Silent Hills “ain’t happening” according to Guillermo del Toro

Sigh
The main character
The main character

It’s a sad day for Silent Hill fans as Guillermo del Toro (Pacific Rim, Hellboy) told the audience at the San Francisco Film Society that the game is “not happening”. This is a double whammy as it comes right after Konami’s decision to pull the Silent Hills PT (Playable Teaser) teaser from the PlayStation Store. There was also an announcement on the official site that said, “The distribution period of “P.T. (Playable Teaser)“ on PlayStation Store will expire on Wednesday, April 29, 2015.

The shattering news came via a tweet by Matt Hackney (NeoGAF) who was attending the “An Evening with Guillermo del Toro” event at the San Francisco Film Society.

There might some sliver of hope though as some fans are still hopeful that the announcement just means Kojima-del Toro’s partnership is over, not the project itself. And that is a possiblity as Konami themselves have not made any official statement(s) yet regarding a cancellation. However Silent Hills star Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead) tweeted this apologetic toned entry which is an indicator for the possibility of the cancellation:

https://twitter.com/wwwbigbaldhead/status/592412551457198080

Now people are wondering if this has anything to do with Hideo Kojima’s current relationship with the Japanese gaming giant. Considering the timing of this news and the current issues between Kojima and Konami, that does seems to be the case… or hey it MIGHT (though we think it highly unlikely) be just a major coincidence.

Source: Forbes & Kotaku

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Check out what Jared Leto’s Joker looks like

So it’s official. This is how Jared Leto’s (Alexander, Lord of War) for Suicide Squad is going to look like. In a tweet by director David Ayer (Fury, Sabotage) we get to to see the movie’s modern interpretation of the iconic villain, which has so far been played masterfully both by Jack Nicholson in the original Batman movie and Heath Ledger in the The Dark Knight.

The pose itself is a homage to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbob’s The Killing Joke, one of the darkest tale of the grinning villain ever told, and is in celebration of the 75th anniversary of his creation.

One thing’s for certain. This is a radically retake of the Batman villain. Yes, the iconic look is there the eyes, the bleached skin and the striking hair green hair but now there’s the added tatoos and blackened teeth, giving this Joker an even more manic and insane look. For some reason, this look seems to be channeling a little of Malcom McDowell’s Alex from A Clockwork Orange, which wouldn’t be that bad at all.

The thing is, will this radical look on the Clown Prince of Crime fly with the fans? Jack Nicholson’s take was already widely accepted as good and Heath Ledger’s take was set as a gold standard. Will Jared Leto be able to pull this off? Well we’ll only know come 5 August 2016 when the movie premieres.

Via Twitter

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I came all the way to Sydney just for a freaking watch

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We came all the way to Sydney just for a freaking watch
We came all the way to Sydney just for a freaking watch

By now you’d have figured (based on our constant social postings) that I had scooted down over to Sydney, Australia to get Apple’s new addition to its growing device family, the Apple Watch. Yes, it may be crazy, flying all the way to another country just to try and buy a piece of electronics (not even a big one) but hey, we went and did it anyway.

Just note though, I’m not a big fan of smartwatches. Never saw any practical use to them and this is with me personally owning three smartwatches myself; the original Pebble, the Samsung Galaxy Gear S and the ill-fated Kreyos, all three which I have never really wore more than a week throughout my ownership of them.

Still I decided, why not? How bad can it be right? And what did I think when I first tried it out? Read on.

It’s a looker all right

Now doesn't that look gorgeous?
Now doesn’t that look gorgeous?

Off the bat, there is one thing I really can’t deny. The Apple Watch, is a looker. It’s still squarish/rectangular though, forgoing the more traditional wristwatch shape that LG, Huawei and Motorola have chosen to emulate. Apple however has managed to make what’s essentially been considered a boring shape, look way more polished and good looking.

