Snyder's Justice League cut hits HBO Max in 2021
Wednesday Zack Snyder announced the existence and planned release of the fabled “Snyder Cut” of 2017’s Justice League on HBO Max during a Q&A with fans following a livestreamed commentary on his film Man of Steel. “The Snyder Cut” consists of Snyder’s edit of the film, based on the version he was creating before exiting the production.
Industry insiders have debated the existence of the so-called “Snyder Cut”, with some saying not enough footage from Snyder’s original vision exists to create his film as intended. Despite this, WB/HBO Max have apparently compiled enough footage from the previous and existing movie along with Snyder’s help to finally give fans the version of the film (or a version of the film) as Snyder initially intended it.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League debuts in 2021 on HBO Max.
Despite my dislike for Batman v Superman, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little excited to see what Snyder’s Justice League actually ends up being. Polygon has a great breakdown of several major rumoured changes and, assuming there’s enough footage that survived and the rumoured $20 million budget helps fill in the blanks, it sounds like it’ll be considerably more interesting than what we got in the theatrical release.
Regardless of your opinion of Snyder, BvS, JL, etc, it’s hard not to get behind an artist that’s given the opportunity to see their original vision come to life. Honestly, I hope it’s everything the fans and Snyder wanted it to be.
For newcomers, Persona 5 Royal is the definitive way to play the game
If you’ve never played Persona 5, and the idea of a lengthy JRPG about making friends, making evil adults admit their crimes, and fighting monsters sounds cool, this is the definitive way to experience the game.
While I owned Persona 5 at launch, I wasn’t able to get into it, despite starting and stopping three or four times. I enjoyed what I played but something—usually the first time the team visits Momentos—didn’t hook me.
Because of the FES and Golden updates to the two previous Persona games, Royal seemed inevitable. Maybe, subconsciously, that’s why I never gave Persona 5 the time and effort it deserved.
Now, having played about 40~ hours of Royal, I’m glad it took me this long to play. Even with the limited experience I have with the original game, this is clearly the version to play and I’m having an absolute blast with it so far. It’s not perfect, I still have camera issues every now and then for example, but Persona 5 Royal has a level of depth, style, and fun that only comes around once or twice per console generation.
Note that the linked review does include some spoilers. If you’ve never played Persona 5 and are thinking about giving it a shot, proceed with caution.
Final Fantasy VII Remake redefines the concept
Even when it was eventually confirmed to be in development, Final Fantasy VII Remake appeared to be woefully mismanaged, with key members of the original development team initially working with a lesser-known external studio.
What followed was two-and-a-half years of silence between first gameplay trailer and subsequent re-reveal, which certainly didn’t quell any fears.
A solid review, and one that echos many of my own thoughts about the game, like the revised ending. The one we got in the Remake felt like the team capitalizing on a unique opportunity to weave together the various stories told in the years since the original (Crisis Core, Advent Children, etc). All things considered, I think they did a great job.
One thing I found interesting about the development of FFVIIR was how similar it seemed to Sony and Insomniac’s Spider-Man game from 2018.
The game was announced, gameplay was revealed, and things went quiet until close to release. While most people—myself included—assumed the worst, the end product spoke for itself in both cases and were resounding critical and commercial successes.
Diamond announces return to regular operations
The sole distributor of product for all but the tiniest of American comics companies will reopen for business. Diamond Comic Distributors has announced it will return to regular business on Wednesday, May 20, about two months after it shuttered due to social distancing restrictions.
It’s certainly nice to see people will have new stuff to read sooner than later. To be honest, I assumed a more significant impact from DC’s move to Lunar and UCS as well as a longer delay in books arriving from Diamond.
I should take the time to get caught up on all the books I still haven’t read before these new ones arrive.
Post-game thoughts on Final Fantasy VII Remake
I took the time to finish up the game yesterday and was really happy with it overall. Without spoiling anything, the ending wasn’t quite what I expected, having played the original many times, but I understand the reason(s) for the changes.
Visually, the game was stunning, particularly the pre-rendered scenes. In terms of scale, Midgar felt huge. Looking up at the plates from the slums, or climbing topside, it was pretty surreal. The soundtrack was perfect and the combat, once I got a handle on it, was smooth and incredibly satisfying.
I’m hopeful it won’t be long before we at least hear about the second chapter, maybe even get some visuals to tide us over. With the engine already built and (presumably) most of the story done, it can be that far off, can it?
DC using new distributors, books hitting stores in April
But the biggest bombshell of this: DC will be using two new distributors, Lunar Distribution and UCS Comic Distributors to distribute weekly periodical comics. Retailers can sign up with either on a regional basis.
This is a seismic move for the comics industry, with the first new direct market distributors for comics periodicals in 20 years. I’d long heard rumors that DC Comics has not renewed their exclusive deal with Diamond, and this would indicate that those rumors are true.
While I don’t completely understand this part of the industry, even I know Diamond’s had a lock on comics distribution for a very long time. If this sticks post-pandemic, you have to wonder what sort of effect this will have on the industry. Competition helps drive innovation, maybe that will be the case here too.
Crysis Remastered coming to PC and consoles
According to the official description on the site, Crysis Remastered will have “new graphic features”, higher quality textures and “CRYENGINE’s native hardware and API-agnostic ray tracing solution.”
Interesting timing on this one as I actually reinstalled and fired up the original Crysis a couple weeks ago but got hung up on the clunky controls. Considering its age, it still looks great.
I’ve always felt that the series got the attention it did for all the wrong reasons as the story—particularly in the first game—is really good and never really gets talked about. Though, admittedly, I’m a sucker for any sort of media that has otherworldly monsters invading and attacking an unsuspecting mankind.
I’m looking forward to giving this another try with all the updated features and, while I’m not going to be buying it on Switch, I’m curious to see how it’ll hold up on the limited hardware.
A professional update
I’ve been quiet lately regarding my professional situation as I worked through a handful of things but I wanted to take a minute to share a couple details now that I can, if only to get them off my chest.
Flocker, a project I was incredibly proud to have been a part of, was officially shut down last week. The writing had been on the wall for a while but we did everything we could to make it work before finally deciding to pull the trigger and sunset the service.
During the time near the end of the project’s life, I’d been exploring opportunities outside of Flocker in case things didn’t work out as planned. To that end, I accepted an offer I was given elsewhere and, the same day Flocker’s shut down was announced, I put in my notice.
Looking ahead, I’ll be starting in my new role at the end of this month and my family and I will eventually be moving to Seattle from Canada when (if?) everything gets back to normal. We’re excited for the opportunity but also nervous. Uprooting our entire lives and moving to a new country isn’t exactly something we have experience with.
It’s going to be incredibly hard to leave our families and friends behind but if the current state of the world has taught us anything, it’s that distance doesn’t have to be an issue.
Initial thoughts on Sony's new DualSense PS5 controller
This week, Sony unveiled the DualSense: their next-gen wireless controller.
I’ve always felt like most updates to the original PlayStation controller were minor, often tacked-on changes that—at this point—seem to have created a great deal of design debt when it comes to the actual look of the controller.
The DualSense, on the other hand, appears to be a legitimate evolution of the PlayStation controller, something I feel hasn’t happened since the addition of DualShock to the original PlayStation controller back in 1997.
The new functionality of Sony’s new DualSense controller really does sound like it’ll help to deliver new experiences to players, in particular the haptics and sound, but also the ergonomics, refined adaptive triggers, and more.
As for the aesthetics, the controller itself looks beautiful. It’s simple, clean, and subtly futuristic without seeming obnoxious, particularly in white. My one complaint is that I do wish they would have kept the coloured shapes on the buttons but that might have compromised the look they were going for here.
So, when do we get to see the console?
Dark Sky by Apple
Dark Sky has joined Apple.
Our goal has always been to provide the world with the best weather information possible, to help as many people as we can stay dry and safe, and to do so in a way that respects your privacy.
The Dark Sky apps are unavailable here in Canada so I’m optimistic that their purchase by Apple will bring the features and functionality I’ve heard so much about to us finally. Secondarily, it’s nice to see Apple bringing even more services like this under their own roof instead of relying on others to fill in (and access) the data.
In terms of what Apple’s Dark Sky will look like, I imagine an evolved version of the current weather app with specific features from Dark Sky where it makes sense. I have a feeling that people looking for a radically different experience will be disappointed.
Reviews of Resident Evil 3 critical of game’s length
While the majority of reviews I’ve read have been extremely positive about Capcom’s latest Resident Evil remake, one of the biggest and most confusing complaints I’ve seen so far from a handful of game reviewers is that the new Resident Evil 3 is short, particularly when compared to last year’s RE2 remake. Though, if they’ve played the original game, what exactly were they expecting?
The original Resident Evil 3 was considerably shorter than Resident Evil 2 for the simple fact that it had one campaign, that swapped between the two playable characters as opposed to RE2’s A and B campaigns for both Claire and Leon.
