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LittleBigPlanet 3 launching November 18, pre-orders net costumes and plushies

Sony announced that its DIY platformer sequel LittleBigPlanet 3 has a bundle of free goodies in store for pre-order buyers ahead of its November launch, including exclusive Sackboy plush dolls and a variety of retailer-specific in-game content.

Plunk down some pre-release cash for a physical copy of LittleBigPlanet 3 at participating retailers and you'll get a handsome Sackboy plush, free of charge. Target customers get the same plush with a Sackboy-sized Target hat as a bonus. All PS4 pre-order customers, regardless of their preferred retailer, will additionally receive a batch of in-game costumes inspired by EA's upcoming Dragon Age Inquisition.

The PlayStation 4 version of LittleBigPlanet 3 also boasts unique pre-order costumes available only at select retailers. Players who purchase a copy from GameStop will receive the Mythical Creatures Costume Pack, Best Buy customers get the Hidden Creatures Costume Pack, and Amazon buyers receive the franchise-spanning PlayStation Favorites Costume Pack (shown above).

LittleBigPlanet 3 will make its PlayStation 4 debut on November 18. A recently announced PlayStation 3 version will ship the same day.

[Image: Sony]

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare's story includes some very hostile takeovers


Between the bang-bangs and the pew-pew-pews, developer Sledgehammer Games is using Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare to tell a story. The game's latest trailer proves as much.

It seems terrorists have attacked nuclear power plants all over the globe in a show of unlikely coordination that causes the world's governments to topple. In the wake of this collapse, a private military corporation rises to restore order to humanity. Unfortunately, that corporation is lead by Kevin Spacey in full megalomaniac mode, and after cleaning up the streets he uses his company's military might to assume de facto control over the planet.

Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the planet from one of America's finest living actors? If you do, will any scenery remain unchewed? Find out on November 4 when Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare makes its official debut.
[Image: Activision]

Atelier dev Gust merges with Koei Tecmo on Oct. 1

Come October 1, Atelier Rorona: Alchemist of Arland developer Gust Co. will officially merge with parent company Koei Tecmo.

Though far from a household name in the West, Gust has developed a loyal niche following by offering classically-styled roleplaying games that blatantly pander to time-honored anime tropes. What Gust's games lack in Shakespearian dialogue, they more than make up for in moon-eyed magical girls and solid roleplaying game fundamentals.

According to Koei Tecmo (via Gematsu translation), Gust will continue to operate as normal, developing new entries in the Atelier and Ar Tonelico series' as well as new properties, only it will do so under a new name: Gust Nagano Development Group. Koei Tecmo believes this new arrangement will allow Gust to operate more efficiently than it has been under the studio's previous publishing agreement.
[Image: Koei Tecmo]

Meet Elise, the 'fiery Templar' of Assassin's Creed Unity


Following raucous online backlash against the notable lack of female characters in Assassin's Creed: Unity, publisher Ubisoft has introduced Elise, a female Templar who apparently plays a key role in the game's plot.

"This new trailer for Assassin's Creed: Unity shows Arno racing against time through a dense and chaotic central Paris in order to prevent the beheading of Elise, a character central to Assassin's Creed: Unity's story," reads Ubisoft's official announcement. "As an independent young noblewoman, Elise is determined to secure her place in the Templar dynasty amidst the chaos of the French Revolution. Her quest leads her to cross paths with Arno and establish an unlikely bond with him."

In addition to her appearance in Assassin's Creed: Unity, Elise is also slated to star in a paperback novel of the same name that chronicles her experiences with Unity protagonist Arno during the French Revolution. Assassin's Creed: Unity will be written by novelist and Renaissance historian Oliver Bowden and will be published by Penguin Random House.

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The Sun At Night reaches Steam on August 1

Following a lengthy stay in the proving grounds of Steam Greenlight, Minicore Studios' alternate history platformer The Sun At Night will debut on Steam proper come August 1.

To celebrate this release, Minicore plans to offer The Sun At Night at a 15 percent discount for its first week of availability. Normally priced at $15, those who purchase the game immediately after it appears will only spend $12.75. Before you budget the necessary funds, however, keep in mind our middling-at-best review, which claims The Sun At Night features both "bland gameplay" and an "awkward, convoluted story."

