Joystiq Weekly: NPD sales data, Trials: Fusion review, A Realm Reborn tips and more

Welcome to Joystiq Weekly, a "too long; didn't read" of each week's biggest stories, reviews and original content. Each category's top story is introduced with a reactionary gif, because moving pictures aren't just for The Daily Prophet.
It seems like there are two brands of Trials riders - those who try the series and bail, seeing it for the inevitable, rage-induced heart attack it is, and those that persevere and conquer every track. We're not sure where we fit just yet - some of Trials Fusion's stages give us flashbacks to Super Meat Boy, and our patience is finite. Still, the triumph in each small victory reminds us that we can get the best of gravity, that we can guide motorbikes over ridiculous terrain with the best of them ... until we reach the next stage and the cycle of emotions renews.

We've got plenty of resources for anyone that needs a sanity break from Fusion, though! You can brush up on this month's NPD data, read our verdict on Atlus' baby-making RPG, Conception 2: Children of the Seven Stars, or gain some insight on what's next for GaymerX's future. All that and more is laid out in tidy little bulletpoints for you after the break!

News
  • Running out of things to argue about in the realm of video games? Not anymore! The NPD Group has released its sales data for March, which lists Titanfall as the month's software victor, followed by Infamous: Second Son and South Park: The Stick of Truth. Sony has also announced that PS4 sales have surpassed 7 million, while Microsoft has sold 5 million Xbox One consoles to retailers. If you're wondering how Nintendo's faring, well ... they apparently don't want to talk about it, as they've stayed silent in this round of sales warfare.
  • Martin 'Marty' O'Donnell, composer of the Halo series and Destiny, stated he was fired "without cause" by Bungie's directors this week. In a related statement from Bungie, Community Manager David Dague said the two parties parted ways "as friends." Regardless of the state of terms, COO Pete Parsons confirmed to us that Marty's music will remain in Destiny.
  • You would think the last thing Nintendo would do is turn down an exclusivity deal with a third-party property, right? After examining Activision's concept for the Skylanders series, Nintendo reportedly passed up a deal that would have involved Skylanders launching exclusively on the Wii. With the series clearing $2 billion in sales in February, we imagine Nintendo regrets that just a bit.
  • Sony has sold its entire stake in Square Enix to SMBC Nikko Securities Inc., a transaction that involves 9.52 million shares of stock. While the selling price won't be shared until Sony discusses its financials for the year on May 14, Sony was the third-largest shareholder in Square Enix, holding an equity of 8.2 percent before the deal was made.
  • While Sony was moving stock around, Square Enix shuttered its studio in Mumbai, India. Established in 2013, Square Enix India previously hosted six employees, although it never released a title of its own.
  • Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, Blizzard's virtual trading card game, has set its "Port to iPad" card into play. Previously available on PC and Mac, the Warcraft-flavored realm of strategy hosts card battles via online play. Those that need a break from battling Hearthstone's player base will eventually be able to take on Curse of Naxramas, a single-player campaign that Blizzard announced during PAX East.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will sling web on April 29 across every platform from the Xbox 360 to the Wii U, but Spidey's debut on Xbox One has been delayed. Publisher Activision has explained that they're working with Microsoft "in an effort" to bring the superhero to the Xbox One, but hasn't shared an explanation for what's causing the delay.
  • Arc System Works is teasing a new project that appears to be related to the BloodRayne series. Considering Arc's experience with fighting series like BlazBlue and Guilty Gear, either BloodRayne protagonist Rayne is about to try her hand at a different style of fisticuffs, or Arc will stray from its signature genre. Rayne's last appearance was in WayForward's 2D action game, BloodRayne: Betrayal.

