NostalGeek

Don’t Hate the Game, Hate the Player

Disney Buys Marvel for $4 Billion

avengersThe header basically says it all. Disney is now the proud owner of the whole roster of characters in the Marvel universe. I know this isn’t gaming news per say but we’re all geeks right?

The move was made to help Disney grab the boy’s market the same way that there “princess movies” did for girls. Now I don’t know about you but I’m a guy and I’d love more Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella.

That being said, even with the hefty price tag, this could prove to be a good move. Marvel Entertainment has been been gathering some steam since they created their own studio. Iron Man was a big hit, The Incredible Hulk was very nice and even though Punisher War Zone seems to have been fairly average the future looks good. Iron Man 2 is already well into production and Thor, Captain America and The Avengers movie are all in the works.

And of course let’s not forget all the comics. As long as Disney doesn’t interfere and helps them financially it should be a fruitful union. Now hopefully The Princess and the Frog will be a return to the glory days of the Mouse company.

Art by Matt Occhuizzo

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September 1, 2009 Posted by | Industry News | , | Leave a comment

Genesis Turns 20!!!!!

Happy birthday old friend!!

It feels like yesterday and yet it was so long ago.

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August 14, 2009 Posted by | Industry News, Tech News, Video Game News | , , | Leave a comment

Sam Raimi Will Direct WarCraft Movie

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Big news in geek world!!

Blizzard has announced that the Evil Dead and Spider Man director will try to do justice to the lore of the great property. Chris Metzen who created the whole incredible story for WarCraft III will be heavily involved in the project so there is hope friends!

Here’s the press release:

Blizzard Entertainment® and Legendary Pictures Sign Sam Raimi to Direct Upcoming Warcraft® MovieRaimi, acclaimed director of the blockbuster Spider-Man series, will bring the forces of the Horde and the Alliance to life in epic live-action film. Charles Roven’s Atlas Entertainment will produce alongside Raimi’s Stars Road Entertainment.

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. and Legendary Pictures announced today that Sam Raimi has signed on to direct the eagerly-anticipated major motion picture based on Blizzard Entertainment®’s award-winning Warcraft® universe. Raimi has, in the course of his career, clearly demonstrated a genius for developing and adapting existing fictional universes for mainstream audiences while staying true to the spirit of the original content.

Raimi directed the Spider-Man trilogy, which has broken box-office records around the world and garnered five Academy Award® nominations. Known for his imaginative filmmaking style, richly drawn characters and offbeat humor, Raimi wrote and directed the cult classic, The Evil Dead and produced 30 Days Of Night. He most recently wrote and directed the supernatural thriller, Drag Me To Hell.

“At its core, Warcraft is a fantastic, action-packed story,” said Raimi. “I am thrilled to work with such a dynamite production team to bring this project to the big screen.”

Charles Roven’s producing talents were recently seen with last summer’s blockbuster The Dark Knight, which grossed in excess of $1 billion, was nominated for eight Academy Awards® and won two. His body of work also includes the widely acclaimed Batman Begins and the sci-fi classic 12 Monkeys. Roven, with Atlas producing partner Alex Gartner, will be producing with Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull, Legendary’s Chief Creative Officer Jon Jashni, Raimi and Raimi’s producing partner Joshua Donen. Raimi’s partner, Robert Tapert, will be an Executive Producer and Blizzard Entertainment’s Senior Vice President of Creative Development, Chris Metzen, a Co-Producer.

“Partnering with Sam Raimi exemplifies Legendary’s mandate of marrying the highest quality intellectual property to world-class filmmakers,” said Legendary’s Tull. “Sam’s passion for ‘Warcraft’ is undeniable and we know that he will create an incredible film worthy of Blizzard’s phenomenal franchise. We look forward to collaborating with our partners at Warner Bros. and continuing our successful relationship with Chuck in bringing this rich new world to the screen.”

“Blizzard Entertainment and Legendary Pictures have a shared vision for this film and we searched at length to find the very best director to bring that vision to life,” said Paul Sams, chief operating officer of Blizzard Entertainment. “From our first conversation with Sam, we could tell he was the perfect choice. Sam knows how to simultaneously satisfy the enthusiasts and the mainstream audience that might be experiencing that content for the first time. We’re looking forward to working with him to achieve that here.”

“Blizzard Entertainment’s Warcraft has become a second home for millions of players and Sam’s experience and talent make him the perfect director for this remarkable and action-packed world,” said Atlas’ Roven. “Alex and I are proud to be working with Sam and re-teaming with our friends at Legendary and Warner Bros.”

