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NBA 2K15 scans your face, thinks you're beautiful

NBA 2K15 will feature the ability for players to scan their faces into the game and onto the bodies of digital athletes. 2K Sports revealed the feature in a tutorial video, which instructs prospective virtual basketballers to hold the PlayStation Camera six to 12 inches away from their faces. After slowly turning their head both ways, players will find their mapped mugs in the game, at which point they can fine-tune their features. Created players can then be used in MyCareer mode, where they will likely get dunked on by cover star Kevin Durant.

While the tutorial mentioned the PlayStation Camera by name, 2K says the feature uses "first-party camera hardware." The publisher also doesn't specify whether the feature is locked to a given console, indicating that Xbox One players can use the Kinect to scan their faces as well. NBA 2K15 will launch October 7 for PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360 and PC.

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Destiny's plot condensed to Dinklebot size

Image A brief and accurate retelling of Destiny's story. Take that information in whatever spirit you wish to interpret it.... Continue Reading

Alien: Isolation Season Pass is for Survivor Mode DLC

Alien: Isolation's Survivor Mode is simple and scary: survive against the clock and the alien, with limited resources on each map. The first Survivor Mode map, Basement, is included with the game when it launches on October 7. Alien: Isolation is getting a Season Pass for all five of its Survivor Mode map packs, the first of which launches on October 28. Each Survivor Mode pack includes three maps.

The first map pack has its "own set objective and challenges, a new playable character and a variety of enemy types between you and your escape," Sega writes in a press release. "Over the following months, four more add-on packs will release, each featuring a new playable character, and a mix of new maps and game modes to challenge even the most proficient player."

All of the Survivor Mode maps are due to be out by March 2015, Sega says. There's no word on a price for the individual packs or the Season Pass, but the pass gives players a discount of "up to" 25 percent.

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CastleStorm: Definitive Edition catapults to Xbox One, PS4 next week

If you missed out on CastleStorm's multiplatform launch last year, you'll have the chance to catch up next week with an expanded edition premiering for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, developer Zen Studios announced today.

CastleStorm: Definitive Edition bolsters its physics-driven tower defense gameplay with a visually updated 1080p presentation and a collection of new gameplay modes and features not found in the original release. The package also includes the "From Outcast to Savior" and "Warrior Queen" expansions, both previously released as DLC for the PlayStation 3 and other platforms.

CastleStorm: Definitive Edition will be available for $9.99 when it hits the PlayStation 4 on September 23 and the Xbox One on September 24.

[Image: Zen Studios]

Destiny sales reach $325 million worldwide

Activision has pegged sales of Destiny at $325 million worldwide in its first five days, which follows last week's announcement that the MMO-shooter dungeon crawler shipped over $500 million into retail. We don't have time to explain how Activision has time to explain where it got those numbers.

"Destiny is a platform that will grow and evolve and we will continue to work closely with our partners at Bungie to bring a long line of new experiences and content to life in the game," said Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg. The company spoke to Joystiq yesterday about changes coming to the game, saying it has already "more than doubled" the number of public events players will encounter.

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The Evil Within not without TGS trailer


The Evil Within, from Resident Evil maestro Shinji Mikami, is heading to this week's Tokyo Game Show with a new gameplay trailer. The game already features a cast who know grisly, but the game's environments don't seem to be holding back either.

There's plenty of gore, blood and terror to go around in this trailer, but the room with spinning blades is a nightmare room. No wait, the one with the stamping spikes is a nightmare room. Wait, the barbed wire fishtank of drowning is. It's all a nightmare room!

Destiny's Vault of Glass already cleared

The Primeguard clan of Destiny guardians were the first to break through the Vault of Glass, some 11 hours after the raid launched yesterday. The six-person team posted proof of their exploits on Twitter, and soon after Bungie acknowledged them as first to finish the mission, while coyly suggesting they now do it on the harder difficulty.

Bungie posted Primeguard's Vault of Glass stats, and they show the marathon mission was tough going for the team. As DestinyDB elaborates, the sextet of three Titans, two Hunters and a Warlock, all across level 26 to 28, died a staggering 1,606 times in total with a combined kill-death ratio of 3.59. The team's average lifespan? Just 2 minutes and 22 seconds.

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Battleborn and the rise of the friendly shooter

"We are absolutely, deliberately targeting the idea that we want a game that people can just pick up and play," says John Mulkey, design director on Gearbox's new shooter, Battleborn (PS4, Xbox One, PC). His team's latest design, which favors collaboration, community input and a heavy focus on testing and tuning, couldn't be more different from the cult classic he built levels for – years ago.

Just how much community input and playtesting went into No One Lives Forever anyway, I ask Mulkey. "Oh, god," he says, briefly thrust back into a previous life. "None."

Propelled chiefly by the strength of its clever vision, a game like No One Lives Forever seems to be an outlier now. It was a game made without a steady stream of analytics, feedback and pushback, though meant to be consumed more succinctly, and for what was then a much smaller audience. "A game like this, we hope, it's not just this game that hits and fades away," says Scott Kester, the man in charge of Battleborn's look. "We want this to go. We want to keep making it."

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Report: Final Fantasy 15 demo in 2015, Type-0 HD release date

Players can sample Final Fantasy 15 next year through a downloadable demo, according to a now removed Game Informer post. The report claimed the demo is titled Episode Duscae - a name Square Enix trademarked earlier this year - and it features some opening sections from the PS4 and Xbox One game. Square Enix hasn't as yet announced a Final Fantasy 15 demo, and we've reached out to the publisher for clarification. The JRPG wasn't included in Square Enix's announced Tokyo Game Show line-up, but today's report will fuel speculation that'll it'll nonetheless appear in some form at the Japanese expo this week.