Reviews
  • Some people make babies because they want to start a family and share a lifetime of memories. In Conception 2: Children of the Seven Stars, it's less about making memories and more about maintaining a fresh stock of teammates. Managing Editor Susan Arendt tried out parenthood in the unconventional dungeon-crawling RPG, concluding that its labyrinths are "unsophisticated, dull affairs" and that Conception 2's dating sim is "uncomfortable, placing an excessive amount of emphasis on the physical attributes of your female counterparts." Despite a unique premise, Susan feels that none of Conception 2's mechanics "manage to rise above a general feeling of mediocrity."
  • Masochists, rejoice - Trials Fusion offers a fresh round of tracks to dominate or break your back trying. Editor-In-Chief Ludwig Kietzmann disregarded his well-being to take on Fusion's extremely impractical routes of travel, finding that the new TKO-Panda four-wheeler is "easier to settle but drops like a rock over jumps." The stunt-oriented FMX mode and support for user-created content don't hurt, but Ludwig remarks that Fusion's core still "nails its balance between purity and cruelty."
  • Contributing Editor Mike Suszek threw plenty of pitches on MLB 14: The Show's opening day, working his way up from rookie status to a veteran in the game's reactive "dynamic" difficulty mode. Despite lag tarnishing some of Mike's online outings, he was fond of its "novel methods of play like Community Challenges, Quick Counts and the game-changing Player Lock options."
  • Weekend Editor Sam Prell took flight in Secrets of Raetikon, finding plenty to love in its triangular art and mysterious environment. Sam felt caged exploring the linear, cavernous corridors of its world though, explaining that the game supplies a "strange, exotic and beautiful world to explore, but the design teaches you to treat it like a grid that you walk back and forth, pace by pace."

Original Content
  • Tweets published by GaymerX's Twitter account last week suggested the organization's LGBT-focused efforts would wrap up with its GaymerX2 convention this July. Sam spoke with GaymerX President Toni Rocca about how GaymerX came to be, the purpose it's meant to serve and the projects it will support after its upcoming finale convention.
  • Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn's relaunched universe has reached the PS4, but newcomers don't have to venture in blind, kupo! Our latest edition of 'Stiq Tips provides a general idea of what to expect up until level 30 in the MMO adventure. Tips for XP efficiency, managing multiple classes and making the most of public events are all accounted for. You'll have to find this entry's incarnation of Cid on your own, though. It's like Where's Waldo, but with an engineer!
  • Just because a game lacks modern mechanics doesn't mean it can't be enjoyable. During a PAX East panel dedicated to highlighting games that are so bad they're good, Ludwig listed all the things Far Cry 2 does "wrong" in comparison to its first-person-shooter brethren.
  • Trials Fusion might be great, but unless you're willing to lug around a home console, TV and battery to power it all, it's not exactly portable. Trials Frontier is though, and it's from the same developer as Fusion! Contributing Editor Earnest Cavalli spent some time navigating Frontier's tricks with its virtual controls, describing them as "immediately intuitive and responsive." Microtransactions are par for the mobile course however, and Frontier trades real-world money or 15-minute timeouts for tanks of fuel, a resource required to rev through stages. While it's a case of taking the good with the bad, Earnest insists there's "far more of the former" in Frontier.
  • Double Fine's success on Kickstarter with Broken Age redefined the level of success feasible for gaming projects on the crowdfunding site. With experience pitching projects both before and after Double Fine's campaign, Pixeljam co-founder Miles Tilmann spoke with us about what's changed in terms of backer expectations, the workload involved in modern Kickstarter campaigns and what's changed since its pitch for Glorkian Warrior four years ago.
  • Remember when we talked about not wanting to shatter the truths of the world? Well ... we kind of have. Instead of our weekly installment of the Super Joystiq Podcast, we've got a double feature of special episodes! We spoke with Dave Gilbert of Wadjet Eye Games, as well as Nathan Vella and Sylvian Coutouly from Capybara Games, about their pending projects - Blackwell Epiphany from Wadjet, Below from Capy - and general development trends in the small-studio development scene.
  • Beyond Wadjet and Capy, we chatted with Games for Change President and CEO Asi Burak and others about the organization's goal to evoke social change with games. We also checked in with Star Citizen's Chris Roberts and Erin Roberts to see how crowdfunding has altered their development process, and discuss what games can do better than Hollywood.
[Image: RedLynx]

This article was originally published on Joystiq.