Friday, 31 August 2018

Red Dead Redemption 2 Limited-Edition Gear and Collectibles - Outlaw Essentials Collection Coming Soon

Red Dead Redemption 2 Limited-Edition Gear and Collectibles - Outlaw Essentials Collection Coming Soon


Presenting the Red Dead Redemption 2 Outlaw Essentials Collection, featuring a variety of limited-edition collectibles inspired by the game. Everything from an assortment of stylish t-shirts to unique and time-period informed articles like the Collapsible Shot Glass, PendletonBlanket featuring the Van der Linde Gang, and Glass Decoupage Tray by John Derian, plus lots more... 

Browse the full gamut of items via the slideshow viewer above.

Look for select items to be available for pre-order from the Rockstar Warehouse and other select retailers, including GameStop. And keep an eye out for upcoming giveaways at Social Club.

Ascend to Divinity! Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition out today for PlayStation®4 and Xbox One

Ascend to Divinity! Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition out today for PlayStation®4 and Xbox One

Ascend to Divinity! Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition out today for PlayStation®4 and Xbox One
BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Europe are pleased to announce that Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition is available from today (August 31st, 2018) to purchase and play on both PlayStation® 4 and Xbox One – transporting players to the richest RPG world ever seen on consoles.

Developed by Larian Studios, Divinity: Original Sin 2 - Definite Edition was named Best RPG at the Gamescom Awards 2018, following on fromDivinity: Original Sin 2’s 2018 BAFTA Award, among hundreds of other accolades. Divinity: Original Sin 2 – Definitive Edition is an improved experience, with thousands of tweaks and changes creating the ultimate console experience. Original Sin 2 remains the only RPG in its class to offer split-screen co-op, and features a completely rewritten third chapter, as well as beautiful 4K and HDR ready graphics.

To learn more about the game, visit: or follow the new Divinity: Original Sin 2 Facebook page at  or see the game in action at, or follow the Larian development team on Facebook at

Hungry Dragon, the newest instalment in the Hungry franchise, is now available

Hungry Dragon, the newest instalment in the Hungry franchise, is now available

Play Today and Join More than Four Million Registered Players

Today, Ubisoft announced that Hungry Dragon, the newest instalment in the Hungry franchise, is now available on iOS and Android from the App Store and Google Play.
Developed by Ubisoft Barcelona Mobile, Hungry Dragon puts players in control of a ferocious dragon, set loose in a medieval realm packed with deliciously unsuspecting prey.  Players will devour a variety of fantasy creatures and face countless enemies throughout their fiery rampage. With more than 10 unique dragons to collect, players can unlock hilarious costumes and pets, boosting their dragon’s predatory powers and unleashing even more chaos.
To watch the trailer click the image below

Hungry Dragon also features a brand-new Augmented Reality mode on supported devices, which allows players to take snapshots of their fire-breathing dragons, instantly bringing them to life.
For more information, please visit

Dragon Quest XI: Prologue Movie

Dragon Quest XI: Prologue Movie

Every story has a beginning. Watch the DRAGON QUEST XI Prologue Movie to see the events that unfold before this epic adventure begins:

DRAGON QUEST XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age is coming to PS4 and Steam on September 4, 2018, across Australia & New Zealand.

While it is the eleventh mainline entry in the critically acclaimed series, DRAGON QUEST XI is a completely standalone experience that features entirely new characters, a beautifully detailed world, finely tuned strategic combat, and an immersive story that will appeal to long-time fans and franchise newcomers alike.

Be sure to follow us and keep up to date with everything DQ related:

Website –

Sapphire and Steel: The Complete Series: DVD Review

Sapphire and Steel: The Complete Series: DVD Review

Sapphire and Steel: The Complete Series: DVD ReviewReleased by Madman Home Ent
"Sapphire and Steel have been assigned"

The stuff of nightmares in the 70s thanks to its surreal edges and darker nature, Sapphire and Steel was a curio of a series, an oddball collection of weirdness.

Centring on two agents (David McCallum and Joanna Lumley), the stories ranged from the supernatural to the sci-fi as they tackled adventures in unknown dimensions.

The cult series is still an odd watch, but over a six disc series, nicely restored, Madman's latest TV release reminds of how chances used to be taken in the heady days of television.

It still won't be to everyone's tastes, but it's essential viewing to anyone interested in the history of Cult TV and in why Sapphire and Steel is spoken of in such reverential and exalted terms.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Crazy Rich Asians: Film Review

Crazy Rich Asians: Film Review

Cast: Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Gemma Chan, Michelle Yeoh, Awkwafina
Director: Jon M Chu

In truth, Crazy Rich Asians is a masterpiece of staging and hollow spectacle.
Crazy Rich Asians: Film Review

It's a tale as old as time itself, one which dabbles in fairy tales, and enigmatically weaves some very familiar threads in among opulent gaudiness. It's almost satirical in ways, if it wasn't such a blatant  and shallow piece at heart.

It's your classic girl (Wu) meets boy (Golding), girl dates boy for a year, blissfully unaware that said boy is part of a mega-rich family and who tries to introduce girl to her snooty mother (Yeoh), who's dismissive of the differences between the two.

