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Bethesda under fire from barbed wire industry, reports The Onion

Image The Evil Within publisher Bethesda Softworks is under fire from the barbed wire lobby for its portrayal of the industry's spiked resource, The Onion has learned. Remember: The Onion. [Image: Bethesda]... Continue Reading

Tackle 'Son of the Crawmerax' in final Borderlands 2 DLC

Developer Gearbox Software has released its final piece of Borderlands 2 DLC. Headhunter 5: Sir Hammerlock Versus the Son of the Crawmerax is available now via Steam, PlayStation Network and the Xbox Live Marketplace for $2.99.

The content sends players to Wam Bam Island to partake in the largest Headhunter DLC mission released, according to a 2K blog post. "At the end of your adventure, you will battle a foe that may look familiar – Crawmerax Jr., the son of the great crab worm from The Secret Armory of General Knoxx add-on from the original Borderlands."

The content now shelves the Borderlands sequel, giving developer Gearbox ample time to focus its efforts on the next installment of the game: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.

Successfully completing the Headhunter 5: Sir Hammerlock Versus the Son of the Crawmerax DLC (boy, that's a mouthful) will allow players to wear a shrunken version of the final enemy's head like a hat. If swanky travel duds are more of an incentive, each character will net a beach-themed skin as part of the content. Taking on Handsome Jack in an "Aloha shirt"? Say no more.
[Image: Gearbox]

Fable Anniversary lead designer exits Lionhead

Fable Anniversary lead designer Ted Timmins has announced his departure from Lionhead Studios. In a multi-tweet explanation of his exit, Timmins said the Microsoft-owned company has been "such an integral part" of his life. Citing that his time at Lionhead made up more than one third of his life, "it's a good time for change."

Timmins' first project with Lionhead was the original Xbox action-role playing game Fable in 2004. Microsoft purchased the studio in 2006. Timmins thanked former Lionhead boss Peter Molyneux for establishing the company that would "give a spotty 18-year-old with no talent or qualifications a chance."

"There's also something quite special that Fable 1 was the first game I was a part of, and Fable Anniversary is my last," Timmins wrote.
[Image: Lionhead]

UK chain GAME to close dedicated Xbox store

GAME and Microsoft deemed the UK retailer's Xbox store a success, after confirming to MCV the London outlet closes its doors later this month. As MCV notes, the store opened in June 2013 on a short-term lease and with a focus of boosting Xbox One sales at launch.

"The short-term contract location for the dedicated Xbox store has given us real insight into what consumers expect from the next generation of retail," said GAME Stores Director Dave Howard told MCV. "We have implemented Xbox sections in all of our stores - we have taken all the best of the Xbox store into over 320 GAME stores around the UK. Customers really showed an appetite for hands-on experience, interactive displays and a way to digitally access Xbox Live content. We will continue to innovate our stores with Microsoft."

Pop-up stores for launches are nothing new in London: Ubisoft trotted one out for a game a few years ago, Q Entertainment's Child of Eden. While that game was arguably good enough to warrant its own store, it really could've done with 100 more.
[Image: GAME]

Games so bad they're good: Far Cry 2

I was invited to be on the "Games So Bad They're Good" panel at PAX East, but a scheduling conflict prevented me from taking part. Fortunately, my Editor in Chief, Ludwig Kietzmann, was ready and willing to take my place. His selection, Far Cry 2, took more than a few people by surprise - the reaction on Twitter went something like "Are you crazy? Far Cry 2 is awesommmmeeeeee!" His reasoning was ... unusual, to say the least, so we're reprinting his argument. These are the notes he used for his presentation, exactly as he used them, thus the atypical format.

For the record, my choice was going to be Phantasy Star Online. I think Luddy won this one.
--Susan

I tried to be considerate about this, and cognizant of why bad qualities can lead to pleasure.

The thing about bad movies like Plan 9 is that you're looking at an event so awkward and terrible for the people involved that you want to instinctually stop them and protect them, but you can't because it's already committed to film.

It's too late to stop the tragedy, so now you are allowed to enjoy it.

In a game, if your actions don't align with your expectations or what the game is about, it's frustrating.

Most games are good despite their bad qualities, like story and controls, and not because of them.

At first I thought: Okay, what about games that give the player all the power and then back away?

Is that bad game design? Is God of War so bad, because they let you rip out a monster's medulla oblongata and then bash their head in with it and then you're like, "This violence is a bit mindless isn't it?"

