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Joystiq Giveaway: Octa Monkey Kit Tablet Stand

iPad Air 2 feels insanely thin and light, like you're holding a tablet made of puppy dog breath and clouds. Bully for the people that have one of those, but some folks out there are still rocking an iPad 2. It's only three years old, who cares if it's really heavy and the screen isn't quite as nice! What would help is having a stand of some kind to allow for all that multi-finger work necessary to play things like Devil's Attorney or Helix. Even if you have a fancy new iPad, a stand would keep you from snapping it in half out of frustration while playing Desert Golfing or dropping it in terror during the Nightjar.

In the interest of helping people with all kinds of tablets, Joystiq and Octa are giving away five Monkey Kit stands. Each one's worth $70, and will hold your tablet up like it's a fixture in some crazy Tim Burton sci-fi movie. All you have to do to win is like Joystiq on Facebook or follow us on Twitter between October 31 and November 7 using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Full list of prizes and rules after the break.

Joystiq and Octa Giveaway

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Bethesda confirms that Prey 2 is really, most sincerely dead

More than two and a half years after rumors first emerged that the sequel was canceled, Bethesda has confirmed Prey 2 is no more. "It was a game we believed in, but we never felt that it got to where it needed to be," Pete Hines, vice president of Bethesda, told CNET at PAX Australia, "We never saw a path to success if we finished it."

"It wasn't up to our quality standard and we decided to cancel it. It's no longer in development. That wasn't an easy decision, but it's one that won't surprise many folks given that we hadn't been talking about it."

First announced in 2011, Human Head's science fiction bounty hunter game impressed Joystiq and others in early showings but was publicly troubled within months of its reveal. First it was delayed, then removed from Bethesda's website, and finally rumored to be in development at Dishonored studio Arkane. When Bethesda would even acknowledge the game's existence after that, it would simply say that the game wasn't up to the publisher's quality standards. Hines' words reflect that view in the final decision to cancel the game.

Fans of Prey's unusually suggestive doorways shouldn't give up hope just yet. Hines explained that Bethesda still considers Prey a potential series."It's a franchise we still believe we can do something with. We just need to see what that something is."
[Images: Bethesda]

Turns out Blizzard found more Hearthstone cheaters to ban

Hearthstone
Earlier this week, Blizzard banned "several thousand" botter accounts in MMOTCG Hearthstone for the crime of botting. But the bans were only temporary, and the problem players will be back in the game by the turn of the year.

The subjects of a new wave of bans, says Blizzard, won't be let off so easily. Community Manager Whirthun told forumgoers last night that win traders have and will continue to be banned -- permanently:
We've recently banned Hearthstone accounts that were found to be participating in win trading. Win trading at any rank is something that we do not take lightly, and is in violation of our Terms of Use. As we mentioned in our previous statement regarding fair play in Hearthstone, instances of cheating will not be tolerated. Accounts that were discovered participating in win trading have received permanent account closure and disqualification from events where ranking is used as a method of qualification.
Win trading is an exploit of the matchmaking system to position accounts for easy ladder climbing. PC Gamer reports that several big-name Hearthstone players have already fallen to the ban, including a grey hat player who went public with the exploit nearly a year ago in the hopes of provoking Blizzard to fix it.

Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes gets permanent price cut

Konami announced a permanent price drop for Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes this week, cutting the game's cost down to $19.99 on all platforms. Ground Zeroes is now priced at £19.99 and €19.99 in Europe as well. The game will reach Steam on December 18.

Acting as a prologue to Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain and also set after the events of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Ground Zeroes took players through a rescue mission as series hero Snake. Ground Zeroes launched in March for $30, and according to our review was "also 30 bucks for one hell of a cliffhanger" as the game wound up "teasing more than it satisfies." The next proper entry in the series, Metal Gear Solid 5, will launch in 2015.
[Image: Konami]

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WoW level designers discuss Draenor's callbacks and vignettes

WoW
Blizzard's final Artcraft blog for World of Warcraft has arrived today in the form of an interview conducted by Community Manager Bashiok. Once again, the topic is the design of Nagrand, a zone made iconic in The Burning Crusade expansion and returning in Warlords of Draenor next month.

