As New York Comic Con gets bigger and bigger, it becomes impossible to take it all in, and no matter how well we plan for it, inevitably things don’t work out. Here is our breakdown of one of the fastest going conventions in the United States.
Thursday goals included attending the 88MPH: A Celebration of Back to the Future, a panel about DC Comics imprint Vertigo’s new #1s, attempting to get into the Viz Media/Musashi Kishimoto panel, and finishing out the day at MootCon4 to talk to people about the Game of Theories webseries. While not an entirely adventurous schedule, the sheer amount of people made it impossible to navigate the exhibit hall (or the smaller, craft/creator filled area called The Block) in a timely manner. New York Comic Con was wall to wall cosplayers in different Doc & Marty costumes (and a TON of Rick & Morty costumes as well), some so well done, several double takes were needed to make sure we didn’t accidentally walk by Christopher Lloyd himself. We had to slowly step our way to the Image booth where we met up with comic creator Ivan Brandon for a scheduled interview, before attempting to make headway toward the Funko booth, hoping to get our eyeballs on some of those exclusives! There were many promotional life-size POP! figures to promote the upcoming Smuggler’s Bounty, and it was difficult to tear ourselves away and re-evaluate our plan as the hour grew late. It was here our paths split, with Tushar checking out the Games and Education panel, Kaitlyn calling it a day, and Leia preparing for a long evening of line waiting to spend an hour in the same room as Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto, before preparing for day two.
As the weekend progressed, we saw the floors even MORE packed than before and our weary correspondents loaded up their schedule with panels. First, however, Kaitlyn and Leia wandered over to the Audible booth to try out the immersive Locke & Key experience via Oculus Rift, before an interview with Sean Lewis and Benjamin Mackey, newbies in the comic industry. Artist Alley was a sight to behold this year, with greedy fingers reaching for art prints on our way to interview Justin Jordan, and get some stuff signed.
Now despite the name “New York Comic Con,” non-comic media, like television, was there in force too. The folks at Adult Swim were up to their old tricks again with roundtables for Venture Bros, Robot Chicken, and the new miniseries airing soon, Neon Joe, Werewolf Hunter. (You can check out our preview at Adult Swim at NYCC – Neon Joe, Werewolf Hunter). Getting to meet TV personalities like Jon Glaser, Stephanie March, Breckin Meyer and the crazy duo of Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick went exactly as we thought it would go. Antics upon hijinks upon gut busting laughter. It was tough to get through the whole thing without addressing Stephanie March as anything other than “Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cabot,” but ultimately composure was kept and we found that she, along with the rest of the Adult Swim actor corps, were super cool and friendly people.
TV wasn’t the only non-comic media to make a splash this year. Video games made their presence felt too. If you had (like we did) a bit of trouble getting through the main entrance to the con floor because of a pure sea of concentrated humanity, you were probably going by the Capcom booth. Lining the booth was an army of Street Fighter enthusiasts, and it WAS possible (but not probable) to slither your way in to get a crack at seeing some gameplay from Street Fighter V. The game played faster than its predecessor Street Fighter IV, and you could see some of the classic cast like Karin making their return from the Alpha/Zero series of Street Fighter games. There was a tournament going on as well, so there was always the chance that if you went in to get schooled, it would be public on a lot of large screens.
Square-Enix decided to take the quieter route and had a media suite set up a Shop Studios, just a couple blocks away from the Javits Center. It was nice to get away from the bustle of the con floor for guided demos of their games to small groups of people, and the fact that they fed us definitely did not hurt the experience. Making the rounds through Shop Studios we saw the upcoming Deus Ex: Mankind Divided (check out our preview here), Hitman, Just Cause 3, and the finale to Life Is Strange with Episode 5. The biggest and friendliest surprise though was that Lara Croft: GO wasn’t the only appearance our girl Lara Croft made that day. The full playable demo of Rise of the Tomb Raider looked and played absolutely great.
The Star Wars franchise decided to take an in between approach, setting up their Star Wars Battle Pods outside of the con floor but still inside the Javits Center, making it easy to get to and a beacon of the force as people entered the building. The battle pods let you take command of a few different vehicles from the Star Wars universe, from going on a Death Star bombing run in an X-Wing to trying to hang on for dear life on a speedbike on Endor. Either way, the ride was complete with vibration and pod shakes that one would presumably feel taking your X-wing out of the hangar.
Our last day was spent tying up loose ends, such as taking photos of the creepiest cosplay we could find, picking up more stuff to give away to you guys, and making our last stop at the phenomenal Women of Marvel panel, before shambling off home.
Be sure to check out our other convention coverage and we hope to see you guys in the future! We can’t wait for next year, and leave you with this awesome cosplay video from our friends, SneakyZebra.