Look at all that screen space
Look at all that screen space

You may be thinking, just how good looking can you make a square/rectangular shape anyway? Well like the iPhone 6, it all boils down to the little details. And Apple has paid attention to a ton of them. There’s the screen which Apple has designed to gently curve at the sides to the metal body. This design style gives the illusion that the screen doesn’t have a bezel and even more importantly, doesn’t make it look like it’s framed in an ugly metal body.

All those rounded edges makes the Apple Watch, for the lack of a better word, sexy
All those rounded edges makes the Apple Watch, for the lack of a better word, sexy

Not that the body itself is ugly either. With curves and abound and rounded edges, Apple has managed to soften the traditional, boxy look that has been attributed to majority of smartwatches, and make it look, for the lack of a better word, sexy.

Combine that sexy, rounded body with its screen and what you get a device that looks like a well-polished pebble. It even feels like one, especially since the watch does have a surprising heft to it. For me that slight weightiness that the Apple Watch has is a good thing as it makes you feel you actually have something substantial on your wrist instead of something that feels more akin to a toy watch.

No slap dash placement of a sensor at the back of the Apple Watch
No slap dash placement of a sensor at the back of the Apple Watch

There’s also Apple’s knack of looking at the smallest details. Even the back of the Apple Watch was given a good design workout with the charging base and sensors integrated into a roundish plate, reminiscent of the backs of a traditional wrist watch. Most other smartwatches just slap the sensor on somwhere convenient and what I feel, is without much thought, but not Apple. Nice touch indeed.

Then of course, there’s the build material and variety of colours you could choose from. All three versions of the Apple Watch; Watch Sport, Watch and Watch Edition, looked really good. Even the aluminium Watch Sport would easily give any of its competitors a run for their money, at least when it comes to the design department.

And with two sizes screen sizes to choose from; 42mm and 38mm, it’s not a one size fit all device either. I managed to try both watches and found that the 42mm was just nice while the 38mm version looked pretty dainty and ridiculously comical on my wrist.

God Eater anime series is getting a date

The lineup of the main characters
The lineup of the main characters

During a NicoNico event for the God Eater franchise recently in Japan, there is a big announcement of the premiere date and broadcast scheduling for the upcoming anime series which announced last year during TGS 2014.

The series will be coming to Japan on 5 July 2015. In the Twitter picture, there is listed of broadcast and satelite networks that is premiering the series on the announced date.

Visual key for God Eater
Visual key for God Eater

Ufotable, the studio that is responsible for crowd pleasing, high production value Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works 2014 will be animating the series together with Takayuki Hirao (GYO: Tokyo Fish Attack, Magical Sisters Yoyo and Nene) as the director and Keita Shimizu (Fate/Zero, REC) as the character designers. Music will be handled by Go Shiina (Ace Combat: Joint Assault, God Eater). Confirmed voice castings are Kanae Ito (Sword Art Online II, Girlfriend Beta) and Chiaki Omigawa (Arakawa Under the Bridge, Natsu no Arashi!)

Judging from it, this series should be noted for high production values and good action sequences ala Fate/Stay Night UBW 2014 at the minimum.

The anime can glimpsed at the last few moments of the game trailer.

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Review : Final Fantasy Record Keeper

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Released in English earlier this month, Final Fantasy Record Keeper has finally hit for both Android and iOS, much to the delight of Final Fantasy fans everywhere.

Final Fantasy Record Keeper is pretty much aimed directly said fans as you get to relive key moments from each game represented by painted pictures in their individual halls. It’s not the first Final Fantasy game put on mobile by Square Enix but it’s one of the more unique ones we’ve seen so far. Granted it’s not the first ever game from the company to feature crossovers from different games in the series with Final Fantasy Dissidia being the most popular one to date.

The basic premise of the game is that your kingdom thrives on stories which are bound in the form of paintings kept in the Royal Archive, which in turn are kept safe by the Record Keepers until one day the records in the paintings started to disappear, bringing ruin upon the world. Your job? revitalise the paintings by reliving the memories preserved within them with the aid of heroes from their respective stories.

