Monday, August 31, 2009

News: Disney Buys Marvel (*yawn*) And Why You Should Just Go About Your Regularly Scheduled Lives...

I was taking a few days off for some personal stuff, but given all the "Hulk Smash!" *rage* I've seen and heard about this, I'm back today for this one post. I'll resume regular updates on Wednesday.

First of all, folks: Disney more likely than not isn't going to interfere in any MAJOR print successes Marvel is currently having. Why mess with censoring any part of the publishing arm that's financially successful (and lose massive sales in the process)? If things get to that point, the sales figures will show and Disney will have to let Marvel continue to create the books their way. Unless of course, this is some sort of cosmic justice at work toward Marvel's mistreatment of Jack Kirby and other artists in the "distant" past many of today's comics fans have little to no idea about. Update: although given some of the artwork I've been seeing online since the announcement, a lot of folks are probably giving Disney some ideas the artists who drew up these pieces might regret...

What will happen with the comics? Who really knows? Perhaps we'll see a new Disney comics line geared toward a younger user base joining Marvel's current lineup. Or maybe some interestingly wacky one-shot Disney/Marvel crossovers will come from Marvel writer/artist teams who happen to be longtime fans of the House that Mouse Built. Either way, both companies would be completely insane NOT to capitalize on each others' strengths and wealth of popular licensed characters by working on a unique property or three. That's just a smart business and creative decision, whether you understand it or not. You'll get this by the end of this post. Besides, doesn't anyone know who Carl Barks was? Geez.

By the way: "Sold" doesn't mean "slavery," period*. In the end, it's both Disney and Marvel who will decide what they want to do with their properties and YOU the fans who'll decide with their wallets if whatever projects that come out of this deal are worth your hard earned money. If I'm somehow wrong here and Disney pushes Marvel around enough by trying to force some sort of family-friendly agenda onto the more mature books, you'll see creative folks hoofing it out the doors double time in short order. With stories to tell, NDA's or not...

Second, the movies: Some will get made, some won't get made as soon as you want them to and some may not get made at all. Who cares, really? Are you absolutely going to miss another crappy Punisher or Fantastic Four movie or cry a river into your bunched-up Underoos that Thor won't get a second chance at life? His first outing stank, by the way.

(No, that's not Tim Conway grinning at you in that pic on the right...)

Nope, I didn't think so. Given that there's a substantial enough segment of Marvel's hardcore fan base that dislikes the filmed versions of their comics for any number of reasons, that crowd should feel a bit more secure knowing so much money isn't being lost on more properties. Most of which go into theaters for too brief a time period and then straight to video in about what, six months? Besides, the hundreds of millions of dollars they save on NOT making and marketing every hot (or not so hot) property into a movie can go toward making better games based on the comics rather than games based on highly altered versions of the source material (that too often end up not being anywhere near as fun as reading the books they were derived from in the first place *whew!*).

Third, to those whining endlessly about the "Death of Marvel Comics!" and/or hanging off ledges threatening to leap off regarding any potential Marvel/Disney character crossovers or Marvel going 'Kiddy' all of a sudden. Either jump now (please, thank you!) or take your marble and go home. You're obviously not old enough to remember Spider-Man literally hanging out on The Electric Company on PBS from 1974 to 1977, Marvel's own Spidey Super Stories comics and hell, pretty much every Marvel animated series that was watered down GREATLY from the source material and made for your little brothers and sisters (or YOU, if you go back that far).

Oh, and two more words to the fools going off the deep end about the Disney thing and any possible collaborations ending up as junk:

KINGDOM. HEARTS. *Boom!* goes the dynamite, as no one says. Like it or not, Square Enix and Disney teamed up and produced two successfully spectacular PlayStation 2 games, a Game Boy Advance game and seven other current or upcoming titles using many characters from both companies in a really fun crossover series where everyone's personalities and differing visual styles remained intact. Now, I'm not at all suggesting or speculating there's going to be a Disney/Marvel game down the road. I'm simply pointing out the fact that the needless fears about Marvel going down the toilet thanks to this buyout are unfounded at best and insanity deluxe at worst.

