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November's Games with Gold: Volgarr the Viking, Viva Pinata

Microsoft has announced next month's Games with Gold lineup, revealing that the Rastan-like barbaric side-scroller Volgarr the Viking will debut for the Xbox One as a free download for Xbox Live Gold subscribers.

Members will also receive a free copy of Rare's Xbox 360 Viva Pinata sequel Trouble in Paradise starting on November 1, and Volition's havoc-raising third-person shooter Red Faction: Guerrilla will join the program on November 16.

[Image: Crazy Viking Studios]

Just Dance Now tallies 6 million downloads in a month

Tucked inside Ubisoft's latest financial report is a small blurb on Just Dance Now, the publisher's mobile adaptation of its hit rhythm franchise Just Dance. According to Ubisoft, the free-to-play game has already been downloaded more than 6 million times since its September 25 debut.

Further, the game's proving especially successful in the international market. Though nowhere near as saturated with mobile devices as the United States or the UK, both Brazil and the Philippines rank in the top five countries downloading Just Dance Now. The mobile rhythm game is also reportedly big in India where Ubisoft has borrowed the song "Indian Whaaale" from the recent Bollywood film Happy New Year.

Shadow of Mordor is the ultimate Beastmaster in new DLC screens

Monolith detailed the first expansion to Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor today, Lord of the Hunt. The upcoming DLC introduces "more tales from Torvin, the Dwarven Hunter, as you work together to tame the beasts of Mordor and fight Sauron's minions." Lord of the Hunt also features new monsters and nemeses to face off against, as well as new missions and beast-hunting challenges to take on. The DLC adds a "Test of the Wild" skill challenge mode and a character skin that turns Talion into the "ultimate Beastmaster."

Lord of the Hunt will be available for purchase later this year and will be part of the game's $25 season pass program. Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor launched in late September for PS4, Xbox One and PC, and the game's Xbox 360 and PS3 versions will arrive on November 18 after being delayed last month. The game's season pass also includes an exclusive Guardians of the Flaming Eye mission as well as another piece of story DLC, The Bright Lord.

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Xbox Entertainment Studios now officially closed

Following earlier reports heralding the closure of Xbox Entertainment Studios, Microsoft made things official on Wednesday by dismissing those few employees remaining at the company's former film division.

The good news is that the closure of Xbox Entertainment Studios signals an end to the mounting layoffs that have haunted Microsoft since Satya Nadella was promoted to CEO following the departure of Steve Ballmer. The bad news is that the abrupt closure has likely killed any projects that were still in the works at Xbox Entertainment Studios. Variety reports that studio head Nancy Tellem initially expected to have more time to "sort through the thicket of rights issues involved in relocating the scripted and nonscripted projects" prior to the studio being shuttered.

Despite the closure of Xbox Entertainment Studios, Microsoft remains committed to the live-action Halo: Nightfall digital series. Barring catastrophe, the Ridley Scott-produced adaptation will debut in early November.

There's something off about this Assassin's Creed: Unity trailer

The weird part of this Assassin's Creed: Unity video is where Arno jumps through a rift in time and travels from French Revolution-era Paris to a Paris filled with electricity, zeppelins, machine guns and the Eiffel Tower. And possibly Nazis. That's a 140-year jump. What the hell is happening here?

Ubisoft released the trailer with just one comment: "In Assassin's Creed Unity, all of French Revolution Paris is yours to explore, and perhaps more." Perhaps, indeed. Assassin's Creed has always dabbled in time travel of sorts with the Animus, but this is a big leap for an installment that's been billed as a French Revolution story, and nothing more.

Assassin's Creed: Unity is due out for Xbox One, PS4 and PC on November 11. See the fairly demanding PC requirements here.
[Image: Ubisoft]

BioShock Infinite: Complete confirmed for Nov. 4, mostly

BioShock Infinite: The Complete Edition is due out on November 4 for Xbox 360 and PS3, Take-Two's second quarter 2015 financial report confirms, but there's no mention of a PC launch date. Previously, 2K said BioShock Infinite: Complete Edition would be out for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC "later this year." We've reached out to 2K for clarification on the PC release.

Retailer listings for BioShock Infinite: The Complete Edition say the bundle features all of the game's DLC packs, including the Clash in the Clouds arena combat mode, and prices it at $40.

EVE Online uses jump fatigue to discourage long-distance travel

Hold your horses, space buckaroo. Where do you think you're going so fast?

