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Ubisoft Toronto founder Jade Raymond departs to pursue 'new opportunities'

Longtime Ubisoft producer and collaborator Jade Raymond has left the company, citing a need to "pursue my other ambitions and new opportunities."

Raymond joined Ubisoft as a producer of the Assassin's Creed series in 2004, and went on to found subsidiary Ubisoft Toronto. Raymond's recent credits include Watch Dogs and Splinter Cell: Blacklist. Fellow Ubisoft Toronto founding member Alexandre Parizeau will fill Raymond's vacated position as managing director.

"I've spent 10 extraordinary years at Ubisoft, and I am proud to have been part of many of the best teams in the industry making truly remarkable games," Raymond said. "This is one of the hardest decisions of my career, but the Toronto studio is strong and on a solid path. I'm confident that now is a good time for me to transition leadership of the studio to Alex and to pursue my other ambitions and new opportunities. Stay tuned for more on what's next for me, but for now, I'd like to thank Ubisoft for its partnership through the years, and I wish them the very best in all their next endeavors."

[Image: Jade Raymond / Wikipedia]

Editor's Note: We Are Always Fighting

We are always fighting.

The first video game I ever played, Space Invaders, rendered fighting in a sickly green hue, with squid-like aliens descending down the bulbous surface of a beige monitor. As much as I admired their patient and orderly see-saw attack pattern on our planet, it made it easy to blow them away from below. You see, it's not about the violence, but timing and pattern recognition.

My other starting game was some kind of Mad Libs program, which accepted a list of nouns and verbs and then spat out a boring or comical story, depending on how creative your input was. The key to playing this game well, I determined, was baking a well-timed "pie" into the plot. The archer reaches into his quiver and removes ... a pie! Help, the sheriff's been shot in the pie! The crowd sucked the air out of the room as the boxer fell to a critical blow from his opponent ... the PIE. You see, a video game lets players control (and probably ruin) the story.

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The Borderlands timeline unfurled

With the recent release of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, Gearbox knows it may have some fans with questions on how the series' timeline is organized. That's understandable when your latest game is sub-titled "The Pre-Sequel." To bring order to the chaos, the series developer offered an "ultimate Borderlands timeline" on its blog late last week.

The comic-style timeline divulges major plot points from before the original Borderlands through its direct sequel, Borderlands 2. Viewers beware: Gearbox didn't shy away from spoiling those major events in the timeline, including that of The Pre-Sequel. Our review of the latest game noted that the game is "missing just a bit of soul," but still "has the makings of a pretty great Borderlands game." The series' overarching story will continue with The Walking Dead developer Telltale's adventure game, Tales From the Borderlands, which is expected to launch this year.

Destiny's next patch to address Vault of Glass' buggy boss

If you've been running and re-running Destiny's Vault of Glass raid in hopes of obtaining exotic gear, you may have already learned about various tricks and exploits people are using to speed up their adventures. One of the most popular involves knocking the raid's final boss, Atheon, off a ledge, letting gravity do the dirty work of killing him.

It's quick, efficient and relatively easy, but not exactly what Bungie had in mind for an epic final showdown. To that end, they're patching the Atheon battle so that he can't be knocked off, while simultaneously changing how he targets players. Currently, Atheon will send the three players furthest from him through space and time to an alternate battlefield, where they'll stay until their teammates open a portal for them so they can return. Once the fix goes live, he'll target three players at random.

Enjoy knocking a titan of terror off into the dark depths of the Vault of Glass while you can, Guardians; Atheon's fixes go live next week.
[Image: Activision]

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare launch trailer has guns, Kevin Spacey, double XP

Image Sure there's guns galore in this Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare launch trailer, but virtual Kevin Spacey overshadows all of them. Pre-ordering will get you 24 hour early access (along with double XP and a bunch of guns) but really, we just want more of that handsome man. Mmm. [Image:... Continue Reading

Mighty No. 9 will feature English voice acting thanks to vote

Mighty No. 9, Comcept's spirtual successor to the Mega Man series, will feature English voice acting according to an update on the game's Kickstarter page. A vote which drew more than 20,000 participants was the deciding factor, and according to the update, the vote was never more than 1,000 votes from going in favor of English or Japanese.

Back in July, Comcept updated their crowdfunding efforts and asked for $200,000 to add both English and Japanese voices. However, at the beginning of October, a Kickstarter update explained that funding was insufficient for supporting both languages.

"Rather than stick to the revised target of $200K for both English and Japanese voice acting and close it down short of the goal, we've decided to lower the goal back to the original $100K for one language," the update reads. "And, rather than dictate which one voiced language we offer in the game, we want to put it to a vote and let you, our loyal backers decide: English or Japanese!" Now that the votes have been tallied, it appears the former is the winner.