Hell, someone HAS to be the voice of reason here, right?


*That sentence above might be seen as controversial to some (puh-leeze). However, after hearing some of the ridiculous end of the world bile spewed about both Marvel and Disney from folks acting as if they'd been"betrayed" by both companies over a simple business survival decision (as if there weren't other, more pressing things in the REAL world to get fussy over), a little reality check is in order. Oh, and please stop threatening not to buy any more Marvel stuff or go near a Disney anything "ever again." If either company suffers any sort of huge "boycott loss" because you're too crazed to wait and see what's going to change, if ANYTHING in the future... well, you're probably a lot dumber that you think THEY are.

At the end of the day... it's comics and cartoons, people - grow up and enjoy life.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Katamari Forever Goes Gold, King of All Cosmos Celebrates...

...Which is generally both a good as well as bad idea if you know the franchise well enough. Every single time His Majesty gets a wee bit too much "celebration" going on, there's some sort of cosmic accident as he up and breaks the galaxy or something. Naturally, he ends up sending his loyal son, the Prince out to right his wrongs. How, how, how does the Queen put up with this royal oaf? The good news? Well, at least we get another game out of his royal messing up of things on a galactic scale and for a measly $49.99, YOU get to make things right.

Anyway... yep, lucky PS3 owners can do the happy dance as Katamari Forever has gone gold and should be in stores on September 22, 2009. The new visual style in most of these screens is a super-cool and welcome change (as well a an all-new customization feature) and it looks as if there are some new twists to the gameplay as well. But don't take my word for it. Heck, what do I know? Here, read this instead:

An unfortunate accident has caused the King of All Cosmos to lose his memory and all the stars to disappear from the night sky. The Prince must use his finely tuned Katamari rolling skills once more to re-create the absent celestial bodies, save his royal father and restore order to the Cosmos. Thumb tacks, sushi, cats, people, skyscrapers, ocean liners and continents – nothing is safe as the Prince makes his way through the largest variety of stages in a single Katamari game.

Katamari Forever features a brand new art style along with multiple graphic filters to bring out even more variety than ever before. The new changeable graphic filters give Katamari Forever a certain “je ne sais quoi” that all Katamari games possess. Wood Tone transforms everything in the world into carved out wooden blocks while Comic Book paints the screen with bold colors and stroke outlines. Players looking to take a trip down memory lane can switch to Classic to re-create the series trademark visual style in glorious 1080p. Make sure to try them all out and find your favorite for a totally new way to experience the world of Katamari.

In addition to all these great new features, Katamari Forever also includes fun and frantic cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes. Choose your favorite cousin and play together or compete in heated Katamari competition. Who will become the Katamari champion in your house?

Alrighty then. The truth IS out there, see? Anyway, let me shut up, post these screens and artwork then go hide somewhere deep underground. When that big clump of screaming stuff rolls by MY window, my butt will be well covered as I find a niiiiice quiet subway tunnel somewhere along with some emergency rations and my PSP (hopefully with a copy of Tekken 6 and/or SoulCalibur: Broken Destiny in it)!

Gallery: Dark Void

Yet another game I'm hoping turns out as spectacular as it looks is Capcom's upcoming Dark Void, set to hit stores on January 12, 2010. Airtight Studios has been hard at work on this baby for quite some time and each time I see it in action or pore over new screenshots is a reminder of how the best developers can take a killer concept and given enough time, really make it soar.

Given that some of the Airtight team helped craft the original Xbox mega-hit Crimson Skies: High Road to Revenge, expectations are indeed high that this new game will not just follow in the footsteps of that classic, but surpass it to become a smash across the board on the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC once it finally ships.

The unique mix of fast-paced flight action, vertical exploration and combat combined with dynamic shooting and ship hijacking sections combined with the retro-futuristic visual style presented in massive, seamless environments (*whew*) should make for plenty of heart-stopping gameplay. Capcom and Airtight are promising a ton of features in this sci-fi adventure and so far, the game looks to really deliver the goods. Check out these dynamic screens and console version cover art:

We'll have more updates on Dark Void as info flies in - stay tuned...