Assassin’s Creed panel at San Diego Comic-Con

In case you missed my constant tweets about this news, yesterday I hosted my first panel at San Diego Comic-Con! I’ve hosted panels and moderated before, but nothing can prepare you for the excitement that is working on a huge SDCC panel.

I was incredibly honored to be invited by Ubisoft to moderate their Assassin’s Creed III panel with Creative Director Alex Hutchinson. He, along with Gabriel Parent, demoed the “Boston” scene, previously shown behind-closed-doors at E3, for the first time to the public.

He spoke extensively about the development process for the game, what it means to have the time period set during the American Revolution, and what gameplay elements we can expect to see. He took questions from the audience, and spoke briefly about the upcoming PlayStation Vita game Assassin’s Creed Liberation. We also gave away 5 extremely limited edition ACIII posters signed by famed artists Alex Ross! Working with the Ubisoft team was fantastic and I hope to work with them again in the future!

Weekend Confirmed #120: Skyrim Dawnguard, Day-Z, Diablo III, and more!

Despite the summer’s dearth of new releases, the Weekend Confirmed crew get into some spirited discussions about Diablo 3’s questionable end-game, and what it’s like to be a vampire in Skyrim‘s new expansion, Dawnguard. Garnett, Jeff Cannata and Jeff Mattas,and regular guest Andrea Rene also delve into some talk about the Day-Z beta mod that brings hardcore zombie survival to ArmA 2, and opine a bit about ZombiU and Sim City Social as well. The eclectic mix of topics all wraps up with another batch of Finishing Moves.

Weekend Confirmed Ep. 120: 07/06/2012

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If you’re viewing this in the GameFly application, you can play Weekend Confirmed Episode 120 directly.

Weekend Confirmed comes in four segments to make it easy to listen to in segments or all at once. Here’s the timing for this week’s episode:

Show Breakdown:

Round 1 00:00:30 – 00:28:15

Whatcha Been Playing Part 1 00:28:49 – 00:58:47

Whatcha Been Playing Part 2 00:59:43 – 01:29:24

Listener Feedback/Front Page News 01:30:16 – 02:04:42

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Original music in the show by Del Rio. Get his latest Album, The Wait is Over on iTunes. Check out more, including the Super Mega Worm mix and other mash-ups on his ReverbNation page orFacebook page, and follow him on twitter @delriomusic.

Del Rio’s next album, Club Tipsy, is also just a few days away from its July 10 release. Check out his official web page for more information.

Best of E3 2012

Every year publishers and developers compete for the attention of media members and gamers everywhere with their showings at the annual Electronic Entertainment Expo, and this year was certainly no different.

Microsoft had a strong showing with their flagship series, Halo and the return of Master Chief and Cortana in Halo 4. They announced the latest installment in their other 1st party franchise Gears of War titled Judgement. At their press conference they also displayed many new Kinect integrated titles and debuted the new Surface Glass integration that will be available on their new tablet.

Nintendo had the only new hardware of the show with a revamped version of the Wii U set to debut this fall. I know most people were hoping to get a release date and pricing for the unit, but Nintendo is still being vague about it, instead just citing Holiday 2012 as the launch window. I’m guessing that we’ll set an actual release date announced in Japan at TGS later this summer. They did have playable units on the show floor where they showcased the New Super Mario Bros., Pikmin 3, and newly announced ZombiU from Ubisoft.

Sony had the best software lineup by far out of the big 3. Their press conference wowed with new footage from The Last of Us, Naughty Dog’s upcoming take on the “infected zombie” theme that seems so popular lately. At their press conference fans were also happy to see a lengthy and brutal demo of God of War: Ascension, which will introduce multiplayer into the series for the first time. Sony’s version of Smash Bros. called Playstation Allstars Battle Royale also was playable on the show floor, and I have to say it was one of the most fun games I got hands on at E3. The real stunner from Sony this year though, was their new IP called Beyond: Two Souls featuring Ellen Page. It features Ellen as a girl with some sort of telekinetic powers who quickly becomes a person of interest.

After coming off an amazing 2011, virtually sweeping Game of the Year awards with The Elders Scrolls V: Skyrim, Bethesda showcased their upcoming new IP Dishonored. The buzz on this game was so hot it was on my “Must Play” list for E3 this year. After going hands-on with the game I understand why. So much of the game reminds me of Bioshock, which is certainly a great thing, but it has stealth elements that can be quite challenging. Definitely looking forward to playing this game this fall.

