New York Comic Con  Tagged Articles RSS Feed | New York Comic Con  RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Hands On with Just Cause 4 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider DLC Thu, 18 Oct 2018 17:10:57 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

Over the past several years, New York Comic Con has been host to some great demos and video game showcases. Last year, we were able to get our hands on The Evil Within 2 and Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus, both of which turned out to be very well-received.  

This year, we were able to catch up with Square Enix and get a look at some of the studio's upcoming releases, including Just Cause 4 and the forthcoming DLC for Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Here's what we found out about each of them. 

Hands on With Just Cause 4

Just Cause 4 is a wild ride -- let's just get that out of the way right now. You might have thought the previous iterations in the series were insane but this newest installment takes everything to the next level.

Everything that you love about the Just Cause series -- such as the gunplay, driving, and high-dive parachuting -- is back and exactly how you like it. 

When I asked one of the Square Enix representatives why they insist on pushing the envelope of crazy in the series, he replied, "Just cause." (Pun not intended).

But when you can put weather balloons on a tank and battle mid-air, you can't really complain. 

Aside from what we've come to expect from the Just Cause series, there are also quite a few new elements in Just Cause 4

The introduction of attachment mods drastically increases the catalog of weapons and accessories in the game. You can change the behavior of some of the mods and even affect behavior by changing the button controls in the settings.

Riding Out the Storm

The introduction of the Extreme Weather also makes things chaotic. One of the missions I was able to play involved Rico, the storm chaser. Featuring a tornado, the one we've seen in some of the trailers, it's easy to get sucked inside because why not? Don't worry, though, getting sucked in doesn't mean instant death -- it just means you'll be going for a fun ride, latching on to flying cows or debris. 

Seeing the tornado rip apart buildings, planes and anything else in its path is so much fun to watch, and at the end of the mission, you get caught in a lightning storm that, well, makes things even trickier. 


You'll get to have your taste of Just Cause 4 when it comes out on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on December 4. The team at Avalanche Studios is already working on DLC, so keep your eyes open for that in the future after release. 

Shadow of the Tomb Raider DLC: The Forge

Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the third in the rebooted Tomb Raider series, released in early September on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. You can read our review of the game here.

While sitting down with the team behind the game, they shared some info about the DLC that will be coming to the game.

Starting in November and going through May 2019, there will be a new DLC pack released each month. These packs will feature new narrative missions starring some of the secondary characters that you met in the base game. Each pack will have a challenge tomb, a new weapon, a new outfit, and a new skill.

If you wanted to play Shadow with your friends and were sad you couldn't, great news! Five of the seven DLC packs will support co-op play, and only one of your friends needs to own the DLC for the both of you to play. 

There will also be three modes for each of the DLCs: Exploration, Score Attack, and Time Attack. 

To test things out, I was partnered up on the first DLC coming out in November, titled The Forge. The goal of challenge DLC is to get to the top of a structure while inside a tower.

Needless to say, communication is very important in completing this mission. 

The DLC plays the exact same way as the base game. Solving puzzles, jumping off ledges, climbing to new heights.

If you had some gameplay problems in the base game, those problems are, unfortunately, in the DLC, too.

The climbing still seems a little weird and you will be jumping up and down trying to get to certain ledges. The camera can get in the way sometimes, too, clinging to weird angles when running around the tower. Even if none of these issues ruined the experience, they are worth noting for those who have played the base game. 

The mission took my partner and me around 30 minutes to complete, but if you don't communicate well, it could take longer.

The puzzle was pretty hard to figure out at first, too, and involved you splitting up with your partner in order to move forward. 

The Forge is one of seven upcoming DLC's coming out over the next couple of months. Here is what that DLC schedule looks like:

  • November: The Forge
  • December: The Pillar
  • January: Devil Inside
  • February: Unwilling Savior
  • March: Serpents Heart
  • April: Grand Caiman
  • May: Paradise Lost

If you don't own the season pass, you can purchase it for $29.99 or you can buy each DLC pack separately for $4.99.


You can start playing the Shadow of The Tomb Raider DLC starting with The Forge in November.

Just Cause 4 is looking to be crazier than the previous entries of this series and you definitely don't want to miss this one.

Thank you to the Square Enix team for letting me hang out and play these two amazing games.  

Supehero Blitz: The Best Crime Fighter Cosplays! Sat, 13 Oct 2018 13:26:53 -0400 Stephanie Tang


That's all for now! 


This last-but-not-least take on our favorite God of Thunder may not look as polished as all the rest but it's something that you can actually DIY at home without heading out and paying for something off the costume racks (you know the prices are going to be as jacked as Thor's manly biceps right now just before the holiday). Check it out for some more ideas of your own!


Have any other suggestions for awesome superhero costumes? Let us know!


All right, you are probably not going to be pulling together an Ultron costume just in time for the big Halloween bash in a couple weeks. You are probably also not going to confuse Ultron for a superhero, not even a dance-between-the-lines kind of superhero/villain like Catwoman. 


But seriously. who doesn't dream of showing up in a shiny, glowing, show-stealing getup like this? These in particular are by Village’s Hope who partnered with Disney to amp up the crowds at the Thailand premiere of Avengers: Age of Ultron


Even cooler is the fact that all that shiny chrome isn't actually shiny chrome at all, but a mix of EVA foam, PVC leather, and LEDs. Wow!


(image source: Geek Tyrant)


Wakanda forever! You didn't think we'd make it through a superhero cosplay post without a little Black Panther thrown in for style, right? 


While there may be very little point by now (who still hasn't watched this movie??) to hold back the spoilers of Infinity War, suffice to say that CutiePieSensei had some pretty good reasons for feeling like baby sister Shuri needed to step up into her big brother's Black Panther shoes. 


This isn't exactly a super canon costume that she's donned since she pulled design inspiration from both the comic books and the movie, but between the wicked styling and the fact that it lights up(!!), it is too rad not to place on this list. 


You should also take a look at some of her other work, including this WIP Starfire (take notes, Titans) and super-stylin' Domino. Super worth. 


Pull some creativity from this talented artist, cosplayer, and gamer. Get inspired by the the designs that excite you, make up some designs your own!


(image source: Instagram)


Can I really think of any one Deadpool cosplayer? (Well, yes, actually, but as much as I love D Piddy, I can't resist the lure of a million convention Deadpools all conga line dancing around the showroom floor.)


Is there anything quite like a Deadpool cosplay? It is such a wacky, oddball, utterly freeing experience where you can pretty much do whatever weirdo thought comes into your brain and somehow it translates into something 300x funnier. 


We're keeping it fairly easy to glam up like this in time for Halloween - with the super success of Deadpool and Deadpool 2, costume stores are stocked for everyone who comes in wanting to play the Merc With the Mouth. Why not join the dance party?


(image source: Geeks and Sundry)


On the topic of nostalgia, the recent wave of Aquaman hype had me thinking back to Adella's fantastically shot series of photos for her Mera costume that she released last year.


It stands out from the pack because of her choice in location and also because her son was just about the right age for Aquababy… and looked so stinking cute dressed up with her! (Check out the link at the bottom to check out the full gallery.)


Adella has been in the cosplay scene for years and is most well-known for how good she looks when dressed up as Aeris/Aerith Gainsborough from FFVII and Malon from Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time


If you're thinking of filling in these slick, shiny green shoes, you'll probably be able to put together all the pieces for a decent Halloween costume from easy places like Amazo


(image source: Adella Cosplay)


I don't know what it is about Australian cosplayers this round, but here we're clocking at 3 out of 3! Kyle Parmley's Captain America is somewhat dated at this point (3 calendar years which approximately equals 10 in internet years) but with the end of the Chris Evans era fast approaching, a little nostalgia is good for the soul. 


An actor and performer, Kyle Parmley has got a ton of other priorities before cosplay so he hasn't popped off as many mind-blowing superhero shoots over the years as some of the others on this list, but that hasn't stopped him from taking a turn as both Superman and Batman ("MARTHA!") as well.


If you're thinking of pulling together a Cap costume in time for Halloween, chances are you'll find all the pieces you'll need at your local costume shop or Hot Topic long before you have to buckle down and hunt something down online.