EVE Online is preparing to deliberately slow down pilots with the introduction of jump fatigue in the upcoming Phoebe patch. Jump fatigue adds a timer following a jump that must be endured until the next jump is allowed. According to a dev blog (that includes an appendix!) on the subject, "This allows us to discourage people travelling longer distances using jump travel, while keeping penalties relatively light for tactical/occasional movement."

Another dev blog tackles the changes to invention and manufacturing that are planned with the patch. One big change is the merge of invention with reverse engineering, which comes with an algabraic forumla because spaceships and laser battles are not exciting enough on their own.

PS Plus in November: Binding of Isaac, SteamWorld Dig

November brings PS4 owners a final tide of big 2014 releases like Assassin't Creed Unity and Little Big Planet 3, but it also brings PS Plus subscribers some slick downloadables like the long-percolating Binding of Isaac: Rebirth.

Sitting alongside Isaac on PS4 is Image & Form's SteamWorld Dig: A Fistful of Dirt. While you spend an inordinate amount of time underground in both games, Isaac has you exploring adorably grotesque, randomly-generated dungeons while SteamWorld has you digging through an interconnected, sprawling cave system under an Old West town.

PlayStation 3 owners get a hearty selection of games as well. Luftrausers, Vlambeer's minimalist dogfighting escapade, joins strategy shooter Frozen Synapse Prime on Sony's elder statesman console. PS Vita owners can pick up The Hungry Horde as well as the tricky, creepy launch game Escape Plan. Lucky for them, Luftrausers, Rebirth, and SteamWorld are all Cross Buy on the platform as well. Vita owners with PS Plus are going to have a busy Thanksgiving.
[Images: Nicalis]

Joystiq Streams: Halo: The Master Chief Collection restarts the fight [UPDATE: Live!]

Ten years later, it's hard to believe that Master Chief couldn't always dual wield those snappy pistols. Has it been so long since we messed each other up in Coagulation? Did 3650 days really pass between now and the first time we saw Master Chief ride that bomb right into a Covenant ship? Now that Halo: The Master Chief is officially in our hands, it's all coming back to us. And now it's coming back to you as we stream a slice of the newly-remastered Halo 2.

Join us on at 5:30PM EST for a one hour chunk of the freshly HD-ified Halo 2. Ludwig Kietzmann (@LudwigK) will be playing through a chapter of the campaign while Earnest Cavalli hangs out in the chat. broadcasts every Tuesday and Thursday at 4:00PM EST, in addition to many other unpredictable times throughout the week. Follow us on Twitch to catch us whenever we're live.

Spooking Joystiq: Our scariest gaming memories

Around this time of year there are a deluge of horror game suggestions from all corners of the gaming world. Which game is the scariest? Which game is sure to make you jump out of your seat? We all have our favorites, but we've all come to remember specific moments those games delivered.

To celebrate the great candy exchange of 2014, the team at Joystiq looks back at a few of its favorite and scariest gaming memories. The games themselves may not be horror-themed, but they each included moments that left us feeling uneasy, sent our heart rate soaring and left a permanent (yet welcome) scar on our psyche.

Tell us your scariest gaming memories and you may find them haunting our gallery, too. For more Halloween treats, make sure to watch our continuing Horror Game Streaming Event.

Joystiq Deals: MondoHub

Today on Joystiq Deals, we're offering a definitive solution to your USB woes with the MondoHub, a 28-port USB hub that will power and charge all of your USB-enabled devices. The powerful yet compact MondoHub is regularly priced at $99, but can be yours today through Joystiq Deals for just $59.99.
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.

Halloween Horror Streams: Rule of Rose shoves a dead rat in your face

One school of logic says that cumbersome controls makes horror games scarier. Resident Evil's tank controls, for example, may not let you walk with the natural fluidity of a real person, but they do often force you to fearfully, slowly back away from zombies rather than flat out turning around and bolting. It worked in the original. Some games, though, are just plain broken. Case in point: Rule of Rose.

Punchline's first and only horror game is barely playable thanks to its broken interface. Trying to stab an evil puppet with a spoon and never connecting isn't scary. It's stupid. Like some of gaming's greats, Rule of Rose almost overcomes its bad control through sheer style. Bad controls or not, it is a deeply unsettling game.