Or, what about games that overcomplicate and abstract simple, physical actions, like QWOP, Surgeon Simulator and Octodad?

Then I had an epiphany, I yelled, "Eureka! "and someone said, "Shh, this is a library, keep your revelations to yourself."

I'm going with Far Cry 2, and here's why.

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Trials Fusion review: Lean to live


We've all had our secret victories in the war against wobble: freely standing in the shower on one foot while washing the other, or rejecting the easy-mode handrails of a jostling train. Trials Fusion is about those quick, instinctual corrections you make – or fail to make – when there's a bump in the road.

Balance is divine in Trials Fusion, and mastering it makes you a god on a motorcycle. But that's jumping ahead to the conclusion of the journey; this story of a tenacious man driving with abandon over hills and valleys, trying not to fall his little face off.

There's a lot to think about as you constantly fiddle with your speed and your driver's posture in a world of steep angles and dangerous pits, and yet it feels thoughtless in the moment. You just know it in your gut: You need to lean forward to keep the bike on this incline. Almost there, almost - oh that's too much acceleration, you're lifting up front. You can get out of this, you can bring it back, just wiggle a bit and – nope. You've gone and done the banana peel again. Now your bike is upside down and crushing your bones.

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CoD: Ghosts DLC adds Snoop Dogg voice pack and other, less awesome, stuff



Infinity Ward is launching DLC for Call of Duty: Ghosts on Xbox platforms that will add narration to multiplayer matches by the one and only Snoop Dogg. As you terrorize the battlefield, Snoop becomes your own personal hype man, which sounds like just about the most amazing thing in the world. Want something a little gruffer? A voice pack featuring Full Metal Jacket drill instructor R. Lee Ermey is also in the works. Each DLC pack is priced at $2.99.

IW is launching a number of new customization DLC packs for weaponry featured in Ghosts, as well. Continuing to show its friendliness towards all things 420, Ghosts players can purchase the puntastic Blunt Force Personalization Pack, which delivers "chronic lethality" camo, a reticle, patch, player card and background. The Blunt Force pack and other customization packages are available for $1.99.

Finally, the latest set of DLC features player skins, one of which features past CoD heroes Soap and Ghost. According to the Call of Duty blog, customization DLC packages "are non-transferable and cannot be carried forward or backward" between last generation's console and the new Xbox One.

All DLC will launch on April 22 for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
[Image: Activision-Blizzard]

Halo, Destiny composer O'Donnell says he was fired 'without cause' [Update: Bungie COO Pete Parsons responds]

Halo series and Destiny composer Martin 'Marty' O'Donnell is no longer working for Bungie, and he claims the studio's directors fired him "without cause" last Friday, April 11.

O'Donnell tweeted the news this morning, and shortly after Bungie responded on its blog. Community Manager David Dague said the studio and O'Donnell parted ways "as friends."

"For more than a decade, Marty O'Donnell filled our worlds with unforgettable sounds and soundtracks, and left an indelible mark on our fans," wrote Dague. "Today, as friends, we say goodbye. We know that wherever his journey takes him, he will always have a bright and hopeful future. We wish him luck in all his future endeavors."

We've reached out to Bungie for further details.

O'Donnell's departure is certainly a surprise given his stock with Halo and Bungie fans, especially with Destiny rapidly approaching its release date of September 9. The veteran composer had collaborated with former Beatle Paul McCartney on a "musical prequel" to Destiny, titled Music of the Spheres. It has yet to be released.

Update: Speaking to a group of journalists at a studio event (keep your eyes on Joystiq for Destiny preview coverage soon), Bungie COO Pete Parsons made the following statement. "I'm sure many of you have heard the news about Marty O'Donnell. At Bungie, we don't take that kind of thing lightly. We don't make decisions lightly. We're a team that's committed to making an amazing game, set in an amazing universe." He added, "At this time, we won't be commenting any further on it."

Xbox 360 spring sale discounts Batman games, Saints Row 4

Microsoft is cleaning out its digital shelves with a sizable sale on Xbox 360 games and add-ons this week. Ending April 21, the sale spans 11 games and hundreds of pieces of DLC. Five of the games feature popular DC comics superhero Batman in some capacity, such as 75 percent off both Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City through Games on Demand ($4.99 / £3.74 / 4.99 euros each). Additionally, Injustice: Gods Among us is half-off ($19.99 / £17.49 / 24.99 euros), Lego Batman 2 is 67 percent off ($6.59 / £4.94 / 6.59 euros) and XBLA game Gotham City Imposters is 75 percent off ($3.74 / £2.49 / 3.59 euros). All of the above deals are valid for those with a paid Xbox Live Gold subscription.