Pint-sized Mary Jane is suited up and ready to kick some serious Green Goblin butt. A dancer and prolific cosplayer (especially for her age!), Nevada Newman's an official model for cosplay store Hero's Time, and hails from Australia.


When she's not playing Spidey's redheaded bombshell, she's also sitting through the tedious body paint process for her amazing Starfire from Teen Titans, smacking mallets around as Harley Quinn, and absolutely slaying as Hela from Thor: Ragnarok. It's a tough schedule, but evidently Nevada is in it to win it. Who says kids can't cosplay as well as the best of 'em?


If you're looking for this exact costume, you can find it on the Hero's Time website, or you can check around for a solid Spidey costume as well. Those are certainly not hard to find either!


(image source: Instagram)


Okay, so villain, superhero.. Catwoman straddles that line most of the time. I think that counts. 


If you think there's something familiar about this face but can't quite put your finger on it, it's probably because you just saw her in the last slide as well as a fantastic genderbent Aquaman. If you didn't even notice, I think that stands as testament to how good she is at her work!


A Melbourne native, Yeliz (or Just Yeliz on Facebook and Instagram) frequents a number of different Aussie cons, and has pulled off a ton of different costumes (check out her Kassandra from Assassin's Creed Odyssey for example, she's an official cosplayer for Ubisoft Australia).


I'll also level with you here. I don't know what iteration of Catwoman this costume comes from. This cowl is reminiscent of the worst-fated Catwoman to date (poor, poor Razzie-winning Halle Berry) but to be honest, it was the best part of that ripped-up leather mess of a costume. The rest of it definitely looks a lot more contemporary. Is it from something? Was it pulled together? I don't know, and I must know!


This particular version might not be the easiest to put together in time for Halloween, but that won't stop you from whipping together something similar from a number of different Catwoman eras. She has been a popular costume for many years, and for good reason!


(image source: Instagram)


New York Comic Con has just finished wrapping up, and so has the summer blockbuster season. It's been a smash hit for the superhero genre.. more on the Marvel side of the fence than DC with runaway winners like Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War, and some smaller but very profitable successes in movies like Deadpool 2 and the recent release of Venom.


DC has been keeping its cards a little closer to its chest with only a few animated releases scattered throughout the year, pushing only to make upcoming Aquaman the big DC hype machine of the year. Of course, we can still hope that the DC-led Titans (the Teen Titans live action show that garnered so much fan rage over the actress choice and costume styling for Starfire when behind the scenes photos leaked earlier this year) will pleasantly surprise us. 


But with the cooler weather and the fall fever starting to creep up on us, our thoughts to more important questions... what are we going to wear on Halloween? (Totally an adult question.)


Take a look at some of our suggestions, and some of the best versions of these costumes that we've seen!


(image source: GeekxGirls)

Exciting Plans Ahead for Yu-Gi-Oh: Duel Links Tue, 09 Oct 2018 15:32:58 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

Yu-Gi-Oh: Duel Links was back at New York Comic Con this year showing off the newest 5D's World which just released at the end of September. 

I was lucky enough to chat with the Senior Producer Kenichi Kataoka to discuss future plans for the game. 

Yu-Gi-Oh fans have been looking for the game to add a draft mode. Kataoka responded to that by saying that it has been brought up before and the team is currently brainstorming ideas on how they can bring it to Duel Links. 

Yu-Gi-Oh is known for having an incredible story arch whether it is in the manga or the anime, but Duel Links does not have a narrative arc in the game. According to Kataoka, that might be changing soon. In 2019, they will be releasing a new story narrative based in the 5D's world that was released in September.

You have been able to find Duel Links on iOS and Android devices but recently it was added to your computers through Steam. The community has grown by 50% since its launch on the platform, but don't get excited about being able to use mods or hack the game to get a better deck. Cheating means a quick ban, as it should.

You can play Yu-Gi-Oh: Duel Links and its newest 5D's update on iOS, Android and Steam. I would like to thank Kenichi Kataoka for taking the time to speak with me.

If you were at NYCC, did you stop by the Yu-Gi-Oh booth and play the trading card game or play Duel Links on those giant monitors? If you did, let us know in the comments and how you did!

Comics App Izneo Coming to Nintendo Switch Mon, 08 Oct 2018 10:35:50 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

Switch and Comic fans rejoice! Pretty soon you'll be able to carry your favorite digital comics, graphic novels and more on your Nintendo Switch!

Izneo is a comics app that is currently available on iOS and Android devices and will be arriving on Nintendo Switch in November.

Izneo has been around for 8 years and they are the largest digital comics service in the United Kingdom. Featuring comics from Dark Horse, WebToons and so much more! They have over 25,000 comics with more coming every single week. You can purchase them separately starting at $1.99 or you can do a monthly subscription which is $7.99 per month.

Izneo also features sales frequently so you can load up on comics without hurting your wallet. If you need a break from all the comics you will be reading, you can cancel your membership at any time. 

While speaking with Izneo at New York Comic Con, I asked them about surviving in the same space as Marvel Unlimited and DC Universe. They aren't worried about competing against them since Izneo features a wider variety of comics from different publishers.

You can read the comics over a Wi-Fi connection or you can download them so you can read them offline. There is no limit to the number of comics you can download so make sure you have a large memory card since you're going to be downloading your favorite series like Dr. Who, Star Trek and Back to the Future

Viewing comics on the Nintendo Switch is super easy too! Whether you prefer to use the Switch in handheld, tabletop or docked mode, the comics always look amazing. They are available to read as full pages or you can read them panel by panel. The best part is, you can read all the comics with just a single Joy-Con. When asked about touchscreen support, they hinted that it may come in the future. 

Izneo launches on Nintendo Switch in November, but you can sign up for Izneo now at Whether you buy the comics on your computer, iOS or Android devices, you can view them on any device where you can download Izneo. 

Yu-Gi-Oh Duel Links: Chatting with Takashi Suenaga About the GX Series Update Tue, 10 Oct 2017 12:08:58 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

Last year at New York Comic Con, I was able to get a hands-on preview for Yu-Gi-Oh: Duel Links, a mobile game that allows players to have Yu-Gi-Oh battles on their phones. In the year that has followed, the game has been updated with lots of new features -- including the newest GX Series update that released at the end of September. 

While at NYCC this year, I was lucky enough to pay another visit to the Yu-Gi-Oh corner to talk with Duel Links producer Takashi Suenaga about the new update and what fans are getting excited about. 

One of the biggest additions in the GX series update is a new hub world for Duel Links. This includes new characters, card packs, and missions for fans to complete. The more days you log in, the more gems you'll receive so you can unlock more card packs for your deck. 

Speaking of card packs, there will be a whole new set of cards based on the GX series as well. But even though the roster of cards will get larger, the size of your deck will not. According to Suenaga, card maximums will not be increased because Duel Links is a "speed duel tournament". Adding more cards would make the matches longer than they're intended to be, which would impact the pick-up-and-play nature of the game as it is right now. 

The new characters mentioned above are also noteworthy. When Duel Links first launched, it only had a handful of characters on its playable roster -- including Joey Wheeler, Seto Kaiba, and Yami Yugi. Now, the new GX series will add Aster Phoenix, Alexis Rhodes, and Jaden Yuki to that lineup. 

But of all the things the GX Series update is bringing, a few questions are still unanswered. The Duel Links subreddit is especially interested in finding out if you'll be able to team up with a friend and take down computer opponents in a new co-op mode. Suenaga told me that while this feature wasn't a guarantee, it is currently "under consideration" as an addition to the game. 

The GX update is currently available for all Duel Links players. If you haven't downloaded this Yu-Gi-Oh mobile experience already, it's available on the App Store and Google Play if you want to check out the game with these shiny new additions. 

Interview: Smosh Games Talks Operation Open World and Team Dynamics Tue, 10 Oct 2017 11:57:57 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

Do you ever wonder what it's like to sit 6 best friends on a couch and give them a video game controller, just to see what's going to happen? If you said yes, you will love watching Smosh Games

Winner of the Best Gaming Channel award at the Streamies, Smosh Games is a popular YouTube gaming channel where they play games like Friday the 13th, PUBG, and even Tetris. They also produce Honest Game Trailers, where they take your favorite games and tell you what they are really about. 

