Category Archives: Blogs

Comic-Con 2013

Comic-Con International is a special time of year for geeks and fan boys, a type of Christmas in July. Once a year, on a July weekend in San Diego, cosplayers and fans of various tv shows, film universes, and comics gather together from across the world to show off their sweet costumes, grab some sweet gear, and be the first to get the latest news and see the newest clips of what is being released soon. There was some not so surprising news (other than a few clips, nothing was news from the Captain America and Thor movies), as well as some crazy revelations (a Batman-Superman movie?! Agent Coulson isn’t dead after all?! What is Khal Drogo doing kissing Daenerys Targaryen?). It’s hard to present an orderly review of all the news without overwhelming you, so I will present some of the big stories and the stuff that’s generally pretty darn exciting.

Film

There were plenty of new films being talked about and new clips from films coming out within the next year, so here are some of the top film announcements:

-Man of Steel 2: Zach Snyder officially announced a sequel to Man of Steel, and for the first time we’ll get to see Superman in a film with his fellow crime fighter, Batman. Set to come out in 2015, this could be a very interesting movie. No news on who will wear the caped crusader’s mask, however.

-The Avenger’s sequel now has a name. Look forward to Avenger: Age of Ultron in the summer of 2015.

– The Guardians of the Galaxy cast flew in from filming in London and those present were able to see a video lineup of the characters. A very promising film is in the works.

-Electro will be the villain in the Amazing Spiderman sequel, played by Jamie Foxx.

-Godzilla will be returning to the big screen, promising a very gritty and emotional survival tale of what happens when humanity messes with Mother Nature. The artwork gives the impression of a classic, and massive, Godzilla.

-RoboCop will also be seeing a reboot, and with a cast featuring Samuel L. Jackson, Gary Oldman, and Michael Keaton, I can’t help but be a bit excited about it.

-The entire cast for X-men: Days of Future Past were on stage and gave some good Q-and-A, without revealing too much of what is to come. Patrick Stewart will be in the film, so there will be some sort of twist. After all, no one stays dead in the comics.

-For years, a Warcraft movie has seemingly been in the works. A director, Duncan Jones, has been slated to handle the film, and filming will begin early 2014.

Television

-Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. promises to be a very fun new show that dives deeper into the story of the agency that has to deal with superheroes without getting a mask themselves, and also showing a further look into the Marvel universe. They showed the entirety of the pilot, and revealed that the much loved agent Coulson is not as dead as the Avengers film wanted us to believe.

-The walking dead had a great exhibit, with a model of a prison and people dressed as zombies lurking about. A trailer for season 4 was shown, giving the appearance that it may be the most extreme season yet.

-How I Met Your Mother revealed a video spoof featuring the children of Ted complaining that he needs to wrap up the story already. The cast and creators then discussed the final season.

-Game of Thrones gave no real news, and spent most of the time reliving and discussing the prior seasons. However, a walk on surprise from Jason Momoa, who played Khal Drogo, caught everyone off guard, and an In Memoriam video of all those who have died thus far in the series proved to be pretty entertaining. What will happen next in the world of Westeros?

Other shows and film news was announced, such as Aaron Eckhardt playing Frankenstein’s monster in a new film called I, Frankenstein, and some stuff with those crazy vampire shows that seem to have raised to popularity after the unfortunate Twilight series, so I decided to leave it off there and hand out the big, juicy stuff. 2015 will be a very interesting year for movies.

All Roads Lead to Rome 2

RTS, or Real Time Strategy, games have always been held in high esteem. Though not as widely popular as they were a decade ago, many core gamers still turn to these type of games to hone their strategy skills. The Total War series from creative assembly puts those strategy skills to the test, and on September 3rd Rome 2 will push those skills to the limit.
For those unfamiliar with the Total War series, it differs from the typical RTS in many aspects. You are playing on a global scale against multiple factions. You work on a turn-by-turn style of play, instead of the real-time RTS style that Age of Empires and StarCraft portray. Instead of dealing with a max of 200 units, you have armies at your disposal…if you can play for them. Trade, politics, diplomacy, warfare, this game has it all. If you imagine Risk on steroids, Rome 2 promises to have been juicing more than its predecessors.
In Rome: Total War, released in 2004, you played Rome at the height of her power. Starting off with three of the Roman families to choose from, it was your job to conquer the known world for the glory of Rome. The enemies ranged from the barbarians to the north and west to the Egyptians and Greeks to the east. Rome 2 plans to take that game to the next level, introducing some of the more recent Total War aspects (such as construction outside of the city within that region, more advanced political systems, naval battles). It also rolls out some never-before seen features, which includes the combined naval battles with land battles. Taking a port city, which most were in that time, becomes a lot more interesting. A larger map and updated graphics on top of all that make this game sound like it’s going to be great.
Overall, Rome 2 seems to have what it takes to live up to the classic Rome’s standards. Creative Assembly has promises a historically accurate powerhouse of a game that will still have the most important feature included in their other games: a high ability to just have fun. With the Total War series as great as it is, I’m inclined to believe them.