The five interviewees, all level designers, discuss preserving key landmarks and environments in the proto-zone and how they've incorporated appropriate callbacks for classic content. The popular Ring of Blood arena quests will return, for example, as might everyone's favorite escort quest NPC, Corki. "Vignettes" will sound familiar to fans of more modern MMOs, as well; Senior Level Designer Victor Chong explains:
We've added a lot more vignette stuff, and I was working with Kurt Sparkuhl, a quest designer, on how I could add hidden stuff on the tops of mountains. So we have a lot of vignettes where players have to figure out how to get up there without just being able to walk up. It's stuff like doing some jumping around to get into an area, and then when you get to the top, you find a goblin with a glider that'll let you glide to specific areas that aren't normally accessible. Then if you get through all of that and land on a specific spot, you're rewarded with whatever the prize is there from a chest or something. We're doing a lot of that, and Nagrand was a good test bed for those kinds of things.
The complete interview is available on the WoW official site.

Humble Indie Bundle 13 features Jazzpunk, OlliOlli


Comedy adventure game Jazzpunk and side-scrolling skateboarding sim OlliOlli headline the latest Humble Indie Bundle, with Shadowrun Returns available as an incentive for buyers who pay $12 or more for the package.

All bundle buyers receive copies of OlliOlli, 2D exploration game Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, and twitch FPS Tower of Guns. Beat the average purchase price (currently $6.93) and you'll unlock Jazzpunk, survival horror sequel Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, and four giftable copies of the 2D action-roguelike Risk of Rain.

Humble Bundle's organizers are also offering up Teleglitch: Die More Edition free of charge for Halloween. The Humble Indie Bundle 13 is up for grabs through November 11.

[Video: Humble Bundle]

Nintendo to introduce digital pre-loads with Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

Wii U and 3DS owners will soon have the ability to download games prior to their release in order to play them immediately at launch, Nintendo announced as part of its investor-facing quarterly financial report this week.

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U will be the first game to offer pre-downloads starting next month. Nintendo 3DS pre-download support will be introduced next year.

Several Xbox One and PlayStation 4 games have allowed players to pre-load purchased content over the past year, including The Evil Within and the upcoming Dragon Age: Inquisition. The feature is also common on PC digital platforms like Steam and Origin.

Nintendo additionally announced plans to introduce an automatic download system for its consoles, giving players the option of downloading games via SpotPass while shopping at nintendo.com.

[Image: Nintendo]

November's Games with Gold: Volgarr the Viking, Viva Pinata

Microsoft has announced next month's Games with Gold lineup, revealing that the Rastan-like barbaric side-scroller Volgarr the Viking will debut for the Xbox One as a free download for Xbox Live Gold subscribers.

Members will also receive a free copy of Rare's Xbox 360 Viva Pinata sequel Trouble in Paradise starting on November 1, and Volition's havoc-raising third-person shooter Red Faction: Guerrilla will join the program on November 16.

[Image: Crazy Viking Studios]

Just Dance Now tallies 6 million downloads in a month

Tucked inside Ubisoft's latest financial report is a small blurb on Just Dance Now, the publisher's mobile adaptation of its hit rhythm franchise Just Dance. According to Ubisoft, the free-to-play game has already been downloaded more than 6 million times since its September 25 debut.

Further, the game's proving especially successful in the international market. Though nowhere near as saturated with mobile devices as the United States or the UK, both Brazil and the Philippines rank in the top five countries downloading Just Dance Now. The mobile rhythm game is also reportedly big in India where Ubisoft has borrowed the song "Indian Whaaale" from the recent Bollywood film Happy New Year.

Shadow of Mordor is the ultimate Beastmaster in new DLC screens

Monolith detailed the first expansion to Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor today, Lord of the Hunt. The upcoming DLC introduces "more tales from Torvin, the Dwarven Hunter, as you work together to tame the beasts of Mordor and fight Sauron's minions." Lord of the Hunt also features new monsters and nemeses to face off against, as well as new missions and beast-hunting challenges to take on. The DLC adds a "Test of the Wild" skill challenge mode and a character skin that turns Talion into the "ultimate Beastmaster."

Lord of the Hunt will be available for purchase later this year and will be part of the game's $25 season pass program. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor launched in late September for PS4, Xbox One and PC, and the game's Xbox 360 and PS3 versions will arrive on November 18 after being delayed last month. The game's season pass also includes an exclusive Guardians of the Flaming Eye mission as well as another piece of story DLC, The Bright Lord.