I was lucky enough to sit down with Flitz, Boze, Damien, Josh and Creative Producer Matt Raub of Smosh Games to talk about their upcoming show, "Operation Open World". We also got to chat about how they choose what games to play for the channel and what their guilty pleasures are.

Operation Open World brings Smosh to Egypt to promote the new Assassin's Creed: Origins. It is their job to compare the Egypt in the game to modern-day Egypt. When asked about their thoughts on this new adventure, Josh said:

"Very exciting. When you look at the evolution and roller coaster that Smosh Games has been, to now say we have a travel show is great. It's going to be fun."

While Josh may not be excited about his 10-hour plane ride, he said that he has his Switch with him to make the time pass. He is currently playing Stardew Valley and Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle

On their channel, the Smosh team plays a whole variety of games -- but how do they select the games they decide to play? There are a few factors that go into the decision-making process, according to Creative Producer, Matt Raub:

"Do we want to play the game? Are we a fan? Top-down games don’t do as well but fan favorites like PUBG or Friday the 13th where you can jump in and yell at each other is just fun."

But perhaps one of the biggest draws for new Smosh viewers and subscribers alike is the channel's Honest Game Trailers series. If you are a fan of the Honest Game Trailers like I am, you know how hilarious and ridiculous they can be -- like the Pokemon Sun and Moon trailer the team uploaded recently. 

But aside from the hilarious trailer itself, the story behind the Pokemon Sun and Moon HGT demonstrates the dynamic among the members of Smosh. Towards the end of the video, the team creates new names for all the Pokemon that were featured in the teaser. Matt Raub told me the story behind that"

"We will sit with pizza and soda pop. We'll order 10 pizzas and just have like a mini party where we just sit there. It's almost like that scene in Animal House where you have like a projector and put up one of the Pokemon. We're just yelling out dumb names."

How does this tight-knit team choose which game they'll rip on next? It's mostly a matter of which games are popular, or which games each creator is currently enjoying. Smosh doesn't hate the games it makes fun of -- the team just wants to make jokes in good fun. According to Matt, it's a form of flattery that makes the show as enjoyable as it is:

"That's the most fun of that show. We can totally pick apart on stuff."

The cast is really what seals the deal, though. Matt gave them plenty of props for keeping the Smosh channel fresh and making engaging content: 

"The benefit to what we do on Smosh Games is because there are 6 different cast members and they're all into something very different."

Smosh Games takes everyone's passions and makes videos based on them. The Halloween Just Dance videos, for example, were created because both Flitz and Mari are professional dancers.  

One topic that punctuated a considerable portion of the interview was how Boze loves Tetris and would love to shout-cast a competitive Tetris tournament one day. Though Boze wouldn't describe her love of the block-puzzle game as a guilty pleasure, I did get everyone else to indulge their guilty pleasures. 

For Damien, it's JRPGs and Dance Dance Revolution. But before he could feel too embarrassed about his love for an arcade style dancing game, Matt came to his defense:

"But that's not embarassing unless you're bad at it. You just look cool."

Boze chimed in with her two cents as well:

"As a person that could play any song on doubles heavy, I do not look cool playing that at all."

Meanwhile, Josh admitted that his guilty pleasure was the Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius mobile game -- and Flitz's is Marvel Future Flight (though he has a computer to do all the hard work for him while he naps). 

What's Next for Smosh?

The Smosh team has a lot of ideas about projects they'd like to work on. Most of them (Matt excluded) are particularly keen on a series where Matt gives Boze his own personal money and lets her spend it on anything. But that likely won't appear in their lineup anytime soon. 

What Smosh fans can look forward to is Operation Open World -- a three-part series that will premiere on October 19. In this saga, Jovenshire and Mari will team up to "explore the world and take fans inside the games they know and love". The duo will bring a camera out in to the most open world of all -- the real world -- while traveling to notable events like Tokyo Game Show in Japan and Oktoberfest in Germany.


I'd like to thank Smosh games for taking the time to chat with me and giving me a peek at the team that makes the magic happen. If you'd like to keep up with the team to catch the next Honest Games Trailer or check out their upcoming projects, you can follow them on Twitter (@SmoshGames) or visit the official Smosh YouTube channel.  

Interview with Marvel Contest of Champions Producer Luke Takeuchi Mon, 09 Oct 2017 16:19:46 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

At New York Comic Con this past weekend, fans were able to get their hands on some new characters headed to Marvel: Contest of Champions

Marvel: Contest of Champions is a free-to-play mobile fighting game where your favorite Marvel heroes go up against each other in battle. Some heroes include Captain America, Spider-Man, The Punisher, Star-Lord and many more, with new heroes being released throughout the year. 

I was lucky enough to sit down with the Producer of the game, Luke Takeuchi, and chat about what fans can expect in future updates and how important the fans are to the game.

Joey Marrazzo: Are there plans for quality of life updates for the game?

Luke Takeuchi: "In terms of user experience improvements, we are rolling out a lot of stuff. Coming out in next build, one of the things we’ve talked about is, we’re going to make some improvements to how the user sees and accesses their currencies and energies.

It’s probably going to be one of those things that's a nice user experience, quality of life improvement. Also moving forward, we are investigating what some of the more quality of life improvements we want to keep making, so we want to keep doing that on a consistent basis for our users."

JM: Do you plan on updating older heroes that came out when the game first launched?

LT: "We don’t have any specific dates right now but one of the things we’re always talking about is more consistent meta updates for champions going back to some of our launch champions and earlier ones that haven’t really seen a lot of love

We want to update a ton of champions, we’re looking through a list right now. We don’t have exact dates on when this is going to start, but when you look at the entire lifetime of the game so far, every year champions have gotten more and more complex, now with some of the characters we’ve released this year like Doc Oc, Goblin, and Morning Star.

With the new variable system, characters are more complex now and they can do a lot. Versus going back to some of the old champions when we launched the game.

If you go to their info page its like 3 lines long. Some of those champs are still usable, but back in the day we didn’t have the tech we have now so we are certainly keeping our eye what are some of those champs we want to go back and update, give a facelift, and kind of revitalize the use of the new system we have now. Whether its improve synergies or abilities, it’s something we’re looking at on an on-going basis."

JM: For the veteran players that want more challenging modes, is there anything they can look forward to?

LT: "Yup. In terms of modes, there's stuff in the works right now but it’s a while out. It’s something we’ve been evaluating, and over the coming months, players will see a lot of cool stuff coming out. In this month alone, we have some challenging content that’s going to be coming out. Thor: Ragnorak is coming out so we always pair our champion challenge in.

Next week we will be announcing another hardcore challenge mode. This is all more in the PvE solo challenges. What players want to see is more cooperative or competitive game modes for a challenge, we’re looking at how we could release that in the future, but players should know we are looking at that stuff."

JM: What is the strategy when it comes to nerfing or buffing champions?

LT: "In terms of our strategy, we have different strategies for different things. With the character updates, we want to get to a point where we are doing more consistent meta updates in the game as opposed to once every two years have massive changes because players get used to them and use them in strategies.

One thing we want to get into the process of is doing more regular updates to characters and masteries. That’s something we are working on right now is getting into a place where we can do them. When it comes to our strategy for buffing or nerfing if something is overpowered, we have to nerf it.

It depends on the characters on a character by character basis for sure, but the one thing we always want to look at is, instead of directly nerfing one character, are there ways we can buff up other ones to make good counters."

JM: Lastly, do you have a message you want to send to your fanbase that loves playing your game?

LT: "We love our players and honestly, this year has been a crazy year for us in terms of the number of releases and we’ve had some rocky releases. The big thing is that we wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for our fanbase. We read the forums, we read Reddit, we read all our social media, we see what gets posted.

But the biggest thing is we want to let players know we are striving to do better. Whether its features and content we are rolling out or the stability performance for the game overall. This year for us internally has been a lot of focusing on stability and performance, and of course our build last week was not up to the par we wanted it. So we'd gone over the weekend, got a new build up and running, and now we've hot fixed some of the gameplay issues that got introduced."

Marvel: Contest of Champions released an all-new Marvel character Morningstar in the game along with classic Marvel hero Blade. These new characters will be making their in-game debut later this month. 

I would like to thank Luke for spending the time to talk to me. You can download Marvel: Contest of Champions on your iOS or Android devices.

