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Skullgirls Encore getting its first male character April 22

Skullgirls Encore — a relaunch of 2D fighting game Skullgirls — will get its first male character, Big Band, for free on April 22, Lab Zero Games CEO Peter Bartholow announced today via the PlayStation Blog. Big Band, formerly known as Ben Birdland, was a beat cop who "got on the wrong side" of a corrupt police force. After a brutal attack, Dr. Avian and the ASG Lab 8 fixed him up and armed him with pneumatic weaponry. According to Bartholow, Big Band is a high risk, high reward character with power and versatility. He's also the only character capable of parrying incoming attacks. Although he'll still take some damage, Big Band's parry allows him to counter-attack his opponents with combos and special moves. "Many of his attacks will leave you vulnerable if you miss or misjudge...
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The Elder Scrolls Online's guild bank disabled

The Elder Scrolls Online developer Zenimax Online Studios disabled the game's guild bank feature today on European and North American servers, according to a post on the game's official forums. The developers did not explain why the guild bank feature was disabled in the massively multiplayer online role-playing game or when players might expect it to return. The halt could be in response to a bug that Reddit user Mistress-Rarity described earlier today. "Some of you may already be aware," Mistress-Rarity wrote, "but a game breaking bug has hit ESO that allows characters to duplicate stacks of materials in their bank. It is so simple, in fact, that it is possible to do it by pure accident. I will not explain this exploit, but it is the first result of googling 'ESO Item Dupe.'" The...
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Fenix Fire launches Kickstarter campaign for arcade adventure Source

Indie developer Fenix Fire launched a Kickstarter campaign for its in-development arcade action game Source, which the studio debuted last week at PAX East. The campaign will end on May 11 and is seeking $50,000 to complete development on the title. At the time of writing the campaign has pulled in just over $8,700. According to the project page, Fenix Fire will use the crowdfunding money to develop the game's soundtrack and bring on an additional concept artist. All funding will go directly in the project, which the studio hopes to launch in mid-2015. Source is set in an alternate dimension in which players must fight back against a growing darkness by taking and using energy from other beings. The game includes puzzle-solving and combat scenarios, and players will have to...
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Chroma Squad gameplay video shows you everything you missed at PAX East

A video from Chroma Squad developer Behold Studios shows off 30 minutes of gameplay featured during the demo at PAX East, which took place last weekend. Chroma Squad is a tactical role-playing game in which players control a Power Rangers-esque squad for a TV show. When the cameras aren't rolling, players will cast actors, purchase equipment and craft Mechas. In the video above, game designer Mark Venturelli walks players through creating a studio, recruiting actors and putting together a squad. Once in battle, Venturelli also briefly touches on the role of the audience, how to take out enemies and more. Alpha access to Chroma Squad is currently available to Kickstarter backers and those that pay $25 through the game's website for the Beta Tester Edition. The game is expected to...
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Evolution-based arcade shooter Qualia 3 available today on Steam

Japanese indie developer Doujin Games is bringing its 2D arcade shooter Qualia 3 to Steam later today, the company announced. Players will control an organism called a "Multi Agent" that is constantly evolving and must kill and absorb other creatures to become stronger. Destroying other organisms and taking their energy will unlock new trophies and more powerful forms as players seek to become the most dominant creature in the deep sea environment. There are 26 different body party players can collect from destroyed creatures and then equip for use across eight different stages, each culminating in a final boss. The previous two Qualia games were published in North America as Qlione Evolve in Dec. 2010 through the PlayStation Network. According to a press statement, Qualia 3 includes...
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PS3 bundled with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 for $269 at Walmart

A new PlayStation 3 bundle with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is listed on Walmart's website for $269. The 500 GB system also includes the 2012 movie The Amazing Spider-Man, which is available to watch through Vudu's streaming service. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is set for an April 29 release in the U.S. on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS and Windows PC. A previously planned Xbox One version has been delayed indefinitely. For more on the game, be sure to read our interview with its developers at Beenox from earlier this month.
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The Titanfall for Vita that wasn't and the decision that changed its name

In early 2012, when Respawn Entertainment was developing a game it called R1 internally, the developers contacted Sony about bringing the game to its unannounced next-generation console. The problem was that Sony wasn't ready to divulge details on the PlayStation 4. It was, however, willing to help Respawn create a version of the game for Sony's handheld, the PlayStation Vita. That didn't work for Respawn,  so programmer Jon Shiring met with a Sony contact for dinner. "I can't emphasize enough," Shiring said. "Decisions are being made here about our game, and we really need to know about the next PlayStation." It didn't take. Sony wasn't ready to talk about the PS4 yet. On the other side of the console spectrum, Microsoft was willing to talk specs about the next-gen Durango platform...
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Three indies discuss the future of free-to-play games