Among the other games on sale for all Xbox Live users is Saints Row 4, which is half-off this week ($14.99 / £12.49 / 14.99 euros). Three other games are discounted through Games on Demand: Borderlands 2 is 65 percent off ($6.99 / £6.99 / 10.49 euros), Lego Marvel Super Heroes is 33 percent off ($33.49 / £30.14 / 43.54 euros) and Prototype 2 is 75 percent off ($9.99 / £4.99 / 7.49 euros). Lastly, XBLA games Pac-Man Championship Edition DX+ is half-off ($4.99 / £3.37 / 4.74 euros) and Assassin's Creed: Liberation HD is 33 percent off ($13.39 / £10.71 / 13.39 euros) for the week.
[Image: Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment]

BurgerTime World Tour discounted ahead of delisting on April 30

Publisher MonkeyPaw Games is hosting a last-chance sale on BurgerTime: World Tour this month, discounting the game to just $5 before it disappears from digital storefronts forever on April 30.

Starting today, amateur burger chefs can pick up the Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and WiiWare versions of the remade arcade classic for $4.99. Alas, even Peter Pepper himself is not immune from the harsh reality of expired licensing agreements, which MonkeyPaw cites as the culprit behind the game's delisting at the end of the month.

Speculation from an anonymous source suggests that Peter Pepper was forced to close up shop by area health inspectors, who objected to his unsanitary burger-stomping ways. Pepper declined to comment when questioned regarding his cooking methods, claiming that the delisting is part of a conspiracy devised by giant sausages and human-sized eggs.

[Image: MonkeyPaw Games]

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Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare Zomboss Down DLC drops today


PopCap's Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare takes to the Wild West today with the launch of "Zomboss Down," a free DLC pack that introduces a batch of new multiplayer content on the Xbox One and Xbox 360.

Zomboss Down adds eight new playable characters to Garden Warfare's roster and a new Western-themed map, complete with an Ennio Morricone-inspired soundtrack. Zomboss Down follows up on last month's Garden Variety DLC, which added the "Gnome Bomb" gameplay mode and new character customization options.

[Video: PopCap]

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Respawn to increase frequency of Titanfall updates

Respawn plans to improve its "update tempo" for future improvements to Titanfall, upping the frequency of announcements related to updates as well as the patches themselves. Game Director Steve Fukuda broke down the developer's update plans in a recent blog, noting that one part of the game's updates will "tend the garden and keep the weeds out," such as last week's changes to the game's Gooser Challenge.

Fukuda also discussed both convenience and infrastructural features, the former making "life more pleasant" for players in the game. Future convenience feature additions to Titanfall include the ability to rename custom loadouts and set custom loadouts specific to each of the game's mode. Infrastructural additions include items like the private online match mode that arrived last week.

"Whenever possible, we want to get these kinds of features out early in beta form, in order to get your feedback and arrive at the best possible result through multiple iterations," Fukuda wrote of the infrastructural features. He added that "tangible" content for Titanfall is on the way, including new maps, game modes, a new burn card set and "Nose Art" insignias for those that want to customize their titans.
[Image: EA Games]

Battlefield 4: Naval Strike now available to non-Premium masses



It looks like the Megalodon has a whole new batch of victims incoming. After being released an exclusive for Premium members, Battlefield 4's Naval Strike DLC is now available for purchase for all. The content is available on PC, Xbox One, PS4, PS3 and Xbox 360.

Naval Strike adds four new maps; a hovercraft vehicle; new Carrier Assault mode, which is inspired by Battlefield 2142's Titan Mode; and the aforementioned giant shark attack.

Battlefield 4's Naval Strike DLC is priced at $15.
[Images: DICE]

Trials Fusion day-one update increases resolution on Xbox One

The Xbox One version of Trials Fusion will require a day-one patch to increase the game's resolution to 900p, Ubisoft has confirmed.

Prior to the application of the patch, Trials Fusion on Xbox One will run at 800p at 60fps. Ubisoft also confirmed developer RedLynx had originally targeted a resolution of 1080p for both the Xbox One and PS4, but the team was still optimizing its game for each platform. The PlayStation 4 version of Trials Fusion will run at 1080p at 60fps at launch.

