Supergiant Games has the habit of knocking things out of the park. Bastion and Transistor were both incredibly well received and as it tradition, Supergiant announced a new title right before PAX East. Pyre has the same level of lore and high caliber writing that you’ve come to expect from the indie studio, but the gameplay has changed rather drastically. It’s split between a point/click adventure/survival game ala Oregon Trail and a competitive 3v3 capture the flag game.
Between battles, you’ll interact with the crew of travelers you’ve been lumped into and find out more about the world. Each night, you can teach the crew, try to learn more about the world, or gather resources for your journey. Your three cohorts all have different stories and presumably different ways of interacting with you based on your choices.
When it’s time to battle, you control your allies on the battlefield. The game is to get a ball in your opponent’s goal and depending on the character who does it, you get more or less points. You can eliminate your opponents temporarily by touching them with your aura, a circle of light around each of your teammates. Your aura goes away when you hold the ball, meaning passing is essential to strategy. It’s a simple game, but one that requires strategy and quick thinking.
Pyre will be coming to PC and PS4 sometimes in 2017
Everyone remembers their days of hacking on Windows XP, right? No? Well Mainlining can give you that quintessential early millennium experience as you play an MI5 agent hacking criminals to gather evidence for prosecution. The whole game takes place on your computer as if it were running a pixelated version of Windows XP, complete with startup sounds and blue/green taskbar. The challenge you’re presented with is a screen name that you need to tie to a person, a crime, and a location. There’s clues on how to go about doing that on the computer, but for the most part, you’re just trying stuff out and hoping it works. There’s no location switching, pictures of you, or anything like that. Just an OS, you, and a chat program. The strict adherence to the idea that you’re just a guy on a computer is carried throughout. Even when you type, there’s a subtle key clicking sound which really adds to the atmosphere. It’s a really interesting, immersive title that should definitely be on your watch list.
Twitch is becoming a huge part of gamer culture and we’re finally starting to see games that play into that. Streamline was built from the ground up with streaming in mind. At its core, it’s a 1v12 game in which one hunter tries to eliminate 12 players. The other players have no weapons, but can stun. The objective for the runners is to score as many points before dying as possible and the hunter is to eliminate all players.
Then there’s the viewer mechanics. First off, stream viewers can bet on who will win the round and even play bingo against other viewers. Then comes the in-game curve balls. The viewers can vote for different game mechanics to put in the game to trip everyone up. Like reverse hunger games. For instance, the floor can be turned to lava, time slowed down, everyone has to crab walk everywhere. It’s awesome.
The game is well into development and looks like an absolute blast to play on stream.
Another Spring, another PAX East in the bag, and 2016 was a good one. Here’s some of the interesting stuff that happened this year:
A New Borderlands Game Confirmed / Detailed
Although we heard a new Borderlands game was in the works earlier this year, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford confirmed today that the game was in development. Details are still light as the project doesn’t sound too far along, but the art director from both Borderlands 2 and Battleborn, Scott Kester, will be on board for the new game. He also hinted at the possibility of references to Taletell’s Tales from the Borderlands series.
For more details, get a magnifying glass because Pitchford also said an upcoming DLC for Battleborn will feature some easter eggs for the upcoming game. No word on a release date, art assets, or any of that, but the confirmation that it’s under active development is exciting!
Warcraft Movie Not Strict on Lore
The Warcraft movie has been very closely watched by fans of the series since its first announcement. More details about the story of the movie were revealed at PAX East as director Duncan Jones says the movie will veer off from the game’s lore in certain situations. The choices were to “make for a better movie.”
Being ever conscious of the importance of the IP he’s playing with, Robert Kazinsky, who plays Ogrim, says had these changes not been made, the movie could have been fated to suffer the same fate of the 1993 flop Super Mario Bros. This delicate handling of the IP was reinforced by Jones as he said previous versions of the script had fundamental flaws.
“I really wanted to know what the film was going to be like,” Duncan said. “So I managed to get a sneaky look at the script and I was like ‘Ohh, it’s good, but there’s something really wrong with it.’ And it was the fact that it was human heroes against Orc villains. To me, that was fundamental misstep.”
The movie will be out June 10th of this year.
Overwatch Uber Truck Has Accident
Like most game companies, promotion is a big part of PAX East. From simple games tournaments to extravagant parties, video game companies love to do cool stuff to promote their games at PAX. This year, Overwatch and Uber teamed up to offer rides to people in Overwatch branded vehicles driven by people in awesome costumes.
Unfortunately, this promotion hit a bit of a snag when one of the drivers (and of all things, the huge truck) ended up getting in to a fender bender near the con. Randy Pitchford posted this photo of the almost non-event aftermath:
Everyone was okay, nobody was hurt, but that didn’t stop rumors of “Overwatch truck kills pedestrian” from circling around the con. Everything’s cool, though, no need to worry.