Along the way, throw in some very familiar and very obvious cultural issues and jealousies, stir it all up et voila, Crazy Rich Asians.
Crazy Rich Asians: Film Review

And yet, if the tale is an all too hoary rote one, the rom com greatly benefits from some truly globally impressive cinematography (it's like a tourism board advert for Singapore at times) and some directorial flourishes from Chu himself.

Whether it's showing off the excess, drowning the screen in swathes of local culture (hello, extended street vendors montage) or thrusting to prominence the Asian way of life and actors, it's clear why Crazy Rich Asians is having a moment to shine.

Like the subject matter, it's a little indulgent and overlong, and certainly, some of the sequences feel like they could have been excised from the 2 hour run time, and in parts, it has to be said that some of the narrative feels weaker than it ought to be, an excuse to join together the dots of its paper thin characters, and kill some time prior to the next luxurious sequence.

But Wu shines, as does Yeoh, with what little they have; and Humans star Gemma Chan brings more than enough to the table as the subject of potential sequels.
Crazy Rich Asians: Film Review

In this obvious tale of family clashes and of tradition, Crazy Rich Asians rightly deserves the applause it's getting for bringing the culture to a wider audience, and by telling a very familiar story complete with broad brush strokes in what will be to many, unfamiliar surroundings. It's the very essence of representation and is also somehow the epitome of where 2018 has marked the turning point.

But for cinema purists, looking for a little more perhaps, Crazy Rich Asians could do with an expeditious trim, a plumping of some of the elements of its Jane Austen edges and a bit more of a killer hook. Here's hoping the sequels manage this - and more.

Stop Making Sense: DVD Review

Stop Making Sense: DVD Review

That Stop Making Sense manages to seem so electrifying some 32 years after release is a testament to director Jonathan Demme's capture of the concert, as well as the band involved.

Filmed over 3 nights at the Pantages Theatre, Demme manages to encapsulate the energy and kooky nature of lithe and wiry lead singer David Byrne and his aesthetic for on stage.

The film begins with Byrne's solo performance, armed with only a guitar and a boombox, as he launches into a riveting version of Psycho Killer. Gradually, portions of the stage are wheeled out and one by one, members of the band join him. It's not until a truly evocative performance of Burning Down The House some 30 minutes in that the entire band's on stage. But that's not to say the film doesn't kick off until then.

Demme's deliberate camera-work and refusal to cut to the audience (aside from the final song to show how much people are actually grooving away) serves as an immersive touch to bring you close and personal concert experience. Coupled with the Auckland's Civic Theatre sound system, there was not one doubt that those watching were not in the original audience.

Cleverly, Demme captures each nuance of the stage show - from the wheeling out of various props to the unveiling of various band members, he holds your sway, knowing instinctively where you as an audience member would be focussed with your attentions and letting the camera be your guide.

It helps that Byrne has an infectious energy as he jogs on stage, plays with a lamp or is bedecked out in a giant oversize suit. The energy from both his performance and the band itself, as well as the back catalogue of hits is contagious, and yet never once loses the intimacy of a stage show.

However, as the concert draws inevitably to a close, there's no disputing the true stars of the film are both Byrne and Demme. Byrne for his conceiving of the stage show and its execution and Demme for showing the inner cogs of how a show comes together - that it never purposefully feels like it's been culled from 3 days of shooting over 3 concerts is a credit to the editing, which not once loses the vibe and punkish energy of Talking Heads at their absolute peak.

Stop Making Sense is a performance in the truest sense of the word; it's for both fans and non- fans. That a camera has captured the magic and managed to lose none of its urgency is merely a testament to the skill of all involved. 

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Mega Time Squad: Film Review

Mega Time Squad: Film Review

More loopy, than Looper, Mega Time Squad is a blast.

A ludicrously-fuelled tale of crime and lack of ambition in middle New Zealand (Thames, to be precise), director Tim Van Dammen's follow up to NZIFF hit Romeo and Juliet: A Love Story is nonetheless stylish.
Mega Time Squad: NZIFF Review

Anton Tennet is John, a small town hoodlum who's less a player, more easily-to-be-played. Part of a crime gang run by Jonny Brugh's Shelton (the humourous lunatic of the piece), John's sent to rob a triad at his behest to prevent the Chinese from getting a foothold in Thames.

While carrying out the deed, John gets his hands on a mysterious piece of Chinese jewellery that has mystical time-travelling properties...and suddenly finds he has ambitions he never realised.

Fresh, enticing and flipping funny, Mega Time Squad is easily one of  2018's best time at the movies.

With a laconic style and some unexpectedly humorous moments to pierce any of the meanness (of which there's little) van Dammen celebrates the Kiwi in the middle of the country, and never once loses any of the smarts of the film's genre. It may play up the mystical elements of the bracelet and then never quite deliver (the film's only criticism), but van Dammen's clever enough to use the genre for what it needs, and never loses sight that the core of the story is of a man stuck where he is split between wanting to be and not.

