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Max Brooks is writing an “Official” Minecraft novel for Mojang

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There are lots of novels based on Minecraft on the shelves at your local bookstore, but Mojang has announced they’ve partnered with Max Brooks to produce a series of official novels based on the blockbuster game.

Brooks is best known as the author of World War Z, an “Oral History of the Zombie War” that was recently adapted into a movie starring Brad Pitt. But Brooks is also the author of The Harlem Hellfighters (which features many of the same events and people as this Fall’s Battlefield 1) and The Zombie Survival Guide. He’s also the son of legendary parodist Mel Brooks and Oscar-winning actress Anne Bancroft.

The first novel will be titled Minecraft: The Island, and according to Mojang Blog, readers should expect “cuboid Robinson Crusoe, but madder: a hero stranded in an unfamiliar land, with unfamiliar rules, learning to survive against tremendous odds.”

“I’m very excited to be part of this new venture,” Brooks said. “Finally I can justify all those hours I’ve spent playing Minecraft.”

“From our first meeting with Max, we knew he would be a perfect fit for our first foray into novels based on Minecraft,” said Lydia Winters, the Brand Director at Mojang. “His enthusiasm and understanding of all things related to the game bring out the sense of wonder and possibility that so many players love about Minecraft… ourselves included.”

We don’t know when Minecraft: The Island will be released, but we do know it’ll be published by Del Rey Books.

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New Retail Releases: Forza Horizon 3, FIFA 17, Yo-Kai Watch 2, More

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Soccer players (excuse me, footballers), racecar drivers, invisible Japanese spirits, a sneaker-wearing hedgehog, bloodthirsty aliens, and even bloodthirstier zombies highlight this week’s new release roundup…

FIFA 17 will be available in stores this week for the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. In addition to a series of graphical upgrades and gameplay tweaks, the latest soccer simulation from EA Sports adds “The Journey,” a story-based single-player mode where players take control a teenager trying to make it in the Premier League.

Also new this week is Microsoft’s latest racing sim, Forza Horizon 3. The PC and Xbox One game recreates Australia as a playground for open-world racing, which players can dive into with more than 350 cars.

Away from the fast cars and furious footballers, Nintendo and Level-5 will release Yo-Kai Watch 2: Bony Spirits and Yo-Kai Watch 2: Fleshy Souls. The creature-collecting games will include hundreds of new Yo-Kai, invisible spirits believed to exist out in the world. But with the game’s Yo-Kai Watch, players can see these supernatural creatures, and capture them.

Keeping with the otherworldly theme, 2K Games will bring XCOM 2 to the PS4 and Xbox One this week. After debuting on the PC earlier this year, the publisher is expanding the strategy game’s reach to new-generation consoles… and not a moment too soon. The alien invaders have enslaved humanity in the sequel and it’s up to players to guide the XCOM to victory against a foe that’s taken control of the Earth.

While the enemies of Dead Rising 2 are a bit dumber than a race of hyper-advanced aliens, they’re no less dangerous. Available this week for the PS4 and Xbox One, Dead Rising 2 was originally released for the PS3 and Xbox 360 in 2010, but the re-release will still put a ravenous horde of undead between motocross racer Chuck Greene and the anti-zombie cure he needs for his daughter.

Hopefully, Chuck can avoid those zombies using Sonic-like speed, but a Blue Blur will be busy with Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice, which will be released this week for the 3DS.

Finally this week, Microsoft is cramming a free copy of Minecraft in with their newest Xbox One S 500GB Console Bundle. So if you’re interested in picking up an Xbox One S, and you love Minecraft, it’s a fairly good deal.

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WWE 2K17 downloadable content and Season Pass revealed

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We’re a little less than three weeks out from WWE 2K17‘s launch, but 2K Games wants everyone to start thinking about the content that comes after, including an extensive collection of downloadable content and a Season Pass.