Be sure to keep checking for the rest of the week as we’ll be posting interviews, previews, and other stuff from PAX East 2016!
Fortune favors the bold, and boldness is certainly a key trait of Dante Basco‘s! One time leader of the Lost Boys and crown prince of the Fire Nation, Dante has a career spanning over two and a half decades. He is a Hollywood actor who has become a cult classic and pioneering figure in Asian American cinema. He was first introduced in Steven Spielberg’s fairytale movie Hook, as “Rufio,” aforementioned leader of the Lost Boys, quickly jumped to leading roles like New Line’s Take the Lead, opposite Antonio Banderas, and The Debut, which became the voice of a Filipino American generation. From breakdancing in the streets of San Francisco to starring in movies on the silver screen, Dante Basco has become one of the most recognizable faces in entertainment. I was lucky enough to score five minutes of his time before he was zoomed off to another interview at Emerald City Comic Con.
L: Hi! I’m Leia and since we have so little time, let’s get started!
DB: Hi, Leia! – Zuko voice- “I’m Dante and I’m talking with Leia!”
L: Haha, oh my God, you did the voice! Um, I was reading a recent interview of yours where you were talking about Asians having a place in film (Dante is Filipino American) and I’m noticing that Hollywood seems to be slowly getting the picture that people of color need to have a place in movies too –
L: – and I wanted to know if you have any projects you wanted to do.
DB: Well, there’s lots.I have a company called Kinetic Films that I’m partner of and we do Asian American/Pacific Islander films out of Hawaii, and we’ve done three so far that I’ve co-written some of, produced with my partner James Sereno, and with KevJumba we did Man Up. Me and Kev did Hang Loose together, we did Paradise Broke when it came out. Those are actually all out online. We’re actually funding a film right now for AJ Rafael called Red Roses! We are part of this movement…I created an Asian American arts collective in downtown LA where it’s all about curating, educating, and inspiring the next generation of content creators and it meets on the 8th of every month.You go to WeOwnThe8th.com and it’s about co-opting the 8th of the month for Asian media in America. I’m that generation now where I’m a “young veteran.”
L: What a bizarre sort of title!
DB: – laughs – The world has changed so it’s about getting into the conversation and really understanding that …Hollywood is recognizing that we need to be a part of the system but also we have to recognize that it’s also on us to create the content. It’s not like “oh, Hollywood needs to put us in their movies.” As much as that goes on, it’s still limited to their point of view of who we are as opposed to us as a community, whether it be Asian American, African American, Latino, going, “no, WE have to make content, WE have to be filmmakers.” It’s on us to represent us. It’s not on us to go and say you have to do this for us. That’s not how it works. How it works is we have to write and make the stories and it might start small. It might be a $10,000 project, maybe a $100,000 project. We’re not coming off the blocks making million dollar films and it’s okay! We have to create the stars and stories from our own experiences and not have the system dictate to us. You know what I’m saying?
L: Absolutely. It’s so important to find our point of views in media, especially for kids. I’m sure you get a lot of kids coming up to you and they’re probably ecstatic to see representation in you.
DB: It’s a LOT of kids!
L: My other question is with big franchises like Star Wars and Marvel, they’re putting more and more Asians into their films. How does that effect you as an actor?
DB: EXCITED! You know, it’s great. There’s so many great franchises that you grew up watching and you were in. Like, we all saw ourselves in them in our minds, but to see it actually happening on screen is just great. To be credited as a pioneer that helped usher in this wave of change is also cool. To be part of a franchise like…Avatar the Last Airbender, which is like a Star Wars for its own generation and being a pivotal piece of that, wow. It’s dream come true kind of stuff. I can’t wait to be a part of this future.
As much as I wanted to continue talking with Dante, his other obligations beckoned and I can successfully mark this interview off my bucket list.
Note: Interviews transcribed from audio are edited for clarity only.
Love is eternal. Or so gamers shall discover in Sinclair Strange’s much anticipated new game, I Want To Be Human. Rising Star Games, a video game publisher renowned for bringing unique and diverse games to players everywhere, announced today that I Want To Be Human is now available on PC via Steam for $14.99 and coming to consoles later this year.
“Working with both Sinclair Strange and Jimmy Urine has been an incredible experience,” said Martin Defries, Managing Director of Rising Star Games. “We can’t wait for PC gamers to sink their teeth into the game and we look forward to bringing I Want To Be Human to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One very soon.”
