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Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris UK pre-order bonuses announced

Square Enix revealed a series of retailer-specific pre-order bonuses it has in store for Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris in the UK, including a selection of franchise crossover character skins and items that grant in-game perks.

Players who pre-order Temple of Osiris at Amazon.co.uk will receive the Deus Ex Pack, which includes a unique combat rifle and an Augment ring that gives a 10 percent discount on in-game treasure chests. GAME customers get the Lara Croft Legend Pack, which bundles Tomb Raider Legend-themed skins, a golden pistol, and a health-regenerating Legend ring.

Pre-order the digital version of Temple of Osiris and you'll get the Hitman Pack, granting access to Agent 47's Silverballers, unique character skins, and a ring that deals increased weapon damage. Pre-orders are available up until the game's UK launch on December 9. A North American release date has not been announced.

[Image: Square Enix]

Guild Wars 2 retools commander icons, fees

GW2As Massively's Anatoli Ingram discussed in his Flameseeker Chronicles column yesterday, Guild Wars 2's September feature pack will include significant changes to the commander system that marks player volunteers as leaders on various world maps.

After the patch, commander tags will become account-bound rather than character-bound, meaning your newbie Asura can strut around Metrica Province as if she owns the place. Consequently, tags will triple in price to 300 gold. Players will also be able to customize their icons with spiffy new colors intended to "facilitate a range of tactical uses" like organizing groups in PvE and PvP.

Already a commander? Lucky you: ArenaNet says you'll be grandfathered into the new system for no extra fee. The studio plans to consider "possibilities for recognizing experienced and prestigious commanders" in the future.

Joystiq Giveaway: Back to school with Razer PC gear

Graduation is a distant memory. Middle school? High school? Undergrad? Daycare? Everyone's leaving their old life behind and getting ready to build a new front of educational righteousness in the near future. Just like mom asked you to, you've made a checklist of necessities. New phone case to prevent backpack breakage! New writing utensils of varying stain power! One used copy of Lord of the Flies! A totally sweet new PC that you told your entire extended family was for that design class but it's really for Dota 2!

Alright, that last one is pretty hard to swing. Building a killer PC with all the accoutrements you can imagine is a difficult task. While we can't help with the rig itself, Joystiq and Razer can assist with some accessories. In the spirit of our Back to School feature, we're giving away one Razer Adaro Wireless headset worth $150, one Razer Naga mouse worth $80, and one Razer Black Widow Ultimate 2014 worth $140.

All you have to do to enter is like Joystiq on Facebook using the Rafflecopter widget below before 10AM EST on Wednesday, August 27th. Three random winners will be selected to win the goods.
Note: Contest is only open to legal residents of the United States and Canada and are 13 years of age or older.

Joystiq Deals: Last call for Duracell battery bundle

Today is your last chance to pick up a year's supply of Duracell AA and AAA batteries through Joystiq Deals. Normally priced at $148, our bundle of 100 AA and 50 AAA batteries is $56 until tomorrow, making it a great time to refill your supply before your next marathon Mario Kart 8 multiplayer session.

Joystiq Deals also offers a lifetime of web developer training through OSTraining this week, delivering more than $2,000 worth of online courses for only $79. OSTraining currently offers over 1,800 tutorial videos covering WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, SEO, HTML, CSS, PHP, and other key topics, with new classes launching every week.

If you're on the hunt for Xbox digital bargains, you'll want to check out this week's Deals With Gold lineup, which offers price drops on Bully Scholarship Edition, LA Noire, Grand Theft Auto 5, and multiple Call of Duty games through next Monday.


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.

NHL 15 hits the ice with six game modes, EASHL absent

Publisher EA has unveiled a list of the game modes to be included in the upcoming hockey simulation NHL 15, and it's pretty much exactly what you'd expect from a modern EA Sports production.

When you absolutely, must play hockey this very second, NHL 15 offers the de rigueur "Play Now" mode. For more depth and persistent stat tracking, NHL 15 includes the "Be A Pro" and "Be A GM" modes, which allow players to assume the roles of either a pro hockey player or a team's general manager, respectively. "Online Versus" is exactly what it sounds like: An online multiplayer mode that pits two (or more) players against one another. "Hockey Ultimate Team" adds a virtual card-based collectible wrinkle to NHL 15's on-ice gameplay, while "NHL Moments Live" allows users to watch real hockey players compete in the real National Hockey League. Notably absent from the list are the fan-favorite six-on-six EASHL mode and the Connected GM mode.

