After a delay, Gears of War 3 peeks out a couple of weeks before E3. Of course there was the multiplayer beta… if you
played got Bulletstorm. However, this time Epic has revealed a few snippets from the campaign. The campaign trailer shows some promise with a further refined Unreal engine, along with more monsters and more bromance. Epic has promised that the third installment will be intensely cooperative and possess the lengthiest campaign in the series. Hopefully it will wrap up all the loose ends of the trilogy. We can only find out when the game is released WORLDWIDE on September 20th 2011 on the Xbox 360.
After Kotaku’s full-blown spoiler nuke; Activision has officially come clean with a reveal trailer for Modern Warfare 3. For lack of a better description; it’s a Call of Duty trailer… just schizophrenic glimpses of ambiguous gameplay moments. It’s immediately apparent that the engine has improved and the scale is nothing short of epic. The trailer even dubs the conflict as “WW3” before reverting back to the regular “MW3” logo in it’s closing moments. The initial trailer is enough to entice most gamers, but lets hope for more info on the multiplayer components to spill out during E3. The trailer confirms a release date of November 8th 2011.
After four weeks of thumb twiddling, whistling, and countless paper airplanes; Playstation Network is back online… kind of. Sony is currently working to bring the network up to speed by rolling out features bit by bit. As of 5/14, PS3 owners were prompted to download mandatory firmware update v3.61. Today, PSN gamers will be able to play games online, however features like the PSN Store will be undergoing maintenance and accessible at a later date yet to be confirmed. At one point today, the service encountered a speed bump for roughly 30 minutes or so from a high volume of password changes – for good reason. Hopefully, the entirety of the service will be up for all PS3 owners to enjoy sooner rather than later.
Sony has released a video (shown below) that goes into further detail of forthcoming changes to services and when certain features will be available to users.
Well now that Duke Nukem Forever is (finally) becoming more than the biggest mythological creature in the video game industry, I thought I’d figure out what the f*** happened to some of the other stuff that was promised to come or just disappeared off of the face of the Earth. We, as gamers, don’t always get everything that was promised to us (ie. the entire Too Human game), but sometimes it would be nice to get an explanation as to why some properties suddenly dissipate. There is a fine line between not wanting to spoil too much about your game (which I personally feel the video game community does too much), waiting for some big event (ie. E3), and just being a complete
asshole tease. These are the games/ideas/properties that I feel have crossed the line.
If anyone has any games or entities they would like to find out about, just leave a comment and I’ll update the post with my findings.
Officially Announced: April 13, 2010 | Release Date: TBA 2011 | Developer: 2K Marin
What is it?
Based off of the classic game X-COM: UFO Defense, a PC strategy game developed by Mythos Games in 1994, X-COM is a reimaging of that fabled property. Now a first person shooter (I know we have too many of those, but don’t fret, this one actually looks good), 2K Marin is bringing the game into the new generation. It tells the fight between man and alien as the FBI fights the spread of the unknown enemy. Remembering its roots, the game will feature intense story, complex strategy, and against-all-odds action to increase the suspense of this thriller shooter.
Where is it?
We first heard of this game in April of 2010 and were shown it hands on at E3 2010. After a promise from 2K Marin at E3 2010 that the game would be released in 2011, we haven’t heard much out of them since then. It is currently the middle of May in 2011 and 2K had yet to spill any beans on this coveted title. Once E3 2011 rolls around I’m sure the story will be different, but a little tidbit of information (like a more specific release date) now wouldn’t hurt.
What do we expect?
2K Marin will most likely spill their guts at E3 this year and will most likely get a holiday 2011 release, maybe a first quarter 2012 release if they’re falling behind.
Officially Announced: January 2009 | Release Date: TBA | Developer: The Behemoth
What is is?
The next game from the studio that brought you Alien Hominid HD and Castle Crashers, this is a side-scrolling, action-filled platformer. It features a heavy basis on 4-player multiplayer (a la Left 4 Dead). Expect the same cartoony violence you got with the blockbuster hit Castle Crashers.
Where is it?