The film will fall under Legendary Pictures’ co-production and co-financing deal with Warner Bros. “Warcraft is emblematic of the kind of branded, event films for which our studio is best known. We have enjoyed great success with our partners at Legendary, and this is an incredible opportunity for us to work with Sam on a project that is so eagerly anticipated by so many,” said Jeff Robinov, President, Warner Bros. Pictures Group.

Blizzard Entertainment’s Warcraft universe is a rich fantasy setting that revolves around the epic conflict between the opposing forces of the Horde and the Alliance. Since its debut in 1994, Warcraft has developed a loyal following across the globe, with several bestselling, award-winning PC games and a range of popular licensed products including novels, action figures, apparel, comic books, board games, and more. World of Warcraft®, Blizzard Entertainment’s subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game set in the Warcraft universe, is the most popular game of its kind in the world. Its most recent expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, is the fastest-selling PC game of all time, with more than 2.8 million copies sold in its first 24 hours of availability and more than 4 million in its first month.

Further details about the upcoming Warcraft movie, including cast and targeted release date, will be revealed as development progresses.

July 22, 2009 Posted by | Industry News | , , , | Leave a comment

Visceral Games Employees Go to Activision

wii-dead-space1Visceral Games is on the fast track to become a very high-caliber studio. Having developed the great Dead Space and currently working on Dante’s Inferno (as well as Dead Space Extraction, an on-rail shooter for the Wii).

On the other hand Activision keeps growing and is apparently opening a new, yet unnamed, game studio which wouldn’t be too noteworthy but two major Visceral Games employees have announced they are leaving the company to go to this studio.

These two are Monchael Condrey, former COO of the company and Glen Schofield, former General Manager of the company and who was instrumental in making Dead Space.

Obvisouly some people at Visceral should be bummed but the real interesting question is why these two decided to switch boats like this.

July 22, 2009 Posted by | Industry News | , , , | Leave a comment

LucasArts Brings Games to Steam!

lucasarts_logoLucasArts is hard at work on their old franchises lately. They are remaking The Secret of Monkey Island and today they announced that a number of their back catalog will be available on Steam.

The first wave will be on July 8 and include 10 titles most notably (for me) The Dig! Amazing adventure game with an amazing ambiance and an amazing soundtrack. It is amazing.

The developers have confirmed that more games will be available in the future. No price has been announced yet.

Here is the list for the first wave:

Armed and Dangerous
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure
Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures
Loom
Star Wars Battlefront II
Star Wars Republic Commando
Star Wars Starfighter
The Dig
Thrillville: Off the Rails

July 6, 2009 Posted by | Industry News, PC News, Video Game News | , , | Leave a comment

E3 2009: Sony Press Conference

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Damn it is nice to end on a good note! Sony’s press conference once again delivers. Bear in mind I’m no fanboy, I love my PSX and PS2 like anyone else and I think the PS3 is a good console picking up steam. I also own an Xbox and a 360 and a Wii and a GameCube and a DS. I’m a gamer and that’s it.

But now that I’ve seen all of the Big 3 conferences I come out with the same feeling I did last year: Sony tops the show, but not by much. What makes Sony’s conferences so nice is that there are very stylish, they are pro without being pompous or boring (see the Hannah Montana announcements) and they have games. MicroSoft is always close being with usually a bit more games but in terms of the conference itself they fall just a little short. And then, of course, there’s Nintendo, our beloved Nintendo, which has given us cringe-worthy conferences back to back.

But this is about Sony who reminded us nicely that the PlayStation came out 15 years ago… I know right?

Mantra: One Vision

One of the big ‘news’ today that was not software related was the PSP Go! which as Jack Tretton put it is “the worst kept secret of E3“. As a result nothing really new was said on the technical side. It will have 16G of flash memory with possible extension, built-in WiFi and Bluetooth.
Jack made a point to say that the all-digital console would not replace current PSPs and that all games will be available digitally as well as in UMD format.
They also unveiled Media Go which is an app allowing you to access the PS Store directly from your PC. The PS Store will have new content partners including Showtime and Manga Entertainment.
The PSP Go1 will be available on October 1st for $249.99. No price drop of previous versions was announced.

The other big news was Sony’s motion controller. It was unveiled by Richard Marx, creator of the Eye Toy and is in essence a WiiMote but with a twist or two. First of all it seems to be color-coded so for instance if you waggle the controller while it’s red it will throw a fireball, if it were blue it would be an ice ball. Second and most important it looked very VERY precise during the demo, precise enough to actually write smoothly with.
It’s important to keep in mind that, like Natal, this is still a project in development (this is set to launch in 2010) so neither the design nor the technology is final. both technologies are very impressive and promising but for now Sony’s seem more game-ready.
It will certainly be exciting to see where this goes in the future.