The phrase itself conjures up emotions.The free-to-play model as it's been used in the last few years is divisive. Some see it as a way to lower the barrier to entry, to invite players into games without an upfront financial burden. Others see it used as a crass business model designed to get players to pay to win. It's not only players who wrestle with the revenue model. Developers we we've spoken to are aware of its less than stellar reputation, even as they see its potential benefits. And some of them, particularly independent developers, are looking for ways to invoke the free-to-play model without the baggage associated with it. The free-to-play model is evolving, and the developers at Carbon Games, FrogDice and RobotLovesKitty showed us how. CARBON GAMES: AIRMECH ARENA O...
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Risen 3 teaser trailer is all teeth and swords

A new teaser trailer for Risen 3: Titan Lords offers a brief glimpse at one of the enemies sea-faring players will have to face once they step into the game's war-torn world. Risen 3: Titan Lords is the third game in developer Piranha Bytes' pirate-focused role-playing game franchise. Like in previous installments — players will be able to explore the world at their leisure and engage in combat with various foes. The story will focus on a young warrior whose soul is stolen; he then sets out on a revenge quest to reclaim it. The world, "abandoned by all gods" according to the Risen 3 website, is filled with different guilds that the player must align himself with in order to achieve his goals. "Like a carpenter with a hand-crafted piece of furniture, we put together the story, the...
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The modder who fixed Dark Souls' PC port scrutinizes Dark Souls 2

Peter "Durante" Thoman, the modder who took it upon himself to vastly improve the visual quality of the Windows PC port of the original Dark Souls, has weighed in on the technical merits of the game's sequel at PC Gamer, calling it "a better experience and a more beautiful game." In his look at the pre-release version of Dark Souls 2 for Windows PC, Thoman breaks down the forthcoming version's graphical options, its performance and the sheer size of its assets. He provides a handful of comparison screenshots, showing the PC version's leap in shadow, texture and model quality. "While it is not quite the (almost generational) leap which was initially shown in previews, Dark Souls 2 on PC is a better experience and a more beautiful game than even a fully modded Dark Souls 1," Thoman...
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Defense Grid 2 and the refinement of tower defense

Hidden Path's Defense Grid 2 builds upon the well-established, but consistently addictive tower defense formula that has engrossed players for more than a decade. The crowdfunding-backed strategy game takes the creep-killing fun of the original game, Defense Grid: The Awakening, and further refines — rather than redefines — it with a bevy of intelligent changes. Using resources that are doled out over time, Defense Grid 2 tasks players with building a series of defensive towers in an attempt to stop aliens from plundering their base. A variety of towers are available in the game's arsenal, from long-range cannon towers to low-cost gun towers to lasers, which quickly fire but deliver a continued burn. The goal, as in most games in the tower defense family, is to build the smartest...
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Everquest 2's All Access benefits include loot bonuses and loyalty items

EverQuest 2 players with Sony Online Entertainment's All Access plan will receive seven character slots, members-only loyalty items and more, SOE announced today. All Access subscribers to the Windows PC massively multiplayer online role-playing game will also receive a 15 percent bonus to coin loot and a 10 percent bonus to mount speed. They'll earn double the amount of alternate currencies and have assess to broker, in-game mail, chat and spell tiers. All Access subscribers will also receive early access to content beginning next week when the program launches "on or about" April 23 with EverQuest 2's High Keep dungeon zone. Earlier this year, SOE announced that players will be able to subscribe to its catalogue of games for a single, monthly payment of $14.99. You can learn more...
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Curses 'N Chaos trailer is goblin-slashing pandemonium

Mercenary Kings developer Tribute Games debuted gameplay footage today of its arcade action title Curses 'N Chaos, showcasing how players will be able to defend themselves against the game's oncoming waves of enemies. In Curses 'N Chaos, players will take on hordes of goblins, ghosts and other nasty creatures, which will run in from either side of the screen. Players will be in the middle, punching, kicking, jumping and scraping by with minimal armor and weapons. The object of the game is to break the curse set on the players — the curse that attracts the monsters to them. Players can also purchase items and craft potions with the in-game alchemist, who can help players create the ultimate potion to help them take down the final boss. Check out our hands-on impressions of the title...
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JetGetters dev cancels successful Kickstarter, No Time To Explain to launch for Xbox One

