later today, courtesy of XSEED.

XSEED is also bringing follow-up Trails in the Sky: Second Chapter to North America on PSP and Steam, but that's gonna take a bit more time to arrive. According to the publisher, the best fans should hope for is "the end of the year."

As for Trails in the Sky, its regular Steam price is $20 but there's a 15 percent first-week sale if you fancy dipping in early. For more on why it's worth a look, read this.

[Thanks, Jason K!]

The lighter side of murder with Jenny LeClue

Young detective Jenny LeClue is the star of a fictional choose-your-own-adventure book series written by Arthur K. Finklestein, and her latest story is her most important yet – her mother is accused of murder, and it's up to Jenny to figure out who did it and why. As a game, Jenny LeClue is an investigative point-and-click adventure where each player's unique decisions impact not only the lives of Jenny and her family, but also the life of the author, Finklestein himself.

Jenny LeClue is as lighthearted as a game about murder can be, with a hand-painted art style, a rich world in the town of Arthurton and an incisive dialogue mechanic that allows players to inspect suspects for physical clues while they talk. Developer Mografi sees Jenny LeClue as a trilogy of games, with the first one as a coming-of-age story:

"This is a game about your choices and how they permanently affect the story. We want to deliver a rich narrative experience about relationships with delightful surprises and interactions. The story also deals with mature themes, complex characters and an epic tangled mystery."

Mografi is looking for $65,000 on Kickstarter to fund the first episode of Jenny LeClue, due out first for PC, Mac and Linux, with iOS and other platforms to follow. With 25 days to go, the campaign has raised more than $27,000.
[Images: Mografi]

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A persona fit for Pillars of Eternity

Before computer-generated worlds came to life, we were running through dungeons in our heads, with rules on paper to govern our actions. Pillars of Eternity remembers those days and the games they inspired, and not just because it has an isometric perspective, or soul-storms, or tactical combat and special armor types, or even character creation. It's that right from the beginning, there's a space for the player to tweak the details, write a personality and imagine someone being there.

The real challenge – and the agony – of a traditional role-playing game lies at the beginning, in the dungeon named ... "character creation." It inspires a dread worse than any stone golem or world-eating viper, because you want to make someone fit to save the world and gallivant through it for at least a hundred hours. Will she wield an axe or a bow? Tall or short? Pointy ears or wizard's cap? Is this name going to sound like high fantasy, or like fantasy fiction while high? And no matter how many times you save the world, you don't want to be forever known as that guy with the weird eyebrows. Let's just lower them a bit.

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Live Look: Gods Will Be Watching



Gods Will Be Watching, the new adventure game from Spain's Deconstructeam and publisher Devolver Digital, doesn't like you. It has absolutely no problem telling you very quickly just how much it doesn't like you. Across the science-fiction parable's six diverse chapters, just one wrong decision on how to help protagonist Sergeant Burden survive can result in multiple deaths. You will die, the dog will die, a robot will be wrenched apart for parts. The game is so demanding that Joystiq thought a primer looking at the first two chapters of the game might be helpful.

Here's an overview of how to come close to completing the first chapter of the game and also a demonstration of how quickly things can go south in its fraught hostage situation. At the end is a quick sample of the game's second chapter, in which you have to survive brutal torture. Good times!
[Images: Deconstructeam]

NeonXSZ begins descent to Steam August 22


NeonXSZ, the latter three letters of which are pronounced "excesses," will launch on Steam via Early Access on August 22. The game puts players in the cockpit of a ship within cyberspace, joining a war between viruses and machines. While just entering beta, NeonXSZ is "already fully playable for 100-plus hours," according to the single-person developer, Intravenous Software.

NeonXSZ features "dozens of ships" complete with more than 850 upgrades, emphasizing treasure-collecting and enemy-blasting gameplay akin to that of classic "6DoF" FPS games like Descent and twitchy shooters such as Quake. The procedurally-generated, open world in NeonXSZ includes "approximately one thousand AI dudes" from four different factions, each at odds with one another. Those enemies drop parts of their hulls, upgrades and weaponry, so loot gathered from players' conquests is not randomized. The alpha version of NeonXSZ arrived on the Desura store in September 2013 for PC, Mac and Linux.

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Stained developer no longer issuing Steam keys to bundle buyers

If you're waiting to receive a Steam key for the Greenlight-approved PC side-scroller Stained, you can stop waiting. Developer RealAxis announced that it no longer plans to issue promised Steam keys for players who purchased the game as part of a bundle.

When Stained was featured in Indie Royale's Debut 3 bundle last year, RealAxis pledged to supply buyers with a Steam key after the game earned community approval via Steam Greenlight. Indie Royale's Debut bundles are assembled to promote Greenlight hopefuls, and its organizers note that "Developers have almost always provided Steam keys for Indie Royale games that have subsequently been greenlit and then appeared on Steam."

