In how they did that news: One of the highlights of the Days of Future Past adaptation was the Quicksilver breakout scene. There’s a lot to like about this Quicksilver (which makes me feel sorry for kind of sorry for Aaron Taylor-Johnson following him up in The Avengers: Age of Ultron). As part of the promotion for the release of the film for digital or Bluray purchase Google created a featurette breaking down some aspects of this awesome scene. It may not be as in depth as some of us film nerds like but it’s still pretty cool to watch.
Okay… I gotta admit… this is starting to look sexy: The last few Final Fantasy games didn’t really grab me. I used to love JRPGs but Final Fantasy VII was the last one that really clicked with me and the last Final Fantasy console game was an insult. I never even made it out of the tutorial it was so painful but with this new engine I have to admit… I’m kind of intrigued… in a “what are these strange feelings I’m having” kind of way. For fear of getting a little tech geeky this rain effect on the clothes and character models is jaw dropping. You coy minx you Square, you may have won me back with this fresh coat of paint. (Source Polygon and Joystiq)
If only the movie was this good: Korra’s last season is returning to TV (check your local listings) but this week we got a glimpse of the upcoming season. I had an on again/off again relationship with this show but by half way through season two I was firmly in the camp of Team Korra (and I have to say I think Mako gets a rough ride the guy is just following his heart just half the time in to walls). Check out this official trailer and get ready to find Balance.
Words I never thought I’d see myself write… I agree with Rudy Giuliani: Manuel Noriega has recently launched a suit against Activision who featured him in their Call of Duty series as a bad guy. That’s right, convicted drug and war criminal is complaining about being made out to be a bad guy in a video game. Now that he’s stopped running for president (though I believe it was like a year after he bowed out before he stopped taking money for his presidential run) he’s now returned to his first love, being a lawyer. Activision procured his services as representation in this case and his quote regarding Noriega’s complaint was "What's astonishing is that Manuel Noriega, a notorious dictator who is in prison for the heinous crimes he committed, is upset about being portrayed as a criminal and enemy of the state in the game Call of Duty. Quite simply, it's absurd," and I have to say… yup. (Source Polygon)
The Final Count Down: Oculus have released their final prototype and this is basically (baring any critical hardware failures) what will go to retail. It sounds like a lot of the complaints regarding motion sickness, resolution and comfort have been addressed. Motion tracking has been improved and I’m going to say I may have to start saving my pennies now because I’m going to want one of these! (And a Morpheus to be honest.) (Source Polygon)
Interesting… I guess: GTA V was a heist story and like every heist story it’s got its cast of unsavoury characters but they were always visible from the third person. It would appear that’s going to change, Rockstar have (through a leaked support document) announced the upcoming first person driving and foot modes. Not the most useful of changes especially if the gunplay is still as drifty as heck but a change. (Source Joystiq)
The Blood Of The Lamb at a discount: If you’ve not already played or own Bioshock Infinite now’s your chance, a “Complete Edition” is on its way later this year. All DLC and expansions for the low price of $40 dollars (Canadian or US) so if you don’t already own it you now have no excuse. Check out our review here, now for those of us who shelled out full retail and the season pass it’s kind of a bummer but early bird gets the increased price tag. (Source Joystiq)
Well… that was unexpected: Video games have interesting advertising campaigns. You usually get one of two flavours, the first is the somber and dramatic kind, look at any of the Assassin’s Creed ads that feature Woodkid or the Microsoft ads like Gears of War featuring the Gary Jules Mad World Cover or the Halo live action stuff. They are usually mildly out of place for the tone but often visually stunning. The other side of the equation is the balls to the wall X-Treme Mountain Dew swilling kind of advertising seen in Call of Duty titles or Madden 15. These are often funny but lack in subtlety, based on the design choices the upcoming Sunset Overdrive title would seem to fall in to the camp of that later category and but did it in a curious and ingenious way. The ending of the ad, by using restraint, makes it that much more comedic because it lets us fill in the blanks based on what is going on in frame and what we hear going on out of frame. Comedy, it’s not about what you show, it’s about how you show it.
You had me at feather boa: WWE is known for its feuds, some of them were created at the writing table others were more real. Get a bunch of guys together competing in scripted beat downs of course some rivalries will develop (especially when for a long period many of these folks were roided out to Kingdom Come). Check out the trailer dropped this week for WWE 2K15 and all I can say is OOOOOOH YEAAAAAH BROTHER!
This does not bode well: Blizzard have successful titles, Diablo III just dropped on PS4 and Xbox One recently, Hearthstone is doing great for something that has that smaller scope, Starcraft II Legacy of the Void is still pending but the first two installments did well enough but their real bread winner is World of Warcraft. A new update is coming along but the game is reaching is easily in its “elder years” and not able to command the same audience it once did. The next big money press was to be Titan, a game never really explained but called the game to “redefine the MMO experience”. This week it was canned joining Ghost and the WoW point and click adventure on the pile of corpses in Blizzard’s back yard. The question now becomes where do they go from here? (Source Massively and Polygon)
More lipstick for that tastey ham: Valve’s Steam is the undeniable ruler of the online retail space when it comes to the PC market. They have struggled with other projects like their OS, Controller, Green Light program, Augmented Reality gaming, Hardware platform, OEM partnerships, and so on. The reasons why they’ve struggled with these are complex and probably not really known outside the organization itself but one thing has remained constant, the deals they have for software keep us coming back and the interface on Steam has been functional. Their customer service may suck, their platform may be archaic in many ways, but it was always functional.