Very much a celebration riddled through with a lunatic lo-fi joie de vivre (and some truly amusing yet human imagery, pies under a cloche being the best), Mega Time Squad is one of the year's best good times so far.

There's nothing pals and pies can't solve, and amid the wannabe gangster storyline and growing absurdities, Mega Time Squad packs as big a heart as you could ever want from a NZ film.

Crash Bandicoot: XBox One Review

Crash Bandicoot: XBox One Review

Released by Activision
Developed by Vicarious Visions

Crash Bandicoot: N Sane Trilogy: PS4 Review

Crash is back.

And quite frankly, after the brief appearance in Uncharted 4 where Naughty Dog let you play a level of the original, it's about time.

Vicarious Visions has truly done the old spit and polish remaster with a rebuild up from the ground level, taking in concept art and ensuring the game looked how it should have done.

Taking in the three original games - Crash Bandicoot, Cortex Strikes Back to Warped - these were trendsetters for the PlayStation brand early on and really set the pace for platforming.

Crash Bandicoot: N Sane Trilogy: PS4 Review
A lot's been made of how difficult and punishing the games are - but quite frankly, this high polished remaster merely re-presents what was always there in the first place. Platforming was punishing back then, but the reward for completion of Crash was truly something that felt like an achievement.

The first game is still the hardest, and while Warped feels like the game made things a little too easy, this trilogy is still way too addictive and truly compelling gaming.

Allowing you to play Coco throughout adds the different feel to the game, and it gives a nice new touch in many ways; the moves you remember from before, including the spin and jump still make Crash the basics of all platformers but it's all you really need to ensure the game's playable.

If there are errors or you die, it's truly down to you, nothing more, nothing less.
Crash Bandicoot: N Sane Trilogy: PS4 Review

In terms of how the game looks, there's more 3D depth to Crash and the world around him - whereas the first game looked basic originally, but was still eminently playable, the new version of Crash Bandicoot adds a great deal more in terms of perspective and is gorgeous to look at.

Equally, Cortex Strikes Back and Warped look great - this is a remaster that really sparkles in HD and loses none of its playability as a result. With remastered audio and cutscenes, as well as new dialogue, you'll get the fuzzies from playing Crash again - and while it punishes you for a mis-timed jump and can see your blood boiling, it's still a sign that you start all over again the moment you die.

Crash Bandicoot: N Sane Trilogy is a beautiful ode to the past and a terrific take on the present.
Now if they could just consider making a new Crash Bandicoot game, we'd all be happy. 

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

The Miseducation of Cameron Post: Film Review

The Miseducation of Cameron Post: Film Review

An impressive performance from Chloe Grace Moretz helps lift The Miseducation of Cameron Post from the middle of the road, seen-it-all-before mire it seems determined to plow.

Set in 1993, this adaptation of the 2012 novel by Emily M Danforth centres on Moretz's Cameron Post, who's discovered at prom getting hot and heavy with her girlfriend in the back seat of a car. 

Shipped off to God's Promise camp, Post is subjected to attempts to steer her away from the sin of Same Sex Attraction.

Initially resistant to life within the camp, Post befriends fellow incarcerated teens Jane Fonda (American Honey's Sasha Lane) and Adam (Forrest Goodluck) as she tries to negotiate her way through.

If you want a tween version of gay conversion that dance around the big issues and is more interested in making the whole thing hip and attractive to teens, then this is for you.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post: NZIFF Review

The Miseducation of Cameron Post is very Hollywood fare, mixing in some elements of Dead Poets Society and a laissez-faire mocking of religious doctrine.

It helps little that those in charge are figures to be mocked, meaning the conflict, such as it is, never feels anything but against the fighting of the therapies.

With lines like " Cameron is already a masculine name, to abbreviate it further only exacerbates your gender confusion" delivered by camp mistress Dr Marsh (Jennifer Ehle, in severe form) and the fact the pastor is a grinning moustachioed man, the film tries little to bring subtlety to those in charge, which in turn ensures sentiment is never but in the kids' corner.

Fortunately, at the centre of all of this is easily a career best from Chloe Grace Moretz, who gives the film heart where there deserved to be none. Delivering a nuanced performance, with the empathy needed for someone in this position, and with someone searching inwardly to truly be themselves, Moretz raises Post to levels of reality that are hard to ignore.

Actually, the teens in the film are perhaps the best thing, but it's Moretz whose subtle facials and withdrawn underplaying of Post does much to increase the conflict that lies beneath the surface. There are genuinely heartbreaking moments for Post as she reflects on her life, and Moretz gives them much sincerity throughout.

While there are no "shocking" scenes as such, The Miseducation of Cameron Post never feels like a balanced film, a flat adaptation of what could be a spiky genre-defining piece.

Its simplistic approach to the situation is saved only by Moretz's life breathed into her self-questioning character - cliches abound among the compassionate touches. Perhaps it's an age thing, and this film is aimed squarely at the younger generation, destined to give them a torch heroine they may want. For those who've lived life and seen much, The Miseducation of Cameron Post feels like a squandered light attempt to breathe life into a big topic.