Dishonored 2 Community Events Thu, 22 Sep 2016 07:24:31 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

If you are going to be attending New York Comic Con on Thursday, October 6th, or live in San Francisco or Los Angeles, you should check this out! Arkane Studios, creator of Dishonored and Dishonored 2, is having a community event for the fans!

Here is what you will be able to do at the event:
  • Hands-on with Dishonored 2
  • Scavenger Hunt and a chance to win a Dishonored 2 custom Xbox One or PlayStation 4
  • Themed food, drinks and photo opportunities
  • T-Shirt giveaway, swag and more!
Event Times, Dates, & Locations
  • The San Francisco event will be on September 28 from 7-11 PM inside Smokestack at Magnolia Brewing.
  • The Los Angeles event will be on October 3 from 7-11 PM at The Edison.
  • The New York Comic Con event will be on October 6 from 6-10 PM at The Jane.

Don't forget that Dishonored 2 comes out November 11th for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

What Do You Want to Read About New York Comic Con 2016? Wed, 21 Sep 2016 07:34:56 -0400 Joey Marrazzo

September is almost over, and that only means one thing...

New York Comic Con is around the corner!

NYCC is the epicenter of everything movies, television shows, comics, and of course, video games. From October 6 through October 9, New York City will be taken over by cosplayers, comic book lovers, movie lovers and gamers.

While there will be a lot of news coming out about every type of media, but we here at GameSkinny will be focusing on the GAMES! 

I am here to ask you, the readers, what do you want to see from NYCC?

Do you want interviews? Gameplay? All of the above?

I want to make sure that GameSkinny gives you the best coverage of all video games from New York Comic Con. Leave a comment about what you would like to see. I will be posting more about NYCC and the events that are taking place there leading up to NYCC. 

If anyone is heading to NYCC, I'll see you there!

Life Is Strange opens up conversations for bullying, suicide, & more between Parents and Teens Thu, 22 Oct 2015 18:56:14 -0400 Venisia Gonzalez

At New York Comic Con, I had the distinct pleasure of being invited to the Square Enix Media Suite. There, I was able to speak with Luc Baghadoust and Raoul Barbet from DONTNOD Entertainment about their hit game, Life Is Strange. At the time of our talk, I had played the four released episodes, and it opened up some great dialogue.

Life Is Strange is a dramatic, episodic adventure game that centers around Maxine (Max) Caulfield. Max is a photography student at Blackwell Academy in Oregon who discovers that she has the ability to rewind time. This point-and-click takes you on a roller coaster of moral decisions and everyday scenarios that occur in the daily lives of most teenagers. With each episode, the dangers and dilemmas become darker and more challenging.

But the in-game drama offers a great opportunity to tackle some real-life issues.

Speaking with Luc Baghadoust and Raoul Barbet, I mentioned how sharing the game with my teenage son sparked discussions about bullying, suicide, harassment, and so on. As the player, you must make decisions to help other characters in dire need. And you may even wonder if you would do the same in reality. If you found a classmate standing on a rooftop attempting to jump, would you intervene to save their life?

These are the types of conversations I started to have with my son, which then extended to my older sons. The next thing I knew, I was sharing my knowledge of the game with other parents; encouraging them to play with their kids.

Why should you play?

As parents of young teens, it's sometimes difficult to open a dialogue on such delicate issues. DONTNOD Entertainment has, perhaps unintentionally, created a platform that can do just that. Life Is Strange has something that most every teen can relate to. And a lot of them love that the game really makes them think about consequences in a way that they wouldn't otherwise.

"I’m being serious: this is the first time I’ve had to walk away from a game, due to the weight of what it was asking of me, and when it was all over I had to get out, take a walk and get some fresh air. I had to process what it was that I had gone through, what Max Caulfield had gone through. DONTNOD have given us quite possibly the best narrative experience a game has ever offered." - Nick Gillham, God is a Geek

The hand-painted graphics are absolutely stunning, but it is the story that surprised me. I play games all the time and share them with my boys. But Life Is Strange is the first game I wanted them to play so we could talk about it. That says a lot for a game to have that type of an effect. And other fans of the game are as passionate about it as I am. The Community Forum is quite active with conversation.

Luc mentioned to me that he wanted to approach Square Enix regarding a website aimed at helping teens dealing with tough issues. The site is called Many teens have come forward expressing how Life Is Strange has affected them and how it helped them deal with issues they face.

Yes, the content is intense but it is woven in a story with compassion. The dialogue, aimed at teens, is real and forward-thinking. Bullying, suicide, drugs, and date rape are not easy content, and often come across as either naive or "promotional." But DONTNOD uses these ideas to craft a powerful, emotional, and moving story that truly penetrates your core.

Speak up

There are many parents who do not play games, but I definitely recommend Life Is Strange. It will help you understand the world in which teens are living, especially online. It tackles issues that we normally only see on the news, over social media, or even via text messages. Sharing this experience with your child, a niece, nephew, or other young person in your life can perhaps give you a chance to talk about these things in a comfortable setting.

As a gamer and mother of four, this is a must. Perhaps it will save a life, whether it be another child or your own.

[First Impressions] Deus Ex: Mankind Divided at NYCC 2015 Wed, 21 Oct 2015 17:13:46 -0400 Venisia Gonzalez

I am a huge fan of the Deus Ex series. But I will admit one title in particular was not my favorite, and I believe you all know the title I'm talking about -- I'm looking at you Deus Ex: The Fall.

But in hopes of redeeming themselves, Eidos-Montréal and Square Enix are returning with Deus Ex: Mankind Divided on February 23rd, 2016 for the PC, Xbox One, and PS4.

Adam Jensen returns as a seasoned security specialist covert operative on Task Force 29, looking for those responsible for the events that took place in Human Revolution. The Panchaea Incident led to millions of augmented persons attacking natural human beings. This resulted in massive prejudice against all augmented individuals living among them. Mistreatment of the augmented is also feeding an uprising.

Let's get technical

The core mechanics of combat, stealth, hacking, and social interaction are very much a staple in Mankind Divided. The RPG elements of character and weapon customization, and inventory management return for this game. The readables that give more detailed information about the world around you are making a return as well. Hacking 2.0 has been tweaked to add challenges to the traps and to use robotics against your enemies.

Verticality has been pushed in Mankind Divided to provide a multitude of vantage points. This increases the various ways in which you can play the game, whether stealth or confrontation is your style. Exploration reveals all the hidden dangers that Jensen will face. This also allows for discovery of multi-paths and multi-solutions in pursuit of your missions.

Jensen loves his toys

The Nano blade, Jensen's stealth weapon, can be charged to explode, eliminating a few enemies at a time. Takedowns are better than ever thanks to the increased verticality, and the new Icarus Dash and Icarus Ram. The Hypnotism injector is also fun. Smart vision is a bonus way to discover things hidden from normal eyesight.

The game will have a recap for those who haven't played before or for those who have forgotten. Dubai is described as the "tutorial map," and the "Devali Theater" is described as the expert map of Prague that opens up later in the game.


The storyline and crisp graphics look amazing. All of the conflict regarding the Mechanical Apartheid looks like it will force you to challenge your moral compass. I loved Human Revolution, and Eidos-Montréal promises to make Mankind Divided even better. Can February 23rd, 2016 hurry up now?

Tune in to GameSkinny for more details and guides come release time.

[First Impressions] Just Cause 3 at NYCC 2015 Wed, 21 Oct 2015 11:36:55 -0400 Venisia Gonzalez

Avalanche Studios and Square Enix aim to make the largest open world action-adventure game ever. Just Cause 3 is massive with 400+ square miles of freedom "from sky to seabed." You'll want to get your hands on this baby on December 1st on PC, PS4, or Xbox One.

In this third installment of the series, Rico Rodriguez returns to his home island of Medici to free it from the dictatorship of General Di Ravello. The General aims for world domination, and it is up to Rico, with the help of the rebels, to stop him. Free settlements and facilities from General Di Ravello's rule through the liberation system.

Rico will have an improved parachute allowing for better stability and the grappling hook returns. The grappling hook is so much fun. Rico can deploy multiple tethers to take out soldiers, vehicles, helicopters, and destroy objects. He can also scale greater heights. Combining the parachute with the grappling hook allows for some creative maneuverability during your gameplay I might add.

