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Terrorists invade Gone Home in new Counter-Strike map

If you felt that critical darling Gone Home featured too little gameplay and not nearly enough gunplay, today's your lucky day: A Counter-Strike fan going by the name of "Nipper" has recreated Gone Home's idyllic suburban location within Valve's beloved first-person shooter.

Designed for up to 32 players (but recommended for far fewer), cs_gonehome essentially transplants the tenets of Counter-Strike into the meticulously detailed home that served as the setting for Gone Home. Each new round sees players purchasing weaponry and gear before setting out to hunt down the opposing faction, while hostages are spawned at random each time the game resets itself.

Despite this, many commenters on Steam are quick to point out that the design of the Gone Home house doesn't lend itself well to Counter-Strike's gameplay. Complaints range from a lack of lighting in the cellar, to too many areas in which campers can hide and narrow corridors that make Counter-Strike's most overpowered guns even more effective.

"There are several ways in which the map doesn't work all the well in [Counter-Strike], but that's hardly the point, I think," writes Steam user Space Hamlet before describing the map as "a fascinating intersection of the design of two games."
[Image: Valve]

Alien: Isolation Season Pass is for Survivor Mode DLC

Alien: Isolation's Survivor Mode is simple and scary: survive against the clock and the alien, with limited resources on each map. The first Survivor Mode map, Basement, is included with the game when it launches on October 7. Alien: Isolation is getting a Season Pass for all five of its Survivor Mode map packs, the first of which launches on October 28. Each Survivor Mode pack includes three maps.

The first map pack has its "own set objective and challenges, a new playable character and a variety of enemy types between you and your escape," Sega writes in a press release. "Over the following months, four more add-on packs will release, each featuring a new playable character, and a mix of new maps and game modes to challenge even the most proficient player."

All of the Survivor Mode maps are due to be out by March 2015, Sega says. There's no word on a price for the individual packs or the Season Pass, but the pass gives players a discount of "up to" 25 percent.

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Steam summons Final Fantasy 4 PC redux

Following hints from earlier today that the Final Fantasy 13 trio may be coming to Steam, we discover that an earlier entry in Square Enix's classic roleplaying franchise has already taken up residence on Valve's ubiquitous digital distribution platform.

Final Fantasy 4, a game initially released in the United States as Final Fantasy 2, can now be purchased from Steam at a price of $16. According to the game's listing, this new PC version of Final Fantasy 4 boasts "fully voiced, dramatic cut-scenes," a new system for charting in-game dungeons and an "inspiring score" which can be accessed in-game via a new jukebox feature. This latest iteration of Final Fantasy 4 utilizes the same super-deformed polygonal characters first seen in the 2007 Nintendo DS remake, but with graphics that are optimized for the PC.

For more information and a full rundown on the game's technical requirements, visit the Final Fantasy 4 Steam listing. The game is currently available exclusively for PC, and Square Enix has yet to mention additional versions for the Mac or Linux operating systems.
[Image: Square Enix]

Plague Inc: Evolved catches custom scenarios on Steam

The Steam Early Access version of Ndemic Creations' global pandemic sim Plague Inc: Evolved has updated with a new Scenario Creator, letting players unleash their own devastating diseases across a simulated Earth.

After installing today's update, players are able to create and share their deadly scenarios with fellow Steam users via Steam Workshop. Over 200 custom-created scenarios have launched in the update's first day of release, and players can browse publicly shared creations using Plague Inc's new in-game browser.

"The biggest and most-requested update yet, the Scenario Creator allows players to hit the lab and use the same tools that we do to create awesome new content for Plague Inc: Evolved," producer Marc Pick said. "The content will grant a dynamic flow of new, user-generated content to players of the game."

[Image: Ndemic Creations]

Quake Live hosts free-to-play arena battles on Steam today

Id Software's free-to-play arena FPS Quake Live unlocks on Steam later today, bringing its '90s-styled twitch gameplay to an expanded audience.

Based on the popular Quake 3 Arena, Quake Live originally premiered in 2010, and currently features over a dozen gameplay modes across 100 featured deathmatch levels. The core game is free for all players, while subscribers receive access to a broad selection of Create Match options and clan features.

