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Shelter 2's first gameplay trailer says 'click this lynx'

Stockholm-based independent developer Might and Delight offered up its first gameplay trailer of Shelter 2 today, the studio's next PC exploration game. Found after the break, the video demonstrates the motherly lynx's survival and protection methods, including tracking down prey and cautiously trotting close to her cubs.

The survival sequel features "more elaborate gameplay features than its predecessor," according to the game's site. Shelter 2 will add stamina as well as a greater variety of movement and killing abilities. Players will also be able to call their cubs to their side, carry them and encourage them to drink from streams. First announced in March, Shelter 2 is expected to launch on Steam, GOG and other digital platforms in February 2015 following its delay earlier this month.
[Image: Might and Delight]

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All five prior Scream Fortress maps return to Team Fortress 2

To prepare players for the imminent horror of a new Scream Fortress map, Team Fortress 2 developer Valve has made all five of its previous Scream Fortress releases available to players at no charge.

As its punny name suggests, a Scream Fortress map is a Team Fortress 2 map designed to be extra spooky, with additions like zombies, arcane magic and new, thematically-appropriate achievements. Er, excuse me, according to Valve that should read "Necromannchievements." In practice, new Scream Fortress maps are a usually just a change of scenery for most regular Team Fortress 2 players, but any excuse to gun down magical wizard ghosts is a good one.

There are no caveats attached to these five re-released Scream Fortress maps. Anyone with a copy of Team Fortress 2 can jump right into the Halloween gunplay after a relatively quick, free download.
[Image: Valve]

The Legend of Korra review: Bend it like Bayonetta

Bending the elements like folks do in The Legend of Korra is an intoxicating dream. Much as they did in the original Avatar: The Last Airbender cartoon, many people born in Korra's world can freely manipulate the four elements through martial arts. The Avatar, born into every generation to maintain the spiritual balance of the world Dalai Lama style, is the only one who can bend all four. Fire from your fingers, literally riding the wind, lifting up the earth to make an easy chair, and never needing a squirt gun; the promise of feeling unity with the physical world, even if you're just playing around, is mesmerizing. Who wouldn't want to do that?

That Platinum Games captures even a little of that feeling in its video game adaptation of The Legend of Korra is impressive, but physical fantasy is only one piece of the show's winning formula. Platinum's made a fun, flighty, sometimes infuriatingly pedantic game that's admirably old fashioned but disappointingly limited. The Legend of Korra is a strong body missing most of its heart.
[Images: Activision/Nickelodeon]

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StarCraft 2 and the quest for the highest APM

A game like StarCraft 2, popular amongst both casual strategy fans and professional gamers, showcases the large divide between playing a game for fun and for competition.

There are seven ranked multiplayer leagues per region globally in StarCraft 2, a daunting number of leaderboards that welcome both the infrequent and the dedicated player. The elite players, however, are the Grandmasters – a tiny, region-based pool of StarCraft 2 experts.

The road to Grandmaster is not for the weak. One must be willing to 'play' for hours, days, and months – even years – to get better. The learning curve can be incredibly unforgiving towards a beginner. Forget to scan the battlefield? You could lose you entire Marine army to some burrowed Banelings. Forget to build anti-air defenses? A couple of Void Rays could take out your entire base. Forget to build workers? You won't lose the match immediately, but you'll get destroyed once the game enters its middle phase. And then, of course, there's the cheese – the ludicrous, yet powerful strategies that lead to an instant win or loss.

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Halloween Horror Streams: Left 4 Dead 2 brings, mauls us together



In the name of Halloween Horror Streams, you've seen Joystiq ask inane questions of Slender Man. You've seen Joystiq wear a schoolgirl outfit while berating, then fearfully running away from a giant psychotic wielding a hammer. Now, with just one week left before All Hallows' Eve, you'll watch Joystiq scream at one another to not use up their dang med packs while a Boomer is still in the room. Seriously, what are you doing, your health is over 50 percent! Just save the med pack. Great. Now we're going to die. Everyone back to the safe room.

Left 4 Dead 2 comes to Joystiq's Halloween Horror Streams on Joystiq.com/Twitch at 4:00PM EST! Thrill as Jess Conditt (@JessConditt) has to save everyone. Swoon as Xav de Matos (@Xav) wields a shotgun like a surgeon. Rage as Alexander Sliwinski (@Sliwinski) hordes all the pills. Gawp as Anthony John Agnello (@ajohnagnello) tries to remember the controls.