The game essentially puts you in the shoes of Tyro, a young Record Keeper who is tasked to relive and ultimately rejuvenate each painting to avert whatever darkness cursing the land. Sound familiar?

Right in the nostalgia

While it is based mostly on the Final Fantasy series, Record Keeper does share some basic characteristics with other mobile RPG type games like Brave Frontier; both have energy bars that dictate how many battles you can have that session, level-able units, premium item system, daily dungeons as well as a simplified, somewhat linear gameplay style.

FFRC_4
Kill it with Thunder!

The game is free to play but has the option to “pay to play” by buying Gems to help nab yourself better equipment, inventory slots and even battle revives earlier on. The same things can be done with Mythril, which is earned via completing “Master” completion for certain battles. It’s great that the option is there at least so players who don’t want to spend any real cash on pixels really need not do so.

Right now the game hasn’t had all “realms” opened yet but we’re sure that the entire cast of characters will run the gamut from the original Final Fantasy all the way to Final Fantasy XIII, with periodic updates bringing new dungeons and characters to the mix.

When you complete certain events or realms you will unlock more characters as well, but the game starts you off with a solid bunch of heroes to choose from core batch of character classes from the first Final Fantasy. Tyro is also extremely versatile, so with respect to a few exceptions, he can use the vast majority of weapons and abilities available ingame.

FFRC_5
Can’t I take everyone with me?

Plan or die

To sum it up, each dungeon consists of a string of battles in multiple parts which you have to beat in order to progress. Each round will expend Stamina, which in turn needs to refill over time but as you progress you will get more stamina to spread around when you win Stamina shards. And a run through will consist of a listed amount of battles before you hit the boss at the end.

Here you will encounter a lot of familiar monsters, music and environs as you hack them to little bits but there’s still a bit of planning involved; when in a dungeon you basically cannot heal outside of battle unless you’re willing to expend Mythril or Gems and status effects as well as damage do get brought over from the previous battle.

Monsters weaknesses and strengths remain the same as they did in their original games, so you’ll do good to remember what kind of spells and equipment to pack; some are totally undefeatable otherwise.

FFRC_3
You may not see it but actually half the party is poisoned

But there is a good reason to bring back heroes to their original realms. When you do so, equipment and heroes from said realm will synchronize and become a lot stronger than normal and this is evidenced by a blue glow around the characters and the items in question. They will even gain experience a lot faster too, so keeping this in mind while grinding levels makes it a heap easier.

FFRC_1
Let them finish the battle while you mix yourself a cup of joe

And yes, the game can be a little grindy, so they’ve included a helpful auto attack button to help you plow though those baddies without lifting a finger. But going full auto does have a price; if your characters aren’t strong enough they can and will get clobbered; no skills and abilities are activated in auto so it’s best to be done when you’re confident enough that they can survive on their own.

Upgrade everything

One of the key aspects of progressing in Record Keeper is upgrading your equipment and abilities. While they’ve done away with level limits for equipping items, you have to upgrade them using other bits of equipment and special stones in order to make them stronger. When you have a high enough leveled piece of equipment and a duplicate of it, you can combine it to create a stronger version of itself till it reaches it’s max level cap.

FFRC_6
Upgrades are expensive but essential

Abilities can be honed as well but instead of making them stronger, it allows them to be used more often. Abilities are created by fusing different stones together and these same stones are needed to hone them as well. It would have been nice if they had a combination system that let you create new special equipment but there’s still a possibility that might come along later.

The verdict

It does feel very good to relieve those little bits of your childhood but the game is still lacking in a few aspects. While the way each chapter in a realm is narrated does give you a rough summary of what is happening, if you’ve never played any Final Fantasy game before you will find yourself somewhat lost as there isn’t much story besides that. I would have liked less grinding but that’s sort of an integral part of the game too.