Those waiting for news on The Sky Below, the second part of Minicore's Laika trilogy, will be saddened to hear that development on that episode is now on hiatus. "[T]he team has decided to see how Steam sales of The Sun at Night go before committing further resources to that project," reads the studio's official statement.
[Image: Minicore Studios]

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League of Legends properly introduces Gnar

What would you use to describe other, similar champions?
After teasing players about the nature of the newest champion arriving in League of Legends, Riot Games has provided a full introduction for the prehistoric yordle known as Gnar. He looks nice enough, actually, even sort of cute. At least until he gets angry and transforms into Mega Gnar, a hulking brute who's happy to crush everything in his path and then start down a new path so he can crush more things. Anger issues, in short.

So how does Gnar play? It's all about managing the rage. In mini form, he's a quick attacker with some range who also has access to a handy escape ability. When he enrages, though, he's a tank-happy fighter with plenty of durability and burst damage. Both forms have their own weaknesses and strengths, so the art of playing him comes down to carefully maximizing his fits of rage before getting back out of danger. After all, who'd believe the little cute guy could get that angry?

Toki Tori devs ar-rive with new platforming shooter


Two Tribes announced its latest game today, a "metal wrecking, robot hacking shooter" called Rive. The game is a 2D shooter-meets-platformer with "old school gaming values," in which players blast robotic enemies and alter their enemies' behavior by gathering and installing hacks. Rive's announcement trailer shows the players' tank-like hero of sorts leaping across levels and firing in 360 degrees, emphasizing the game's blend of arcade-style shooting and platforming action.

Rive is the first game from the Toki Tori developer following its reboot in January. At that time, Two Tribes cut its team down to just two (now three for the development of Rive), switching its focus to publishing as opposed to development. The developer did create a hi-res Wii U port of Awesomenauts developer Ronimo Games' first game, Swords and Soldiers, which launched in May. Rive will launch in early 2015 for PC and unspecified consoles.
[Image: Two Tribes]

Xbox Deals With Gold delivers discounted Battlefield 4 DLC

Battlefield series die-hards can pick up an arsenal of discounted DLC this week through Microsoft's Deals with Gold promotion, which currently offers a 33 percent discount on Battlefield 4's Premium membership, China Rising, Second Assault, Naval Strike, and Ultimate Shortcut Bundle add-ons for the Xbox One and Xbox 360.

The Xbox 360 Games on Demand versions of Madden NFL 25, FIFA 14, and NHL 14 are half-off this week for Gold members, and 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil is available for 70 percent off its regular price. Xbox Live Silver members, meanwhile, can pick up a copy of SpikySnail's liquid puzzler The Splatters for 50 percent off through next week.

[Image: EA DICE]

Payday: The Heist gets its pricetag stolen on October 18

Remember, everyone: Crime doesn't pay, but that won't matter on October 18, when Payday: The Heist will be available to download for free. Developer Overkill is growing its community in preparation for the Payday franchise's third anniversary, and has put together a list of rewards for each milestone they hit.

Overkill is aiming for 1.5 million community members on its official Steam page by October 18 - as of writing, the total sits at just a bit more than 1.1 million. Due to such impressive numbers, this gaggle of gangsters will receive a multitude of exclusive in-game rewards for Payday 2, including weapons, masks, characters and new heists. If you're just after the free game though, it looks like The Heist will be made available to all.

Robbers who know how to share the wealth. Who knew?
[Image: Overkill]

Cooking Mama 5 spices up 3DS on September 16

Is your 3DS library coming up short in terms of food preparation sims? Don't worry; Mama will fix this. Cooking Mama 5: Bon Appétit! will hit retailers in North America next month with a gaggle of new recipes in tow.

Cooking Mama 5 features 60 new recipes, allowing players to virtually prepare international dishes like sushi, parfaits, Hawaiian pancakes, and the most exotic food of all, chicken nuggets. The game also offers a variety of side-missions and activities like pet-feeding and food delivery, and its multiplayer mode supports single cart download play for up to four competing chefs.

Cooking Mama 5: Bon Appétit! premieres on September 29.

[Image: Majesco]

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Joystiq Streams: Secret Ponchos grudge match giveaway [UPDATE: Relive the stream!]


This is what Joystiq knows about ponchos: they keep you warm, look cool while you're riding a horse in a storm, are appropriate attire for selling burritos outside a Phish concert, and they make excellent dog beds when you're done with them. The things we don't know about ponchos? That's a secret.

