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WRUP: Orange Mocha Frappuccino [Update: Behold the magnificence]


Update: CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! And masterfully executed. Thanks @Vicky_Bit

And we're still waiting on someone to take this Final Fantasy 15 video and add Wham's "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" in reverence to the opening scene from Ben Stiller's comedy masterpiece, Zoolander. Could we do it ourselves? Sure. But this really seems like a job for the internet.

What's everyone playing?

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Barely Related: The Millennium Falcon's Batmobile baby

A happy weekend tip from us, your pals: Take a walk. Enjoy the sun, the shade and the way your new iPhone screen looks in both of those lighting situations.

Welcome to Barely Related, a conversational Friday column that presents the non-gaming news stories that we, the Joystiq staff, have been talking about over the past week. And no, we're not stopping our focus on industry and gaming news. Think of this as your casual weekly recap of interesting (and mostly geeky) news, presented just in time to fill your brain with things to discuss at all of those weekend shindigs.

Grab a fresh drink, lean back in your armchair, and get ready to talk nerdy with us.

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Hyper Light Drifter preview build goes live on Sept. 26

Backers eager to get their hands on the sleek action-RPG Hyper Light Drifter won't have to wait long. A preview build for Windows and Mac is set to go live on Steam next week, developer Heart Machine announced today.

The build is designed to give an early glimpse at Hyper Light Drifter's standout features resulting from its extended development period, though some key elements are being saved for the final release. "Some game features are locked, some have been hidden, others are being refined, and content is always being generated for the world," Heart Machine notes. "So, to help communicate a bit better we're calling it a Preview Build."

Steam keys for Hyper Light Drifter's preview build will be sent to backers who pledged $25 or more to the team's Kickstarter project. The game will go live on September 26, and will be playable through September 28.

[Image: Heart Machine]

Three devs, one house, a corgi and a dream

After a dozen or more years apiece kicking around the AAA side of the games industry, the three men behind Ragtag Studio embraced independence. They've spent the last two-plus years working on Ray's the Dead, a cartoonish zombie adventure that is about to conclude an already-funded Kickstarter campaign (which ends Sunday), but going indie brings new challenges and necessary sacrifices.

For all three, that's meant a long span without salaries. But for co-founders Chris Cobb and Matt Carter, it's also meant moving halfway across the country from Chicago to Dallas and combining their families within a single rented home, which now houses four adults, the Carters' infant daughter, the Cobbs' corgi, and the Ragtag office. It's a premise fit for a reality show-but in fact, it's simply their reality for the next year or so, at least.

Call it a Hail Mary of a life change, done in an effort to finish the game following a taxing year-plus that saw a first Kickstarter attempt flatline, family members arrive and depart, and development slow to a crawl. But can this grand gamble really bring Ray's the Dead to life?

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This EVE LEGO ship will rock you like a hurricane

Imgur user Dinklebob has uploaded pics of his latest LEGO creation, an homage to EVE Online's Hurricane battlecruiser. The project is currently in-progress, according to Kotaku, and it even features a drone bay filled with cute widdle LEGO drones.

Disney Infinity 2.0 Marvel Super Heroes review: Super friends

Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes is adorable. From the plucky way characters stride toward danger, to the fantastic, real-world figures that power their adventures, it's hard not to be enamored with the sequel.

Each time I plop a new figure on the base and a hero emerges from its magical Disney dust (made up of money and acquisitions), I revert back to that little Canadian kid from the early 90s, spellbound by Saturday morning cartoons.

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Tropico 5 delayed on PS4, now arriving in 'early 2015'

Despite prior word that Tropico 5 would reach the PlayStation 4 during 2014, a new announcement from publisher Kalypso Media bumps the banana republic simulation to "early 2015." Kalyspo offers no explanation for the PlayStation 4 delay, but does note that the Xbox 360 version of Tropico 5, which has long been scheduled for a November 2014 release, has not been delayed.

In more positive news, the aforementioned message issued by Kalypso announces the launch of both Mac and SteamOS versions of Tropico 5. "Starting today, Mac & SteamOS users can now visit the island paradise of Tropico in the award-winning dictator sim," the announcement states. Those suddenly interested in picking up a copy of Tropico 5 can find the game either on the Mac App Store or Steam.
[Image: Kalypso Media]

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Bandai Namco TGS pics? Yeah, when Dark Souls 2 freezes over

The third and final round of Dark Souls 2 DLC, Crown of the Ivory King, is a blustery romp through a frozen kingdom, complete with snow and giant ice beasts. Bandai Namco has dumped a lineup of screenshots from Tokyo Game Show on us, including images for Tales of Hearts R, Tales of Zestiria, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 and those Dark Souls 2 shots. See them all in the galleries below.

Also check out our reviews of Dark Souls 2 and its first bit of DLC, Crown of the Sunken King.

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Joystiq Deals: LithiumCard portable battery pack

This edition of Joystiq Deals features the LithiumCard Portable HyperCharger, a battery pack aimed squarely at those who would like to recharge their gadgets on the go, but who don't have the space to tote around a bulky box full of electrical energy.

At 3.1 inches by 2.2 inches and as thick as five credit cards, the LithiumCard is smaller than an iPhone 5 but boasts the ability to rapidly charge devices at up to one percent of their capacity per minute. It connects to gadgets either via USB or Apple's Lightning specification and the LithiumCard can charge other devices while it too is pulling in juice from the nearest electrical outlet.

Normally the LithiumCard Portable HyperCharger would set you back $55, but for the next two days, anyone who orders the charger through Joystiq Deals will see a 27 percent discount, reducing the LithiumCard's price to $40. For full details please visit the Joystiq Deals website.
Joystiq Deals is a partnership between AOL and StackSocial. A portion of sales goes to funding this site. Deals are curated by StackSocial independently of the Joystiq editorial team.

