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Touhou Project games coming to PlayStation 4, PS Vita

The Touhou Project will make its console and portable debut in Japan starting next year with the launch of a series of officially licensed, fan-made games for the PlayStation 4 and PS Vita, series creator ZUN revealed this week (via Siliconera).

Named as the "most prolific fan-made shooter series" by Guinness World Records, the Touhou Project is a long-running, single-developer franchise helmed by its pseudonymous creator ZUN. Initially a hobbyist project, Touhou evolved to encompass a multitude of commercially produced spinoff games and media works from indie creators worldwide. Previous Touhou games include the acclaimed freeware PC bullet-hell shooters Imperishable Night and Perfect Cherry Blossom.

Upcoming Touhou releases for PlayStation platforms include the roguelike Mystery Gensokyo and RPG Genius of Sappheiros for the PS Vita. The PlayStation 4 will host Touhou's bullet hell shooter Gensou no Rondo. An additional game, Touhou Sky Arena Matsuri, is also in development for an unnamed platform.

Release dates for the announced games are not yet known. A series of Touhou PlayStation Vita system themes will premiere throughout next year in Japan, priced at 432 yen each.

[Image: Touhou Project)

Console Madness: Free Smash Bros 3DS XL, the rarest PS4 game, and much more


So Joystiq's given away a couple of limited edition Xbox Ones, a limited edition PlayStation 4, a crazy edition of Destiny, and a whole mess of random swag. You think we're done? We're not done. Prepare for more! In the lead-up to Christmas, Joystiq is giving away a limited edition Super Smash Bros. Nintendo 3DS XL. Snazzy art plus a copy of the game pre-installed!

That's not all we're giving away, though. There's also a copy of Retro City Rampage for PlayStation 4. Recently released as a physical edition, it's the rarest PS4 game out there and already fetching serious prices on eBay. Finally, we've got an enormous box of mystery swag. What's in the box? You'll have to be one of our three winners to find out.

Here's how to get the goods: Just use the Rafflecopter widget below between December 19 and December 26. Winners will be selected at random and contacted via email. Full rules and details after the break.

Free Smash Bros 3DS XL, the rarest PS4 game, and much more giveaway
[Images: Nintendo]

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I only play Hotline Miami 2 on vinyl

There's this game coming out called Hotline Miami 2. You probably haven't heard of it. Anyway, I found out you can get this sweet collector's edition with the soundtrack on vinyl. It's, like, sixty bucks and comes with three discs – all of them 180 gram, colored vinyl, of course – and it features 28 different tracks from the game. You also get a Steam download code for the game, printed on a special "phone card," which is, like, what old people used before smartphones or something.

You probably haven't pre-ordered it yet. I mean, I heard about it months ago, but it's cool if you like it now, or whatever.
[image: Devolver Digital]

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Joystiq Discussion: Do you pre-order games?

Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Assassin's Creed: Unity. Driveclub. What do these games share? All of them hit consoles this fall in semi-functional states. Halo's matchmaking is still busted, Assassin's Creed is still working to iron out kinks, and Driveclub's many social features, the very things that distinguish it from other driving games, took weeks to properly work at all. As Joystiq's Richard Mitchell put it in his recent editorial, we're paying for broken games.

One reason that the big budget gaming industry is able to sell incomplete products as part of its business model is the pre-order ecosystem. The "insidious psychology" of wanting the latest thing first, as Richard puts it, is taken advantage of by the publishers producing the most expensive games in the world and people end up buying broken goods as a result. A solution to the problem: Stop pre-ordering.

Problem is, sometimes pre-ordering games is the only way to reliably get your hands on them. Limited run items like the retail PS4 version of Retro City Rampage sold out before the game was released. Obviously an international release like Assassin's Creed: Unity isn't going to suffer from the same shortage issues, but some physical releases by larger publishers are rare all the same, particularly limited editions.

The question: Do you pre-order games? Do you do it regularly or only in special circumstances? Take the poll and discuss in the comments.
[Images: Ubisoft]

Sony: PS4 demand is challenging European supply

The PlayStation 4 is in high demand for the second holiday season in a row, according to Sony Computer Entertainment Europe CEO Andrew House. Without offering specific sales numbers, House told Reuters that the console is potentially "going to be quite inventory challenged." Shipments for the PS4 reached 13.5 million consoles as of the end of October.

