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2D fighter Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax will reach the West

Following its Japanese debut last November, Sega has announced plans to publish Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax on the PlayStation 3 and Vita handheld in Western territories later this year.

As the title suggests, Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax is a dream match of sorts that pits characters from the Dengeki Bunko line of Japanese light novels against one another in fairly traditional (if visually spectacular) 2D combat. Because Sega's publishing the game, Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax also features some notable characters from the company's extensive history in games, including Selvaria Bles from Valkyria Chronicles and Virtua Fighter icon Akira.

No specific launch date has yet been nailed down for Dengeki Bunko: Fighting Climax, but Sega plans to release the game to both retail and the PlayStation Network at some point this Summer.
[Image: Sega]

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Westone co-founder working on Monster World successor

Westone Bit Entertainment co-founder Ryuichi Nishizawa has partnered with indie developer Game Atelier to produce a spiritual successor to Sega's Monster World series, publisher FDG Games confirmed this week.

Monster Boy and the Wizard of Booze will feature side-scrolling action-adventure gameplay in the vein of the Monster World series, and boasts a playable character who can change form in order to traverse the game's varied 2D environments. Developer Game Atelier initially pitched the project as The Flying Hamster 2 before securing a publishing deal and canceling its Kickstarter campaign prior to completion.

"Monster Boy will be an all-new adventure and as we closely work together with Ryuichi Nishizawa (creator of the original Monster World) it can be considered as an official part of the series," Game Atelier notes in a Kickstarter update published today. "Since the trademark is owned by SEGA we had to pick a different name."

Developer Westone filed for bankruptcy last year, leaving behind a catalog of dozens of games produced over its 30-year history. Monster Boy will debut later this year for the PlayStation 4 and PC platforms.

[Image: Game Atelier]

Square Enix triple packs March to the US

The Ultimate Action Triple Pack and Ultimate Stealth Triple Pack from Square Enix will launch for Xbox 360 and PS3 in North America on March 31, a spokesperson confirmed to Joystiq today. The Ultimate Action Triple Pack includes Tomb Raider, Sleeping Dogs and Just Cause 2; the Ultimate Stealth Triple Pack features Thief, Hitman: Absolution and Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

North American Amazon listings for both packs hit the 'net earlier this week, with a price tag of $30 each. The Ultimate Action and Ultimate Stealth packs launched in Europe last year.
[Image: Square Enix]

New Nintendo eShop releases: More of the Samus, please

$10 for the Metroid Prime: Trilogy on Wii U with apparently faster load times? Om nom nom. While we're talking, Nintendo, any word on a new Metr-hello? Anyone there?

Oh well. So, check out this week's full list of new eShop releases below the break, as well as the last week of Nintendo's Throwback sale here. And a reminder: After 9AM PT/12PM ET on February 5, Metroid Prime Trilogy goes up to a regular price of $20. Get it while it's hot!

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Report: Ouya gets $10 million investment from Alibaba

Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba invested $10 million into microconsole maker Ouya last month, The Wall Street Journal reported. The two companies have seemingly agreed to bring Ouya's software and game library to Alibaba's set-top box. Ouya announced its Ouya console-less ambitions in March 2014, dubbed "Ouya Everywhere." The initiative allows Ouya to run its software on other devices, starting with Mad Catz's MOJO microconsole. Ouya raised $8.6 million on Kickstarter in 2012, first launching in July 2013. The system didn't generate much revenue for developers as just 27 percent of Ouya owners purchased a game in its first month.

Ouya CEO Julie Uhrman would not confirm Alibaba's investment, but did tell Engadget that the company has "been working with partners to bring our platform and games library to their devices." She said that Ouya is "live with Madcatz in the US and working with Xiaomi in China. There are a number of others in the works, with our focus outside the US because there is where we see the most opportunity and growth. Sometimes new markets leapfrog the established ones -- this may be one of those cases."

The Chinese government lifted its 14-year ban on foreign consoles and video games just over one year ago, issuing a new set of content restrictions for manufacturers this past April. Reports from December found that gaming revenues in the country grew 38 percent year-over-year. The other major console manufacturers are poised to enter the emerging market: While Sony delayed the launch of the PS4 in China earlier this month, Microsoft already reportedly sold over 100,000 Xbox One systems in its introductory week back in October. Nintendo revealed plans in May to approach emerging markets such as China with new hardware this year.

Games with Gold freebie #IDARB (rick)rolls out early

PSA: An eight-player Xbox One sports-platformer that can summon a pixelated Rick Astley is available right now, and it's free to download for Xbox Live Gold members. I know it's hard to believe, dear reader, but it's not like I'd tell a lie and hurt you.

#IDARB interweaves Twitch chat and Twitter hashtag integration with retro side-scrolling multiplayer and a big dose of humor, and it really seems quite nuts. As Joystiq's Danny Cowan describes in his preview, the gameplay is reminiscent of old-school multiplayer classics like NBA Jam, but there are a multitude of crazy twists and turns on tops. Things like arenas filling up with water, everyone turning into clowns and Twitch spectators being able to rickroll you.

