Art Exhibit See For Yourself

  • RoboCop (1987)
    by NIAE on December 2, 2020 at 1:37 AM

    Attribution: Brecht Bug; w/ Glitch Effect The post RoboCop (1987) appeared first on Art Exhibit.

  • The Lion King
    by NIAE on December 1, 2020 at 10:36 PM

    In a classic case of subversion, the producers have painted Mufasa and Simba – the beta male lions (no connection to the PUA-related concept) – as the good guys and the alpha male (Scar) as evil. In addition, Nala is Simba’s sister, and in the movie, they hook up together. What’s the problem? This movie The post The Lion King appeared first on Art Exhibit.

  • Diana & Apollo Killing Niobe’s Children by Jacques Louis David
    by NIAE on August 19, 2020 at 6:57 AM

    As is evident by the title, the Greek mythological context of this objectively beautiful painting is self-explanatory. Humans look human. Deities look like deities. The observer can identify what is what, and what each character is feeling. There is undeniable skill involved in this painting and the painter clearly keeps a consistent frame and and The post Diana & Apollo Killing Niobe’s Children by Jacques Louis David appeared first on Art Exhibit.

  • Modern Bohemia by E.L. Kirchner
    by NIAE on August 19, 2020 at 6:52 AM

    A blue-haired naked person with female sexual characteristics is randomly lounging in a public area, like there is nothing wrong with it; it should be noted that gender is something that cannot be assumed in erronormative art, and as such, the naked person might be something other than a woman. Another person with long hair The post Modern Bohemia by E.L. Kirchner appeared first on Art Exhibit.

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  • Overwatch Director Jeff Kaplan Is Leaving Blizzard, Overwatch 2 Still In Development.
    by Liana Ruppert on April 20, 2021 at 5:38 PM

    Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan has confirmed that he is leaving Blizzard after 20 years with the company. Kaplan has been at the epicenter of the Overwatch community, providing inspiration for gamers with his journey from gamer to game dev, and facilitating a microcosm of fans that are unafraid to geek out and be involved with the Blizzard family.  The news of Kaplan's departure is shocking as he took to the Blizzard Blog to detail the change in leadership for Overwatch. Though he is leaving the Overwatch community as game director, Blizzard promises fans that Overwatch 2 is continuing in its development under the helm of Aaron Keller. Keller is a founding member of the Overwatch team, and he will be taking over Kaplan's role going forward.  "Speaking of Overwatch 2, development is continuing at a good pace," said Keller in an open letter to fans. "We have an exceptional vision we’re executing on, the reaction from many of you to the updates we shared at BlizzConline thrilled us, and we have exciting reveals planned for this year and beyond as we ramp to launch. We’ll be sharing more frequent updates about Overwatch 2 progress and new features in the live game with you all very soon." Kaplan himself weighed in with his own personal note, saying, "It was truly the honor of a lifetime to have the opportunity to create worlds and heroes for such a passionate audience. i want to express my deep appreciation to everyone at blizzard who supported our games, our game teams, and our players. but I want to say a special thanks to the wonderful game developers that shared in the journey of creation with me."  Blizzard promises that a more thorough update is on the horizon. For now, we must say goodbye to Kaplan and everything he has done to keep the Overwatch community wholesome, hopeful, and excited for the future.  [Source: Blizzard]