Unlike the other items on this list, this one has actually been seen recently. The last time we saw this game was at the Behemoth stand at PAX in March of this year. It was a playable game alongside Castle Crashers. So, as far as it looks, this game is nearly complete and ready to be distributed.
What do we expect?
Well, if we don’t here anything out of E3, expect a release at some point later this year. If all is said and done, nothing will be holding The Behemoth back from making their hard earned money. The best bet though? We will get a concrete date at E3, and it wont be too long of a wait either.
Respawn Entertainment Project
Officially Announced: 2010 | Release Date: TBA | Developer: Respawn Entertainment
What is is?
After the big fight/lawsuit between Vince Zampella, Jason West and Activision, those two decided to run off and form their own development company under publisher (take a good guess) EA. And with this comes the tumblings of their first big project. After originally stating that they were working on a blockbuster hit to compete with the monster they helped create, Call of Duty, not much has been coming out of Respawn.
Where is it?
No one really knows. Zampella and West started an entire new development studio AND are staring a new game in a new franchise under a new publisher from scratch. It is bound to take some time for them to hire enough people to staff the studio, come up with an idea, and then make enough of said idea to get a solid amount of info to share with the public.
What do we expect?
Don’t expect anything for a little while yet. Even if they do throw us a bone at E3 this year, don’t expect a game until at least mid to late 2o12. But don’t give up hope! Whatever they come up with is bound to be great and, in my opinion, the longer it takes for a game to come out, the longer the development team is taking to make sure their game is perfect.
Officially Announced: June 2009 | Release Date: TBA | Developer: Nintendo
What is is?
Also known as the biggest joke from Nintendo yet, the Vitality Sensor was supposed to be the next great thing for Nintendo and their healthy gaming craze. It was meant for people to track their pulse and other bodily numbers to use in sync with other health games, like Wii Fit. It was designed to help people relieve and manage their stress as well. The only other practical use for such a device is to monitor peoples stress levels while playing a horror survival game such as Resident Evil (but what could you honestly do with that data?)
Where is it?
Quite frankly, who cares? Is anyone honestly sitting around saying “Man, I really wish Nintendo would release that Vitality Sensor already.” Only the hardcore crowd really knows about it now, and we could care less about it. All the health freak moms are the ones who care, and unless they watch E3 press conferences each year, I’m pretty sure they’ve never heard of it. All the sub par feedback isn’t stopping Iwata though. He says the peripheral is still on track for a release…sometime.
What do we expect?
Don’t get your hopes up. It was announced at E3 2009 and hasn’t been heard from since. After being the laughing stock of the gaming community for a month or so after it was announced, it dropped off of the face of the Earth. And now that we know “Project Cafe”, Nintendo’s next home console, will be shown at this years E3, I’m pretty sure that little announcement will overshadow anything relative to the Vitality Sensor.
Half Life 2: Episode 3
Officially Announced: 2006 | Release Date: TBA | Developer: Valve
What is is?
Hinted to all the way back in 2006, Half Life 2: Episode 3 is (obviously) the successor to Episode 2. It continues the story of theoretical physicist Gordon Freeman
Where is it?
This game here is arguably the most anticipated game for PC gamers. It has been far too long since Episode 2 to take. And the sad thing is is that Valve has not said much about it at all. They said it was coming, but we don’t know much other than that. They have been pouring out game after game, update after update, but nothing on this game. Valve did, however, promise in September of 2010 that there would be three big announcements over the coming year. What could they be?
What do we expect?
This one is a mystery to all. The best we can do is hope for something at E3 or just wait for more of those “big announcements” Valve promised to come.
Well, that’s the list. Overall, the main thing we can do is wait. If you didn’t get the hint by now, E3 is the thing to look for. It’s coming fast and is bound to show us at least one of the games on this list. Keep your fingers crossed.
All too often I find myself enjoying a game only to get jolted into reminding myself, “Yup, this is a videogame.” Not necessarily because of bad graphics or a poor story, it’s because the portrayals of females is more offensive than not. Listen, I enjoy a pair of knockers as much as the next guy; but when it’s in a game because a developer said, “BECAUSE BOOBS!” doesn’t mean there should be a place for it.
