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Humble Flash Bundle serves up shooters, Store launches summer sale

Humble Bundle's network offers all sorts of deals this week, with a new shooter-focused Humble Flash Bundle accompanying a series of discounts at the Humble Store.

Today's 24-hour Humble Flash Bundle features pay-what-you-want copies of Boss Baddie's procedurally generated side-scroller Really Big Sky and Studio Evil's Amiga-inspired Syder Arcade, along with Danmaku Unlimited 2 and Aqua Kitty for buyers who beat the bundle's average purchase price. Pay $7 or more for the package and you'll also get Yotsubane's recently released vertical shooter Crimzon Clover: World Ignition.

The Humble Store delivers its own collection of bargains this week, including Hitman: Absolution for $4.99, Goat Simulator for $5.99, Octodad: Dadliest Catch for $4.99, and Proteus for $1.99. New flash sales are introduced daily, and all listed prices are effective through September 22.

[Image: Yotsubane]

Far Cry 4 trailer weaponizes the mighty elephant

Image This is either a new trailer for Far Cry 4, or it's the entry for "elephants" found in the actual Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.... Continue Reading

Left 4 Dead 2 now uncensored on Steam in Australia, 75% off

Australian residents age 18 or older are able to play the uncensored version of Left 4 Dead 2, after the R18+ classification for the game sprouted up earlier this month. Those with a censored copy of the game in Australia will be able to apply a free update to the game to upgrade to the bloodier original version on Steam. What's more, Left 4 Dead 2 is currently 75 percent off across all regions it is available ($4.99, £3.74, €4.99) until next Monday, September 22. Left 4 Dead 2 first launched in November 2009 as the sequel to Valve's multiplayer zombie shooter.

The R18+ rating in Australia has been in the works for years, and created guidelines under the premise that certain types of graphic content are more impactful in video games than in films. The first game published under the restricted classification in the region was Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge's in January 2013. Deep Silver opted to re-work Saints Row 4 to meet Australia's MA15+ rating in August 2013.
[Image: Valve]

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Joystiq Deals: Mobile game dev training, Steam week-long sale

The School of Interactive Design offers a comprehensive training plan for up-and-coming mobile game developers through Joystiq Deals this week, bundling eight professional-quality courses for only $99.99. No prior coding experience is required, and you can produce playable results in just a few hours after starting the program. The course covers game development for iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac and PC platforms, so if you've ever wanted to make your own game, this is a great place to start.

PC gamers, meanwhile, can pick up a collection of cheap games on Steam this week, including Crimzon Clover: World Ignition for $7.49, Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut for $5.99, Avadon: The Black Fortress for $1.99, and Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition for $1.49. The sale also features several games priced at under $1, including Two Worlds, Desert Gunner, and Postal. Sale prices are effective through next Monday.
Joystiq Deals is a partnership between AOL and StackSocial. A portion of sales goes to funding this site. Deals are curated by StackSocial independently of the Joystiq editorial team.

Hearthstone is a 20 million-player game of cards

Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft has dealt in 20 million players around the world, the game's official Twitter account announced today. The tweet reads, "Thank you all for joining us in #Hearthstone! We're going to need a bigger tavern!"

Hearthstone is Blizzard's free, strategy card game based on Warcraft lore for PC, Mac, iPad and Windows 8 Touch devices. Android and iPhone versions of the game are due out before the end of the year, Lead Designer Eric Dodds told Joystiq at PAX Prime.

Xbox chief: Minecraft will continue on PlayStation, mobile


When word spread last week that Microsoft was considering a purchase of Mojang and its gaming titan Minecraft, fans were concerned about the game's future. Would Minecraft become an Xbox exclusive? Would it be locked to Windows Phones going forward? In a video discussing the acquisition, Xbox chief Phil Spencer said that Microsoft would continue to help develop Minecraft on all the platforms that made it a $2.5 billion brand in the first place.

