Portal 2 and Octodad: Dadliest Catch have a lot in common: Both are born from an independent developer concept; both feature a clueless collection of non-playable characters; and they each explore the absurdity of the human condition. Now, thanks to a Midweek Madness sale, both are available for a discounted price on Steam.
Portal 2 is available for $4.99, 75 percent off its regular price (or $8.74 for two copies for co-op adventures. Octodad: Dadliest Catch can be added to your Steam library for $9.99, 33 percent off (or $13.33 for the game and soundtrack; which, shockingly, does include the Lionel Richie classic "Stuck on You"). Each sale ends at 10am Pacific on Friday, April 25.
In other deal-related news, the newly released music exploration game FRACT OSC is available for 10 percent off ($13.49) until 10am Pacific on April 29. [Image: Young Horses]
High School StarLeague organizes esports competitions for high school students in North America, and this season it's offering a scholarship of more than $20,000 for the winners of its finals round in June. Twitch and Newegg each contributed $10,000 to High School StarLeague for the scholarship.
"Through tournaments and scholarships, we plan to prepare our aspiring and talented gamers for the professional gaming scene, while simultaneously ensuring success in their education and character development outside of the game," High School StarLeague COO Jesse Wang said in a press release.
Games included in the tournament are League of Legends, Dota 2 and StarCraft 2. The High School StarLeague 2013-2014 finals take place in June in Southern California, and they'll be broadcast live on Twitch. [Image: High School StarLeague]
Developer Tripwire Interactive is giving Steam users a freebie. Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad, a World War 2-themed tactical shooter, is available for free. Like Valve did with Left 4 Dead 2some months ago, the game is yours to keep forever as long as it's added to your Steam account within the giveaway period.
Tripwire Interactive will parlay its gifting mood into a free Steam weekend featuring Red Orchestra 2's Rising Storm expansion. During the free trial period of the expansion, Rising Storm will be available for purchase at a discounted price.
To grab Red Orchestra 2 for free, simply "add" it to your account from the game's Steam store page. Tripwire's shooter is regularly priced at $9.99. Though the announcement on the game's Steam forum does not mention a specific time for the promotion's expiration, it has already begun and should be available at least until the end of the day (Pacific). [Image: Tripwire Interactive]
In a nine-minute walkthrough of Watch Dogs' multiplayer component, Animation Director Colin Graham takes us through streets filled with people staring at their phones. It's the future. Watch Dogs is due out on May 27 for PC, Xbox One, PS4, PS3 and Xbox 360.
League of Legends' next champion will be the beefy barbarian Braum, developer Riot Games has revealed. The Freljord native will take up his massive shield to block projectiles and soak up damage from enemy champions. The official League of Legends site has more details on this magnificently mustachioed man, who is, according to Riot, the game's "first true tank support" character.
Braum is a support champion, meaning he won't be dealing out much damage of his own, but rather helping his teammates survive and taking the hits for them when he can. That doesn't mean he won't be useful in a fight, though. His "Winter's Bite" ability shoots a line of ice out from his shield, dealing magic damage and slowing those it catches. The "Stand By Me" ability causes Braum to leap to a nearby ally, positioning himself between them and the nearest enemy champion. This move also grants both Braum and the ally a boost to armor and magic resistance. His "Unbreakable" ability lifts Braum's shield and causes projectiles coming contact with it to be destroyed. Lastly, Braum's ultimate ability, "Glacial Fissure," sends out a long-range attack that knocks enemies into the air and slows them.
Braum is currently available on the League of Legends beta servers, and is expected to make his way to the main game soon. [Image: Riot Games]
Need for Speed: Shift developer Slightly Mad Studios announced that its sim-styled racer Project Cars is due to hit the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Wii U, and PC platforms in November.
Project Cars demonstrates its slick presentation and advanced damage modeling in the newly released trailer above. Slightly Mad recently announced that Project Cars will be one of the first games to feature support for Sony's upcoming Project Morpheus virtual reality headset.
Omori, a "surreal, exploration, horror RPG" from webcomic artist Omocat bears fleeting similarities to popular games like Nintendo's Earthbound, which may be what pushed it past its $22,000 goal on Kickstarter in just over one day.
Omori has players traveling between two worlds, exploring their own memories and uncovering some "hidden truths" between turn-based battles, which are listed as "traditional," though they feature untraditional player statuses "based off real human emotions and conditions." The game is written, directed and illustrated by Omocat with a soundtrack courtesy of chiptune artists Slime Girls and Space Boyfriend, the latter of which directly cites Earthbound, Animal Crossing and Persona as inspirations for the game's music. It is in development for PC and will come to Mac if the project crosses its $50,000 stretch goal.
Omocat expects to deliver Omori to backers by May 2015 according to the project's reward tiers, which includes a $15 level that grants donors a copy of the game. [Image: Omocat]
Facebook has earned U.S. antitrust approval to purchase Oculus VR, clearing the way for its acquisition of the company and its Oculus Rift VR headset technology, Reuters reports.
The U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission approved the acquisition this week. Facebook announced its purchase plans last month, revealing that it will pay $2 billion to acquire Oculus VR and its assets.