Games are becoming increasingly more immersive, their purpose is to remove you from your boring life for a few moments so you can be empowered in another. Story-telling and graphics help to significantly sell the experience. But, every once in a good while your experience is rudely interrupted by a pair of gozungas. You’re probably thinking, “But Chris, I like sex appeal in videogames don’t you?” Sex appeal is fine in video games as they’re more “mature” now than ever. However, if a developer is trying to sell me on an empowered female character, she shouldn’t be wearing a cheerleader outfit with her rack hanging out; I won’t be able to take her seriously. Imagine yourself playing a game and you’re unraveling the finer mysteries as to why the world is ending. At some point (in pretty much every game) you’ll set out with a goal in mind to stop certain catastrophe, when all of a sudden a porno-esque female librarian/secretary “briefs” you on a mission. This particular scenario isn’t from any particular game, but we’ve all been there; playing a game and a pornstar comes out of left field to shove a “set” in our faces.
“Whoa hot chicks in videogames are awesome!!! What’s your beef?!” My “beef” is that promiscuity can often times TAKE AWAY from a female character instead of adding to them. I don’t know what it’s like for a female gamer to play some of these games. I can’t speak for all of them, but I can’t imagine feeling “okay” with some of the female depictions that are out there.
This isn’t something that has recently surfaced in the industry; it’s been around since the dawn of gaming. I don’t want to remind everyone of Custer’s Revenge on the Atari 2600. Even during the NES era with the Battletoad’s Dark Queen; while she may be “tame” by today’s standards, keep in mind that 5 year olds (including me), were getting our hands on these games. Double Dragon 2’s Marion was also another one from the NES era that needed to pull up her blouse in front of the kids. Perhaps what sparked the fire was the PS1 era’s Lara Croft from the Tomb Raider series. Gameplay-wise the series got increasingly poorer, but her bust size kept increasing along with her sales. No other female videogame character has received as much notoriety as Lara Croft in the 90’s.
I’m not here to rain on everyone’s parade saying, “No more boobs” in games. Let’s not forget that the gaming industry is growing up and developers are targeting adults now more than ever. The God of War series is known for it’s sex minigames and female characters that never fail to be topless. Bayonetta is just oozing (no pun, no pun goddamnit!) with sex appeal in EVERYTHING she does in the game. I can’t state that these are the only exceptions, but they’re M-rated and perhaps the developers want to push the envelope a bit, but they can do so respectfully. I’m sure there are female gamers out there whom enjoy these titles, but I can’t imagine myself playing a game where I control a man that gets naked-er as I’m vanquishing foes. Fighting games are infamous for their cast of female fighters. Most fighting games don’t exactly support a strong story for the characters to grow in, so the extent of their “character” boils down to their movesets and how “cool” they look. Soul Calibur is a beloved fighting franchise with a strong roster. However, EVERY female character in that game is… just look at the screenshot below, it tells all….
I’m sure character designers and artists are thinking, “How do we give her more personality?” Most will increase the polygon count in the chest and buttocks region and call it a day. Creating a believable and rich female character avoids that completely. Bonnie from Red Dead Redemption is a tough gal that doesn’t take crap from nobody. She doesn’t look like a dominatrix armed to the teeth. She’s a an appropriately-dressed western girl that has her head on straight. Her blue-collar attitude is what makes me interested in her character; not her bra size.
Being a blockbuster series; Uncharted could’ve easily fallen into the pitfall of having a female protagonist that “dresses for success”. However, Elena Fisher finds herself at the opposite end of the spectrum. She’s a woman that is guided by her career and supports the main character you play as. She doesn’t carry a whip, she carries a camera. She doesn’t rock a school-girl outfit, she wears jeans and a half-tucked shirt. Elena has a way of motivating the player through her dialogue and the energy she projects, not by unbuttoning her blouse. These are only a few of the female characters that are exactly what they are – female characters; not sex goddesses.