However, Final Fantasy Record Keeper is still nowhere near done and Square Enix is throwing in more goodies as the number of downloads increases as well as events that let you earn more characters and epic loot.

But they have managed to keep what small bits of the game quite faithful to it’s origin material. Battles are very familiar as are the characters and let’s be honest, it’s really cool to see characters from newer Final Fantasy games as sprites.

FFRC_7
Now if I could only defeat Rufus!

Total War: Warhammer is announced

TotalWarWarhammer
The Orcs want to have a word with you

Creative Assembly who are famous for epic scale turn based strategy games which based on real history has gone fantasy with the new reveal of Total War: Warhammer. Based on the Games Workshop world, it is the sister title to another famous franchise, Warhammer 40K which is sci-fi in nature.

According to the publisher, Sega, the Total War: Warhammer will wage the war on Mac, StreamOS and Windows PC. However, the word “soon” did not translate into exact date yet. According to Sega, they are planning “trilogy of titles” for the Totar War: Warhammer with the first game will combine with pair of stand-alone installments and additional content packs.

We’ve always loved the Warhammer universe, and couldn’t wait to approach it with the same colossal scale and authenticity that has characterised our titles for the last 15 years,” according to Total War: Warhammer project lead Ian Roxburgh, “We’re bringing it to life in a way that nobody’s attempted before.

In the trailer, we can see the armies of Empire, Orks, Dwarves, Undead and Goblins plus the coming menace of Chaos God Tzeentch which could be an unplayable enemy NPC faction. Notable absences are the two elven armies, Skaven and Lizardmen, but it is safe to say that publisher will release some factions as downloadable DLC after the release of the main game in rapid succession. And of course, the heroes will play a major role in the wars as seen with the Empire hero and the Undead shown in the trailer.

Let’s hope the bugs and lack of good AI will not plague this game too.

Via Youtube & PC Gamer

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New trailer and visual key for Bakemono no Ko

 

The official visual key of the movie
The official visual key of the movie

Mamoru Hosoda, famous for The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Wolf Children and Summer Wars is releasing new trailer and visual key for his latest effort, Bakemono no Ko/バケモノの子 (The Boy and the Beast). The movie is scheduled to be shown in Japan on 11 June 2015. The movie is already earmarked for a French release under studio Gaumont but no word if any English release for the movie outside Japan yet.

boy-and-the-beast-movie-poster-2
The movie’s poster showing a grown up male main character

The animation directors are Takaaki Yamashita (Digimon: The Movie, Wolf Children) and Tatsuzou Nishida (Summer Wars) whereas art directors are Takashi Omori (Ponyo, From Up on Poppy Hill), Youhei Takamatsu and Youchi Nishikawa. Music scoring handled by Masakatsu Takagi (Wolf Children) and the movie is animated by Studio Chizu ( Wolf Children ). The main cast for the movie are Aoi Miyazaki (Colorful), Shota Sometani (Wolf Children) and Koji Yakusho.

The director discusses the premise of his coming movie in little bit more detail during a conference:

The movie is a training story about a boy who was separated from his parents and becomes a disciple of a bakemono (supernatural creature). It’s going to be a traditional yet novel story. [I think] that there are thrilling things hidden in this town [Shibuya] of adventure. There are surprisingly few animated works set in Shibuya. Even though it’s a famous place, it’ll be novel as a movie setting.

The official synopsis of the movie is as follows:

The story is set in the human realm (Tokyo’s Shibuya ward) and the bakemono realm (“Shibutenmachi”). In these two worlds which must not intersect, there lives a lonely boy and a lonely bakemono. One day, the boy gets lost in the bakemono world, becomes the disciple of the bakemono Kumatetsu, and is renamed Kyūta.

Mamoru Hosoda have a deft touch on his films so we expect not much deviation of his competent skills when comes to helming anime movies. This should be a delightful watch, the only question is will it be as good as his award winning, critically acclaimed Wolf Children or not.