Oculus VR crowdfunded its headset technology in 2012, later expanding its development team with the addition of former Valve software engineer Tom Forsyth, University of Illinois robotics scientist Steve Lavelle, and id Software co-founder John Carmack. The Oculus Rift headset has sold over 85,000 units to date. [Image: Oculus VR]
A proposed spiritual successor to Rare's Nintendo 64 platformer Banjo-Kazooie has been called off, series composer Grant Kirkhope confirmed in a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" post this week.
"The other guys actually had a secret meeting in a pub near Rare and we even got as far as having a character drawn up and a demo level type thing but it all fell to bits .... everyone's got other jobs, etc.," Kirkhope said.
Developed by a team of ex-Rare staffers, the "Mingy Jongo" project promised to retain the detailed environments and googly-eyed characters of its N64 inspiration. The team's Twitter account went dark in December 2012, and a proposed Kickstarter project failed to materialize. [Image: Rare]
Now that everybody expects the Dragon Age: Inquisition in October, EA's seen fit to reveal what's in the game's Digital Deluxe Edition. The $70/£60 bundle features the RPG's digital soundtrack as well as a bunch of in-game goodies. That includes everything from a throne fashioned out of a dragon skull to an unfortunately titled Bog Unicorn.
Check out Origin for the full list of Deluxe bonuses, but if you'd prefer a lower-priced, extras-free download, the standard edition is going for $60/£50. If you're after something more physical, EA said it'll have news on a Collector's Edition in the "next few weeks."
As for the game itself, Inquisition centers around a group of allies tasked with uncovering the truth behind the new evil threatening Thedas. As Executive Producer Mark Darrah explained on the game's site, you play as the leader of this formation of heroes. As the Inquisitor, it's up to you to make the tough decisions like passing judgments of guilt and innocence, choosing which paths to follow and which to close off, and how best to use your chief weapons of fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency and a nice red uniform. Dragon Age: Inquisition is coming to PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3 and PC on October 7.
The new Lords of the Fallentrailer is a bit Groundhog Day, except with Bill Murray as an unwavering knight rather than an arrogant weatherman, and instead of reliving some local festivities, he's stuck in an endless loop of grueling, bloody duels to the death. Yup, we'd so watch that movie. As for CI Games' action-RPG, that's cycling along to Xbox One, PS4 and PC sometime later this year. [Image: CI Games]
Minecraft developer Mojang showed off one piece of the forthcoming update for the PC game in a new video today, which offers more options for world customization in the game. The video shows the game's 16 new terrain-modifying sliders, allowing players to manually set the foundation of their Minecraft worlds down to its "depth base size" and "upper limit scale."
Additionally, the update will include other customization functions, such as the ability to decide which structures are generated by the game like caves, villages, temples and strongholds. Players will also have the option to set the number of dungeons and the height of their world's sea level in the game. If all that sounds too complex, Mojang included seven preset worlds and their slider settings to get players acquainted with the building tools. There's no word on when the Minecraft update is scheduled to arrive. [Image: Mojang]
At first glance, Miegakure is just a simple puzzle-infused platformer with a crisp, colorful Japanese setting. That is, until you stumble upon its central mechanic. At the press of a button, the world seems to fold in on itself, collapsing and expanding like an accordion until a new, different world appears (just watch the trailer). Sometimes this new world contains slices of the old one, sometimes it's completely different. Developer Marc ten Bosch's explanation to me made sense, even if I didn't fully understand it: In Miegakure, you get to play with four dimensions, not just three. Throughout the game, you can swap one of the current three dimensions for the fourth.
If you've ever tried to comprehend rotation in four dimensions, you might be familiar with the mind-rending confusion that Miegakure can inspire. That said, I was able to intuit the solutions to Miegakure's puzzles, even if I didn't understand the principles at work. Bosch told me he's perfectly fine with that. "See, the thing that's really interesting to me, is that we've tried to build this game where you can play it and just get a feel for what the fourth dimension is like, without necessarily understanding what the math is," he said. "I sort of see it as like a toy ball. Like, you throw the ball, and you know what's going to happen to it, but that doesn't necessarily mean that you know the math and understand gravity in a very deep way."
Miegakure is planned for PC, Mac, Linux and "another console." The release date hasn't been set. [Image: Marc ten Bosch]
Gaming, as we all know, is a fantastic hobby, but it's also an expensive one. Here at Joystiq, we follow sales with as much fervor as you do in the hopes of easing the strain on our wallets while still getting to play everything we want. Today, we're introducing Joystiq Deals, a site dedicated to saving you money on gaming software, consoles, and accessories.
Today's featured deal is the School of Interactive Design's Intro To Game Design w/ Unity3D, a beginner-friendly tutorial package that bundles $989 worth of design software for just $49. Up-and-coming game developers may also opt for the Learn to Code Bundle, which collects eight online coding courses for a price of your choosing.
If you're looking for accessories, we have The Air-Fi Matrix2 Wireless Bluetooth Headphones available for $79.99 and the Sound Step Lightning speaker up for grabs at $99. We're also kicking off today's launch with The Xbox One Titanfall Giveaway, a contest that gives you the chance to pick up an Xbox One, a copy of Respawn Entertainment's mech shooter Titanfall, and two controllers for the low price of $0. A winner will be chosen on May 31, so enter now for a chance to join the current console generation. 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.