Joystiq.com/Twitch is where the magic happens every Tuesday and Thursday at 4:00PM EST. Halloween Horror Streams, however, happen all the time through Halloween so make sure to follow us on Twitch to know when we go live.
[Images: Valve]

Survival horror sequel Outlast 2 in development

Independent developer Red Barrels delivers terrifying news just in time for Halloween, announcing that it is developing a sequel to its first-person survival horror game Outlast.

"After shipping the [Xbox One] version of Outlast, we took some time to analyze our situation and we quickly realized we had at least another horror game in us," Red Barrels co-founder Philippe Morin told horror-themed news site Bloody Disgusting. "So, yes, we are working on Outlast 2."

Morin notes that Outlast 2 will shift its setting and inflict the series' trademark cruelty on a new cast of characters. "The game will be a survival horror experience and it will take place in the same universe as Outlast, but it will have different characters and a different setting," he said. "We might go back to Mount Massive Asylum one day, but for now we have new ideas and themes we'd like to explore and we think we're cooking up something special.

"We're still a small indie studio (12 people), so we'll need a little bit of time to ship our next game, but hopefully it will be worth it."

Outlast premiered for PC platforms in 2013, and later hit the PlayStation 4 as a free download for PlayStation Plus subscribers. A release date and target platforms for Outlast 2 were not announced.

[Image: Red Barrels]

Heads roll in gorgeous Witcher 3 intro cinematic

Image As this meticulously rendered intro cinematic for The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt demonstrates, Geralt of Rivia's world is a dark place, full of arcane magicks, hardened warriors and horse heads flying through the air like so many bloody pigeons. [Image: CD Projekt] ... Continue Reading

Puzzling platformer Forward to the Sky scales Greenlight's tower

What do you get when you blend a third-person perspective, puzzles, platforming mechanics, JRPG-inspired art and a big sword together? Forward to the Sky, of course, the 3D puzzle-platformer-with-a-big-sword game from independent developer Magichnology. The Taipei, Taiwan-based developer added its first game to the list of Steam hopefuls on Greenlight, awaiting community approval for distribution on the PC platform.

Starting out as a side project for the developer in September 2013, the game is set in a "sky tower ruin." Players control a princess that gathers crystal pieces while ascending the tower and learning about a disaster that seemingly erased history. Magichnology crafted six levels for the game, each highlighted by the game's "relaxing mood, bright art" and "adventurous but peaceful music." Forward to the Sky is slated to launch in Q4 of this year on PC, Mac and Linux for $10.
[Image: Magichnology]

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Humble Weekly Bundle features crazed plants, chemical bonds

The latest Humble Weekly Bundle is designed to test your squishy brain matter, offering up to seven PC puzzlers for a price that you choose.

Pay $1 or more for the bundle and you'll get Steam keys for BulkyPix's typographic adventure game Type:Rider, Ovos' spacefaring puzzler Ludwig, and botany-themed breed-'em-up Crazy Plant Shop. Toss in a few dollars more to beat the average (currently $5.79) and you'll also receive Draknek's chemistry puzzler Sokobond and Three Flip Studios' language-learning game Influent.

Purchases of $9 or more will additionally unlock Spotkin's Contraption Maker and Little Worlds' Counting Kingdom. The bundle will be up for grabs through October 30.

[Image: FIlament Games]

3D Realms returns with 32-game Anthology release


Once-defunct publisher 3D Realms has re-opened its doors, releasing a 32-game compilation and promising a slate of upcoming releases from a newly-assembled staff.

The 3D Realms Anthology, available for $19.99 from the publisher's website, collects Duke Nukem 3D, Shadow Warrior, Commander Keen: Goodbye Galaxy, Wolfenstein 3D, Rise of the Triad: Dark War, and other classic PC games in a DRM-free package. Many of the company's past works -- including Alien Carnage, Major Stryker, and Stargunner -- are also available as free downloads.

3D Realms shed its former staff in 2008, but retained its rights to Duke Nukem and other landmark PC franchises. Rise of the Triad developer Interceptor Entertainment acquired label owner Apogee Software earlier this year, and now controls all associated IP and branding.

