Headed for the Big Screen: Dead Island, Mortal Kombat!

Posted in Action Adventure, Dead Island, Fan Service, Fantasy, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game to Movies, Game-related Events, Gaming, Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat Legacy, Movies, Survival Horror on September 30th, 2011 by thelonegamer

Some recent game-to-movie news. Survival Horror Hit Dead Island will be coming to theaters care of Lionsgate Films, while Warner Bros. has given MK Legacy Maven Kevin Tancharoen the Go Ahead for a Theatrical Reboot Release of Mortal Kombat.

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To star Adrien Brody and a CG-youthenized Dakota Fanning. Kidding.

Zombie movies are all the rage these days- will that still be the case in a couple of years, when Dead Island’s theatrical debut hits? Probably. We’ve seen so many permutations of the shuffling/stalking/running undead/infected genre (still quite a few coming, like Juan of the Dead and World War Z), so what does Dead Island have new to offer? Bikini-clad zombies is a good start I guess, but then according to a press release by the L.A. Times, the film will feature “family ties and non-linear storytelling”.

Based on that, my impression is that they’re going to take that emotional debut trailer as inspiration, which I feel is kinda off the mark. Downer films just don’t hit it with me- and really, that story of the tragic family in the ad? It’s been told, and it’s DONE. Do we need to see an hour and a half version of that? Perhaps a more tongue-in-cheek Zombieland (Zombie Island?) approach would be better.

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The short film that started it all.

As for the future Mortal Kombat film, Kevin Tancharoen’s web series was mostly awesome, so this is pretty great news. He’s supposedly going for ‘more realism”… well, as real as a story with ice-throwing ninja and thunder gods-in-the-flesh can be. With a bigger budget (but less than 100 million, supposedly) perhaps we can have awesome scenes in Outworld without having to resort to animated cut-aways.

With the next MK movie due in 2013 (supposedly coinciding with the next MK game), there’s really no reason to worry about this till the first trailer hits. Anything is possible, I guess. Let’s cross our fingers that this next theatrikal release avoids Annihilation.

Tekken Hybrid Release Dates Revealed! (UPDATED!)

Posted in Anime, Arcade, Extra Costumes, Fan Service, Fighting Games, Gadgets, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, Movies, PS2, PS3, Tekken, Tekken Blood Vengeance, Tekken Hybrid, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Prologue on September 29th, 2011 by thelonegamer

Set those calendars, mates!

Katsuhiro Harada just announced today on Twitter that Tekken Hybrid will be released in Japan on December 1. For the US, the release date will be a bit earlier- November 22 for the Tekken Hybrid Limited Edition. As for Europe and Asia, the release date is still TBA.

As previously posted, the regular Tekken Hybrid package will include the 3D Blu-ray movie Tekken: Blood Vengeance, a remasterd PS2 classic in Tekken Tag Tournament HD and a taste of the latest arcade Tekken in Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Prologue which comes with 3D stereoscopic output and a character model viewer. The Limited Edition will include an additional art book, 2-CD Soundtrack and PSN Bonus Content.

It’s still a ways off… At this point, the biggest thing for me in the kit is the Blood Vengeance film, since it’s the freshest thing on offer. TTT HD’s almost negligible. TTT2′s already in arcades, and Prologue, playable as it is, is just a wee taste. I just wanna see some CG Nina-Anna action, now.

Ten Things About: Dead Island

Posted in Dead Island, Gaming, My Stuff, PS3, Survival Horror on September 28th, 2011 by thelonegamer

How’s Banoi been treating ya?

1. Straight in, I’m loving the atmosphere of Dead Island. A tropical paradise gone utterly, terribly wrong is an awesome setting for a survival-horror game, and this feels fresh and new for someone who has been playing these kind of games for years.

2. The world is pretty, but the people aren’t. Everyone has a dead-eyed stare, whether they’re living or undead. All the women, bikinis notwithstanding, look haggard- of course, no one’s been able to put some makeup on since this crisis started.

