March 07, 2014 | 2:37 p.m.
It was Valentine’s Day, and I was afraid someone was watching me die. On a night when most are finding ways to celebrate (or curse) romance, I had opted to spend the evening curled up on the couch with a game, a first-person shooter. At least I wasn’t alone. I was one of many worldwide who were playing “Titanfall,” a game in beta testing that Microsoft has declared the showcase title for its recently released home console, the Xbox One. Connecting to strangers via Microsoft’s servers, many of whom were engaged in midgame conversations, I was outgunned, anxious and nervous about letting down my new teammates. In eight minutes, I would be killed 11 times by people I will never speak to. Once, a giant robot stepped on me. Moments later, a giant robot fired a rocket into my chest. […]
March 06, 2014 | 11:45 a.m.
First it was one of the most acclaimed video games released last year. Now the zombie-themed “The Last of Us” is set to make the leap to the big screen. Screen Gems announced Thursday its plan to distribute a new film based on the PlayStation 3 title developed by Naughty Dog. “The Last of Us” creative director Neil Druckmann will write the script for the movie, which he’ll also produce along with game director Bruce Straley, Screen Gems executives Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra and filmmaker Sam Raimi under his Ghost House Pictures banner. Set in a post-apocalyptic environment, “The Last of Us” visits decimated cities where a fungus has transformed the population into zombies. Twenty years after the outbreak, smuggler Joel is hired to protect 14-year-old Ellie and escort her across the dangerous wasteland. On the journey, the two […]
March 04, 2014 | 6:48 p.m.
Batman is getting a next-gen makeover. “Batman: Arkham Knight” will be coming to the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC later this year, the fourth console edition of the popular “Arkham” series and the third to be overseen by London’s Rocksteady Studios. According to a Warner Bros. Interactive release, the new game will serve as the “conclusion” of the “Arkham” series. Regular Batman super villains will return, as the Caped Crusader is forced to hold off a threat to Gotham spearheaded by the Scarecrow. Penguin, Two-Face and Harley Quinn are also said to be featured in the game. The upcoming title will be the first “Arkham” game to feature a playable Batmobile. A new trailer — watch it above — shows off the car briefly; the clip largely centers on Thomas Wayne’s will, a testament that seems to foreshadow Bruce’s […]
Feb. 26, 2014 | 7:00 a.m.
For the last three decades, one of the video game world’s greatest antiheroes has been a barrel-throwing ape. He’s arrogant, ornery and not nearly as dexterous as he thinks he is. A kidnapper whose jungles were construction sites, he’d steal your girlfriend and trap her atop a skeletal steel structure. But as males-behaving-badly became a pop-culture norm — and an unfortunate requirement of most video games — Donkey Kong softened up. The once attention-desperate gorilla shed his hostage-taking ways and settled into a more healthful lifestyle with the launch of “Donkey Kong Country” in 1994. Now five iterations of the game later, he’s morphed into a rather lovable grump who just wants to enjoy a slice of cake with a frosted banana on top in peace. “Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze,” released last weekend for Nintendo’s home console the Wii […]
Feb. 13, 2014 | 1:05 p.m.
If your Valentine’s idea of a perfect date includes a trip to your local comic shop, a sci-fi movie marathon or an all-night game tournament, Hero Complex’s annual Valentine’s Day gift guide has you covered. This year’s guide, introduced earlier this month, includes a wide range of geek-friendly selections from the worlds of horror, comics, science-fiction and more. If your honey would rather be in Westeros, perhaps toast your love with “Game of Thrones” sigil wine glasses. If your darling inspires visions of demigods, a bottle of Thor cologne will leave him smelling as bold and musky as the hammer-wielding hero. And if your “Star Wars”-loving sweetie gets the shivers, bundle her up in a tauntaun hoodie, complete with lightsaber zipper pull. Other selections in the Hero Complex Valentine’s Day gift guide include several sexy comic book titles, some “Doctor Who”-themed apparel, […]
Feb. 08, 2014 | 5:00 a.m.