Weapons, weapons, and more weapons

Rico has so much available to him when it comes to weaponry. Add in the additional gadgets, vehicles, and unlimited C4, you are in for some really creative destruction. The vehicles are designed with amazing detail from sports cars to tractors. Rebel drops provide additional aid as long as you have beacons to summon them. An additional bonus, rebels can drive to set waypoints!

The new wingsuit is really sweet! You can travel the world faster and maneuver with fluid ability. Landing without killing Rico will be trick. This new gadget is definitely a lot of fun and is a great addition to the game.

Hijack vehicles and helicopters in mid-air

At a private event during New York Comic Con, I had the chance to play this bad boy. It is absolutely gorgeous and I am not saying that to be nice, I truly mean it. The graphics are stunning. The ocean waves while out on a boat or underwater are breathtaking. The textures give a nearly photo-realistic feel.

Items are more detailed than before in their elements. The design patterns and interior battles inside the caves and pirate coves are even detailed. The game's performance and design are made for the optimization of the new generation consoles. Yes, I'm that type of gamer that looks at and cares about these things.

Say hello to my little friend

The creativity you can use to destroy everything around you is delicious fun, which adds to great combination bonuses. I had so much fun destroying a base, that before I knew it I had a crowd of people behind me watching my combos cheering. It's that much fun.


For fans of Just Cause, this is will be a pleasant addition. I know I will be purchasing it myself. The missions are fun enough due to all the destruction and havoc you can create. Isn't that part of its appeal? This third-person action-adventure will have you just as amazed as I was (no, I'm not being bribed to say this).

Look to GameSkinny for more details upon release.

[First Impressions] Rise of the Tomb Raider at NYCC 2015 Wed, 21 Oct 2015 04:59:40 -0400 Venisia Gonzalez

Crystal Dynamics, Square Enix, and Microsoft Studios aim to raise the bar come November 10th with their upcoming release Rise of the Tomb Raider for the Xbox One and Xbox 360. As a timed exclusive, it will head to PC and PS4 in 2016. This sequel to the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot promises to deliver loads of puzzles.

I had the pleasure to try the demo at the Square Enix Media Suite during New York Comic Con. The amazing graphics are impossible not to notice on the Xbox One. After some cutscenes, I gain control of Lara to find a hidden oasis. Running and jumping are vital to maneuver Lara across the collapsing terrain.

I discover what appears to be an area lost to the ages. Monstrous trees and vines extend to the heavens, showcasing the greens and golden hues of the ground beneath Lara's feet. Broken bits of what was once a temple are scattered amongst the landscape. The sound of rushing water surrounds me through the stereo headset. The scene is striking and completely envelops me.

Squeezing through tight spaces, breaking down walls, and having a constant eye out for potential hazards are part of the game. Discovery of collectibles to boost your language translation are also key in order to gain access to the higher level crypts and other areas, though they never impact story completion. The attention to detail gives an astounding sense of realism, from the way Lara's fingers bend underwater to the sounds she hears while submerged.


Rise of the Tomb Raider looks like it boasts linear storyline with great details throughout. I enjoyed the short demo quite a bit. I am told that the crafting system will allow for bow upgrades through various materials discovered within the game. Lara will also need to rely on her "survival instincts" in order to solve any riddles along her journey.

For fans of Lara Croft, you will certainly enjoy Rise of the Tomb Raider. There are tons of puzzles that become more and more challenging as you progress through the story.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more details upon release.

LEGO Marvel's Avengers comes to New York Comic Con Tue, 20 Oct 2015 17:03:07 -0400 Venisia Gonzalez

New York Comic Con 2015 has come and gone. Javitts Center was briefly the epicenter of gaming, pop culture, comics, anime, entertainment, and of course, cosplay. The show floor was bigger than last year's event, expanding not only the building's individual square footage, but also over to the Hammerstein Ballroom. From games, artists, and comics, to some of the hottest panels could be seen.

The variety of panels peaked many interests, but on Friday, October 9th, the Main Stage called out to all Lego lovers. Marvel Games and TT Games brought the house down with news on their upcoming title, LEGO Marvel's Avengers. Arthur Parsons (Game Director, TT Games), Bill Rosemann (Creative Director, Marvel Games) and Mike Jones (Executive Producer, Marvel Games) were introduced to the stage by Ryan Penagos (Executive Editorial Director, Marvel Digital). They were all excited and ready to share news.

Here's everything we learned about LEGO Avengers during the NYCC panel
Adventure like never before, open-world... has never been so good

You'll explore Manhattan, the Barton Farm, Asgard, Malibu, the Shield Headquarters in Washington, D.C., and of course, South Africa in this new Lego game. There's supposed to be adventure like never before, and open-world exploration that has never been so good.

LEGO Marvel's Avengers will draw on content from the comics, the Agent Carter television series, Captain America: The First Avenger, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Thor: The Dark World, The Avengers, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Iron Man 3 films. That is a ton of content jam-packed into this January 26th release for PC, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3, PS Vita, Nintendo 3DS, and Wii U.

Ask and you shall receive

Fans over Twitter asked for more and more characters, so TT Games kept adding. Parsons announced over 200+ characters with more powers to the roster. That's 100 more than LEGO Marvel's Superheroes!

Characters will have individual finishing moves, combos, and smart bombs. Characters like Quicksilver, can create multiple versions of himself, run up buildings, and run faster than Iron Man flies! Plus, Scarlet Witch and Vision will be joined by new characters: Wiccan from Young Avengers, Detroit Steel and America Chavez from A-Force. We're also seeing Sam Wilson as Captain America, and even Agent Carter.

We'll see the Hulkbuster, Iron Pigs, chickens and even more Stan Lee.

Imagine Iron Stan and the Stanbuster!

The movie threads and over 23 actors have been brought in for an authentic Marvel experience. Hayley Atwell (Peggy Carter) and Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill) voice their famous characters, and even Ashley Johnson reprises her role as the waitress. As mentioned before with content from the various films, they will appear as levels throughout the game. In order to tie all these levels together, comic artists were tasked with creating comic panels to appear between levels.

I absolutely cannot wait until January 26th to get my hands on LEGO Marvel's Avengers. Not only am I a fan of the films and comics, I am also a huge Lego lover (minus stepping on them barefoot).

Be sure to check in with us upon release for game guides to assist you on your journey!

Exciting Cosplay Ideas For 2015 Mon, 09 Feb 2015 11:07:22 -0500 Venisia Gonzalez


Don't forget about Talion from Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor either. You could probably do some amazing things with contacts for the eye effects when he uses his abilities.


These are just but a few ideas to assist in your costume ideas whether it be cosplay at conventions, competitions, or even for Halloween. I can't wait to see what amazing creations cosplayers will come up with!


If you want to creep people out and impress them with your cosplay and make-up artist skills; how about being an Uruk Orc from Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor?


Add in Dying Light's main character Kyle Crane with Jade and now you have a couples themed cosplay.


Dying Light's Jade by Techland Games is simply badass.


Throw in Vesemir from The Witcher series and now you have a 4-person group cosplay.


Yennefer from The Witcher series is a great addition to the group idea or as an individual one.


Geralt from The Witcher series by CD Projekt RED is amazing, not only as an individual, but can be done as a group with the other characters.


I don't know about you ladies, but I think Triss from The Witcher series by CD Projekt RED is stunning.


Is anyone looking to turn some heads on your way to the convention dressed as characters from Hotline Miami and Hotline Miami 2 by Dennation Games and Devolver Digital? The look on people's faces would be absolutely priceless--just like Visa.


The Knights from The Order: 1886 by Red at Dawn, SCE Santa Monica Studios and Sony Computer Entertainment, would be a great group cosplay for friends. There's nothing like doing a cosplay theme with your fellow cosplay comrades.


Mortal Kombat X's Kano would be a fun cosplay for any guy looking to show off his gym efforts.


Of course, seeing Bigby, also from The Wolf Among Us by Telltale Games, walking around a convention center perhaps "approaching" Bloody Mary would be epic.


Bloody Mary from The Wolf Among Us by Telltale Games would be pretty amazing and scary to see in-person.


The Goliath monster from the upcoming Evolve release by Turtle Rock Studios and 2K looks to be like quite another challenge, but also so amazing if pulled off.


