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Kalypso unveils Tropico 5 Limited Special Edition, pre-orders now available


As if ruling your own banana republic with an iron fist wasn't tempting enough, publisher Kalypso has announced a swag-packed special edition of its upcoming island nation simulator Tropico 5.

Alongside the core game, Tropico 5 Limited Special Edition includes an additional map for Sandbox mode, an "authentic" Tropico passport, a postcard from the faux island and an El Presidente avatar costume. Best of all, you won't have to shell out extra cash for these items. According to Kalypso, the Tropico 5 Limited Special Edition will be available at no additional charge to anyone who pre-orders the game or purchases a boxed copy at launch.

If you'd prefer a digital copy, you can now pre-order Tropico from Steam or the Kalypso launcher. While this version will lack the items included in the Limited Special Edition of the game, the digital release comes with its own bonuses including a separate, exclusive map for Sandbox mode and a "Businessman" avatar costume. To further sweeten the pot, those who pre-order Tropico 5 before May 23 will receive a 10 percent discount, though that price break jumps to 15 percent if you order the game directly through Kalypso.

Tropico 5 is slated to make its PC debut on May 23, with Xbox 360 and Mac incarnations following at some point this Summer. A PlayStation 4 version of Tropico 5 is also in the works, and barring catastrophe should be available this Fall.
[Image: Kalypso Media]

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March NPD: PS4 leads hardware sales, Titanfall rules software

PlayStation 4 console
The PS4 sold more than the Xbox One or any other console in March – making it the hardware leader for the third consecutive month – market research group NPD reports. The Xbox One and PS4 pushed US hardware sales in March up 78 percent from 2013, from $222 million to $395 million. Overall game sales in March were up 3 percent year-over-year.

Five months in, the PS4 and Xbox One are out-performing initial sales of the PS3 and Xbox 360, NPD Group's Liam Callahan says: "When comparing the first five months of sales for the Xbox One and PS4 to their predecessor's first five months, total Xbox One and PS4 sales are up close to 60 percent."

Xbox One has shipped 5 million Xbox One consoles, with 311,000 sales in the US in March alone, Microsoft announced today: "Of course, we're just getting started with this generation and the months ahead will bring several announcements we think you'll love. The team will continue to deliver regular improvements and new features based on your feedback through frequent system updates .... We can't wait to share more games with you in June at E3."

On April 16, Sony announced that PS4 sales had passed 7 million.

Titanfall was the top-selling game for the month, launching for Xbox One and PC on March 11. It is the second-highest selling game for Xbox One after just one month on the market. It was followed by Infamous: Second Son, South Park: The Stick of Truth, Call of Duty: Ghosts and Dark Souls 2. See the complete game sales list below. On PC, Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls sold the most on a unit and dollar-amount basis.

Software sales declined 27 percent overall. "Year-over-year sales of every platform declined from March 2013, with the exception of the PS Vita, which saw sales grow due to the release of Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster," Callahan said.

Sales of video game accessories in March rose 4 percent, led by sales of controllers for Xbox One and PS4, NPD says. Other notable accessories included Turtle Beach headphones and headsets for next-gen consoles. Turtle Beach sales grew 50 percent year-over-year.
[Image: Sony]

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PSA: Terraria upgraded to version 1.2 on Xbox 360, PS3, Vita

As expected, the console versions of Re-Logic's 2D sandbox platformer Terraria have been updated to version 1.2 today. The update brings a large list of bug fixes as well as improved gameplay mechanics and graphical changes to the PS3, Xbox 360 and Vita versions, such as a brighter sun and darker midnight portions of the game. Version 1.2's change log is a "direct copy from the PC change log with console exclusive changes added to them," putting the console versions more on par with the PC game.

