Though it'll be my first time attending San Diego Comic-Con (fulfilling a five-year dream to finally attend), I'm going to be aiming to cover everything I attend for the benefit of the dear readers of Flixist and Destructoid.
Here is a list of the events I plan to attend, so keep checking back during July 21st to July 24th on both my Flixist and Dtoid community blogs for my coverage.
Preview - Journey - thatgamecompany's Jenova Chen and Kellee Santiago (with special guests) provide insight on their creativity and the inspiration behind their work and discuss what it takes to be successful as an independent developer.
Preview - The World of 2027 in Deus Ex: Human Revolution: The Line Between Science and Fiction -
How do video games incorporate real-life science into their storylines, weapons, and characters? This talk will provide fascinating insight into how "sci" was used to create the "sci-fi" in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, one of the most highly anticipated games of 2011. Mary DeMarle, lead writer for Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Eidos Montreal) and Will Rossellini, CEO of Microtransponder and consultant on the game, discuss how they created a realistic future vision for transhumanism and a world where mechanical augmentations have changed the fate of the human race.
Merchandise Feature - World of Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft - Blizzard Entertainment creative and licensed partners unveil and discuss World of Warcraft, Diablo, and StarCraft-inspired products. In attendance: Chris Metzen (Blizzard Entertainment SVP of creative development), Nick Carpenter (Blizzard Entertainment executive art director), Christie Golden (New York Times bestselling author), Hank Kanalz (SVP Digital, DC Comics and World of Warcraft comics editor), Sean Gailey (creative overlord, J!nx Clothing), and Cory Jones (Cryptozoic Entertainment president and chief creative officer). Moderated by Kat Hunter (host of BlizzCon coverage on DIRECTV).
Preview - Street Fighter X Tekken Legendary Street Fighter producer Yoshinori Ono provides the latest update on the highly anticipated fighting game Street Fighter X Tekken. Learn just what's in store for your favorite Street Fighter and Tekken characters in this explosive genre-defining game. Katsuhiro Harada of Tekken will also appear to face Ono-san and continue their fierce rivalry over which fighting game franchise is the best.
Preview - Batman: Arkham City Get the inside scoop on Batman: Arkham City, the highly anticipated follow-up to Batman: Arkham Asylum, one of the top-selling games of 2009 and the Guinness World Record holder for the Most Critically Acclaimed Superhero Game Ever. Be among the first to see and hear new details about the next chapter in Batman's gritty, immersive world -- including some surprise game and character reveals -- from panelists Mark Hamill (Star Wars), Kevin Conroy (Batman: The Animated Series), DC Comics co-publisher Jim Lee, writer Paul Dini (Lost, Tower Prep), and game director Sefton Hill (Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman: Arkham City).
Feature - The Halo Universe Frank O'Connor, Kevin Grace, and others from 343 Industries, as well as special Halo guests Greg Bear and Karen Traviss, discuss the first 10 years of Halo and offer a sneak peek into what's next for this exciting sci-fi universe.
Feature - The World of Capcom Capcom fans won't want to miss this opportunity to learn about all the new games coming from their favorite video game publisher. Plus, get in-depth details straight from Capcom's stellar producer Hiroyuki Kobayashi (Resident Evil 4) about his exciting new open-world action adventure game, Dragon's Dogma. Producer Jason Leigh talks about the zombie-infested streets of Fortune City in Dead Rising 2: Off the Record, and producer Kazuhiro Tsuchiya discusses the new over-the-top rollercoaster IP, Asura's Wrath.
Preview - The Future of Marvel vs. Capcom Fighting fans! Come to this panel to hear the fantastic news about this legendary fighting game franchise straight from producer Ryota Niitsuma. Get an exclusive behind-the-scenes peek.
Feature - Dark Horse and BioWare: A Comic and Video Game Partnership Star Wars: The Old Republic and Mass Effect are creations of one of the most distinguished developers in video games -- BioWare! Join Star Wars: The Old Republic senior writer Alexander Freed, Mass Effect 3 lead writer Mac Walters, Mass Effect comics scripter John Jackson Miller, Dark Horse editor Dave Marshall, and a cast of celebrities, as BioWare and Dark Horse announce their next collaboration and reveal exclusive details about the games and comics they're working on.
Feature - The Penny Arcade Q&A After establishing their tiny media empire in the gaming space with PAX, PAX East, Child's Play, Penny Arcade: The Series and the recently announced animated feature film The New Kid, Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik do their first Comic-Con panel in two years. Business, life, art, games, parenting -- all topics are on the table.
DISCLAIMER: Obviously these events will be competitive to get into, so it is possible not all events mentioned here will be covered. Fortunately, this also means that alternative panels may be covered. (For example, the Assassin's Creed panel, which is at the same time as the Adventure Time Q+A).
As a kid, I picked up Rez for the PS2, and was introduced to a new kind of videogame, not your typical RPG or platformer, but something that had another layer to it, something that I later understood to be the main basis for the argument of 'games as art'. Now that's a topic for another post, but at the time, nine-year old me didn't care about why videogames should be considered art, or how games like Rez would impact how we view and percieve the medium of gaming, he just liked how you could shoot things in time with the music.
Almost ten years later, and after a run through of the Direct Assault mode on Rez HD, I check the Steam Summer Sale and see both BIT.TRIP games discounted (I mean, at £1.79 each, how could I not?). I'd read a few reviews and heard some good things, so I gave it a whirl, and loaded up BIT.TRIP Beat. "Well this is pretty cool", I thought. The retro graphics with the 3D background appealed to me, I was a fan of the challenging, rhythm-based gameplay, and the fantastic soundtrack. These things were running through my head as I played my first ten minutes of the game, automatically reviewing aspects and elements, making up my opinion based on what I thought should make up a good game, regarding graphics, gameplay, sound, originality, etcetera, etcetera.
Then one of those magic moments happened.
Thirty minutes melt away, and the borders of my computer screen are completely invisible to me, a concept I'm not even considering as the metronome in my brain ticks to the beat of the pixels bouncing over the screen. All that automatic reviewing has disappeared, and I'm just in the zone, hitting off massive chains and racking up a hell of a multiplier. I'm suddenly back in my head, and without taking my eyes off the screen, a smile streaks across my face. "Hell, this is what videogames are about", I thought to myself. The moment your heart leaps and by god, you're having the best damn time you've had in a while, that euphoric feeling of downright kickin' ass. By the time I fail the second level, I'm not mad, I'm not upset, I'm just ready to give it another try.
A couple of hours later and my younger brother ropes me into playing some Call of Duty: Black Ops with him. Settling in, I grab my player two controller and join his match, as he barks some orders at me for what our strategy is going to be. I go through the motions and do what is required of me, playing a pretty average game, still aware of my forming opinions. "These zombies don't seem to take any kickback when shot", I think. "Running animations seem a little odd", I think. I get a little stick from little bro, for not innately knowing exactly what to do on a map I've never played before. He exits back into the lobby and I watch him play some online for a while, seemingly frustrated at everyone; his teammates, his enemies, the makers of the game. To me the game seems stuck on repeat, the same game, just with different winners, and I wonder why so many people enjoy getting so angry at the repeated actions of a performance they've done a thousand times before.
So I go back upstairs and load up BIT.TRIP, thinking I'll take that feeling of euphoric fun in something original over aggressive frustration any day, because hell, that is why I play videogames.