  • Making Nier New Again
    by Kimberley Wallace on April 20, 2021 at 5:07 PM

    When Nier: Automata was released in 2017, it was a surprise success for publisher Square Enix and developer PlatinumGames, selling over 5 million copies. The action/RPG fascinated players with its thought-provoking story, interesting boss battles, and unconventional design. However, back in 2010, its predecessor – simply called Nier – set the stage. The original Nier wasn’t the most polished or impressive in the gameplay department, but it struck an emotional chord and became a cult hit.  People who missed that first entry are getting a new opportunity to see it at its best. Nier Replicant ver. 1.22474487139, which hits on April 23, is a re-release of the original with an array of interesting updates. We sat down with series creator Yoko Taro, producer Yosuke Saito, composer Keiichi Okabe, and Replicant’s development director Saki Ito to reflect on the game and their approach to bringing it back for a new generation.  Replicant Versus Gestalt Originally, two versions of Nier were released in Japan: Replicant for PS3, and Gestalt for Xbox 360. This will be North America’s first time experiencing Replicant. The difference? In Replicant, you play as an older brother trying to save his little sister rather than a father searching for a cure for his young daughter.  Yoko Taro (via his Zoom video stand-in, a Kermit the Frog puppet) says this impacts very little in terms of the story, and it was more of a marketing idea. “Whenever there is the same title being released on multiple platforms, people tend to compare the technical aspects of it, like framerate and graphics,” he explains. “In order to bring out a complete difference because they’re on different platforms, you might as well just use different characters, so that it will take their attention away from technical aspects and they’ll pay more attention to the more obvious difference of the characters.” Producer Yosuke Saito confirms that the team struggled with the game’s marketing, which led to the two versions, but he thinks the bigger challenge was developing on multiple platforms. “It took quite a long time, somewhere upwards of a year to a year and a half,” he recalls. “We didn't see very much development in production, so that was definitely something that sticks in my mind. For a year and a half, we [just] had the Hansel and Gretel boss. And while we were working on this, I would hear Mr. Okabe’s voice in that BGM track and I kept listening to that.”  “Vocals aside, I think it is a very good song,” adds composer Keiichi Okabe, laughing.  Finding Inspiration When we asked Taro how he came up with his ideas for Nier, he said he’s giving us a different answer than what he’s told other members of the media. “I was actually quite tired with the production of games,” he says. “I thought, ‘This might be the last piece of work that I might create in video game media.’ And if I were to make this my last title, I wanted to do something that’s quite normal – a regular action/RPG.”  Taro says his mind went to Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time for inspiration, but when he consulted with Saito, Saito turned it down, saying he wanted “something unusual.”  “With doing a standard RPG with Square Enix, we have Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy,” Saito explains. “So my feedback to Mr. Yoko was, ‘Well,I don't think we can win against something like that.’” Saito says this made them come up with the idea to go all-in on the action and focus on that aspect, but it proved more difficult than the team expected. “So in the pre-production phase, we were talking about having this be more action-oriented and less story-driven,” he says. “We wanted it to be more about gameplay … but when we looked at how it was coming along, I didn't feel confident that something that is just pure action would capture the hearts of those in the worldwide market. That's why we changed directions from there and leaned back into a more story-driven RPG” Taro also didn’t think the gameplay could hook people by “just going into a dungeon and killing characters,” so he focused on the narrative to make it stand out. “Thinking about the story, I also wanted to go with something very traditional,” says Taro, who looked to Shonen Jump manga like Bleach and Hunter x Hunter for inspiration. “Those were quite twisted in their own right,” he says. “I feel like Nier [matched that].”  The team also wanted something a little lighter than what fans experienced with the dark and disturbing Drakengard games, which the Nier series is a spin-off of. “I was executive producer on Drakengard, and that was quite a story when it came out,” Saito says. “When we were thinking of our next installment called Nier, it was like, ‘Okay, maybe we should try something more happy.’ People might not see the happy aspect of Nier Replicant/Gestalt, but we feel it's a happy title.” The Weight Of Words While Nier focused on the power of words and their meaning, Taro had an ulterior motive for the theme. “I’m sorry if this breaks the illusion, but using words doesn’t require much effort and graphical depiction. It actually saves on resource allocation. We did our best to make a very appealing game and tried to incorporate the element of words and the weight they carry, but again, the start of it all was just trying to save some pennies.” Nier’s cast featured the kind-yet-troubled Emil, hot-tempered Kaine, and egotistical talking book Grimoire Weiss. Kaine’s and Grimoire Weiss’ banter became a highlight for fans. Taro says he made it a point to have random, non-meaningful conversations to give players a breather from the chaos of battle. “In an RPG, you have many times where you’re trying to defeat this particular enemy and you’ve got these very strong emotions like, ‘I hate him.’ [I incorporated banter] as a way to relieve that stress.” Favorite Moments While Nier had an interesting cast, Yoko Taro’s favorite character isn’t from the main party members. “Fyra, the princess of the Facade Kingdom is one of my favorite characters,” he says. Taro thinks the whole part where the player enters Facade and learns about the kingdom in the desert is one of the game’s more memorable moments. He even toyed with casting Fyra and the King of Facade as the story’s protagonists, but as he wrote more, he realized they didn’t function the best in that role. "I'm sure people will understand what I mean by that as they play the game in that area,” he says.  Replicant’s development director Saki Ito was a fan of the original game and actually went back to play it before starting work on Replicant ver. 1.22474487139. “Parts still really stick out to me,” he says. “Some of them being the very difficult decisions that I had to make. Just being able to go through with [the choices] and owning that experience of making it my story was something very memorable to me.” Without spoiling anything, he says a particular ending that involves a certain headstrong character remains his favorite.  It's an unexpected but fascinating battle that both Saito and Okabe love the most, but they find it memorable for much different reasons. Before we go further, we are warning that these next two paragraphs contain some *spoilers* from the original Nier. Saito really loves the characters of Devola and Popola, so a big highlight for him was seeing how their roles transformed later in the game. “I’m sorry I’m kind of spoiling this; but when you fight them, and Popola was so nice up to that point and she just suddenly goes berserk - that’s my favorite part.” Okabe agrees that it’s a powerful scene, and had a huge personal investment in how it played out: “It’s actually the same scene for me, but my memorable moment for that scene was with the twins singing and dancing to the song and attacking you as they dance. I had the song made ahead of time, and so the motion capture was actually done in sync to match with the timing of the music; it was part of the cinematic presentation. But the camera was pulled back so far that it really didn't show the effort that was put into trying to match everything. The effect was so lost and I was so shocked. I reached out to Yoko-san, telling him, ‘I don't think we achieved the effect we were going for.’ To which he responded, ‘Oh, well. You won't know until you do something, haha.’ That's what I remember.” WORKING WITH Yoko TARO AFTER ALL THESE YEARS Yoko Taro was quick to admit to us that he’s not always the easiest person to work with, and actually confessed that he might have caused the most challenges on the production of the original Nier. “My natural qualities are not very amenable, so to speak, and many people left the project,” Taro admits. “I think my biggest challenge was maintaining my staff and me having this personality that wasn’t very well-liked. My sort of arrogance, I’m sure, is very well understood by Toylogic’s Ito-san [now].” “He's not at all hard to work with,” responds Replicant’s development director Saki Ito. “He's just very confident in what he says. If people think that's arrogance, well, that's their loss.” Yosuke Saito and Keiichi Okabe have been long-time collaborators with Taro for over a decade now, so we couldn’t resist asking what’s been the best thing about working with the eccentric creator after all this time. “Nothing in particular,” Saito says, causing the room to erupt in laughter. “I mean, I’m glad that we are still happy and healthy at this age; we’ve aged well together.” Okabe takes the moment to reflect on the creative process and the crazy roller coaster ride Taro takes him on by not giving him much instruction and then having him redo certain parts over and over. “There are moments I get frustrated, but when I hear the song actually implemented in the game and see what kind of visual presentation we wanted to go for with the music element in there, I understand where he comes from and the role [he wants] my music to play in the presentation of a particular scene and that it's necessary for it to be implemented in a specific way. He really takes care of the music that I provide, so that's why he would have me fix areas that may not necessarily match or be appropriate for a specific scene. I feel like I was able to finally understand that after years of working with him.”    Creating The Sound Nier’s soundtrack stands as one of the most memorable parts of the experience, but composer Keiichi Okabe had to approach it in an unconventional way. “With the original title 10 years ago – and this is very unusual in the case of game music because a lot of the times the game will already be built to a certain extent and then the composer jumps into the project. But when I joined the project, they were still in a sort of prototype phase,” he explains. “I was going into it without really being able to see what's going on and what's going into the game.”  Okabe says he would compose songs based on the production team giving him just a few adjectives to describe what type of song they were looking for and kept building upon them based on feedback. “I didn't have a strong image or a vision of what I wanted to make at the very beginning,” he says, “but then I watched the game take shape and expanded my imagination based on what I saw being built.” The biggest challenge for Okabe came from a request by Taro. “One of the directives that Mr. Yoko provided was to include some kind of voice with every single music track,” he says. “So, we would have those vocal songs where we feature Emi Evans, and we would also have a chorus or a choir singing. Then we also have songs like “Bluebird” where we're using the element of voice as more of a percussive or in a sound effect kind of way. With recording vocals, compared to instrumentals, it is a bit more challenging as it does require multiple takes of recording. Plus, we had lyrics, albeit it was a made-up language (a.k.a. the chaos language). The process of developing these pieces was just time-consuming, and not to mention the cost aspect of it is also a challenge that we had to face.” However, in the end, Okabe thinks the extra difficulties paid off and are a big part of what made people latch onto Nier’s soundtrack and hold it in such high regard. “I think what makes it stand out is just the vocal parts and [Emi Evans’] voice is very memorable. The songs in Nier, because we have vocals - and such unique vocals - that come in and out of the track, I think that helps with making an impression on the players.” Because all the tracks are so integral to the story and gameplay, Okabe still can’t pick a favorite track. “That's a question that I'm always stumped on because the [songs] all have different roles that they play in the game, and they each have their sort of moment that's appropriate for the different pieces,” he says. “I don't want to specify one single song because it might cause people to think, ‘Oh, this song has a special meaning to the overall game,’ and so I'm afraid I'm unable to pick one single song.” Saito isn’t quite as shy to announce a favorite, adding, “I do not have that worry, so I'm going to unabashedly let you know again that I loved Devola and Popola, and my favorite song is "Song of the Ancients.”  Okabe is quick to say he loves that song, too: “Again, it fulfills its purpose and I’m very satisfied by the way it’s used. I will not deliberately say this is my personal favorite song, but it’s a wonderful song.” Making The Old Feel New With the original Nier’s 10th anniversary approaching, Saito said Square Enix wanted to celebrate the milestone, and that sparked the idea to release an updated version of the game. “On top of that, we were coming out of the console lifecycle that games on the PlayStation 3 would no longer be playable, so to speak,” he says. “[The discussion] was fairly casual when we thought about making an updated version of this game, but when we actually jumped into the project, there's a lot of items that we did update and replace, so it did become quite the upgrade.”  While having a new edition to commemorate the cult hit’s 10-year anniversary seemed like a great idea, not everyone was immediately on board. Taro was on the fence about the entire project, fearing the game would get compared unfairly to Automata. “I was actually against doing a remaster or a version update of [the original Nier] because it is a very old game, and the story will probably come across as old if people play it in this modern day,” he says. “However, working with [developer] Toylogic and seeing how they were able to get the quality really high, I feel that we were able to create a place where people who played this game before can get together for a reunion. As for new players, I have no idea how they’re going to react to this.” Nier wasn’t super successful when it initially released, but Saito feels confident in giving it another chance to shine. “We were able to glean a lot of knowledge on building a good game [from Automata],” he says. “It's been 10 years, but we didn't waste those 10 years. We do feel that we were able to achieve a fairly good standard in how we made [Replicant]. Plus, we had some young members of the staff that helped with the Replicant project and they did a good job on it. I do feel confident, especially with the success of Automata, and that we were able to carry over that into the version update for Replicant.” The Big Changes One of the things from the original Ito did want to improve for Replicant was the action, using Automata as a reference and target goal. “We did change some of the action elements,” he confirms. “Some of the more recognizable changes would be the movement speed, as well as the variation of the moves.” You can now lock-on to targets, and the team altered the way enemies move and react to players. “A lot of the times, I looked at it and thought to myself, ‘I didn’t expect to change this much of the game,” he says. “But because the resolution has become higher, there were more elements that stuck out that I felt required some touch-ups so that it would look good on screen.” Saito was impressed by Ito’s work, especially in how his team improved the action and remapped the controls. “Their ideas [for] magic, improving accuracy on the homing element, and how Grimoire Weiss is now available to you as you're moving around in the field … They really wanted to take reference from Automata and that was really well done."  Toylogic didn’t stop at the combat, though. Enhancements were also made to the environments and character faces alongside more subtle improvements in character positioning and camera movements. “We also wanted to make Grimoire Weiss more prominent to make sure that he is recognized as the protagonist’s buddy and have that connection with the character,” Ito says. In addition, extra dungeons and new story content were also included. Fans can also expect to hear some variations in the music. Okabe says he tried to keep in mind how he feels when something that’s beloved to him gets remade or updated when he created the new arrangements for Replicant. “Rather than trying to change the impression that the music was giving off, I wanted to make sure that we're not taking away from the original and make the rearrangements in line with what the players would be familiar with,” he says.  When deciding how to approach the rearrangements, a piece of feedback from Yoko Taro on the original Nier stuck with him about the songs being on the shorter side. “I bolstered and extended them in the game while retaining the good elements of the original,” Okabe explains. “I still added a new element, maybe incorporating it into a different zone of the same field to bring a refreshing feeling. I hope people enjoy that sort of newness but it still feels kind of familiar.” Over a decade later, people who haven’t played Nier can finally see what made it so special and how the series managed to live on after its original studio, Cavia, shuttered. “We hope people will [play] this and recognize, ‘This is how it all started; this is what Nier is about,” Ito says. “We updated it so that people can now play it very comfortably and very smoothly while still having that nostalgic feeling that this was a game that existed in the past.”  For more on Nier Replicant, you can check out our recent hands-on preview here.  