All of WWE 2K17’s DLC will be released later this year or during the early weeks of 2017, and most of it will be included in the Season Pass, which will be priced at $29.99. The full contents of each pack, which players also have the option to purchase individually, can be found right here:

Accelerator ($4.99)

  • Players will gain access to all unlockable content available at launch in the game’s VC Purchasable section (excluding downloadable content)
  • Players can also decide the overall rankings and attribute levels for all playable characters throughout the life of the product

Future Stars Pack ($8.99)
Playable WWE and NXT Superstars: Austin Aries, Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, Mojo Rawley, and Tye Dillinger

Hall of Fame Showcase ($9.99)

  • Cactus Jack and Diamond Dallas Page vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (Jimmy Garvin and Michael “PS” Hayes) (WCW Saturday Night 1992)
  • The Fabulous Freebirds (Buddy Roberts and Michael “PS” Hayes) vs. Kerry and Kevin Von Erich (WCCW 1986)
  • Ivory vs. Jacqueline (SmackDown 2000)
  • Sting (Gold and Black Tights) vs. Ric Flair (Clash of Champions 1988)
  • Sting (n.W.o. Wolfpac ring gear) vs. Bret Hart (WCW Halloween Havoc 1998)
  • Papa Shango vs. The Godfather (Dream Match)
  • Big Boss Man (with Albert) vs. The Big Show (Armageddon 1999)

Legends Pack ($8.99)
Playable WWE Legends: Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake, Eddie Guerrero, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, Sycho Sid, and Tatanka

New Moves Pack ($3.99)
Explore a wide variety of new in-game moves, including the Swingout Neckbreaker (made popular by current WWE Raw Women’s Champion Charlotte), the Elbro Drop (made popular by WWE Superstar Zack Ryder), the Face Wash Combo (made popular by NXT Superstar Samoa Joe), and the TJP Clutch (made popular by current WWE Cruiserweight Champion T.J. Perkins)

In addition to the Season Pass content, 2K also plans to offer several other downloadable packs that include even more characters boosts:

MyPlayer Kick Start ($9.99)

  • PS4 and Xbox One Exclusive
  • Players will gain access to unlock and boost created Superstar ratings and attributes made available at launch as part of the game’s MyCareer mode
  • Players can also unlock all clothing made available at launch that provides attribute boosts in MyCareer

NXT Enhancement Pack ($9.99)

  • PS4 and Xbox One Exclusive
  • Playable NXT Superstars: Apollo Crews, Nia Jax, and Shinsuke Nakamura
  • Players will earn a 50 percent boost in points while competing at NXT during MyCareer

NXT Legacy Pack ($4.99)

  • PS3 and Xbox 360 Exclusive
  • Playable NXT Superstars: Apollo Crews, Nia Jax, and Shinsuke Nakamura

WWE 2K17 will be released for the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One on October 11.

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Destiny: Rise of Iron, Batman: Episode 2, Dear Esther, more added to PS Store

This week, it is your destiny to play Destiny: Rise of Iron (PS4), the final expansion to Bungie’s interstellar multiplayer shooter. With Destiny 2 on track for a 2017 launch, the developer is closing the door on the first game with an earthbound episode that takes place in the Plaguelands, an area teeming with Fallen mutants who now “scavenge the tombs of the Golden Age.”

And speaking of new episodes, Telltale is back with another entry in their Batman saga, Batman: The Telltale Series (PS4). In Episode 2: Children of Arkham, Bruce Wayne is hounded by the knowledge that his fight might have been involved in Gotham’s criminal underworld, while Batman must deal with “an old friend [who is] now a dangerous adversary.”

Finally this week, the developer behind Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, The Chinese Room, will bring their first game to the PS4. In Dear Esther: Landmark Edition, players will explore a “remote and desolate” island while a man reads letters to his deceased wife, Esther.

More information on all of these games (and a few other new releases) can be found after the break. And a quick stop at the PlayStation Blog will reveal all the details about this week’s new add-ons and discounts. (more…)

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Madden NFL 17 rumbles its way to the end zone as the best-selling game of August 2016

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A trio of new releases stood atop the NPD Group’s recounting of the best-selling games of August 2016, but Madden NFL 17 unsurprisingly took the top spot.

EA’s juggernaut is almost always unstoppable during the calendar’s eighth month, but it was equally unsurprising to see No Man’s Sky and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided take up residence at #2 and #3, respectively.