It’s also worth noting that Capcom has included the Resistance multiplayer game with RE3 at no additional cost, likely to address the length of the game’s campaign.
Google launches podcasts on iOS
Google Podcasts has been built out in beta on Android and the web over the past several months, and now it’s getting some big updates. Today, Google is releasing an official Google Podcasts app on iOS as it officially reveals a redesign for the service.
After months of back and forth, I ended up settling on Apple’s podcast app and abandoning my desktop listening entirely. The issues syncing episodes between devices was just too common with most other apps and services.
It looks like Google’s app is rolling out to the App Store now so I’ll be giving it a try shortly. Assuming the syncing hold up, it’ll be nice to again have the option of listening from the web player or desktop in situations where that’s more convenient.
As an added bonus, Google’s podcast service plays well with Home devices so we’ll be able to play episodes that way. On the flip side, I’m not sure it supports CarPlay yet, which could be a deal-breaker. Only time (and testing) will tell.
Mixer launches updated homepage, improved clips, notification experiences
Mixer released a few changes to its platform today, including a redesigned homepage, ad breaks, and higher quality emotes. The initiative comes about half a year after the platform pinned down popular content creators shroud and Ninja for exclusive streaming rights deals.
Some great quality of life changes and major updates to the platform. I’ve thought Mixer’s overall design was solid for a while, this refines what was working before.
The new homepage design doesn’t reinvent the wheel but does put emphasis on featured creators in a unique way. Hopefully this will surface a number of creators that weren’t getting attention before. I love the look of the big featured player at the top of the screen in relation to the creator’s name, title, etc and the carousel of other streams below it is nice.
The spacing between the streams and the categories are nice, it’s easy to scan through while looking for something to watch and adding in better clips support and clearer notifications is a big help too.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ glowing reviews
The latest iteration of Animal Crossing brilliantly holds onto the zen-like charm that propelled the series to success in 2001, while expertly packing in modern game elements to freshen up the 19-years-old series.
I expected the new Animal Crossing to review positively, not only because of how great of game I know Nintendo would want but also because of the current situation around the world. It sounds silly but it sounds it’s going to be a welcome escape for many from the real world when this game ships.
I’ve got my copy pre-ordered, here’s hoping it makes it here by Friday. 🤞
Marvel announces new Silk series by Goo and Miyazawa
Cindy Moon is getting another day in the sun. Marvel has announced a new ongoing series for Spider-Man spin-off character Silk. The series will be written by novelist and first-time comics writer Maurene Goo, and illustrated by Takeshi Miyazawa (Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider, Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane), with the first issue of the series sporting a cover by Stonehouse.
Great to see the character back, and being written by a Korean American woman no less. I’ve always dug Silk from her appearances in ASM and I’m really hoping this new series helps her further carve her own path, away from the mainline Spider-Man stories.
It also doesn’t hurt that Takeshi Miyazawa’s on the book. As I’ve mentioned a dozen times before, I’ve been a huge fan of his work since Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane.
The iPhone XR was the best-selling smartphone of 2019
Apple’s iPhone XR was the best-selling smartphone in the world in 2019, according to new data from London-based research firm Omdia. The research firm reports that Apple shipped 46.3 million iPhone XR devices last year, which is more than double the 23.1 million shipped in 2018.
And for good reason. It’s a great phone. I switched to the XR after years of Android devices and—in the year since I got mine—I’ve been really impressed. The battery lasts forever, the system is still snappy and smooth. I’m not surprised it’s done so well.
Essential is shutting down
But bad timing, broader industry issues and a founder embroiled in some pretty troubling allegations of sexual misconduct contributed to a company that has struggled to make it far beyond the launch of its first handset. Today, Essential announced that it would be ceasing operations and shutting down.
While it wasn’t without its flaws (dear god, the camera), the PH-1 was a solid device that few even considered. With its impressive build quality, the speed and frequency of software updates, the near-stock Android experience, Essential’s phone was able to deliver one of the better non-Pixel experiences.
Indie horror survival game Dead Static Drive arrives in 2020
Dead Static Drive is a horror survival adventure. You’re on the road. The world begins to fall apart in front of you. Your friendships will make every bit of difference as order collapses and the people you meet fight for their own survival. Sneak, scavenge, fight, befriend, barricade and bunker-in or steal a car and drive off into the sunset. There’s no escape; there’s only what you choose to do with the little time that’s left.
This game looks and sounds so good. I remember first hearing about it a couple years ago but quickly lost track of how far along it was in development. At that time, the visuals were limited and details about the story hadn’t been made public.
Now that we’ve gotten a good look at that, I’m even more excited. The art style reminds me of Overland (which I loved) and battling otherworldly enemies in a post-apocalyptic world is definitely my jam.
100-page Catwoman book with star-studded creator lineup coming in April
The Catwoman book (full title being the Catwoman 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular #1) is due April 15, with the publisher describing it as “a landmark one-shot.”
The creators involved are certainly worthy of such a designation. The cover will be done by Joelle Jones, who is the regular Catwoman writer/artist. Inside the book, readers will find work from Ed Brubaker, Cameron Stewart, Paul Dini, Ann Nocenti, Adam Hughes, Tom King, Mikel Janín, Mindy Newell, Will Pfeifer, and Emanuela Lupacchino, as well as pinups by Steve Rude, Tula Lotay, Jim Balent, and more.
The teams on this book are unreal. It’s great seeing Ed Brubaker and Paul Dini back writing a DC story and I’m excited to see so many of my favourite artists like Adam Hughes, Emanuela Lupacchino, Frank Cho, and Tula Lotay involved in it.
Cameron Stewart’s shown off some of his art for his story with Ed Brubaker and it looks really good. I can’t wait to read this.
EA adding tiny house lots, furniture, more to The Sims 4
Downsize your Sims’ dwellings with this brand-new, never-before-created residential lot that provides fun-sized challenges and unique benefits to your Sims when they meet the tiny home requirements.
Customize your Sims’ tiny homes with space-saving combo objects like the all-in-one Stereo, TV, and Bookshelf, and sleek furniture with a pop of color.
The designer in me has always appreciated the consideration and efficiency required when building a tiny home. Every inch of the space is so important in ensuring that the house has everything you need in it and nothing you don’t.
Since I’m nowhere near brave enough to own one in real life, I’m going to grab this update when it’s available later this month. It’ll be fun to get back into the game after years of living through my wife’s playthroughs.
Best games of 2019
Before we get started here, it’s important to note that I base my selections on games or books that I’ve either beaten, read, or—in some cases—spent a substantial time with.
There were plenty of great games, comics, and podcasts that were available throughout the year, many of which I’m certain do not appear on my personal list. This doesn’t mean I don’t like them or that they don’t deserve your time and attention. I simply don’t have the time to play and read everything.
3.) Tom Clancy’s The Division 2
Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 is an online action role-playing video game developed by Massive Entertainment and published by Ubisoft. The sequel to Tom Clancy’s The Division (2016), it is set in a near-future Washington, D.C. in the aftermath of a smallpox pandemic, and follows an agent of the Strategic Homeland Division as they try to rebuild the city. (#)
I love the world of The Division 2. Every inch I explored felt lived in and offered something to do or to collect. While the missions could be a little repetitive at times, the gunplay, base upgrading, and exploration kept me hooked for hours.
2.) Resident Evil 2
The game is set in Raccoon City in September 1998, two months after the events of Resident Evil. There, most of the city’s citizens have been turned into mindless creatures, referred to by survivors as zombies, due to an outbreak of a viral bioweapon known as the T-Virus, manufactured by Umbrella Corporation. Resident Evil 2 is a remake of the 1998 game Resident Evil 2 released for the PlayStation. (#)
The original Resident Evil 2 has long been my favorite of the series and this remake was everything I wanted from a reimagined version of the game. It’s visually impressive, features genuine scares, and still stays wonderfully faithful to the story of the original game without feeling repetitive. I can’t wait to see what the team comes up with for Resident Evil 3’s remake early next year.
Control revolves around a clandestine U.S. government agency known as the Federal Bureau of Control (FBC), which is responsible for the investigation of “paranatural” phenomena which defy ordinary reality, usually manifesting in the form of Altered World Events (AWEs), intrusions upon perceived reality shaped by the human collective unconscious. (#)
Control’s mind-blowing, dimension-bending visuals, brutalist style, and fascinatingly confounding story easily made it the best thing I played this year. The overall mechanics felt patently Remedy but the slew of abilities and upgrades allowed for constant surprises and excitement. As a fan of alternate realities and dimension hopping plot-lines, everything about the game just mesmerized me.
Looking ahead at the DLC planned for the game, it’s definitely the gift that will keep on giving with a deep exploration of The Foundation—one of the game’s more bizarre locales—and a story tied to another Remedy game (Alan Wake) arriving later in 2020.
Best comics of 2019
Before we get started here, it’s important to note that I base my selections on games or books that I’ve either beaten, read, or—in some cases—spent a substantial time with.
