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Microsoft has announced Windows 10. That’s not a misprint. Your next PC operating system will not be Windows 9, the logical follow-up to Windows 8. It’s Windows 10, because according to Microsoft, there were too many changes for a measly one number jump. It combines everything Microsoft has learned about Windows 8 and mashes it onto every device. Plus, the Start Menu is back! Microsoft acknowledged that a lot of people stuck to Windows 7 and if they upgraded, it was only because Windows 8 is what was installed on their new system. The company is keen to make these people comfortable and not force the infamous Metro screen on them.

“We want all these Windows 7 users to have the sentiment that yesterday they were driving a first-generation Prius, and now with Windows 10 it’s like a Tesla.”

Let’s say you’re not a PC gamer. Why should you care about an operating system for desktops and laptops? Beyond the fact that the OS influences development of games, take a gander at the image above that came from the press conference in San Francisco. That’s an Xbox One user interface redesigned for Windows 10’s “one platform” mantra. It’s just an early preview for now, but you can expect the company to drive the console towards that user interface barring any difficulties.

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The studio behind Zoo Tycoon and RollerCoaster Tycoon 3, Frontier Developments, has a new game in the works that combines rollercoasters with everyone’s inner sadist. ScreamRide lets players create coasters via an interface that will look very familiar to RollerCoaster Tycoon players. Add loops, curves, drops, and slides with a simple system and you can build your very own Kingda Ka, then finish the design off by sending your passengers into the wall of a skyscraper. That’s probably (hopefully) not how the Imagineers at Disney do it, but that’s what ScreamRide players will want to do to make the most points. That’s what matters, right? Points! Certainly not amusement park safety.

ScreamRide is coming for Xbox 360 and Xbox One in Spring 2015.

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PlayStation Home is shutting down. Sony announced that the PlayStation 3 social media virtual advertising space is closing down on March 31st, 2015. New content will cease on November 12th of this year, but participants will be able to download content until December 3rd. Free virtual gifts will be given to the community until the platform’s closure. Sony cited a “shifting landscape” as the reason for the service’s termination. Otherwise known as “Please go buy a PlayStation 4.”

PlayStation Home has been bringing “adutainment” to PlayStation 3 gamers since 2008 with a variety of virtual spaces. Goodbye Red Bull Air Race! Fare thee well Ford Showroom! Adios EA Sports Golf Island!

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, | Games podcasts
wl2-podcast-featured

This week, Brandon Cackowski-Schnell and Jason McMaster discuss and crack wise about Wasteland 2 and Destiny. Brandon can’t work out without wandering the wastes and Jason just can’t Wildstar any longer. Come for the yuks, stay for the fresh-baked bread.

Important announcement: please go check out this weeks Movie Podcast and skip to the 1 hour 20 minute mark for an announcement from Tom about the near future of our podcasts.

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You blew it. We had a sweet thing going with the cave farming exploit, but you couldn’t shut up about it on Twitter and now it’s going to get ruined. Bungie knows how we’ve been standing around in Russia, twenty Guardians deep, firing away at the respawning enemies in the Loot Cave to collect a mountain of engrams. Maybe the exploit wasn’t exactly engaging, but at least the drops were numerous. Why else would we keep visiting that jerk of all jerks, the Cryptarch? It was good while it lasted.

The social experience of a cave farming run is amazing: the herding to get a team of Guardians all behind the line and firing in the right direction, the rush to grab the loot, the scramble when the panic wave starts, the beckoning glow from inside the cave. The speed at which the community organized around this activity was inspiring and humbling to us.

But shooting at a black hole for hours on end isn’t our dream for how Destiny is played. Our hope is that social engagement in public spaces is only one part of the Destiny experience. Expect changes soon which decrease the efficiency of cave farming and correspondingly increase engram drops from completing activities.

Bungie should’ve read Soren Johnson’s Water Finds a Crack before they made the loot drops in the rest of the game so poor.

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The Steam Music Player has come out of beta and launched for everyone. The feature adds a music player to the Steam standalone client that can play MP3 files on your PC. The new system also collects all those video game soundtracks you’ve gotten for purchasing games on Steam and puts them into one easy to use library. The player works with the in-game Steam overlay, so you can listen to your music while playing games. Beethoven with Team Fortress 2? Sure! The Clash with Dota 2? Go for it! Iggy Izalea with Portal 2? Well, there’s no accounting for taste.

Valve has even helpfully created a list of games with soundtrack offerings to get gamers started on their collections.