RTX 2013

SO… We have been a little behind on website stuff in the last couple weeks. Which makes since if you know about what I have been calling our “trial opening”. The trial opening was more for the Brewery Incubator (The League Tavern) than it was for Warlocks. It was a great experience for us either way. On top of being busy running a brewpub for 12 days, when it was all over a couple of us at Warlocks headed down to Austin, TX for the annual Rooster Teeth Convention. We went last year and had fun so we had to go this year as the convention is only getting bigger.

Last year the number of attendees was estimated to be about 4,000. This year that number more than doubled as they estimated about 10,000 people showed up. A lot of lessons were learned last year as it was Rooster Teeth’s first time holding this event at a convention center. Lines were extremely long and the number of things for attendees to do were few. That changed this year as I never once felt I was waiting too long or wondered what I was going to do next. This convention is well on it’s way to being nationally recognized if it isn’t already. It’s also probably a good sign when people from Australia show up.

Before I get into the cool stuff I saw on the exhibition floor. Let me show you some things I saw at the attendee mixer that took place Saturday night.

 

I was able to spend some time with a few games that were being shown on the exhibition floor. Here they are in order of most exciting in my opinion:

 

Banner Saga

Banner Saga is a game I knew nothing about going into RTX 2013 but as soon as I laid eyes on it I was hooked. I know that sounds a little exaggerated but let me explain. A friend of mine and I used to play an awesome game on the original Xbox called Gladius. It was a game in which you traveled around recruiting soldiers and battling in gladiator like scenarios. The battle system was that of other tactical-RPGs in which you had a grid system laid out before you and you moved your team about executing special moves available to you given the class and such of your individual team members. Fans of final fantasy tactics know what I am talking about too. This game quickly recalled my fond memories of Gladius and that is why I was hooked.

Aside from my personal bias from my nostalgia this game looks amazingly promising. I talked to Alex, one of the guys responsible for this awesome looking game and he told me how some of the team including himself used to work for Bioware. He had my attention. He also told me about the influence games like Dragon Age had on their development of Banner Saga. He mentioned how decisions you make in conversations with your team members hold great weight and can ripple throughout the game. Death is also something that can play a big roll in your game whether you like it or not. Your favorite team members can die off fairly quickly if you are not careful in your decision making. Which is a bit different from games like Mass Effect which make you wait until the end of the game to kill them off.

Another aspect of this game that really gets me excited is that it takes place in a very viking/norse setting. In the game Ragnarok has happened which is an Armageddon.

Oh, and when your team moves from one area to the next it apparently looks and feels like Oregon Trail. Kinda cool, right? Speaking of how the game looks, the art is beautiful. To me it it feels like an adult cartoon. No, not that kind of “adult”. Just feels a little more grown up but still a little Disney to me. Not a bad combo.

Overall the game is one hell of a package. The tactical battle system, decision making, and travel elements make it something I have to get my hands on. Luckily I don’t have to wait. The PvP aspect of the game can be experienced now on steam.

 

Loadout

This game was at RTX last year and I have to admit that I spent no time at their booth a year ago. This year, however, I waited in line to play it twice. This game is in that same realm as Team Fortress 2. Even the art style is reminiscent of TF2. The biggest difference is the options when it comes to the weapons you are using. There are hundreds of different combinations of weapon modifications. You can change the stock, barrel, projectile type, so on and so on. I am saying “so on and so on” because I flat out just can’t remember all the different things that you can change. Then of course there are several different weapons to pick from, each of them with a ridiculous amount of variation.

This game is much more about getting in and just straight up killing your opponents than other games like it. Aesthetically it may seem like other third person shooters but after playing it you will understand how much it really stands out from the crowd. Loadout is not far from being released. They are in Beta now. Check out the game on the game’s website for more info.

 

Dive Kick

This game is a simple but fun game. There are two main control functions; Jump and Kick. It’s a game of anticipation and trickery. I can’t say a whole lot of bad things about it. It was fun to play a couple of rounds. Not much depth to the game but sometimes that is just fine with me. Go check them out on Steam Greenlight and vote for it if you think it sounds like something you would play.

 

Nekro

I didn’t spend a whole lot of time with this game but I caught myself watching other people play the game twice. The art style is what had me ensnared. Worth checking out. This one is also on Steam Greenlight.

 

 

Aside from the games we got to experience we also got some gamer education as we sat in on some awesome panels. We got to learn about how to make Youtube videos on a budget, mental health and video games, how Rooster Teeth goes about designing merch, and how to run a successful podcast. It was a lot of fun at RTX this year and I can not wait to see what 2014 will bring to RTX. I suspect that the entire Austin Convention Center will be taken over.

E3 Reactions So Far

E3 is in full swing. Game announcements and new trailers are flying at us at a quick pace. This year we are having to get our E3 coverage from sources other than G4 which makes me sad, but life goes on. I’ve been struck both negatively and positively by a lot of different stuff coming out of the convention and would like to touch on a few of those.

