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Good Old Games discounts 35 games, delistings imminent

At the time of this writing, there's about a day left to pick over Good Old Games' recent promotion for PC, the Last Chance Special. There's more urgency to this sale than the allure of a good deal however – after the sale's conclusion on Monday at 12:00 a.m. EST, the Last Chance Special's 35-game catalog will be removed from GOG.

With Jack Keane 2: The Fire Within carrying the special's highest price at $7.49 and the average ranging closer to $2.49, at least it won't strain your savings if you decide to splurge. The first two entries from the Spellforce, Desperados, Red Faction, Aquanox and Dark Fall series are up for grabs, as are Chaser, Alien Nations, The Penumbra Collection and plenty more.

Check to see if the Last Chance Special has anything for your tastes, and if not, there's always a less-urgent sale on classic Activision titles like the Quest For Glory and King's Quest series.
[Image: GOG]

Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel season pass, pre-order Slaughter Pit announced

In case you were worried about running out of loot to hoard in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, a $30 season pass has been announced for Gearbox and 2K Australia's upcoming shootout on Pandora's moon. The pass will last for four additional content packs, which a related press release notes will include "new characters, missions and experiences." Vault hunters wary of preemptive bulk DLC purchases will still be able to pick up the packs individually as they release for $9.99 apiece.

As is the modern custom, bonus content called the Shock Drop Slaughter Pit can also be earned by pre-ordering The Pre-Sequel from select retailers. Those waiting on holiday sales to stock up on this year's remaining games won't miss out on the Slaughter Pit though, as the press release adds it will be available for purchase later on.
[Image: 2K Games]

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VR puzzler Darknet teaches players technomancy

E McNeill's Darknet was the winner in the open call category of the 2013 Oculus Indiecade VR Jam. It's a strategy-puzzle game designed for Oculus Rift where players explore a virtual reality computer network and use viruses, worms, exploits and other hacker tools to capture sensitive data from what may or may not be a shady megacorporation. It's practically the definition of cyberpunk, sharing much in common with one of the genre's defining novels, Neuromancer.

However, McNeill told Joystiq at PAX Prime that he doesn't particularly like Neuromancer, nor many other cyberpunk tales. "I like the idea of cyberpunk," McNeill said, expressing his feeling that many of the genre's stories – especially those featuring hacking – tend to feel empty and without substance. McNeill proposed The Matrix as an example:

"In The Matrix, [the character Cypher] says, 'All I see is blonde, brunette, redhead.' But the falling symbols don't mean anything. They're just backwards kana letters." McNeill said that Darknet is a game aimed at maintaining the sense of mystery that The Matrix's iconic green rain of characters creates, but simultaneously providing an experience where what the player sees and does "actually means something."

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Spry Fox explores the joy of flight in Free-Range Dragons


After challenging players with the uncompromising high-stakes roguelike Road Not Taken, Spry Fox is taking on more lighthearted fare with Free-Range Dragons, an action-oriented game in which players pilot flying dragons across fanciful 2D worlds.

There's a hardcore streak underneath Free-Range Dragons' cheery surface, however. Citing inspiration from Capcom's Monster Hunter series, Free-Range Dragons features high-flying battles in which you'll hunt down dangerous creatures and drag them back to your home base to recruit them. Free-Range Dragons is flexible enough to support multiple playstyles, and it's up to the player to decide how far they want to push themselves during their quest.

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Super Meat Boy Forever trims fat, cooks up 'huge' challenge

Super Meat Boy Forever is as much a game as it is a meat grinder. It's "impossible," but only in the sense that it's similar to The Impossible Game, Grip Games' 2011 auto-running platformer that placed an emphasis on blazing hard difficulty. Super Meat Boy Forever dumps a similar formula into Team Meat's universe, and it's optimized for touch-based controls. "The goal is, this is going to be a Meat Boy that you play everywhere," Team Meat's Tommy Refenes told Joystiq at PAX Prime.