RealAxis blames its decision on declining sales, and claims that it only earned around $3,000 in revenue between Indie Royale's bundle and purchases via Steam.

"The game is not selling at all and there is no hope," a RealAxis representative explained. "I think we are already doomed so we are abandoning the process of distributing the keys. We will continue to do what is required to make the living and provide support to game related questions twice a week. If you really love this game you should consider buying it on steam else I think you already had your share of enjoyment when you purchased the game via IR-Bundle for 50 cent. [sic]"

[Image: RealAxis]

HBO documentary on gaming addiction, Love Child, airs tonight

HBO takes a sobering look at the consequences of gaming addiction tonight with the premiere of Love Child, a documentary film that explores the tragic circumstances behind the death of an infant girl as her parents battled MMORPG addiction.

The death of three-month old Sarang ("Love" in Korean) made national headlines when it was revealed that her malnutrition was a direct result of her parents' gaming habits. Sarang's parents, living in poverty, spent the majority of their waking hours gold farming in the now-shuttered MMORPG Prius Online as their primary source of income, caring for in-game children while their own daughter starved.

Love Child speaks to detectives, game developers, and psychiatrists for their perspective on gaming addiction in South Korea and worldwide. The Sundance-featured documentary makes its HBO debut tonight at 9:00 p.m. EST.

[Image: HBO / Love Child]

Diesel jeans files opposition to Dieselstormers trademark

Lawyers representing the Diesel fashion brand have filed legal opposition to attempts by Germany's Black Forest Games to trademark "Dieselstormers" as the title of an upcoming run and gun shooter.

According to Diesel representatives, the game's title could cause confusion in consumers. Despite Diesel being known almost exclusively for its clothing (and its jeans in particular), the company holds a trademark over the term "Diesel" in numerous miscellaneous fields including video games.

While this trademark squabble awaits an official ruling, Black Forest Games remains confident that Diesel has no case. "In all probability an understanding will be reached as Black Forest have no intent to create clothing under the Dieselstormers brand - and the "Diesel" part of Dieselstormers refers to the liquid fuel type of the same name and is not a parody of the fashion brand," reads an official statement from Black Forest.
[Image: Black Forest Games]

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Rise of Incarnates beta causes carnage next week

Bandai Namco will begin a closed beta period next Friday for Rise of Incarnates, the two-on-two fighting game from the Tekken and Soul Calibur creators. Those in Europe and Australasia can get in the testing phase by signing up on the game's official website. The doors to the beta program open at 9:00 a.m. CET (8:00 a.m. UTC) on Friday, August 8. It will last ten full days, ending at the same time on Monday, August 18.

Announced in April alongside its initial alpha program, Rise of Incarnates is a free-to-play PC fighting game that features humans with god-like powers battling in mostly-destroyed, yet real-life locales. The beta will include New York City and Paris-based levels that allow players to use the environment to their competitive advantage. The program's limited character roster starts with four fighters: Mephistopheles, Lilith, Grim Reaper and Ares. The fifth playable character, Brynhildr, is expected to join the roster on August 13, along with the Paris level.

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Kasedo's strategy-RPG Crowntakers launching for PC, tablets this year


Kalypso's digital-only label Kasedo Games announced that it will release the procedurally generated tactical RPG Crowntakers for PC and mobile platforms later this year.

In Crowntakers, players hire a party of mercenaries with unique abilities and travel through eight randomly generated environments, fending off enemy soldiers and wildlife in turn-based battles. Crowntakers also includes crafting and character-leveling components, and the quest features multiple endings, giving players an incentive to finish their battles quickly as they rush to save a kidnapped king.

Crowntakers will launch for Windows, Mac, Linux, and iOS and Android tablets in 2014.

[Video: Kasedo Games]

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Rust dev's next game is arcade shooter Riftlight

Rust developer Facepunch Studios recently revealed its next game, an arcade shooter called Riftlight. The brightly colored game will feature light RPG and looting elements, so players will constantly battle their way through stages and fend off enemies, like giant space squids, to improve their ships and abilities.

The developer has three different ship classes planned for the game with varying talents: The traditional Ranged ship, the magical Caster class and the non-shooting Melee class. Riftlight will feature online cooperative multiplayer, in which players can "fly around and kill stuff with 2 or 3 people," and is already playable in its current prototype form. Facepunch wants the game to revolve around randomized level layouts, sections and missions to boost the game's replayability, so that players can charge through the same areas a number of times to collect new items.

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Watch Dogs is still the UK charts' best friend

Watch Dogs continues to rise above the summer drought, notching its sixth week in total as the British No. 1. Again, there's not one new release in the UK top 40, so it's not shocking to see the country's games market drop another three percent in revenue this week.

The Last of Us: Remastered should reinvigorate the market, but until then we're staving off the tumbleweeds with more music below the break. This week, we're honoring Watch Dogs' achievement with a 1969 rock track that featured memorably in British gangster film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Woof!

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