 

Xbox One price point

I was going to start off talking about the Xbox One vs. PS4 but it just wouldn’t be fair to you. I am an Xbox guy and I am not very interested in comparing the two future consoles. Each has it’s own strengths and weaknesses and they will both do well I’m sure.  What did stand out to me though was the all too important price point of the Xbox One. $499 is a lot of money. More notable is that it is more than the PS4.

Last time we were looking at a price point comparison between consoles these two companies were on opposite sides of their current situations. It feels strange saying out loud that Microsoft is sitting on top of the price tower with the task of convincing buyers that it is worth every penny. It’s just not what we are used to. The thing is, it might be worth every penny. Every Xbox One comes with the Kinect’s successor, the Kinect 2.0.

Now, I’ve heard the price of the PS4 plus their motion capture unit will be about the same price as the Xbox One and Kinect 2.0 bundle. Let’s ignore for a moment the fact that the PS4 has better processing power and graphic potential because we are not comparing these machines in this article, remember. Let’s focus instead on Micrsoft’s decision to make the Xbox One the more expensive console.

On the surface it seems Xbox is counting on their customers to be smart enough to look past their high price point and be smart enough to see the value of their product. I like this approach by Microsoft. It says two important things about them. One, that they trust their customers to make an educated buying decision. Two, there are plans to get a lot of use out of the Kinect 2.0. Both of these points generate respect from me to the big “M”. Only time will tell if others share my sentiment.

 

World of Tanks on Xbox 360

World of Tanks is a great game. I have been playing the PC version of this game for a few months now. Like anyone that plays this game it brings just as much excitement as it does frustration sometimes. Overall, I give it a thumbs up. The trailer of the just announced 360 version of this game shows some significant enhancements to the game play and graphics. Which it should, as the threshold of processing and graphics power is increased on the 360 compared to the PC minimums required for such a high population game. I am looking forward to this new incarnation a great deal.

 

Ryse

The first time I saw Ryse I was very excited. It was presented as a Kinect game with sword and shield action. At the time that sounded awesome to as I had just purchased a Kinect. I would occasionally check online for news about the game. I was disappointed often as there has been hardly a whisper about this game until now… and I am disappointed again.

Ryse was  supposed to be an Xbox 360 game and be exclusively used with Kinect. That changed between E3 2011 and and E3 2013. Now, Ryse is an Xbox One title that is played with a controler and “enhanced” with the Kinect 2.0. That, is not what we were told and it is not what I wanted out the game. I wanted to stand in my living room holding my imaginary sword and shield slashing at my on screen enemies and deflecting returning attacks. This recent news brings a large amount of doubt that I will be able to do that. The game still looks good but it’s not what I wanted.

 

Destiny

I have played plenty of games in the Halo franchise which means I know Bungie pretty well. I don’t quite know what to expect from Destiny. There are so many games on my plate that I often do not give this one the attention it deserves. So let me just say that I give E3 credit for reminding me that this game is coming and that I need to pay attention.

 

Elders Scrolls Online Trailer

Love me some Elder Scrolls. Nuff said.

 

Mirror’s Edge 2

I didn’t even know this game was in development! I played the first Mirror’s Edge and enjoyed it a decent amount. I felt the original was a good starting point for a game of it’s kind. There isn’t anything quite like it and I can’t wait to see what improvements have been made. By the way, there is an achievement in Mirror’s Edge for not killing anyone through the entire course of the game. Impossible to do. Don’t waste your time.

 

…Did anyone notice I didn’t mention Nintendo?

Next Gen Consoles are on their way!

It has been a long console cycle. In fact, the longest since video gaming has been introduced to the world. The Xbox 360 was launched in 2005. Yeah, it really has been that long. Many have speculated that this long cycle has damaged the industry. Some are even attempting to put blame on the companies “responsible”. I think we need to step back a bit and look at what we have to look forward to. We are finally getting new consoles!

February 20th has been marked on the Calendar by Sony as the day we will see the future of the Playstation. Reading in between the lines, that means the reveal of the Playstation 4. Video game industry experts are also counting on a next generation Xbox reveal within 30 days of the Sony press conference. This long console cycle is about to reach a triumphant end.

Think about all that time Sony and Microsoft have had to research and plan their upcoming consoles. DVR functions, TV capabilities, upgraded graphics, content extended to our other electronic devices,  cloud services, better motion tracking, augmented reality; these are just some of the things we may be looking at experiencing on the new consoles.  Without that extra time in between consoles this time around many of these advancements would be left out of the final products or would remain shadows of their potential applications.

So, gamers, prepare yourselves for a very exciting year ahead. It all starts on Feb. 20. Then just a couple short months and the big E3 announcements will arrive. Who has two thumbs and can’t wait for all of that craziness… This Guy…IMG_20121027_102356

 

Author: Jonathan P. Niess (Jonnydem)