The game has found massive success for Re-Logic on all platforms, topping 1.3 million downloads on iOS and Android and one million downloads across Xbox 360, PS3 and PS Vita as of late March. It first launched on PC in May 2011 and just hit Vita in December. The game's creator, Andrew Spinks, discussed plans for a sequel to Terraria in October, noting that it wasn't in development at the time.
[Image: 505 Games]

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Halo composer Martin O'Donnell's music remains in Destiny after Bungie departure

After the surprise announcement that longtime Bungie composer Martin O'Donnell had been terminated, Joystiq confirmed with the studio's COO Pete Parsons that O'Donnell's music remains in Destiny. We were on hand at Bungie for a preview event, where Parsons told us, "Even the music you heard yesterday was from Marty and Mike Salvatori and C. Paul Johnson. All of their music is in." O'Donnell has collaborated with Michael Salvatori on the Halo series soundtrack for years, and more recently with Bungie sound designer and composer C. Paul Johnson.

Earlier this week, O'Donnell tweeted that Bungie's board of directors fired him "without cause" on April 11. Bungie community manager David Dague responded, saying O'Donnell and the studio parted "as friends," and wished him luck "in all his future endeavors." Later on the same day, Parsons addressed O'Donnell's departure, saying, "At Bungie, we don't take that kind of thing lightly. We don't make decisions lightly. We're a team that's committed to making an amazing game, set in an amazing universe."
[Image: Activision]

Disney Infinity 2.0 arrives this August with Marvel heroes [Update]

Update: D23 has since posted a correction, noting it "erroneously reported about the launch of the next chapter of Disney Infinity" and that the information it provided was incorrect. It added that further information on the future of the series will be revealed on April 30.

Original story:

Disney Infinity 2.0 is slated to launch this August, according to a since-removed snippet from Disney's official fan club site, D23. While the D23 blog entry in question is still available to view, a cached version of it notes that the Disney Infinity follow-up "is coming in August 2014, and a teaser trailer can be viewed at Marvel.com," likely referencing the teaser posted by Marvel earlier this month.

"The teaser promises such Marvel-ous additions to the game as familiar Marvel characters, objects, and vehicles-the possibilities are infinite," the site continued. The previous sandbox-style adventure game from Avalanche Software did wonders for Disney Interactive, driving its revenue to $403 million in the first fiscal quarter of 2014. The company also saw losses in Q2 2013 and Q3 2013 to the tune of $54 million and $58 million, respectively. That led to layoffs in its games and Internet divisions in March that numbered 700, at which point Disney said it plans to scale back annual game output "by as much as 50 percent."

We've reached out to Disney to confirm the release window for Disney Infinity 2.0 and will update as we learn more.
[Image: Disney]

Deadlight now free for Xbox Live Gold members

As promised, the Tequila Works-developed survival game, Deadlight, is the latest freebie for Xbox Live Gold members. The Xbox 360 game – regularly priced at $15 – will remain free until April 30.

In her review of Deadlight, Joystiq's Jess Conditt said the game "shines in its detailed world-building," though its gameplay "fails to live up to the standard" set by the game's "glorious" art direction.

The Xbox Live Games with Gold program offers two free titles per month to Live subscribers. Earlier this month users were offered a free copy of Hitman: Absolution. Unlike the program's PlayStation counterpart, players can continue to enjoy any games they have downloaded if their Live subscription lapses.
[Image: Tequila Works]

The latest Rocksmith 2014 DLC is Garbage (in a good way)



You're not paranoid, Rocksmith 2014 owners: Ubisoft does indeed have more DLC coming your way, and this time it's three hit singles from '90s grunge band, Garbage. Those looking to relive the glory days of Clinton, Beanie Babies and denim overalls can learn to play "Only Happy When It Rains," "I Think I'm Paranoid" and "Stupid Girl."

Songs are available for $2.99 purchased individually, or for $7.99 when purchased as a pack. And don't worry, you don't need to be a '90s kid to get this - everyone with access to Xbox Live, the PSN or Steam can download the songs now.
[Image: Ubisoft]

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Final Skylanders Swap Force character debuting next week at Times Square

Hundreds of ravenous Skylanders fans will swarm the streets of New York next week to herald the arrival of final Swap Force series character Doom Stone during a special giveaway event at Times Square.

On Wednesday, April 23, the first 500 customers who line up at Toys 'R' Us Times Square will receive a free Skylanders toy and a chance to own Doom Stone before the figure is released to the public at large. Costumed Skylanders characters will also be in attendance, giving players the chance to meet some of their questing buddies in real life.