There were plenty of great games, comics, and podcasts that were available throughout the year, many of which I’m certain do not appear on my personal list. This doesn’t mean I don’t like them or that they don’t deserve your time and attention. I simply don’t have the time to play and read everything.
No one has ever stopped the Caped Crusader. Not The Joker. Not Two-Face. Not even the entire Justice League. But how does Batman confront a new hero who wants to save the city from the Dark Knight? (#)
Tom King’s Batman has been a slow burn leading up to this year’s epic finale in issue #85. It’s a little tough to recommend to people just getting into comics or the character simply because of the connective tissue from the first issue of King’s run (#1) through to the finale. That said, if you’re willing to make the leap, the book takes Batman to places he’s never been and features the art of some of the best artists in the business including Mikel Janín, Mitch Gerads, Jorge Fornés, Lee Weeks, and more.
2.) Money Shot
In the near future, space travel is ludicrously expensive and largely ignored. Enter Christine Ocampos, inventor of the Star Shot teleportation device with a big idea: She’ll travel to new worlds, engage—intimately—with local aliens, and film her exploits for a jaded earth populace trying to find something new on the internet. (#)
There’s only been a handful of issues of Money Shot so far but I’ve been really impressed by the artwork and the depth of the book’s story—given it’s marketed as a comic about people streaming their sexual encounters with aliens online. The relationships between characters and the hilarity that ensues during their travels has been a nice change from the endlessness superhero stories from Marvel and DC. Plus, as mentioned, Rebekah Isaacs’ art is on point.
Teeg Lawless is back in town. But he finds himself in more trouble than ever, thanks to his delinquent teenage son – and this time, fists and bullets may not be enough to solve his problems. (#)
Few things in this world are as consistent as Brubaker and Phillips’ ability to tell gritty crime stories. The art seems to get better and better and the stories intertwine without feeling overly connected or dependent on the arcs that preceded it. New fans have plenty of opportunities to get into the series too because arcs typically only run for a handful of issues and often feature new characters.
Resurrected Telltale Games releases Batman: Shadows Edition on Xbox and PC
Telltale Batman Shadows Edition is a compilation of every Telltale Games Batman series. When people grab a copy, they get all five episodes of Batman: The Telltale Series, all five Batman: The Enemy Within episodes, and the new Batman Shadows Mode DLC. Shadows Mode is a new visual effect that makes everything monochromatic, with occasional splashes of green and red as the only highlights. (Think of it as a Sin City sort of filter.)
This is great news. Both of Telltale’s Batman titles were my favourites games made by the studio because of the new spin on existing characters and how well Batman’s world worked with Telltale’s choose-your-own-adventure type of storytelling.
While there isn’t a ton of new content added to this new re-release—though I am looking forward to trying the game with “Shadow Mode” on—any sort of update signals to me that the new management is somewhat interested in returning to the worlds the original version of Telltale built with new games. Along with the re-announcement of Wolf Among Us 2, this seems to indicate that there’s a long-term plan in place to keep the studio going for years to come.
Resident Evil 3 remake announced, arrives April 2020
It’s official: Capcom is remaking Resident Evil 3. Similar in style to 2019’s Resident Evil 2 remake, the new version of Resident Evil 3 will inject new life into the 20-year-old original PlayStation game with updated graphics and modern gameplay mechanics.
The remake of Resident Evil 3 isn’t the only Resident Evil title that developer Capcom has on the drawing board. Resident Evil Resistance is a four-against-one online multiplayer game and it will be included as part of the Resident Evil 3 remake as a multiplayer mode.
This looks so good. WIth the release date being so soon, there’s no way they weren’t working on this early into RE2’s development. It’s likely that when they started hearing how excited people were to check out that remake, they got moving on the follow-up.
I’m also excited to see that Capcom’s other Resident Evil project, Resistence, will be getting bundled with RE3. I can’t say I would have given the online game a shot otherwise but if it’s already installed on my machine? Yeah, I’ll give it a spin.
It's official: Sony is done with PlayStation handhelds
Sony Interactive Entertainment president Jim Ryan appears to confirm that Sony are not making another gaming handheld after the PlayStation Vita.
Jim Ryan said, “PlayStation Vita was brilliant in many ways, and the actual gaming experience was great, but clearly it’s a business that we’re no longer in now.”
I want to imagine a situation where it still makes sense to have a portable version of the PlayStation but with their efforts with streaming via PlayStation Now, their Remote Play feature, and the breakneck pace of innovation in mobile phone and tablet technology, the PSP and Vita just don’t make a ton of sense anymore.
Chasing the ideal podcast listening experience
I’ve had so much trouble getting the podcast experience I want on iOS and macOS. I listen to shows on my phone while commuting to work, and then transfer to the machine on my desk for quick access to the media keys so I can play and pause the episode I’m listening to or switch to watching a video or song in another app when need be.
Because of my heavy reliance on sync, Pocket Casts has been my go-to for years but has been having a ton of issues as of late. Often my progress on a show or the episodes in my queue won’t be saved so I’ll have to grab my phone and manually figure out where I was, assuming the desktop app doesn’t synced the old progress over to iOS, which happens more often than I’d like.
Because of this, I’ve been exploring other options as of late and determined that the ideal podcast experience—at least for myself—might not actually exist.
I’ve tried Apple’s first-party podcast app. To be blunt, it’s a nightmare to navigate and plagued with sync issues. How people have comfortably(?) used this app for years is completely beyond me. I’ve also thought about using Overcast again but I’ve never been a big fan of the overall UI. This, combined with the fact that there is no desktop app available, makes Overcast a non-starter for me.
For now, I’m using Castro. I love the trim silence and enhance voice functions and the app is pretty well designed. I do have some issues with how the whole inbox/queue system is presented, but it’s far from unusable. That said — much like Overcast — Castro does not offer any sort of synced desktop experience.
Needless to say, I’m already contemplating a return to Pocket Casts.
Monsters are taking over the Steam Autumn Sale page
When the sale began, the store was bathed in the soothing red glow of dusk and surrounded by trees whose red leaves had not yet fallen. A small, white cat-like thing stood on the sidewalk out front, while a customer at the counter chatted idly with Newell. It was pleasant.
Now, however, it’s nighttime at the Steam Store. The streets are bathed in shadow. More worryingly, they’re also apparently being overrun by writhing Cthulhu-esque horrors. The customer from earlier struggles in the grip of a giant black tentacle that’s burst forth from the sewers, while in the background a squid-headed monstrosity looms.
The artist of the piece, waneella, is one of my absolute favorite pixel artists. In fact, I don’t remember when I had anything other than her art as the wallpaper on my phone. It’ll be interesting to see if the art evolves more as the sale wraps up.
Marvel announces new Spider-Woman series for 2020
Marvel is giving Spider-Woman her own series. Launching in March 2020, Spider-Woman sees Jessica Drew going solo again. The series is written by Karla Pacheco (Punisher Annual, Fantastic Four 2099) and Pere Perez (Uncanny X-Men).
I really enjoyed what Marvel did years back with Jess’ redesigned outfit but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to see her back in her iconic yellow and red suit. I’m personally not familiar with Pere Perez’s work but what I’ve seen online looks solid.
One thing that does worry me about this new series, as mentioned in the article above, is that his is the seventh volume of Spider-Woman. Granted, it’s been four years since volume six ended but it’s another example of Marvel’s relentless relaunching of a character that, in my opinion, drives newer readers away.
That’s not to say books with large volume numbers and relaunches can’t be successful. Captain Marvel is currently on its 11th volume — with writer Kelly Thompson and artist Carmen Carnero — and is arguably the best it’s been in years. Who’s to say that Spider-Woman can’t do the same?
BioWare planning Anthem overhaul, new Mass Effect game
BioWare is still putting a lot of work into Anthem. Details on Anthem Next are hazy, but among other things, the game’s developers plan to overhaul the loot, the quests, the social aspects of the game, the difficulty, the progression system, and the world map. One person on the project said they’re planning to change the game’s entire structure.
As a longtime BioWare fan, I wanted to love Anthem and would be more than happy to see it return from the proverbial grave much in the same way that No Man’s Sky did a couple years ago.
The difference in this case is that while NMS was certainly missing things at launch that could be and were eventually added later, Anthem’s issues run much, much deeper. There are fundamental flaws with the game that many — myself included — felt just couldn’t be fixed without releasing an entirely new game.
In this case, that does appear to be correct but EA appear ready and willing to let the team take that on in an effort to save face with fans and reassure them that things are a-ok in the land of all things BioWare.
In addition to the much-anticipated Dragon Age 4, which BioWare teased last year, a new Mass Effect game is in very early development at the Edmonton office under director Mike Gamble, a longtime BioWare producer.
I’m so happy to hear this. While it wasn’t without its issues, Mass Effect: Andromeda was hardly the train-wreck most people claimed it was, especially after the insane amount of work that went into correcting the game’s larger technical issues from launch.
