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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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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 lots 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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Joystiq Discussion: Will you get a new console this fall?

One year later and the current crop of gaming machines are looking a whole heck of a lot different than they did in the fall of 2013. Mealy launch exclusives like Knack, Ryse and Nintendoland are distant memories. Now the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Wii U are cooking with gas. Sony's got heaters like Infamous: Second Son, Xbox One's got freaks like D4 alongside bruisers like Forza Horizon 2, and Wii U has heavyweights like Mario Kart 8 and weirdoes like Bayonetta 2 backing it up.

The question now is: Is that enough? If you haven't taken the plunge yet, have any of the new machines sufficiently convinced you? Are you considering adding a second new console to your living room domain? Or have you walked away from the console world for good? Take the poll then take to the comments to discuss.


[Images: Sony, Nintendo, Microsoft]

Trine developer launches iOS platformer Splot


Frozenbyte, developer of co-op platformer Trine, has created one of the most mobile-looking mobile games in Splot. The platformer is available today on the App Store for $3.99 (€3.59 / £2.49) and features a blob that must capture "birdlings" within a time limit. It's the fast-fingers type of game that's better suited for pretending you're watching reality television than on the morning commute.

The game includes 56 levels and over 150 Splots to collect, as well as seven types of worlds to bounce around in. The developer has certainly shown it has chops when it comes to making platformers, as the Trine series has over 7 million sales.

Civilization: Beyond Earth review: Buy-in Alpha Centauri

Viewed through the idea that it's a standalone expansion to Sid Meier's Civilization 5, Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth streamlines gameplay in the long-running strategy series to enhance the pace of the historically-strapped franchise. As a spiritual successor to Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, however, it's a cut-rate disappointment.

Beyond Earth is best described as an epilogue to the events of Civilization 5. Humanity has ruined the planet and must commit itself to starting all over again on another rock and potentially making the same mistakes. And so, various nations make conglomerate factions and shoot for another spherical mass to strategically explore, expand, exploit and exterminate (4X) one another.

Why I wish Firaxis had never mentioned Beyond Earth as a spiritual successor to Alpha Centauri is that this game doesn't look like it was given the financial resources to kick off a new franchise. It feels like it had the budget of a Civ 5 expansion, where asset creation went into making a visually interesting game world, but not its overall presentation. The characters are painfully dull and inarticulate. The tech and wonder voiceovers are all done by one person, but in many cases are attributed to faction leaders within the game (who do have their own voices). The experience doesn't feel luxe. Firaxis has been the benchmark in accessible strategy games and it's owned by triple-A publisher Take-Two Interactive, but I've seen stronger production values from independent European competitors.

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Minimalistic Tennnes is a team sport at $20

Jan Willem Nijman, one half of the Nuclear Throne development duo Vlambeer, is now selling local multiplayer game Tennnes as a stand-alone download on his site. Originally part of NYU Game Center's No Quarter exhibition in 2012, the game is now available for a minimum cost of $20. The price may seem a little steep to some, but it comes with a bonus: Buyers will be able to distribute the game to their friends for free.

Tennnes is a minimalistic tennis game that was previously gifted to backers of the Sportsfriends Kickstarter project, which concluded in December 2012. The friendly pricing structure makes sense for the game, as those with two controllers will get the most out of Tennnes. Nijman's disclaimer for the game notes that the PC game "can be played by/against AI, but that's absolutely not the intended experience."
[Image: Jan Willem Nijman]

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Titanfall update gets cooperative, adds ranked play

The next major update for Titanfall will land tomorrow on Xbox One and PC, Respawn announced today. The patch is the "biggest update ever," according to the developer's blog, which revealed the inclusion of new modes in the update. For starters, Titanfall players will have a new "Frontier Defense" cooperative multiplayer mode in which teams of four stand their ground against waves of AI enemies, getting assistance from stationary turrets and loadout crates.

The other major addition is ranked play, which will be in beta through the end of the month. Respawn's dedicated discussion on its ranked play system for Titanfall notes that players will receive "Rank Chips," which act as "expensive pedometers" that measure players' prowess in the game. Players will have the ability to turn off their Rank Chips as well, so ranked play in Titanfall won't boil down to a separate set of maps or playlists. The update will introduce a multitude of other fixes and improvements, such as the ability to go full-screen with the mini-map, a "sudden death" addition to Capture the Flag mode and seven new Titan insignias.

Lords of the Fallen dev addresses complaints about slow-moving characters



Lords of the Fallen, the Dark Souls-ian role-playing game from Deck 13 and City Interactive, has had trouble communicating what it's all about to potential players ahead of its release on October 28. Looking to better explain his game, Tomasz Gop of City Interactive released a video detailing the different ways Lords of the Fallen can be played.

Following a number of YouTube videos and live streams of the game, Gop moved to address criticisms that characters move too slowly. "The first thing I wanted to talk about it movement speed," said Gop. "We don't believe the game is too slow or too fast for anybody because you can adjust quite easily the way that you move."

He goes on to explain how weapon and armor choice significantly change the speed with which your chosen character can dodge and block attacks. Gop also reiterates that the game will take approximately 50 hours to complete, and that as with nearly all role-playing games characters change dramatically over that time.

Joystiq's own time with Lords of the Fallen during preview sessions at E3 demonstrated how difficult it is to get a sense of the full range of character options with just a short time with the game.

[Images: City Interactive]

Ghost ship mystery Return of the Obra Dinn waves in a demo

Return of the Obra Dinn is the first-person ghost ship mystery game with 1-bit rendering from Papers, Please creator Lucas Pope. Whatever else it is, you can find out right now with an early demo, downloadable for PC and Mac.

The demo covers the first 15 minutes of the game. "It's still very rough and very untested," Pope says. "For such a low-res game, performance is not great on a 2011 Macbook Air running BootCamp. Hopefully it runs OK on most machines. The core mechanic is only lightly touched on, but you should be able to mentally extrapolate out what's here to a full game."

Papers, Please, Pope's breakout game, swept the IGF awards this year, and Pope had planned to submit Return of the Obra Dinn to the IGF for 2015, but he says the game isn't quite ready: "That deadline was pretty useful in getting me through these past few weeks of crunch, but in the end I've decided not to submit the game as it is. Maybe next year."

In Return of the Obra Dinn, a ship declared missing in 1802 suddenly returns to a London port six years later, badly damaged and with no visible crew. Players are the insurance adjuster for the East India Company's London Office, and must board the ship and recover the Crew Muster Roll book. It wouldn't be a game from Pope if it didn't involve official documents, after all.
[Image: Lucas Pope]

Brutal Legend PC limited edition coming soon from IndieBox

Indie game distributor IndieBox revealed that it will soon ship a Limited Edition version of Double FIne's heavy metal action-RTS Brutal Legend to subscribers, celebrating the game's fifth anniversary and marking the first time its PC version has seen a physical release.

Launched earlier this year, IndieBox ships out physical versions of standout indie games to subscribers on a monthly basis, bundling featured titles with exclusive bonus material. The contents of Brutal Legend's Limited Edition were not announced, and will not be revealed until the package hits subscriber mailboxes.

Buyers can reserve a Limited Edition package for Brutal Legend by placing an order with IndieBox by 11:59 p.m. EST tonight. New subscribers can enter the promo code ROCKTOBER25 for a 25 percent discount. If you miss out on getting Brutal Legend via IndieBox's subscription service, standalone copies will be available soon at the company's official store.

[Image: IndieBox]

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