Despite releasing ahead of its original February window, #IDARB is next month's Games with Gold freebie for Xbox One. It'll stay free for Gold members throughout the month, after which it'll return to its regular price of $15/£12.

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Find a way to watch Life is Strange's launch trailer

Image In Life is Strange you don't need a Cher button to turn back time. The $5 first episode of the teen drama is available now on Steam, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and it's on the way to PS4 and PS3 later today. For more on Dontnod's new joint, make some time for our preview. [Image: Square Enix]... Continue Reading

Sega Sammy to cut hundreds of jobs in 'Digital' restructure

Sega Sammy is restructuring to prioritize "Digital Games," a reform that'll see it make job cuts including "soliciting voluntary retirement" for around 300 employees; 120 employees are due to be approached about voluntary retirement next month. Sega of America is among those to be hit by layoffs as it relocates from San Francisco to Southern California.

Sega Sammy plans to now pursue growth in smartphone and PC online gaming, an area that's seen rising results for the company in recent years. Despite the success of some packaged games such as million-seller Alien: Isolation, Sega Sammy's consistently reported favorable results from the likes of Phantasy Star Online 2, Puyo Puyo Quest and Chain Chronicle.

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Watch Marshawn Lynch play Mortal Kombat X, say more than 7 words

Image Yes, this Conan O'Brien "Clueless Gamer" bit features Mortal Kombat X (which, by the by, Ermac was just confirmed for). More importantly, we now know that sportsballer-of-few-words Marshawn Lynch likes to play Toad in Mario Kart, while Rob Gronkowski is all about the Bowser. For several reasons t... Continue Reading

Battlefield Hardline beta test arrives February 3

Hoping to both stress test its servers and drum up an extra bit of pre-release hype, publisher EA has announced plans for a five-day beta test of its imminent cops versus robbers shooter Battlefield Hardline scheduled to begin on February 3.

"There's nothing more valuable to our team than the relationship we have with our community. Their passion feeds our passion and their feedback has definitely helped make Hardline a better game," said Battlefield Hardline executive producer Steve Papoutsis. "We want them to play the hell out of the beta next week and trust that they'll keep that feedback coming so we can continue to fine tune the game."

The beta test will be available on PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and on PC via the Origin digital distribution platform. No purchase is necessary to join the beta, but the file is likely to be a big download, so hopefully you have bandwidth to spare.

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Valve: Steam Workshop creators have earned over $57 million

There's tidy cash to be made in designing virtual items for players on the Steam Workshop. According to a recent Valve announcement, the platform has paid out over $57 million to creators since 2011.

That figure represents items created for three of Valve's most popular games: Team Fortress 2, Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Valve claims the $57 million sum was split between 1,500 creators representing 75 different countries from around the globe. That works out to an average of $38,000 for each creator.

Alongside the financial milestone, Valve has announced plans to launch new curated Workshops for Dungeon Defenders: Eternity and Chivalry: Medieval Warfare, as well new Steam Marketplace analytics tools that should make buying and selling items both easier and more nuanced. For more, visit Steam.

Rovio's head of games flies the coop

Jami Laes has departed Angry Birds developer Rovio where he lead the games division for nearly the past two years, reports Reuters.

Laes was hired in April of 2013 as Rovio's EVP of Games. At the time, he claimed he was a huge fan of Angry Birds and looked forward to building on the franchise's already phenomenal success. "[W]e've only seen a fraction of what can be achieved with great brands like Angry Birds and Bad Piggies and I wanted to be a part of building that story," Laes said.

Since announcing his departure from Rovio, Laes has offered no information on why he left. He hopes to launch a new startup in the near future, but offered no further information on his plans when questioned by Reuters. Laes' departure comes just over a month after Rovio laid off 16 percent of its workforce.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Laes' role will be filled by industry veteran David Byrne.

Conan O'Brien takes a field trip to Minecraft

Image In a promo no doubt aimed at those lucrative younger demographics, talk show host Conan O'Brien transports his co-host, set and musical accompaniment to the wildly popular cubist sandbox known as Minecraft. [Image: Mojang/TBS] ... Continue Reading

Joystiq Deals: Xbox One, Beats by Dre giveaways

If you're on the hunt for free stuff, Joystiq Deals has a pair of giveaways you won't want to miss. This week, we're giving away a free pair of Beats by Dre headphones and an Xbox One bundled with a free copy of Grand Theft Auto 5. Enter today for a chance to win, and be sure to share our contests with your friends on Twitter to increase your odds of winning.

Joystiq Deals is a partnership between AOL and StackSocial. A portion of sales goes to funding this site. Deals are curated by StackSocial independently of the Joystiq editorial team.

Visit exotic locations and grind on them in OlliOlli 2

Image The debut trailer for OlliOlli 2: Welcome To Olliwood (sequel to the addictive skateboarding platformer OlliOlli) promises "bigger tricks, epic new locations" and a "silky new style and flow," alongside locations ranging from Aztec temples to carnivals populated by zombies. [Image: Roll7]... Continue Reading

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