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Endless Legend available now on Steam Early Access

Endless Space developer Amplitude has released its newest game, Endless Legend, on Steam Early Access today. The two games occupy the same universe, but Legend is a 4X fantasy strategy game, whereas its sibling is built around creating a space colony.

Since it is an early access game, it features half the playable factions, with the additions of advanced AI for diplomacy, economics and combat coming in the future. There are many more details on what's included (and missing) on the game's steam page.
[Image: Amplitude]

Ryse gets three maps in 'Duel of Fates' DLC

The third piece of DLC for Crytek's deliberately misspelled gladiatorial combat game, Ryse: Son of Rome, launched today. Titled Duel of Fates, the pack includes two arena round-to-round maps and one survival map, as well as two gladiator skins drawn from the game's single-player mode, the barbarian chief Glott and Marius Titus.

The arena maps, Invictus and Barbarous, challenges players to control landmarks, defend Emperor Nero from attackers and set wicker men ablaze. The maps include underground areas that link stages together. In the Island survival map, players pick apart an endless wave of enemies while dodging a downpour of arrows. The add-on is free for Ryse season pass holders ($19.99, £15.99) on Xbox One, or can be downloaded separately for $8.99 (£4.79).

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Control Hulu on consoles from the comfort of your mobile device

Image Because remote controls are so 2008, those who own an iOS or Android mobile device, along with a PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, will now be able to control Hulu Plus on their console of choice directly from the service's mobile app. [Image: Hulu Plus]... Continue Reading

Minecraft Realms subscription service now available

Mojang has launched its Minecraft Realms subscription service in North America, offering hosting and setup for multiplayer Minecraft worlds starting at $13 per month.

Mojang notes that the service holds particular value for parents, as Minecraft Realms makes it easy to set up a child's individual sandbox world and restrict it to invited players. The subscription fee also covers an automatic backup feature, allowing players to undo unwanted alterations and roll back worlds to a previous saved state.

Up to 10 players can join a Minecraft Realms-hosted world at once, and the service will host minigames and other exclusive in-game events on a regular basis. Discounts are available for users who sign up for a three- or six-month subscription package. The service is currently exclusive to the PC version of Minecraft, though support for Minecraft: Pocket Edition is planned in a forthcoming update.
[Image: Mojang]

Humble Weekly Sale: Dustforce, VVVVVV, Cave Story+, Limbo

The Humble Weekly Sale is bursting with a dozen of games this time around, and five of them are available for whatever price you want: Thomas Was Alone, Puzzle Bots, Dustforce, VVVVVV and Cave Story+.

Add six games for $6: Reus, Limbo, Cthulhu Saves the World, Mutant Mudds Deluxe, Lone Survivor and Element4l. The final game, Teslagrad, is locked under the $10 barrier. This Humble Weekly also has a round of physical merchandise from nerd-merch site Fangamer. For $40, get a shirt and a keychain, and for $100, add on another shirt, a sticker pack and three posters. Plus all the games, of course.

Part of the cash in this bundle goes toward the charity Direct Relief.
[Image: Humble Bundle]

The Girl and the Robot to deliver automaton friendship to PS4

Developer Flying Carpet Games has revealed plans to bring its charming action-adventure game The Girl and the Robot to the PlayStation 4.

As Jess explained last October, Flying Carpet Games is a developer composed of former EA and Gameloft employees. The Girl and the Robot is the studio's first project, and its themes of magic and friendship, when combined with the game's aesthetic and leading odd couple, seem to resemble a whimsical, fairytale riff on the PlayStation 2 classic Ico. What's more, the game is adorable. Take a look at the early trailer above for proof.

Though initially planned for release on the Wii U and Steam, the latest update to the game's Kickstarter page breaks the news that Sony has greenlit The Girl and the Robot for release on the PlayStation 4. Flying Carpet Games has yet to determine a solid release date for The Girl and the Robot, but the studio hopes to launch the game at some point during 2014.
[Image: Flying Carpet Games]

Unreal Engine 4 hits Xbox One, PS4 in update 4.1

With today's update 4.1, Unreal Engine 4 is available to developers at no additional charge on PS4 and Xbox One. Epic is running Unreal Engine 4 as a subscription-based service, for $19 a month and 5 percent of gross revenue from any commercial product made with the engine.