Valve have now introduced a couple of features to try and make the experience more reasonable, tags were introduced earlier this year as were customer reviews and recommendations, now Curators have been added. You can follow your favourite news outlet or developer’s curated game experience pointing you toward recommended games, this lets you build an idea of recommendations based on a relationship where you have a bit more of an understanding rather than some computer generated metric allowing for discovery of titles you may not have seen based on your catalogue.
On top of that they’ve also added the Steam Music Player, a simple MP3 player that lets you create your own in game sound tracks or play MP3s including game sound tracks through your steam client. For many games this may seem silly as music is an integral part of the game experience but for others it may make sense.
Is this enough to make the experience more pleasant? Time will tell and mileage may vary. (Source Joystiq here and here)
Colour me intrigued: In 2012 Canadian developer United Front Games created the interesting mob game Sleeping Dogs. A distinct GTA vibe to the gameplay the game itself was set in a simulacrum of real life Hong Kong. The story was straight up John Woo and the action was visceral in nature. This was a game that was unexpected but immensely satisfying. There has been a cry for a sequel and while that’s not coming (though a re-release has been announced for the PC, Xbox One and PS4) a multiplayer game in the form of Triad Wars seems to be in the works. It appears to be similar to the GTA Online model but in the far more grounded Sleeping Dogs universe (well grounded when it’s not off on a Bruce Lee or Chinese ghost story tangent). This appears promising. (Source Joystiq and Polygon)
The only down side here is it will be a 2.5 D side scroller (so a metroidvania type game). This is not a bad thing and the fact its staring a female protagonist (one that’s been established in lore for some time and not just tacked on as a response to criticism) is nice but not as nice as a full Assassins Creed in China game using some of the awesome game systems developed for the other games.
In the lead up to the release of Assassin’s Creed Unity Ubisoft have also released Assassin’s Creed Unity: Project Window a Google Map infused tour of modern Paris highlighting the settings of the period piece game. Similar to what Destiny did this could be quite neat (just hopefully it has more longevity than previous tie in tools that seem to disappear like Assassin’s Creed Initiates and their rich ARG and puzzle system which has slid in to a place holder feed of their twitter posts). To check it out look here and look forward to the added bonus of Andy Serkis.
Now something no one asked for… Assassins Creed Kitties!
The Future is 85% now: Sony has said they are in the home stretch with Morpheus being 85% complete. 1080p 360 degree head tracking and a 90 degree field of view the project is almost ready for market and at this rate may be the Rift to the consumer now it just comes down to price. (Source Joystiq)
Watching the Watch_Dog: Despite middling reviews and a failure to deliver on the hype Watch_Dogs has apparently been thrown a bone with plans for a long life for the brand. Lionel Raynaud Ubisoft Montreal’s VP of Creative sites previous rough starts to IPs like Assassin’s Creed which have evolved in to annual releases that are highly anticipated indicating “radical” changes will be implemented to address the concerns of fans. This was a game with a lot of promise so it will be interesting to see if this delivers.
In other good news for Watch_Dogs fans it has become the “Fastest selling new IP in Europe” beating out Destiny though speculation points to the strong PC market in Europe which may be holding Destiny’s growth back there.
In less awesome news another kick to the already down Wii U Ubisoft have confirmed their major story DLC Bad Blood will not be coming to the platform. Not entirely shocking since Ubisoft have already started to distance themselves from Nintendo’s ill-fated console this still can’t be fun for fans of the Wii U who were looking forward to the game on the console seemingly designed for it. (Source CVG, Polygon and Joystiq here and here)
In other IP news: Ubisoft’s other hit property Far Cry is releasing its fourth installment and have dropped their latest trailer. A bit of a touchy title from the start the IP has a history of “White man saving the savage native” narratives this should be interesting to watch unfold. In Far Cry 4 you play a native Himalayan from a fictional country of Kyrat returned from abroad liberating your family’s homeland from an oppressive (almost Bond Villianesque) enemy. Like many Ian Fleming villains there is a tint of homophobia laced through the characterization according to some. It’s hard to tell at this point as we’ve just seen little snippits but one thing is for sure Pagan Min is one crazy guy!