The publisher who really stood out for me this year was Ubisoft. They introduced a new IP titled Watch Dogs that no one in the media saw coming. It is an open-world game that fuses the stealth aspects of Deus-Ex with the crime spree, driving antics of Grand Theft Auto. The demo they showed was very impressive, with the main protagonist utilizing various pieces of technology to control the environment in a “Big Brother” way.

But my Game of Show goes to Assassin’s Creed III. I’ve been a long AC fan and everything I’ve seen so far from this game just continues to keep wowing me. From the first demo I saw at GDC earlier this year to the hands on time I got with the revamped multiplayer, this is the game to watch in 2012. The new protagonist Connor has an interesting story and the new combat mechanics look great. I’ll have a more in-depth look after their multiplayer showing at San Diego Comin-Con next month!

As per usual, there were many things I did not get to see and many more that I just don’t have time to talk about here! But keep checking back here for more updates as the big holiday season approaches.

 

 

 

Lollipop Chainsaw Ladies Live Stream!

Do you like ladies? Do you like zombies? Do you like to watch ladies killing zombies? Then be sure to watch the Machinima Live Stream on Tuesday June 12th from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. PST where I will be joined by the lovely ladies of Machinima playing “Lollipop Chainsaw.”

We’ll be giving away lots of prizes, talking girls and zombies, and all around having a good time! Did I mention “Juliet Starling” cosplayer Jessica Nigiri will be there?

Watch here beginning at 2:00 p.m. PST Tuesday June 12th!

Top 5 Announcement Trailers of E3 2012

E3 2012 is here friends! That means lots and lots of trailers! We have the lot of them over at the Machinima YouTube channel so click on over to watch them, but I’ve compiled a list of my Top 5 Announcement trailers of the show (this does not include Nintendo, but I will update tomorrow!) I will make another post later in the week that looks at all the trailers across the board, but until then enjoy:

1. Crysis 3 – The follow-up to last year’s Crysis 2 is set to debut in Feb. 2013 in what is quickly becoming a crowded quarter for new releases. This action-packed trailer features intense combat, explosions, and yes, A BOW.

2. Splinter Cell: Blacklist – It has been 3 years since the last Splinter Cell game so this announcement came as no surprise, but it appears as if protagonist Sam Fisher looks…different.

3. Beyond: Two Souls – When I saw this at the Sony press conference I was VERY intrigued. From Sony: “It’s a unique psychological action thriller featuring Academy Award nominee, Ellen Page in the lead role. Experience the incredible life of a person who possesses extraordinary powers through a connection with an invisible entity. Watch as your actions and decisions determine her fate and face incredible emotional challenges never before seen in a video game.”

4. Dead Space 3 – EA’s follow-up to Dead Space 2 is getting co-op! Hooray I might actually get to play this game without peeing myself. Yeah, I get scared from video games, so what?!

5. Watch Dogs- This game was kept under secret wraps by Ubisoft before debuting at their press conference, a feat in and of itself. I don’t have much information on this game yet but I’ll be updating my blog with more once I get to see the demo! But check it out, it looks awesome!

Pre-E3 2012 Thoughts

The annual Electronic Entertainment Expo is THE event of the year for gamers. Every year at E3 there are huge announcement made, technology is unveiled, and amazing game demos are shown.

This year marks my first E3 covering for Machinima. It is crazy to think how far I’ve come in a few shorts years, and I am proud to be part of the team! I will be conducting a variety of interviews and showing viewers what the E3 experience is all about. Starting Monday June 4th with the press conferences, you can watch our LIVE streaming coverage at MachinimaLive.com and be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Page for lots more video content throughout the show.

On my last appearance of “Weekend Confirmed” I said I thought the lineup this year was a little lackluster. Just 1 week later I am already starting to eat my words. Here are some of the things I’m excited to see at E3 2012:

1. Nintendo Wii U – Nintendo’s new console debuted at E3 last year and I got to participate in a tech demo showcasing its abilities. However, it was a highly controlled environment, and frankly, did not show the full picture of what Wii U is capable of. This year I hope Nintendo really shows what the console can do, along with announcing key launch titles that better include MARIO!

2. Tomb Raider – Last year at E3 I came away from this Square Enix title a little apprehensive. I wasn’t sure if I liked this new, deconstructed Lara Croft, or if I was angry that Crystal Dynamics took one of the few strong females in games and made her a sissy. I do like the creative direction the series is going, very reminiscent of “Uncharted.” This is one of the few demos that I am going to go out of my way to see, and I hope I come away a believer.

3. Dishonored – I have yet to see any extensive gameplay from Bethesda’s new title but the buzz is HOT! Every journo I’ve talked to has said that this game is likely to be “Game of Show.” Coming off a big showing with Skyrim last year which went on to become Game of the Year, Bethesda is looking to have another strong title. With an intriguing storyline involving assassins, it is very possible that this Bioshock and Deus Ex mashup could be the darling of E3.

