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EA snitches on Battlefield Hardline, reveals maps and modes

Following a raid by local authorities, informants at publisher EA were compelled to give up detailed information on the multiplayer maps and game modes included in the upcoming cops versus robbers shooter Battlefield Hardline.

The nine maps included in Battlefield Hardline all seem either ripped from a Michael Mann heist film or from one of the earlier, military-focused Battlefield games. Bank Job centers around an imposing financial institution that must be relieved of its cash, Hollywood Heights is populated by expansive houses likely belonging to media moguls and hip hop artists and Riptide is an ocean-front map that continues the Battlefield series' long-running fascination with gun battles set against a tidal backdrop. There's also a map called "Growhouse," but we're guessing you can figure out what happens there. A full rundown on each of the maps can be found on the game's website.

Battlefield Hardline will include seven gameplay modes, ranging from the classic to the wholly novel. Conquest is a Battlefield mainstay mode that pits teams of players (up to 64 in total) against one another in a battle to see who can control certain areas of the map. Blood Money, by contrast, is a new mode where both cops and robbers attempt to swipe money from the opposing teams' vault while gunfire rages all around. Perhaps the most intriguing new mode is Hotwire, a vehicle-focused addition in which the criminal team attempts to steal a list of cars while the cops try to stop them with extreme prejudice, leading to the sorts of high-speed gunfights pictured above. Full details on the game modes found in Battlefield Hardline can also be found on the game's website.

Battlefield Hardline is slated to launch on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC on March 17.

Fable just the first step in getting more Xbox One games on Windows

It's easy to forget the Xbox's place inside the Windows empire. The bespoke platform is hinged on games and entertainment, looming over the console world but still living in its own fiefdom under Microsoft. The Xbox 360 and Xbox One are seen as instrumental to the software giant's goals, but their reach is about a billion behind that of Windows. Microsoft wants to dismantle the barriers within itself now, unifying games, productivity and phones under the banner of Windows 10.

The Xbox One will host new universal apps – programs designed to run on both Windows devices and Xbox architecture – alongside a Windows 10 update later this year, but that's a lesser gesture compared to what Microsoft announced on Wednesday during its Windows 10 event. Even having the Xbox and its games there, on stage, represents a change in the Windows message.

Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, took that stage to announce a PC version of Fable Legends, the latest entry in developer Lionhead's long-running and lovably lighthearted fantasy role-playing series. Not only is the game coming to Windows PC players, but it's coming in a way that allows them to play and chat with Xbox One players through Xbox Live. According to Spencer, it's the first game of several first-party Xbox games coming to PC.

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Jon Snow brings lack of knowledge to Game of Thrones Episode 2

The second episode of Telltale's six-part Game of Thrones saga debuts early next month, starting February 3 for PC, Mac, PS4 and PS3. Titled "The Lost Lords," the episode is also coming to Xbox One and 360 on February 4, iOS on February 5 and Android at a later date.

The Lost Lords continues the story of House Forrester, a Westeros family who in history have aligned with the Starks - not always the wisest alignment, it has to be said. Telltale's game is interwoven with HBO's TV series, and the plot takes place between the end of the third season and the start of the fifth.

If you've played the first episode then you've already had a few chit-chats with Cersei Lannister, her brother Tyrion, Margaery Tyrell and the huggably lovely Ramsay Snow. As the teaser trailer below the break reveals, another Snow is coming to the game in Episode 2.

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Pelicans' Holiday is T-Rexing in NBA 2K15 glitch video


We're fairly certain that New Orleans Pelicans basketball player Jrue Holiday has perfectly functional arms in real life. As demonstrated by YouTube user wEEman33, it appears that NBA 2K15 disagrees. As seen in the video shared shared above, a recent glitch in the game caused Holiday's arms to seemingly retreat into his body following a server-side update to its MyTeam mode, leaving his hands to jut out from his shoulders like fish fins with opposable thumbs. To make matters worse, the shirtless Holiday was also missing part of his torso and occasionally disappeared, but none of it stopped him from sinking multiple three-point shots.

According to Operation Sports, the special armless "Sapphire" version of Holiday no longer exists, as Visual Concepts issued a patch to squash the bug yesterday. 2K Sports' basketball game is no stranger to horrifying glitches; NBA 2K15's face-scanning feature resulted in numerous monstrosities for created players. The publisher had fun with the issue, offering fans Halloween masks based on the face-scan glitch to print out and wear.
[Image: 2K Sports]

Alien: Isolation: One million sold, scared

Publisher Sega and developer Creative Assembly are indirectly responsible for one hell of a laundry bill, as it was announced today that Alien: Isolation has officially sold one million copies worldwide. Accounting for at least one million players, and factoring in regular sessions with Alien: Isolation's precision engineered terror, we're talking millions of soiled undergarments. We're not aware of any spikes in detergent sales, but it seems like a given.