The videogame industry can do a better job of depicting females in games. There are developers out there who understand that an overly-revealing character can be annoying or distracting for all the wrong reasons. It still seems like most game makers are still targeting males, they need to be mindful that women also play videogames. As a male gamer, an army of under-dressed virtual woman would not make me change my mind as to whether or not a game sucks. A bad game is a bad game. Undoubtedly, there are other gamers like me, male and female, who are sick of “characters” that are no more than virtual strippers. If I’m laying down $60 + tax for a video game, I’m paying for the experience and the potential fun, not a shameful peep show. If I want that, I’ll find it at the bar on the Touch Master, not on my home consoles.
So apparently Fast Five has officially kicked off the summer movie blockbuster rush (although I really think they just need to stop with that series already. Enough is enough). As per usual, the summer is going to be full of geek movies geared to me and my kin, a.k.a. comic book, superhero and sci-fi thrillers. So I figured I would take the time to go through the big box office movies that interest me and that I think nerds nationwide will pay attention to and give my opinion and hype factor on them.
The movies that I’m going to talk about are as follows (in order of release): Thor, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, X-Men: First Class, Super 8, Green Lantern, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Captain America: The First Avenger, Cowboys & Aliens, and Rise of Planet of the Apes. As you can see, this summer is going to be packed with movies that are catered to the nerds of the world (and I’m pretty excited). So, without further adieu, let’s begin.
*Before I start, I would like to mention that these are my opinions on these movies and how much I believe they will either live up to their hype or please the geek crowd.
Thor (May 6th)
(Directed by Kenneth Branagh; Starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, and Anthony Hopkins)
What’s It About?: Thor (Hemsworth) is the third Avenger to make his movie debut (Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk being his predecessors). Thor is the God of Thunder who lives in the city of Asgard. He is extremely arrogant and violent and ends up reigniting a long forgotten war. As punishment, he is sent down to Earth to live with the humans. After befriending Jane Foster (Portman), Thor learns from his mistake and helps defend Earth from enemies sent from Asgard to cause havoc on the humans.
What Do I Think?: The first thing I notice when I see the information about this movie is, no joke, the director. Kenneth Branagh (Gilderoy Lockhart in the Harry Potter series, director and star of Hamlet) is one of my favorite people in the movie industry. I just love a lot of the work that he does, and I especially loved his version of Hamlet. Besides the director, I very pumped for this movie. It’s something we haven’t seen yet in the super hero movie industry: a God. I am extremely excited to see how well Chris Hemsworth pulls off the role. If you don’t count his short appearance as George Kirk in the 2009 Star Trek, this is Chris’ first big time role on the silver screen. Hopefully Thor will be for Chris as The Hurt Locker was for Jeremy Renner. He looks promising and I honestly can not wait to see this movie.
Hype Factor: 9/10
EDIT: Go see this movie. I saw it about a week ago and it is an amazing Marvel film. It lives up to the Hype Factor.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (May 20th)
(Directed by Rob Marshall; Starring Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Ian McShane, and Geoffrey Rush)
What’s It About?: In the fourth Pirates movie, Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp) finds himself running into a woman from his past on his way to find the Fountain of Youth. Entranced by what he thinks may be love, Sparrow is brought onto the ship of the most feared pirate in history: Blackbeard (McShane). The race goes on to beat Blackbeard to the Fountain and possible discover if his love is true.
What Do I Think?: First reaction? Is this necessary? This spin off story is just a ploy to milk the Pirates series for all its worth. Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightley, the other two main stars besides Johnny Depp, both quit the series after the third installment. Now it’s up to Depp to hold up the entire movie and, to be honest, I am tired of Jack Sparrow. He was amazing in the first movie, still pretty funny in the second, got repetitive in the third, and now after watching the trailer for this film, it just seems like they’re trying too hard. His act is old and repetitive and I’m tired of seeing the pirate in a drunken stupor running around like a chicken with his head cut off and acting completely scared around all the big bad guys: it’s overplayed.
Hype Factor: 4/10
X-Men: First Class (June 3rd)
(Directed by Matthew Vaughn; Starring James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence)
What’s It About?: A precursor to all past X-Men films, this movie tells the story of Charles Xavier (McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Fassbender) during the 1960’s. In the beginning they were two young men with great powers and became great friends as they helped the nation with their abilities. As time goes on though, the void between them grows and they eventually become the enemies that they are today.