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Undead halfling brewmasters. If that doesn’t intrigue you, then you’re an unfeeling brute. Unfeeling I say! Triumph Studios has revealed their next plans for Age of Wonders 3 and it’s the return of the undead to the series. The recent Golden Realms DLC added halflings as a new race to the game, and that was met with varying degrees of satisfaction from players, but the clamor for advocates of the less-than-living have always been loud and clear. People love zombies and reanimated skeletons. Triumph’s latest dev journal acknowledges that yearning and lets fans know that the studio liked the undead all along!

When we started AoW3 and developed the concept of the leader class system, the possibility of a Necromancer class quickly dawned on us. We think implementing Undead as a class has more potential than as a race, because this way we can model a gradual transformation of the leader, the population and the racial units to the undead state. The more they transform, the more powerful they gradually become.

The possibilities are interesting because as a class choice, Necromancers would combine the undead abilities with the different racial features. Ghoul high elven pikemen! Skeletal dwarven deepguard!

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insurgency

If you’ve fired up Steam sometime in the past couple of days you may have noticed that the storefront looks a bit different. It’s also blue. Change is hard for some people and they’ve expressed their displeasure, while other users have praised the new features such as the curator system, store filters, and the color scheme. In all the back and forth, it’s sometimes hard to remember that these big changes to Steam have an impact on the other side as well. Game developers and publishers are subject to the fallout from the system overhauls.

In the case of Insugency, the hardcore military shooter from New World Interactive, the Steam changes have been immediately felt. Andrew Spearin, the creative director at New World, wrote about the effects the studio has seen in only a day. Views of the store page have multiplied, user wishlist additions have jumped, and most importantly, sales have increased. Spearin places particular emphasis on the impact the curator system has.

“This Curators list also represents high priority targets to become a cornerstone of our marketing efforts. We now need those top Curator recommendations. They represent a potential new audience to reach that is already a few clicks away from purchase.”

Insurgency is available on Steam.

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Blizzard has shelved Titan. Blizzard’s CEO, Mike Morhaime, admitted to Polygon that the long-rumored MMO project has been canceled and the company has moved on after seven years of work. The next-gen follow-up to World of Warcraft was first reported to have development issues last year when Blizzard “reset” the team and started over on the core systems. According to senior vice president Chris Metzen, part of the decision to cancel Titan came from the success of Blizzard’s recent smaller projects like Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm.

“Maybe we can be what we want to be and inspire groups around the company to experiment, get creative, think outside the box and take chances on things that just might thrill people. Maybe they don’t have to be these colossal, summer blockbuster-type products.”

Both Morhaime and Metzen expressed that while the decision to stop development of Titan was painful, they’d rather do that as a company than put out an inferior game and damage their relationship with fans.

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United Front, developers of Sleeping Dogs, has heard your cries for more Hong Kong crime stories. Triad Wars is their PC-exclusive, online game about running triad gangs, being a kung-fu antihero, and grinding for reputation. The announcement trailer shows a lot of shenanigans that should be familiar to Sleeping Dogs fans. Is it going to be free-to-play? They don’t mention the pricing anywhere, but this description may give you a hint.

On the mean streets of Hong Kong, however, brawn alone won’t be enough – you’re going to need money first, and for that you’ll need brains.

Triad Wars is tentatively scheduled to release in early 2015, but you can sign up to enter the closed beta now.

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, | Movie podcasts
THE GUEST

This week we see You’re Next director Adam Wingard’s latest love letter to slasher movies from the 80s, The Guest. Then, at the 40-minute mark, this week’s 3×3 checks into horrible things that happen in hotel rooms in movies. Finally, you’ll want to hear some important news about the future of the podcast at the 1:20 mark.

Next week: The Equalizer

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Assassin’s Creed Unity will have a season pass that will include an entirely separate game set in 16th century China. Ubisoft announced that Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China will detail the adventures of the assassin Shao Jun, who was featured in the Assassin’s Creed Embers animated movie. A disciple of Ezio Auditore, Shao goes to Beijing and uses her skills to make friends and kill people. Unfortunately for franchise fans that have been asking for an Assassin’s Creed game set in Asia, this game is a little less than a full big-budget release.

Explore legendary landmarks like the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City and encounter famous historical figures in this new 2.5D digital download title.

Sad trombone. The Assassin’s Creed Unity Season Pass will be $29.99 and will also include two new missions for Arno in revolutionary France.

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