Attendees are advised not to break costumed employees in half and attach them to other Swap Force characters. They probably wouldn't appreciate that.

[Image: Activision]

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Bethesda under fire from barbed wire industry, reports The Onion

Image The Evil Within publisher Bethesda Softworks is under fire from the barbed wire lobby for its portrayal of the industry's spiked resource, The Onion has learned. Remember: The Onion. [Image: Bethesda]... Continue Reading

Tackle 'Son of the Crawmerax' in final Borderlands 2 DLC

Developer Gearbox Software has released its final piece of Borderlands 2 DLC. Headhunter 5: Sir Hammerlock Versus the Son of the Crawmerax is available now via Steam, PlayStation Network and the Xbox Live Marketplace for $2.99.

The content sends players to Wam Bam Island to partake in the largest Headhunter DLC mission released, according to a 2K blog post. "At the end of your adventure, you will battle a foe that may look familiar – Crawmerax Jr., the son of the great crab worm from The Secret Armory of General Knoxx add-on from the original Borderlands."

The content now shelves the Borderlands sequel, giving developer Gearbox ample time to focus its efforts on the next installment of the game: Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel.

Successfully completing the Headhunter 5: Sir Hammerlock Versus the Son of the Crawmerax DLC (boy, that's a mouthful) will allow players to wear a shrunken version of the final enemy's head like a hat. If swanky travel duds are more of an incentive, each character will net a beach-themed skin as part of the content. Taking on Handsome Jack in an "Aloha shirt"? Say no more.
[Image: Gearbox]

Fable Anniversary lead designer exits Lionhead

Fable Anniversary lead designer Ted Timmins has announced his departure from Lionhead Studios. In a multi-tweet explanation of his exit, Timmins said the Microsoft-owned company has been "such an integral part" of his life. Citing that his time at Lionhead made up more than one third of his life, "it's a good time for change."

Timmins' first project with Lionhead was the original Xbox action-role playing game Fable in 2004. Microsoft purchased the studio in 2006. Timmins thanked former Lionhead boss Peter Molyneux for establishing the company that would "give a spotty 18-year-old with no talent or qualifications a chance."

"There's also something quite special that Fable 1 was the first game I was a part of, and Fable Anniversary is my last," Timmins wrote.
[Image: Lionhead]

UK chain GAME to close dedicated Xbox store

GAME and Microsoft deemed the UK retailer's Xbox store a success, after confirming to MCV the London outlet closes its doors later this month. As MCV notes, the store opened in June 2013 on a short-term lease and with a focus of boosting Xbox One sales at launch.

"The short-term contract location for the dedicated Xbox store has given us real insight into what consumers expect from the next generation of retail," said GAME Stores Director Dave Howard told MCV. "We have implemented Xbox sections in all of our stores - we have taken all the best of the Xbox store into over 320 GAME stores around the UK. Customers really showed an appetite for hands-on experience, interactive displays and a way to digitally access Xbox Live content. We will continue to innovate our stores with Microsoft."

Pop-up stores for launches are nothing new in London: Ubisoft trotted one out for a game a few years ago, Q Entertainment's Child of Eden. While that game was arguably good enough to warrant its own store, it really could've done with 100 more.
[Image: GAME]

Games so bad they're good: Far Cry 2

I was invited to be on the "Games So Bad They're Good" panel at PAX East, but a scheduling conflict prevented me from taking part. Fortunately, my Editor in Chief, Ludwig Kietzmann, was ready and willing to take my place. His selection, Far Cry 2, took more than a few people by surprise - the reaction on Twitter went something like "Are you crazy? Far Cry 2 is awesommmmeeeeee!" His reasoning was ... unusual, to say the least, so we're reprinting his argument. These are the notes he used for his presentation, exactly as he used them, thus the atypical format.

For the record, my choice was going to be Phantasy Star Online. I think Luddy won this one.
--Susan

I tried to be considerate about this, and cognizant of why bad qualities can lead to pleasure.

The thing about bad movies like Plan 9 is that you're looking at an event so awkward and terrible for the people involved that you want to instinctually stop them and protect them, but you can't because it's already committed to film.