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Why did Microsoft pay $2.5 billion for Minecraft creator Mojang?

Microsoft confirmed its $2.5 billion purchase of Minecraft developer Mojang today, with Microsofts's Head of Xbox division Phil Spencer noting that the acquisition "adds diversity to our game portfolio and helps us reach new gamers across multiple platforms."

It's a big chunk of change to spend on an independent studio founded in 2010, but its juggernaut product has since sold over 15 million units and spawned a merchandising empire. Minecraft earned a reported $326 million in revenue last year, continuing its year-on-year trend of increased profitability.

Creator Markus Persson expressed a desire to move away from Minecraft earlier this year following a notable shift in indie development culture, however. "The current indie scene is as new for the people making games as it is for the audience," Joystiq editor Jess Conditt wrote. "Indie developers don't have trained PR teams to guide them through the drama; many don't know that the press and public will take their tweets seriously; some of them aren't even sure what an embargo is. They receive death threats and then react like candid humans when the audience expects them to behave like detached professionals."

"As soon as this deal is finalized, I will leave Mojang and go back to doing Ludum Dares and small web experiments. If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I'll probably abandon it immediately," Persson said in reference to the Microsoft purchase.

Here's a quick rundown of the events that led up to today's deal.

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NBA 2K15 wonders "What if?" in MyTeam trailer

2K Sports recently offered a new trailer and details for NBA 2K15's MyTeam mode. Similar to EA Sports' various Ultimate Team modes, MyTeam has players building a squad of basketballers from across the sport's history, improving their team gradually over time.

One of the ways they'll be able to build their team this year is through a real-time auction house, seen in a few of the game's screens provided by 2K. Players will also have a challenge mode to put their team through its paces in several "What if?" fantasy scenarios. 2K Sports plans to add both multiplayer and weekly challenges to MyTeam throughout the year as well as user-created content. NBA 2K15 will launch October 7 for PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.
[Image: 2K Sports]

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Destiny claims biggest launch ever for new IP in UK history

Destiny sold more at launch in the UK than any other new intellectual property in gaming history, following Activision's claim it shipped $500 million worldwide last week. Bungie's shooter is the second game to break the new-IP record this year, the first being Watch Dogs in May. The most successful UK launch of any game ever still belongs to Grand Theft Auto 5, but Destiny now boasts the biggest launch of 2014.

Not that any of that's surprising, frankly, and we're still waiting on hard sales figures from Activision. It's maybe more revealing to dissect Destiny's UK sales-by-platform percentages, especially since they offer a 50-50 cross-generation split between PlayStation and Xbox. While PS4 leads the way with 46 percent, Xbox One and Xbox 360 come in second and third with 36 and 14 percent respectively, and PS3 makes up the remaining 4 percent.

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Distance brings Early Access patrons to the track this fall

After introducing players to its neon-streaked streets at PAX Prime last month and in a private beta, Refract Studios' Distance will turn the corner on Early Access sometime this fall. Although an exact arrival date has not been set, Refract's Kickstarter update explains the Early Access version should help private beta members find a few new multiplayer rivals.

There's more in Distance's bag of tricks than just speeding along raceways – as displayed in the beta trailer, players can twist, flip and spread their wings to navigate between sections of Distance's winding tracks.

Distance is a spiritual successor to Nitronic Rush, a similarly-hectic racer that the Refract team contributed to while studying at DigiPen. Since rights for Nitronic Rush were retained by DigiPen, Refract set out to finish their vision with Distance, which is eventually due for release on PC, Mac and Linux.
[Image: Refract Studios]

Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Father remake lands October 15

Revisiting Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers on modern platforms will become much simpler on October 15, when developers Pinkerton Road Studio and Phoenix Online Studios release a remake celebrating the adventure's 20th anniversary. PC and Mac users can prove their point-and-click prowess by pre-ordering at Steam, Good Old Games and Phoenix's online store in exchange for a soundtrack and a 15 percent discount, leaving their total at $17.