  • Watch The First 7 Minutes Of The Mortal Kombat Movie Reboot Here
    by Liana Ruppert on April 20, 2021 at 4:12 PM

    Ahead of the Friday release of the upcoming Mortal Kombat movie reboot, we've got a sneak peek for fans to enjoy right here. For those that can't wait to join the fight once more, you can watch the first seven minutes of the Mortal Kombat film to help get your day started the right way.  Normally, gaming adaptations are meant with groans, but the Mortal Kombat movie takes have been an exception; regardless of how cheesy they can be. The original films were downright perfect when capturing the fan excitement that this iconic fighting franchise elicits, and to see yet another iteration come to pass is exciting - especially when looking at all of the previous looks at the cinematic homage leading up to its release.  But enough talk, we know what you're here for! Check out the first seven minutes of the Mortal Kombat movie reboot in the video below. Happy watching:  The wait for Mortal Kombat is almost over – to #PrepareForMortalKombat, watch the first seven minutes of #MortalKombatMovie and tag your movie krew. Experience Mortal Kombat in theaters and streaming on HBO Max* this Friday. pic.twitter.com/N9zTw0t1tc — Mortal Kombat Movie (@MKMovie) April 20, 2021 "It's been over 25 years since the first feature film came out, and fans have been pretty vocal asking for another big-screen entry," producer James Wan told Game Informer previously, as part of our early access screening. "As a fan myself of the games and movies, I, too, wanted to see another theatrical version of this, and felt it was time again to revisit this IP that has been kept relevant in the game world but not as much in the feature world. From the get go, [fellow producer] Todd Garner, my Atomic Monster team, and I, were excited and gung-ho about creating a new, updated version with today's filmmaking technology whilst being respectful to the fantasy tone, violent action, and gore of the game that fans have come to love and, at the same time, bring these vivid characters and stories back to the big screen in a modern, exciting way for a whole new generation who may not be as familiar with the films as we were growing up." The latest Mortal Kombat movie iteration was originally meant for a March 2021 release but was pushed back due to the pressures on the film industry during the continued presence of COVID-19. Luckily, the team managed to get the project wrapped up safely, and the film arrives later this week on April 23.  What do you think about the Mortal Kombat movie reboot and our seven-minute preview of the film? What are you hoping to see the most out of the latest film adaptation? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below! 