I really hope BioWare doesn’t abandon the Pathfinder plot entirely. There’s plenty of interesting directions they could take that idea by still acknowledging Andromeda as a game and story still exist, but exploring a new team, planet, etc.
It’s interesting that a major detail like this was left until the last couple lines of the article. If anything, this has me more hyped up than the Anthem news. I know it’s far out but I can’t wait to see what they come up with.
Pokémon Sword and Shield is a resounding success
The Pokémon series is one that has long felt resistant to change, to the point that even seemingly obvious changes, like a shift to 3D graphics, can feel monumental. In this context, Sword and Shield are what the franchise has been building toward for more than 20 years. They don’t change up the formula dramatically. But the changes that are here — a larger, more detailed world and a streamlined structure that cuts out the annoying bits — are enough to make this the ideal iteration of the concept to date. The moments when I felt frustrated or bored in past games simply don’t exist in Sword and Shield. It’s one big adventure.
It’s exciting to hear but hardly surprising that the newest Pokémon adventure will not only meet people’s expectations for a home console release but likely surpass them. I don’t know that there’s a more consistent team working on Nintendo games than Game Freak and their ability to create entirely new worlds and hundreds of new creatures in the span of only a couple years always boggles my mind.
It’s nice to see them having risen above the controversy being spread by people online and delivered a game that more than speaks for itself. While I’ve held off on the last couple Pokémon titles, I’m confident I’ll be grabbing a copy of Sword or Shield tomorrow. Having wanted a home console version of Pokémon since I played the original game over 20 years ago, it seems silly not to.
Initial thoughts on Disney+
I took a quick look at the Disney+ app on Apple TV this morning.
The process of signing up was painless. Creating an account takes a couple seconds and you’re able to link your subscription to your Apple ID so I didn’t have to fumble around with my credit card. The Apple TV app itself is simple, easy to use, and apparently integrates with the Apple’s TV app, though I didn’t see this in action.
I love having profiles for each user including the ability to specify a child account for my son. Signing into his account showed us content that was more suited for him whereas my account featured The Mandalorian, Captain Marvel, etc.
Speaking of content, there’s almost more available than I will ever possibly be able to watch, with more coming in the new year as deals with Netflix and others expire. A couple that I’m looking forward to checking out first are — obviously — The Mandalorian, the 90s Marvel animated shows (Spider-Man, X-Men, Silver Surfer, etc), and some of the Pixar movies we don’t already have.
Overall, great first impression. I can’t wait to dig in deeper this evening.
Blizzard announces Diablo 4
This first look video — particularly the gameplay footage — looks really impressive. I’m happy to see that — while Diablo 3 took the game’s art style in a more light-hearted direction — this new game brings the look and feel of the second game together with the fluid gameplay of the third game.
I can’t wait to learn more in the coming months.
Google buys Fitbit
Google has just announced that it’s buying wearable company Fitbit for $2.1 billion. In a blog post announcing the news, Google SVP of devices and services Rick Osterloh said that the Fitbit purchase is “an opportunity to invest even more in Wear OS as well as introduce Made by Google wearable devices into the market.”
This purchase makes a ton of sense for everyone involved.
I’d love to see Google roll out some sort of wearable that’s an evolution of the Pebble — which Fitbit bought back in 2016 — and maybe even get the Rebble community involved in some way.
Pixel phones, Pebble watches? I’m into it. I always really loved what they were doing back in the days before the Apple Watch and Wear OS, this could be the chance to see them come back to life in some form.
Mixer should be everywhere
It’s been an exciting week for Mixer — one of Twitch’s rivals in the streaming space. In a week that saw major streamers like Shroud and Gothalion jump ship, it’s become clear that this is just the beginning of a long battle between the two services, which is super exciting to see. With that in mind, there’s a big challenge that Mixer has to face sooner than later.
Twitch is everywhere. No matter where I want to watch — phone, TV and/or console, computer, etc — there’s a way to do so effortlessly. On the other hand, Mixer is painfully difficult to watch if you’re doing so anywhere other than a computer or phone. This is a problem when I’m at home because I have little interest in sitting in front of my computer to watch a stream or on my couch staring at my phone.
Mixer has an app available for iOS, Android, and Xbox but if they’re serious about this whole thing — and it certainly seems like they are — they need to be everywhere. The iOS app strangely supports Chromecast but lacks AirPlay and not everyone has an Xbox. As Gothalion said earlier today, Mixer isn’t an Xbox only platform but, to me, it sure feels like it based on the availability of apps and the user experience the available ones provide.
AirPlay on the iOS app, Apple and Android TV apps, app for the PS4 and Switch, etc. It’s a big list and this stuff takes time but this is Microsoft we’re talking about here. If anyone has the horsepower to make this happen, it’s them. Honestly, what good are all these big new streamers using the service if you can’t watch them?
Vault Comics delivers with Money Shot's debut issue
As I assumed it would be, the first issue of Money Shot—which arrived on comic shelves this week—was a blast. In particular, I really loved Rebekah Isaacs’ art. I found it complimented the humour and absurdity of the story but still worked well during the more personal moments between Christine and Omar.
I’ll definitely be keeping this one on my pull list.
Jared Leto apparently tried to kill Todd Phillips' Joker movie
Leto was so pissed about the reveal of Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker movie—which essentially invalidated his own largely abortive run as the character—that he attempted to leverage his status in order to have the movie killed.
While I haven’t seen the new Joker movie, I’ve heard from many that Joaquin’s performance is reason enough to see it. By contrast, Leto’s Joker — along with the entirety of Suicide Squad — was just bad.
Assuming any of it is true, it’s pretty sad that he’d use his power as an actor to do something so selfish.
Gaming at the end of the world
All the craziness of Fortnite’s black hole last weekend got me thinking. Epic took the most popular game in the world offline for roughly 36 hours because they could. But what if they had to?
First, a little background on what exactly happened to Fortnite:
The season  culminated when the Visitor, a mysterious being that arrived with the meteor, launched a rocket that created numerous rifts, from which came smaller rockets which were controlled by “The Seven” that struck all across the island, creating a black hole and consuming the entire game itself. Subsequent to this event, the game was unplayable for about 36 hours with the game’s screens only showing the black hole. [Wikipedia]
To have so much confidence in your game that you can literally take it down for an extended period of time is pretty incredible. It reminds me — for the complete opposite reason — of what happened with SquareEnix and the original Final Fantasy XIV before they released Realm Reborn back in 2013:
The game, known as Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, is a replacement for the 2010 version of Final Fantasy XIV, which was shut down after negative reception at its launch. Final Fantasy XIV takes place in the fictional land of Eorzea, five years after the events of the original release. At the conclusion of the original game, the primal dragon Bahamut escapes from its lunar prison to initiate the Seventh Umbral Calamity, an apocalyptic event which destroys much of Eorzea. Through the gods’ blessing, the player character escapes the devastation by time traveling five years into the future. [Wikipedia]
On a side note, in some ways, the success Realm Reborn has seen since relaunching mirrors what creator Hironobu Sakaguchi dealt with during the release of the original Final Fantasy. The game was essentially his “hail mary” play during a period of uncertainty around his future. It was literally intended to be his final game until it because wildly successful and evolved over the years into one of the most popular, financially successful series of all-time.
In the case of Realm Reborn, they took a terrible situation and did what few studios would be able to do: shut the failing game down, rebuild it from the ground up, and make that process part of the lore. As a result, the game exploded in popularity and remains a fixture in the MMO space to this day. In a similar way — but under a completely different circumstances — Epic did the same thing during their update from version 10 to 11 not because they felt they had to but because they could.
River City Conventions shutting down permanently
River City Conventions after 25 years will be closing its doors permanently. There will be no future events planned for 2020 or the future.
I wasn’t the biggest fan of the convention but I’m still sad to see it shut down. I had some great experiences there many years ago. Why they couldn’t have simply scaled back the event and put it on in a different place is beyond me.
While the organizers were quick to blame the venue and sponsors for their troubles in their previous update, this now makes me think they’re withholding details to avoid damaging their reputation with their biggest supporters.
GalaxyCon Minneapolis is in November and the guest list looks fantastic.
Thoughts on Twitch's new look
The subtle adjustments to the glitch logo are nice fine and I like the updated logomark more than the original, which — as someone who really liked the old logo — I never thought I’d say. I think it’s the consistent border and distances in the open letters (W, C, T, etc) that’s really selling it for me. The larger radius on the button corners and circular pills for tags are a nice touch that I feel modernizes the look. I also like the new typeface (Roobert) but I think they’ll need to make adjustments to weights (ie: the sidebar “followed channels” etc) throughout the site.
The new purple is nice, particularly in the dark version of the website, but I’ll miss the previous one. It would be nice to see them use a combination of the two. Speaking of dark mode, while the dark palette of the site looks fine, the light version feels… off. Maybe too much white space? Weird contrast with the shading of the sidebar? I can’t quite put my finger on it but something about it doesn’t gel like the previous version did. That said, I almost exclusively use the dark version and I’d have to assume many other users are the same. Still, I’m glad it’s something they offer to those that want or need it.