In case you haven’t already, don’t forget that we are giving away a bunch of stuff for those of you who didn’t get to attend! Enter below.
Last week at New York Comic Con, Square-Enix was one of the major gaming presences in the city. Among the previews and demos they offered was the upcoming Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Mankind Divided picks up where the story left off, with our favorite augmented human Adam Jensen rocking a few new upgrades from past titles in the series. I will say this – the game looks really good, and adds a new formula for gameplay that makes this the most attractive entry into the series yet.
Eidos Montreal has the player reprise the role of Jensen, following the Aug Incident of 2027, when a malicious signal broadcast by Hugh Darrow to all augmented humans caused them to glitch and go insane, forcing them to violently attack anyone around them. After the death of millions, augmented humans (Augs) are viewed worldwide as a threat to humanity, forcing Augs underground into slums and squalor, while Aug manufacturers shut down around them. This environment – that of repressed Augs in a Apartheid-style world of forced segregation – is where the game begins.
Jensen is still working as a covert operative, whose job it is to help find the people responsible for the events of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. While the series has been known to offer players some choice in gameplay, the options in the new title go beyond that, giving the player complete control over how they want Jensen to act, and thus augmenting how the story unfolds.With his various new upgrades, Jensen can be played a number of different ways. As this is a Deus Ex game, the combat option is there, allowing the player to progress through the game through running, gunning, and dispatching their foes with extreme prejudice. There’s also a non-lethal option, giving players the opportunity to progress through levels without killing – for example choosing to knock someone out with a takedown after sneaking up on them instead of a ferocious aug-based attack. Also available is the ability to stealth through the entire game, forgoing violence altogether and focusing instead on not being seen. This might be a great plus for gamers who love stealth games like Thief Assassin’s Creed.
Of course, then there’s the tech! Jensen’s new upgrades would make any IT department on earth jealous (mine included). New skills include the Icarus Dash and Icarus Ram, some of the skills that are helpful in a non-lethal play option. The coolest upgrade, in my opinion, is the Titan Shield. This baller-as-hell aug upgrade lets Jensen encase himself in a sweet shield, rendering him impervious to damage as he handles business. Also visually probably one of the most satisfying things from the demos.
Mankind Divided also provides an upgraded hacking system as well as smart vision, allowing Jensen to see loot that would normally not be seen by the player’s naked eyes.
But there’s a bit more to it than that. Even though this was a big demo at NYCC, I recall a conversation I had with Stéphane Roy, Executive Producer on the project back at E3 this summer about some major themes in the game. I asked him about some of the details of this separatist society portrayed in the game evoking player emotions, and whether or not there was any social commentary involved in that aspect. His response:
“It’s complex. It’s complex because we work on that type of details for guys like you, you know? We want to make sure that if you play and pay attention you will notice all these small things and you’re going to start really being in this universe. Nothing is black and white in real life so we want to make sure that the subtleties are around you and you truly believe in this. So it’s a lot of work for us because if we decide to change something here there are ripple effects and it could mean that we have to change something in this mission by changing something here. So it’s demanding for the team, but at the same time at the end when everything is like this, I really want to suck you into the story and you’re trapped. And to be able to do that, we have to have this kind of details.”
He went on with some more commentary on choice in games:
“We want to make sure that choices and consequences are really important. I want to make sure when you’re faced with choice, it won’t be easy. ‘What should I do? Who am I? What are my values?’ So like you just said because you saw this guy and think it’s unfair, when it will be time to make a decision, I guarantee it’s going to affect your judgement, and I think this is where the richness of the product will flourish. You can see it.”
Mankind Divided so far looks like way more than than just a shooter or an action game. Eidos Montreal has really used the medium to try to deliver something that’s more than pure basic fun. Want to see what we did at the last couple of shows? Check out the gameplay trailer below complete with commentary.
Look for Deus Ex: Mankind Divided to release on February 23, 2016.
Every year E3 seems to have a few distinguishable patterns in its announcements. One year it was 3D, another it was camera support. So what are the trends we noticed in this year’s E3?
Pander Pander Pander
This year’s E3 was full of pandering, not that it’s a bad thing. After Microsoft’s fiasco of not listening to its consumers and Sony profiting from that negative response, both companies kicked “WE LISTEN TO YOU, BELOVED CUSTOMERS” in to full gear. Microsoft started off Pandercon 2015 with its announcement of Backward Compatibility, something customers have been wanting since the 360 and PS3 came out. Then they went ahead and showed off Gears of War 4 gameplay, which was totally unexpected. Hell, at the end of the Microsoft press conference we said Sony would have to hit with nukes to beat Microsoft.
