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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]

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

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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Xbox Games with Gold in Feb: IDARB, Brothers, Sniper Elite V2

Heartstrings-tugger Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is one of three Games with Gold freebies for Xbox Live Gold subscribers next month. On Xbox 360 you can grab the Joystiq Top 10 of 2013 puzzle-platformer for zero centage between February 1-14. Then, after taking a deep breath, you can grab Sniper Elite V2 between February 15-28.

As revealed last month, #IDARB's pixelated sportsball madness is also free through February for Gold members. The Xbox One eight-player side-scroller has a regular launch price of $15.

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Reptile gets the go-ahead for Mortal Kombat X

Who's next? Mortal Kombat series veteran Reptile will return in the upcoming multiplatform sequel Mortal Kombat X, developer NetherRealm Studios confirmed with IGN this week.

After making his debut as a hidden character in the original Mortal Kombat, Reptile went on to appear in many subsequent series entries, boasting a moveset that revolves around his ability to spit acid and draw in his opponents with magnetic projectiles. Hopefully, you won't need to trigger a secret match-up to see him this time around.

Mortal Kombat X will launch for the PlayStation 4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, and PC platforms on April 14.

[Image: Midway]

Grab a pint with free Dragon Age: Inquisition tavern songs

The songs that fill the tavern at Skyhold are now yours for the downloading, for free until February 9, when they will be sold on "popular digital platforms," BioWare says. The download includes sheet music, as well.

"If you've indulged in the opportunity at Skyhold's tavern to enjoy a break from the demons and Venatori, chances are you've heard some of the bard's lovely songs," BioWare writes. "Although bards do perform to entertain travelers, they also serve a greater purpose: to carry the tales of triumph and tragedy across the land. We've received many inquiries from our fans asking where they can get these songs, and we're thrilled that you're enjoying them as much as we do."

The tavern songs from Dragon Age: Inquisition are performed by Elizaveta and written by Hollywood composer Raney Shockne.
[Image: BioWare]

Square Enix action, stealth triple packs head to North America

Square Enix is preparing to launch the Ultimate Action Triple Pack and Ultimate Stealth Triple Pack for PS3 and Xbox 360 in North America this year, according to listings on Amazon spotted by @Wario64. The Action Triple Pack includes Tomb Raider, Just Cause 2 and Sleeping Dogs; the Stealth Triple Pack features Thief, Hitman: Absolution and Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Each bundle is $30 and available for pre-order. The release date – December 31, 2015 – is most likely a placeholder.

The Stealth and Action triple packs launched in Europe last year for £30 / €40 each. We've reached out to Square Enix for clarification on the release date.
[Image: Square Enix]

Microsoft: 6.6 million Xbox consoles shipped in Q2 2015

In a recent earnings release, Microsoft reveals that during the quarter ending December 31, 2014 it earned revenues of $26.5 billion, partly thanks to the 6.6 million Xbox consoles it shipped in that time.

"Our sales engagement worldwide continues to focus on helping customers and partners transition to the cloud and navigate the shifting product mix related to our services and solutions," said Microsoft COO Kevin Turner of what the report describes as "strong holiday performance."

Though these figures refer to both Xbox One and Xbox 360 consoles, they do somewhat back claims Microsoft made following the recent NPD sales report, in which it stated that the Xbox One had, after months of lagging behind the PlayStation 4 in sales, becoming the "best-selling console in the U.S. in November and December."
[Image: Microsoft]

Madden predicts Patriots over Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX

Image With Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday, it's time again to gaze deep into the crystal ball that is the latest version of EA Sports' Madden NFL to see how the game will shake out. End result? Patriots beat Seahawks, 28 to 24, thanks to four touchdowns from Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady. [Image: EA Sports] ... Continue Reading

Destiny dev: DLC mistakes won't be repeated

Destiny designer Luke Smith recently addressed concerns over Bungie's future updates for the game. Namely, Smith said "the mistakes [Bungie] made with the DLC1 reward economy will not be repeated," in a NeoGAF thread, admitting the developer's previous attempts at expanding the first-person shooter with add-on content resulted in a few problems for players. Smith claims the developer will avoid mistakes such as "vendor gear invalidating the effort of [Vault of Glass] Raiders" and exotic gear upgrades resulting in a talent reset.

"Our philosophy about rewards/loot continue to evolve as we see how players play and react," Smith wrote. He noted that item drop rates appear to be "much improved" in the Crota's End DLC compared to Vault of Glass, and that Bungie plans to "improve acquisition stories and frequency" as well as "lessen the grind and get players to the fun parts of their arsenal faster." It issued a hot fix for Destiny in December to boost the drop rates for the Crota's End raid mission.
[Image: Activision]

Lady Hammerlock joins Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel's playable lineup

Lady Hammerlock, sister to researcher Sir Hammerlock and heir to the family's fortune, will add a bit of class to Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel's playable lineup on January 27. Aurelia is included in The Pre-Sequel's season pass, but a related press release notes that fans who prefer to pick up DLC a la carte can also don her fashionable demeanor for $9.99.