Game Informer also reported a March 17 release date in North America for Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, the PS4 and Xbox One port of the 2011 PSP game released only in Japan. The post said the game includes a voucher for the Final Fantasy 15 demo, adding, "A representative from Square Enix could not confirm that the demo will be available the exact same day as Type-0 HD, but it will be coming to both PS4 and Xbox One when it does release."

We'll update this story as we learn more.

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Mortal Kombat X controllers from PDP are lopsided, not final

Gaming accessory manufacturer PDP is working on new gamepads designed specifically for Mortal Kombat X, and the company showed off designs for Xbox One and PS4 at GameStop Expo last week. Iron Galaxy Community Manager Alex Jebailey snapped some photos of the gamepads and posted them on Instagram.

The controllers displayed at the conference featured six big buttons on the stumpy right side of the gamepad – A, B, X, Y, LB and RB for Xbox One – and a directional stick on the left side. It's not an analog stick, PDP told IGN. "The stick that you see is actually a series of micro-switches as well (just like the buttons), not an analog stick. It helps to bring the player closer to the classic arcade feel."

PDP clarified that the gamepads shown at GameStop Expo were not final products. "The Mortal Kombat X controller that we showed at the GameStop Expo is still in development, so platforms have not been finalized," PDP said. "We like to work with the manufacturers to get a licensed product when possible. The controllers are designed along the lines of our VS Fight Pads which came out for the Xbox 360 and PS3 a few years back."

Mortal Kombat X is due out on April 14, 2015, for PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC.
[Image: PDP]

Metareview: Destiny

Our review of Destiny said we're in it to "slay monsters, level up and collect loot." It's an interplanetary dungeon crawler. Go into the experience with that expectation, along with some friends, you'll do just fine.

But, overall, Destiny reviews have skewed toward the lower end of the acceptable game spectrum. The game has been dinged for a lack of content, a lack of story and a lack of refinement. Destiny seems to suffer from "The Lack," which is actually a perfectly acceptable name for a new Destiny villain race.

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Bungie doubles Destiny public events, plans to add requested features

Bungie told Joystiq today that it will roll out a number of post-launch improvements for its multiplayer online shooter Destiny, and notes that it has already "more than doubled" the number of public events players will encounter throughout its world.

"Bungie is hard at work behind the scenes, updating Destiny to make it better," Bungie community manager David Dague said. "We've rolled out numerous patches, tuning updates, and server adjustments. For instance, the frequency of public events has more than doubled."

Dague added: "We'll keep working to ensure our server performance remains stable for our already sizeable community, which has shattered previous records for any Bungie game to date. In an effort to keep our community up-to-date on these changes, patch notes will continue to appear on Bungie.net. The team is committed to a steady stream of post launch support, including the addition of some much requested features."

Joystiq's staff noted a distinct lack of Destiny public events during our post-launch roundtable session, and Bungie's quick response indicates that it is listening closely to player feedback. Destiny's online features maintained a consistent performance during its launch week, and Joystiq's Richard Mitchell praised the game's "well-oiled shooting mechanics" in his review posted today.

[Image: Bungie]

Destiny State of Service: Week One

This is State of Service, an ongoing review of the online service of a recently launched game. You can read our scored review of Destiny here.

Tuesday, September 16 | T-minus 23 days until final verdict
Current State of Service:
Good
Summary: Destiny's launch week has been generally smooth, with a few outlying issues. The game has been updated and new content added.

Launch week has come and gone, and Destiny's servers seem to be handling things well. Bungie has issued an update to the game and added the first "Raid" mission, the Vault of Glass, which is intended for (very) high level players. Over the weekend, players could also jump into a special, limited-time Crucible mode called Salvage. Bungie has announced several other events that will take place over the next few months.

The Joystiq staff hasn't encountered any persistent connection issues thus far. Reviews Content Director Richard Mitchell did lose connection during a Strike mission, though his equipment and experience progression were not lost. He also notes that the update immediately booted him to the title screen – his ship had been in orbit at the time – and prompted him to install the file. Other players have made similar reports, saying that the update notice even kicked them out of missions in progress.

Finally, Joystiq's review of Destiny is now live. You can read it right here.

If you encounter any connection problems while playing Destiny, let us know in the comments, or on the Joystiq Twitter or Facebook accounts. Use the hashtag "#sos" and specify your platform, please.

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FIFA 15 removing trade offers from Ultimate Team mode

Electronic Arts announced that it has disabled a key feature in FIFA 15's Ultimate Team mode in an attempt to crack down on the harmful trade of in-game currency.

In recent FIFA series games, players could exchange in-game items, coins, and players with friends using the Trade Offers feature. Finding that coin sellers often used the service to shuttle ill-gotten currency between accounts, EA removed the feature from this year's game. The coin-selling market is tied to account hacking and phishing, and functions in previous FIFA games could be exploited to cheat players out of cash by artificially inflating auction bids.

EA's Ultimate Team revisions supplement recent changes to its cheating policy, which gives coin buyers three strikes before they're permanently booted from FIFA online play. Sellers are dealt harsher penalties, and risk being banned from all EA-published games for coin selling and farming.

[Image: Electronic Arts]

Halo: Reach free, Valiant Hearts discounted for Xbox Gold members

Welcome to the back half of September, which means Xbox Live Gold members can now grab Halo: Reach gratis from the service. Regularly priced at $25, the Halo prequel covers the events of the planet Reach's evacuation before it was overwhelmed by The Covenant. It's not an uplifting tale.

Following that heavy theme, the emotional Valiant Hearts is also discounted for the week on Xbox One and Xbox 360 for gold members.

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