EA claims that while these are the game modes that will ship with NHL 15, the development team may change things as time goes on. "As part of the move to next generation consoles, our team is focused on delivering significant content updates post launch," reads a message from producer Sean Ramjagsingh. "Our commitment is to continue to optimize the gameplay experience for you in the months to come, as well as deliver new game content throughout the year for free."
[Image: EA]

EA Sports Season Ticket, Sports Arena draw to a close

EA Sports Season Ticket, a promotion that grants subscribers early access to EA's numerous sports games alongside discounts on DLC and other perks, is slated to be phased out over the course of the next two years.

In an update to the Season Ticket FAQ, EA has revealed that Season Ticket subscription sales will end in March of 2015, and all Season Ticket benefits will expire in March 2016. There's good news, however, if you don't mind that the service's days are now numbered: To coincide with the announcement, EA has reduced annual subscription rates on the Season Ticket from $25 to $20.

Likewise scheduled for closure is EA Sports Arena, an online matchmaking service designed to connect virtual sports fans to other like-minded players. According to its FAQ, Sports Arena support is scheduled to end in November 2014.

Though EA has yet to confirm the idea, it seems likely that the publisher plans to roll these aging services into its newly-launched EA Access program.
[Image: EA]

Deus Ex writer teams with BioWare designer for Sienna Storm

Sheldon Pacotti, lead writer of Deus Ex, has joined forces with Tony Evans, designer on games like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2, to create an ambitious sci-fi adventure dubbed Sienna Storm.

Described as a "non-linear thriller," Sienna Storm uses sketchy, hand-drawn art to complement a lengthy story and a unique card game mechanic that takes the place of in-game combat. "Fluid situations are executed via an innovative card game mechanic that actuates the intel, gear, and skills you've gathered throughout the game," reads the game's description. "Persuasion is just as important as deduction in this sociopolitical thriller, in which the crucial moves in a dangerous multipolar world truly lie in your hands." Though full details on the card game component remain under wraps, the brief description offered by the developers makes it sound a bit like a less complicated take on Netrunner.

Unlike most crowdfunding projects, which add minor rewards for each funding goal reached, Sienna Storm will reward its backers with an improved development team. Assuming the two stretch goals are reached, the aforementioned developers will be joined by Unreal Tournament composer Alex Brandon and Fallout designer Chris Avellone.

Sienna Storm is seeking $179,000, and has currently raised $2,168. 28 days remain in the game's fundraising drive.
[Image: Digital Knights]

Bungie ordered to recoup Marty O'Donnell's founders' stock

A court-appointed arbitrator has ruled that Bungie must return the founders' stock it stripped from former Halo composer Marty O'Donnell following his contentious dismissal earlier this year, reports VentureBeat.

As our readers are no doubt aware, founders' stock in Bungie is now quite valuable, following the lengthy string of successes the developer has had since it launched Halo on the original Xbox all those years ago. With the upcoming debut of the highly-anticipated, open-universe shooter Destiny, O'Donnell's stock is likely to grow even more valuable. Unfortunately for O'Donnell, despite this ruling, the legal red tape has yet to be cleared away. Bungie can still file an appeal against the arbitration and until a final order is issued O'Donnell isn't in the clear.

This ruling marks the second time an official has sided with O'Donnell in the recent past. About a month ago, O'Donnell was awarded a little over $95,000 that a court ruled was owed the composer as unpaid wages and overtime compensation.
[Image: Bungie]

Castle Crashers dev teases its next game with Earth-shattering bear

The Behemoth, developer of Castle Crashers and Battleblock Theater, is teasing the impending announcement of its next game. Labeled "Game 4" for the time being, its trailer shows an enormous six-legged bear crashing into the Earth as a narrator describes the apocalyptic event that happened as a result. Of course, the narrator couldn't imagine the planet in any state other than in a storm-riddled chaotic mess. The Behemoth revealed that Game 4 is in development for Xbox One in April.

The developer began working on the game's concepts just before launching Battleblock Theater in April 2013. It said the game is "of a genre we haven't covered before and seek to breathe a new flavor into," and that a "lone survivor" prototype emerged during its beginning phases before noting that it may have hinted at its genre in the teaser video. The Behemoth plans on offering a playable demo of Game 4 at PAX Prime in Seattle, which begins next Friday, August 29.
[Image: The Behemoth]

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Joystiq goes back to school

With some of our readers heading back to school, the team at Joystiq started to discuss the games that have mechanics or stories that could apply to standard school curriculum.