"I'm not going to say you won't be able to find a PlayStation 4," House added. "I think it's going to be kind of hand to mouth in terms of that market." The CEO noted that sales for the system in December were in line with Sony's projections, though it was a "tougher" month thanks to the $50 holiday price cut by its main competitor in the United States, Microsoft's Xbox One. While its gaming division is thriving, Sony upped its loss forecast to $2 billion in September due to struggling smartphone sales and opted to not renew its FIFA sponsorship at the beginning of this month to spend more money on structural reforms.
[Image: Sony]

Lords of the Fallen on mobiles is 'brand new,' not a port

The Lords of the Fallen game coming to iOS and Android isn't a port of this year's console and PC game. In a statement provided to Joystiq, CI Games CEO Marek Tyminski confirmed the mobile game is instead a "brand new" experience. Tyminski also said the Lords of the Fallen sequel announced earlier this week is in development for PS4, Xbox One and PC.

Tyminski's statement in full reads:
"I can confirm that the statements made recently to the local Polish media at a press conference earlier this week in Warsaw, and mentioned on Facebook by Executive Producer Tomasz Gop, are true: a Lords of the Fallen sequel is currently in development for PC, PS4 and Xbox One. The reaction from fans to the news has been tremendous so far, and we're eager to take on the challenge of improving upon the solid experience that has been created with Lords of The Fallen.

"I'd also like to offer some new information - we're currently working on a mobile game that takes place in the Lords of the Fallen universe, which we're aiming to launch on iOS and Android in 2015. It will not be a straight port of the game though, but rather a brand new Lords of the Fallen experience. More details on that are still to come."

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Far Cry 4 plans a prison break for January 13

Far Cry 4's "Escape from Durgesh Prison" DLC will be available to download on January 13, Ubisoft announced today. The DLC will have players racing across Kyrat to finish challenges and recover lost weapons, upgrading their gear and skills along the way. Escape from Durgesh Prison will be playable in both single player and cooperative multiplayer modes, but should they die in the DLC, players will have to start the mission over from the beginning.

Escape from Durgesh Prison was revealed as part of Far Cry 4's season pass in October, which gives buyers access to multiple add-on missions including the season pass-exclusive DLC, The Syringe. Those without the $30 season pass can still pick up Escape from Durgesh Prison separately for $10. Far Cry 4 launched in November and received praise for its "interesting and absorbing" world in our review.

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Assassin's Creed Unity free game offer now active for Season Pass buyers

Ubisoft is giving away free games to Assassin's Creed Unity players who purchased a Season Pass before November 25, fulfilling an offer made in response to widespread bug reports following Unity's November launch.

Eligible players can head to this site to submit a claim. Ubisoft is offering affected players their choice of one of several featured free games, including Far Cry 4, The Crew, Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, Watch Dogs, Rayman Legends, and Just Dance 2015.

All Assassin's Creed Unity players will receive the upcoming Dead Kings DLC expansion free of charge once it launches next year. Season Pass buyers have until March 15, 2015, to redeem their free game codes.

[Image: Ubisoft)

Joystiq Streams: See my KOR-FX vest, best for making games feel weird


See my vest/see my vest/as we strap a KOR-FX Acousto-Haptic Video Gaming Vest to our chest/Feel this peripheral/it ain't medicinal/it just makes games less ephemeral/Oh please, won't you see my vest!

Ahem.

Today on Joystiq Streams, something different! Richard Mitchell (@TheRichardM) received a KOR-FX Acousto-Haptic Video Gaming Vest in the mail. Like having a sub-woofer strapped to your torso, the vest is intended to simulate the physicality of your character in a video game. This can range from the whimsical (feel the impact of landing a crazy jump in Sunset Overdrive) to the deeply macabre (feel yourself get shot in Call of Duty. Yeesh).

Starting at 4:00PM EST on Joystiq.com/Twitch, Richard is going to play a variety of PlayStation 4 games using the vest. What happens when you're caught in Alien: Isolation? How about when you interrogate an Uruk in Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor? We'll find out live.

Joystiq.com/Twitch broadcasts every Tuesday and Thursday at 4:00PM EST like clockwork, but if you want to catch every stream we do, vest or non-vest related, make sure to follow us on Twitch.
[Images: 20th Century Fox/KOR-FX]

Swifter, Not Safer: Bloodborne trades Dark Souls' creep for speed

Bloodborne bummed me right out when it was announced back in June. Gothic action RPG from From Software, Japan's premiere purveyors of supremely weird, deeply punishing action games? Should be awesome. Unlike many of the converted, though, I've never cottoned to the Dark Souls games that Bloodborne is a spiritual successor to.

Dark Souls' ethos is one I deeply respect. A game that thrusts you into a mysterious place that reveals its history through strange visuals, vicious combat, and patient explorations, the spirit of the series is deeply appealing. Feeling how that game plays, though, was an enormous turn off. The awkward, chunky pace of blocking, slowly attacking, meticulously dodging, then dying repeatedly only to try again just rubbed me wrong.

Bloodborne's promise of improved access to the series seemed like a pyrrhic victory. The emphasis on fast action rather than patient blocking and enemy study seemed great, but wouldn't that dilute the series' stern soul? Apparently not. Bloodborne is a much swifter game than Dark Souls, but it's no less dangerous. Death is still waiting behind the corners of From Software's latest dank world, but how you move around that doom is potentially more inviting to the unconverted that never quite got Dark Souls.

