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It’s a great week to be a PS+ member, as there are some pretty nifty deals this week. For starters, Double Dragon Neon, a brand new game, is free. If you’re a non-+ member you can also try the demo in lieu of the deal.

If you can’t fit enough beat ‘em ups in your life, you can also pick up the fairly awesome Scott Pilgrim game as well. If you’re really impatient, Jet Set Radio HD is yours a week early (in comparison to 360 and regular PSN folk) at a discounted price of $8.99.

Last, but not least, you can nab Max Payne 3 digitally for $40.49 until the 18th of this month. Make sure and do some comparison shopping before you buy it, but $40 isn’t bad. Out of all these, I heavily recommend Jet Set Radio HD, so long as you have an open mind towards quirky, cartoony games — it won’t let you down.

[Playstation Blog]

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII

That headline has to be a little strange to read out loud, right? Not according to Square Enix! The recently announced Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII, the sequel to Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2, will be the last game to star Lightning.

The game’s director, Motomu Toriyama, told IGN that “the ‘Lightning Saga’ that began with Final Fantasy XIII — in other words, the characters and universe that revolve around Lightning — will come to an end with this installment.” So, in this game you’ll have 13 days to save the world, and then you’ll say goodbye to Lightning forever. Though, Toriyama adds that he’s sure “Lightning and the people around her will all have a happy ending.”

[IGN]

Penny Arcade Expo

The Penny Arcade Expo is heading to the outback! Well, not really. But it is going to Australia as the expo’s third location. The announcement came today at PAX Prime 2012 from Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins during their panel. They did not say what city will host the event.

The duo also announced during the panel that the Seattle-based show will be extended to a four-day extravaganza starting next year. This move is to spread out the tournaments and panels and bring in more visitors. Though, for gamers trying to attend the event on a budget, an extra day might hurt their already strained wallets.

[The Verge]

Frank Gibeau, President of EA labels

On Bloomberg today, President of EA labels Frank Gibeau says that the company is planning on “three to five new IPs” for the next generation of consoles “within the first twenty-four months” after their release. He also says that EA expects the new consoles “in about a year’s time.” This revelation comes after Microsoft and Sony have stayed notoriously tight-lipped about the consoles that everybody and their brother expects are in the works.

Gibeau also commented on EA’s “missteps” at the start of this console generation. However, by coming out and saying they’re working on new games and IPs, it looks like EA hopes to avoid the same mistakes. Gibeau says that this is “a big investment” for the company because they’re going to go after this “transition in a big way.”

[Bloomberg]

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy HD

That lawyer guy Phoenix Wright sure is popular. He’s starred in multiple DS games, and he’s even got a musical all about him and his…lawyering. Anyway, now Mr. Ace Attorney can add iOS devices to his lawyer resume as Capcom revealed that Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy HD will arrive this fall.

The three original DS games have been upscaled and remastered in HD for this new release. Also the game has been fine-tuned to accommodate touch controls. Each full game in the trilogy will be available for download separately or part of a bundle. Capcom did not give any pricing info though. For those who have no experience with the Phoenix Wright games (myself included), the first two chapters of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney will be available for free as a demo.

It looks like PSone Classics have finally come to the PlayStation Vita, but watch out! Very few games will actually work if you download them through the PlayStation Store directly from your Vita at this time. Instead, you’re basically going to need to transfer them from your PS3 to your Vita, which sadly means you need a PS3.

In order to do the transfer, download the game through your PS3 and leave it in “bubble” form (uninstalled). Plug in your Vita and go to the Content Manager. Select the game (and hope it is compatible) and transfer it to your Vita. You can also transfer saves this way.

Note that not every game is compatible, so don’t rush off to just buy any PSone Classic assuming it’ll work on your Vita. Full user reported lists can be found here and here, since Sony isn’t content with giving their fans an actual list outside of nine “officially” supported US games (The EU has 100 and Japan has more than that).

Activision may have stopped making Tony Hawk and Guitar Hero games, but that isn’t stopping former developers who worked on both franchises from creating their newest title: Epic Skater.

The game is going for a targeted release date of December 2012, and will be hitting the iPhone, iPad, and Android platforms. Keep an eye out for some coverage of the upcoming Epic Skater beta, as we’ll be giving you the latest on this intruiging project.

Considering that I’ve been replaying all of Neversoft’s old Tony Hawk games, this announcement couldn’t have come at a better time! If you want to contribute, head on over to their Kickstarter. Read more… »

It seems as if the developers of Awesomenauts have an affinity for retro games, as the PC version of Awesomenauts has a hidden 8-bit Smash Bros-esque game embedded in the Steam download. All you have to do is head to the following directory to access the game:

\Steam\steamapps\common\Awesomenauts\Data\Rofl

All in all, it’s great to see indie developers packing in extra content just for fun, rather than gating it behind many industry standards we deal with today. There’s no AI component, and it’s local play only, so grab some friends! You also can’t remap the controls, so try remapping them with a program like Joy2Key, and playing with some gamepads.

Awesomenauts PC Screenshot 5

Have you guys given Awesomenauts a try yet? What’d you think? I enjoyed it a lot. Well, there’s good news for those who don’t own a 360 and haven’t gotten a chance to play it yet. Awesomenauts will be out on Steam on August 1st.

The game also received a new patch a couple of days ago that added two new characters for free–Coco, who rides a hoverboard, and Derpl, a space slug with a combat walker. If you stopped playing, now might be a perfect time to get back into the fray. There’s no word on pricing, but because Awesomenauts costs $10 on PSN and XBLA, it’s probably a safe bet to say that it’ll cost the same on Steam.

Final Fantasy Versus XIII

[Update: It seems as if Square-Enix has debunked this rumor. Let's hope that we see some new footage or screenshots sometime soon.]

Hope you’re ready for your daily serving of internet rumor stew, because today’s recipe is pretty juicy. Today Kotaku announced that they learned from several sources that Final Fantasy Versus XIII was officially cancelled.

But on the opposite end of the spectrum, other rumors have come to light that Square Enix will announce Final Fantasy XIII-3 or more Lightning-centric DLC during its Final Fantasy 25th anniversary event on September 1st.

Read more… »

Steam Summer Sale 2012 - July 12 - July 22

If you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, then you can be excused for not knowing that Steam’s impending annual Summer Sale was on everybody’s mind. You can also be excused for not knowing that it officially started today and will last until July 22nd.

Like every year, individual games like Portal 2, Call of Duty Modern Warfare 3, and Legend of Grimrock, and numerous pack deals are being offered at ridiculous prices that test the impulse control of gamers everywhere.  Steam also has daily deals that are updated every eight hours and are voted into place by the community. I can hear gamers’ wallets crying out in pain from here. Mine is among them.

Max Payne 3

While it’s true that Rockstar has closed its Vancouver studio, they are also expanding into a brand new facility in Oakville, Ontario for the Rockstar Toronto studio.The Vancouver staff is being given the option of transferring to the Toronto facility or to positions in other Rockstar studios.

The new Oakville facility is part of a deal with the Ontario government, though no specifics about how much the deal is worth were given. Jennifer Kolbe, VP of Publishing and Operations also revealed that Rockstar Toronto is planning on expanding even more: “We plan to add more than 50 new positions to our combined Canadian team.”