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NHL 2K series returns to mobile this fall

2K announced the return of its NHL 2K hockey video game brand today with the aptly-named NHL 2K. The game is in development for iOS and Android devices as a "premium mobile game" slated to launch this fall for $7.99. Players will take to the ice in classic NHL Winter Classic, Free Skate and Shootout modes, a three-on-three Mini-Rink mode, a "detailed" My Career mode and turn-based multiplayer shootouts.

NHL 2K is the first entry in the series to surface in four years, the last being 2010's NHL 2K11 for Wii and iOS. The latest game is the result of a cooperative effort between NBA 2K developer Visual Concepts and Virtuos Games, the same studio that lent a hand to Square Enix with Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster in January. NHL 2K will include iCloud support on iOS devices, NHL GameCenter Live connectivity and MFi controller support.

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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!

Final Fantasy 13's new portal page has a Steam logo

In suspiciously timed news, Square Enix launched a new portal page for the Final Fantasy 13 saga that conspicuously features the Steam logo. The site, launched today, features the Steam image next to logos for already confirmed platforms. FF13, FF13-2 and Lightning Returns all initially released on Xbox 360 and PS3, and the trio are also coming to Japan's Dive In mobile streaming app, as announced last week.

So is Lightning about to strike thrice one more time? Square Enix's not announced any PC ports of the JRPG trilogy so take all this with a pinch of salt. That said, the publisher does seem to have a few things up its sleeve for the Tokyo Game Show, which begins tomorrow. Also, earlier this year, Final Fantasy producer Yoshinori Kitase told Eurogamer he was "definitely interested" in pursuing PC versions for future games, and he also touched on why the FF13 saga didn't come to PC in the first place.

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Hyrule Warriors review: Moblin warfare

Though The Legend of Zelda series includes some of the most beloved games of all time, Hyrulean protagonist Link has seen some less than stellar adventures in the hands of developers not named Nintendo. Capcom's Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages Game Boy games were excellent, but both relied on gameplay elements and graphics borrowed from Nintendo's own The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. More notorious are the three CD-i games which transplanted Link into a wholly new gameplay style that's best described as a hybrid of the sidescrolling stages of the second Legend of Zelda game and an unending litany of poor design decisions. The less said about the games' baffling take on Nintendo character design, the better.

Despite this disappointing history, Nintendo has now granted Koei Tecmo – more specifically, its most notable developers, Omega Force and Team Ninja – the rights to craft their own Legend of Zelda entry, a melee-focused Wii U spin-off dubbed Hyrule Warriors. It would be difficult to match the depressing legacy left by the CD-i entries, but it seems an even more daunting task to match Nintendo's pedigree of sterling high-fantasy adventures. Fortunately for fans of both The Legend of Zelda and Koei Tecmo's flagship musou brawlers, Hyrule Warriors is successful on nearly every level.

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Nab a free copy of Bejeweled 3 on Origin

Bejeweled 3 is the latest entry in Origin's On the House program, meaning the normally $5 tile-matching puzzler is free for Windows PC and Mac until October 28. As with the other On the House freebies, once you claim the game, it's yours to keep.

PopCap's super-successful series may be in its teens, but it's only seen five releases to date, including two spinoffs. Bejeweled 3 added four new modes to the mix which you unlock as you play through, but as Joystiq's Richard Mitchell put it in his 2011 XBLA in Brief video, "Why are you still watching this? It's Bejeweled. It's the same game it's been for a decade, except it's prettier and it's got more stuff."
[Image: EA]

The Elder Scrolls Online pushes players to Upper Craglorn in Update 4

I'll up YOUR Craglorn!  I... no, wait, please don't draw your weapons, adventurers.  I'm... I'm so lonely.  I don't know what I'm saying any more.  My life just hurts, and every time I think it's not going to hurt any more it keeps going.  I walled myself away so I could live better, but all it did was make me long for contact I don't know how to have.  I just want friends.  All I need is for you to hear me out, and maybe we - oh.  Okay, you can stab me.  Maybe it's better this way.
You've been to Craglorn? Pff, that's boring now. Upper Craglorn is where the real action is these days. And by complete coincidence, Upper Craglorn is now open on The Elder Scrolls Online's servers, as the game's fourth major update has just dropped. The zone will wrap up the Celestial storyline as your character takes on the Scaled Court. That also ties into the new trial, Sanctum Ophidia, which is a direct strike against the heart of the Court; players will take on the minions and end up fighting the Celestial Serpent.

The new Dragonstar Arena also debuts with this patch, asking players to fight against waves of oncoming enemies. Plus there's a new crafting trait available, improved grouping mechanics, various bugfixes, the usual assortment. So if you can't wait to go knife up a really important snake and check out the places that all the hip new kids are heading for, go check out the update.