Of course there are obvious choices: the Civilization series can teach players about history and planning, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego can teach players geography and critical thinking. But here are a few less obvious choices for you to consider playing while you try to get a leg up on that school work.

Have some less obvious suggestions for back to school video games? Tell us in the comments and we may it to our featured gallery!

Blizzard: Microsoft demanded 1080p for Diablo 3 on Xbox One

Microsoft spurred a last-minute resolution bump for Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition prior to its recent launch for the Xbox One, Blizzard production director John Hight told Eurogamer at Gamescom.

"We did find it challenging early on to get it to 1080p," Hight said. "That's why we made the decision to drop to 900. That's what we demoed and were showing around E3 time. And Microsoft was just like, 'This is unacceptable. You need to figure out a way to get a better resolution.' So we worked with them directly, they gave us a code update to let us get to full 1080p."

Blizzard announced during E3 that the Xbox One version of Diablo 3 would be presented in 900p, placing it at a disadvantage compared to the 1080p PlayStation 4 edition. A day-one patch pushed the Xbox One version's resolution to 1080p at launch, though Eurogamer notes that the update introduces slight framerate drops in busy gameplay areas that weren't present at 900p.

[Image: Blizzard]

Marvel meets mayhem in Disney Infinity 2.0's Toy Box trailer

Image Marvel's superheroes invade Disney Infinity's sandbox-styled Toy Box mode in the latest trailer for Disney Infinity 2.0, showcasing the game's expanded options for user-generated content. Toy Box 2.0 allows players to create detailed interior areas and minigames that take advantage of... Continue Reading

New Alone in the Dark, Haunted House games in Atari's horror revival

Despite recent strife, Atari's 2014 offensive continues with upcoming reveals of new Alone in the Dark and Haunted House games. Both games are coming to PC this fall, and Atari plans to reveal them behind closed doors at next week's PAX Prime conference in Seattle.

Alone in the Dark: Illumination marks the first entry in the horror series since the 2008 release, which failed to set the world alight despite its hi-tech fire physics. Illumination is in development at Pure FPS, a Californian studio with little info to go on except it holds the trademark to Rekoil, a game made by Plastic Piranha. Consider one of our eyebrows raised.

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Second Trials Fusion DLC takes to the skies

Trials Fusion received a new DLC pack today titled Empire of the Sky, which adds nine tracks to the game: six classic trials tracks, one Supercross multiplayer track, the "Freefall" skill game and the "High Society" FMX track. Empire of the Sky also includes 18 track challenges and dozens of new track editor objects, such as anti-gravity technology and resort homes.

Empire of the Sky is the second of six DLC packs that will launch in Trials Fusion's "first season," the first being July's Riders of the Rustlands. The latest pack follows the same pricing model as the first: $4.99 (£3.99 / €4.99) as a stand-alone download or free for the $20 season pass holders. Those with the season pass will receive all six DLC packs, which are all expected to launch by May 2015. Trials Fusion reached the one million mark in sales across all platforms (Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360 and PC) as of late July.
[Image: Ubisoft]

EVE Online lottery site SOMER Blink shutting down [Updated]

Spin the wheel, but you will no longer win.
Fans of popular EVE Online lottery site SOMER Blink received some bad news yesterday. After four years of operation, the site is going inactive, with a shutdown that its front page calls a temporary and perhaps permanent hiatus. All players with prizes waiting will be able to claim those prizes, and all ISK in the system will be returned to players over the next several months, starting with those players who had over 5 million ISK in their accounts.

What led to this shutdown? The site administrators claim that CCP created a toxic environment and reversed previous statements without warning, resulting in a situation which made the site no longer enjoyable to work with. CCP has issued its own statement, expressing regret at the loss of a community site while stating that the promotion that caused the controversy "was not representative of the original proposal that was brought to CCP." The community team will provide further information soon, although there will be no interference in the refund process.

[Thank to Dab for the tip!]

[Update: CCP has today commented in detail on the situation. We've included CCP Falcon's full statement below.]

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Super Joystiq Podcast Special: Gamescom 2014 Day 5

Latest episode: Friday, August 15th, 2014

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