Now let’s move on to the games. Sony had prepared 2 videos featuring all the upcoming games for PSP and PS3 and they also announced 50 PlayStation games coming to the PS Store this year starting with Final Fantasy VII available today! But they also had some more in-depth trailers and demos for several games.

  • Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. Sweet gameplay demo with lots of destruction and flying objects everywhere. Awesome dialogue as well.
  • MAG. Live demo of a game session involving 256 players at once! seemed very complex but interesting. There appeared to be a very slight lag in the gameplay though.
  • Gran Turismo PSP. it will be in full 60FPSas shown in the trailer and will feature 800 cars and 35 tracks with 60 variations. You can play with 4 players and will be able to trade cars with others.
  • Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. Ah now that’s a trailer! Unlike yesterday’s lackluster Rising trailer this one was great. This a “true sequel of the franchise” not a spin-off and the MGS4 team is developing, Kojima will write the script and produce. The game will take place in the 70s, ten years after MGS3. It is due in 2010.
  • Resident Evil Portable. Not much was revealed except that it will be a complete new game.
  • Agent. A new Rockstar property that will be exclusive to the PlayStation 3 and will be set in the late 1970s.
  • Assassin’s Creed II. Awesome demo and great trailer! you will not start out as an assassin but will become with the help of people like Leonardo da Vinci! You will have more diversity and more options available to you. Double Headed Blade! The game will be out the Holiday season along with Bloodlines for the PSP. Out November 17.
  • Final Fantasy XIII. A new great trailer but with so-so dubbing, not bad but not great either. i’m still on my knees for Japanese VO.
  • Final Fantasy XIV. Wow now that was unexpected. The trailer reveals that it’s actually an MMO and so a spiritual sequel to FF XI. The game will be exclusive to PS3.
  • Mod Nation Racers. The new game in the Play, Create, Share line. It is a fun kart game with more adult graphics. The very impressive demo showed the track creation tools which offer tons of options and can be tried instantly.
  • The Last Guardian. Otherwise known as Project Trico. The trailer was a gorgeous graphical update of the one we saw a few weeks ago, though a few scenes were added at the end.
  • Gran Turismo 5. A decent trailer shows WRC and Nascar but not much else was revealed as usual.
  • God of War III. An amazing demo!! Brutal ,bloody, gorgeous. The game is the final chapter of the trilogy. Coming March 2010.

June 2, 2009 Posted by | Industry News, PS3 News, PSP News, Video Game News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

E3 2009: Nintendo Press Conference

e32009_073500x375I don’t know what it is. Is it my skewed view? Is it that we have loved Big N for so long that we expect nothing short of perfect from him? Is it that we are being too harsh? or Is it that the Nintendo Press Conference was really disappointing?

Whatever the case may be the conference left me with mixed feelings. I was mostly boring and there were some announcements that can only be seen as a joke (I’ll get to that). But there were also some good and a few great announcements no matter how jaded we may have become.

Mantra: Everyone’s Game

NB: Keep in my mind that I will add/update links as HD videos pop up on the web.

A bulk of the conference was spent crunching numbers and explaining why Wii is #1 and such. It was boring to a fault. MicroSoft got it right with there “Showing Not Telling” philosophy.
Nintendo talked a lot about there Wii Motion Plus with some more gameplay from Wii Sports Resort (Archery and Basketball) and while we are all excited about this addon (aside from the attached rubber case) the way Reggie Fils-Aime talked about it made me cringe. He said “you cannot SEE the difference” and quickly queued in a trailer which seemed ironic to me… He said “every mistake you would make in the real world will reflect in the game” but then how is this a game… and is Motion Plus really that precise??
I know and understand I am really nitpicking here but that’s what I’ve come to these past 2 years with Nintendo.
And for all my criticism I’m convinced that Wii Sports Resorts will be very fun to play! It is just there delivery that annoyed me. Cammie Dunaway I guess felt annoyed that everyone last year made fun of her lame jokes and so this year she was all business. And she looked it too. Not a smile and every sentenced delivered as if we were rebellious teenager who need to hear the truth but so sick of telling it that you’d rather walk away.
Again I may be over-analyzing but I really felt this way.

Anyway enough of this. There wasn’t any really big new hardware or partnership announcement (aside from the fact that pictures taken with your DSi can now be uploaded to Facebook) so let’s get on with the games.