3. Zombies respawn once you leave an area, but luckily, so do items and cash drops.

4. Whoever did the sound for this game ought to get a bonus. This game sounds damn scary. The roars and snarls of the undead will make you jittery and worried even if you’re a stone cold zombie killer vet.

5. Voice acting though is all over the place. Jamaican? Australian? Was that a Brooklyn Gangster accent?

6. Analog controls make the melee fighting in this game something special.

7. I think a missed opportunity in this game is a Day/Night cycle. Banoi would be ten times creepier in the dark, but then I guess it’s also a testament to how great the atmosphere is that they can get away with scares in broad daylight.

8. Annoyingly I found a gun as a reward from a quest but wasn’t able to pick it up for some reason (not high level enough?). Haven’t found a freakin’ gun since. Darn it!

9. The driving in this game is damn fun. Scratch that- the driving through zombies in this game is damn fun.

10. I’m still only at 13% Main Quest completion??? How long is this freakin’ game anyway?

After the Storm

Posted in My Stuff on September 28th, 2011 by thelonegamer

Just like Banoi is hit by a storm in the course of Dead Island, the Philippines got hit by Typhoon Pedring the past couple of days, and it was a biggie. Storm surges lashed the coast, floodwaters hit various parts of Metro Manila and thousands of people from depressed areas and riverside communities had to make for evac centers.

Luckily I was high and dry, and despite the fact that my place was lucky enough to not be hit by power failures, the whole time was spent either just monitoring the news or just chilling and listening to the howl of the wind or the seemingly endless torrents of rain. Wasn’t in much of a gaming mood at the time.

Well, the storm’s passed and we’re back online. I’ll get back to blogging now, as everyone and everything resets and gets ready to begin again in earnest.

VSTV’s Soul Calibur V Interview with Kayane, Odashima, Harada

Posted in Fan Service, Fantasy, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, PS3, Soul Calibur, Soulcalibur 5, Xbox360 on September 26th, 2011 by thelonegamer

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Warning: Laughs and Awwws abound in this video!

Check out this Soul Calibur V featurette with French game girl extraordinaire Kayane interviewing Project Soul’s mild-mannered director, Daishi Odashima, on his upcoming sequel. Also on the side and constantly ready to pounce like a shark with shades is Katsuhiro Harada, who’s ready to add in his own color to the Q&A. Filmed at EVO 2011, this spot is kinda dated, plus it’s not really substantial interview in terms of hard game information… but it’s a very cute and entertaining watch if you’ve been following these games as long as many of us have. Plus it’s really nice to see Kayane get a lovely gift for all her efforts.

In case you haven’t already, check out Kayane’s SCV livestream (on archive already) in the previous post for about six hours of hot, fresh Soul Calibur V action. This game is due out in Q1 2012, and we really can’t wait to get slashing with this sequel.

Soul Calibur V Invitational Session with Kayane!

Posted in Fan Service, Fantasy, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, PS3, Soul Calibur, Soulcalibur 5, Xbox360 on September 23rd, 2011 by thelonegamer

Can’t get enough Soul Calibur V? Well then don’t miss the impending Invitational Session with the game brought to us by Namco-Bandai and uber-fighting game fan, Kayane AKA Marie Laure Norindr. The France-based gamer lass has been very active in testing out Project Soul’s comeback title, and she has wonderfully gotten Namco to allow her and a slew of lucky gamers to test out the latest build of the game, and stream the proceedings to us not lucky enough to be there with them.

The livestream will be held tonight, September 23 starting 6:30 PM, France time. Visit Kayane’s site here for all the details. Even if you can’t catch the stream, Kayane will be uploading videos of the game from the event on her Youtube channel afterwards. I’m hoping she posts direct-feed videos so as to really show off how pretty SCV is to the world. Great stuff!

Tekken Tag 2 Update: New Customizations Coming Soon

Posted in Arcade, DLC, Extra Costumes, Fan Service, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 on September 22nd, 2011 by thelonegamer

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Customized Leo and Alisa in action!