It's too late to stop the tragedy, so now you are allowed to enjoy it.

In a game, if your actions don't align with your expectations or what the game is about, it's frustrating.

Most games are good despite their bad qualities, like story and controls, and not because of them.

At first I thought: Okay, what about games that give the player all the power and then back away?

Is that bad game design? Is God of War so bad, because they let you rip out a monster's medulla oblongata and then bash their head in with it and then you're like, "This violence is a bit mindless isn't it?"

Or, what about games that overcomplicate and abstract simple, physical actions, like QWOP, Surgeon Simulator and Octodad?

Then I had an epiphany, I yelled, "Eureka! "and someone said, "Shh, this is a library, keep your revelations to yourself."

I'm going with Far Cry 2, and here's why.

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Trials Fusion review: Lean to live


We've all had our secret victories in the war against wobble: freely standing in the shower on one foot while washing the other, or rejecting the easy-mode handrails of a jostling train. Trials Fusion is about those quick, instinctual corrections you make – or fail to make – when there's a bump in the road.

Balance is divine in Trials Fusion, and mastering it makes you a god on a motorcycle. But that's jumping ahead to the conclusion of the journey; this story of a tenacious man driving with abandon over hills and valleys, trying not to fall his little face off.

There's a lot to think about as you constantly fiddle with your speed and your driver's posture in a world of steep angles and dangerous pits, and yet it feels thoughtless in the moment. You just know it in your gut: You need to lean forward to keep the bike on this incline. Almost there, almost - oh that's too much acceleration, you're lifting up front. You can get out of this, you can bring it back, just wiggle a bit and – nope. You've gone and done the banana peel again. Now your bike is upside down and crushing your bones.

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CoD: Ghosts DLC adds Snoop Dogg voice pack and other, less awesome, stuff



Infinity Ward is launching DLC for Call of Duty: Ghosts on Xbox platforms that will add narration to multiplayer matches by the one and only Snoop Dogg. As you terrorize the battlefield, Snoop becomes your own personal hype man, which sounds like just about the most amazing thing in the world. Want something a little gruffer? A voice pack featuring Full Metal Jacket drill instructor R. Lee Ermey is also in the works. Each DLC pack is priced at $2.99.

IW is launching a number of new customization DLC packs for weaponry featured in Ghosts, as well. Continuing to show its friendliness towards all things 420, Ghosts players can purchase the puntastic Blunt Force Personalization Pack, which delivers "chronic lethality" camo, a reticle, patch, player card and background. The Blunt Force pack and other customization packages are available for $1.99.

Finally, the latest set of DLC features player skins, one of which features past CoD heroes Soap and Ghost. According to the Call of Duty blog, customization DLC packages "are non-transferable and cannot be carried forward or backward" between last generation's console and the new Xbox One.

All DLC will launch on April 22 for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
[Image: Activision-Blizzard]

Halo, Destiny composer O'Donnell says he was fired 'without cause' [Update: Bungie COO Pete Parsons responds]

Halo series and Destiny composer Martin 'Marty' O'Donnell is no longer working for Bungie, and he claims the studio's directors fired him "without cause" last Friday, April 11.

O'Donnell tweeted the news this morning, and shortly after Bungie responded on its blog. Community Manager David Dague said the studio and O'Donnell parted ways "as friends."

"For more than a decade, Marty O'Donnell filled our worlds with unforgettable sounds and soundtracks, and left an indelible mark on our fans," wrote Dague. "Today, as friends, we say goodbye. We know that wherever his journey takes him, he will always have a bright and hopeful future. We wish him luck in all his future endeavors."

We've reached out to Bungie for further details.

O'Donnell's departure is certainly a surprise given his stock with Halo and Bungie fans, especially with Destiny rapidly approaching its release date of September 9. The veteran composer had collaborated with former Beatle Paul McCartney on a "musical prequel" to Destiny, titled Music of the Spheres. It has yet to be released.