Switchblade Monkeys has the arcane knowledge that Joystiq covets. Secret Ponchos is Switchblade's new PvP shooter, hitting PC and PlayStation 4 this year and currently available through Steam Early Access. Always willing to fight for our right to party and know things about ponchos, Joystiq will take on Switchblade Monkeys in their own game on Joystiq Streams.

We'll be playing the brand new 4-versus-4-player mode in Secret Ponchos on Joystiq.com/Twitch at 4PM EST. While Joystiq pits its negligible skills against Switchblade, we'll also be giving out free copies of the game in the chat while we play.

Joystiq Streams broadcasts regularly on Tuesday and Thursday at 4PM EST on Joystiq.com/Twitch, but if you never want to miss a surprise stream make sure to follow us on Twitch!
[Images: Switchblade Monkeys]

EA unveils Xbox One subscription service, EA Access [update]

Following the success of Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus, EA has unveiled its own Xbox One-exclusive subscription service dubbed EA Access.

Those who spend $5 per month (or $30 per year) on an EA Access subscription will be granted free, all-you-can-play access to the publisher's biggest Xbox One games, including Battlefield 4, Peggle 2, FIFA 14 and Madden NFL 25. EA plans to add to this selection of games over time, and according to a Game Informer tweet, the publisher has "no plans" to remove content in the future. In addition to the gratis games, EA Access members receive 10 percent discounts on all of EA's digital Xbox One content and are granted access to big EA releases up to five days prior to their official debut.

Keep in mind, there are caveats to this promotion. EA describes that early access as a "a limited trial," and not access to the full game. Further, according to the fine print, Titanfall is "excluded from all EA Access features," and given the service's mention of unlimited online play, it stands to reason that an Xbox Live Gold subscription is required for full use of EA Access. If your interest is still piqued, you can find everything you need to enroll in EA Access at the program's official website.

Update: A representative from EA has contacted us to clarify the Xbox Live Gold requirements of EA Access. "To your inference in the last paragraph that an Xbox Live Gold subscription is required for full use, I wanted to clarify: Any Xbox One gamer can join EA Access and take advantage of the benefits of membership. In order to connect to multiplayer gameplay on the Xbox One platform you will need a subscription to Xbox Gold."
[Image: EA]

Oddworld: New N Tasty review: Fresh produce

Question: When is a video game remake not a remake? Answer: When it adds enough new ideas and tweaks existing content so that the resulting product is neither a re-hash nor a re-imagining. When it doesn't stop at HD textures and smoother character models, and instead opts for new gameplay, expanded objectives and modern conveniences.

When is a remake not a remake? When it's Oddworld: New N Tasty.

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Trials Fusion rides into the rustlands in first DLC pack


Ubisoft takes players to a grittier side of the Trials universe today in "Riders of the Rustlands," the first of six planned Season Pass DLC packs planned for Trials Fusion.

Riders of the Rustlands takes place in a wasteland outside of the squeaky-clean cityscapes featured Trials Fusion's core content, challenging riders with level layouts made up of makeshift metal platforms and rusty abandoned structures. The pack introduces six new Classic Trials tracks, two Supercross levels, one Skill Game, and one FMX track, along with a collection of 18 new Track Challenges.

Riders of the Rustlands is available as part of Trials Fusion's Season Pass, and is priced at $4.99 as a standalone download.

[Video: Ubisoft]

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PAX 10 spotlights Framed and Duet

This year's PAX 10, a collection of games from independent developers, has been determined and will be highlighted at next month's PAX Prime convention. The ten games were hand-picked by 50 industry experts, starting with Duet, Kumobius' elegant arcade-style action game for iOS. Duet is joined by LoveShack's Framed, a narrative puzzle game trapped in a comic world. Both Duet and Framed received attention earlier this year when the games were among six total mobile titles in the PAX East Indie Showcase.

Those two games are joined by an abstract 2D PC platformer from DigiPen's Neat Snake known as Flickers. Infinity Monkeys' Life Goes On is also in the mix, in which players set out to find the Cup of Life by ironically sacrificing knights to the game's deathly contraptions. Untame's amorphous puzzler Mushroom 11 will be included in the showcase, as will Funktronic Labs' sci-fi, turn-based adventure game Nova-111.

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The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast 106: The Crew, Gods Will Be Watching, The Walking Dead, game delays

Latest episode: Friday, July 25th, 2014

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