Discussion: Dragon Age: Inquisition ‘The Enemy of Thedas’ Trailer

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To wrap up our day of BioWare-centric blogging, we present to you the latest Dragon Age: Inquisition trailer, a monster-filled glimpse at the conflicts and engagements awaiting us as we take on the mantle of the Inquisitor to rid the world of Thedas of what looks to be its most sizable threat to date.  Shown at the EA press conference earlier today (way earlier for those of us in North and South America), the video appears below for your viewing pleasure:

Five highlights from this great-looking trailer that we found particularly exciting:

1 – The sword at 1:11.  Here’s to playing the game from the second it releases until we acquire that weapon and use it to slay all kinds of evil things.

2 – The monster at 1:40.  We kind of thought it looked like Aragog from Harry Potter, or Shelob from Lord of the Rings, but it definitely looks like something that needs to be removed from Thedas if tenuous peace is going to return to the land.

DAI Gamescom

INQUISITION looks to put the “dragon” back in DRAGON AGE. We’ll be playing BioWare’s next and most ambitious release, immediately and at great length, when it hits stores on November 18th.

3 – The glowing-eye effect that the Inquisitor (or someone wearing his/her helmet) displays throughout.  Since we know from earlier announcements that the Inquisitor will have a connection to the source of the trouble, the magical realm referred to in Dragon Age lore as “The Fade,” it’s not unreasonable to interpret this as as a residual effect of that connection.

4 – Morrigan.  We can’t wait to see her again, and she comes dressed like the Fifth Blight just ended.

5 – Is that a dragon fight at 1:43?  That would be something new for the franchise.

The Backlog is about to get longer than ever, but you can believe that Dragon Age: Inquisition will be at the top of ours until BioWare gives us a reason to believe otherwise.

–  Vandal

News: BioWare Releases 4th Teaser for ‘Shadow Realms’ IP

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BioWare has just released their fourth trailer for the Shadow Realms IP, entited “Fire.”  Check it out below:

This comes less that 24 hours ahead of their much-touted fan event tomorrow morning at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany (10am EDT, 7am PDT).  Stay with us as we keep the conversation going about this new direction from the Dragon Age and Mass Effect developers!

–  Vandal

News: Star Wars Rebels Short, ‘The Machine in the Ghost’

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The Star Wars Rebels Facebook page has just released a three-minute short entitled “The Machine in the Ghost.”  You can link to it by clicking below:

It looks and sounds great, gives us a glimpse of a few of the main characters in action, and contains a handful of nods to a certain scene in a certain paradigm-altering movie from 1977.

Vandal

News: Call of Duty-Advanced Warfare Multiplayer Conference @ Gamescom

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Activision’s new CALL OF DUTY: ADVANCED WARFARE will be release later this fall.

Activision’s reveal for its new Call of Duty title, Advanced Warfare, is scheduled to begin in approximately 10 minutes.  You can tune in by following this link:

http://www.callofduty.com/advancedwarfare/livestream

– Vandal

Discussion: ‘Seeking Henna’ – Be Sure to Drink Ovaltine

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Bioware’s new IP related ARG came to a screeching halt on Friday when Blake posted “We did it” and that he – with our help – had found Henna. My post below details my thoughts on this abrupt ending. At the end of that post I suggested that this could just be another twist in the story. That Blake had fallen for a ploy from whoever took his friend. It seems that’s just what happened.

On Saturday morning, a Reddit user posted to /r/Seekinghenna that someone using Henna’s Reddit name (WhytheStarsShine) had just posted the following to /r/UnbelievableEvents:

Nobody was ever supposed to get hurt. Not now, not then. I never worried about my parents. They were always too caught up in their own lives to see me as anything but an obligation. Blake was different, though. I always felt bad for how I left things with him. I only wanted to show him the truth–and maybe help my new friends in the process. The odds were always against it, but I hoped Blake would have what it takes to join us.

I had no idea how far he’d go to find me, or that he’d get all of you involved. I started out just observing, but then I ran a few tests to see what would happen. Some of you understand what’s really going on–and how much is at stake. The thing is, I’m not the only one who’s been watching you. There’s someone here who shouldn’t be. I didn’t realize what it was after until too late.
Blake claimed he “found” me, but he was wrong. It found him, and now he’s gone. Those of you still determined to know the truth might have a shot at staying alive if you can control your fear. I’m going dark after this post, but I’m leaving one last test. I hope you find the answer.