  • New Hellblade 2 Behind-The-Scenes Footage Revealed
    by Liana Ruppert on April 20, 2021 at 3:56 PM

    Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 was first revealed during the 2019 Game Awards, but news has been scarce since its big reveal. As Ninja Theory continues to work hard on the highly anticipated sequel, Senua actress Melina Juergens took center stage in a recent behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to make the sequel a reality.  Jeurgens took to YouTube to share an in-depth look at the combined efforts to make the continuation of Senua's Sacrifice an experience to remember. Titled Diary of a Digital Hooman – Episode 2: Warriors in the Making, Juergens kicks off the video by talking a little more about what's she's been doing since the release of the previous game and how quickly Ninja Theory got started on making the sequel a reality. To do that, the actress went to work immediately to train in the art of sword fighting and how to be a "proper warrior."  Click here to watch embedded media The latest video is an awesome look at some of the lesser-known aspects of the game development process and exactly how much work goes into bringing certain characters to life. For those interested in Hellblade 2, it's an intriguing bird's-eye view into the more creative aspects of the progression cycle.  When the first Hellblade was released on last-gen with the PlayStation 4, it was instantly hailed for its expertly crafted auditory experience, gut-wrenching narrative, and detailing of mental illness in a way that was respectful while still telling a story. Because of that, it's no surprise that the sequel's confirmation brought a lot of fan excitement.  We don't have any release information at the time, but we do, at least, know that Senua's Saga: Hellblade 2 is currently in active development for both Xbox Series X and PC.  What are your thoughts on Senua's tale and the latest inside look at development on Hellblade 2? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below! You can also watch episode one of her digital diary in the video below:  Click here to watch embedded media  

  • Nintendo Reveals Luigi Starter Course For LEGO Super Mario Adventures
    by Liana Ruppert on April 20, 2021 at 2:50 PM

    It's Luigi's time to shine! Following a very creepy update that had Mario from the latest LEGO set calling out for his green brother, Luigi has finally arrived outside of Mario's imagination. Nintendo has shown off our first look at the Luigi Starter Course that is joining the LEGO Super Mario Adventures experience, including the task of meeting up with Pink Yoshi and going "face-to-face with Boom Boom."  Nintendo of America took to Twitter to confirm Luigi's arrival with a new video showing off exactly what he brings to the table:  It's LEGO Luigi Time! Introducing #LEGOSuperMario Adventures with Luigi Starter Course! Meet up with Pink Yoshi and go face-to-face with Boom Boom. Pre-order today! https://t.co/jKB5vhq7ye pic.twitter.com/itcKhyWdRJ — Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) April 20, 2021 The Adventures With Luigi Start Course from LEGO retails for $59.99 and is available to pre-order now. While exciting, there is a little bit of a wait that comes with the news, because the Luigi set isn't slated to arrive until the beginning of August.  The latest addition to the LEGO Super Mario Adventures includes a Luigi figure that offers expressive responses thanks to an LCD speaker and screen, Pink Yoshi, Boom Boom, and a Bone Goomba. The different bricks also included in the upcoming Tower biome also includes various reactions via Luigi's LCD screen, with the blocks offering a variety of rewards.  The LEGO Super Mario app also offers unique instructions on how to get building, as well as some inspiration about where those creative urges can take Nintendo fans next. While Luigi may come secondary in much of the Super Mario franchise, he'll never come second in our hearts.  So take that, Mario. The newest arrival for the LEGO set includes 280 pieces for Super Mario fans aged six years and up. You can pre-order your set, and learn more, right there.  Thoughts on Luigi's arrival coming later this Summer? What other facets of the Super Mario universe would you like to see LEGO add next? Go ahead and spout off those hopes and dreams in the comment section below and tell us why Rosalina is the obvious choice. 

  • Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne HD Remaster — New Gameplay Today
    by Daniel Tack on April 20, 2021 at 2:15 PM

    Click to watch embedded media The PlayStation 2 era was a long time ago, but Shin Megami Tensei III is coming back with a vengeance on May 25 to PlayStation 4, Switch and PC. If you're a fan of the Persona series but haven't had the chance to try out where it came from with the Shin Megami Tensei series, it's probably time you took a journey into the weird, the occult, the demonic, and the bizarre with one of these turn-based JRPG titles. Today, join us for a New Gameplay Today episode featuring some footage from the PC version of Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne HD Remaster. There's a good chance you've already got plenty of knowledge and skills from the Persona games that will carry over, but then again, there are some other things to consider as well. Like talking to enemies to recruit them, trying to win them over to join your team by offering them life, currency, or knowledge of their personality quirks. This jaunt showcases our battle with the first boss of the game, right before things begin to open up. While many of the systems are just forming in this opening segment, you can get a look at how the Remaster looks and sounds. Most structures remain unchanged, but quality of life improvements are available, including one that may be of interest to new players, a merciful (easy mode) difficulty level. The Shin Megami Tensei games have a reputation for being difficult, and they are. So, if you feel like playing through with the story as the focus, that's now an option! In case you're curious, the boss featured in this video was on normal difficulty. Oh, and you might see a familiar face after the fight... Are you interested in Shin Megami Tensei III Nocturne HD Remaster? Let us know in the comments!

  • Xbox Game Pass Adds 6 New Games Including Fable, MLB The Show 21, And More
    by Liana Ruppert on April 20, 2021 at 2:03 PM

    The Xbox Game Pass has continued to grow exponentially since its birth, and now even more games are joining the lineup. Following the plethora of Bethesda additions and EA Play contributions, six new games have been added to the rotation. From a couple of Fable adventures to the latest MLB The Show experience, here is what's coming - and leaving - Xbox Game Pass.  What's new on Xbox Game Pass? The Xbox Game Pass is a constantly evolving subscription service with a steady influx of new games added and titles being removed to make room for more. Here is what's coming to (and what's leaving) Xbox Game Pass this month without further ado.  Xbox Wire What's coming:  MLB The Show 21, Cloud and Console - Available Now Phogs!, PC - April 22 Second Extinction (Game Preview), Cloud, Console, and PC - April 28 Destroy All Humans!, Cloud, Console, and PC - April 29 Fable III, Cloud - April 30 Fable Anniversary, Cloud - April 30 More Cloud-based touch games:  Banjo-Kazooie Battle Chasers: Nightwar Killer Queen Black Overcooked! 2 Wreckfest Double Dragon Neon DLC/Game updates:  Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition - The United States Civilization - Available Now Microsoft Flight Simulator: World Update IV - France and Benelux - Available NOw Sea of Thieves: Season 2 - Available Now Spiritfarer: Free Lily Update - Available Now What's leaving:  Endless Legend, PC For the King, Cloud, Console and PC Fractured Minds, Cloud and Console Levelhead, Cloud, Console and PC Moving Out, Cloud, Console, and PC Thumper, PC Don't have Xbox Game Pass yet? Here's what you need to know: it's a deal that you've likely heard a lot about in the past year. It's grown exponentially, and the value is undeniable. For those still on the fence, there are two options to choose from with the normal Xbox Game Pass and Game Pass Ultimate. Xbox Game Pass is $9.99, whereas the Ultimate version includes Xbox Live for $14.99.  It's a solid investment, especially if you're a little pickier when it comes to games. Xbox Game Pass allows players access to over 100 titles at no additional cost outside of the membership, including first-party day one additions and acquired studio games.  Thoughts on the new Xbox Game Pass arrivals dropping this month? What do you hope gets added next? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below! 

  • Big Fortnite Secrets To Be Revealed In The Batman/Fortnite: Zero Point Comic Series
    by Andrew Reiner on April 20, 2021 at 2:00 PM