Unreal Engine 4 already runs on PS4 and Xbox One, but today's update makes it easier for new developers to secure a license on these consoles. Microsoft notes that now its independent developers in the ID@Xbox program can access Unreal Engine 4. Developers must still register with Sony and Microsoft; see the rundown of registration steps here.

With update 4.1, Unreal Engine 4 now supports previous- and current-gen consoles, PC, Mac, SteamOS, Linux, iOS, Android, Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus.
[Image: Epic Games]

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PlayStation Plus in May: Puppeteer, Skullgirls and more

In May, PS Plus members get six games free across PS4, PS3 and Vita. On PS4, it's the wacky-waving flailing-spaghetti-arm adventure game, Stick it to the Man, which hits US PS4s on May 6. On PS3, Plus members can look forward to Puppeteer, Pro Evolution Soccer 2014 and Skullgirls Encore. Vita gets Surge Deluxe and Limbo.

That's a lot of men, women and puppets on PlayStation devices (plus quite a few Ps). In Europe, PlayStation Plus members get Stick it to the Man, Puppeteer, Payday 2, Muramasa Rebirth and Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational in May.

Minecraft to hit PS4, Vita in Q2/Q3, can transfer PS3 worlds

Earlier this month, Minecraft developer Mojang announced May 16 (North America) and May 14 (Europe) release dates for the game's boxed PS3 edition. In the comments of the PlayStation Blog announcement, Mojang's Owen Hill noted that the developer is "aiming for Q2/Q3" of this year for the PS4 and Vita versions.

While Hill mentioned that Mojang will have news on Cross Buy and PS3-to-PS4 upgrade options in the near future, he did note that the developer hopes to include world transferring features. "The plan is to enable users to transfer from PS3 to PS4," he wrote. "We're still working out how it'll work with the Vita version."

Mojang also recently showed off the PC version's upcoming world customization options, which will arrive in an update down the road. The sand-blocks adventure game finds success in every game box it lands in, as the developer recently said it surpassed 21 million downloads for Minecraft: Pocket Edition.
[Image: Mojang]

Machinarium dev's beautiful bug game, Botanicula, on iPad May 1

Botanicula lands on iPad on May 1, after hitting PC and Mac in 2012. From Machinarium developer Amanita Design, Botanicula is a point-and-click puzzler and exploration game told from the perspective of five adorable bug friends.

The tiny creatures must outrun and outsmart a barrage of parasites creeping around their treehouse – there's one seed left and the fearsome fivesome must save it from the evil invaders. Life on a small scale is just as dramatic as life on large land.
[Image: Amanita Design]

Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed goes free on iOS, Android

Sega's franchise-spanning mascot racer Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is now available as a free download on iOS and Android following its latest update.

Released earlier this year at $4.99, the mobile version of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed adapts a majority of its content from the game's previously released console and PC ports, and launched with Shenmue's Ryo as a playable character. The game retains its microtransaction-based approach to progression after its free-to-play shift, with additional characters, tracks, and higher difficulties available as in-app purchases.

The newly updated mobile version of All-Stars Racing Transformed improves Bluetooth controller support and overall stability, and introduces replay-sharing via Everyplay. The next update, due to launch on April 29, will add Disney's Wreck-It Ralph and Metal Sonic as playable characters.

[Image: Sega]

Omni VR treadmill gets $3 million in seed funding

Following Virtuix's announcement earlier this month that its virtual reality treadmill will arrive in July for its early adopters, the company revealed this morning that it received seed funding. Virtuix received $3 million to "expand production and distribution of the Omni," the $500 platform that has players strapping in to a harness and wearing special shoes to run, walk and jump using their real-life legs in games. The seed investment round was led by Tekton Ventures and Maveron.

One of the other investors onboard with the Omni is Radical Investments, a venture capital firm founded by Mark Cuban. Virtuix took a trip to the entrepreneurial ABC reality television series Shark Tank, which Cuban stars on, in an episode that aired in December. In it, Cuban pointed out that Virtuix's Omni is "pretty much based around Oculus Rift" and that "as Oculus Rift goes, you guys go."