Sure, it's likely to offer some hope given these centres still exist, but by avoiding any real debate or discussion within the film, The Miseducation of Cameron Post feels like just another drama that barely rises above its tween intentions, and fails to escape its twee execution. 

Win Narcos Season 3

Win Narcos Season 3

To celebrate the release of Narcos Season 3, you can win!
Win Narcos S3

Thanks to our bestest pals at Madman Home Entertainment, there's copies up for grabs!

About Narcos S3

The rules have changed in the aftermath of the bloody hunt for Pablo Escobar and now the DEA turns its attention to his successors. 

With Escobar out of the way, business is booming for the Cali Cartel who, on their way to becoming the biggest cocaine trafficker in history, expand operations inside America’s borders and invite dangerous new partners into the business. 

But when Cali Godfather Gilberto Rodriguez announces a plan to exit all illegal activity and go legitimate, not everybody is happy.

LEGO The Incredibles: PS4 Review

LEGO The Incredibles: PS4 Review

Developed by TT Games
Platform: PS4

It's no surprise that the double whammy of a new Disney movie and the school holidays have combined to ensure the release of this latest LEGO game.

The franchise as a whole has been floundering; each LEGO release subsequently feels like a game that lacks a full raison d'etre and was solely about ticking franchise boxes.
LEGO The Incredibles: PS4 Review

And while LEGO The Incredibles doesn't really stray too far from that format, the game's commitment to the film and playability is what sets this latest release more on the straight and narrow.

Ripping the story straight from Incredibles 2, the film follows the course very much in a linear fashion in terms of narrative, but mixes it up with characters being able to be played earlier on.

It's part and parcel of the fact the film splits the family up, so perhaps it's no real surprise that in order to push the co-op elements, it needs to shake things up a little.

Nicely, the Hub worlds feel real in LEGO The Incredibles and give you other bits to do rather than just follow the narrative. It's a nice breakaway from the non-swerving storyline, which has beats to hit, rather than reasons to do so. Extra crime waves take place in the hubs, people have to be helped, and there are little other tasks to do - a welcome reprieve if you fancy some time away.

The game's playability is perfectly fine, but occasionally, Elastigirl's stretchability proves a little difficult to master with some of the controls not quite reacting the way they should.
LEGO The Incredibles: PS4 Review
LEGO The Incredibles: PS4 Review

Minikits, builds, red bricks, gold bricks - they're all here - and while parts of the game may mean you feel a little like you've played it before, the fact the game delivers what it sets out to do so makes it all hang together just fine.

The cut scenes seem a little more dry this time around, with some of the trademark wackiness missing.

Solid entertainment, but nothing more or less, LEGO The Incredibles keeps the course for the LEGO game series, but presents a case that this gaming franchise needs to branch out a bit more or else it'll run the risk of becoming a tad redundant.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Talking Marvel's Spider-Man with Insomniac Games

Talking Marvel's Spider-Man with Insomniac Games 

James Stevenson is the Community director for Insomniac Games.
Ahead of the launch of Marvel's Spider-Man on September 7, exclusively on PlayStation, James was in Auckland to talk to the press and sell the sizzle.

Here's our interview on the upcoming release.
James Stevenson of Insomniac Games

So this has been 3 and a half years of work - take us back to how it first started, where it started and all began?
Some of that's not entirely our story, but basically I know Marvel and Sony were talking about having Sony release the first party game, give the Playstation treatment to a Marvel character, a new big story based game to one of their characters. And Marvel was all about story, so, that made a lot of sense, and Marvel wanted to work with one of the big studios and specifically mentioned us; Sony came and said "Hey are you guys interested in working with marvel?" and we said "of course", but what character do they want us to do? And they were like, 'Oh no, they want you to pick. You guys can have all the choice of which one you want'".
It was like Oh wow. So huh, ok, that's overwhelming decision (laughs) but it was pretty quickly decided it was going to be Spider-Man the first choice, the one that made sense and matched up very well with Insomniac and made most sense with the DNA of the games we've made, the types of games we make, the kinds of stories we tell, the character we thought felt closest to, so yeah we started working on that and it turns out later, here we are, ready to launch this thing in a about a month.

Do you know which title from Insomniac caught wind of first and put you on their radar?
I don't know which one it was, I'm not sure what games, people like Mike Jones had played in the past, but I'm sure it had to do with Ratchet and Clank in a lot of ways. Probably to some extent, Sunset Overdrive may have had something to do with it, in terms of world traversal, but honestly, it's like the sense of humour, and the storytelling we had in those Ratchet and Clank games and the fun gameplay we've had in all those games is hopefully what I guess drew them to us, but you'd have to ask them to be sure - that's just me guessing!
Talking Marvel's Spider-Man with Insomniac Games

How daunting is it when a studio like Marvel comes to you and says what do you want to do, you pick ; you say it was a fairly quick decision to come to Spider-Man, did you bat around a pitch and go back to them or did you say we want to do Spider-Man and they said go do what you want?
No, it was more we kind of talked internally; there wasn't a close second place, it was pretty clearly Spider-man; we spent some time talking about it and went back to them to say Spider-man and they were like Yay, that's awesome, they were very excited; Bill Roseman, who's the executive creative director at Marvel games, he loves Spider-man so much, his son is named Peter so they were pretty excited that we were going to make a Spider-man game and they were going to work with us on it because they knew they'd be working on it too, so it all worked out well.
Then as soon as that started, our people began doing research, playing games, not just Spider-man games, but a bunch of video games that were related, and then started having those conversations with Marvel who were just minutes away from our office, so having those in person conversations to figure out what that story would be over the next several months.

