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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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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…)

Posted in News, PS3, PS4, Vita | Tagged ,

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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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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“What is Dragon Quest Builders?” Square Enix answers that question in a new trailer

if you’re unfamiliar with Dragon Quest Builders, Square Enix’s upcoming “open-world sandbox RPG,” then the game’s newest trailer was made just for you. The publisher covers a lot of ground over the course of four and a half minutes, ultimately delving into its story (which runs parallel to the original Dragon Quest), the realm of Alefgard, the monsters that are threatening it, and most importantly, how to build things…

Rise as a legendary builder in a tale of epic proportions and explore a vast sandbox world to gather materials, craft items, and build everything imaginable. It’s up to you to use the power of creation in battle against the reigning Dragonlord and his evil minions to restore peace to the shattered realm. Build for fun. Build for adventure. Build to save the world!

Dragon Quest Builders will be released for the PS4 and Vita on October 11.

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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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Heart Machine cancels development of Hyper Light Drifter on the Wii U and Vita

In a heartfelt new update to the game’s Kickstarter page, Heart Machine’s Alex Preston has confirmed that Hyper Light Drifter is no longer in development for the Vita and Wii U.

Most of the problems with the ports can be attributed to GameMaker, the engine Hyper Light Drifter was built in. When trying to recreate the game for the Vita, Preston said they forced the engine to do things it wasn’t designed to do, making performance suffer:

With the Vita, we worked for months to get the project to run well enough on the platform. The problem is we pushed the engine incredibly far and made it do things it wasn’t meant to do. So the native port option has not been performing anywhere near our standards and would require a lot of majot reworking and downgrading to fit on a lower-powered platform.

Preston first discussed the problems his team was having with the GameMaker engine on the Wii U back in February, and it looks the engine’s lack of support for Nintendo’s console finally killed the port. The developer also cited his own health issues as a major contributing factor in dropping both versions of the game.

Preston confirmed that any Kickstarter backer who originally request the Wii U or Vita version of the game will receive a full refund. Though an option to receive a download code for the PC, PS4, or Xbox One is also available.

Finally, Preston said that “a big update” for Hyper Light Drifter will be released later this month, so we should all be on the lookout for that.

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New Retail Releases: NBA 2K17 Early Tip Off, ReCore, BioShock Collection, More

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Ladies and gentlemen, it has begun. The “Fall Gaming Season” begins now, and publisher are flooding store shelves with more than a dozen new titles this week.

With the NFL season kicking off today, let’s start with this week’s sports offerings. EA Sports released Madden NFL 17 three weeks, but the publisher is back this week with NHL 17 for the PS4 and Xbox One. If you’re more of a basketball fan, 2K Games will release the NBA 2K17: Early Tip Off Edition this week for the PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. Soccer supporters will also get a new simulation this week with the release of Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer 2017 on the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. And the checkered flag goes to NASCAR Heat: Evolution, which will be released for the PS4 and Xbox One this week.

Far away from Earth’s athletic fields is the planet of Far Eden, an interstellar colony that’s been overrun by villainous robots in Microsoft’s ReCore. Developed by Armature Studio, with additional idea work by Keiji Inafune, ReCore lets players fight back as Joule Adams, a resourceful woman who has her own team of robotic helpers. ReCore will be released for the Xbox One and it’ll also be available digitally for the PC as an Xbox Play Anywhere title.

You know who else has access to a lot of gadgets? Batman. And Telltale Games will put the World’s Greatest Detective through the ringer this week with their Batman: The Telltale Series – Season Pass Disc for the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. The disc will include the first episode from Telltale’s Batman series and digital access to every subsequent episode released (the second is scheduled to launch on September 20).

Finally this week, a trio of re-releases will reintroduce gamers to a few beloved franchises. BioShock: The Collection will bring BioShock, BioShock 2, and BioShock Infinite together in a single package for the PS4 and Xbox One (and digitally on the PC) with improved graphics and exclusive commentary by Ken Levine and other developers from Irrational. Meanwhile, Capcom’s Dead Rising also makes the leap to the PS4 and Xbox One (and, again, digitally on the PC) with improved graphics. And Square Enix and Nintendo collaborated on a brand new localization for the 3DS release of Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past.

A complete list of this week’s new releases can be found after the break. (more…)

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