[Image: Id Software]

The Evil Within not without TGS trailer


The Evil Within, from Resident Evil maestro Shinji Mikami, is heading to this week's Tokyo Game Show with a new gameplay trailer. The game already features a cast who know grisly, but the game's environments don't seem to be holding back either.

There's plenty of gore, blood and terror to go around in this trailer, but the room with spinning blades is a nightmare room. No wait, the one with the stamping spikes is a nightmare room. Wait, the barbed wire fishtank of drowning is. It's all a nightmare room!

Final Fantasy 13's new portal page has a Steam logo

In suspiciously timed news, Square Enix launched a new portal page for the Final Fantasy 13 saga that conspicuously features the Steam logo. The site, launched today, features the Steam image next to logos for already confirmed platforms. FF13, FF13-2 and Lightning Returns all initially released on Xbox 360 and PS3, and the trio are also coming to Japan's Dive In mobile streaming app, as announced last week.

So is Lightning about to strike thrice one more time? Square Enix's not announced any PC ports of the JRPG trilogy so take all this with a pinch of salt. That said, the publisher does seem to have a few things up its sleeve for the Tokyo Game Show, which begins tomorrow. Also, earlier this year, Final Fantasy producer Yoshinori Kitase told Eurogamer he was "definitely interested" in pursuing PC versions for future games, and he also touched on why the FF13 saga didn't come to PC in the first place.

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Nab a free copy of Bejeweled 3 on Origin

Bejeweled 3 is the latest entry in Origin's On the House program, meaning the normally $5 tile-matching puzzler is free for Windows PC and Mac until October 28. As with the other On the House freebies, once you claim the game, it's yours to keep.

PopCap's super-successful series may be in its teens, but it's only seen five releases to date, including two spinoffs. Bejeweled 3 added four new modes to the mix which you unlock as you play through, but as Joystiq's Richard Mitchell put it in his 2011 XBLA in Brief video, "Why are you still watching this? It's Bejeweled. It's the same game it's been for a decade, except it's prettier and it's got more stuff."
[Image: EA]

Battleborn and the rise of the friendly shooter

"We are absolutely, deliberately targeting the idea that we want a game that people can just pick up and play," says John Mulkey, design director on Gearbox's new shooter, Battleborn (PS4, Xbox One, PC). His team's latest design, which favors collaboration, community input and a heavy focus on testing and tuning, couldn't be more different from the cult classic he built levels for – years ago.

Just how much community input and playtesting went into No One Lives Forever anyway, I ask Mulkey. "Oh, god," he says, briefly thrust back into a previous life. "None."

Propelled chiefly by the strength of its clever vision, a game like No One Lives Forever seems to be an outlier now. It was a game made without a steady stream of analytics, feedback and pushback, though meant to be consumed more succinctly, and for what was then a much smaller audience. "A game like this, we hope, it's not just this game that hits and fades away," says Scott Kester, the man in charge of Battleborn's look. "We want this to go. We want to keep making it."

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Blood Bowl dev launching football simulator next week

Blood Bowl developer Cyanide Studio announced the impending launch of its new sports management game today, Front Page Sports Football. The PC simulation game has players managing a fictitious football team, picking from over 2,300 plays to lead their franchise to gridiron glory. Squad members rely on over 20 skills such as speed, agility and morale, each influencing the effectiveness of plays called by armchair coaches.

The game marks a resurgence in Sierra Online's American football management series of the same name that spanned 1992 to 1999, though Sierra is not involved in the latest game. Cyanide Studio announced Front Page Sports Football in July, and is also working on a Blood Bowl sequel in addition to its stealth game, Styx: Master of Shadows. Images of Front Page Sports Football's menu-heavy interface can be seen in the gallery below, or when the game launches next Thursday, September 25 for $19.99 (€19.99, £14.99). It's not the only upcoming football simulation game, as the developers behind the Out of the Park Baseball management series plans to launch Beyond the Sideline Football in 2015 with full NFL licensing support.

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Monaco, Race the Sun join Humble Indie Bundle 12

Three new games have been added to Humble Indie Bundle 12, the digital distributor has revealed. Monaco, a co-op heist game; Race the Sun, a super-fast minimalistic racer; and The Bridge, a 2D logic puzzle game.