Update: Speaking to a group of journalists at a studio event (keep your eyes on Joystiq for Destiny preview coverage soon), Bungie COO Pete Parsons made the following statement. "I'm sure many of you have heard the news about Marty O'Donnell. At Bungie, we don't take that kind of thing lightly. We don't make decisions lightly. We're a team that's committed to making an amazing game, set in an amazing universe." He added, "At this time, we won't be commenting any further on it."

Xbox 360 spring sale discounts Batman games, Saints Row 4

Microsoft is cleaning out its digital shelves with a sizable sale on Xbox 360 games and add-ons this week. Ending April 21, the sale spans 11 games and hundreds of pieces of DLC. Five of the games feature popular DC comics superhero Batman in some capacity, such as 75 percent off both Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City through Games on Demand ($4.99 / £3.74 / 4.99 euros each). Additionally, Injustice: Gods Among us is half-off ($19.99 / £17.49 / 24.99 euros), Lego Batman 2 is 67 percent off ($6.59 / £4.94 / 6.59 euros) and XBLA game Gotham City Imposters is 75 percent off ($3.74 / £2.49 / 3.59 euros). All of the above deals are valid for those with a paid Xbox Live Gold subscription.

Among the other games on sale for all Xbox Live users is Saints Row 4, which is half-off this week ($14.99 / £12.49 / 14.99 euros). Three other games are discounted through Games on Demand: Borderlands 2 is 65 percent off ($6.99 / £6.99 / 10.49 euros), Lego Marvel Super Heroes is 33 percent off ($33.49 / £30.14 / 43.54 euros) and Prototype 2 is 75 percent off ($9.99 / £4.99 / 7.49 euros). Lastly, XBLA games Pac-Man Championship Edition DX+ is half-off ($4.99 / £3.37 / 4.74 euros) and Assassin's Creed: Liberation HD is 33 percent off ($13.39 / £10.71 / 13.39 euros) for the week.
[Image: Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment]

BurgerTime World Tour discounted ahead of delisting on April 30

Publisher MonkeyPaw Games is hosting a last-chance sale on BurgerTime: World Tour this month, discounting the game to just $5 before it disappears from digital storefronts forever on April 30.

Starting today, amateur burger chefs can pick up the Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and WiiWare versions of the remade arcade classic for $4.99. Alas, even Peter Pepper himself is not immune from the harsh reality of expired licensing agreements, which MonkeyPaw cites as the culprit behind the game's delisting at the end of the month.

Speculation from an anonymous source suggests that Peter Pepper was forced to close up shop by area health inspectors, who objected to his unsanitary burger-stomping ways. Pepper declined to comment when questioned regarding his cooking methods, claiming that the delisting is part of a conspiracy devised by giant sausages and human-sized eggs.

[Image: MonkeyPaw Games]

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Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare Zomboss Down DLC drops today


PopCap's Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare takes to the Wild West today with the launch of "Zomboss Down," a free DLC pack that introduces a batch of new multiplayer content on the Xbox One and Xbox 360.

Zomboss Down adds eight new playable characters to Garden Warfare's roster and a new Western-themed map, complete with an Ennio Morricone-inspired soundtrack. Zomboss Down follows up on last month's Garden Variety DLC, which added the "Gnome Bomb" gameplay mode and new character customization options.

[Video: PopCap]

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Respawn to increase frequency of Titanfall updates

Respawn plans to improve its "update tempo" for future improvements to Titanfall, upping the frequency of announcements related to updates as well as the patches themselves. Game Director Steve Fukuda broke down the developer's update plans in a recent blog, noting that one part of the game's updates will "tend the garden and keep the weeds out," such as last week's changes to the game's Gooser Challenge.

Fukuda also discussed both convenience and infrastructural features, the former making "life more pleasant" for players in the game. Future convenience feature additions to Titanfall include the ability to rename custom loadouts and set custom loadouts specific to each of the game's mode. Infrastructural additions include items like the private online match mode that arrived last week.

"Whenever possible, we want to get these kinds of features out early in beta form, in order to get your feedback and arrive at the best possible result through multiple iterations," Fukuda wrote of the infrastructural features. He added that "tangible" content for Titanfall is on the way, including new maps, game modes, a new burn card set and "Nose Art" insignias for those that want to customize their titans.
[Image: EA Games]

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