We're rather fond of Alien: Isolation here at Joystiq, where the game stealthily crept into our top ten games of 2014.

Joystiq Streams: Resident Evil HD bites back plus free PS4/PC copies!

A whole lot of superstars in this game here tonight, but I want you all to know one thing: This is Resident Evil in high definition. Whose blood? Chris' blood. I said whose blood? Chris' blood! Y'all know what time it is!

While the impossible dream of a Resident Evil soundtracked entirely by classic Run DMC cuts remains elusive, the HD remaster of Capcom's Gamecube classic is a sweet, sweet reality this week. After 13 years restricted to Nintendo's SD consoles, the hardest, prettiest version of the survival horror game is finally playable on more modern machines. How does it stack up? Do the new controls make it too easy? Is this indeed Chris' blood and will we ever discover the ingredients in a Jill sandwich? Join us and find out.

We're streaming Resident Evil on PC starting at 4:00PM EST on Joystiq.com/Twitch. This will be a New Game+ run so some fresh costumes will be on display as well. Plus: we're giving away a few copies of the game on PC and PS4. Join us!

Joystiq.com/Twitch broadcasts every Tuesday and Thursday at 4:00PM EST. It's Wednesday, you say? That's right! We stream all the time at random times so follow us on Twitch to never miss a show.

Lawsuit alleges EA infringed on sports stadium update patent

White Knuckle IP filed a lawsuit late last week against EA, alleging that the publisher infringed on a patent that focuses on methods for updating sports games based on real-life changes. The suit referred to U.S. Pat. No. 8,529,350, which described methods that record real-world parameters, then store those elements on a server so players can download them to update their games. The patent dates back to October 2002.

While the patent is related to another one that deals with updating an athlete's statistics and skills based on real-life performance, the lawsuit focuses on changes to the appearance and attributes of stadiums and venues. The lawsuit specifically targets games in EA Sports' NCAA Football and Tiger Woods PGA Tour series, from NCAA Football 10 and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 10 through the last respective entries, NCAA Football 14 and Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14. According to Patent Arcade, White Knuckle "did not identify any specific feature in its complaint."
[Image: EA Sports]

Exo Zombies invade Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare trailer


The latest trailer for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare shows off the game's upcoming downloadable content, Exo Zombies. Arriving as part of the first content pack, Havoc, Exo Zombies features the voice acting talents of John Malkovich, Bill Paxton, Rose McGowan and Jon Bernthal. The Havoc DLC pack will launch on January 27 for Xbox One and Xbox 360. Havoc also includes four multiplayer maps, the AE4 assault rifle and Widowmaker custom variant.

While the Havoc DLC can be purchased separately for $15, season pass holders will receive the pack at no additional charge. Advanced Warfare's $50 season pass grants access to three other pieces of downloadable content: Ascendance, Supremacy and Reckoning. Activision struck a deal with Microsoft to bring Advanced Warfare DLC to the Xbox platforms before it arrives on other systems, so the publisher has yet to offer a release date for Havoc on PS4, PS3 or PC.

Evo 2015 line-up announced, double helping of Smash

Super Smash Bros Wii U and Melee are two of the nine games already confirmed for this year's Evolution Championship Series. As revealed during last night's Twitch stream, the line-up for Las Vegas this July also includes returning games Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Ultra Street Fighter 4 and Killer Instinct, The remaining four games are new for this year, and they are Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, Guilty Gear Xrd Sign, Mortal Kombat X and Tekken 7.

Recent years have seen more games added closer to the event, though a roster of nine is already on the high end for an EVO championship. Whatever the full line-up proves to be, it's coming to the Bally's/Paris Las Vegas Casino, where the world's fighting game specialists will duke it out across July 17-19.

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Ori and the Blind Forest lights up Xbox One & PC this March

Ori and the Blind Forest is set to mix beauty with beastly platforming when it hits Xbox One and PC on March 11. Moon Studios' side-scroller is priced $20 on both platforms.

Ori caught the eye last year with its picturesque look, comparable to the UbiArt engine as seen in the watercolor-like Child of Light. What also caught Richard Mitchell's eye in our preview was the speedy, precise platforming.

According to the developer, Ori's agile, fluid movement was inspired by Super Meat Boy - when we say fluid, we don't mean the red kind. Ori is a less gruesome, more spiritual affair then Team Meat's offering, but its air-dash combos and wall-to-wall platforming tricks look like they require some dexterity.