How did the evolution of the story go? Did you keep going back to them or did you just follow an overall arc? Normally with those big cinematic universes, there are plans , bigger parts on the board that you're not aware of for characters for other films?
Well, we're not tied to any other universe so it didn't really matter, we're creating our own Spider-Man universe; there was no restrictions on we couldn't touch anything, because our game is not tied to the MCU, to a comic series, so anything they do isn't really affecting any other players and so we kind of had free rein.
Talking Marvel's Spider-Man with Insomniac Games

That's a good creative freedom to have I guess?
Yeah it was very good; the story itself definitely coalesced over that first three month period, there was core days of like Spider-man and Peter Parker's worlds colliding, and lot of the major pieces were in place early on, and I'd say over the last couple of years, it's been relatively figured out - the major beats have been figured out, and obviously somethings like gameplay changes and the story accommodates that stuff, but we kind of knew where we were going, and we knew how we were going to shape up for some time, so it's just been executing it for quite a while.

Was it difficult or different working on a title that was not your own property?
I wouldn't say difficult, I'd say different. With great power, there's also great responsibility;ok, you now have 50 plus years of comics, movies and cartoons and all these fans who love it and him, this beloved character that everyone knows around the world and you have all this inspiration, all this stuff to draw on, which is awesome and overwhelming, how do you tell a new story within that, how do you mix it up and surprise people, and there's all these expectations from fans so you have a lot to live upto. And in some ways, this is our first Spider-man game and it kind of has a new IP feel about it when we're making it.
You may have a lot of the character and story stuff figured out but what's swinging going to feel like, what's our mechanic for that,what's our combat like, what's our camera like, what's our gameplay - all this stuff is new and you have to figure out how it works, so it does help to have some of that figured out, but it's still a challenge in its own way in creating something from the ground up.
Talking Marvel's Spider-Man with Insomniac Games

How difficult is it to make Spider-man your own? Did you take some games as starting points, look at mechanics and develop them?
I wouldn't say we took games as starting points, we played a bunch of them; not just superhero games, not just Spider-Man games, anything; DMC or fighting games . It's a good point, you think about Spider-man as a character, he's probably been posed in every way he could ever possibly be posed, right? There's only so many ways you can contort the human body and especially then if you are talking about one that's a 3D model and not one that's ink on paper where you can cheat; you can't cheat a model in a lot of ways. It's interesting because some of that is, some of those areas are well established so it's about drawing on what your favourites are, drawing on the inspiration to make some of those our own, and pay homage but also to make it feel fresh.
In terms of developing the combat, it was trying to feel like Spider-man should feel; it wasn't necessarily trying to figure out anything else from any other game; you wanted to be him this masterful acrobatic improviser so he's web-zipping, leaping around, swinging around, leaping over enemies, sliding through their legs, dodging all the time, using the environment against them, using his gadgets and so trying to figure out how to make all those things work in kind of the classic style of Insomniac combat where you just have all these choices and how you want to play it in this situation was really the big challenge.

Was there a lot of input from other people? Did you look at all the different paradigms of this gameplay?
It was like you knew webs were going to be a big thing; you knew web shooters are obviously an important thing. Obviously you can web people and stun them and we have like the perfect dodge mechanic and if you dodge them at a certain time, you can web them in the face and stuff, but if there's someone coming at him, or he can use his webs to pull things away from people - you can use webs to pull people to him or himself to someone. It was like "Ok what are all these moves you want Spider-man to be able to do?" ;webbing people to the wall is just for fun, or when you knock someone down you should be able to web them down and keep them down. Trying to make all of that work, you have all those pieces, and and trying to make a cohesive combat system and using all of that and gadgets, his aerial combat, it actually just takes a ton of iteration not just to piece it together, but the flow as well and sense of style when you're in combat. I wouldn't say we under-estimated it, but it took a lot of iteration from the combat team, kept working on it, kept working on it, kept working on it, making it better, and better, and better. You have a lot of respect when you know there's great action games out there that have done great things over the years and a new found respect when you deal with a character that is as agile and mobile as this one, and has all these options - and what it takes to create a game like that.
Talking Marvel's Spider-Man with Insomniac Games

It seems like a massive free open world game as well, at what point did you start to look at reigning it back in and we need to just stop scale it back; or did conversely you think you had to push it further?
I think we knew we were never going to make a 1-to-1 New York in terms of the scale of it as it's so huge; we wanted it to feel dense and populated, we wanted the city to feel like it was people on the streets and we wanted to do activities in areas. The other thing we knew was we wanted to have activities to have story ties; it shouldn't ever be a straight up challenge, there's always a story for whatever you're doing. This ties into collectables.
Collectables - ie the backpacks you'll find in the game - each backpack has a little memento of his past eight years of being Spider-Man, the past eight years of his life; he has a line, so he'll say something about that; you can learn a little more about his character, who he's been by finding his backpacks and if you wanna do combat, and want to do combat situations, there's enemy bases - you've taken Wilson Fisk down but his men are still out there and as you go take care of that base, you'll find out what they were doing there - what illegal operations were happening there and the same thing is true when the Inner Demons show up, they also have their own quests and storylines too, but erm, we tried to make sure anything you did, even if you're just taking a photo of landmarks in the city, Peter has something to say about it and tie it back in so you're never just collecting something, but you're collecting something and getting a little tidbit of story with it as well.