Virtuix valued its idea at $20 million, which Cuban and the rest of the cast didn't buy into. "I could see you creating 20 million in sales, 25 million in sales with this, but you're competing just like headsets are going to be competing," he said. "You haven't told me that there's a way to get to 50 million in sales." Given Facebook's recent acquisition of Oculus VR for $2 billion, which was cleared by the FTC this week, Cuban now appears to see more hope for the Omni. Aside from private investors, the other groups that funded Virtuix's efforts this week are Scentan Ventures, Scout Ventures and StartCaps Ventures.
[Image: Virtuix]

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Help fund an oral history of EVE Online

Andrew Groen, a games journalist whose work has appeared on such prestigious outlets as Wired and Ars Technica, wants to demystify CCP Games' epic space opera EVE Online, and he needs your help to do it.

For the past six months, Groen has been gathering information and conducting interviews with EVE's most prominent community members, with the goal of compiling his research into a lengthy account of the past decade of EVE Online's existence. For most, EVE Online is a game that only registers when word spreads of a massive space battle or a particularly dramatic bit of interstellar intrigue leads to the loss of thousands of real-world dollars, but Groen hopes to crack open the game's thorny exterior and make it more accessible to the average person, while also building the first detailed history of the virtual universe. "I'm writing this because there is simply no way for people to learn the history of EVE, and it's getting more difficult every day," Groen writes.

Those worried that Groen's book will be a long-form fluff piece devoted to making the game and developer CCP Games look good should rest easy. Groen claims to have spoken to CCP, and the studio agrees that it should have no oversight over his work. Of course, that also means that CCP will not be funding this book, so Groen has turned to the online masses for the $12,500 he requires to complete the project. Though the fundraiser launched just this morning, Groen has already attracted plenty of support, which bodes well for the success of the tome. For more information and to toss money into the ever-expanding pot, pay a visit to Kickstarter.
[Image: CCP Games]

Goat Simulator to rampage across the UK in boxed release

The only thing more fun than a barrel full of monkeys is a box full of goats, and that's exactly what Coffee Stain Studios has planned for the citizens of the UK.

Koch Media, Goat Simulator's UK publisher, broke the news this morning, saying that the physical version of the Internet's favorite antisocial livestock simulator will reach retailers on May 23. No additional content is planned for the physical release, but buyers will receive a box emblazoned with the face of Satan's most cuddly terrestrial envoy. Notably lacking from the announcement was any word on what price point might be attached to the physical release.

In addition to word of this physical version of Goat Simulator, developer Coffee Stain Studios has detailed the game's upcoming 1.1 patch with a video that is sadly exclusive to Facebook. The highlight, both of this clip and likely of your day, is goat parkour. If those two words didn't immediately send you scrambling for the "Play" button, you're probably dead. Joystiq offers its condolences.
[Image: Coffee Stain Studios]

Joystiq Streams: Giveaways and The Wolf Among Us [UPDATE: Relive the stream!]

[NOTE: Part 2 of the stream archive is after the break.]

Joystiq Streams is already the stuff of legend, so it's no wonder we're drawn to Bill Willingham's long running Fables comic book series. Like its supernatural stars Snow White, Bigby Wolf, and Cinderella, we, too, are nigh-on immortal and in constant combat with evil despots forcing us to live exiled in New York City. That last part isn't true. What is true is that we'll be playing the very first episode The Wolf Among Us on Joystiq Streams alongside its creators and we'll be giving away heaps of codes for both that episode and Steam season passes.

Tune in right here to this post or the Joystiq Twitch channel at 4PM EST as we stream The Wolf Among Us: Faith alongside Telltale Games producer Chris Schroyer and actor Adam Harrington, the voice behind Bigby Wolf.

Richard Mitchell will play, Susan Arendt will chat, and in the Twitch chat feed Anthony John Agnello will be giving away three codes for Episode 1 on Xbox 360, three codes for the episode on PlayStation 3, and three full Wolf Among Us season passes for Steam. Codes are first come, first serve so get up in there quick.

Joystiq Streams broadcasts live every Tuesday and Thursday at 4PM EST at
[Images: Telltale Games]

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MGS: Ground Zeroes platform-exclusive content free for all in May

Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes' console-exclusive content will soon launch as free DLC across all available platforms, Metal Gear Solid series producer Hideo Kojima revealed this week on the Kojima Productions podcast.

Ground Zeroes premiered last month with the Classic Snake skin and the "Deja Vu" mission on PlayStation platforms, while the Xbox 360 and Xbox One versions featured the "Jamais Vu" mission starring Metal Gear Solid: Revengeance's cybernetic Raiden.