NPD analyst Sam Naji told GamesIndustry.biz: “The release of strong new titles such as Madden NFL 17, No Man’s Sky and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided bolstered console software dollar sales by 8%.”

The remainder of this month’s best-sellers included the usual mix of big titles from 2015 and 2016, with some Grand Theft Auto V (#4) and Minecraft (#9) tossed in for flavor.

A full look at August 2016’s best-selling games can be found after the break. (more…)

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Get your first look at Telltale’s Batman: Episode 2 – Children of Arkham right here

Telltale’s five-part Batman tale will continue next week in Batman: The Telltale Series – Episode 2: Children of Arkham. Today, the developer unveiled a brand new trailer that seems to be pushing Gotham City even further towards insanity:

With Gotham City’s first family mired in corruption, and an old friend now a dangerous adversary, the life of the Dark Knight is turned upside down. What was Thomas Wayne entangled in, and why was he killed? Determined to learn the truth about his father, Bruce sets out to question those involved in Gotham’s criminal past. But which mask will he wear – The billionaire, or the bat? Huge decisions will forever change the Batman and the lives of those around him, as he meets the Children of Arkham.

Who are the Children of Gotham? Is that really The Penguin behind that bird mask? And could that pale, lanky fellow be The Joker? We’ll all get to find out together on September 20, when Children of Arkham launches for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One. The second episode in Batman: The Telltale Series will also be available at a later date for the PS3, Xbox 360, and mobile devices.

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NBA 2K17, Pac-Man CE 2, BioShock Collection, and a lot more added to PS Store

It’s a big day for the PlayStation Store and this week’s update starts off with enough sports games to fill a gym bag…

  • NBA 2K17 is the latest basketball sim from 2K Games. It’ll be available for the PS4 and PS3 on Friday, September 16.
  • NHL 17 is the latest hockey sim from EA Sports, and it’s now available for the PS4.
  • Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 is the latest soccer sim from Konami, and it’s now available for the PS4 and PS3.
  • NASCAR Heat: Evolution is also now available and its the first NASCAR racing sim to be released for the PS4.

Competitive eaters will also get their chance to shine this week as Bandai Namco has launched Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 for the PS4. The last Championship Edition game was released in 2010, and Pac-Man has learned plenty of new tricks in the intervening years including how to “bump” Ghosts. He’ll need all the help he can get, because Pac-Man will also battle bosses for the first time in Championship Edition 2.

One of gaming’s first heroes won’t be the only blast from the past to greet PS4 owners this week. BioShock: The Collection is a remastered compilation of Irrational’s beloved trilogy that’ll also include commentary from the developers. And Frank West will return in the Dead Rising Triple Pack, which will include Dead Rising, Dead Rising 2, and Dead Rising 2: Off the Record. All three games will also be available as individual downloads.

Nostalgia-driven gamers might also be interested Rive, the final game from developer Two Tribes. A side-scrolling shooter with a dash of platforming for the PS4, Two Tribes likes to think of Rive as their “metal-wrecking, robot-hacking” swan song.

Finally this week, Telltale Games will add new episodes to two of their series. Minecraft: Story Mode – Episode 8: A Journey’s End? is available to download for the PS4 and PS3, while Batman: The Telltale Series – Episode 1: Realm of Shadows comes to the PS3 for the first time.

More information on all of these games (and a lot of other new releases) can be found after the break. And don’t forget, the PlayStation Blog has a complete rundown of this week’s new add-ons and discounts. (more…)

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Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment expansion will be available in Spring 2017

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Yacht Club Games had previously expected to launch the Shovel Knight expansions starring Specter Knight and King Knight by the end of the year. However, that’s no longer in the cards as the release of both add-ons has been pushed into 2017.

But to make up for this scheduling snafu, Yacht Club unveiled an amazing new logo for Specter Knight’s campaign, which is now officially known as Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment. In a blog post on their official website, the developer confirmed the free expansion will be released in Spring 2017 and that it is, “a HUGE game with even more new content than Plague of Shadows.”

Shovel Knight, and the Plague of Shadows expansion, is currently available for the 3DS, PC, PS3, PS4, Vita, Wii U, and Xbox One.

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