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NBA 2K15 face scan nightmares are now Halloween masks

In the market for a last-minute Halloween mask that's both cheap and terrifying? 2K Sports has released a series of print-out masks inspired by NBA 2K15's infamous face-scanning feature -- an ideal finishing touch for that Texas Chainsaw Massacre costume you've been working on.

Ostensibly designed to allow players to map their own faces onto NBA 2K15 players, the face scan feature instead generated sheer horror in the wake of the game's launch earlier this month. The mechanic left many custom-created players with misshapen facial features, multiple sets of eyes, and other uncanny disfigurements.

Instead of locking its unholy creations in the basement, 2K wisely decided to repurpose its barely-human menagerie for Halloween fun. It all makes sense now. See, that character you generated with a tongue sticking out of his neck wasn't a glitch -- he just showed up to the costume party a few weeks early!

[Image: 2K]

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U bumped up to Nov. 28 in the UK

Nintendo has pushed up the UK release date for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, announcing that its crossover brawler will now hit Europe on November 28.

Nintendo originally pegged Smash Bros' UK debut for December 5 before deciding to bump it up a week. A special edition GameCube controller, four-port adapter, and controller bundle will also premiere in the UK in November, but players holding out for the region-exclusive Mario Amiibo bundle will need to wait until December 5 to join the battle.

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U will launch in North America on November 21.

[Image: Nintendo]

Nintendo's next gadget to track, improve sleep patterns

Following earlier reports that Nintendo had plans to join the health-monitoring industry, company president Satoru Iwata has revealed that the gaming giant is currently developing a device to track a user's sleep patterns and encourage them toward more healthy, restful sleep.

"Since fatigue per se is not regarded as a disease in the medical world, it is said to be a field where sufficient research has yet to be conducted," Iwata stated. "We have been fortunate to encounter several experts who have been conducting cutting-edge research in the science of fatigue. Together, we are now developing technology to estimate fatigue."

The unnamed device, which is currently being developed in cooperation with medical device manufacturer ResMed Inc., is "about the size of a hand and can be placed on a user's bedside table," according to Reuters. It uses microwave sensors to track the length and quality of a user's sleep cycles, then collects that data and sends it to applications which can then help users develop better sleep habits.

There's currently no release date for Nintendo's sleep monitor, though Iwata hopes to have it available to the public at some point during the 2015 financial year.
[Image: Nintendo]

Report: Xbox 360's GTA: San Andreas HD is an Android port

In lieu of rebuilding Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas from scratch for its recent Xbox 360 re-release, Rockstar Games simply ported the existing Android version of San Andreas to Microsoft's console, according to the tech sleuths at Digital Foundry.

In a test comparing numerous versions of San Andreas, Digital Foundry noticed numerous similarities between the Xbox 360 and Android releases. "Viewed side by side, Xbox 360 and [Android-powered] Shield Tablet games appear to be a close match - the higher-resolution 2D artwork and the new front end are much the same, though the new console release appears to possess enhanced draw distance over the Android version (even when it's set to 100 per cent on the mobile version)," the report states. "Unfortunately, aside from the inclusion of Achievements, there's very little love given to this new edition. Just like the Android release, there's absolutely no anti-aliasing available, whereas even the original PC version supports this, while the vast majority of Xbox Originals on the 360 emulator supported 2x or 4x MSAA depending on the title."

Further, Digital Foundry notes that the game's mobile roots have left its framerate capped at 30 frames per second, a decision that results in frequent hitching and stuttering. "What could have been an opportunity to produce the ultimate, definitive version of GTA: San Andreas comes across as something of a missed opportunity," the group concludes.
[Image: Rockstar Games]

Joystiq Deals: iOS 8 developer's bundle

The latest edition of Joystiq Deals is aimed squarely at would-be iOS 8 app developers.

Bitfountain's Complete iOS 8 Course With Swift is the crown jewel of the bundle. It includes over 36 hours of guided instruction as well as "over 350" primer videos that should bring you up to speed on how to build apps for Apple's latest mobile operating system. Since those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it, the bundle also includes Bitfountain's Complete iOS 7 Course.

While normally these two courses would be priced at nearly $1,000, for the next three days Joystiq Deals users can pick up both for $89. Visit the Joystiq Deals website for more information and details on how to order.

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.

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare kisses goats, leaks zombies

Not even a sloppy, overly-moist kiss from a goat can distract Call of Duty fans from gunning down zombies, as the two most recent pieces of footage from Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare handily demonstrate.

Below the break you'll find the latest, official trailer for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. It's a live-action affair and the aforementioned amorous goat basically steals the entire thing, but otherwise it's got all the explosions, gunplay and overtly macho posturing we've come to expect from the near-future military shooter.