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Xbox Entertainment Studios now officially closed

Following earlier reports heralding the closure of Xbox Entertainment Studios, Microsoft made things official on Wednesday by dismissing those few employees remaining at the company's former film division.

The good news is that the closure of Xbox Entertainment Studios signals an end to the mounting layoffs that have haunted Microsoft since Satya Nadella was promoted to CEO following the departure of Steve Ballmer. The bad news is that the abrupt closure has likely killed any projects that were still in the works at Xbox Entertainment Studios. Variety reports that studio head Nancy Tellem initially expected to have more time to "sort through the thicket of rights issues involved in relocating the scripted and nonscripted projects" prior to the studio being shuttered.

Despite the closure of Xbox Entertainment Studios, Microsoft remains committed to the live-action Halo: Nightfall digital series. Barring catastrophe, the Ridley Scott-produced adaptation will debut in early November.

There's something off about this Assassin's Creed: Unity trailer



The weird part of this Assassin's Creed: Unity video is where Arno jumps through a rift in time and travels from French Revolution-era Paris to a Paris filled with electricity, zeppelins, machine guns and the Eiffel Tower. And possibly Nazis. That's a 140-year jump. What the hell is happening here?

Ubisoft released the trailer with just one comment: "In Assassin's Creed Unity, all of French Revolution Paris is yours to explore, and perhaps more." Perhaps, indeed. Assassin's Creed has always dabbled in time travel of sorts with the Animus, but this is a big leap for an installment that's been billed as a French Revolution story, and nothing more.

Assassin's Creed: Unity is due out for Xbox One, PS4 and PC on November 11. See the fairly demanding PC requirements here.
[Image: Ubisoft]

BioShock Infinite: Complete confirmed for Nov. 4, mostly

BioShock Infinite: The Complete Edition is due out on November 4 for Xbox 360 and PS3, Take-Two's second quarter 2015 financial report confirms, but there's no mention of a PC launch date. Previously, 2K said BioShock Infinite: Complete Edition would be out for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC "later this year." We've reached out to 2K for clarification on the PC release.

Retailer listings for BioShock Infinite: The Complete Edition say the bundle features all of the game's DLC packs, including the Clash in the Clouds arena combat mode, and prices it at $40.

PS Plus in November: Binding of Isaac, SteamWorld Dig

November brings PS4 owners a final tide of big 2014 releases like Assassin't Creed Unity and Little Big Planet 3, but it also brings PS Plus subscribers some slick downloadables like the long-percolating Binding of Isaac: Rebirth.

Sitting alongside Isaac on PS4 is Image & Form's SteamWorld Dig: A Fistful of Dirt. While you spend an inordinate amount of time underground in both games, Isaac has you exploring adorably grotesque, randomly-generated dungeons while SteamWorld has you digging through an interconnected, sprawling cave system under an Old West town.

PlayStation 3 owners get a hearty selection of games as well. Luftrausers, Vlambeer's minimalist dogfighting escapade, joins strategy shooter Frozen Synapse Prime on Sony's elder statesman console. PS Vita owners can pick up The Hungry Horde as well as the tricky, creepy launch game Escape Plan. Lucky for them, Luftrausers, Rebirth, and SteamWorld are all Cross Buy on the platform as well. Vita owners with PS Plus are going to have a busy Thanksgiving.
[Images: Nicalis]

EVE Online uses jump fatigue to discourage long-distance travel

eve
Hold your horses, space buckaroo. Where do you think you're going so fast?

EVE Online is preparing to deliberately slow down pilots with the introduction of jump fatigue in the upcoming Phoebe patch. Jump fatigue adds a timer following a jump that must be endured until the next jump is allowed. According to a dev blog (that includes an appendix!) on the subject, "This allows us to discourage people travelling longer distances using jump travel, while keeping penalties relatively light for tactical/occasional movement."

Another dev blog tackles the changes to invention and manufacturing that are planned with the patch. One big change is the merge of invention with reverse engineering, which comes with an algabraic forumla because spaceships and laser battles are not exciting enough on their own.

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The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast 118: Super Smash Bros for Wii U, Civilization Beyond Earth, Fantasia

Latest episode: Saturday, October 25th, 2014

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