  • New Super Mario Bros.Wii. Fairly exciting looks very similar to the DS game playable with 4 players. Coming Holiday 2009. Here’s the trailer.
  • Wii Fit Plus. It’s Wii Fit with new activities….YAWN! Cammie actually said “It’s Brain Age for your backside” and “it’s the game that will help the Wii stay at the top of mind“. Sad. It’s coming Fall 2009.
  • Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story. A new game in the RPG series looks really cool with a trailer to boot. The game will come out on DS in Fall 2009.
  • Super Mario Galaxy 2. Should be the biggest announcement of the day but it looks exactly like the original except you can play with Yoshi. Still it’s Mario and a nice trailer to go with it.
  • Golden Sun. A new Golden Sun for the DS!!! This is all that’s know for now. Check out the nice trailer.
  • Metroid: Other M. A new Metroid for the Wii!!!! Looks like a 3D platformer. Great trailer.
  • Dead Space: Extraction. Nice trailer with great ambiance except for the sound glitch. Looks promising.
  • Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles. Likewise looks promising. Nice trailer with some gameplay.
  • The Conduit. The graphics look nice in the trailer but that’s about it. Nothing new.
  • Final Fantasy: The Crystal Bearers. Not much is revealed in the trailer but it looks like there is some aiming/targeting involved.
  • Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days. Showed a nice trailer and will be released on September 29.
  • Wii Vitality Sensor. The daily joke. Iwata unveiled this new ‘game’ in the Brain Age, Wii Fit series. It looks ridiculous, it attaches to your finger and………reads your pulse. That’s it. Pathetic.
  • Style Savvy. An import of Girl’s Mode in Japan. It’s a dress up game for teen girls. At least the music in the trailer is cool.
  • Women’s Murder Club: Games of Passion. Based on the James Patterson novels the trailer shows the game which seems to be a mix between interactive novel and adventure game. It could turn out pretty fun.
  • C.O.P.: The Recruit. Oh well, the trailer started out really nicely but then the game looks very average so wait and see.
  • Mario Vs Donkey Kong: Minis March Again. It will be available only through download on DSi Ware next week. Here’s the trailer.

June 2, 2009 Posted by | DS News, Industry News, Video Game News, Wii News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

E3 2009: Microsoft Press Conference

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Today at 10:30am PST E3 officially launched with the Microsoft press conference. It feature several announcements, some big and some small, some exciting, some yawn-inducing. But overall I think it was a good conference.

Mantra: Showing Not Telling.

NB: Keep in my mind that I will add/update links as HD videos pop up on the web.

The big announcement of the conference was Project Natal. The long speculated camera with movement recognition. It turns out it will also feature facial and voice recognition.
They really pushed it with appearances from Steven Spielberg and Peter Molyneux but it was a mixed bag.

The lame painting demo, though somewhat fun gave me the same feeling as Wii Music last year. Completely gimmicky and useless. Not precise enough to be used in games. The Ricochet demo, likewise, was fun in the sense that the girl who did the demo after 5 minutes seemed ready to jump into the shower. So what of hour long sessions…..

The whole Lionhead demo is also bittersweet. On the one hand the demo itself is sad! Following on the whole new stuff for Live, now you don’t need to press a button with Natal voice recognition, you don’t need to see your friends because you have Facebook and Twitter everywhere and with Milo you don’t even need a friend! Sad really.
But on the other hand if you look past the presentation itself. What it offers in terms of new technology, when harnessed, could be amazing in games. Imaging being in Resident Evil 5 and instead of having to go through ammo inventory management hell, you would just say “give my shotgun ammo” and ..voila! Truly an amazing potential that has yet to be developed.
It is after all still a ‘project’ so let us give them the benefit of the doubt.

In other none-straight-game-related stuff, Microsoft announced new partnerships:

  • Last.fm which will allow access to the famous music site. In addition people with gold subscriptions will have access to it all for free. This feels like this year’s Netflix deal.
  • Facebook. This a a pretty big thing if it’s exclusive but all in all it allows you to do what you already do on your PC and Blackberry from your 360. YAY lazy.
  • Twitter. Same as Facebook, nothing to add.
  • Sky TV in the UK which will allow you to watch live TV.
  • All videos will now be available instantly in 1080p. Nice but I’ll believe it when I see it.

The announcements most of the people who may read my blog (however few) are interested in are the games. On that front I thought Microsoft did pretty well so let’s dive in.

