Monthly Archives: June 2015

E3 2015: The Last Guardian, or Why I Believe in Miracles

last-guardian-jump

The Last Guardian was a punchline. It was vaporware, a mythic unicorn hanging out with Half-Life 3 and running to the wilds of the Pacific Northwest whenever fans or the media came looking. It didn’t exist. It certainly wasn’t a game that any of us would be able to play in our natural lifetimes.

What a difference a week can make. Sony kicked off its E3 press conference with the long-awaited title, announcing that Team Ico and Fumito Ueda’s follow-up to Shadow of the Colossus is officially back on track. An entire console cycle will have passed between the 2009 reveal and its appearance on store shelves, but if the current trajectory holds, The Last Guardian will debut for the PS4 sometime in 2016.

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PlayStation 4 finally gets a media player!

playstation4The other day I wrote an article on three features I’d like to see added to the PlayStation 4. Well folks, Sony must have read my article, because they’ve finally added DLNA support in the form of a new media player app! You’re welcome, everybody.

So, what exactly does this mean? You know all those movies, songs, and pictures you have on your computer and other devices? You can now stream these files on your PS4 through either a shared folder/media server connected to your home network, or through a USB-connected drive.

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E3 2015: Mirror’s Edge Will Be Better Without Guns

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Mirror’s Edge was a flawed game, but it was packed with new ideas that still haven’t been replicated elsewhere. That’s why fans have been waiting for a sequel. The original may have stumbled with the execution, but it had the potential to be something great.

Now that Mirror’s Edge Catalyst has officially been revealed, it looks like developer DICE may have realized that potential. One decision is particularly heartening. Senior producer Sara Jansson told Polygon that gun combat has been removed from Catalyst, and while bad guys will still try to shoot you, the news is nevertheless a sign that the studio has learned from the mistakes of the original.

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E3 2015: Horizon Zero Dawn looks awesome

Horizon Zero Dawn

Every year at E3, developers get to unveil their shiny, new IPs. This year, the new IP that stood out the most to me was Horizon Zero Dawn, from Guerrilla Games. Guerrilla Games are the developers of the PlayStation-exclusive Killzone series. Like Killzone, Horizon Zero Dawn will be exclusive (in this case, to PS4), and has a tentative 2016 release date.

So what is Horizon Zero Dawn? Here is an overview of the game provided by Guerrilla Games:

Horizon Zero Dawn is an exhilarating new action role playing game exclusively for the PlayStation 4 system, developed by the award winning Guerrilla Games, creators of PlayStation’s venerated Killzone franchise. As Horizon Zero Dawn’s main protagonist Aloy, a skilled hunter, explore a vibrant and lush world inhabited by mysterious mechanized creatures. Embark on a compelling, emotional journey and unravel mysteries of tribal societies, ancient artifacts and advanced technologies that will determine the fate of this planet, and of life itself.

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E3 2015: Cuphead Looks Like an Animated Treasure

cuphead-dragon

As much as I try to maintain a dispassionate critical distance, sometimes enthusiasm spills over like a cup that’s been filled to the brim with liquid nostalgia and overloads the rational part of my brain. Such is the case with Cuphead, the new indie game from Studio MDHR that took center stage at Microsoft’s E3 press conference. The game is slated for release on Xbox One and Steam in 2016 and it can’t get here soon enough.

Simply put, Cuphead looks amazing. The game is inspired by 1930s animation, drawing heavily on classics like Betty Boop and the early Disney canon. Cuphead reproduces the style with so much fidelity that you’d swear the game was actually made in 1936, largely because it’s being made with techniques that haven’t been in vogue since 1936. Brothers Chad and Jared Moldenhauer have pulled out all the stops with traditional hand-drawn cel animation, watercolor backgrounds, and original jazz and blended them with modern game development technology to make a hybrid that’s genuinely seductive if you’re a fan of classic animation.

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The Reboots Are Not What They Seem: Twin Peaks

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When Twin Peaks first aired on NBC I was a university freshman. I didn’t have a TV in my dorm room so I missed the show’s initial April to May run. Home for the summer holidays, I managed to catch the show’s eight episodes in reruns. I was transfixed, literally holding my breath during certain scenes and furthering my insane crush on Kyle McLachlan as Special Agent Dale Cooper. (I’d already fallen for him in David Lynch’s Blue Velvet a couple of years earlier.)

Like many others, I was less enamored of the show’s second season, and gave up on Twin Peaks about halfway through 22 episodes. Still, I remained fascinated and terrified by BOB and even borrowed a friend’s copy of The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer (written by Lynch’s daughter Jennifer, who would go on to make fantastic films of her own), which I read breathlessly and often. I never did work up enough courage to see Fire Walk With Me; my fear of BOB was too strong.

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Fassbender And Cotillard Bring The Drama In Macbeth Trailer

fassbender-cotillard-macbeth-trailer

Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most tragic plays, depicting how absolute power corrupts absolutely. Written in the late sixteenth century and performed at the famous Globe Theater not long afterwards, Macbeth has been performed hundreds, if not thousands of times in the ensuing centuries on both stage and screen.

Influential director and actor Orson Welles, known for his brooding presence in films like Citizen Kane, The Third Man, and The Lady From Shanghai, among others, helmed and starred in a 1948 film version, based on his own 1936 stage production of the tragedy.

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E3 2015: Star Fox Zero Coming To Wii U

Star Fox Zero

Today’s Nintendo livestream event was a little strange, to say the least. But they kicked it off in a big way with the announcement of Star Fox Zero, developed in partnership with PlatinumGames, coming this holiday season to Wii U.

The last two “proper” Star Fox games were handheld affairs: Star Fox Command for the Nintendo DS and the excellent remake Star Fox 64 3D for the 3DS. So it’s nice to see the series get some love with a console release coming up so soon.

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Sense8: Proof diversity on television works

Freema Agyeman (L) and Jamie Clayton in Sense8.

Freema Agyeman (L) and Jamie Clayton in Sense8.

Science fiction or genre television in general has always challenged society’s perception of political ideologies, religious hierarchies, and cultural movements in ways that distract from real problems while encouraging thoughtful debates and conversations following the end credits.

It’s because of these reasons that science fiction has always been a leader in employing and empowering people of different backgrounds. Discrepancies with gender, sexual orientation, and race have been used to illustrate problematic social constructs occurring daily.

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