When the Sins of the Fathers remake was initially estimated for a mid-2014 arrival, iOS and Android ports were also mentioned, but release dates for mobile versions were absent from Pinkerton's press release.

Purists may be comforted with a reminder that Pinkerton Road Studio was launched by Gabriel Knight series creator Jane Jensen.
[Image: Pinkerton Road]

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Adventure game Paradigm stars a mutant hero and sloth villain

Paradigm is an in-development point-and-click adventure from Jacob Janerka, an independent game developer from Australia. To call it "surreal" would not encompass the sheer absurdity on display here.

In Paradigm, players control a lab-grown mutant who dreams of becoming the best electronic musician in the world. Along his journey to produce his EP (and save the world), he'll come across a beatboxing eggplant, a pug who is also a professional wrestler, and an evil sloth with Donald Trump hair named Olof.

Janerka is currently seeking $14,000 AUD on Kickstarter to finish his game, and at time of writing, his campaign has amassed just more than $8,000 AUD, with 22 days left for backers to pledge. If you want to get an idea of the game's quality before you fork over your cash though, there's a downloadable alpha available via the Kickstarter page.

Paradigm is slated to be completed and shipped mid-2015 on Windows, Mac and Linux. Paradigm is also on Steam Greenlight, awaiting enough votes so that it may appear on Valve's digital store. You can check out the game's Kickstarter pitch video after the break.

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Elite: Dangerous' pre-order incentives include a new ride

Prior to the upcoming Elite: Dangerous, the series' last space venture was in 1995. Dusting off the old ships in your hanger is always an option, but what about the wiring? Are you sure that's still up to code? Did you ever clean the remnants of your intergalactic fast food stops out from the cockpit? You could spend a weekend bringing your ship back to speed, or you could just pre-order Elite: Dangerous - Mercenary Edition for $50 and make a new Eagle fighter your primary ride.

Aside from a new ship, pre-ordering grants eager pilots a pack of paint jobs, a "Day One" ship decal, a digital players' guide and concept art book, and "more digital goodies" that will be announced over the coming weeks. Mercenary Edition's listing also notes this content is exclusive to pre-orders, which could keep sightings of your model fairly uncommon in the vastness of space.

Elite: Dangerous is due to make contact with PC and Mac in 2014, though anyone willing to part with $75 can get into the beta today.
[Image: Frontier Developments]

Shovel Knight digs a tunnel to Mac, Linux version coming

Shovel Knight has pogo-hopped his way to Mac computers, developer Yacht Club Games announced via its Steam and Kickstarter pages earlier this week. Steam users on Mac need not take any extra steps to get their copies up and running, but those who prefer to go through GOG and the Humble Store should keep an eye out for when new builds become available.

Linux support is still incoming, with no specified release date. Likewise, versions for Europe and Australia are in development. "We are so sorry this has taken so long ... and we are preemptively sorry on how much longer it's going to take," Yacht Club Games wrote in its Kickstarter update.

We can't say we're terribly surprised, considering how long it must take to dig through all that code using a shovel. Hyuck hyuck!
[Image: Yacht Club Games]

Report: Oculus Rift consumer version due by summer 2015

The virtual reality future is now! ... is what you'll be able to say next summer, according to TechRadar. The site reports that VR start-up Oculus will launch the first consumer version of the Rift VR headset sometime in mid-2015.

We say "first" because according to TechRadar, Oculus will be launching the consumer version of the Rift as a public beta, with limited quantities available only through the company itself - no retailers. Oculus co-founders Palmer Luckey and Nat Mitchell told Eurogamer earlier this month that the consumer version will mark a significant upgrade - higher resolution, 90Hz or higher refresh rate - at a price somewhere between $200 and $400.

We've reached out to Oculus to find out more, and will update what we hear back.

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