I know they’ve already said this is only the beginning of the work they’re doing but I hope they have some work planed on the overall user experience of the Twitch website. The navigation still feels cluttered, items are hidden, the dashboard is still all over the place, panels are hard to organize and display effectively, discoverability of channels still isn’t very good, etc.
I’m into the new look. Next, I’d like to see them cover deeper UX issues.
Pocket Casts changes offer for longtime users following backlash
We made some pretty big changes this week, and we’ve heard your feedback loud and clear. Although we intended to demonstrate our appreciation to our most loyal users, we know many of you feel we missed the mark. With that in mind, today we’ve decided to provide any user who previously purchased our Web version with lifetime access to Pocket Casts Plus.
One would assume — as I did — that the three years offered to longtime users would be more than enough to make people happy. Apparently not, since a handful of more vocal users complained enough to get the company to instead offer lifetime access to Pocket Casts for people who paid the one-time fee of $9 for the web player before Plus was released yesterday.
I can’t believe people not only felt entitled enough to more than the originally offered three years but also that they wouldn’t be comfortable paying the more than affordable annual fee of $10 (after three years) to support an app they’ve clearly gotten so much use out of.
As an aside, I’m calling BS on the “they said we’d only have to pay once four years ago” argument. Pocket Casts is hardly what it was three or four years ago and I’d argue there’s been more than enough updates to essentially make it an entirely new app or service.
I saw a great reply to this news on Twitter by @zatara214:
Please support good developers and don’t complain when they ask you to pay for new things. This is really cool of Pocket Casts to do, but it also wasn’t entirely necessary.
Remedy teases Alan Wake tie-in for Control via DLC
While the first Foundation related expansion will undoubtedly be awesome, it’s the second expansion — titled AWE and featuring a silhouette that looks very familiar — that I’m really excited for.
This could be as close to an Alan Wake sequel as we’ll ever get.
Extra Life North 2019
Starting today and running through the weekend, I’ll be working/playing alongside my co-workers as we try to raise fund for the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba and the Children’s Miracle Network. If you’ve got a chance, please consider making a donation to either myself or someone else on our team so we can hit our goal of $50,000.
If you’d like to follow along with the action throughout the weekend, we’ll be streaming the event via Mixer and Twitch with a program full of couch gaming, contests, interviews and much more. I encourage you to swing by and drop some words of support in the chat if you’re able to.
Catherine: Full Body offers a more complete experience than the original game
Catherine developer Atlus has stretched and edited the game into Catherine: Full Body, an updated version for the PlayStation 4 that now features 13 endings, new levels, new music, another love interest, and a whole lot more … while still feeling familiar and comfortable to existing fans. New players will simply benefit from a game that’s much fuller and better realized than the original release.
This is another 2019 release that totally slipped under the radar for me. The original Catherine is one of my favorites so I know for sure I’ll be picking up Full Body. When I originally played the game, I saw a couple of the endings to the game but now—knowing there are potentially 13 different ways to finish it—I can see spending even more time with it this time around.
Telltale Games is back
Telltale Games, which shut down last year, is coming back after its assets were purchased by a company called LCG Entertainment. The new company will sell some of Telltale’s back catalog and will work on new games based on a few Telltale-associated properties, as well as new licenses.
This is such good news. This studio shutting down was such a sudden, massive loss for not only the people that worked there but for the fans of all their games.
I never thought I’d say this but it seems like we’ll be getting a third Telltale Batman game after all.
First impressions of Control
Control is crazy cool, like Fringe meets Quantum Break. It’s got everything you’d expect from a game by Remedy and a couple new surprises along the way. Though I’m not super deep into it yet, I still highly recommend giving it a look.
Android 10's new look
Google is using this year’s release to significantly update the operating system’s brand and naming scheme.
Moving forward, “Android” will just be followed by a version number. This tradition of naming major releases with desserts dates back to Android 1.6 Cupcake in 2009.
Like the Android 10 naming change, the primary goal of this new look is accessibility. It starts with something as fundamental as color, with the “android” wordmark — which has been slimmed down with a tweaked font — now in black. The previous green was hard to see for those with visual impairments.
While I totally understand the decision to move away from the dessert names for the sake of clarity, I’ll definitely miss them. One of my favourite parts about Android was how playful the whole idea of the version names were, and how Google would include an easter egg that often played off whatever treat they chose for that particular version.
I love the refreshed look of the Android logo, the new green (accessibility!) for the mascot and the new guidelines for placement of the logomark in relation to the type, etc. I think this new look blends well with that Google’s been doing to refresh their own brand, Material Design, and the like.
Ghost-Spider returning to the Marvel Universe
I haven’t kept up with Spider-Gwen/Ghost-Spider since shortly after her debut. I’ve never been particularly fond of alternate universe stories and while I could appreciate the art, it wasn’t really my favourite.
However, when I found out that not only was Gwen paying an extended visit to the main Marvel Universe but that Takeshi Miyazawa (one of my favourite artists from back in the Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane days) would be continuing to draw the book, I started paying attention again.
It’ll be fun to catch up on everything I’ve been missed.
Money Shot from Vault Comics
In the near future, space travel has become too expensive to pursue and too boring for people to pay attention to — until Christine Ocampos introduces a teleportation device that she intends to fund in a new and novel way: By traveling to strange new worlds, meeting new civilizations and having sex with them in order to broadcast on the internet as the final frontier of pornography.
This series sounds like it’ll be a blast. Writer Tim Seeley describes a story with a ton more depth and emotion than what you’d expect from one about humans having sex with aliens to fund their research.
I followed Seeley because of his work on Hack/Slack many years back and Sarah Beattie is one of the funniest people on Twitter so I have a ton of faith in this team to provide a pretty entertaining book.
The only real unknown for me regarding Money Shot is artist Rebekah Isaacs but I love what I’ve seen in the preview for the series, including the colours by Kurt Michael Russell, and I’m really excited to see more leading up to the release of issue #1 in October.
Some recent comic purchases
As part of my birthday present, my wife decided to help me clean out my pull box at the local comic book store. I have a bad habit of not visiting the shop on a regular basis so books tend to pile up there pretty quick. For those of you that are curious, this is the up-to-date list of books on my pull list that I’ve been mostly neglecting over the past month or so.
Batman: Last Knight on Earth #1–2
Scott Snyder (W) and Greg Capullo (CA, A)
I love the DC Black Label format, which is usually printed on thicker stock and just has a premium feel to it. As for the book itself, this duo is rarely off the mark so I’m looking forward to what’s been billed as their final Batman story together.
Ed Brubaker (W) and Sean Phillips (CA, A)
which I’ve already read since writing this. It goes without saying that basically everything Brubaker and Philips do is of the highest quality and this new volume of Criminal is no exception. I’m really enjoying the small arcs of only a couple books per story. It makes everything seem new and fresh every couple of issues.
Invisible Woman #1
Mark Waid (W), Mattis de Iulis (A), and Adam Hughes (CA)
I’ll admit that I was initially sold on the Adam Hughes cover but realizing that the book was written by Mark Waid, whose writing of usually enjoyed, and drawn by Mattia de Iulis—whose recent work on Jessica Jones has been nothing short of a home run—it was hard not to pick it up. The second issue was released this past week but unfortunately my LCS didn’t have a copy.
Depending on how I feel at the end of this first issue, it might make its way onto my pull list full-time.
The Batman’s Grave by Ellis and Hitch
Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch, one of the most legendary creative partnerships in modern comic book history, reunite this fall for The Batman’s Grave, a twelve-issue monthly DC maxi-series about life, death and the questions most are too afraid to ask. The team that brought us The Authority now turn their talents towards The World’s Greatest Detective
While I’ve never read the duo’s run on The Authority, I’ve been following Warren Ellis for years, since his run on Thunderbolts back in 2007, through his more obscure stuff over at Avatar including Black Summer and No Hero.
Look no further than Bryan Hitch’s run on Ultimates for reasons why he’s one of the biggest artists in comics. Few others can capture those movie-like set piece moments like he does, which I feel comes across in the previews for this series already.
I’m really excited to see what they come up with.
First appearance of Jane Foster as Thor sells for $55 online
Thor Vol 4 #1 by Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman featured the first full appearance of a new Thor, later revealed to be the transformed Jane Foster. Since the news last night at San Diego Comic-Con that the upcoming Thor movie, Love And Thunder, would star Natalie Portman reprising her role as Jane Foster and starring as the new Thor, the prices on that storyline from the comic have been going bananas.
I’ve never been one to buy comics simply because I feel they’ll be worth something later. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the appeal. In fact, I have a close friend who does this and it’s a skill in and of itself. I’ve just always been about the collecting aspect of it, particularly for books I kept following and enjoyed.
That said, I do own a first-print of this book and—if the book is going for $55 already—I’d consider offloading it if the price was right. I enjoyed the book but it’s not one I continued to follow or feel compelled to hang on to.