Elf needs food: What did we need but never know? A remake of the classic game Gauntlet and that has gone live this week! The multiplayer classic filled my childhood with dreams of piles of gold and turkeys and now you can pick it up on Steam! (Source WBIE)
Another Day Late: Microsoft have announced their own answer to Chromecast in the ever elegantly named Microsoft Wireless Display Adapter. This could be useful for those wanting to stream content from devices in their house or mirror monitors using wireless technology to stream content, a neat example would be bouncing a TV show from my PC downstairs to my TV using my phone and the Plex media server though given the features of the Xbox One make this redundant this is really geared towards a different type of audience than the average gamer. Priced at 60 dollars it looks like this is a more open solution since it is actually able to work with any Miracast compatible device (but at 60 dollars US I’m unsure what audience it is geared towards). (Source Anadtech)
Chew that scenery Kevin CHEW: Kevin Spacey is an amazing actor and his turn on his adaptation of House of Cards has proven that he can nail politicians, his turn in the not so great Superman showed he can do evil villain (see Lex) a new trailer for Call of Duty Advanced Warfare shows he can take these two and merge them in to military industrial complex evil with a satisfying bombast.
Thank goodness: Between loot caves and sarcastic parody twitter accounts Bungie has been dealing with some “balance issues” when it comes to loot in Destiny. Recently released patch notes show how they will be dealing with this in the near future to which I respond thank goodness. There are only so many dailies and weeklies one can do with no serious reward before losing interest.
With that being said the Queen’s edict is coming to a close but not before the announcement that the Iron Banner event will be launching October 7th. A limited time multiplayer challenge with unique gear this is one of the many in game events touted by Bungie to hold player’s interest long term. Let’s see if this pays off. (Source Bungie and Joystiq)
If this is your thing: I never got the Metal Gear games sure they looked great but the story was always so confusing and the gameplay never really clicked but I have to admit these do look really impressive even though the female character models is one of the most stupid designs in ages. Seriously, this is what is wrong with game design in a nutshell. Got a female sniper with stealth capabilities, let’s throw her massive boobs in a front tie bikini top and shredded leggings and docs. Yes it’s the adolescent fantasy of many a goth boy but it’s also freaking stupid (and the amount of time spent on boob jiggle physics is disturbing 4 seconds of jiggle as she stands boobs do not do that) and man are they yelly and some of that dialogue is just painful! It’s like poor voice acting is a design choice for some of these games. Of course the male protagonist is fully clothed and reasonably dressed.
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Ka-Ching: Amazon has finished its purchase of Twitch (since Google couldn’t close the deal) for 970 million US dollars. What if any impact this will have on Twitch’s services is unknown but a lot of people just got rich. Given that the game play source draws more eyeballs than HLN, CNN, E!, MSNBC, TruTV and MTV during their peak hours Traditional Media should start considering their options… why does this make me think we are in store for a Max Headroom style future. (Source Joystiq)
Oh Bob and Gene… you two scamps point: Eugene Mirman and H. Jon Benjamin are known to animation and stand up fans. These two have never been afraid to work blue and dwell in a world where sarcasm is a sort of luxuriant rub that you baste yourself in every morning. In response to the “craft” movement and the “loot” trend they have launched Floatsom General Store with a delicious taste of ironic irony and if anyone can pull off being ironic about irony it’s these two. (Source Flotsam General Store)
Oh John Hodgman and Nick Offerman you two make me want to pinch your cheeks counterpoint: While Eugene Mirman and H. Jon Benjamin are poking fun at the kinds of people who dwell in Portlandia sketches Nick Offerman is making canoes by hand and John Hodgman is growing (or shaving) luxuriant facial hair and writing books about real fake history. I’m the kind of nerd who listens to This American Life and really enjoys it so these two are right up my alley and when I heard that Nick Offerman directed a video for a Wilco side project Tweedy called Low Key that stared John Hodgman I have to admit I peed my pants a little.
Hey if you can turn the Hobbit in to three movies: It looks like Avengers 3 may be getting the Mockingjay treatment. Hardly set in stone coming from the rumor source Daily Marvelite they indicate their source as saying the Thanos story will play out over two movies. This could go a few ways (I suspect one GotG movie and one Avengers 3 movie culminating in a giant cross over epic). Given this means a lot of contracts expiring half way through the story I suspect it will also be shot as a single big film and then spliced up. What this means for Whedon and Gunn is another matter.
(Source Comicbook Resources and Daily Marvelite)
Justice for Jack: It’s about time but Marvel’s answer to the Bob Kane/Bill Finger controversy of Jack Kirby/Stan Lee is coming to a close. Though never as ugly as the Kane/Finger train wreck there was a lot of animosity between Kirby with Marvel taking his work and making a lot of money off of it. He saw very little and basically had his creations taken away, Marvel held the position he was working “for hire” and Stan was supervising his work so it belonged to the company (and several courts agreed). Kirby’s family were pushing to have it sent to the Supreme Court and Disney seeing a potential disaster finally got around to settling this. Hardly unique many creators in the Golden and Silver ages of comics had their works basically taken away from them and it’s nice to see these artists get their due even if it is posthumously. (Source Comicbook Resources)
All right all right all right: It would appear Interstellar is going to be a hard film to get through without having to pee during. Clocking in at 169 minutes (almost three hours) this is a true epic but that’s why they gave us those big cups right? (Source Polygon)