Join our vampire protagonist on her journey to break her and her boyfriend out of the clutches of hell. Packed with five worlds of crazy platforming action, a pulsing electro-punk soundtrack featuring Mindless Self Indulgence’s Jimmy Urine, and a whole load of exploding body parts, you’ll soon realize why I Want To Be Human might not be your average love story. And who knows, you might even set a new high ‘sgore’ (ahem) for the ages.
For more information on I Want To Be Human, please visit the official website. To learn more about Rising Star Games, follow Rising Star Games on Twitter, ‘Like‘ them on Facebook, and visit the official Rising Star Games website.
The effects of a hard night’s worth of drinking is nothing like the hangover you get from leaving a convention as busy as Emerald City Comic Con. ECCC is huge and sprawling, taking up most of the Washington State Convention Center, with signs directing you every which way for SIX WHOLE LEVELS. I’m no green girl when it comes to huge conventions; hell, I’ve tackled San Diego Comic Con alone before! This is the first time I had ever attended ECCC, and I thought I knew what to expect out of another ReedPop owned convention.
This year’s entertainment guests included the likes of Norman Reedus, Dante Basco, Lana Parrilla, The Weasley twins, and more. The list of talent goes on and on, a list that seems beautifully endless and includes artists, authors, makeup designers, and prop makers. The artist alley was also incredibly packed with talent this year, ranging from a surprise signing with G. Willow Wilson to scores of indie creators I cheerfully met and purchased wares from.
Like usual, I planned out my days, from panels to interviews, and as I scrambled to familiarize myself with the convention center layout, I begrudgingly accepted the fact I would need to sacrifice a panel or two to make it to the aforementioned G. Willow Wilson signing. Even though I had to race through the TWO separate exhibition halls/artist alleys, I successfully got a few minutes to talk with the genius behind Kamala Khan.
Floating on cloud nine after such an encounter, I quickly checked my schedule and decided to check out the artist alley and hall I was in before scurrying off to a 3pm Vertigo panel about their upcoming projects. I normally do a quick lap around a room before gathering my courage to meet creators whose work I had enjoyed from afar and pushed into my regular customers’ hands. Then I made sure to visit friends, such as artist Megan Lara, and fellow Valkyries manning the Valkyrie table, before opening my wallet with reckless abandon. Purchases this day included “Oh Joy Sex Toy,” a pair of Hamilton inspired prints from artist Arielle Jovellanos, and one hell of a sexy Poe Dameron from Cara McGee before I queued up with fellow comic lovers for my first and only panel.
Speakers for the hour long panel included Kurt Busiek, who spoke about issue 41 of Astro City finally revealing how it got its name to Gail Simone describing some of the chills ahead in her horror comic, Clean Room. In all honesty, it was surprisingly underwhelming compared to earlier announcements from other publishers, such as DC’s new imprint Young Animal under musician and comic enthusiast Gerard Way.
Luckily, my panel wasn’t far from my first interview, but I got lost and ended up in the wrong artist alley! However, a kind young man dressed as Deadpool set me on the right path (thanks, Deadpool!) and I quickly found the booth I was meant to be at before getting distracted by Espionage Cosmetics gorgeous nail wraps. My Friday ended after WRAPping up an interview with the super cute artist, Camille d’Errico so I could get ready for a Wickedly Divine off-site party.
Saturday was my only other con day thanks to an early flight home on Sunday, so I stuffed it to the brim with meetings with creators to discuss upcoming Image Expo announced projects and a couple of interviews, including Faith Erin Hicks and Dante Basco. I’m stoked for several series from creators of color and women like, Graveyard Winnebago, Afar, VS, and Black Cloud. It’s an amazing time to pick up really good stories from diverse voices (need suggestions? ASK ME!).
My one panel of the day centered around a fantastic group of women in comic shops that I’m glad to be part of, the Valkyries. Discussion included how underestimated a group of 500 retailers with ordering power can be, and reasons why certain books mean so much to us. It was touching being among so many other female workers since I felt alone for so long working in my shop in Texas, but now I have this vast, wonderful network when I need help or suggestions! It was definitely one of my favorite convention moments.
I left the convention with a heavy heart and even heavier bags thanks to the rest of the exhibition hall.
Next year, I will attend with knowledge about Sea-Tac Airport security lines and with an additional day to explore the city if I can manage it! If you attended Emerald City Comic Con, what was your favorite part?
Faith Erin Hicks is a Canadian writer and artist. She worked in the animation industry for several years before transitioning into writing and drawing comics full time in 2008. Originally, her webcomics were “for fun” while in college, but eventually published her first work, Zombies Calling (SLG Publishing), in 2007. Since then, she has published a number of other graphic novels, including The War at Ellsmere (SLG), Friends with Boys (First Second Books), and The Adventures of Superhero Girl (Dark Horse Comics), which won her an Eisner in 2014.