Want to really challenge your cosplay skills? How about this creature from the recent release Dragon Age Inquisition? Talk about a challenge and making a statement.


Another idea from Bloodborne that I believe is worth checking out is the Bell Maiden. My goodness that just screams creative genius all over!


The Raven Hunter from the greatly anticipated Bloodborne release by From Software and Sony Computer Entertainment is the stuff of nightmares. Think of the impressions you'll make as everyone stops to look!


Aurora from Child of Light by Ubisoft Montreal gives some great variations as she grows, that you can really make your costume something to remember!


Next we have the character classes from Destiny by Bungie. The Titan, Warlock, and Hunter have so many shaders and armor in the game, that you could really come up with something unique.


Hello folks! It's about that time of year again when we start prepping our ideas for our cosplay costumes for all the upcoming conventions, such as PAX South and as far ahead as NYCC. Here at GameSkinny, we want to assist you with sharing some great ideas to get those creative juices flowing.


First up is the upcoming release of Hyper Light Drifter by Heart Machine that was successfully funded on Kickstarter.

NYCC 2014 Interview: Monty Oum and Rooster Teeth Talks What's Coming for RWBY Fri, 31 Oct 2014 00:03:16 -0400 Stephanie Tang

For some people, having the benevolent eye of one of the biggest tech corporations on the globe looking kindly upon you, would be wonderful. Garnering fame and fortune, enough to build a thriving business with a name anyone can remember, would be a dream come true. Owning the longest-running webseries on the planet would be hey, good enough. 

And then there's Rooster Teeth.

Based in Austin, Texas, Rooster Teeth is a production studio specializing in live action shorts, animated shorts, and machinima. What began as one man's project - that is, recording gameplay videos and voiceovers using popular FPS game Halo: Combat Evolved - turned into an award-winning comedy sci-fi webseries that has spanned 10 years and is still going strong. 

As if this wasn't enough, they also punch out:

  • Comedy gamer series The Gauntlet
  • Immersion, a show testing video game concepts in the real world
  • The Achievement Hunter website
  • The Rooster Teeth podcast (voted Best Gaming Podcast in 2013)
  • RTX, an annual gaming and internet convention for gamers, online video fans, and Rooster Teeth community members from around the world
  • RWBY, award-winning animated series and animator Monty Oum's pet project

This last has been a long-standing concept of Creator/Director/Writer/Animator Oum's, one which he came up with while working on animating Red vs. Blue - to color-code character names and design as a hook for the series. 

I caught up with Monty Oum, Writer/Co-Director Kerry Shawcross, and Community Manager/RWBY Voice of "Yang" Barbara Dunkelman while they were manning the Rooster Teeth booth at NYCC, waiting to meet the fans straining eagerly to meet them and still coming down off the high of the Rooster Teeth panel a few days before.  

(photo courtesy of Venisia Gonzalez)

Set in the fictional, magic-filled world of Remnant, the series follows the doings of Team RWBY (so named for its members: Ruby Rose, Weiss Schnee, Blake Belladonna, and Yang Xiao Long). 

Barely a year old, the first episode of the series was pushed into the public eye in mid-July last year - and has since won multiple awards, debuted the first episode out of upcoming RWBY Vol. 2, and millions of fans - many of whom were clustered around the Rooster Teeth booth at New York Comic Con in a line that wrapped around their booth... and the one behind it too. 

All of this in just a little over one year - and it all began with a napkin and some ketchup. Unable to keep still, Oum was nearly dancing on his feet as he related the origin story of one of the biggest internet hits of the year: 

"Yeah! I was getting pancakes. I was like 'I'mma make a map!' Napkin. Ketchup. Put it together, mashed it up - you got a map.

And there was a night during Red vs. Blue season 10. I wanted a break [so] I'm like 'I'mma make a map!' so I took the ketchup map, took a picture of it, posterized it so I had the silhouettes of the continents and then I started making the globe-looking version where I wanted mountains and forests.

We were deciding where the heights would be, and so to add detail to it I started getting pictures of food like bacon and mashed potatoes and pizza... I used it and I took the pictures of food and made it the texture of the map so there are mountains that are made out of bacon, deserts that are made out of ice cream or mashed potatoes, there are some ocean parts that are made out of, like, you know, other creamy substances... Some of the mountains are bread. There are forests that are made out of garlic bread... yeah. Yeah."

These are the building blocks of creativity. And it made us all hungry.

But it wasn't just all about the show. RWBY is one of those web series that looks like it was made for video games. And why not? Considering Oum's rise to fame making famous internet shorts like Haloid and the Dead Fantasy series, his first self-created project under the Rooster Teeth umbrella is bound to feature something game-related. Fan covers like the one pictured right have been flying around the Internet for months and interest in a RWBY game has remained at a high.

"Yeah, we know a bit. But development is slow at the moment, so all the details that we have are probably all that are available."

The cool thing is, it was the fans that got the ball rolling for them - one fan in particular. And so they brought him on the team. 

"When someone makes something like that and if we are a human being that has eyes we will see it. ... For three weeks months straight I was getting tweets and messages like 'HAVE YOU SEEN THIS, OMGGGG!' and -- 'yes, I have seen it! It is very good!'

There was no reason to not contact him and say 'Hey guy, that was cool!' My favorite thing about it he made it and he stayed quiet about it for five months - just working on it before putting it out there... which is kinda my philosophy of doing things. There's a lot of people where if they work on a big project they go 'Oh, here's a bit of this. Here's a bit of this!' and it influences the product.

It shows very responsible production when a guy can sit down, make a product, deliver it and shove a finished piece at us, and I really like that." 

Unfortunately, getting something pushed out as a fan-made project and getting it out as a fully-backed title are two different things, and it looks like we'll have a while to wait if we're hoping for a chance to check out a real live RWBY game:

"We're still working out the logistical side of the contracts and stuff. ... In the meantime  he's working on it, we're working on our side of the project... that's about it."

Check out the original clip of the game demo here:

As for what we can expect out of the RWBY series in this volume? Will some of the other characters get their own epic battle scenes and take in a little bit of the limelight?

"Maaaaaaaaaaaaybe. Yes. There's definitely a quota to fill of people to keep an eye on."

Season 2 is going to try and shift the focus back on the main group, at least for a little while. Only after getting all of that sorted will they turn to spreading the attention around to other characters. 

"It's funny the reasons why people latch onto certain characters. A lot of people really seem to like Neopolitan, and she hasn't even said anything yet. I think a lot of it is design-related."

Aside from that, you can expect more of the miniseries, which is RWBY's answer to the RvB PSAs if you're interested in knowing more about the background of the world and stuff that you just can't fit into the story all on its own. And you can expect tons more action because this series (and its creators) promise: "If you keep watching it, we'll keep making it!"

Let's hope it'll be for many years to come! If you haven't caught up with these series yet, you can find the available episodes for season 1 and 2 on the Rooster Teeth website here. 

NYCC 2014 Interview: Bandai Namco Talks Taking On the Mobile Market Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:48:42 -0400 Stephanie Tang

For years now, Bandai Namco has been a household name - doubly so if you happen to be living in a household of gamers or simply nerds in general.

Born of a successful merger in late 2005 between Bandai (a toy and video games maker) and Namco (video game developer and publisher), the company has been pushing out big-name games like the Tales series, Soul Calibur, PAC-MAN, Gundam, TEKKEN... 

The list feels never-ending, and the company only continues to add to it: the Dark Souls and Diablo crossbreed Lords of the Fallen just released a few days ago, and Project CARS is making next-gen waves.

The mobile front has been quieter - although generous when it comes to acknowledging all the different mobile platforms (Android, iOS, Windows phone), the occasional PAC-MAN release and Galaga re-release has not exactly set the mobile scene afire with ingenuity. 

But that's not going to stop them from gunning for it now.

I caught up with Bandai Namco's Mobile Games Producer Joe Riego during New York Comic Con off-site at the Doubletree Hotel (a great and impressive feat for a directionally-challenged suburban Canadian plumped in the middle of Big Apple without GPS) to talk about some of the games they've got going in their big mobile push, and what those games are all about.

"In terms of Bandai Namco Mobile, we're looking to become the number one mobile game publisher ... especially in the free-to-play market."