Image releasing Mirka Andolfo's new series Mercy in 2020
The new series, composed of three volumes, will be a horror with a gothic atmosphere set in Klondike and starring Hellaine, a “woman without mercy”, amidst the background of a gold rush. The story will address familiar themes from Andolfo, such as gender difference and the roles of women.
While it wasn’t quite what I was expecting when I first picked it up, Mirka’s previous series Unnatural has been really good so far. I was initially sold on her art alone but ended up finding a dark, twisted, totally unique story along the way that’s kept me hooked.
That said, judging by the art she’s shared over the past few months on her social media and what we know about the story, Mercy might be even better.
Fans upset about Pokémon’s lack of crunch
While developer Game Freak has said that bringing all Pokémon to the a new platform and balancing them for Sword and Shield would be difficult, that hasn’t prevented fans, who nicknamed the controversy “Dexit,” from bashing the studio as “lazy” and “greedy,” presuming that Game Freak will re-add the missing Pokémon in a future re-release of the eighth-gen Pokémon game.
It’s disappointing to see fans reacting this way when you consider how much attention video game crunch has gotten recently. These people assume the studio is trying to nickel and dime them when, in reality, there are actual limits to what people can accomplish in a given period of time.
Ubisoft announces Watch Dogs: Legion
Following a few weeks of leaks and speculation, Ubisoft has formally unveiled its upcoming action-adventure game, Watch Dogs Legion, at E3 2019.
Unlike the previous two Watch Dogs games, Legion is being developed by Ubisoft Toronto, the makers of Splinter Cell Blacklist and Starlink: Battle for Atlas.
For all its issues, Watch Dogs 2 was a ton of fun and a huge improvement over the first game. I enjoyed the game’s take on San Francisco so I’m optimistic about Ubisoft’s version of London. Also, being able to change classes and use more than one or two characters has the potential to create some pretty entertaining moments.
Not to mention, I’ll need something to pass the time until Elden Ring.
Tom King and Clay Mann on Batman & Catwoman in 2020
Fans of Tom King’s Batman saga can rest easy. Though we learned earlier this week that King is leaving the series sooner than expected, his story will continue in a new form. Today DC announced a new 12-issue Batman/Catwoman comic debuting in January 2020.
Batman/Catwoman not only reunites the two lovers for the first time since Bruce Wayne was left at the altar in Batman #50, it also re-teams King with Heroes in Crisis artist Clay Mann.
When word broke last week that Tom King’s Batman run would be ending short of his promised 100 issues, I was, like many others, disappointed. While his run hasn’t been without issue, the story he’s been telling since the beginning is ambitious, heartbreaking, and worthy of completion.
Batman & Catwoman is exactly that.
DC’s plan here seems clear: Move King away from the main book and open it up for someone else (cough Bendis cough) while still allowing him to complete the story he’s been telling for the past 85 issues (and annuals) surrounding Batman and Catwoman’s complicated relationship. It’s a frustratingly transparent way to protect the main continuity for most people but I suppose it’s better than not letting the story be told at all.
I’ve always loved the dynamic between the two characters. I remember reading Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee’s Hush run and coming out of it a little disappointed with how little development was really done with Batman and Catwoman’s relationship. By comparison, King’s run, while admittedly much longer, has really added a ton of complexity and depth to Batman and Catwoman’s history and their potential future—particularly leading up to issue #50.
With this new book, I’m really excited to see how the two come back together and how they move forward following the failed marriage and the cerebral beat-down Batman’s been dealing with in the wake of it all.
King and Mann’s work on Heroes in Crisis was great so I’m expecting the same or better from them here and I can’t wait to see what they have up their sleeves for King’s last lap with the Dark Knight.
Panic debuts Playdate console
We love video games.
We love the places they take us and the feelings they give us. We’ve grown up with them. It sounds silly, but they really mean a lot to us.
Playdate is our celebration of the video game.
This thing looks so cool. I love the idea of timed game releases, that there’s a bit of mystery and wonder when you fire the system up each week.
I’m definitely getting ahead of myself here but I’d love to see the homebrew/indie game scene go completely crazy on this thing and—given Panic’s following—I’d have to assume they will.
Also, the crank looks badass.
George R.R. Martin working with FromSoftware
A new blog post by George R.R. Martin following the series finale of Game of Thrones teases that the author has been helping make a video game.
The blog post says that he’s been busy lately, and even “consulted on a video game out of Japan.” While those details aren’t too specific, a source told Gematsu that From Software is working on an unannounced title with Martin, known internally as “GR.” The Gematsu report also notes that the title will be officially announced at Microsoft’s E3 press conference this year and it’s a collaboration between Martin and Hidetaka Miyazaki (known for his Souls series).
I’m interested to see what comes from this partnership. The rumors have been circulating for a while that Martin was working with Miyazaki but this update seems to confirm it.
Just the idea of a George R.R. Martin inspired hard fantasy world created by Miyazaki and the team that made Dark Souls—reportedly titled Great Rune—seems like an absolute must-play. Hopefully we learn more at E3 in June.
Bokeh on Kickstarter
Winnipeg comic convention cancelled indefinitely
it is with a heavy heart and great sadness that we have to announce that C4 will not be happening this year.
It has been tough running it the last few years with rental fees and costs going up, as well as the lack of local support from businesses and the City of Winnipeg. And now with the RBC Convention Center not having space on the dates we need. With all of these things put together it makes it impossible for us to organize a convention of C4’s size this October.
I’ve been attending C4 for 15 years.
I’ve waited a week or so to post my thoughts on this because I didn’t want to rush to judgement on the matter. That said, my initial opinion hasn’t changed much. Thinking back, the writing’s been on the wall for something like this to happen and I’m surprised it took this long for the whole thing to implode.
Years ago, C4 had a publicly visible group on Facebook that allowed the volunteers and organizers to discuss the event. Reading through, It was not uncommon to see volunteers discussing how poorly treated they were during the event only to be harassed by the organizers and their loyal supporters for speaking up. Needless to say, I can’t imagine this is how volunteers at most other events are treated.
In 2010, news broke that Wizard World had bought the convention and would be adding it to their roster of shows — even announcing some of the guests that would be attending the newly minted Wizard World Central Canada Comic Con.
Fast forward a few months, it was announced that the deal had fallen through and the original organizers would be once again running the show. The rumours around the cause of this all seemed to be that the original owner was inflating numbers and Wizard World caught on. I’d like to stress I have no direct proof of this, but several people with inside knowledge of the situation reached out to me and said this was the case.
However, the story the public got was that the original organizers had swooped in and saved the day after Wizard bailed for reasons that remained unknown to seemingly everyone.
You get the idea. This is hardly news anymore. Everyone has a horror story about the event (here’s mine), and some have made their way into the mainstream comic media. I hope this means the existing group will get their act together or someone like FanExpo will come in and deliver the world-class event we’ve been waiting years to see.
Venom's new look seems oddly familiar
So we have a new looking Venom as well… with all sorts of Dark Elf symbols. And yes, it is rather Fear Itself-like but Venom never got a hammer in that one.
I’ve always found it a little awkward how similar to Spider-Man and Venom Todd McFarlane’s Spawn looked, given how soon after his run at Marvel that he created the character.
What’s even more awkward is that we now have Venom adopting a new look that essentially fills in whatever gaps existed between McFarlane’s design work on both franchises and characters.
It’s taken almost thirty years but the circle is finally complete I suppose.
Another look at Neo Cab
While it’s not new, the trailer for Neo Cab from last year is certainly worth a second (or maybe first?) viewing. The game looks criminally unnoticed by most gaming media.
The neon palette alone is almost enough to make me play the game and the art style reminds me so much of comics drawn by Jamie McKelvie. I’m interested to see what the game plays like and how unique each of the potential riders are.
Is Capcom teasing a Resident Evil 3 remake?
It began with a screenshot showing Jill in the Resident Evil remake. It asked, “Ever feel like somebody’s watching you…?” This is a reference to Resident Evil 3: Nemesis, which has Jill stalked by Nemesis, who she frequently encounters throughout the game.
While I’d love to be wrong, I think it’s a massive leap to assume these vague, seemingly unrelated posts have anything to do with the announcement of a Resident Evil 3 game. Given the success of RE2, I’m certain we’ll see one at some point but I really doubt this is it.
Octopath Traveler arrives on PC in June
Square Enix announced today that the previously Nintendo Switch-exclusive JRPG Octopath Traveler is coming to Steam on June 7.
Octopath Traveler features a retro-styled mix of 2D and 3D graphics in the magical realm of Orsterra, where eight distinct characters, each with their own skills, stories, and motivations, undertake perilous journeys in pursuit of unique goals ranging from self-discovery to revenge.
I loved what I played (the first 10-12 hours or so) of the game on Nintendo Switch and had always hoped we’d see the game make the jump to another platform. Even without any mentioned enhancements, other than achievements, trading cards, and Steam Cloud saving, the game is a must-buy if only for the amazing graphics, classic gameplay, and entertaining story.