What Do I Think?: When I first heard that this movie was coming about, I immediately thought “Oh great, another X-Men movie”. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the original trilogy and I didn’t even bother to see Wolverine’s spin off movie Origins (I think he is severely overrated). After watching the trailer and digging into this movie, however, I feel that it is actually going to turn out to be a great superhero movie. I’ve always like Magneto and Professor X a lot and it will be cool to see how they started out and how their friendship turned into a hatred. Although I will miss Ian Mckellan as Magneto, I’m getting good vibes from this movie. I just hope I don’t see too many more X-Men films.
Hype Factor: 8/10
Super 8 (June 10th)
(Directed by J.J. Abrams; Starring Elle Fanning, Amanda Michalka, and Kyle Chandler)
What’s It About?: A group of kids, while filming a movie, witness a horrific train accident. What they don’t know, however, is what was being transported on that train. With mysterious military undertones, the citizens of one town start to notice disappearances an the deputy tries to pry some answers out of the government. The truth that they discover may be more shocking than they ever imagined.
What Do I Think?: Like with Thor, the first thing I noticed was (a) J.J. Abrams wrote and directed it, and (b) Steven Speilberg produced it. These are two very good things. When I watch the trailer for this movie, I get a mix of Cloverfield, E.T., and The Goonies. Don’t ask me why, but that’s just what I pull from the trailer. Just by the way the movie was filmed it illicits a sense of wonder from me and makes me deeply interested in what exactly is on that train. I am very excited for this movie and the fact that J.J. Abrams is so good at keeping things secretive only makes my excitement even greater.
Hype Factor: 9/10
Green Lantern (June 17th)
(Directed by Martin Campbell; Starring Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, and Peter Sarsgaard)
What’s It About?: Hal Jordan (Reynolds), an over-the-top jet pilot, is selected to join the Green Lantern Corps., a group of warriors from all different races in the universe that help keep peace and balance. He is given a ring that grants him superpowers that he must use to defeat Parallax, a new enemy that is threatening the Green Lantern Corps. in a way they have never been attacked before.
What Do I Think?: Cliche. I know that these superhero movies are already pre-written and their stories already exist, but I still can’t help but feel like I’ve seen this so many times before. I get a very strong “Tony Stark” vibe from Ryan Reynolds character, and although that works for Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), I don’t know how well it’s going to work for Reynolds. It’s going to be the same old thing: eccentric protagonist gets super power by some means and learns the values of life and what’s really important as he grows with the power.
Hype Factor: 6/10
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (July 1st)
(Directed by Michael bay; Starring Shia Labeouf, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Tyrese Gibson, and Josh Duhamel)
What’s It About?: The Autobots and Decepticons are back for a third time as they get involved with the space race between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. A space craft from Cybertron was discovered on the moon and now a race between the Autobots and Decepticons has begun to reach the ship and learn its secrets.
What Do I Think?: After the catastrophe that was Revenge of the Fallen, I am not expecting much with this movie. I know that it’s going to be exactly the same as the other two: explosion after explosion within an explosion. It’s a Michael Bay movie; what else would you expect? Probably the biggest complaint I have is the replacement of Megan Fox. Now I wasn’t really a big fan of Fox herself, but I wish Bay would have kept her on board for the sake of the “plot” (I used quotations because the “plot” of the Transformers series is so convoluted and disorganized that it can hardly be called a “plot”). I mean, after two movies of Sam chasing after Mikaela and developing their love life, it seems incredibly stupid to just erase her from the picture and have Sam fall in love with some new girl (who is played by a Victoria’s Secret model with no previous acting experience). All in all, I will be seeing this movie for two reason: to see how they manage to explain Fox’s departure in the movie / laugh at the new girls most likely horrible acting and to see all the robot fighting action (I’m a guy; I’m allowed to like explosion and action).
Hype Factor: 4/10
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (July 15th)
(Directed by David Yates; Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint)
What’s It About?: Harry (Radcliffe), Ron (Grint), and Hermione (Watson), as well as the entire Hogwarts gang, are back for the finale to the Harry Potter series. The second half of the Deathly Hallows book, this movie depicts the final fight between Good and Evil, Harry and the students of Hogwarts against Voldemort’s army. Answers are given to all of the most pressing plot points and the series finally comes to a close.