More intriguing however, is a 52-second clip that recently appeared on the Internet that seemingly depicts previously unknown zombies in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Though the footage is not an official release, it does appear to be legit. Zombies are a Call of Duty tradition at this point, and when asked about the leak, Sledgehammer Games head Glen Schofield made no effort to deny its authenticity. "[N]othing I can do about [the leak] now," Schofield tweeted. "But yeah it sucks. Imagine you're playing and this comes up - you'd be psyched up, right?" Our attempts to pry further information from Activision were met with no response.

Whether you're psyched or not, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare brings zombies, goats and Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey to retail on November 3.

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Evolve's alpha test delayed on PS4 due to firmware issues

Evolve's "Big Alpha" test has been postponed on PlayStation 4, 2K announced today. After the PS4's recent version 2.0 firmware update resulted in a number of issues for players, the publisher also began "experiencing difficulties with the Evolve Big Alpha" on Sony's home console. "PlayStation and 2K are working together on a resolution," 2K noted.

The test was expected to hit PS4, Xbox One and PC this weekend, and it will still happen for the latter two systems. PS4 owners that happen to have an Xbox One or PC capable of playing Evolve are encouraged to use the registration code "05379-29749-32069" and referral code "EvolveBigAlpha4v1" to register for the alpha test on either of those systems via Turtle Rock Studios' site. Those suffering from the PS4's Rest Mode issues after the version 2.0 system update may also want to consider trying one possible fix listed here. Evolve will launch on February 10, 2015.
[Image: 2K Games]

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Halloween Horror Streams: Overcoming our fear of Amnesia


We've run the horror gamut during our Halloween Horror Streams extravaganza. We've done old school, we've done new school, we've done zombie apocalypse and haunted zeppelin and even camp. What we haven't done, however, is pit a member of the staff against a game that originally scared them so much they had to quit.

To close out our Halloween celebration, we're pitting Ludwig Kietzmann (@LudwigK) against Amnesia: The Dark Descent. The last time he played Amnesia, he lasted about five minutes and had to stop. Today he has no choice but to go an hour for the stream. It all starts on Joystiq.com/Twitch and right here in this post at 4:00PM EST.

Joystiq streams every Tuesday and Thursday at 4:00PM EST with early looks at upcoming games, developer interviews, and play sessions with the weird old stuff we love. If you want to catch series like the Halloween Horror sessions, make sure to follow us on Twitch.
[Images: Frictional Games]

PSA: Here's one possible fix for PS4 Rest Mode issues

If your PlayStation 4 is behaving badly after this week's 2.0 update, Reddit user Nestledrink has a potential fix that may get your ailing console back up and running.

The fix is for users who are unable to wake their PlayStation 4s up from Rest Mode. You'll see your console constantly blinking an orange light if you're affected, and your system will be unresponsive if you attempt to power it on or press the PS button on a DualShock 4 controller.

If this is the case, Nestledrink recommends powering down the console by pressing the power button for seven seconds, then engaging Safe Mode by holding the power button for another seven seconds afterward. From there, you can select the third option on the screen that appears in order to reinstall the latest firmware update, which should hopefully fix the problem.

While the method isn't guaranteed to fix all PlayStation 4 issues, one Joystiq staffer was able to resuscitate their console by following the steps above, and confirms that their PS4 is now back in action. If your PS4 is still unresponsive, try contacting Sony support for further assistance.

[Image: Sony]

Joystiq Giveaway: Octa Monkey Kit Tablet Stand

iPad Air 2 feels insanely thin and light, like you're holding a tablet made of puppy dog breath and clouds. Bully for the people that have one of those, but some folks out there are still rocking an iPad 2. It's only three years old, who cares if it's really heavy and the screen isn't quite as nice! What would help is having a stand of some kind to allow for all that multi-finger work necessary to play things like Devil's Attorney or Helix. Even if you have a fancy new iPad, a stand would keep you from snapping it in half out of frustration while playing Desert Golfing or dropping it in terror during the Nightjar.

In the interest of helping people with all kinds of tablets, Joystiq and Octa are giving away five Monkey Kit stands. Each one's worth $70, and will hold your tablet up like it's a fixture in some crazy Tim Burton sci-fi movie. All you have to do to win is like Joystiq on Facebook or follow us on Twitter between October 31 and November 7 using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Full list of prizes and rules after the break.

Joystiq and Octa Giveaway

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Turns out Blizzard found more Hearthstone cheaters to ban

Hearthstone
Earlier this week, Blizzard banned "several thousand" botter accounts in MMOTCG Hearthstone for the crime of botting. But the bans were only temporary, and the problem players will be back in the game by the turn of the year.