There are Reddit threads dedicated to other bits, discussions over whether traffic jams will exist, that kind of thing - you're a community manager, how much of the game has been shaped by the fan feedback?
We were working on this in the dark for a long time, when no one knew we were doing it so that sort of instantly is helpful, because we established a strong vision internally of what we were doing. And I still think that's true our vision is clear; just because someone says they may disagree with our vision and they want us to go a different way, it's fine, but that's our vision and that's what we're sticking to.

But there's always good feedback, and whether it's a silly bug we didn't see or there's a line missing on two parts of his suit, the fans caught and flag ; we don't spend time staring closely at his suit, cos we're working on all manner of things in the game. Even just stuff from people in the office, it all helps. We're always trying to listen, and we're always trying to improve, so if there's legitimate good feedback for improvement, we'll always take that into consideration. We're always listening to what fans have to say ; not just fans but what people said in previews - there will always be criticism, and especially constructive criticism, we'll take that all day every day.

That's not to say we can do it all, and not to say we always agree, but if it's a good idea or point, we're always happy to make the game better. Whether that comes from fans or whether that comes from partners in games, or partners at PlayStation, there's a lot of people who want to see this game be the best that it can and we're happy to be driven by that.
Talking Marvel's Spider-Man with Insomniac Games

The key to any Spider-Man game is making you feel like Spider-Man, what was the moment when you thought "This is it, we've got something here"? 
Pretty early on, Web-slinging was definitely that day one thing we started working on from the beginning and that we knew we had to get absolutely right. Pretty early on, we started getting there - it just has to feel really good. We took all those lessons from Sunset Overdrive of fluidity and flow and tried to apply what we'd learned on that. It's no fun if you swing and face plant into a building and fall down - but with the R2 button if you're holding that, now if you face plant into a building, you'll start running up it or one side of it, so you can keep moving, if you wanna keep moving, you can. And giving people the power - Spider-Man will overcome anything even if he does hit something, he's going to clamber up it or over it, move forward, or keep chasing it - and that really feels good in the game. I think when that all started to come together, it was clear we were onto something. So we just spent more and more time tightening and polishing it - upto the point, I've been playing this game for three plus years, I've played the whole thing again this year and I'm still excited for it - it's just kind of a bizarre feeling. I'm really excited for the trophies that will be enabled so I can go play through again - I wanna unlock all the trophies. I've played it a few times this year at home - not just in the office but at home on my couch, and played through a few versions, and I want to play it again.
Talking Marvel's Spider-Man with Insomniac Games

That leads me to spoilers talk and obviously you will have concerns about what creeps out with this story. We live in a spoiler age, how do you maintain that these days? You've held a lot back from previews and builds because you want the fan experience - do you still think that's possible in this day and age?
I think there's a lot of responsibility on fans, to guard themselves if they decide to, as much as there's a responsibility on us to not show too much in some ways. I don't know, people debate spoiler culture and if it's needed, it's a relatively new thing.
I will say in this, we've been trying to to surprise people and to shake things up in a way that's rewarding. You kind of know these characters, but you hopefully haven't seen them all in situations like this. You can read about these surprises in advance, or you can experience them yourself - which we always think is the best.
There's stuff we haven't shown at all, in marketing et al; there's obviously going to be people who leak things or accidentally talk about something or a copy falls off a truck somewhere and people will start posting about it. Even reviews, how do you, if you're having core things you're holding back, how do you possibly ask someone not to talk about this thing if you want them to honestly talk about and critique your game? And so I guess we're really hoping people just warn folks if there's stuff in there, or you can have stuff sectioned off if we're not going to show and if you want to talk about them, but others don't want to know, great, I hope you just warn readers.
They can press the back button and miss it that way, Thanos Demands Your Silence was the great Avengers Infinity War credo - like that movie, if you'd told me all the stuff that would have happened, it wouldn't have the same impact at the theatre.
Talking Marvel's Spider-Man with Insomniac Games
The other one for me like that was Last Jedi , which just constantly plays with expectations and subverts them, so if I read the script that would have been a different experience to just watching the movie. In some ways, some movies may be better if you know what you're coming into, and you can just appreciate them thematically, but I assume people will play the story again once they've learned all the secrets; some people don't care they just want to know whatever they can in advance and they're still going to play; it just varies based on the individual person, and how their sensitivities are.This is Marvel, man, we don't hand that stuff out, what are you talking about! (Laughs)

When it comes to letting stuff slip, how close have you personally got?
Me personally? I don't have a good example off the top of my head but I've had one or two where I've said something off the cuff and I was like 'I almost said that'
Not anything big but we've shown a breadth across this game; we've definitely shown a good chunk of this game, you've seen bits and pieces; we haven't shown in depth a lot of things so...There's some stuff we haven't shown at all that we've put in a black hole and left for people to experience - I know the folks who are following it maybe know some things and know where the black holes are and are what's based in there cos of what's around it. But what I am hoping is that people playing this game won't know all of that and will be just totally surprised by what we've done and we'll have them experience big moments which are surprising and emotional - I'll be very curious to see people's reactions.