Trials Fusion from developer RedLynx launches tomorrow for the Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360 and PC.
[Image: Ubisoft]

Terraria 1.2 update lands April 17; adds new bosses, sunnier sun

On April 17, Terraria will receive a "massive and free" update on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Vita. Update 1.2 makes numerous tweaks to the console version and adds plenty of fresh content, including four new bosses, additional NPCs, new pets, and "over 1,000 new items."

The console version change log, which the game's official forum notes is "a direct copy from the PC change log with console exclusive changes added to them," notes a few other additions, including new ores, wood types, brick types and the ability to now imbue melee weapons.

Update 1.2 makes a few improvements to Terraria's graphical fidelity as well, making the sun brighter and making midnight in the open world darker. "Hell houses have been remodeled," the change log adds, which is itself a feat considering just how lazy the contractors in hell are.

The complete list of changes detailed on the official Terraria forum, can be found after the break.
[Image: Re-Logic / 505 Games]

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Dark Souls 2 players aren't dog people, 110 million 'stray hound' kills

The "Stray Hound" is the foe Dark Souls 2 players are murdering the most, as revealed by the new Enemy page on the game's Beyond the Bonfire stats site. Between them, Xbox 360 and PS3 players have to date felled just over 110 million of the vicious canines, while the various varieties of hollow and royal soldiers also rank highly on the Most Dead-ed list. If the soldiers were grouped together they'd no doubt place higher, but they're differentiated by the weapons they're wielding.

The question is, who's died more: Stray Hounds or Dark Souls 2 players? It's not even a contest. Players deaths are now past the 248 million mark, just over a month after From's devilish action-RPG hit PS3 and Xbox 360. With the PC port due to arrive on April 25, the billion milestone for combined deaths can't be far away. So, who are the real stray hounds in Dark Souls 2: the dogs or the players, hmmmmmm?

Well, it's the dogs. 'Cos they're dogs.

Titanfall Mythbusters: A falling titan can destroy an evac ship


Titanfall isn't just the name of Respawn's popular online shooter, it's also one of the most satisfying attacks in said game. Drop a titan on a pilot and the pilot becomes bloody goo. Drop one on another titan, and that titan becomes burning scrap. But what if you were to drop a titan on an enemy evac ship?

That idea is put to the test at the 1:52 mark of the above clip. While you can destroy an evac ship with a falling titan, it's not as simple as it sounds. They key problem is that a titan will fall right through an evac ship as if it weren't there. However, on certain maps, when the evac ship arrives to pick up its would-be passengers, it may fly low enough to make itself vulnerable. In such a situation, if you drop a titan right next to the ship, the splash damage from the giant robot's earthshaking impact will blow the transport to pieces, along with anyone who happens to be comfortably relaxing inside. Difficult? Yes. Totally worth it? Clearly.
[Image: Respawn Entertainment]

Tour the alluring world of Lemuria in this Child of Light trailer

Image It's not often we see a video game trailer best described as "enchanting," but if you can come up with a better descriptor for this Child of Light footage without resorting to made up adjectives and giddy swears, we'd like to hear it. [Image: Ubisoft] ... Continue Reading

Titanfall reclaims UK No. 1 after landing on Xbox 360

Titanfall became the second game to return to the top of the UK charts in 2014, after forcing FIFA 14, the first game, to eject and drop into third. Respawn's mech-crammed shooter saw a 220 percent boost in sales following its arrival on Xbox 360, and that was enough to see it keep Lego: The Hobbit just beneath the summit in second place.

It's a sign of a quieter April that retailer promotions helped South Park: The Stick of Truth rise up to fourth. That said, last week wasn't quiet enough to take Kinect: Sports Rivals into the top ten, and Rare's motion-controlled latest had to settle for 14th place. Football Manager 2014 placed 18th thanks to its spring transfer onto Vita, and the coaching sim is just ahead of The Elder Scrolls Online in 19th, which saw a sizable drop after debuting the week before in the No. 2 spot.

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Bound by Flame combat trailer is feeling hot, hot, hot

Image When possessed by a flame demon, you have to ask yourself a question. No, not "Why am I possessed by a flame demon?" You need to ask how to channel it. Thankfully, Bound By Flame's combat trailer breaks down how you can do just that. Spoiler: They all involve fire. [Image: Focus Home... Continue Reading

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