We took a moment to play both the tablet and PC versions of the game at the event, which both relied on two physical (or touch-based) buttons. While Meat Boy never stopped sprinting through the boldly-outlined demo level, he happily jumped, slid and fell to the Earth at a rapid pace on command. Leaping across broad gaps and jumping from wall to wall, our Meat Boy dodged spinning saw blades just like he did in the original, making the experience feel immediately at home with pared-down controls, particularly on a mobile device.

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Pillars of Eternity and the dangers of fantasy pest control

"Streamlined" is a buzzword you hear often when talking to developers about games. "Simplified" is almost as common. The unspoken implication behind these descriptors is that complexity and time-consuming mechanics are a thing of the past. If that's true, Pillars of Eternity is a time machine.

Developed by Obsidian and designed to evoke the look and feel of the Infinity Engine games – Planescape: Torment, Baldur's Gate, Icewind DalePillars of Eternity is as old-school as a roleplaying game can get without turning into a text adventure or a dice-rolling tabletop quest. There is nothing simple or streamlined about Pillars, and therein lies the appeal.

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Get back on the hunt: A second Evolve alpha is coming

If an invite to Evolve's upcoming closed alpha is your white whale, you've got two (constructive) options: Play a round of Evolve at 2K's PAX Prime booth (Level 4, booths 814 and 1414), or stalk Evolve's social media channels and the Turtle Rock forums. Hunting game at Prime will earn you an invitation to register, but "additional chances" can be tracked down on Twitter, Facebook and the forums.

Unfortunately, putting down your first monster is going to be a lot like real-world hunting – the alpha's reveal post doesn't specify when the event will begin, so you'll need to keep a determined watch on the aforementioned channels or your inbox.

The upcoming expedition will follow a separate alpha from July which must have thinned out Turtle Rock's monster supply, as Evolve was rescheduled for February 10, 2015 days after the alpha went live.
[Image: 2K Games]

BioWare's Shadow Realms is 4-on-1, action-RPG mayhem

"We're focused on delivering the unexpected," Shadow Realms Senior Producer Dallas Dickinson said during a demonstration event at PAX Prime this weekend. After seeing the game in action, "unexpected" doesn't even begin to describe the chaos that will soon be unleashed by a developer rooted in deliberately paced single-player RPGs.

BioWare's Shadow Realms is a 4-versus-1 competitive multiplayer game that aims to capture the unpredictable nature of a dungeon master directing a tabletop game. The result is a deft mixture of Left 4 Dead and Tecmo's Deception series, challenging a party of players to navigate deadly dungeons overseen by a sadistic and omnipresent human opponent.

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Mew-Genics on hold, will return when it's 'more coherent'

Mew-Genics is officially on hold, Team Meat's Tommy Refenes confirmed to Joystiq at PAX Prime in Seattle. The game was first revealed in October 2012, though the Super Meat Boy developer did not fully explain how the genetically-altered cat lady simulator would operate for another four months.

The decision to drag the game's esoteric explanation out is one that Refenes seemed to regret, saying the developer "shouldn't have been talking about it as much in the beginning as we did, because the game expanded beyond what it originally was." As a result, the game grew beyond Team Meat's own original vision: "Even some of the posts that we made in the beginning, that stuff doesn't exist in the game anymore," he added. For example, the developer discussed a "trinkets" system in December 2012, which is now gone from Mew-Genics, as it's "expanded into the stores" in the game.

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Behind-the-scenes video basks in Geometry Wars 3's glow

We don't envy Lucid Games – the studio has a passionate fanbase to appease when it launches Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions this fall on Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4 and PC. Fortunately, Lucid houses senior developers from now-defunct series creator Bizarre Creations, and it's clear that the team has some ideas on how to progress from 2008's GW2: Retro Evolved.