    Fortnite's Zero Point event may have concluded in the game, but it's just getting started in comic books. The six-issue Batman/Fortnite: Zero Point series by DC Comics will deliver "big reveals" for the battle royale's lore, and readers of the print edition will also receive codes for in-game items, such as new outfits for Batman and Harley Quinn. The first issue is out today, with the next installments hitting twice a month (issue two arrives on May 4). I had a chance to read through the first issue, and thought it was quite clever, playing up both Batman's detective skills in interesting ways as well as holding true to how Fortnite operates as a video game. One of the biggest callouts to the game is that none of the characters speak once they are on Fortnite's island. Instead the reader hears what Batman is thinking, but never once will you see him even attempt to communicate verbally with another character. The story begins with Batman getting sucked into a portal that relocates him from Gotham to the island. Not only is he taken aback by his new surroundings, he can't remember anything – his memory has been wiped clean. His intelligence, fighting prowess, and general line of thinking are the same, but everything else is blurry. He doesn't even know who Catwoman is when he meets her, yet he thinks she looks familiar. Holding true to the game, every 22 minutes that follow, when the storm fully constricts on the island, Batman goes back to square one, forced to battle again and try to figure out as much of this island's mysteries as he can before the next reset. Much like the movie Momento, he realizes he can leave himself clues on inanimate objects to help piece together what is going on. You can see some of this in the trailer below: Click here to watch embedded media The Batman/Fortnite: Zero Point story comes from the minds of famed comic writer Christos Gage and the equally revered artist Reilly Brown. I had the opportunity to speak to both of them last week, and while they both said they never played Fortnite before taking on this job, they were brought up to speed on the game universe's lore by Epic Games' chief creative officer Donald Mustard, who also illustrated a variant cover. The standard edition covers are created by Mikel Janín. Mustard didn't just give this creative team the general premise to work from; he wants this comic's story to reveal new parts of Fortnite's lore. Gage says that even though Batman is our viewpoint into this Fortnite story, we will also see it from another perspective in a future issue. "In issue three – the Snake Eyes crossover issue – I tried something experimental. Since we're in a story where no one can talk, and since I've done plenty of Batman thought captions, I thought, 'Let me tell this issue from the point of view of someone who works for the people who control Fortnite island.' This is an unnamed person who is responding to what is going on and is saying, 'Okay, Batman is figuring things out a little quicker than we would like, so we need someone more formidable to distract him. Bring me a great warrior.' He's basically sending an inner office memo to acquisitions. Snake Eyes then shows up. It was a fun challenge to say, 'How do we give a little insight into what it's like to be a shadowy group that controls Fortnite island without actually revealing anything we're not suppose to reveal.'” Click image thumbnails to view larger version                                                                                                               Getting a look behind Fortnite island's operations is interesting in its own right, but there's supposedly much more to learn. Gage says that Fortnite fans should read issues four, five, and six for the "big reveals." What could these be? Gage and Brown wouldn't say, but kept saying they will likely be meaningful for players. A big part of the first issue’s appeal is seeing the island come to life in panels. Brown has a keen eye for the locations that players will immediately recognize, and he also doesn't shy away from jamming as many Fortnite characters as he can into any given fray. You'll see a good number of familiar faces battling aside or against Batman. "I've been thinking about where these characters come from, what their world is like," Gage adds. "In your head you have to put yourself in their place. Is Peely from a world of sentient bananas? Are they all bananas or are they all kinds of fruits with personalities and arms and legs? Or is he some kind of mutant or construct? I do this with every character. They are amazingly designed and there's so much story potential with all of them." Click image thumbnails to view larger version                                                                                                               A walking banana is obviously strange, but Brown says that character fits right in with the world of superheroes. "If you look at characters from our universe, like Batman and Catwoman, they don't look any less crazy than Fortnite's characters in costumes," he says. "Is Cuddle Team Leader the Batman of her universe? Or is she just there to promote the pink bear frozen yogurt? I don't know. [laughs] I'd love to see more from all of their backstories." Both Gage and Brown would love to revisit Fortnite for more comic books after this Zero Point series concludes. Nothing against Batman, but Fortnite deserves its own independent run that gives us deeper insights into its fascinating universe. The games do a great job of building up mysteries and an even better job concluding them in shocking ways, but the story has been tough to track and the characters don't get nearly enough development. An ongoing comic series would be a great way to deliver that info. 

  • Ubisoft Is Expanding The Assassin's Creed Universe, Exclusive First Look At AC Valhalla: Blood Brothers
    by Liana Ruppert on April 19, 2021 at 11:20 PM