Talking of reactions, it was well received at E3 and reviews of the first few hours, you must be fairly confident it's going to do well out there in the market place?
It's crazy; the reception's been really great. I don't even know how to gauge it, this is the biggest thing we've ever worked on; it could well be the biggest game Insomniac's worked on, so it's kind of hard to focus. It just seems gigantic. It's like, Wow, that's just crazy, I don't know how to process it I guess. We're still not there yet; people still have to play this thing, and like the whole story, the mechanics, and the world - yeah, the reception's good, hopefully the whole game lives upto expectation so we'll see. Even more so than reviews, hopefully it lives up to what the fans want, we got a ways still to go. It feels good so far, but it feels like a lot of people are excited based on pre-orders. It's very flattering people would put their money and faith in us already.

You've made MJ a playable character, how do you feel about women in games, we've got Ellie in Last Of Us Part 2 - do you think we're starting to see a bit of flow through in terms of representation?
This being us wanting not to tell not just a Spider-Man story, but a Peter Parker one too, not just a superhero story, but a human one too, we really wanted to dive into Peter Parker and his relationships and you can't just show that in a cut scene and really explore her.
Especially in the role we've put her in, she's not just a nightclub owner or an actress, she's an emerging investigative reporter at the Daily Bugle and her world and Peter's world collide. They've been broken up for six months, they haven't talked for a while and their worlds only come back together because MJ is poking around somewhere that turns into quite the scene and that Spider-Man needs to show up to. It's a new dynamic of reporter and superhero following the same thread, but also ex-boyfriend and ex-girlfriend, all that emotional baggage and how does that all come together. It's worlds colliding, which is where the best Spider-Man stories come from. It gives us that interesting place to go to.
But also, we just wanted to make sure her characterisation was awesome, that she felt like a really strong and capable character. Peter's working on his career and MJ's working on hers too- she's trying to be the best she can be.
Talking Marvel's Spider-Man with Insomniac Games

Just showing her in cutscenes would have been a disservice; we need to let people be her, and see the kind of things she's going to see. And I also think it gives you an interesting perspective on playing a non-powered character in a superhero world and lets you see the superhero from a different side eventually.  She's really great, Laura Bailey's really awesome, the writing for her is terrific, her performance is terrific and I'm really happy with people playing the first few hours and coming out just raving about her and how much they loved her. She's a great force to the story.

I think there's always room for improvement. I think the video game industry as a whole is getting better over time, and I think there's always opportunities to tell different stories from a variety of perspectives. It's a big opportunity because of all the stories we haven't told, if you're focussed on one type of character, you're only going to get one type of story and so many of the great stories are because of interesting character choices. I do improv comedy, and if you make a bold character choice, it takes you places you never knew where you would go. So having more bold character choices for games will only take us into more interesting places we've never been.

Is that what Insomniac would like to do next?
We've finished the game, last week whew, we're still working on a day 1 update and we'll have some DLC coming that have new stories and new characters, Black Cat's a starter for this. Sooner rather than later we'll have timings for those and show some of that stuff off in the near future and there'll be new suits to craft as well. In terms of other stuff, we've always been really good at planning at Insomniac, cos we have whole teams of 250 people - you don't want to lay people off, you want to have stuff to work on. We definitely have stuff we're working on, we'll announce details in the future.
Talking Marvel's Spider-Man with Insomniac Games

What's the one moment you're proudest of?
It's a spoiler so I won't say! There's some really good emotional unexpected moments that are in the game and I'm excited for people to experience them. When we had that sequence at E3 last year where he was chasing that helicopter, seeing that kind of blockbuster Spider-Man moment on an E3 screen was really special. It was a level of spectacle and story-telling that was elevating our craft at Insomniac and taking us to a new level. That was exciting for us to see play out. As a whole I'm really excited for people to meet our versions of these characters and get to know them a little bit - not just the Spider-Man side of the story.

What's your 5 second pitch to those who've never heard of Spider-Man?
Everyone else is going to, so you better should to (laughs)
You don't want to be the only one not playing!
Hopefully you love Ratchet and Clank, Spyro the Dragon, it's the same group of knuckleheads you know making a Spider-Man game and it's the biggest we've ever made. There's been a ton of people putting a ton of time into it and I think it's got not just great gameplay, great open world, and a great way of getting around it, really fun combat and a terrific story that's not just about Spider-Man but about the man behind the mask. So I think there's a lot to relate to and whether you are someone who's had that time of your life being out of school and having their first job, or doing it now, or looking at really looking forward to getting out on your own, it's something everyone can relate to.