Mighty No. 9 is due to release in spring of 2015 for ten mighty systems: PC, Mac, Linux, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, Vita, Wii U and 3DS.
[Image: Comcept]

Dark Souls 'Crown of the Ivory King' review: Burning bright

PC, Xbox 360, PS3
It sounds strange, but one of the best environments in the latest downloadable chapter of Dark Souls 2 DLC is hardly an environment at all. It's called the Frigid Outskirts, and it's a vast, nearly empty expanse – a long, curving valley only occasionally dotted with small, dilapidated stone structures. Like much of Dark Souls 2, however, this area of "The Crown of the Ivory King" DLC differentiates itself from the rest of the game with a few outstanding features.

Specifically: a constant, unrelenting blizzard. What should be a simple jaunt from one end to the other becomes considerably more difficult, as near whiteout conditions make it impossible to see more than a few feet in front of you, only clearing once every thirty seconds or so. It's a smart mechanic that not only imparts a sense of fear, but also elevates what would otherwise be a boring, linear quest.

And then there are the lightning-spewing horse bastards that accost you at regular intervals, but we'll get to those later.

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PSN Flash Sale highlights heroines across games and movies

Sony is discounting 20 games and 30 movies as part of this weekend's PSN Flash Sale – and it's not hard to figure out the theme. The deals include PS3 games like Bayonetta ($7.99), BloodRayne: Betrayal ($2.49), Portal 2 ($4.99), Remember Me ($11.99), Mirror's Edge ($2.25) and Beyond Good and Evil ($3.49). The sale also features a few games for both PS3 and Vita, such as Hatsune Miku: Project Diva ($11.99 for Vita, $19.99 for PS3), Knytt Underground ($2.49) and Resident Evil 3: Nemesis ($1.49).

PSN's discounted movies vary in price based on whether viewers pick up the standard or high-definition versions. Kill Bill Volume 1 and Volume 2 are $6.99 each ($9.99 HD), as is Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and its follow-up, Lara Croft: The Cradle of Life ($10.99 HD each). Plus, Five Resident Evil films as well as four Underworld movies are discounted this weekend to $8.99 each ($9.99 HD). The sale ends at 3:00 p.m. EST (12:00 p.m. PST) on Monday, October 20.
[Image: Majesco]

Joystiq Streams: Vib-Ribbon's block rocking beats


It's Friday night! Time to gather the supplies. One sensory deprivation tank ensuring complete darkness, silence, and numbness? Check. Approximately three pounds of Pixie Stix ensuring all hallucinations are as giddy as they are disturbing? Check. Tom Waits, Portishead, and Cibo Matto CDs to start blasting when the visual hallucinations begin? Check.

Oh wait, you don't have any of those things? Don't worry. Vib-Ribbon, the PlayStation classic newly released in the US for the first time, provides the same experience. A sugar-fueled fever dream about skittering sketch rabbits jumping through hoops to the music in your soul. That's what this game's all about!

Starting at 4:00PM EST on Joystiq.com/Twitch, we'll be streaming a whole lot of Vib-Ribbon in order to give you a transcendent psychedelic experience. Why? Because it's the weekend and Vib-Ribbon is awesome. Richard Mitchell (@TheRichardM) digs deep into his CD collection while Danny Cowan (@db_cowan) and Susan Arendt (@SusanArendt) riff on the cultural detritus that birthed this beauty of a game.

That's Joystiq.com/Twitch at 4:00PM EST, just like we do every Tuesday and Thursday. If you want to see every freaky stream we do, make sure to follow us on Twitch.
[Images: SCEA]

Chivalry: Medieval Warfare raids Xbox 360, PS3 in December

Despite prior claims of an October release, Activision has now announced a December 3 launch for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of blood-slicked melee multiplayer game Chivalry: Medieval Warfare.

Originally released for the PC two years ago, Torn Banner Studios' Chivalry: Medieval Warfare pits up to 12 players against one another in team-based multiplayer combat. In lieu of the rocket launchers and machine guns that appear so frequently in online games, Chivalry: Medieval Warfare arms players with period-appropriate weaponry such as bows, swords and axes. This lends the game a unique, more deliberate gameplay style and results in battlefields slicked with ludicrous amounts of gore.

No retail release has yet been announced for Chivalry: Medieval Warfare. Publisher Activision claims the game will feature a $15 price tag on both the Xbox Live Marketplace and PlayStation Network Store.
[Image: Activision]

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Race the Sun, Escape Goat 2 on PSN next week, says PS Blogcast [update]

The PlayStation Blogcast often quietly slips out a surprise or two in its weekly rundown of new releases, and this week is no exception. According to the podcast, Race the Sun and Escape Goat 2 hit PSN in North America next week, which would pin them for October 21 release dates. There's been no other official word on that and Blogcast details have been off the mark before, so we've reached out to devs Flippfly and MagicalTimeBean to confirm.