Lady Hammerlock's progression branch into Huntress, Cold Money and Contractual Aristocracy skill trees. Huntress focuses on sniping, offering a skill that dishes out critical hit bonuses for each consecutive shot on a target. Cold Money is all about ice damage, as made evident by one of its abilities implementing Cryo damage with any equipped weapon. Contractual Aristrocracy is all about status, as suggested by one of its unlockables reaping Lady Hammerlock bonuses from kills made by her peasant teammates.

When firefights call for desperate measures, Lady Hammerlock's Cold As Ice action skill spawns a Frost Diadem Shard that chases down and latches onto targets, dealing constant damage until they finally keel over so that the shard can move onto its next target.

If you sat out The Pre-Sequel in hopes of a current-gen port but still want to freeze things to death as Lady Hammerlock, don't fret – Borderlands Handsome Collection will include all season pass DLC when it arrives on March 24.
[Image: Gearbox]

EA snitches on Battlefield Hardline, reveals maps and modes

Following a raid by local authorities, informants at publisher EA were compelled to give up detailed information on the multiplayer maps and game modes included in the upcoming cops versus robbers shooter Battlefield Hardline.

The nine maps included in Battlefield Hardline all seem either ripped from a Michael Mann heist film or from one of the earlier, military-focused Battlefield games. Bank Job centers around an imposing financial institution that must be relieved of its cash, Hollywood Heights is populated by expansive houses likely belonging to media moguls and hip hop artists and Riptide is an ocean-front map that continues the Battlefield series' long-running fascination with gun battles set against a tidal backdrop. There's also a map called "Growhouse," but we're guessing you can figure out what happens there. A full rundown on each of the maps can be found on the game's website.

Battlefield Hardline will include seven gameplay modes, ranging from the classic to the wholly novel. Conquest is a Battlefield mainstay mode that pits teams of players (up to 64 in total) against one another in a battle to see who can control certain areas of the map. Blood Money, by contrast, is a new mode where both cops and robbers attempt to swipe money from the opposing teams' vault while gunfire rages all around. Perhaps the most intriguing new mode is Hotwire, a vehicle-focused addition in which the criminal team attempts to steal a list of cars while the cops try to stop them with extreme prejudice, leading to the sorts of high-speed gunfights pictured above. Full details on the game modes found in Battlefield Hardline can also be found on the game's website.

Battlefield Hardline is slated to launch on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PC on March 17.

Fable just the first step in getting more Xbox One games on Windows

It's easy to forget the Xbox's place inside the Windows empire. The bespoke platform is hinged on games and entertainment, looming over the console world but still living in its own fiefdom under Microsoft. The Xbox 360 and Xbox One are seen as instrumental to the software giant's goals, but their reach is about a billion behind that of Windows. Microsoft wants to dismantle the barriers within itself now, unifying games, productivity and phones under the banner of Windows 10.

The Xbox One will host new universal apps – programs designed to run on both Windows devices and Xbox architecture – alongside a Windows 10 update later this year, but that's a lesser gesture compared to what Microsoft announced on Wednesday during its Windows 10 event. Even having the Xbox and its games there, on stage, represents a change in the Windows message.

Head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, took that stage to announce a PC version of Fable Legends, the latest entry in developer Lionhead's long-running and lovably lighthearted fantasy role-playing series. Not only is the game coming to Windows PC players, but it's coming in a way that allows them to play and chat with Xbox One players through Xbox Live. According to Spencer, it's the first game of several first-party Xbox games coming to PC.

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Jon Snow brings lack of knowledge to Game of Thrones Episode 2

The second episode of Telltale's six-part Game of Thrones saga debuts early next month, starting February 3 for PC, Mac, PS4 and PS3. Titled "The Lost Lords," the episode is also coming to Xbox One and 360 on February 4, iOS on February 5 and Android at a later date.

The Lost Lords continues the story of House Forrester, a Westeros family who in history have aligned with the Starks - not always the wisest alignment, it has to be said. Telltale's game is interwoven with HBO's TV series, and the plot takes place between the end of the third season and the start of the fifth.

If you've played the first episode then you've already had a few chit-chats with Cersei Lannister, her brother Tyrion, Margaery Tyrell and the huggably lovely Ramsay Snow. As the teaser trailer below the break reveals, another Snow is coming to the game in Episode 2.

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