  • The Beatles Rock Band. Paul, Ringo and Yoko! Pretty big PR. Check out the amazing game intro. All You Need Is Love is a 360 exclusive and I am so getting this game! I don’t own it yet and the Beatles guitars look awesome. Out 09-09-09!
  • Modern Warfare 2. They showed the long trailer that came out last week but they also had a gameplay demo in the snow with blizzard weather and snowmobile that was awesome!
  • Final Fantasy XIII. It was basically the Japanese demo of the English version with English voices. I’m still praying for VO in the game though. They unveiled Odin which was cool. It’s set to release in Spring 2010.
  • Splinter Cell: Conviction. They showed a very nice demo and trailer. The game looks darker and features some new stuff like an EMP grenade and ‘Mark and Execute’ which allows you to sort of set a sequence and get it going for a fast kill.
  • Left 4 Dead 2. Featured a great trailer and a release date for October of this year.
  • Halo 3: ODST. Another sweet trailer, Bukcle up and prepare to drop! Some gameplay footage in New Mombasa as the Rookie. The game will have a flashback systema nd you will play several ODSTs to build up the plot.
  • Halo: Reach. Unveiling of the game. Set around the time of the novel ‘Fall of Reach’ which was a prequel to the game. No surprise another nice trailer. Set to release in 2010 and there will be a beta access with ODST.
  • Alan Wake. At last!!!! A very nice footage of the game. Walking around at night with a tryst flashlight. It reminded my a lot of Alone in the Dark on the DC. You seem to be facing ghost which are neutralized with a sort of EMP weapon. The game is coming out Spring 2010.
  • Forza Motorsport 3. A short trailer and a live demo showing the different views with the head vision going left and right. A new very deep costumization and video editing system for Live. Release date set for October.
  • Metal Gear Solid: Rising. and HERE. WE. GO. After Devil May Cry and Final Fantasy Sony lost the Metal Gear exclusive. Aside from this the whole thign was fairly poor. Same trailer we’ve been teased with for weeks (and the countdown hadn’t even reached zero!). Even though it’s called Metal Gear SOLID it Kojima made a point to say it doesn’t feature Solid Snake but Raiden as we knew.
  • Shadow Complex. New Epic Game for XBLA. was unveiled through massive sound problem so we didn’t hear a bunch of stuff. The animation looks a lot like Bionic Commando Rearmed and the map is reminiscent of Metroid/Castlevania.
  • Crackdown 2. Featured a nice trailer but that’s about it.
  • Brutal Legend. Tim Schaeffer detailed some of the voice work and characters in the game with a  fun trailer. Included are Ozzy Osbourne, Motorhead’s Lemmy Killmeister, Lita Ford and more. Still coming out Rocktober!
  • Tony Hawk Ride. unveiled the final design for the skate peripheral as well as a basic trailer. nothing thrilling.
  • Joy Ride. A sort of Mario Kart with your Avatars in the cars. But it’s free so there’s really nothing to complain about. Could be fun.

June 1, 2009 Posted by | 360 News, Industry News, PC News, Video Game News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Phil Harrison Steps Down from Atari President

atari_infogrames_logoAtari has been in trouble for a long time now. It was acquired by French company Infogrames (of which Mr. Harrison became president) and underwent serious changes last year.

As a result Infogrames announced annual net loss of €226.1M ($319.5M) for 2008/2009 mostly due to restructuring charges.
Phil Harrison announced that he would step aside after a year as president to be non-executive Director of the Group. He will continue to help with the company’s strategy.

Despite this their revenues have gone to €136.4M ($192.4M), up from €90.3M ($127.4M) last year.
Infogrames also announced that it would take the Atari name and move basis of operations to the U.S.

As far as games go they said that they canceled several games but did not give details as to which ones.

These are definitely tough times for the old firm but let’s hope they are able to weather the storm and become stronger in the process.

May 29, 2009 Posted by | Industry News, Video Game News | , , | Leave a comment

3D Realms Shuts Down Forever

3drealmsAfter several reports yesterday it has been confirmed by 3D Realms webmaster Joe Siegler who said that “it’s not a maketing thing. It’s ture. I have nothing further to say at this time.”

The sad news doesn’t seem to affect Apogee Software, the portable branch of 3D Realms, and its development of Duke Nukem Trilogy.

The obvious irony is that involves Duke Nukem Forever, the longest running joke in the industry. While it still seems unlikely, the developer seemed to have made progress (relatively) recently with a trailer at then end of 2007. People would argue that a trailer after 10 years of development is in itself a joke and they couldn’t be faulted.

But the game is not necessarely dead and buried. Take Two, who was set to publish the game, now owns the rights to it. Which could mean speedier and more focused progress if they end up deciding to keep the project going.

May 7, 2009 Posted by | Industry News, Video Game News | , , , | Leave a comment