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Joystiq Weekly: Intel's diversity initiative, IGF awards, GOTY roundtable and more

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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.

Talks of diversity within the technology and gaming industries has amplified over the past several months, encouraging a consideration for walks of life that are unfamiliar to personal perspectives. Intel added a noteworthy talking point to the discussion during CES 2015, announcing plans to invest $300 million into increasing diversity among its staff and within the general tech space. It's easy to forget about humans when we're closing the gap on robot chefs, but sometimes the basic stuff that has nothing to do with pretend wardrobes and curved screens is just as cool.

Plenty happened outside of CES 2015 however, including the announcement of nominations for the IGF awards, the Joystiq staff's video (and audio)-based roundtable Game of the Year discussion, and a potential end to the "Who's the true Commander Shepard" debate. All this and more is waiting for you after the break!


News
  • Intel has announced plans to invest $300 million in an effort to encourage diversity among its staff as well as within the general tech industry. The initiative will involve a pipeline for "female and under-represented engineers and computer scientists" within Intel's hiring process, with additional funding planned for programs that will promote positive representation within the tech and gaming industries.
  • Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition will swipe the Mushroom Kingdom's inhabitants into its match-three, RPG-themed gameplay this spring in Japan on the 3DS. Unfortunately, it remains to be seen whether Western audiences will explore a fresh way to stomp out Goombas and Koopa Troopas.
  • If you've been put off from the PlayStation TV due to its incompatibility with select Vita games, maybe a more modest price will make it up to you – Several retailers are offering the standalone unit at $80 ($20 off), whereas a PS TV bundled with a DualShock 3 is available for $100 ($40 off).
  • The 16-year-old Infinity Engine was used to create Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition and Baldur's Gate 2: Enhanced Edition, but developer Beamdog is ready to move on from touching up existing titles. The team is working on "Adventure Y," and while the project is currently shrouded by the fog of war secrecy, Beamdog has said it will serve as a link between the existing Baldur's Gate games.
  • Considering the Xbox One's TV-centric features, it makes sense to get a few more options beyond just using it with existing cable subscriptions. Enter Sling TV, a standalone subscription service from Dish Network that will offer live streams of channels like ESPN, Cartoon Network and others for a monthly $20 fee.
  • "Gawrsh!," Goofy's voice actor likely said as Square Enix personnel descended on him for tweeting about Kingdom Hearts 3's release window. The involved tweet has been deleted and dismissed as a "Goof," though it remains to be seen whether that's in terms of it being a factual error or a spilled secret.
  • Add this fuel to any existing Shepard vs. FemShep arguments you may have with fellow commanders: Jonathan Cooper, lead animator on Mass Effect 1 and 2, recently tweeted the very first animation test for Mass Effect. While Shepard was always planned to be both male and female, Cooper's animation features a female commander, meaning FemShep is technically the original commander.
  • The PS4 will be the only console struck by developer Ninja Theory's Hellblade, but the studio's latest outing will take a swing at PCs as well. Paired with the announcement, Ninja Theory co-founder Tameem Antoniades explained that consoles are "years behind what things like Steam are doing" and that related platform restrictions would restrict the team's desire to swiftly change and playtest Hellblade.
  • Game of the Year season might be over, but the Independent Games Festival season is just starting up! Nominations for the IGF awards were just announced this week and include The Talos Principle, Invisible Inc. and This War of Mine, among others.
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt looks like a pretty game, and some pretty games demand quite a bit more from their hosting PCs. Make sure your machine is up to the task before you start counting down days until Wild Hunt's debut on May 19!

Reviews

Featured Content
  • If your preferred game is missing from our Game of the Year roundtable video discussion (or the Super Joystiq Podcast special counterpart), you might share Sandra Bullock's expression in the above gif. Maybe you'll hear it read off in the 10 runner-ups for our communal adoration near the end of the show and feel better ...
  • Still no luck, huh? Before you finish taping up that package of outraged fire ants you're sending our way, why not check each staff member's personal Best of the Rest picks? Each selection is full of outcasts, including ports from prior years, Kinect games and re-releases, the latter of which aren't allowed in our top 10 in the first place.
  • Wow you're right, we do have impeccable taste. Thank you for finally seeing the appeal of our choices! To really drive home our gratitude for your abandonment of plans to ship us an infestation, why not enter our giveaway for a 20th Anniversary PS4 that wears the influence of Sony's original gaming console on its shell? Even if you don't take home the main prize, three different styles of Logitech gaming mice are also up for grabs.
[Image: Intel]

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