[Update: Sony confirmed Race the Sun indeed hits PSN in North America on October 21, priced $10. Flippfly's Aaron San Filippo told Joystiq the team's working on confirming the date for Europe, and the game will be available there at a roughly equivalent price.] [Update 2: MagicalTimeBean's Ian Stocker confirmed to Joystiq that Escape Goat 2 will also reach North America on October 21, and while its European launch is yet to be set in stone, Stocker notes it "won't be far behind."]

Race the Sun is already confirmed as a cross-buy game for PS4, PS3 and Vita, meaning if you buy the game on one PS platform you get it for free on the others. Cross-save is also supported to carry scores across systems.

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Trine series tops 7 million sales, shares its level editor

The Trine series has surpassed 7 million sales worldwide, Frozenbyte announced today. That includes sales of Trine and Trine 2 across PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Wii U, PC, Mac, Linux and Android. To celebrate seven figures, Frozenbyte has launched the level editor for Trine Enchanted Edition and Trine 2: Complete Story on Steam.

"The editor for the Trine games gives users a first-hand look at the development process," Frozenbyte says in a press release. "Players can now do the same things to Trine or Trine 2 as the developers; they can edit existing maps to their liking, create entirely new ones from scratch, or even create a completely different game."

Both Trine and Trine 2 are free to play this weekend as part of Valve's biggest free weekend ever. Trine wasn't listed in the original free weekend announcement, so that's a nice surprise. Games in the deal are free through Sunday, October 19, at 1PM PT, and they're on sale through Monday, October 20 at 10AM PT.

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September NPD: Destiny leads as software sales decline

The gaming industry continues to grow with each passing month, though the rate of said growth in North America seems to be slowing, according to the NPD's latest report.

Though sales of video game hardware jumped an impressive 136 percent year over year - which makes sense given that the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 had yet to launch in September 2013 - total industry sales only grew by two percent. This is due to a 36 percent decline in year over year sales of new, physical console and portable games, that, while countered by a 33 percent increase in accessory sales, is complemented by a 35 percent decline in total software sales, which includes the aforementioned console games as well as their PC counterparts. However, the NPD notes that a direct comparison is difficult as September 2013 saw the launch of Grand Theft Auto 5, a game that holds the record as the most successful launch in history.

Despite the dip in software sales, Sony claims September 2014 was a "record-breaking month" for the PlayStation Network Store. "Last month's PlayStation Store revenue increased nearly 90 percent compared with Sept. 2013," stated Sony Network Entertainment International vice president Eric Lempel. "Working closely with Activision and Bungie, we wanted to make the launch of Destiny a special experience for PlayStation fans. We're thrilled to see this high engagement from PS4 and PS3 owners."

The top ten best-selling games saw a shakeup in September, with Destiny pushing Madden 15 out of the top spot and both Super Smash Bros. 3DS and Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor joining the list, at spots four and five, respectively. That success, Nintendo claims, is largely responsible for the sale of 140,000 3DS units during September. Likewise, Nintendo believes the Wii U's double-digit increase in sales can be attributed to Mario Kart 8 and Hyrule Warriors. Beyond the break, you'll find a full rundown of the top ten best-selling games for September 2014.

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Destiny Mythbusters tackles grenade headshots, other rumors

Image Like the earlier Titanfall Mythbusters series, the good people at DefendTheHouse have returned to test the community-generated rumors surrounding Bungie's polarizing yet addictive shooter Destiny. This episode focuses on grenade tricks and the benefits of repeatedly killing the same player over... Continue Reading

Sony: PSN currently offline, no word on when it will return [update: it's back]

In a brief statement posted to its official support page, Sony notes that the PlayStation Network is currently down.

"PSN is currently offline, and we are hard at work to resume service," the message reads. "At this time an estimate as to when PSN will be online is unavailable; however, we will update this article as soon as there's additional information." Those affected by the outage are urged to follow the @PlayStation Twitter account for updates on when service has resumed.

Anecdotally, reports we've received suggest that the PSN Store is available to some players, while connecting to an online match results in a server error. Internal testing reveals that Joystiq staffers are unable to connect to Destiny's multiplayer Crucible mode.

Update: As commenter Mule points out, Sony's Twitter suggestion isn't quite accurate. For updates on the status of PSN, follow @AskPlayStation. The @PlayStation account may let you know once the service is back up, but for now is just angry PlayStation owners complaining en masse.

Update 2: PSN is once again online.
[Image: Sony]

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