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GTA 5 'Festive Surprise' brings Christmas fear to Los Santas

As the snow drifted quietly this wintry morn, Rockstar Games offered a new "Festive Surprise" update for Grand Theft Auto 5. Players will now be able to use proximity mines and a homing missile launcher in the game, which will feature occasional snowy days. The update also adds holiday pajamas, Christmas sweaters, hats, scarves, masks and other festive gear for free, available through Monday, January 5. GTA 5's Festive Surprise update also features special gifts on Christmas Day (December 25) and a firework launcher and firework rocket ammo to celebrate New Year's. Lastly, players can pick up four new vehicles, such as the Hot Rod Christmas Ratloader and the Slam Van.

The open world game's update also tweaked a few of the game's mechanics, adding an on/off switch for the first-person mode's auto-level setting as well as deadzone and acceleration slider controls. Better yet, players are now able to own a third property in GTA Online, allowing them to own up to 30 cars and 9 bicycles. While the Festive Surprise update is available to all players, a recent developer Q&A addressed concerns over next-gen-exclusive updates, such as first-person mode. Rockstar stressed that "there may be some updates that are only technically possible on the new hardware," though it does "hope to continue delivering as many updates as we can for all four consoles for as long as possible." GTA Online's heist missions will be available for all players in early 2015.

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Evolve's Wraith monster steals the show

Fear is meant to follow in the wake of most monsters, but I've never found Evolve to be scary. It's a hunting game that puts you on edge, though leaning forward – as if to stick your head through the foliage just to glimpse the cloaked creature – is an act of determination, not angst. When you're a glorified exterminator with a big gun, joined by three others playing to win, you get camaraderie, strategy and failure divided equally. The monster (and the fifth player) is nothing to be scared of.

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Evolve tests creature features in open beta on Jan. 15

Evolve is doing another round of online testing to ensure a roaring launch in February, with 2K Games announcing an open beta to run January 15-19. The beta will test Evolve's giant goals on Xbox One with a curtailed selection of monsters – the "Goliath" and "Kraken" – along with 8 hunters and 12 different maps. (And as with all monster products, there's a premium: you must be an Xbox Live Gold subscriber to gain access.)

Ferocious opposition and considered team play are both valued in Evolve, which pits one beastly player against 4 human-controlled hunters on a wild planet. Though the game hinges on the different permutations of Muldoons and monsters, it does have a campaign variant (playable offline and solo in the full game) called "Evacuation," which will enter the Xbox One beta test on January 17th. "Evacuation" offers a skeleton of a story, with sequential mission outcomes affecting the conditions of the next until the planet of Shear is evacuated. If you win consecutive rounds as the monster, for instance, few people escape and the hunters get thrashed. Unlocks in the Xbox One beta will carry over to the final game.

2K Games says "closed technical tests" for Evolve will also be conducted on other platforms, though not to the extent of the Xbox One beta (so, no "Evacuation" there). PC players can encroach upon the poaching as of January 16, provided they have invites to the "Big Alpha," or have Left 4 Dead or BioShock Infinite in their Steam libraries. PlayStation 4 owners, meanwhile, can start on January 17th with a Big Alpha invite and PS Plus subscription in hand.

Lords of the Fallen 'will be released' on iOS, Android [update]

Action-RPG Lords of the Fallen is bringing its dark, fantastical challenges to iOS and Android next year, CI Games announced. The publisher's wording in a tweet published last night would seem to indicate a port of the PS4, Xbox One and PC game, though that's not stated explicitly. We've reached out to CI Games for clarification.

The news arrives hot on the heels of confirmation that a Lords of the Fallen sequel is in the early stages of development. Executive Producer Tomasz Gop revealed conceptual work on what he dubbed "Lords of the Fallen 2" has already begun.

Update: CI Games says the Lords of the Fallen mobile game isn't a port of this years' console and PC action-RPG. More details here.

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'Lords of the Fallen 2' in early stages of development

It looks like Bandai Namco's other brutally punishing action RPG, Lords of the Fallen, is getting a sequel. The news comes by way of developer CI Games executive producer Tomasz Gop, who confirmed on Facebook (and also to Eurogamer) that development on the sequel's "vision and concepts" has begun. Gop refers to the game simply as "Lords of the Fallen 2," though we fully expect a grim subtitle to be tacked on at some point. Lords of the Fallen 2: Dim Spirits, perhaps.

Our own review of Lords of the Fallen praised the game's departures from the Dark Souls series, with which it shares a great deal, but ultimately found that "there comes a point at which it has no more tricks up its sleeve."
[Image: Bandai Namco]

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