    Assassin's Creed already has games, books, comics, and movies, but now Ubisoft is looking to expand that AC love even more with a new initiative. From podcast to webtoons, the studio is curating a new library to celebrate all things Assassin's Creed, including our first look at a new manhua (Chinese comics) called Valhalla: Blood Brothers.  New Assassin's Creed tales will come in several forms, including podcasts, webtoons, new novels, and more. Ubisoft is collaborating with creators from all over the world to add new Assassin's Creed experiences for fans to enjoy in-between game time. Assassin's Creed: Stories will elaborate on the world we already know while offering some new surprises as well for fans to enjoy. We also have an exclusive preview of chapter two of a new short story with the manhua Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Blood Brothers, as seen in the slideshow below:  Click image thumbnails to view larger version                                                                                                               Ubisoft also exclusively shared with Game Informer the content plans that are on the horizon. Take a look at some of the novels, manhua, and more below, courtesy of the company:  Novels:  Assassin's Creed Fragments Fragments is a new action-adventure saga that is about teens caught up in the age-old Assassin-Templar feud. Each book in the series will take readers to a different time period and location and will feature new protagonists to lead each narrative. The first volume is set in 19th Century Japan, with the second taking place in 13th Century Scotland, and the third in 17th Century France. Assassin's Creed: The Jade Seal Collection From the Zhou Dynasty to the Ming Dynasty, the Jade Seal Collection will expand even further with ten new novels. Emperors, courtiers, legendary martial artists, poets, philosophers, and many other important figures from Chinese history be center stage for these new adventures. Assassin's Creed: The Ming Storm Written by renowned Chinese author Yan Leisheng, The Ming Storm is an action-packed trilogy rooted in 16th century China featuring Shao Jun, a young Assassin that was first introduced in Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China. The first book is set to arrive on June 1, 2021. Illustrated Fiction:  Assassin's Creed Dynasty  Assassin's Creed fans will be able to follow the adventures of Li E, an Assassin that is on an important quest to save the Tang Dynasty from a civil war.  Volume 1 releasing on September 1, 2021, as an ebook with a print release set for January 11, 2022. Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Blood Brothers Manhua (seen above) Blood Brothers will follow the story of two Viking brothers within the world that Valhalla built, not long before the exploits of Eivor the Wolf-Kissed. An eBook version of this new tale will arrive on June 28, 2021, with a print version following on August 10.  Ubisoft also confirmed that samples of the books will be available during this year's Free Comic Book Day celebration on August 14. Assassin's Creed Valhalla: French Graphic Novel Glénat Editions' original graphic novel will be arriving in France this fall, giving readers a chance to uncover the tale of an aspiring Assassin and a Christian monk as they travel from Ravensthorpe to the mystery-filled heights of Scotland. Assassin's Creed: Valhalla Song of Glory The comic series from Dark Horse Comics is launching on April 21, 2021, as a hardcover collector's item. This story is a prequel to the game that released last year Vikings Eivor and Sigurd embark on separate adventures to chase glory.  Assassin's Creed: Blade of Shao Jun This manga, based on Assassin’s Creed Chronicles: China video game featuring Assassin Shao Jun, centers around the character that players first fell in love with thanks to the spinoff game. It will also allow fans to discover a new modern-day plot through the story of Lisa, a teenager who falls into a trap set by Abstergo, the modern incarnation of the Templar Order. Digital: Assassin's Creed: Turbulence in the Ming Dynasty Podcast This audio adaptation of the Ming Dynasty novel is voiced by a first-rate cast from the Chinese film industry, including Liu Yan as Shao Jun. Enriched with audio FX and a moving score, this podcast is the perfect format to become fully immersed in China during 16th Century Ming Dynasty. Webtoons This Korean webtoon will serve as a sequel to Assassin’s Creed Black Flag and expand Edward Kenway’s story from the game itself. Personally, this was my favorite Assassin's Creed game, so I am looking forward to this adventure the most.  Classics are meant to be direct adaptations based on the video games, whereas Chronicles are listed as brand-new adventures featuring familiar faces thanks to this new creative initiative. Originals will be all-new stories, with new characters to meet and fall in love with through various entertainment mediums.  Ubisoft is launching this new creative hub soon on April 21, alongside a brand new website to host new content going forward. Thoughts on the latest way the company is looking to expand the Assassin's Creed universe? Following the movie and previous expansions, what are you hoping to see next regarding the Brotherhood? Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below! 

  • Nadeshot on 100 Thieves, Valkyrae, CouRage, And The Road Ahead
    by Alex Stadnik on April 19, 2021 at 10:32 PM

    Click to watch embedded media Adversity is something that strikes all of us over the course of our lives. Sometimes it feels like more than we can handle, yet we still need to find ways to cope and grow as people. Matthew “Nadeshot” Haag had to learn this harsh lesson early and brutally when in 2012, his mother passed away after triumphantly battling against illness after illness. At this point, he had a choice: Succumb to his grief and frustration, or build something special. And if you're here now reading this, you know what Mr. Haag chose. 100 Thieves has set the world on fire with a plethora of pro gaming teams, exclusive and sought-after merch that sells out in minutes, and a group of some of the most iconic streamers in the age of the content boom. But this didn't all happen overnight, right? As part of last week's GI Show, Matthew "Nadeshot" Haag joined Ben Reeves, Liana Ruppert, and me to discuss all this and fill in the gaps as he went from uninspired college dropout to one of the internet's biggest gaming personalities. We also discuss his golf game, how to break into the content creation industry, and his new deal bringing in Rachel "Valkyrae" Hofstetter and Jack "CouRage" Dunlop into the ownership group of 100 Thieves. Thanks for watching and we hope you enjoy the video! Enjoyed the interview? Be sure to check out our other sitdowns with some of the biggest names in the video game industry, including talks with the Minnesota Rokkr, the developers behind Deathloop, and even a playthrough of It Takes Two with the one and only Josef Fares. You can also check out the full episode of The GI Show featuring Supergiant Games' creative director Greg Kasavin to discuss Resident Evil Village, the development of Hades, and more!