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Screamride: For those who dream of disaster

It's only fair to start this with an apology to Screamride, which joins us just as every second game gets to be called a 'roller coaster ride,' usually because it has a car chase, some explosions, and at least one scene of the protagonist going NO NO NO N- [explosion cuts off the rest, but an additional NO is strongly implied].

Screamride, in contrast, is actually about roller coasters: riding them; building tightly coiled tracks for them; destroying them in fiery catastrophe. It's so in love with pleasing disaster that it's likely to be wrongly categorized as 'cinematic action game.'

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Who The Hell Is: Johnny Gat

The following feature contains spoilers for the existing Saints Row franchise.

On Tuesday, gamers will be able to go to Hell – literally – and fight off both Satan himself and hordes of undead in the Saints Row 4 standalone expansion, Saints Row: Gat Out of Hell. Previous Saints Row games have allowed players to customize an avatar which, over the course of the series, rises from lowly street thug to President of the United States and even intergalactic badass supreme. Gat Out of Hell though, does not.

In Gat Out of Hell, players will be stepping into the shoes of either Kinzie Kensington or Johnny Gat. If you've never played the previous games and don't have either the time or inclination to power through them before the standalone expansion's January 20 release date, you might be asking yourself: who the hell is Johnny Gat?

Friends, we are here to help.

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Saints Row: Gat out of Hell review: Shout at the Devil

Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Xbox One, PS4

If your best friend, a person who has saved your life countless times (often in super-cool, action movie fashion), was sucked into hell, would you go after them? Of course not, that's ludicrous. That poor schmuck is on their own. But you're not Johnny Gat, resident murder-happy antihero of the Third Street Saints. When Johnny's best pal is pulled into the netherworld, he jumps in after him, guns blazing. Through bat-winged demons, flaming monster trucks and historically questionable playwrights, Johnny will do whatever he can to save his friend, especially if it involves punching Satan in the face.

With that succinct intro, Saints Row: Gat out of Hell drops players into a netherworld that's equal parts Hieronymous Bosch, Megadeth album covers and the 1989 Beetlejuice cartoon series. Concrete roads crack and spiral around pits of molten lava while glowing obelisks hover ominously above crowds of shambling, doomed souls huddled within a twisted mockery of a human metropolis. It's gorgeous, in a grim sort of way, and is pocked with all kinds of neat diversions and fun excuses for Johnny to test his new demonic superpowers. Saints Row: Gat out of Hell is developer Volition's most successful attempt at proving that a license is not required for a great, open-world superhero game, though a too short run time, a few technical flaws and some odd design choices keep it from eclipsing Saints Row 4.

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GTA 5 continues to hold off FIFA & CoD in this week's UK charts

And now for something completely similar: Right now you'd need a microscope to find the week-to-week changes in the UK charts. Nonetheless, it's interesting to see Grand Theft Auto 5 stay ahead of traditional front-runners FIFA and Call of Duty, especially since Rockstar's game is a re-release on current-gen. At this new release-less time of year, we'd normally be talking about a 28th consecutive No. 1 for FIFA [Insert Year Here].

The current top three are the same trio that sold the most in the UK last year, though FIFA 15 won out overall in 2014. Moreover, seven of this week's top ten are in the 2014 top ten, and most of those hit store shelves in the second half of the year.

Right, stop that UK charts analysis! It's silly. This week's full top ten can be found below the break, along with the customary music video that's a bit suspect.

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Dragon Age: Inquisition stats record more than 2 million flying lizards slain

The official Dragon Age: Inquisition Twitter account has some interesting statistics for all the Heralds of Andraste out there. According to tweets made earlier this week, more than 2.6 million dragons have been slain by players of Inquisition.

The unfortunate Ferelden Frostback was the most-killed of her species, while the Highland Ravager has been the most successful at evading death. Fifty-eight percent of all dragons were killed in the land of Orlais, so any of our readers who happen to be fire-breathing monsters, take note: this is not a land you want to be traveling to right now.

As for who's doing the slaying, the overall majority - 68 percent - of Inquisitors have been male, while 32 percent have been female. While the percentage of female heroes may seem small, it's actually a big step up from BioWare's Mass Effect series; back in 2011, the developer revealed that fewer than 15 percent of players used a female version of Commander Shepard between Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2.

But really, it doesn't matter if you're male, female, Qunari, Dwarf, etc. What matters is that we find the dragon that sounds like Sean Connery and -- oh, wrong thing? Wrong thing.
[Image: EA]

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