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Overwatch climbs to the top of the NPD’s list of best-selling games for June 2016

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June is typically a slow period for new game releases, but The NPD Group’s look at last month’s best-selling games proves just how slow it was. According to tracking firm, consumer spending on games was down 20% from last year, when Batman: Arkham Knight launched to strong reviews and even stronger sales.

To make matters worse, the only new release to crack the top ten were Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens (#3) and Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst (#5). But that means the path to the top of the list was clear for Overwatch, which rode a wave of support from fans to become June 2016’s best-selling game. Grand Theft Auto V (#2) and Doom (#4) rounded out the top five.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom in June, as NPD Analyst Liam Callahan told GamesIndustry.biz: “After 32 months since the launches of the PS4 and Xbox One, the combined cumulative hardware sales for these two consoles exceed the sales of [the PS3 and Xbox 360] by 40% at the same point in their lifecycles.”

However, the biggest news this month might be the new way that the NPD reports their monthly sales data. Provided a publisher supplies the numbers, the company has agreed to begin integrating digital sales into their monthly tally. Most publishers have already signed on, though Bethesda, Sony, and Mojang remain holdouts, and Blizzard has decided not to share sales data from Battle.net.

A complete look at last months top ten best-selling titles can be found after the break. (more…)

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Life Is Strange’s first episode is now available to download for free

Dontnod Entertainment has announced that players who have yet to try out Life Is Strange can now download the first episode for free on the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.

In case you missed it last year, Life Is Strange follows Max Caulfield, a teenage photographer who finds out she can reverse time after saving her best friend from a school shooter. But that one act could have apocalyptic consequences for everyone in her small town…

“Although our team set out to create an award-winning narrative we still cannot believe the response we’ve had from players of Life is Strange” said Oskar Guilbert, the CEO of Dontnod Entertainment. “We’re really glad that Square Enix have decided to give the first episode away for free so more players can begin their journey and see why people have fallen in love with the game for themselves.”

Life Is Strange’s near-universal critical acclaim, highlighted in the new trailer embedded above, eventually lead to several year-end awards including a Peabody Award, the “Games For Change” trophy at The Game Awards, the “Audience Award” at the GDC Awards, and “Best Story” at the BAFTAs.

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First Batman: The Telltale Series trailer reveals an August 2 launch date for Episode 1

As promised, Telltale Games has lit up the Bat Signal and unveiled the first trailer for Batman: The Telltale Series. We’ve also learned that Episode 1, Realm of Shadows, will be available to download for the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and mobile devices on August 2.

Also making good on their promise to create a game that puts just as much focus on Bruce Wayne as it does on the Caped Crusader, the first trailer showcases how both sides of the superhero’s personality fight for the soul of Gotham:

Enter the fractured psyche of Bruce Wayne and discover the powerful and far-reaching consequences of your choices as the Dark Knight. In this gritty and violent new story from the award-winning creators of The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series, you’ll make discoveries that will shatter Bruce Wayne’s world, and the already fragile stability of a corrupt Gotham City.

Designed to resemble a “living, breathing comic book,” Batman: The Telltale Series will feature a huge case including Troy Baker as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Travis Willingham as Harvey Dent, Erin Yvette as Vicki Vale, Enn Reitel as Alfred Pennyworth, Murphy Guyer as Lieutenant James Gordon, Richard McGonagle as Carmine Falcone, and Laura Bailey as Catwoman/Selina Kyle

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Minecraft: Story Mode explores the dangers of VR next week in Episode 7: Access Denied

Telltale is returning to the world of Minecraft: Story Mode next week with the upcoming release of Episode 7: Access Denied. Set to launch for the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and mobile devices on July 26, Access Denied takes place in a world where a Skynet-like AI uses virtual reality to enslave the population:

In Episode 7: Access Denied, continuing their portal journey in search of home, Jesse and crew land in a world entirely controlled by PAMA – a sinister “thinking machine” determined to command everyone and everything in pursuit of optimal usefulness and efficiency. Forced on the run to avoid capture and assimilation, you’ll need to work with a new ally to defeat the corrupted computer and free the population it has enslaved.

If you listen closely in the trailer above, you’ll likely hear Community‘s Yvette Nicole Brown, who joins the cast of Episode 7: Access Denied as Harper, PAMA’s creator in hiding.

Minecraft: Story Mode – Episode 7: Access Denied will be available as part of the Adventure Pass, which is priced at $14.99. Players can also purchase it individually for $4.99.

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Tumblestone Review: Puzzle Fans… Here’s Your New Favorite Game

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With a Story Mode that features 360 levels, three marathon variants under an Arcade menu, and a whole slew of multiplayer options, Tumblestone contains a massive amount of content compared to the average puzzle game. And the only ones that come close are going to be found exclusively on mobile devices, which is an altogether different experience. For the most part, large-scale puzzle games abandoned the consoles years ago.

But Tumblestone might change all that. (more…)

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First episode from Batman: The Telltale Series will debut in August; First trailer coming next week

batmantelltale-1Telltale Games will release the first episode in their upcoming Batman series, Batman: The Telltale Series, in August for the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and mobile devices.

Batman: The Telltale Series will also be available as a retail-only “Season Pass Disc” for the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. The “Season Pass Disc” will include the first episode on the disc and access to subsequent episodes as they’re released.

The first trailer and final release date for Batman: The Telltale Series will make its debut during next week’s San Diego Comic-Con. To give fans their first look at the game, the developer also plans to host a special “Crowd Play Event” on Saturday, July 23. Kinda Funny’s Greg Miller will host the event alongside Troy Baker (the voice of Bruce Wayne), and you can register to attend at the Telltale Blog.

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Call of Duty: Zombies comic book miniseries will launch in October

callofdutyzombiesnumberoneThe Call of Duty: Zombies universe will expand this Fall with the launch of a Call of Duty: Zombies miniseries from Dark Horse Comics. Based on a story by Treyarch developers Jason Blundell and Craig Houston, Call of Duty: Zombies will be written by Justin Jordan (Green Lantern: New Guardians) and illustrated by Jonathan Wayshak (Devolution).

The series will span six issues, with the first scheduled to be released on October 19…

On his quest to secure an ancient artifact known as The Kronorium, Doctor Edward Richtofen enlists the help of The Tranzit Crew, a rag tag group of survivors last seen in the Black Ops II Zombies installment “Buried.” On a deeply unstable and fractured future Earth, Stuhlinger, Misty, Russman, and Marlton battle for survival against the undead horde, as they slowly uncover the truth behind Richtofen’s mysterious reappearance. The Call of Duty: Zombies miniseries follows these characters’ perilous journey of discovery, filling in crucial pieces of the larger Zombies story.

Call of Duty fans can get a sneak peek at the comic adaptation at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, where Blundell will be a guest during Dark Horse’s Comics & Video Games panel on Thursday, July 21, at 8:00 PM (Eastern Time). In addition to talking about the comic miniseries, the developer will also “shed light onto some of the secrets hidden within the Call of Duty: Zombies saga.”

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Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 will be released on September 13

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In a short press release, Konami has announced that Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 will be released on September 13. The game will be available for the PS4 and Xbox One ($59.99), as well as the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 ($39.99).

Konami has mostly retreated from PC and console development in recent years, and Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 is currently the only game they have scheduled for release in 2016.

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