Via Official Site & MAL

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Telltale Games and Marvel join forces for 2017?

Big news for Telltale Games and Marvel fans! A short while ago, the game company which is famous for critically acclaimed The Walking Dead series and currently running Game of Thrones announced a partnership with Marvel for unspecified, unnamed title for 2017 release. According to the blog, they are working on an “upcoming Telltale series game project”.

Unfortunately, there is nothing else to say at this moment.

Stay tuned for more updates.

Source: Telltale

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The Xiaomi Mi 4i is innovative, compact and likely very affordable

mi4i_1
After being teased over the last few days on Xiaomi’s twitter feed, the brand’s mysterious ‘global Mi phone’ is now official, the Xiaomi Mi4i.

Looking a lot like the cheaper, slightly more plastic version of the Xiaomi Mi4 which was launched last year, the Mi4i is very much an alternative to the Mi4 as opposed to being a replacement for the previous version.

The smartphone has a polycarbonate unibody design that’s thinner and lighter than the Mi4, coming in at just 7.8mm thick and weighing 130g.

Running it will be a 2nd gen 64-bit quad-core Snapdragon 615 processor that runs at both 1.7GHz and 1.1GHz, 2GB RAM as well as 16GB storage with dual-SIM connectivity on top. The battery is just a hair larger than it’s predecessor at 3120mAh, but it supports Quick Charge and is rated at 1.5 days of average use before needing a charge.

The screen is a 5 inch 1080p IPS display at 441ppi which features Sunlight Display which automatically adjusts screen brightness and image quality in direct sunlight. It’s supposedly much brighter and saves up to 30 percent more battery than regular brightness adjustment. The Mi4i will also be Xiaomi’s first smartphone with Android 5.0 Lollipop with MIUI 6.0 out of the box.

mi4i_2

Unfortunately, the Mi4i doesn’t support a microSD card slot so you are going to be stuck with just that 16GB storage.

The rear camera is a 13 MP shooter with Xiaomi’s 5-element lens and a wide f/2.0 aperture, with the front camera a 5 MP snapper with a f/1.8 aperture with a 80 degree wide angle.

Devices in India will also get to enjoy Visual IVR that will take the bite out the customer service experience on mobile letting you to skip voice prompts by displaying it all on screen instead. Visual IVR will be in the MIUI beta build in India first before it’s rolled out to everyone else.

The Xiaomi Mi4i will retail for Rs.12999 (about RM 746) and will come in blue, white, black, yellow, pink, with the Malaysian availability coming in May, with the price likely to be under the RM 800 mark.

Images from Miui.com

The filming of Ghost in the Shell begins next year

 

Can she fill the shoes?
Can she fill the shoes?

The main star of the upcoming live action adaptation of the Japanese sci-fi cyberpunk series, Ghost in the Shell told the media that the shooting will begin next year. Scarlett Johansson who made her mark as the main female action star thanks to her role as Black Widow in the Avengers movie, quoted this, “It’s happening. It will be shooting the beginning of next year, so I think we start production January or February and it’s me and Rupert [Sanders]; and that’s all I know.

Early this year , Walt Disney Pictures told the world that the movie is set to be released on 14 April 2017 which is a week after the opening of Guillermo del Toro’s mecha epic sequel to Pacific Rim. The movie is to be directed by Rupert Sanders, director of Snow White and the Huntsman (2012) with William Wheeler (The Reluctant Fundamentalist) penning the script. Avid Arad (Spider-Man series) and Steven Paul (Tekken: Rise of the Tournament) is on board as producers.

However, some fans of the franchise are not too happy with the choice as shown in the online petition here. 48, 000 signatures collected so far since it is opened early this year, the author of petition accusing Hollywood’s constant “whitewashing” will ruin the movie. Based on the disappointing boxoffice performance of The Edge of Tomorrrow last year, the fears might be justified.

Via Collider & IGN

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