The first in the line-up was PAC-MAN Championship Edition DX but that was probably an error on the side of the presskit since Championship is only available on Xbox 360 and PS3 and came out in 2010. Instead, we talked about...

PAC-MAN Friends

Currently available on iOS and Android, PAC-MAN Friends is a re-imaging of one of the most beloved games in history and includes 95 levels in 6 worlds with 8 unlockable friends, each with their own unique powers. This colorful little title throws a number of familiar faces you'll recognize (and a few you may not) into "a mad maze where you collect all the pellets - sounds familiar, right?"

Oddly engaging and intended to introduce new gamers to the premise of the original, Friends takes advantage of mobile game strengths and allows for tilt- and gyro-controlled motions as well the tried-and-true finger flicks over the screen to play.

Free-to-play, it is supported mainly by ad revenue with only a few micro-transactions available - and those to "access extra plans or boosts or bonuses... but for the most part it's intended to be a free title." 

Outcast Odyssey

"Outcast Odyssey will be Bandai Namco's first free-to-play offering especially in the United States. ... We were looking at the market right now and there are a lot of card games that are out there, and they're very... kinda dry, click-win kind of propositions.

So what we wanted to do was we wanted to make something more interesting, more engaging, provide more for the player, provide more cards for the player."

What this entailed was creating parallaxing cards so that the visuals actually give you a 3D feel - very much as if you were collecting the cards from Chocolate Frogs in Harry Potter. The folks over at developer Magic Pixel Games also added visual effects "so eyes glow, lightning bolts are lightning bolts, fireballs actually spin and whirl."

These cards also have special abilities - special abilities which actually have a very significant impact on play and how you attack or defend against your enemies whether you have built your deck specifically to fight against that enemy or not. 

One feature of Outcast Odyssey allows players to collect and evolve hundreds of cards in order to create the ultimate deck. Comic book artists Chuck Pires and Warren Louw head the gorgeously rendered visuals which look like a mix of Torchlight and softer versions of Zenimax covers - lovingly painted and much less embarrassing to be caught looking at on your phone.

(If you're interested, this game can be found for free on iOS and Android - and a review will be posted up soon!) 


While CineMagic remains a working title, this game is slated to come out "relatively soon."

Born out of the experience of going to see a movie and thinking "what would happen if we changed this actor for that actor, pulled in a different director, did something like this instead?" CineMagic allows you to answer these burning film-critic questions by letting you do exactly that. 

Loosely similar to indie developer Greenheart's Game Dev TycoonCineMagic allows you to select the pieces of a movie you want to make, pick a budget, bake 'em till they're ready, and dish it out to your audience to see if it garners the rave reviews you expect. 

(see Game Dev Tycoon - The Microcosm of the DRM Debate for more about this game) 

Packed with silly references, ("we have a Samuel L. Jackwin who's very much like Samuel L. Jackson") this is a game where a Silence of the Lambs parody could beat out "Star Trek 25" at the box office.

"It feels like a simulator game but it's definitely not a simulator game."

The approach to mobile all companies should have.

And how about as a whole? Rather than simply focusing on the individual titles, we expanded a little into how Bandai Namco intends to approach this market - and the answer is quite refreshing. 

"My approach to the whole micro-transaction thing is ... it's always about the value proposition. The game should be fun enough to play without having to pay, but also offering players and customers the opportunity to enhance the game if they so choose. It shouldn't be game-breaking so doing the best to balance both worlds is really challenging. ...

For example on Outcast, we really do value the time put in by the free-to-player. In many ways they're more hardcore and willing to invest time rather than money to get good at the game. To that point, you can definitely play the game - it takes a lot longer time and a bigger commitment but you can outplay a lot of the guys who have big cards. And typically speaking, the guys who play big are looking for a different experience ... I enjoy being able to outplay bigger decks, that's my real challenge. [There are] larger decks with more money cards and yet I'm still able to figure out a way around them." 

Asked to rate the time commitment between 1 and Dungeon Keeper Mobile:

"Oh that's -- we're way nicer than that. With Dungeon Keeper Mobile everyone should be looking at that as a 'what not to do.' There's levels of evil. I like to consider myself pretty evil but that's like '9th level of hell' evil. You don't get to play, like within a day you were pretty much locked out of the game.

Outcast Odyssey offers you play almost every time of the day, even when you die the option to get a potion or be able to earn a potion? Ridiculously easy. Which you do have to play. We want you in the game, playing, and having a good time and exploring, and if you do die, the longest wait time is like 5 minutes for the most part? And by then... it is a casual game, we'd like you to back away for a little while - you don't have to grind your way into the ground."

(see Four Hour Mobile Gaming Session Ruptures Breast Implants for an example of overdoing the WoW effect)

As for what else Bandai Namco has in the cards for next year? They've got a few ideas... but they'd like to keep that secret for now. Rest assured that if fantasy's not your thing, maybe alien invasions are.

Darkness Falls: A First Look at Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Tue, 28 Oct 2014 22:31:24 -0400 Stephanie Tang

As a matter of course, North America always feels like its lagging well on the tail-end when it comes to Final Fantasy anything - and with good reason too. Far too many releases (particularly on handheld and mobile) never actually manage to make it to the states, no matter how many years pass or how popular the series (I'm looking at you Before Crisis: Final Fantasy VII!).

Final Fantasy Type-0 feels like one of those - an action RPG developed and published by Square Enix originally for the PSP, it was released in Japan in October 2011. Once known by the working title Final Fantasy Agito XIII, it was intended for mobile phones as well to continue the FFXIII Fabula Noval Crystallis mythos.

This was eventually canceled and renamed to distance itself somewhat from Final Fantasy XIII - unnecessarily in my opinion, since Square Enix eventually ended up releasing Final Fantasy Agito, a follow-up to Type-0 on iOS and Android in Japan earlier this year anyway. A PS Vita version called Agito+ will follow in Japan early next year, and a Western localization of it has been announced to coincide with Type-0.

In Type-0, what is considered by many to be the "darkest" story to come out so far in the Final Fantasy franchise, and centers around Class Zero; twelve students from a magical school in the Dominion of Rubrum who are pulled into a war between the Crystal States of Orience and the Militesi Empire. 

I managed to get a good look at the hands-on demo for Type-o while I was covering New York Comic Con and stopped by Square Enix's off-site media suite to check out some of the hottest upcoming titles slated to hit the market within this year to next.

Finding the media suite was a challenge itself and required a last-minute text messages containing an address change, a terrifying cab ride through the heart of New York rush hour traffic, and the dubious choice between a dark stairwell with a lightbulb blown out and a freight elevator.

It also involved looking for visual cues like this sign taped to the side of the building (see right) to help us figure out whether or not we'd found the right building altogether (we had). To their credit, I believe the sign was intentionally made to look as sketchy as it was in order to dissuade the steady stream of cosplayers and convention-goers passing by from sneaking in to see what all the fuss was about. It worked.

While I did not actually get a chance to pick up a controller myself, I spent a great deal of time (particularly through the duller cutscenes during my brief run-through of Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX) checking it out over other peoples' shoulders.

How could I not?

It's a Final Fantasy game. And it is very, very pretty.

With gameplay reminiscent of Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII and Kingdom Hearts, where you take direct control of the characters in real-time (in this case, up to a 4-person team of playable characters but always with at least three in a party that you can switch between), Type-0 allows you take your party into missions and headlong into large-scale battles with giant monsters.

Each character (the demo only allowed players to check out 3 out of the 14 playable characters) possesses different attacks and magic attacks and switching between characters is imperative if you're going to survive a battle. (For demo purposes, players were given unlimited lives.) In terms of controls, other players reported that despite using the X button for both dodging and taking potions, the mechanic worked surprisingly well. 

Like nearly every Final Fantasy to date, Type-0 comes complete with stunning graphics and gorgeous cutscenes. In-game characters are fleshed out and highly reminiscent of FFXIII done in schoolgirl dress. Unlike other games however, the 30-minute demo of Type-0 did not shy away from the darker undertones of the main story, nor does it pull its punches from exhibiting outright gore.

Compared to the original Japanese PSP version, there have been a few changes implemented into the HD version - most notably the "dumbing down" to an easier difficulty and no more multiplayer. Of course, these changes should only concern you if you happen to take to the franchise as a purist - as a first time player trying out the Western localization, I highly doubt you would even notice. 