And boy did they.
They dropped the biggest bombs they could possibly drop all in one press conference. Not only is Last Guardian not dead, but it’s being released next year. Shenmue 3 is happening and its Kickstarter went live during the press conference. And last, but certainly not least, the mother of all remakes is happening. The HD Final Fantasy VII remake for Playstation 4 is official. Not an uprez of the original, not the PC version available on PSN, a legitimate remake of the game everyone’s been requesting for years. Sony went all in with the pandering and it paid off big time.
Even Square Enix jumped in after the Sony presser and released more info on Kingdom Hearts III, more info on the new Star Ocean, and announced a sequel to Nier. Couple that with the Final Fantasy VII remake and their announcement of a game coming from a company literally named Tokyo RPG Factory, and hype was at an all time high.
The pandermachine isn’t necessarily a bad thing for gamers. It’s a great time to be part of a very loud crowd that hasn’t had enough attention. Who knows, maybe we’ll get another Chrono game, a PC port of the newer Halos, or even a new Red Dead game. If this rolling carnival of handouts for the loud and ignored continues, we may even get a Super Mario RPG remake.
Though the trend isn’t a HUGE one, it still definitely exists. After the success of Kirby’s Epic Yarn, fabric-based textures seem to be a growing trend in games. Both Yoshi’s Woolly World and Unravel are based around characters made out of yarn and how adorable they are.
Think about it, if Yarny wasn’t made out of yarn, but was rather a little dude running about through the woods, you wouldn’t care nearly as much. And the same goes for Mario’s dino friend. Yoshi’s New Island came out to a tepid response with its map color-esque graphics. We postulate that just maybe the game would have been more successful if it had just been a lot more cute. The game didn’t have bad gameplay, it just looked kinda meh. Slap a layer of yarn, fabric, and some cute details on it and you’ve got a hit!
Remember that trend a few years ago where everything was brown and grey and terrible? Like Fallout 3, Gears of War, et al.? Well we’re finally coming out of that, it seems. Fallout 4 seems to have finally shrugged off the terrible color palette that characterized its predecessor, allowing for a far more visually interesting title to come forth. At the time, Fallout 3 looked amazing and the world was huge, so the limited color palette could be overlooked, but playing it now, the game gets so visually boring so so quickly. The graphics in Fallout 4 aren’t even all that much better than in Skyrim, but the colors sets it so far apart from Fallout 4 that it looks like it was done by a different studio. We can’t emphasize how much better it looks.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution was lauded as a great, beautiful game. But everything in the god damn thing was orange and black! Every. Thing. The new title, Mankind Divided, looks much less visually constricted, as if they finally allowed themselves to use greens. It’s a wonderful difference. Even Gears of War, the brownest brown that ever browned, had a nighttime trailer in which the camera showed off other colors. It was crazy. It’s like video games finally discovered the other side of the color wheel.
This morning Square-Enix announced that Deus Ex: Human Revolution will be a go for the Wii U this coming weekend at PAX East. This new release is a director’s cut version of the game, and will be an exclusive title for the Wii U. From Square-Enix PR:
The Director’s Cut offers a full slate of Wii U™ GamePad features including touch-screen hacking, interactive map editing, augmented sniping, grenade throwbacks and many other neural hub enhancements. Along with in-depth Miiverse™ integration, the Director’s Cut also provides access to developer commentaries and in-game guides.
Tongs’s Rescue mission and the entire Missing Link chapter have also been integrated seamlessly into the narrative flow of the Director’s Cut. Other core DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTION augmentations include overhauled boss fights, refined game balance and combat, improved AI, and striking visual improvements which make this edition the best looking and most immersive Deus Ex experience available.
Utilizing the Wii U’s touch screen for hacking and neural hub seem like interesting alterations to gameplay. I’ll be hanging out with Square-Enix for a while at PAX, so be sure I’ll have more for you once I see it up close and personal, as well as other new stuff from their camp.
Living life in the Limelight is nothing new for GameStop, one of the only remaining, and fuctional, video game retailers in the US. GameStop has been a constant source of ire and joy for many fans of the video game industry. Whether you enjoy them for their eclectic collection of used video games, or dislike their practical abuse that very used video game concept; you probably know that when it comes to GameStop they really only look out for themselves. There have been several controversies surrounding the company and their definitions of used video games. One instance was their policy on allowing GameStop employees to check out merchandise for up to four days. Sounds great, who doesn’t want to rent a game or system for four day straight and for free! Well, not so fast. When the four days are up the item rented is simply repackaged and sold as if it was still factory sealed. Isn’t that great, knowing that you may have purchased a game in the past for full price that was not only opened, but played by another person? Well, it only gets wore from here on.