00110101001100110011000100110101001100010011001100111000001100010011010100110010001100010011000100111000001101010011000100110101001100110011001000110000001100100011000000110010001100110011001

NGE2ZjY4NjE2ZTZlNjk3MzczNzQ3MjYxZGY2NXxOell0T0RBPXwuLi4uLiAtLS0tLSAtLi4uLiAtLi4uLiAtLS0uLnxBQkFCQUFCQkJBQUJBQkJBQkJBQnwgZDhiMDA5MjlkZWM2NWQ0MjIzMDMyNTYzMzZhZGEwNGZ8dHRldHJucm5odWVpZWdvZWhlaWZ0fGZ0bm5lb25laGRkZmV1cnRpdG5uZWllaGRkbmVldXI

H

Henna’s posting to Reddit? Other people have been watching us? Someone’s here that shouldn’t be? And she’s saying Blake is now missing? And there’s a new code at the end of the message? This just got good again! The Seeking Henna subreddit users went to work on the code and we had it decoded in a couple of hours. It says:

Johannisstraße|76-80 |50668 |koln| Germany |13/8/14 |1500-1900

This corresponds to the date, time and location of Bioware’s upcoming fan event at Gamescom.

What was the collective reaction when we realized that – after two weeks of code breaking, study of Theosophy and all the other general weirdness – we hear from Henna, she tells us Blake’s gone messing and she tells us not to miss a fan event you ask?

“A crummy commercial? Son of a b….!”

BACKLOG PRIORITY
ARG: 1/10 –It was an INCREDIBLY interesting ride but if this is what they have planned as the end then they should have their virtual pens and paper shoved up their virtual…well, you know. Does anyone at Bioware know how to end a game anymore??

New IP: 8/10 – I had it at a 9 but I’m lowering the priority a full point out of “I CAN’T BELIEVE THEY ENDED IT LIKE THAT” phobia. You’d think after all the crap they took for Mass Effect 3’s ending, Bioware would learn this simple truth: Endings have to be satisfying conclusions to stories else they make the story pointless. Ugh.

–  Vrin

Discussion: The Naughty Dogs

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In the gaming world, each of the core systems have their top-tier exclusives, with games such as Halo and Gears of War being native to Microsoft as The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario Brothers are to Nintendo. All of these are fantastic games with long running, very passionate fan-bases. Fans can help as well as hinder game developers in the process of creating the gaming experience. Passion turns to anger for developers the moment they try to make a profit; this is especially evident with the 2012 release of Mass Effect 3. Before the game’s launch it was revealed that it would have DLC available for $9.99 at the release date. This was only the beginning of the controversy surrounding the game, with the poorly-received endings approaching along with the fan entitlement that followed. Although what follows below is speculation, we at the Unending Backlog ask you to take this into consideration:

Naughty Dog Logo

Naughty Dog, an exclusive developer of games for the PlayStation family of consoles, has created some of the most memorable titles of this past generation, including all three installments of the UNCHARTED franchise.

The game developer Naughty Dog, (originally called Jam Software) has been a key component for the PlayStation, with several popular franchises under its belt such as Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter. However, the company didn’t receive mainstream attention until their 2009 Game of the Year, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. The game received critical acclaim across the board, praising the experience as being innovative, humorous, and well-written by the talented Amy Hennig (whose previous works included Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Legacy of Kain), garnering it over twenty-five perfect review scores. With the huge success of Among Thieves, a sequel was already in development. At this point, Naughty Dog split into two separate teams, with the first team continuing work on Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception and the second working on a completely new IP, helmed by the duo of Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley.

Last of Us Box Art

THE LAST OF US, released in the summer of 2013, won over 200 Game of the Year awards.

In late 2011, Uncharted 3 was released with great reviews, which called it better than the previous iterations, during this time was when Naughty Dog revealed their next project from the second team: The Last of Us. The game was eventually released in June 2013 and was highly praised by critics and fans alike, it told the story of a dark, violent and unforgiving world ravaged by a plague and being taken back by mother nature, all through the eyes of two protagonists named Joel and Ellie. With The Last of Us following in the footsteps of Uncharted 2 & 3, it made Naughty Dog a highly-respected developer with the last three games shipped by the company each being awarded 10/10. With the future looking bright as well as the PS4 on the horizon, things were looking up, but this success may be over soon.