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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Goat Simulator gives us the billies on iOS, Android

Goat Simulator puts the dumb into smartphones starting today, and it's available to purchase on iOS and Android now. The ports of Coffee Stain Studios' ridiculous phenomenon are priced $5, and the studio proudly proclaims they include "all the bugs from the PC version."

Goat Simulator can be boiled down to causing as much physical destruction as possible with a goat... or other animals which Coffee Stain claims are goats too. The Sanctum dev admits it's a "completely stupid game" with "millions of bugs," but it's also a game with almost one million sales, largely thanks to an inspired marketing campaign that riffed on Dead Island's own viral trailer. The buck doesn't stop with the mobile ports, because Goat Simulator is also flying onto Xbox One, courtesy of LittleBigPlanet Vita co-developer Double Eleven.
[Image: Coffee Stain Studios]

Sony ups loss forecast to $2 billion following smartphone struggles

Sony is now forecasting a 230 billion yen ($2.15 billion) loss for the fiscal year ending in March 2015, a revision nearly five times more than the company previously projected. The Japanese electronics giant was expecting a 50 billion yen loss, but today it announced it's downgrading the value of its mobiles business by 180 billion yen ($1.68 billion) following an internal review.

Sony began the review in July after cutting forecast smartphone sales by 14 percent following a sluggish opening quarter. The mobile business' "mid-range plan" is now no longer focused on growth, but instead designed to "reduce risk and volatility, and deliver more stable profits."

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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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Blood Bowl dev launching football simulator next week

Blood Bowl developer Cyanide Studio announced the impending launch of its new sports management game today, Front Page Sports Football. The PC simulation game has players managing a fictitious football team, picking from over 2,300 plays to lead their franchise to gridiron glory. Squad members rely on over 20 skills such as speed, agility and morale, each influencing the effectiveness of plays called by armchair coaches.

The game marks a resurgence in Sierra Online's American football management series of the same name that spanned 1992 to 1999, though Sierra is not involved in the latest game. Cyanide Studio announced Front Page Sports Football in July, and is also working on a Blood Bowl sequel in addition to its stealth game, Styx: Master of Shadows. Images of Front Page Sports Football's menu-heavy interface can be seen in the gallery below, or when the game launches next Thursday, September 25 for $19.99 (€19.99, £14.99). It's not the only upcoming football simulation game, as the developers behind the Out of the Park Baseball management series plans to launch Beyond the Sideline Football in 2015 with full NFL licensing support.

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Dementium series developer obtains sequel rights

Developer Renegade Kid has reacquired control of its Dementium series, a horror-focused intellectual property that birthed two frightening games on the Nintendo DS. Renegade Kid co-founder Jools Watsham took to Twitter to announce the deal:

The first game in the series, Dementium: The Ward, was distributed by publisher GameCock, which has since shuttered. Its sequel and the IP was then handled by SouthPeak Interactive, which had published the first game in Europe. Developer Renegade Kid has since gone on to create the Mutant Mudd series and the episodic 3DS game Moon Chronicles.

"We have always retained ownership of the Dementium IP," Watsham told me. "SouthPeak used to have first right of refusal on sequels, but that is no longer the case."

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Monaco, Race the Sun join Humble Indie Bundle 12

Three new games have been added to Humble Indie Bundle 12, the digital distributor has revealed. Monaco, a co-op heist game; Race the Sun, a super-fast minimalistic racer; and The Bridge, a 2D logic puzzle game.

All three games have been added to the "pay more than the average" category for the pay-what-you-want bundle. Spending more than $7.76 – the current average price, as of press time – earns the three bonus games along with the bundle's initial offerings of SteamWorld Dig, Hammerwatch and Gunpoint.

In all, buyers have the potential to land ten independent games for $10. Proceeds of each sale can be split between game developers, the Electronic Frontiers Foundation and the charity organization Child's Play.
[Image: Pocketwatch Games]

Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai Deluxe is Japan's Remix

Hatsune Miku is all about music and love, and she wouldn't want anyone – or any country – to feel left out. Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai Remix is due out on 3DS in western territories in 2015, but it's also heading to Japan as Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai Deluxe, scheduled to launch in spring 2015.

The new Project Mirai is a "complete" version of Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai 2, which launched in Japan in 2013. Project Mirai Remix is the first time Hatsune Miku will appear on 3DS in the western world, following recent series launches on Vita and PS3 with the Project Diva games. Project Diva F 2nd is due out on western PS3s and Vitas this fall.
[Image: Sega]

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The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast 112: Danganronpa 2, Azure Striker Gunvolt, downtime & future games

Latest episode: Friday, September 12th, 2014

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