The subjects of a new wave of bans, says Blizzard, won't be let off so easily. Community Manager Whirthun told forumgoers last night that win traders have and will continue to be banned -- permanently:
We've recently banned Hearthstone accounts that were found to be participating in win trading. Win trading at any rank is something that we do not take lightly, and is in violation of our Terms of Use. As we mentioned in our previous statement regarding fair play in Hearthstone, instances of cheating will not be tolerated. Accounts that were discovered participating in win trading have received permanent account closure and disqualification from events where ranking is used as a method of qualification.
Win trading is an exploit of the matchmaking system to position accounts for easy ladder climbing. PC Gamer reports that several big-name Hearthstone players have already fallen to the ban, including a grey hat player who went public with the exploit nearly a year ago in the hopes of provoking Blizzard to fix it.

Bethesda confirms that Prey 2 is really, most sincerely dead

More than two and a half years after rumors first emerged that the sequel was canceled, Bethesda has confirmed Prey 2 is no more. "It was a game we believed in, but we never felt that it got to where it needed to be," Pete Hines, vice president of Bethesda, told CNET at PAX Australia, "We never saw a path to success if we finished it."

"It wasn't up to our quality standard and we decided to cancel it. It's no longer in development. That wasn't an easy decision, but it's one that won't surprise many folks given that we hadn't been talking about it."

First announced in 2011, Human Head's science fiction bounty hunter game impressed Joystiq and others in early showings but was publicly troubled within months of its reveal. First it was delayed, then removed from Bethesda's website, and finally rumored to be in development at Dishonored studio Arkane. When Bethesda would even acknowledge the game's existence after that, it would simply say that the game wasn't up to the publisher's quality standards. Hines' words reflect that view in the final decision to cancel the game.

Fans of Prey's unusually suggestive doorways shouldn't give up hope just yet. Hines explained that Bethesda still considers Prey a potential series."It's a franchise we still believe we can do something with. We just need to see what that something is."
[Images: Bethesda]

Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes gets permanent price cut

Konami announced a permanent price drop for Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes this week, cutting the game's cost down to $19.99 on all platforms. Ground Zeroes is now priced at £19.99 and €19.99 in Europe as well. The game will reach Steam on December 18.

Acting as a prologue to Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain and also set after the events of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Ground Zeroes took players through a rescue mission as series hero Snake. Ground Zeroes launched in March for $30, and according to our review was "also 30 bucks for one hell of a cliffhanger" as the game wound up "teasing more than it satisfies." The next proper entry in the series, Metal Gear Solid 5, will launch in 2015.
[Image: Konami]

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WoW level designers discuss Draenor's callbacks and vignettes

WoW
Blizzard's final Artcraft blog for World of Warcraft has arrived today in the form of an interview conducted by Community Manager Bashiok. Once again, the topic is the design of Nagrand, a zone made iconic in The Burning Crusade expansion and returning in Warlords of Draenor next month.

The five interviewees, all level designers, discuss preserving key landmarks and environments in the proto-zone and how they've incorporated appropriate callbacks for classic content. The popular Ring of Blood arena quests will return, for example, as might everyone's favorite escort quest NPC, Corki. "Vignettes" will sound familiar to fans of more modern MMOs, as well; Senior Level Designer Victor Chong explains:
We've added a lot more vignette stuff, and I was working with Kurt Sparkuhl, a quest designer, on how I could add hidden stuff on the tops of mountains. So we have a lot of vignettes where players have to figure out how to get up there without just being able to walk up. It's stuff like doing some jumping around to get into an area, and then when you get to the top, you find a goblin with a glider that'll let you glide to specific areas that aren't normally accessible. Then if you get through all of that and land on a specific spot, you're rewarded with whatever the prize is there from a chest or something. We're doing a lot of that, and Nagrand was a good test bed for those kinds of things.
The complete interview is available on the WoW official site.

Humble Indie Bundle 13 features Jazzpunk, OlliOlli


Comedy adventure game Jazzpunk and side-scrolling skateboarding sim OlliOlli headline the latest Humble Indie Bundle, with Shadowrun Returns available as an incentive for buyers who pay $12 or more for the package.

All bundle buyers receive copies of OlliOlli, 2D exploration game Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, and twitch FPS Tower of Guns. Beat the average purchase price (currently $6.93) and you'll unlock Jazzpunk, survival horror sequel Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, and four giftable copies of the 2D action-roguelike Risk of Rain.

Humble Bundle's organizers are also offering up Teleglitch: Die More Edition free of charge for Halloween. The Humble Indie Bundle 13 is up for grabs through November 11.

[Video: Humble Bundle]

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Super Joystiq Podcast 118: Super Smash Bros for Wii U, Civilization Beyond Earth, Fantasia

Latest episode: Saturday, October 25th, 2014

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