In December 2013, at the Spike VGX awards show, a teaser trailer was shown of an untitled Uncharted game exclusively for the PS4. In the coming months, the situation at Naughty Dog would become tense, for reasons unknown. In early 2014, it was announced that Amy Hennig, the creative director and writer of the Uncharted series had been removed in the process of the new game.

Following this, several other key members left the studio including Justin Richmond, game director for Uncharted 3 and its upcoming sequel, as well as Nate Wells, an artist responsible for creating the “Clicker” art design for The Last of Us. Since this news has broke out, many fans had wondered who would be taking the directorial reins of the project, which were revealed at E3 2014 following the cinematic trailer of Uncharted PS4, subtitled A Thief’s End.

What do you think of the news surrounding Naughty Dog? Can they recapture the magic with A Thief’s End, or will it be dark and sinister like The Last of Us? Let us know in the comments below!

–  Immortal

Preview: ‘Doctor Who’ Grows Up in Season 8

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Note: What follows contains some spoilers from Doctor Who’s first seven seasons.

Season 3 of DOCTOR WHO featured the supremely popular episode “Blink,” in which the term “timey-wimey” entered the English language and appears to have taken hold. I have that on a t-shirt.

Doctor Who‘s rapid increase in popularity has coincided with, and even echoed, its increase in complexity: during the Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant years, the show followed a more procedural structure.  These four seasons featured a threat-per-episode formula which carried through–albeit in the background–a somewhat larger concern which provided an appropriate elevation for the season finale, and the Christmas Specials were longer, stand-alone episodes that oftentimes introduced new characters and saw the Doctor on his own.  Most remarkable of these was Season 3, in which the Tenth Doctor and new companion Martha Jones uncovered the Face of Boe, set all right in space and time, and broke each other’s hearts.

When Matt Smith stepped into the shoes of the Doctor under the direction of Steven Moffat (who replaced original showrunner Russell T. Davies), the show’s structure became wildly complex, and unfortunately, increasingly dependent on using time travel as a solution to all of the problems that came up during the trans-galactic travels of the Doctor and his companions.  Still, a few episodes from these years stand out as some of the series’ best: “The Lodger,” “The Doctor’s Wife,” and “The God Complex.”

‘The Doctor’s Wife’ by Neil Gaiman remains one of the series’ best all-around episodes as it offered much in the way of humor, emotion, and Time Lord lore.

The show’s recent storytelling struggles chiefly came from Moffat’s plays to center the show on big mysteries and their appertaining revelations.  For example, those that came steadily as part of the River Song storyline had all the shock value they needed to gain traction with the existing fans as well as attract new ones, but by the time Matt Smith’s time as the Doctor concluded in December of 2013, her involvement in the plot had essentially no impact on the climactic moments of the Eleventh Doctor’s tenure.  By then, the show’s central narrative had become somewhat incomprehensible, and while the superb 50th anniversary special, “The Time of the Doctor,” more than lived up to the hype, the Eleventh Doctor’s visit to Trenzalore in Matt Smith’s final episode declined to answer many of the questions the previous three years had posed to viewers even as it succeeded as a requiem for Smith’s version of the character.  In the end, too many of the big mysteries had simply been explained away or ignored on account of time travel and the show’s increasingly malleable treatment of it.

In a few weeks, Peter Capaldi officially takes on the mantle of the Twelfth Doctor, and while very few details of the new direction of the plot have emerged from official sources, the official, full-length trailer shows a more severe, older Doctor who speaks to purpose, a mission (a certain painting, perhaps?), and asks questions of his companion–the incumbent Clara Oswald–about his moral nature.

Peter Capaldi offers a stark contrast to Matt Smith’s gesture-happy youth, and that seems a welcome departure.  If, as he tells Clara in the trailer, they are headed “into darkness” to a degree as yet unseen by fans of the series, then a more seasoned Doctor, a harsher, more driven Doctor, seems just the complement to a storyline with higher stakes, and hopefully, a better sense of limits with regard to the TARDIS and the rules of time travel.

We’ll have a review of season 8’s first episode as soon as it airs on October 23rd.

– Vandal