Monday, January 31, 2005

Movers, shakers, and other rumblings

Okay, so you guys know that updates have been running a little on the slow side. I've been keeping busy behind the scenes, but I haven't forgotten things here. Here's a quick list of a few things I'm currently working on:

  • Development continues on the Visionary Ink news hub. I've been working with Shane over at Near Mint Heroes to develop content for the site, which will cover news, reviews, and other information related to the video game and comic industries. I've already been in talks with various artists in the comic industry, both established and unknown, to contribute some really cool artwork to the project. More to come.

  • It looks like I'll be adding another publication to my list of writing credits soon. Recently, I've been in talks with the editors over at Electronic Gaming Monthly, and while nothing is set in stone just yet, it looks like I'll be contributing some freelance writing to the magazine in the very near future.

  • Writing, writing, and more writing. I've got a pretty full plate in terms of writing this week. I'm working on a couple of articles about the upcoming BloodRayne comic book. One of these pieces is an interview with Christina Z., the writer of the comic series. I'm also working on write-ups for Super Monkey Ball Deluxe and American McGee Presents Scrapland.

  • Speaking of American McGee, I've just set myself up with an opportunity to interview him about his work. For those of you unfamiliar with his work, American McGee (yes, that IS his real name) was one of the designers on Doom 2, Quake, and Quake 2. More recently, American has gained noteriety for his design work on American McGee's Alice, a dark sequel to the classic children's tale. Currently, American is working on a series of projects, including another visit to classic literature with Oz and Grimm. I hope to have this interview done soon. Once I have it wrapped up and have a confirmed outlet for it, I'll post the details here.

So as you can see, I'm keeping myself fairly well occupied. There are more irons in the fire as well, but nothing I can really get into the details at the moment. In the meantime, here's some new gaming news to whet your appetite for a while:

  • Take-Two Interactive, publisher of the Grand Theft Auto series, has taken the fight to EA's doorstep in terms of monopolizing the sports industry. Take-Two recently inked a deal with Major League Baseball and the MLB Players' Association giving it the exclusive third-party development rights to licensed MLB video games. The door is still open for first-party development of MLB licensed baseball games from Microsoft, Sony, and Ninetendo, but all third party developers are excluded from using any official MLB teams, players, stadiums, etc. The deal is rumored to have cost Take-Two upwards of $150 million. You can read more about the agreement in Take-Two's press release.

  • Anyone out there remember LucasArt's cult hit, Sam & Max Hit The Road? Well, the rumor mill was in full swing over the weekend as word was leaking out that Bad Brain Entertainment was in negotiations with LucasArts to bring about the long awaiting return of the canine and lagomorph (don't call him a rabbit). Of course, just as quickly as the rumor heated up, it fizzled out today as word came out that the negotiations had broken down, leaving the intrepid duo still stuck in developmental hell. Apparently, a misunderstanding during an interview with Bad Brain's CEO Wolfgang Kierdorf had led to the incorrect news that an agreement had already been reached.

  • Namco and Capcom have offically announced the upcoming release of their new joint PS2 game Namco x Capcom, a new RPG title boasting hundreds of characters from both companies' extensive libraries. The game is scheduled to hit Japanese shelves in May. I should have more details on this upcoming game soon.

  • In more company crossover news, who knew that Mario could slam dunk? That's right, in case you missed the announcement earlier this month, the Gamecube version of EA's NBA Street V3 will feature Mario, Luigi, and even Princess Peach as playable characters in the game. The three will make up the Nintendo All-Stars team, and will also have their own custom court for B-Ball action.

  • Midway Games shocked gamers and retailers around the country recently by announcing that its reimagined version of the classic game NARC would be hitting store shelves at a MSRP of only $19.99, more than half off of the original list price. Now the company has decided to sweeten the deal even more by offering a limited edition 2 CD soundtrack free to pre-order customers.

So hopefully this adds a little more for you to talk about until I can get some more news posted. Updates SHOULD be coming more frequently now, as things are seemingly starting to settle down somewhat. Just keep checking back, checking in, and hey ... leave some feedback to let me know you're still out there.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Quick post

So, I've got a big update in the works as we speak, and I've got a load of things to get you all caught up on. In the meantime though, here's a quick post to let you know that my review of GunGriffon: Allied Strike (Xbox) went live on GameSpy today.


Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Another round of news

So I've pulled myself out of the World of Warcraft long enough to take a look around the real world for the latest and greatest news from the video game industry. Some intriguing stuff too. Check it out:
  • Sony took another step towards providing the public with a US release date for the PSP. Originally rumoured for a spring release, Reuters has reported that SCE president Ken Kutaragi said the system will likely be released in March during a gathering of journalists and business exectutives. Later, a Sony spokesman said the company would give a presentation on the PSP to reporters near the site of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). As more news develops, I'll be sure to let you guys know.

  • Battle lines are being drawn over the fate of Ubisoft. Various reports indicate that the company has a number of supporters ready to defend it from the potential takeover attempt by Electronic Arts. First off there's Infograms, Ubisoft's biggest French competitor. Once considered to be a potential purchase for Ubisoft, now has stated in a telephone interview that it is looking at ways to help defend Ubisoft from an American takeover. Another more viable "white knight" being bandied about is Vivendi Universal. VU has been trying to sell off its own gaming division due to losses incurred over the past few years. However, VU as a whole has had a substantial financial recovery and could very well make a large investment into Ubisoft to not only stop EA's takeover, but to also give its own gaming division a long overdue shot in the arm. And Ubi's biggest supporter may be none other than the French government. Reports are flying that the French government is concerned about losing its most influential representative in the lucrative video game industry to a US company. As such, the government is looking as ways it could possible step in to lend support and block any potential EA takeover.

  • WHOA!! Comic fans (myself included) may still be skeptical about Keanu Reeves playing the part of DC's occult anti-hero, John Constantine in the upcoming Constantine movie, but as Catwoman proved even a bad comic movie will inevitably have its own video game. THQ has not only aquired the publishing rights to Constantine, but it has also announced that the cast from the movie including Keanu. The movie and the game both seem interesting enough, just don't expect either to really follow the comic series.

More news to come. Expect a lot of new and interesting announcements coming out of CES this year too. And as always, I'll keep you informed.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Online addiction has a new name ...

... and that name is World of Warcraft. Man, where do I start on this game? Okay, everyone should know by now that I'm NOT a fan of MMORPGs. I couldn't stand Everquest, and after trying it for a month I literally threw the game out with the trash. Until City of Heroes came along, I never saw an MMO game that grabbed my attention. And even as great as CoH is, I still only played it once or twice a week. And then came the drug that is World of Warcraft.

First off, I'm a big fan of Blizzard's games. There's been very little I've found wrong with the games that come from them. So when I first heard about their MMORPG based on the Warcraft mythology, I decided that, despite my apprehension to those games, I'd give it a chance. So I picked up my copy last week and have to say that WoW is just ... WOW!!! In eight days, I had logged about four days worth of game time. Everything is easy to get into, the characters all have personality, things run smooth, and it's the most fun I've had with a game in a LONG time. I'm shocked at just how great it is. I think I'll have to check it for subliminal messages because there's NO way a game can really be this addicting. I'll pull myself away in a bit to write up a review for Electric Playground.

Thoughts on the previous year.

So ... 2004 has come and gone. It's been a rough road to travel, but now it's a whole new year. A slew of changes happened last year, and a lot of things fell apart. This year, for me, is a year of rebuilding and renewing ... with the hopes that the end result will be stronger than what has come before. I had my share of loss last year, but I've learned the importance of true friends and how they can help out. I've changed a lot in the past year, and hopefully I've grown a bit and become a better person. More changes are coming I'm sure ... but I believe that in the end all the trials and tribulations will be worthwhile. And I need to have faith that everything will turn out the way it's supposed to and work out in the end.

Thanks go out to everyone who has been there for me through the good times AND the bad. I truly appreciate all of you guys, and your constant support. There's a lot more I have to say, but those truly sappy moments will be saved for a few particular people (heh). And now we return you to your regularly scheduled bog.