Here’s a little bit that gamers who look forward to pimping up their characters in Tekken Tag Tournament 2, take note. Right now, there isn’t much stuff available for customizing- excluding generic items, characters only have a few items or costume pieces in their virtual wardrobes- some have only one item (Kuma, Mokujin, Roger) to just four or five items! Well, obviously that just won’t fly, and of course the Tekken team will inject loads more customization items and costumes in due time.

But how soon, exactly? Well, according to a recent post over at Tekken.Net, new customizations and items are due to be added starting in mid-October. Additional stuff may be added without notice or announcement as well.

So till then, don’t count on seeing too many fighters sporting anything above the odd new shirt or different colors. This sucks but take heart- by the time new stuff arrives in about three weeks, Japanese players should have accumulated quite a bit of fight money and the hankering to spend them.
For now, enjoy the TTT2 match vid above for a look at a nicely customized Alisa and Leo in action.

The Fighting Game Story Mode: Past, Present and Future

Posted in Action Adventure, Dead or Alive, Dead or Alive: Dimensions, Fan Service, Fantasy, Fighting Games, Game Advertising, Game-related Events, Gaming, King of Fighters, King of Fighters XIII, Mortal Kombat, My Stuff, PS2, PS3, PSOne, Retro-gaming, Soul Calibur, Soulcalibur 5, Soulcalibur IV, Streetfighter, Streetfighter X Tekken, Tekken, Tekken 6, Tekken Blood Vengeance, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Virtua Fighter, Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown, Xbox360 on September 22nd, 2011 by thelonegamer

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Soul Edge’s PS Intro: Always start a story with a rousing opening!

Ah, the Fighting Game genre. It’s certainly my most favorite of all videogame categories- my most beloved guilty pleasure in gaming. I’ve been playing fighters since I got into this hobby, from Streetfighter II on the Super NES to today’s Tekken 6 and Mortal Kombat remake. Many get into these games for the simple pleasure of owning someone else- the unabashed satisfaction of proving your dominance in the most blatant and base way possible- by sheer physicality or superior skill. Really, in the end, fighting games do of course boil down to a simple equation most eloquently shouted out by bloodthirsty masses in Mad Max 3: Beyond Thunderdome- Two men enter, one man leaves. Well, sometimes Two women, or two THINGS. You get the picture, right?

Anyway, I think it’s a mark of a fan of these games themselves and not the sheer act of fighting that despite it being sheer gravy, that I put great importance on an aspect of these games that most often is glossed over- The Story.

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The Fight- and The Story- is All.

Why is all this fighting going on, anyway? Who’s the ‘good’ guy? Who’s the ‘bad’ buy? What’s at stake? Should we care? In all seriousness, it does add to the enjoyment of a story that we know the backgrounds of each and every single character in a fighting game’s often voluminous roster of Playables, and to follow their blood-slogging climb to the top of the tournament ladder. Drama, comedy, horror, evil, good, jealousy, courage… all encapsulated in what basically is about two guys hitting each other until one goes down and stays down.
Hell, if man going mano-y-mano with one’s fellow man didn’t make for good drama, then Homer’s Iliad wouldn’t have been certified a classic since the freakin’ Ancient Greeks. But hey, wouldn’t the Iliad make for a damn awesome fighter?

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MK didn’t always have great production values for it’s cutscenes…

This is probably something that fighting games spearheaded apart from other games- no longer did players fight to reach the end just to see a high score- they wanted to see an ENDING- something that couldn’t be quantified into any single number- but the satisfaction of reuniting your electronic avatar with his family, missing sibling or long-sought-after prize of revenge. Or a meeting with his country’s premier!

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Congratulations, comrade!

Anyway, relating a Fighting Game story has been done in various ways since the beginning. For the most part, the easiest and most expected way is the simple End Cutscene. Streetfighter II did it back in the day, rewarding the player’s victory over M. Bison with a bunch of screens with minimal animation and text. So effective was this that every game afterwards seemed to follow that same template- the ending was the reward, the narrative carrot dangled before the combatant. From SNK’s many brawlers like King of Fighters to Samurai Shodown to the original Mortal Kombat to every 90′s wannabee Streetfighter, it was all there in varying degrees of campiness.