Fans of FFXIII and the Fabula Noval Crystallis arc can look forward to picking this title up for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on March 17, 2015.

First Impressions - Life is Strange from DONTNOD Entertainment Tue, 28 Oct 2014 11:16:44 -0400 Venisia Gonzalez

Spending time at New York Comic Con isn't all about comics. There are so many games to see as well. Some of the perks about being press, is the ablility to sit down and speak with developers about their games. Thanks to the folks at Square Enix, I was able to get a behind the scenes look at Life is Strange.

Life is Strange is the upcoming release by DONTNOD Entertainment, known for Remember Me. Life is Strange is a story about Max, a photography student who suddenly discovers she has the power to go back in time. It's through this supernatural talent that she manages to save her childhood friend Chloe, from death. When they meet again after a five year separation, Max realizes that Chloe has changed quite a bit. Since the death of Chloe's father, her life hasn't been easy.

Strange events descend on the small town of Arcadia Bay, Oregon. Both girls become mixed within an investigation into the disappearance of student and friend Rachel Amber. The reunion will certainly disrupt their lives.

The demo begins in Chloe's room with Michel Koch at the helm (I'm merely a tourist). At this point in the game, Max already knows she has the ability to control time. She can reverse time at will, so players can redo any action in the game but not past a checkpoint. This can be useful in various scenarios, but it's used in the demo to alter the narrative, so Chloe doesn't get mad or to pick up a box that gets knocked over.

Max hesitantly pokes around, finds missing person flyers stacked around the room and a box holding a picture of Chloe and the missing girl, Rachel Amber. Rachel was there for Chloe when her father died and they dreamt of moving to Los Angeles together. Chloe calls Rachel her angel. Chloe feels certain that Rachel left town under suspicious circumstances, soon after meeting someone who "changed her life." She also hints at something more between them but that's about it.

Max can interact with these things, which affect the story or create tiny puzzles for players to solve.

In the demo we see more insight into the falling out the girls had and Chloe's volatile relationship with her step-father who happens to be the security guard at the school. When Max moves around, certain objects are overlaid with white sketch lines with a description and arrow. When Max finally leaves Chloe's room to search for tools to fix her camera, the music she turned on follows her downstairs, in the backyard, and in the garage. The music is really unique and I enjoyed it.

Inside "secret location" for Life is Strange

The graphics are absolutely stunning and are all hand-painted--I was blown away.

At the Square Enix "secret location," I was drawn to the right corner of the loft where I noticed DONTNOD Entertainment's demo area. It was creatively decorated in what I'd compare to a typical teenage girl's room. Magazines, posters, polaroid photos scattered on the wall and floor, shaggy carpet, flowers, and beanbag chairs. There fellow journalist Stephanie Tang and I were greeted by Creative Director Jean-Maxime Moris and Artistic Director Michel Koch.

(left to right) Michel Koch and Jean-Maxime Moris

Jean-Maxime explained the story to us. Introducing Max as the protagonist in the game (another female just like Remember Me), she's a high school senior, who also happens to be a photographer and discovers her ability to rewind time. She's returned to her hometown after being away for five years and discovers her former best friend Chloe has had a tough time. Chloe's father died the same year Max moved away and ever since then, her life hasn't been the same.

Chloe is a rebel, in and out of trouble, who fights with her step-father, and smokes pot.

Chloe's father died the same year.....her life hasn't been the same.

That's when we're shown--in demo--Chloe's room: which the area we're sitting in is mimicking.

  • Modern adventure, narrative-driven, point-and-click game taking place over five episodes released weeks apart digitally
  • Each episode tells a complete story
  • Player's decisions and consequences of those actions play a key role in the unfolding scenario
  • Power to go back in time; to return back any time: bring light puzzles, change the reactions of the characters, or vary your choice
  • Unique soundtrack of indie-folk influences
  • Every texture is hand-painted

The game's Telltale aspects will give players each a unique experience. The game's soundtrack is relaxing and enjoyable. The graphics are absolutely stunning and are all hand-painted--I was blown away. As for the female protagonist, Jean-Maxime explained that there is no agenda, just a girl and who knows, in their next game it could be a boy.

Life is Strange is due out early 2015 on PC, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, and PS3.

A Hands-on Look at Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX (Final_v2_FINAL3_Honest) Mon, 27 Oct 2014 21:42:33 -0400 Stephanie Tang

Nestled in a corner of Square Enix's off-site media suite at New York Comic Con was a single system and screen devoted to Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX

Getting to this point required a plane, an airport shuttle driven through New York rush hour traffic, some last-minute venue address changes, a freight elevator, a dark staircase with a few broken windowpanes, and a rather confused-looking makeup artist that said "oh yeah, there might be some kind of event going on through those doors over there somewhere..." 

Worth it.

While the majority of hands-on demo stations were staffed with local talents and developers to guide press through the short sequences of gameplay available, I caught the Kingdom Hearts booth in between demo sessions. The upshot of which meant that I got to experience it without the benefit of development rhetoric.

This may have allowed for an unbiased experience, but it also meant that I had very little idea what would be the most efficient use of my time.

The history of Kingdom Hearts is not exceptionally long (the first game was originally released in 2002 on the PlayStation 2) but it has become rather tangled. The unlikely mating of Square Enix's Final Fantasy with Disney canon raised eyebrows the world over, but no one was prepared for the title's critical success - as a game, and later as a series. 

Unsatisfied with producing all of the games for a single platform, subsequent titles were featured on the PlayStation 2, the Gameboy Advance, the DS, and the PlayStation Portable, and mobile - nearly all of which have been remade and released on the main console platforms since then.

In this age of HD remakes and anniversary collections, Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 ReMIX follows in the similar vein of Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 ReMIX which included remastered versions of Kingdom Hearts Final Mix and Re:Chain of Memories with cutscenes from Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days.

A PS3 exclusive, KH2.5 is a remastered version of Kingdom Hearts II Final Mix, Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep Final Mix, and Kingdom Hearts Re:coded

(a shot of the KH2.5 station at Square Enix NYCC off-site media suite)

Hindsight is always 20/20. 

With only the long-ago memories of KH1, KH2, and KH: CoM to guide me, I was tumbled headfirst into the cutscene extravaganza of KH Re:Coded by virtue of the fact that that was where the previous player had left off.

At once both like and unlike the original Kingdom Hearts, I watched with blank fascination as what I knew meshed with what I didn't, and a whole new story (of King Mickey's corrupted histories, and Sora as a save file) grew out of the loose framework that was KH1

Little did I know at that time that KH Re:Coded is to KH2.5 what 358/2 Days was to KH1.5 - essentially one long series of HD cutscenes featuring an adorably young Sora whose voice has already broken a la KH2

15 minutes of low volume back-and-forth between King Mickey, Chip and Dale, and a computer-generated Sora, the only participation I managed to eke out was moving Sora a few steps forward - and even that might have been the sleep-addled additions of an exhausted mind. 

Only once it finally occurred to me that this was no mere story-building segment but all I was going to get out of KH Re:Coded, I actively switched out to the main menu, dabbled briefly with Birth By Sleep, and then started in on KH2 proper. 

And we all know how long the opening cutscenes are in that one. It felt like I scarcely had time to make approving noises at the sight of the crisp edges and to pick out minute details in the opening cinematics before the moment ended, and all too soon.

Paving the way for a new group of journos eager to check it out, I ventured forth with Roxas for a few scant minutes before relinquishing the controller to other hands - and not without a twinge of regret.

I daresay my half hour of KH2.5 did not leave me noticeably wiser in the ways of the upgraded gameplay tweaks - I glimpsed only a little of the work that went into overhauling the backgrounds and textures to change the game's original 4:3 ration to the 16:9 HD, and I did not get to experience nearly enough of the near 80% of original audio that was remixed for KH2.5. However I did get to reaffirm that just like KH1.5, this completionist's dream comes equipped with a sumptuous set of visuals for all three games bundled into the collection, and hits just the right tone of PS2 nostalgia by preserving all the original scores, cutesy sound effects, and musical tones from the original titles. 

I think this one will turn out just as well as 1.5, and is going to be a proud addition to any collector's shelf. Look for it later this year on December 2 in North America.