In a behind-the-scenes feature posted after the break, Lucid Co-Founder Nick Davies and Creative Director Craig Howard describe what they have in mind for Dimensions, including boss battles, 3D battlegrounds and head-to-head multiplayer. Check the video to get a glimpse of those elements in action and to get reacquainted with your neon-hued geometric rivals!
[Image: Sierra]

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H1Z1 on PS4 planned to follow a steady PC release

Sony Online Entertainment's zombie-survival online game H1Z1 must first find stable footing on PC before the game begins to take shape on PS4, Senior Game Designer Jimmy Whisenhunt tells Joystiq.

Months after being announced with a promise to launch on Steam Early Access, H1Z1 is still in closed testing. Whisenhunt says his team doesn't want to rush to market, instead setting a goal to release a game to Early Access that's as technically stable as it is fun.

"I would love to have it next week," Whisenhunt laughs. "The thing about [Early Access] is the community takes a look at a bunch of streams and says 'It looks really cool. It looks playable. Please release it.' But our concerns aren't the shiny things, it's making sure that our server isn't going to ... look, we know we are going to have a server issue within the first week of Early Access," he admits.

"We do want to make sure that we're ready to respond to that the right way."

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Saints Row 4 SDK released, chaos expected to ensue

Developer Volition announced at PAX Prime that they have released the official software development kit (SDK) for Saints Row 4 on PC, allowing enthusiasts of virtual sandbox mayhem with the technical know-how to create ... pretty much whatever they want. This can only end well.

Although Saints Row 4 was released in August of last year, Volition is keeping up support for the game with two projects, both due on January 27, 2015: Saints Row 4: Re-elected will port the base game and all the DLC released so far to Xbox One and PS4, while Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell is a standalone expansion that sends players literally into the bowels of Hell.
[Image: Deep Silver]

Motiga's Gigantic makes a big first impression

In Motiga's Gigantic, a team of five players choose unique champions who must work together to effectively control a map and slaughter their enemies – another team of five players – with the ultimate goal of destroying the opposing team's Guardian, a valuable asset that lies in wait at the opposite end of the map.

On paper, it sounds like yet another MOBA, the rapidly-expanding genre pioneered by games like League of Legends and Dota 2. In practice however, while the game's DNA is undeniably colored by the m-word genre, you'd be doing the game a ... well, gigantic disservice to think of it as another imitator.

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Don't Starve Together is for people who 'just want to watch their friends burn'

Klei's cooperative Don't Starve expansion, Don't Starve Together, has the potential to bring you and your friends closer than ever before. That's when they'll least expect an axe in the face.

Don't Starve Together is unique in that it encourages both cooperative and competitive play. Plopped down in the middle of the unforgiving wilderness, up to four players team up to build a camp, hunt wildlife and eke out a meager existence, strengthened by their bonds of friendship.

The core Don't Starve experience can be much more forgiving, for instance, when you assign one friend to craft survival supplies while another goes and chops firewood. If you ran into any opposition alone and unprepared, you'd be in serious trouble, but with an armed buddy watching your back (and reviving you when you're overwhelmed), being stranded in the wilderness isn't so bad after all.

If one of your teammates decides to choose the pyromaniac character class, though, you could be in for a world of hurt.

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Titanfall Update 6 adds 8-on-8 combat with no 'bots

Developer Respawn has issued a new update for its flagship giant robot shooter, Titanfall, the highlight of which strips out said robots in favor of mano a mano gunplay.

Dubbed "Pilot Skirmish," the new gameplay mode removes both Titans and those pesky AI-controlled robots that most players view as vaguely intelligent cannon fodder. The result is a first-person shooter more akin to Halo or Call of Duty, but with the acrobatic movement and unique weaponry of Titanfall. Other changes include the addition of the "Marked for Death" mode to Titanfall's permanent roster of gameplay types, new UI options designed to aid colorblind players and the ability to win an "ultra-rare" Burn Card that allows players to access and use any Card from their stash during gameplay.

Game Update Six is now available to Titanfall players on Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC. For a full rundown of the update's tweaks, visit the game's official website.

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Video preview: Alien Isolation

Posted on Aug 18th 2014 2:00PM

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