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Your usual, run-of-the-mill Story Mode ending.

Of course there are a few games that didn’t bother to tell their story- the most significant being Sega’s Virtua Fighter series. All semblance of narrative was placed firmly outside the games, in arcane literature or dictated by actual game tournaments. In many ways, I think, that’s why VF has never found a certain closeness to gamers, with the most hardcore fans of this particular brawler more invested in game mechanics, frame counts and simple gameplay.

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Virtua Fighter’s Intro hints at a deeper story behind the fighters.

A benefit or detriment? Well, let’s just say that the fan support for VF, while rabid, is perhaps the smallest of all the big fighting game franchises. That’s not to say that the Virtua Fighters don’t have a story- it’s there, certainly, but just not being told as much. Perhaps when we are given a trail to follow and care for, perhaps that’s when VF will bloom to the emotional masses.

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A Tekken CG Ending waaaay back in the PSOne days.

As game technology and CG animation got better, ending cinematics became slicker and more elaborate. Perhaps the series that most surely chronicles not only it’s characters’ personal sagas but also visualizes the gradual leap of graphical and animation quality is Namco-Bandai’s Tekken series- from the very basic and simple end cutscenes of the first Tekken on the original Playstation, the cinematic cutscenes have raised the bar with every installment afterwards.

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Despite being an unpopular chapter, Tekken 4 placed more emphasis on story than most other installments in the franchise.

The series has now the reputation for these eye-catching cinematics, with perhaps the culmination of that reputation being the somewhat controversial Tekken: Blood Vengeance movie- perhaps the most complex cutscene yet for a fighting game.

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Tekken 6 endings are gorgeously animated, but the stories told range from the cool to the downright silly.

Ironically, Tekken 6′s Scenario Campaign is actually a very different way of telling the game’s story, albeit the mode proved unpopular with some players. I actually found this a very engaging and enjoyable mode, though perhaps it could do with some improvements.

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Mortal Kombat’s Story Mode is Epic in so many ways.

But CG visual quality isn’t the end-all and be-all of Fighting Game storytelling- Mortal Kombat proved this with it’s 2011 remake’s quite revolutionary Story Mode. It may have been a bit of a gamble on paper- a long and involved story told in real-time, in-engine graphics, visualizing the whole MK saga from the beginning to the future and back to the present, running many, many hours long and throwing the player into the boots of various warriors. But ultimately, it WORKED. Gamers got into the story, they loved it and acclaim for this way of doing the till-then tired Story Mode was pretty much universal. The one best thing about MK’s Story Mode? It showed one thing that other games always get wrong- The Ending is NOT the Story.
Mortal Kombat showed us that it was all about seeing the fighters’ tales unfold, seeing plots twist and turn and end up in outcomes we didn’t see coming and snowball to something we fear/await/dread was entertaining and kept us going hour after hour, through every fight till the very end.

Of course, MK isn’t the only fighter to have a long and involved Story Mode- just the most visible and perhaps the one boasting the highest production values. Truth be told though, 2D fighter Blazblue has a very involved and complex Story Mode as well, though told mostly in text or voice-driven static cutscenes but boasting multiple endings and paths, sometimes dictated by your victories or defeats.

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Blazblue’s anime-style storytelling makes for many hours of battle, voice-acting and battling voice-acting.

Dead or Alive Dimensions on the 3DS was able to summarize it’s entire enigmatic decades-long saga with it’s rather long but entertaining main Story mode (. The upcoming King of Fighters XIII will also boast a Story mode bursting with replay value for multiple playthroughs when it arrives later this year on consoles.

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The Soul Calibur series often featured interactive endings, where a button press could change the outcome.

Going back a bit, Namco-Bandai’s almost ill-fated Soul Calibur series has had a past filled with exceptional story modes. The original Soul Blade on PSOne had interactive endings where you could change the outcome of your fighter’s fate with a fast button press. Soul Calibur III had a Tales of Souls mode which boasted multiple paths and alternate endings- it encouraged multiple playthroughs so you could see all the possible endings and cutscenes, or unlock a very challenging boss encounter.