Her latest work debuted at Emerald City Comic Con, a story about an unlikely friendship called The Nameless City.
L: The first work of yours I was exposed to was Adventures of Superhero Girl, which was so lighthearted and fun among gritty tales and space westerns from all of the indie publications. Did you have a hard time finding an audience for your work?
FEH: Honestly, no, and that was the surprising thing. I agree with you that right now there is a focus on realism, especially in superhero comics. The success of Superhero Girl has been astonishing to me. I made it for myself, since it’s basically my take on superheroes and I wanted to have fun with the tropes of the genre. I wanted this character to be…I don’t know, I see myself in her. She has this thing that she really loves. She loves the idea of being a superhero, she wants to be a superhero, but she’s young and inexperienced and struggling to do that well. I ended up putting the comic online and was just shocked by the response online and it was cool that people found it funny. I feel like now, there’s nothing wrong with wanting something gritty, but I definitely think there’s an audience and place for this lighter fare, with things out there like Ryan North and Erica Henderson’s The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. It’s so much fun! People really like that kind of thing, and they’re hungry for it, so no, no problem finding an audience!
L: I actually use The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl to sell Adventures of Superhero Girl in my store, like if people need something else to read along those veins! When you first started out, was the comics industry alienating at all?
FEH: No, absolutely not! Comics have been really good to me. It’s been incredibly welcoming and now that I’m a published writer, I feel like I have a voice in comics. The Nameless City is my eleventh book, and it’s been a positive experience.
L: And you do comics full-time now, right?
FEH: I’ve been doing them full-time since 2008, so it’s been eight whole years!
L: What kind of schedule do you keep, or is just a matter of getting yourself motivated to write whenever?
FEH: I definitely keep a schedule, where I work six days a week and keep regular hours. I wake up, exercise, and try to be at my desk by a certain hour, take a break for lunch. I had an intense schedule the last eight months or so finishing up the second Nameless City book, and just worked crazy hours. I absolutely recommend to anyone trying to do comics full-time to keep a schedule. It’s important for your well-being and mental health.
L: Did you do everything yourself, from writing to drawing to coloring?
FEH: I didn’t do the coloring myself, because I’m really slow and I would much rather work with someone who actually knows what they’re doing! – laughs-
FEH: I do both actually. I do thumbnails and I do my script by hand. I fill a spiral notebook with thumbnails and very rough dialogue and then I go type it up and give it to my editor. Once it’s approved, I start pencilling and inking.
L: Do you have a project in the future that pushes you out of your comfort zone and challenges you in a different way?
FEH: The Nameless City is that for me! It’s a fantasy world that’s historically based. It was based on my interest in 13th century China and it’s a story with a lot of challenging themes. There’s this city that’s a place of conflict with strife and racism and I wanted to deal with those issues in a way that was thoughtful and challenging. Hopefully I did! We will see what readers and reviewers say!
L: As far as your work on adaptations, for instance, The Last of Us: American Dreams, did you get to play the game prior to working on the story?
FEH: I did not, because the game was not yet finished! What I was given when I started working with the game’s writer, he basically gave me the script. I got to know the story and the characters, but yeah, it wasn’t quite finished, and what actually happened, he brought in this character that we’d created for the comic into the game’s narrative, which was really wonderful. I definitely got to be privy to NaughtyDog’s creative process. I have since played it and it is super scary though. I’m a total chicken when it comes to horror. It was a rough one to get through, even though my favorite game of all time is Resident Evil 4 for some reason.
L: Do you have a favorite thing to draw, whether it’s something you doodle or otherwise?
FEH: You’re going to laugh at this, but my favorite thing to draw is people having deep emotions. I love the scenes in any of my graphic novels where people are going through a lot of emotions, right? I really like drawing people in the middle of huge emotional breakdowns. For me, the best way to convey emotions is to decompress a scene and give characters time to react and act it out on a page, so it’s like…I have a joke. When I do a graphic novel it’s like 250 pages long and you get 50 pages of plot and 200 pages of people staring at each other. – laughs-
L: Are you ever conscious of inserting yourself into your stories?
FEH: I’ve drawn myself and my friends in the background of a couple of scenes, like in Nothing Could Possibly Go Wrong, there’s a crowd scene at a robotics competition and I drew all of my friends in one scene. I do it so I don’t have to come up with designing characters!
L: My last question is what are you currently reading that you would recommend?
FEH: I have con brain at the moment, but I just finished the fourth trade of Ms. Marvel. Oh my gosh, I’m completely blanking! Oh! I’m reading this manga called A Silent Voice, that is so good and will break your heart. I’m really into that series, and I think it’s amazing.
Be sure to check out The Nameless City, which is now in local comic shops everywhere! It’s an amazing story and worth your money!