Hohokum dev's latest boasts llamas that go boom

Super Exploding Zoo is a game that developer Honeyslug describes as a "arcade-y tower defense-y explode-em-up," though most players will simply know it as "that game where explosive llamas stop an alien invasion."

"That old family favorite, the Super Exploding Zoo, is under attack from evil aliens who've come to devour all the lovely, tasty animal eggs," reads the developer's brief story synopsis. Since humanity is useless in the face of alien invasion, it's up to a squad of militant animals to fight off the omelette-loving extraterrestrials. Some critters feature their own unique abilities – the crocodile can ford rivers while the meerkat can dig – but regardless of which critters you lead into combat, gameplay in Super Exploding Zoo boils down to a war of attrition against increasingly lethal waves of alien invaders. Helpfully, Honeyslug mixes things up a bit with the addition of puzzle stages and online multiplayer gameplay.

Super Exploding Zoo is slated to appear on the PlayStation 4 and Vita handheld where it will feature cross-play functionality. Honeyslug has yet to reveal a release date for either version of the game.
[Image: Honeyslug]

Persona 4 Arena Ultimax heads to Europe courtesy of Sega

It's been up in the air, but Persona 4 Arena Ultimax is confirmed now to be coming to Europe and other EMEA territories. Sega revealed it's publishing the follow-up fighter in November, with retail and downloadable versions on the way for PS3 and Xbox 360.

Atlus is bringing Ultimax to the Americas on September 30 without region-locking, in contrast to the controversial decision to region-lock the first Persona 4 Arena. That decision caught more attention when the game was delayed by nine months in Europe. Distributor Zen United has since returned the P4A digital rights to Atlus.

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Harmonix announces closure of moribund Rock Band Network

Despite a nearly half-decade-long run, developer Harmonix has made the decision to shutter the Rock Band Network, effective immediately.

As a showcase for Rock Band Network authors to share their music with potential fans, the Rock Band Network eventually grew to include 2,121 downloadable songs. When you include the Rock Band Network alongside the series' official DLC tunes, the total Rock Band series tracklist comes to a staggering 4,221 songs.

Despite its impressive utility, in the end the Rock Band Network was laid low by mounting technical problems. "Some of those problems were server side here at Harmonix, while others were entirely outside of our control," reads the developer's official announcement. "At this point, with Harmonix resources devoted to several other titles in development, we're no longer able to operate RBN with the kind of consistency that it deserves."

Edit: This article initially stated that the Rock Band Network allowed users to upload their own tracks. It has since been altered.
[Image: Harmonix]

Wasteland 2 review: The toxic adventure

It looks like mankind finally did it. After decades of nuclear-armed nation states flaunting their atomic might, somebody took things a step too far, pressed the big red button and the entire world was reduced to cinders in an apocalyptic hail of ballistic missiles. After the dust settled and the gloom of the nuclear tundra set in, tiny pockets of survivors clamored up from the rubble and banded together like dirty, irradiated meerkats. Most were just in it for the chance to eke out some kind of existence under the new status quo, but those kind souls were constantly harried by bands of raiders, cannibals, mutants and jerks who somehow thought the apocalypse would be an appropriate time to shout, "Blaster Master rules Bartertown!" at every opportunity.

All of this is a pretty big bummer for humanity, but for players of Wasteland 2, the end of the world as we know it is just the beginning of a role-playing game that, through a combination of clever writing, daunting attention to detail and phenomenal post-apocalyptic world building, legitimately earns the oft-hyperbolic descriptor of "epic." It's just too bad that these strengths are so often overshadowed by technical problems.

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Final Fantasy series developers unveil Zodiac for Vita, iOS


French developer Kobojo has assembled a team of Final Fantasy series veterans for Zodiac, an upcoming multiplayer online RPG for iOS platforms and the PlayStation Vita.

Taking place in a persistent online world, Zodiac features gameplay that spans side-scrolling 2D environments interspersed with turn-based battles. The project boasts the involvement of Final Fantasy 7 and Final Fantasy 10 scenario writer Kazushige Nojima and Final Fantasy Tactics composer Hitoshi Sakimoto, among other creative talent.

Zodiac is due to launch in 2015.

[Video: Kobojo]

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Most Hearthstone players remain above Rank 15

Those of you perpetually stuck at Rank 23 in Blizzard's hyper-addictive faux card game Hearthstone shouldn't get too discouraged. Not only are you not alone, you happen to be in the same position as the vast majority of other Hearthstone players.

According to an infographic revealed by the developer (which you can find below the break), 75 percent of all Hearthstone players fall somewhere between Rank 25 and Rank 15 - a far cry from the envy-inducing upper echelons of the game's leaderboards. Furthermore, 17.5 percent of Hearthstone players are located somewhere between Ranks 15 and 10, 5.5 percent are found between Ranks 10 and 5 and a mere 2 percent can legitimately claim to have placed within the top five ranks. The number of players who have reached the rank of "Legend" is almost too small to mention, as it represents only 0.5 percent of all Hearthstone players.

If you're hoping for a noble, academic use for this data, sorry, but Blizzard is seemingly sharing these figures purely to bolster player morale. "Whether you're a Legend or an Angry Chicken or anywhere in between, Hearthstone players are passionate about the game, creative in deck-building, and best of all – a part of the ever-growing Hearthstone community," reads a message from the developer. "If you ever feel that your Rank in Ranked Play is the end all, be all of Hearthstone, don't worry – you're doing better than you think!"
[Image: Activision Blizzard]

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Super Joystiq Podcast 113: Hyrule Warriors, The Master Chief Collection, Murasaki Baby, Theatrhythm

Latest episode: Friday, September 19th, 2014

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