Sadly, SoulCalibur IV dropped many things from the previous installments, many of them conceivably fan favorite aspects that were sorely missed. Gone were the multi-aspect Story Mode and explorative minigames, in their place a generic Story Mode with a repetitive and generic cutscene and rather enigmatic endings. The Tower of Lost Souls, a challenging ladder game, proved to be more frustrating to many players than anything else. Perhaps the result? SoulCalibur IV was almost the last game in this long-running series, apparently only saved from the brink of oblivion by fan requests and support.

And so, what have we learned from all this? One important thing.

The Best Story Modes should be about The Journey, NOT the Ending. It’s about a story that’s compelling throughout, not just a prize waiting after all that’s said and done.

But would other fighters learn from this example? Only future fighters will tell. Or, perhaps, the next wave of fighters will.

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Soul Calibur IV’s Endings looked great, but the overall storytelling left much to be desired.

Soul Calibur V, set for release in First Quarter 2012, looks to have a Story Mode that hopefully has been influenced by recent games. Though we’ve yet to get any solid information on the gameplay, we’ve seen screens showing a map screen, which should bode well for the chance that this won’t simply be a series of fights leading to one ending. At the very least, cutscenes and a pathways chosen by the player may be included, and hopefully challenges and encounters that add and encourage replay- something the series is not a stranger to, as we’ve seen.

With the future of this fan-supported fighter perhaps lying in SCV’s performance, I’m hoping they make the story something that really gets players involved and wanting more of this Tale of Souls and Swords for years to come.

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Soul Calibur V, set 17 years after the last game, looks to have a story more dramatic than ever before.

With the current resurgence of Fighting Games as a popular genre in gaming, there will surely be more emphasis on the Story Mode. Thanks to Mortal Kombat’s high-profile success, we may expect even more epic storytelling to come from beat ‘em ups in the years to come. Hopefully we’ll see the Fighting Game story evolve into something truly enjoyable and interactive for gamers, so that our favorite fighters continue on and have their Tales Eternally Retold.

Tekken Tag 2: Jaycee Unmasked!

Posted in Arcade, Fan Service, Fighting Games, Game-related Events, Gaming, Tekken, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 on September 21st, 2011 by thelonegamer

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Jun’s boss stage is one odd stage to fight in.

Here are a couple of vids showing Tekken Tag Tournament 2‘s Character Customization, particularly for the tag-fighter’s resident luchador babe, Jaycee. Of course, we all know it’s really American Eco Fighter Julia Chang under that flashy costume, and these vids once again confirm that. With alternate head items equipped, the luchador mask comes off revealing the comely face beneath.

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Finally, the mask comes off!

So far Customization in Tekken Tag 2 has been quite different from the previous Tekken 6 and Bloodline Rebellion, but I think this will be for the better. I’ll examine the new system in another post- for now, watch the match vids above straight from Japanese arcades- wish we could be there!

Tekken Tag 2 Official ‘Tag Assault’ Trailer!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 19th, 2011 by thelonegamer

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The Latest TTT2 Trailer Will Assault Your Senses!

Tekken director Katsuhiro Harada has just posted this awesome new spot for Tekken Tag Tournament 2 on his Facebook page, this time featuring the many awesome Tag Assault and Tag Throw attacks featured in this arcade hit.

It’s hard not to squeal in delight at the badass combo beatdowns shown off in this 2-minute spot, and it’s interesting to see the combinations of players that pull them off. You have your expected teams, like Paul-Law, Raven-Yoshimitsu, JIn-Jun, Asuka-Lili… but then you got team ups like Bryan-Dragunov (Didn’t Bryan KILL Sergei in the Tekken live-action movie..? Heh…) and Zafina-Ogre. I’m hoping there are a lot more Tag Specials in other pairs of fighters just waiting to be discovered.

Of course, this just makes the wait for this brawler even more deliciously excruciating. For now though, check out the vid and visit Harada on Facebook to give him a Like or a Thumbs Up!