Joystiq's Halloween Horror Streams goes into its final stretch at 4:00PM EST on with Rule of Rose. Children waterboard teenagers, people get poked with dead rats, and haunted airships confuse everyone. Join us for some of the most surreal scares you can get in a video game. broadcasts every Tuesday and Thursday at 4:00PM EST, in addition to many other unpredictable times throughout the week. Follow us on Twitch to catch us whenever we're live.
[Images: Atlus]

Steam Halloween Sale: Fallout, Walking Dead, much more

It's that time of year again, when children dress up as monsters, adults fret over apples stuffed with razor blades and Valve slashes prices on numerous computer games right down to the bone. Yes, dear reader, the Steam Halloween Sale is now upon us.

Highlights of the massive promotion include Fallout, Fallout 2 and Fallout Tactics priced at $2.50 a piece. Once you've completed those three games, you can then move onto the Fallout 3 Game of the Year Edition which is available for $6.79. If you'd rather forego apocalyptic mutants in favor of good, old-fashioned zombies, both seasons of Telltale's The Walking Dead are also on sale. Season 1 currently features a $6.24 price point while Season 2 can be yours for $12.49. Those who want to combine the open world of the former games with the ambulatory corpses of the latter can pick up Dead Rising 3 Apocalypse Edition at $37.49.

For a full rundown of the 80-plus games included in the Halloween Sale, visit the Steam store. As with all seasonal promotions, the Halloween Sale is only for a limited time and prices will return to normal on the morning of November 3.
[Image: Bethesda Softworks]

Driveclub PS Plus version delayed 'until further notice'

Shuhei Yoshida, Sony's president of worldwide studios, would like to an offer an apology to fans burned by the problematic launch of socially-connected PlayStation 4 racer Driveclub, but his mea culpa comes with more bad news.

"[T]he road to launch has been a little rocky, and we are truly sorry that so many of you have not been able to enjoy everything that we had hoped Driveclub would deliver," Yoshida writes in a Facebook status update. He then claims that Sony has dedicated additional resources to fixing Driveclub's connectivity issues, but warns fans that there is currently no estimate for when the game will work properly.

From there things only get worse. "With the high volume of new players and additional server load the PS Plus Edition is anticipated to bring, we are currently not confident that we can guarantee the best online experience," Yoshida adds. "Until we can ensure that everyone can enjoy the full social connected online experience, we will be postponing the release of the PS Plus Edition until further notice."

For those keeping score at home, the free-to-play PS Plus Edition that Yoshida mentions was originally slated to launch alongside Driveclub on October 7.

Ubisoft beats Q2 projections, reports digital revenue surge

Ubisoft revealed today that it earned 124.1 million euros (approximately $156.6 million) in revenue during the second fiscal quarter of 2014 ending September 30, marking a decrease of nearly 43 percent compared to the €217.7 million ($274.8 million) earned in the same quarter last year. The report beats projected quarterly revenue of €85.0 million, however, and represents a sharp rise in sales for the first half of 2014-15.

Ubisoft earned a total of €484.2 million in revenue during the first half of 2014-15, putting it far ahead of the €293.3 million reported during first-half 2013-14. The company attributes its gains to continued sales of Watch Dogs and other flagship releases.

"The very strong momentum we saw at the beginning of the fiscal year carried on into the second quarter and enabled us to once again exceed our performance expectations," Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said. "Ubisoft continued to capitalize on the popularity of new consoles, the successful launch of Watch Dogs, the quality of its back catalog and the considerable growth of the digital segment. Consequently, our operating income and cash flows improved significantly during the period."

Ubisoft additionally reports a 90.4% increase in digital revenue for the first half of 2014-15, compared to last year's results. The company earned €113.7 million during the period from back-catalog sales, and reports €134.7 million in total digital revenue for first-half 2014-15.

Reported sales by platform indicate that Ubisoft earned 21 percent of its quarterly revenue on the PlayStation 4, while Xbox One sales account for 9 percent. PlayStation 3 platform sales pulled in 19 percent, PC revenue clocks in at 17 percent, and Xbox 360 game sales earned 16 percent of Ubisoft's Q2 revenue.

[Image: Ubisoft]


The Joystiq Podcast

The Joystiq Podcast

Super Joystiq Podcast 118: Super Smash Bros for Wii U, Civilization Beyond Earth, Fantasia

Latest episode: Saturday, October 25th, 2014

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