All three games have been added to the "pay more than the average" category for the pay-what-you-want bundle. Spending more than $7.76 – the current average price, as of press time – earns the three bonus games along with the bundle's initial offerings of SteamWorld Dig, Hammerwatch and Gunpoint.

In all, buyers have the potential to land ten independent games for $10. Proceeds of each sale can be split between game developers, the Electronic Frontiers Foundation and the charity organization Child's Play.
[Image: Pocketwatch Games]

Borderlands reclaims its online co-op prowess via Steamworks

With just weeks to go before Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! brings people back to the Skag-infested wastes of Pandora, now's the perfect time to revisit the original Borderlands. Thanks to a fresh migration to Steamworks servers, PC players can actually get the full four-player co-operative Borderlands experience again.

Borderlands was in danger of going offline earlier this year when Glu Mobile announced that it would be closing GameSpy's online gaming services once and for all. 2K Games had a sizable catalog of online games that were scheduled to shut down alongside GameSpy in May 2014, but Borderlands was one of the few that 2K planned to salvage and migrate to a new platform by Summer 2014. With less than a week left in the summer, 2K announced that Borderlands is now playable online via Steamworks.

Borderlands has been updated for Steam in a number of ways, small and large. In addition to a news ticker offering updates on tweaks to Steamworks support for the game, SecuROM copy protection has been removed. Support for retail disc versions of the game meanwhile has been added, so anyone with an actual physical copy won't be left out.
[Images: 2K Games]

Mortal Kombat X controllers from PDP are lopsided, not final

Gaming accessory manufacturer PDP is working on new gamepads designed specifically for Mortal Kombat X, and the company showed off designs for Xbox One and PS4 at GameStop Expo last week. Iron Galaxy Community Manager Alex Jebailey snapped some photos of the gamepads and posted them on Instagram.

The controllers displayed at the conference featured six big buttons on the stumpy right side of the gamepad – A, B, X, Y, LB and RB for Xbox One – and a directional stick on the left side. It's not an analog stick, PDP told IGN. "The stick that you see is actually a series of micro-switches as well (just like the buttons), not an analog stick. It helps to bring the player closer to the classic arcade feel."

PDP clarified that the gamepads shown at GameStop Expo were not final products. "The Mortal Kombat X controller that we showed at the GameStop Expo is still in development, so platforms have not been finalized," PDP said. "We like to work with the manufacturers to get a licensed product when possible. The controllers are designed along the lines of our VS Fight Pads which came out for the Xbox 360 and PS3 a few years back."

Mortal Kombat X is due out on April 14, 2015, for PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC.
[Image: PDP]

Conan O'Brien tackles Minecraft dev's $2.5B acquisition

Image We covered the events leading up to Microsoft's purchase of Minecraft developer Mojang this week, but didn't stop to consider how its creators plan to spend all that cash. Comedian Conan O'Brien addresses this vital issue in the clip above, making Notch's motives much clearer. Good job, Minecraft... Continue Reading

Joystiq Streams: New Gauntlet needs a workout badly



All these space wizards and Dinklages and space balls telling us about our Destiny as conqueror of the darkness have exhausted us. Now we thirst for simpler pleasures. No more moon wizards! Just regular wizards, who are mightily hungry and may or may not need food in the immediate future. The Joystiq crew is going old school today, diving into an early build of the newly resurrected Gauntlet!

Joystiq.com/Twitch will be broadcast a piping hot plate of Gauntlet one week before its release, starting today at 4:00PM EST. Jess Conditt (@JessConditt), Alexander Sliwinski (@Sliwinski), and Anthony John Agnello (@ajohnagnello) will dive into the game blind with absolutely no clue how to succeed! Come and talk to us as we wonder what the hell we're supposed to do with all these arrows.

That's Joystiq.com/Twitch at 4:00PM EST, just like we broadcast every Tuesday and Thursday. Want to catch our irregular streams like last week's all-staff Destiny roundtable? Make sure to follow us on Twitch, Facebook, and Twitter!
[Images: WBIE]

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