The date "5/1" accompanies the announcement, though it's currently unknown whether this is a worldwide DLC release date or a launch date for the DLC in Japan.

[Image: Konami]

Take an Expedition into Titanfall's War Games map

Following an initial reveal earlier this month, developer Respawn Entertainment has now graced us with a handful of screenshots and solid information on the War Games map included in Titanfall's upcoming "Expedition" DLC pack.

Unlike the game's other maps, War Games isn't real. That is, it's even less real than the video game's other maps as it takes place within the same simulator players strolled through during Titanfall's training mission. As a result, the developers were able to craft imaginative structures with a focus toward acrobatics without having to worry about things like design congruency and sensible architectural layouts. This virtual setting also allowed Respawn's level designers to incorporate level battlefields for the game's titular giant robots, free of debris that might distract from the task of blowing apart opposing robots.

For more, pay a visit to the Titanfall website where designer Jason McCord offers his take on War Games. This map, along with two others, will debut in the Expedition DLC at some point in May, at a price of $10.

Report: Facebook head sought Project Morpheus demo before buying Oculus VR

Prior to spending $2 billion on a recent surprise purchase of Oculus VR, Facebook's boy king Mark Zuckerberg took Sony's Project Morpheus headset for a spin, according to PlayStation executive Guy Longworth.

"I wish he bought ours," Longworth said during a presentation at the ongoing Games Marketing Summit. Longworth recalls confusion over why Zuckerberg would request a demo of the Project Morpheus headset, though following the FTC's decision to allow the Oculus VR acquisition, it all makes sense. "All the folks at Oculus have got big smiles on today," he added.

Despite missing out on that massive pay day, Longworth claims Sony is still very keen on the future potential of virtual reality. "If you think about VR, not just in terms of gaming, I think wearable technology is a huge trend that's going to continue," Longworth said. "I think that being able to have experiences that are truly deep and immersive - that it somehow makes you feel you are there - is something that people want."

"If you could really deliver that in the future, that would be huge," he added, while making no mention of how Sony intends to deliver on this "huge" potential.
[Image: Sony]

New Nintendo eShop releases: NES Remix 2, Child of Light, Yoshi's Island GBA

This week's eShop update is a big tease. NES Remix 2? Not out 'til tomorrow. Child of Light? Next week, on April 29. At least you can play Mario Golf: World Tour today - in a demo.

As for what's launching today, there's the last of April's Game Boy Advance games in Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3, and a few other bits and bobs too - as ever, we've got the full list of new releases after the break. Finally, there's also a new two-week sale on Joindots' games, including Secret Agent Files: Miami and 3D MahJongg.
[Image: Ubisoft]

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Hitman Go review: The game of death

Hitman Go is the one thing previous games in the series have never been: subtle. In earlier outings, directing Agent 47 through each gruesome assassination occasionally required some subtle thinking. Do I hide in that dumpster? Do I dress up like a clown and sneak through the kitchen? But no matter how quietly or sneakily you offed your targets, you were still playing as a bald man with a barcode tattooed on the back of his head. "Ave Maria" plays every time you garrote some hardened criminal. Hitman games, from the PS2 era up to 2012's Absolution, are silly, taxing, and deft at giving you options, but they're about as subtle as Godzilla's Tokyo vacations.

Square-Enix Montreal's new iOS and Android spin on the series, meanwhile, is softly smart and marvelously complex despite its simple exterior. On the face, Hitman Go seems to be all style and no substance, devoid of the chewy, strategic flexibility offered by the console games. Rather than mimic the polygonal 3D style of Hitman as Square-Enix has done with other iPad-ized console/PC spin-offs like Deus Ex: The Fall, Square-Enix Montreal presents Go as a board game, complete with wooden boards and tiny plastic figures that look like tokens straight out of a Risk box. The motif is appealingly sleek, replacing the gaudiness of I/O Interactive's Absolution with primary colors and white space. Even the menus where you select which level to play – the initial release comes with five "boards," the last of which is actually based on Hitman: Blood Money – look hot, with the little mocked up board game box inviting you to paw at the touch screen.

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The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast Special: Games for Change & Star Citizen interviews

Latest episode: Friday, April 18th, 2014

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