Miguel Oliveira is developing a video game in a tiny apartment near USC, worlds away from the high-tech studios of Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo. He works on a laptop surrounded by folding chairs and red plastic cups. The spare surroundings belie his ambition: to design a game that changes the way we play. In Oliveira’s game “Thralled,” set in 18th century Brazil, players explore jungles and ships to help a runaway slave reconnect with the life that was stolen from her. The Portugal native grew up on games where guns played the starring role. Now, he wants something more — to create work that has the same cultural resonance as the best in film, literature and music. “What’s blocking interactive media from being considered art is that most video games focus on primitive feelings of aggressiveness and competitiveness,” said Oliveira, […]
Jan. 09, 2014 | 5:45 p.m.
Naughty Dog’s survival horror title “The Last of Us,” Media Molecule’s folkloric “Tearaway” and The Fullbright Company’s domestic narrative “Gone Home” lead the nominees for the 2014 Game Developers Choice Awards, with each game generating five nods across a number of categories. The industry-voted Game Developers Choice Awards, held in conjunction with the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, are widely regarded as one of the industry’s most prestigious honors. This year’s ceremony will take place March 14 at San Francisco Moscone Center. “Gone Home” is the only independently released title to compete for game of the year honors and was the first title released by the four-person Fulbright Company. The downloadable title is up against the PS3′s “The Last of Us,” Nintendo’s Wii U title “Super Mario 3D World” and cross-platform blockbusters “Grand Theft Auto V” (Rockstar Games) and […]
Jan. 07, 2014 | 8:00 a.m.
Fans of Ridley Scott’s 1979 iconic horror film “Alien” will be able to relive the suspense in “Alien: Isolation,” a new video game to be released this year, in time for the film’s 35th anniversary. The game, from Sega and British studio Creative Assembly, was officially announced Tuesday morning and will be available in late 2014 for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PC. “Alien: Isolation” lets gamers play as Ellen Ripley’s daughter Amanda. When she left Earth, Ripley promised Amanda she would be home in time for her 11th birthday, but then the events of the movies ensued, and Amanda never saw her mother again. Some 15 years later, Amanda is an employee of Weyland-Yutani, the mega-corporation that operated Ripley’s ship Nostromo. Amanda finds out that the flight recorder from Nostromo has been recovered at Sevastopol, […]
Dec. 27, 2013 | 7:00 a.m.
The Times asked its reporters and critics to highlight figures in entertainment and the arts who will be making news in 2014. Todd Martens focused on a few video game designers who could have gamers talking in the new year. Ryan and Amy Green The setting is a hospital. A father is exasperated, a child is crying and it’s your job to find out why. But any victories will be small, as “That Dragon, Cancer” explores the ups, the downs, the everyday terror, the sudden miracles and the dreaded inevitability of caring for a loved one with terminal brain cancer. So … wanna play? Ryan Green, his writer-wife, Amy, and a small team near Fort Collins, Colo., are in the early to middevelopment stages of “That Dragon, Cancer,” a narrative-driven game they hope to complete and release by the end […]
Dec. 23, 2013 | 5:20 p.m.
2013 was a superb year for fans of genre entertainment. Major comic book heroes celebrated milestone anniversaries, as did “Doctor Who.” “The Walking Dead” and “Game of Thrones” continued to demonstrate that fantastic tales, both grim and transporting, can make for compelling, compulsory viewing. Dragons, female warriors and Tom Hiddleston stormed the multiplex in blockbuster fashion, while next-generation gaming consoles arrived, just in time for Christmas. There was plenty of big news about 2015 projects as well — namely, that J.J. Abrams will direct the first live-action “Star Wars” film since 2005, and that Ben Affleck will take over the role of Batman from Gotham City’s previous Caped Crusader, Christian Bale. Following are the Hero Complex picks for some of the most memorable moments in film, TV, comic books and games, in no particular order. Feel free to share your […]