The Kickstarter campaign for tinyBuild's "fighter hi-jacking game," JetGetters — which successfully completed funding earlier this week — was canceled by its creators due to a "delay" in the game's development cycle. TinyBuild announced the news officially via Kickstarter. The 517 backers that pledged money will get their funds back, as well as access to the tinyBundle — a promotion that gifts seven of the developer's games, of which three have been released. The game will still be released for Linux, Mac, Ouya, Windows and SteamOS, though it's expected next year, rather than this holiday season. Speaking about the cancellation, tinyBuild explained that it wanted to be "up front and honest." "During the Game Developers Conference (GDC) and the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX East)," the...
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Call of Duty: Ghosts adding R. Lee Ermey as a screaming drill instructor April 22

R. Lee Ermey, the actor best known for playing the drill instructor in Full Metal Jacket, will join the Call of Duty: Ghosts multiplayer voice cast April 22 on Xbox platforms, according to a video released today on the series' official YouTube channel. Press play above to hear Ermey's voice work in the upcoming Drill Instructor Voice Pack, which will arrive on other platforms after the Xbox Live release. True to his best-known work, Ermey informs players of their major malfunctions with phrases like, "A day without blood is like a day without sunshine!" and "When they drop weapons, take them you idiot!" Call of Duty: Ghosts won't be Ermey's first foray into video games. The actor has lent his distinctive voice to games in the Toy Story series, where he plays the army man toy...
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TimeGate's Minimum resurrected by Atari and Human Head, hits PC this spring

Minimum, the minimalistic shooter originally created by the now-defunct TimeGate Studios, is now in development at Human Head Studios and is coming to Windows PC this spring, publisher Atari announced today. The initial launch will come via Steam Early Access. Minimum is a five-on-five third-person shooter that also includes a heavy focus on crafting, which brings in elements of the multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) genre. Players gather resources and use blueprints to build bespoke weapons and armor that get stronger with each consecutive kill. In addition, each team has a Titan at its disposal, a large robot that players also have to power up by "creep farming" as they attempt to take out the other side's home base. It's similar to the original concept that TimeGate had when it...
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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Xbox One version 'TBD,' says Activision

The existence of the Xbox One version of upcoming action game The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has been called into question, with Activision telling MCV its fate is up in the air. The game, slated to launch on April 29, is being published for PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Nintendo 3DS, Wii U, Windows PC and Xbox 360. All mentions of the Xbox One version have been removed from the game's official website, with Activision stating that version is "TBD." "We want to inform you that we are revising our release plans for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 on Xbox One," Activision said in a statement to MCV. "When and whether The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is released on Xbox One is TBD." When contacted for comment, a representative for Activision told Polygon that the company is "working with Microsoft in an...
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The Golf Club now available on PC via Steam Early Access

HB Studios released its simulation golf title, The Golf Club, on Windows PC via Steam Early Access today, with a 15 percent launch-week discount that brings the regular price of $34.99 down to $29.74. The company noted that, as with all Early Access titles, The Golf Club isn't a finished product; HB had been running a closed beta for the game since mid-February. "There are still bugs, missing features and content and more optimizations to be made — but we are working hard to continually update the game and improve the experience! If you're interested in getting in early and helping shape The Golf Club as a game — then Early Access is for you," reads a blog post from HB. At launch, the Early Access version of The Golf Club includes its defining feature: its course creator, which...
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The unusual game that was born out of the debilitating failure of Retro/Grade

Eighty hours a week for four years. $70,000 out of pocket. Matt Gilgenbach, like many indie developers, poured his heart, soul, life and finances into one single, all-encompassing passion project: Retro/Grade.And then it failed, well at least financially failed. "It was a financial disaster," he said. "We got positive critical response, but it didn't resonate in terms of sales. Or maybe we failed to market it. "I'm still not sure what the problem was with Retro/Grade." The two man team that made up 24 Caret Games went their separate ways and old memories came back to haunt Gilgenbach. "I struggled with depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder for a large part of my life," he said. "That sent me down into a depressing episode. "All of these memories were flooding back about how...
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Hide-and-seek horror title The Flock coming to Steam

Dutch indie developer Vogelsap will release its hide-and-seek based survival horror title The Flock through Steam as part of an agreement with Valve, the company told Polygon this morning. The Flock is an asymmetrical multiplayer title designed for three to five players. These players because the Flock, deformed humanoid monsters with gnarled limbs and protruding bones, roaming a barren and dark world in which all life has perished. Gameplay is similar to red-light-green-light in that players must catch each other while they are unaware in order to take them out of the game. Players must become a being called a Carrier by gaining control of the Light Artifact, a mirror that shines a beam of light wherever it is pointed. The Carrier is slower and weaker than all other Flock, making...
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