It's always good to be in ahead of that sequel, right?
(Grins) You know we're just focussing on that DLC right now.

Marvel's Spider-Man hits PlayStation exclusively on September 7th.

Win a double pass to see Ladies In Black

Win a double pass to see Ladies In Black

To celebrate the release of Ladies In Black in cinemas September 20, you can win a double pass !

About Ladies In Black

From Academy Award® nominated director Bruce Beresford comes the comedy drama Ladies in Black, based on Madeleine St John’s best-selling novel, The Women in Black.

Ladies In Black in cinemas September 20Set in the summer of 1959, when the impact of European migration and the rise of women’s liberation is about to change Australia forever, a shy schoolgirl (Lisa) takes a summer job at the prestigious Sydney department store, Goode’s. There she meets the “ladies in black”, who will change her life forever.

Beguiled and influenced by Magda, the vivacious manager of the high-fashion floor, and befriended by fellow sales ladies Patty and Fay, Lisa is awakened to a world of possibilities. 

As Lisa grows from a bookish schoolgirl to a glamorous and positive young woman, she herself becomes a catalyst for a cultural change in everyone’s lives.

Cast: Julia Ormond, Angourie Rice, Rachael Taylor, Ryan Corr, Vincent Perez, Alison McGirr, Susie Porter, Shane Jacobson, Noni Hazlehurst

Director: Bruce Beresford

Ladies In Black in cinemas September 20

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again: Film Review

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again: Film Review

Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Lily James, Dominic Cooper, Julie Walters, Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgaard, Andy Garcia, Cher
Director: Ol Parker

Sometimes, it's pointless to rail against the cheese.

So it is with Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, the sequel to the 2008 Abba smash hit film that was low rent in terms of story, but was embraced as only some musicals can be.
Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again: Film Review

In this latest, reeling from the loss of her mother Donna (Streep), Sophie Sheridan (Seyfried, in earnest heartfelt mode) is making final preparations to reopen her mother's Greek hotel.

Reflecting on Donna's past and trying to juggle the commitments of her present life, Sophie finds hardships in her own relationships as the tumult reaches overwhelming levels.

There's little point resisting Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again.

Its overload of cheesiness and gusto is pretty much signalled early on with Seyfried's sitting in the Greek sun, looking at letters while softly muttering lyrics to Thank you for the music.

It's then kicked up a notch with Lily James' energetic and vibrant performance of When I Kissed The Teacher as a young Donna, its choreography and energy lighting up the screen, and no doubt leading to dancing in the aisles to ABBA's lesser known music. (It's to be said that James is the best thing in the sequel, an actress who throws herself headlong into the role with relish and a carefree attitude that's nothing short of contagious.)
Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again: Film Review

While the structure of Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again is a bit of a mess (continual chopping into the past and present), those willing to go along with the ride, the corny one-liners and the all too familiar rom-com-drama storyline will be happy enough.

Kitsch mixed in with stars clearly more self-aware of what the first film's legacy was helps Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again a lot, but don't expect to be won over if you're of the cynical variety. This is pure and simple goofball film-making that's about licensing music and inserting it into the ongoing drama.

While that's no bad thing, there's no convincing any that this is high art - it's purely about trashy entertainment, about ensuring a good time is had by all, that ABBA's timeless disco hits live on and everyone else with the hint of a brain cell or good taste be damned.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Sekiro™: Shadows Die Twice launch date

Sekiro™: Shadows Die Twice launch date

Good afternoon,

Activision has today announced that the highly-anticipated new game from FromSoftware, Sekiro™: Shadows Die Twice, a third-person, action-adventure game with RPG elements, is planned to release globally on March 22, 2019.

To celebrate, fans attending Gamescom 2018 in Cologne, Germany will be among the first in the world to play the game. Additionally, the Sekiro: Shadows Die TwiceCollector’s Edition, which is packed with collectible items, will be available for pre-order starting today in select markets. Digital pre-orders for the game will also kick-off starting today in select markets.

New gameplay details about Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice reveal that the prosthetic tools belonging to the “one-armed wolf” protagonist can be reconstructed to unlock new actions such as powerful charge attacks. These attacks allow the player to broaden their approach to defeat their foes.

At Gamescom 2018, fans will finally be able to experience the unique and varied features of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, and sample the game’s rich sense of tension for the first time including:

  • Sword Combat: The core combat in Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is measured by an intense clash of steel. Players will take command of special Sword Arts to supplement their regular attacks, and tear down enemy defences before sealing the final blow.
  • Shinobi Prosthetic: Players can equip and switch between a variety of unique Prosthetic Tools to find the weakness of a formidable enemy. Additionally, tools such as the Grappling Hook can be utilised to bring an extra dimension to exploration and traversal throughout the world of the game.
  • Resurrection: Used as an opportunity for a tactical retreat or to deceive an enemy and go on the counter-offensive, this new combat strategy allows players to resurrect on the spot, even after a hasty death.

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