Remedy's new game Control arrives August 2019
I remembered today when opening the Epic Launcher (don’t ask) that Remedy’s new game Control is only a few months away from release.
Regardless of my previous thoughts on this whole mess with Steam and Epic, I know I’ll be getting Control on day one. Remedy’s games are too good to pass up. Quantum Break is the reason I own an Xbox One and the last game I played on my Xbox 360 — after months of not using it — was Alan Wake.
It’s safe to say I’ll always find a way to play a Remedy game.
Watch Dogs 3 set in London?
This has been rumoured for some time, of course—we said as much when Ubisoft confirmed details of its upcoming E3 conference—plus we know a patch that revised the ending of Watch Dogs 2 included references to Brixton, a location in the UK capital. Kotaku is now reporting the rumour as true.
Not sure what’s more surprising: the setting or the fact it’s getting made at all.
This is the first I had heard of a third game and assumed — given how disappointed I understood Ubisoft to be with the sales of Watch Dogs 2 — we wouldn’t see one.
That said, I enjoyed the second game very much, particularly its take on Silicon Valley. Assuming the game is actually set in the UK, I hope the team is able to replicate that same experience for players once again.
Zack Snyder confirms existence of his Justice League cut
While appearing at a fan event to promote (checks notes) the director’s cuts of his various films–an event that proves anything can be an event with the right attitude–Snyder confirmed the existence of what has come to be known as “The Snyder Cut” of Justice League.
Please just let this movie die already.
Devil May Cry 5 sells 2 million copies
Devil May Cry 5 has reached two million shipments, and it has done so since it launched on March 8. The critics also gave the game a warm reception, leaving it with an aggregate score of 87 on Metacritic at the time of writing.
Devil May Cry 5 is the latest in a string of commercial hits for Capcom, with Resident Evil 7, the remake of Resident Evil 2, and Monster Hunter: World all finding success.
Capcom’s been killing it lately and I can’t help but attribute it to the attention they’ve been paying to the requests from longtime fans.
In the case of Resident Evil 7 and the remake of Resident Evil 2, fans wanted less of an action title and more of a truly scary game — and a return to form for the series. For Monster Hunter, PC, PlayStation, and Xbox fans had long watched as Nintendo’s consoles and Sony’s PlayStation Portable secured Monster Hunter titles as exclusives and wanted to get in on the action. Lastly, in the case of Devil May Cry — much like Resident Evil — fans were asking for a return to the roots of the series that’s been missing since DMC 4 back in 2008.
With all of these franchises, Capcom delivered and they’re being rewarded for it with great sales numbers for many of their most recent games. It makes me wonder if we’ll finally get a sequel to Dragon’s Dogma.
Axel Alonso, Bill Jemas, and Jon Miller form AWA Comics
…former Marvel EIC Axel Alonso, financer Jon F Miller who brokered the Millarworld/Netflix and former Marvel President Bill Jemas have gone official in the New York Times as the executive team of Artists, Writers & Artisans, AWA. a new New York-based publisher of comic books.
New comic book companies seem to be popping up left and right lately, which is pretty interesting given the overall climate of the industry. I’m interested to see what AWA does to set itself apart other than bring in top-tier talent. For example, consider what TKO has been doing with single issues vs trades, digital books vs physical, first issues for free, etc.
As for the books that have been announced so far, I’m excited for Frank Cho’s Fight Girls. He’s one of my favourite artists and I enjoyed his last creator-owned work at Boom Studios, Skybourne.
Google announces Stadia gaming platform
Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who says he plays FIFA 19 “quite a bit,” introduced the Stadia service during a special keynote at GDC this morning. Describing it as a platform for everyone, Pichai talked up Google’s ambitions to stream games to all types of devices. Stadia will stream games from the cloud to the Chrome browser, Chromecast, and Pixel devices, and it will launch at some point in 2019 in the US, Canada, UK, and Europe.
Stadia looks really interesting and has the potential to shake up a ton of the ways we currently play, buy, and share games. The controller looks nice but I’ll have to reserve judgement until I have on in my hands. Although, the early impressions of it seem positive.
As for the name and logo, I dig them. In my opinion, it elevates Google’s take on gaming to something less basic or juvenile than we typically see from gaming related companies but doesn’t come off as pretentious or arrogant (see: Ouya, Vita, etc). Also, the name has a deeper meaning than just explaining what the thing is (see: PlayStation, Game Boy, etc).
From a streamer/content creator perspective, Stadia could be a big deal for those using single PC setups or are unable to keep up with the higher-end hardware needed to play the most recent games. Also, you likely already have the hardware to run it, short of the previously mentioned controller.
Lastly, i’m really surprised the service is not only launching this year but that it’s arriving in most countries at launch than just the US. Typically, we Canadians have had to wait — sometimes years — to get access to new services like this so it’s nice to know we’ll be able to get our hands on it sooner than later.
Reeder 4 beta available now for macOS
I’ve been using Reeder on both iOS and MacOS for years so I’m really excited to see this new version finally coming to life. Already I’ve noticed a ton of great improvements — mostly around the UI and animation — that gives Reeder 4 a new, much more contemporary look and feel.
If you’ve never given Reeder a look, consider the beta an opportunity to see what it’s all about.
Despite a pathetic campaign by trolls, Captain Marvel is a massive success
…the MCU’s latest big-budget offering, Captain Marvel, is on track to make more than $150 million at the domestic box office this weekend, making it the most successful 2019 film premiere to date—and by, like, a lot.
All of which would seem to confirm what we all probably assumed, on some level: trolling campaigns and half-hearted boycotts from small groups of disgruntled comic fans apparently can’t do a whole hell of a lot to move the needle in the face of the crushing power of a new MCU blockbuster.
It’s great to see the movie rise above whatever toxic hellstew trolls were trying to build around it. It’s clear now that—as I’ve said before—sexist campaigns made to bring down a female-led movies are an embarrassing waste of time.
Resident Evil 2 team reveal details of the game's development
The Resident Evil 2 staff had an afterparty to celebrate the launch of the game, and they were secretly recorded by producer Yoshiaki Hirabayashi, resulting in an off-the-cuff, informal roundtable discussion of the details behind the game’s development around a nice round of beer.
Some interesting tidbits surfaced from this. I love the consideration around something as (seemingly) simple as the design of the convenience store opening. It’s also nice to hear about the enthusiasm for the project by the actors involved because of their knowledge of the original game.
The team’s concern about the reception and rating of the game—in hindsight—is pretty funny considering we now know just how well the game did.
Maybe that means we’ll be getting a Resident Evil 3 remake sooner than later?
Rotten Tomatoes removes pre-release features following Captain Marvel trolling
“Unfortunately,” the blog post noted, “we have seen an uptick in non-constructive input, sometimes bordering on trolling, which we believe is a disservice to our general readership.”
This, [no longer showing the “Want to See” percentage score or allowing comments on a movie before it’s released] for fans (and presumably studios), is a long overdue reprieve. It’s nearly impossible to tell which comments are from actual fans and which are from users just out for the lulz.
This whole ridiculous situation is comparable to separating a misbehaving child from their favourite toy.
As for the need to “save” the Captain Marvel, that seems largely unnecessary as the movie has already crushed other recent superhero movie pre-sale numbers and sits just behind Black Panther—which ultimately went on to make well over a billion dollars and rack up three Oscars.
Ultimately, it seems clear that a handful of emotionally fragile man-babies throwing a tantrum will have little effect on what will likely become one of the biggest movies of the year.
Black Cat ongoing series launches in June
Today, Marvel Comics has announced an ongoing Black Cat series is coming this summer, and it will get into some high-strung heist drama.
The upcoming series will be penned by Jed Mackay while Travel Foreman oversees penciling. J. Scott Campbell created the cover.
Felicia’s always been one of my favourite supporting characters in Amazing Spider-Man and — despite a number of mini-series over the years — I’ve always thought her character could stand on her own if given the chance with a solid creative team.
I’m not overly familiar with Jed Mackay’s work but I’ve followed Travel Foreman’s art over the years. The team’s work on Daughters of the Dragon was well received so I’m optimistic about Black Cat.
Felicia’s been put through the wringer lately — following her evil turn in the previous volume of Amazing Spider-Man. Nick Spencer’s done some damage control recently and this book will hopefully see her back on track and cutting her own path.
The state of DC Black Label
But today DC Comics cancelled all orders [of Batman Damned #3], promising it will be resolicited at a later date, for May.
I wouldn’t hold my breath though. There has been no more sign of any other new Black Label projects to be published, despite several having been announced ages ago. Editorial has been micromanaging many projects, as the cancellation of Second Coming proves.
From a customer perspective, DC’s Black Label has been a massive disappointment. I don’t say that because of what’s been released so far or what was at one point planned for release. I’ve loved the first two issues of Batman Damned, and obviously SGM’s Batman: White Knight—although technically not Black Label but sort of—is great.