4. Gears of War: Judgement – This recently announced title is the latest from the Gears of War franchise. It will be on the cover of the July Game Informer issue and is expected to debut at the Microsoft Press Conference. If you played GOW3, then you know there aren’t a lot of options for continuing the storyline with the lovable Cogs. So, expect this title to be a prequel starring Baird and Cole Train. It is also worth mentioning that EPIC Games has passed development of the series onto People Can Fly, the studio responsible for Bullet Storm.

5. Assassin’s Creed III – I’ll admit it: I am a big Assassin’s Creed fan. This is one of the few franchises that I will stick by through thick and thin, and yes even silly tower defense mini-games. I have seen extensive gameplay of this title already but the fate of Desmond is still unknown. I am expecting to see part of his storyline at E3 and hopefully learn more about the new Native-American protagonist, Conner. I was originally hoping to see some multiplayer action, but I’ve been told that it won’t debut until Comic-Con next month.

Those 5 are just the tip of the iceberg my friends. There will be TONS more to see including these awesome items:

  • Halo 4
  • Borderlands 2
  • The Last of Us
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
  • Medal of Honor: Warfighter
  • Rock Band Blitz
  • Family Guy Online and Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse
  • Lost Planet 3
  • Resident Evil 6
  • Aliens: Colonial Marines
  • Hitman: Absolution
  • Guardians of Middle Earth
  • Dead Space 3
  • Crysis 3
  • Star Wars 1313
  • Hawken
  • Super Mario Bros. Wii U (rumored)
  • Splinter Cell: Blacklist (rumored)
  • Grand Theft Auto V (rumored new trailer)

I will have more blog posts for you next week and hopefully some vlogs too! If there is something specific you’d like to learn about or see, let me know by tweeting me @andrearene, leaving a post on my FB fan page, or by commenting right here!

The Future of Mid-Tier Games – Question of the Week – Weekend Confirmed #114

My question of the week comes from Twitter:

@Ckrawl asked, ” I feel the middle tier of games is going to be pushed out next generation, i feel like the only games left will be triple A hits (CoD, skyrim Asscreed etc) what are you thoughts on the mid tier developer going into next generation?”

Check out my answer in this video!

Weekend Confirmed 114 – Diablo 3, Max Payne 3, Lost Planet 3

Listen here!

Diablo 3 has strengthened its hold on Jeff Cannata who really only wants to talk about his barbarian, but there’s so much more to cover. Garnett returns to the driver’s seat after spending last week getting a sneak peek at some of the big games ready to vie for the spotlight at E3. “Indie” Jeff and Andrea Rene complete the adventuring party that gets down to business discussing their varying degree of anticipation for E3, the demise of 38 Studios, and the plight of subscription model MMOs, whether Max Payne 3 actually improves the gunplay over previous Rockstar open world games, and a handful of other games including Lost Planet 3 and Rock Band Blitz. Put a bird on it with Finishing Moves and you’ve got one massive show to take along on the Memorial Day weekend.

Max Payne 3 First Impressions

I’m going to come out and say it: I never played Max Payne before. I have never even seen the movie. So when Rockstar Games announced they were making Max Payne 3 I did not think much of it.

Fast forward to the present and the hype over the game is too much for me to NOT pay attention. I am intrigued by the “Bullet Time” mechanic and their progressive multiplayer strategy. So I pop the game into my Xbox 360 and start it up.

Right from the start the game looks like classic Rockstar. (yes, that’s a good thing) I am immediately immersed into a rich narrative involving Max, a former cop who is in Brazil doing private security work. I’ll admit the long cutscene sometimes feel like they slow down the pace of the game, but the writing and the cleverly disguised loading screens are worth it.

The action is mostly 3rd person shooting with a standard cover system. I recommend turning on individual reticules for each weapon as it certainly helped me with aiming. There is also a soft or hard lock aiming system for enemies, or you can free aim. I am currently using hard lock but I’ve been told the free aim is more challenge, and fun.

Max Payne 3 is hard. You will die A LOT. The beauty of the combat, though, is being able to find a rhythm between using the cover system, moving through space, and knowing when to activate bullet time to slow down the action and score crucial kills.

Since intitaling starting this blog post, I am now onto Disc 2 and really enjoying the game. The narrative keeps you intrigued while also keeping a nice pacing to the game. There are a variety of colorful locations, and Max’s one-liners are superbly written. Though the story-line may be a bit too “noir” for some people used to the previous installments in the series, I think the dark tone works perfectly.

Bottom Line: Give this game a try!