What Do I Think?: Being the Harry Potter junkie that I am, I am already pre-disposed to love this movie. Putting all bias aside, I still believe this will be an amazing movie for those who have seen the rest of them (obviously). The movies don’t stand a chance against the books of course, but as long as nothing big has been changed drastically, I feel this will be a quintessential summer movie. Unlike the first half of the book, which was more of the trios quest to find Voldemort’s Horcruxes, this movie is going to be an all out action flick, which is a nice relief from the previous installment. I have high hopes for this movie, but I have a small tinge of apprehension as well; I just feel like something will be changed from the books that I could never forgive Yates for.
Hype Factor: 9/10
Captain America: The First Avenger (July 22nd)
(Directed by Joe Johnston; Starring Chris Evans, Hugo Weaving, and Richard Armitage)
What’s It About?: Set during WWII, Steve Rogers (Evans) is an eager man who wants to fight for his country but is denied because of his small body size. He opts to be part of a government experiment to create super soldiers. After a successful transformation, the army turns Rogers into a spokesperson for the army, making tours to different conferences and press events. He is given a patriotic uniform and paraded around to show the armies strength. The Nazi’s, on the other hand, employ an evil plan that requires Rogers to step up to the plate and fight for his country.
What Do I Think?: It’s completely ironic that the “First Avenger” is the last one to see their movie debut, but I have to say that Captain America seems to be the Avenger that I am going to like the most. I love learning about WWII and any story based off of that time period is bound to catch my attention. I am a fan of Evans’ character, who is just an honest guy trying to fight for his country. Another thing I am excited about is to see how the other Avengers get incorporated. If you notice in the trailer, right before the experiment begins the one scientists tells ‘Mr. Stark” to start it up. This is Howard Stark and is just another way in which the lives of the four Avengers are intertwined. Just think back to how many references there were in Iron Man 2. I think I’m really going to like Captain America.
Hype Factor: 9/10
Cowboys & Aliens (July 29th)
(Directed by Jon Favreau; Starring Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and Olivia Wilde)
What’s It About?: A mysterious stranger named Jake Lonergan (Craig) is found in the town of Absolution with no memory of his past, he quickly becomes unwanted and must come under the orders of Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde (Ford). A sudden alien invasion of the town requires the townsfolk to forget their fear and hatred of Lonergan and create a team of men to fight off the aliens. Lonergan holds the key to the towns survival in a shackle-like device on his wrist that can help save the town.
What Do I Think?: When I first heard of this movie, it sounded like the dumbest thing I had ever heard. “Cowboys & Aliens” just sounded so weird to me. But then I watched an interview with Favreau, the director, and realized two things: (1) this is actually a comic book, and (2) it has never been done before. I had never heard of this story before, so finding out that it was a comic book came as a shock to me. I thought it was just some random idea. Secondly, Favreau questions why we can’t have an alien invasion movie set in the Wild West. Just because we think we see aliens now doesn’t mean they didn’t see the same types of things back then either. I took this to heart and decided to give this movie a shot. Also, I just like Harrison Ford a lot. He may be old, but he’s still got what’s needed to be a badass action hero. It will be cool to see him work side by side with Daniel Craig, who I have not seen outside of James Bond
Hype Factor: 8/10
Rise of Planet of the Apes (August 5th)
(Directed by Rupert Wyatt; Starring James Franco, Andy Serkis, and Freida Pinto)
What’s It About?: Will Rodman (Franco), who is a scientist, experiments with genetic engineering on apes in San Fransisco. What he ends up doing is creating a whole new race of super intelligent monkeys that create a fight with the humans for supremacy.
What Do I Think?: Dumbest nerd movie of the summer. I never liked Planet of the Apes and I never will. The whole concept just seems so stupid to me. Just another “lab creation gone wrong” movie. And the fact that the trailer boasts that it used the same visual effects team as Avatar just made me even more mad considering I really did not like Avatar. So its visuals are all it’s got going for it, huh? That means the story must really suck. No thanks.
Hype Factor: 1/10