The most painful part of Black Label has been DC’s back-pedalling. They promised a mature comic book line and then went back on their word at the first sign of trouble: a silhouette of Batman’s junk. I really hope we see more books released under the Black Label line, the idea of it is great. The execution thus far has been anything but.
On a positive note, speaking specifically on Batman Damned, writer Brian Azzarello has confirmed that the book will still see the light of day.
Catherine: Full Body launches worldwide on PlayStation 4 in September
Catherine: Full Body has a release date for North America and Europe. The game will appear on the PlayStation 4 in both regions on September 3, 2019. In addition, a launch edition and Heart’s Desire Platinum Edition have been revealed on the official website.
I’m glad to finally see that the Full Body edition of Catherine will be available in North America. This is so much more than just an up-res and frame rate bump we typically see in other re-releases. With Full Body, Atlus has added an entirely new character to the story, along with new animation, cutscenes, etc.
I’d love to get my hands on either the launch or platinum edition but I’d have to imagine they’ll be in pretty high demand. Regardless, I’m really excited to play through the game again.
Ranking the Resident Evil games
Lists like these are incredibly subjective so I’ll break down why the one by PC Gamer doesn’t align at all with my own personal tastes in regard to the RE series.
Firstly, It’s a tall task to ask someone to rank the Resident Evil games these days since the series has really broken off into three distinctly different forms: the original fixed-camera survival horror games that started it all — RE0, RE1, RE2, RE3, RE: Code Veronica — the zombie-less third-person action/horror(?) games — RE4, RE5, RE6, RE: Revelations 1 & 2 — and the first-person return to horror — RE7.
First, a couple things to note. As someone who much prefers the original fixed-camera games, I think Zero and Nemesis should rank considerably higher than this list places them. I wouldn’t rank the original game and the remake as the same title since they’re very different games. Lastly, again stating that I’ve always enjoyed the original titles much more than the newer ones, I can’t help but roll my eyes when see yet another list like this with RE4 at the top. Is it a great game? No question. Is it a great RE game? Not really.
Here’s my list that includes Code Veronica, which was absent from the PC Gamer list:
13-??.) Everything else
12.) Resident Evil 6
11.) Resident Evil 5
10.) Resident Evil: Revelations 2
9.) Resident Evil: Revelations
8.) Resident Evil
7.) Resident Evil: Code Veronica
6.) Resident Evil 4
5.) Resident Evil 7
4.) Resident Evil Zero
3.) Resident Evil (Remake)
2.) Resident Evil 3: Nemesis
1.) Resident Evil 2
At this point, I can’t rank the Resident Evil 2 remake since I have yet to beat it, but I’d have to assume it’ll sit pretty high on this list given what I’ve played of it so far.
The cutscenes from games that you can't skip
PC Gamer had an interesting article the other day about the cutscenes in games you can’t miss or never skip and it got me thinking about mine.
I’ll never forget sitting through the early demo of Mass Effect 3 at E3 2011 as Director Casey Hudson and Designer Corey Gaspur walked us all through the combat and some of the stories that would be explored in the finished game.
At the end of the demo, we were shown the opening cinematic of the game as the Reapers descend upon the city. Commander Shepard and the crew make it aboard the Normandy and look on as a ship carrying survivors — including a little boy seen earlier — is blasted to pieces by a Reaper. Clint Mansell’s amazing score plays over it and really makes the whole experience that much more powerful.
To this day, it’s a cinematic that still hits like a sledgehammer, not only because of the visuals, and the incredible music but also the amazing memories I have of seeing it at E3 in-person for the first time.
Resident Evil 2 remake reviews are coming in
Capcom’s new Resident Evil 2 — which comes out this week, 21 years after the PlayStation original — is a more radical remake than most. It’s an intense, terrifying experience that rebuilds the game from scratch and doesn’t at all feel out of place on high-end modern hardware. But it preserves enough of the source material to feel like a respectful tribute. The result is one of the best games in the Resident Evil series.
In this case, fans shouldn’t worry. This version of Resident Evil 2 doesn’t have everything from the original, but it’s a passionate, thrilling love letter to one of Capcom’s most fondly remembered titles, and it’s as good as the series has ever been.
This echoes what little experience I had with the Resident Evil 2 demo. I’m so happy that this game has seemingly gotten the nostalgia down and still kept the horror running on full blast.
Thoughts on the Resident Evil 2 one-shot demo
Today I pre-ordered Resident Evil 2 on Steam and got around to playing (and completing) the 1-shot demo of the game. I didn’t think I could get more excited for this game, since the original RE2 on PlayStation was—and still is—one of my all-time favourites, but apparently I was wrong.
The demo was great. So dark and genuinely scary with flashes of the weird terrifying twists that made the original game so damn good. Visually, the new RE2 looks very impressive — particularly with the environments and lighting effects — and I’m interested to see how Capcom has chosen to update the enemies and other characters from the original game.
I wish I could jump into the full release now. The 25th seems so far away.
Dialog has officially left beta
It is with great excitement that I announce Dialog is now officially out of beta. If you were a part of our public beta, there should be an update available soon — if there isn’t already — and new users can download the app now via the Play Store. We also encourage everyone to leave a review for the app there if they have the time.
We appreciate everyone’s patience as we worked through the development process and look forward to hearing your thoughts and feedback.
Lastly, we’ve relaunched our website, where you’ll find contact information and more information about Dialog. The page makes for an easy way to share the app with friends or fellow Micro.blog users.
Thoughts on relaunching Superior Spider-Man
Otto Octavius leaves the moniker of Doctor Octopus behind and once again becomes THE SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN! If you think you’ve already read the most intense and surprisingly heartbreaking Superior Spider-Man story, prepare to be wrong. Otto is going to prove to the world that he’s the most effective and (to him at least) the best super hero in the world.
I wasn’t aware this book was coming out and assumed that Otto was still using the Doctor Octopus name since he recently appeared in the Superior Octopus one-shot.
I won’t lie, I find it disappointing to see Marvel going back to the Superior storyline so often and—in my opinion—misusing a character that could really be positioned as one of Spider-Man’s most dangerous villains. Instead, Doctor Octopus (or Superior Spider-Man I guess?) as a character is a bit of a mess at this point.
The original Superior Spider-Man carried so much weight and consequence that this new series — much like Marvel’s second crack at Civil War — just can’t match. Also, I feel that revisiting the Otto Spider-Man character so often (Spiderverse, Spidergeddon, Superior Octopus, and now Superior Spider-Man volume 2) devalues the original story that created him.
Blot is a great way to leave Tumblr behind
If you’re a frequent user of Tumblr and are looking for a way to move off the site following some their recent changes, I’d highly recommend using Blot to do it. I went with the portfolio theme — as I post a ton of images on my Tumblr page — and had my stuff moved over and looking great in no time.
If you’re willing to put in a little extra work, you can even bring over your “likes” and turn them into posts too so you won’t be missing anything.
Marvel doing weird things with numbers again
That’s right, in addition to Amazing Spider-Man #17 and #18, March will also see the release of Amazing Spider-Man #16.HU, not to be confused with February’s Amazing Spider-Man #16.
Where will it fit in with Legacy numbering? Who knows?!
I find the number juggling Marvel likes to do just makes it even harder to keep track of which issue is which. Marvel made a habit of it a few years ago and I hope this isn’t the start of it all over again.
A year from now, when I finally go through and organize my books, I’m certain I’ll have all sorts of trouble remembering if the 16.HU issue goes before or after issue 16, which was a constant problem when dealing with the mountain of .1 and .AU issues years back. Also, how does it fit — as mentioned in the article — into the legacy numbering?
Apple Music Twitter account fiasco
YouTube tech reviewer Marques Brownlee seems to be the ultimate sleuth when it comes to Twitter, as recently he’s been busting companies for tweeting from competitor devices.
Earlier this month, he caught Samsung using Twitter for iPhone, and now he’s apparently busted the Apple Music account for using Twitter for Android.
Apple Music is available on a variety of devices including the iPhone, those that run Android, and even Amazon Echo. Seeing the Apple Music team tweet from something other than an iPhone doesn’t seem weird to me and especially not embarrassing, as the article later suggests.
Elza Walker Resident Evil 1.5 costume will be available in the RE2 remake
Elza Walker was a Ducati bike rider who attended Raccoon University. She was in the Resident Evil 1.5 build, before being redesigned and turned into Claire Redfield in Resident Evil 2. This costume is a nod to what could have been.
Seeing this alternate costume brings back a great memory for me.
Years ago, I wrote into Gamepro magazine following the release of Resident Evil 2 when I noticed the Elza character that was show in early early previews didn’t end up in the finished game. To my surprise, they answered my letter in a later issue of the magazine—which I still have in a box somewhere in my office—and explained the whole thing.
While it’s not Elza herself, this is a really cool nod to not only longtime fans of the series but specifically those that have followed Resident Evil 2 back to the very beginning.