[Video: 3D Realms]

Assassin's Creed: Unity shows off sneaking, sweeping, PC specs


There's a lot of room for activities in Assassin's Creed: Unity – activities such as murder mysteries, treasure hunts and high-intensity sweeping, as shown off in the game's Open World Activities trailer.

To prepare your rig for these feats, Ubisoft has released PC requirements for the game, including a 64-bit operating system, 6GB RAM minimum and 8GB RAM recommended, 50GB hard drive space and, for multiplayer, 256 kbps or faster broadband connection. See the full requirement list below.

Assassin's Creed: Unity will run at 30fps on both PS4 and Xbox One, and developers have said that there's no real advantage to a game running at 60fps, the framerate some fans would rather see. The game's AI is what makes a top-tier framerate difficult to reach, even on new consoles, Senior Producer Vincent Pontbriand said: "We could be running at 100fps if it was just graphics, but because of AI, we're still limited to 30fps."
[Image: Ubisoft]

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League of Legends tops MMO revenue list, Hearthstone No. 10

MMO games, including MOBAs, compose 21 percent of the worldwide digital game market and are on track to generate $11 billion in revenue this year alone, SuperData Research reports. By 2017, that number is expected to rise to $13 billion.

In 2014, the No. 1 MMO in terms of revenue is League of Legends, which has so far generated $946 million, beating out subscription games such as World of Warcraft, which is No. 4 on the list with $728 million. World of Tanks comes in at No. 5 and represents the largest revenue gap on the graph at $369 million. Dota 2 is No. 9 with $136 million, and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft is No. 10 with $114 million. See the full graph below.

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Metareview: Civilization: Beyond Earth

Joystiq's Alexander Sliwinski gave 2K's interstellar strategy game Civilization: Beyond Earth four stars in his review, alternately praising it as "a good game in the context of the Civilization franchise" while also framing it as "a cut-rate disappointment" compared to its inspiration, Alpha Centauri.

While some feel that it comes up short compared to its predecessors, Civilization: Beyond Earth still has a lot to offer for fans of the strategy genre. Here's a small sampling of what critics are saying.

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Microsoft unveils Kinect PC adapter, issues SDK 2.0 for free

Today must be Christmas for would-be Kinect hackers as Microsoft has made it even easier to dig into the guts of its 3D camera peripheral with both new software and hardware.

Most notably, Kinect fans can download the gadget's new software developer's kit at no charge. Not only does SDK 2.0 include "over 200 improvements" since June's public preview, Microsoft also claims it's a "substantially more stable and feature-rich product." That should come in handy for developers hoping to sell their Kinect-enabled wares through the Windows Store, as alongside the new SDK 2.0, Microsoft now allows Kinect developers to commercially deploy their programs through the digital distribution platform. "This was a frequent request from the community and we are delighted to enable you to bring more personal computing experiences that feature gesture control, body tracking, and object recognition to Windows customers around the world," reads Microsoft's announcement.

Additionally, Microsoft has released a $50 Kinect adaptor that uses USB 3.0 to connect to a Windows 8 or 8.1 PC. While it won't replace the Windows-native Kinect for Windows camera peripheral, the adapter should make it easier to link an Xbox One Kinect with your home computer.
[Image: Microsoft]

Joystiq Streams: Relapse with Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions [Replay]

Update: It's over, so catch the full replay after the break!

Don't worry, the hard days are all in the past. The habit's been kicked. No more obsessing over leader boards. No more retries at dawn, trying to best your friend's achievements. No more shakes when you put down the controller. Geometry Wars 2 was 2008! We've all moved past it. Wait. There's a Geometry Wars 3? It warps and distorts the old twin-stick shooting? Fine. Just one play. It's easy to stop after just one round. Let's do this.

Lucid Games joins Joystiq Streams today to give us an early taste of Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions. Starting at 5:15PM EST on Joystiq.com/Twitch, Ludwig Kietzmann (@LudwigK) will pick up his controller and relapse hard.

Joystiq.com/Twitch broadcasts live every Tuesday and Thursday at 4:00PM EST, but if you want to catch streams of weird games and upcoming releases like this one, follow us on Twitch to know whenever we go live.

[Images: Sierra]

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