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The Blood Feud Lives On: What Tekken’s Future Looks Like

A few weeks ago, Namco released a very ambiguous teaser for the new Tekken game, Tekken 7. In this teaser, it has been shown that Kazuya and Heihachi are going to be involved in an all our war to settle their bitter relationship. More interestingly, it has been confirmed that Heihachi indeed killed off Kazuya’s mother, Kazumi. A mysterious figure explains that two evils must be stopped as the words “the final battle” flashes across the screen.

Is this the last Tekken installment, or is it the beginning of the end for one titular character in the franchise? Some questions have been answered, Katsuhiro Harada (the man in charge of the Tekken game and a producer for Bandai Namco) has spelled out a lot of interesting info on the matter. The mysterious figure is indeed Kazumi Mishima, and whether she is dead or alive is currently unknown. Also, after a long wait from fans everywhere, Jun Kazama has been confirmed to return after her last canon appearance in Tekken 2.

On a more technical aspect of the game, Harada has confirmed in an interview with Famitsu at a Tokyo Game Show, Harada has stated that he wants to balance gameplay with new players as well as pleasing veteran players. This can spell bad news for more seasoned fans, who feel that the game has been “made easier” over the last few installments. Check out the interview below:

 

Famitsu: What are the objectives you hope to accomplish with Tekken 7?

Harada: There are two main sides to Tekken 7. The first is to neatly tie up all of the storylines that have developed over the course of 20 years for the Tekken series. Since it’s Tekken’s 20th anniversary, story will play a big part this time around, which is why we wanted to tie things up and reach a conclusion. So in that sense, we hope to be able to wow and recapture the imagination of players who focus on characters and backstories in the games. This will take quite a bit of time to put together, but we have a couple of things in store.

Famitsu: Right, so story-wise, the saga in the mainline games is going to come to a conclusion.

Harada: As for the game side of things, we want to make it easy to approach for newcomers, returning players, and also those who thought that Tekken Tag Tournament 2 was just too difficult.

There are also players out there who keep a distance from the Tekken games because they think the games are too difficult. For instance, there are actually quite a lot of players who watched Tekken match videos on YouTube, but do not actually play, thinking that “it’s just impossible for me to learn it”. We’d like to make the new game accessible and enjoyable to these players as well, and at the moment we’re thinking about implementing some kind of new system that will make them think “hey, I can actually do this”. We’d like very much to get these sorts of fans to participate in the games more actively.

Famitsu: What sort of elements have kept these types of beginning players from getting more involved with the games, and how do you plan on refining these elements?

Harada: In Tekken, there’s a surprising amount of things you’ve got to learn. And we think that the problem for beginners is that they don’t know which parts to start learning from. This makes it confusing and defrays their focus. So for instance, in 2D fighting games, you could teach new players to “use this move in this way, and you’ll be fine”. This time around, we’d like to very clearly convey that sort of instruction to the player. We feel that with Tekken thus far, it’s quite difficult for these players to tell the various special moves apart, in terms of how strong they are, and so this time we’d like to make that easier to observe.

Famitsu: As a way to make the game more accessible, I see.

Harada: There’s another aspect to it… but it’s a bit of a spoiler if I talk about it now (laughs). We think that another key aspect to enjoying the game to its utmost, is to be playing against opponents of the same level as you. So we were thinking, even in the arcade verison of the game, wouldn’t it be possible to implement some kind of system that would allow players to easily find others at their level to play with? We’re currently looking into that, so please look forward to hearing more about it in the near future.

Famitsu: Right. Since there’a wide spectrum of player skill levels.

Harada: I wonder how much further I should say (laughs). One of the Tekken series’s unique features is its wake-up game mechanic, which is known to be quite difficult to deal with.

Although in other fighting games, when you get knocked down, there is a certain period of invulnerability that allows you get back up on your feet simply, in the Tekken series it’s not that easy. The mechanic is actually quite complex. But because of its complexity, that’s what makes it really interesting and compelling to the core players, even though beginning players have a hard time with it. So we’re currently taking some effort to review the wake-up system quite extensively. We’d like to get it to a point where it’s easy for light users to grasp, but still satisfying for the core players.

Famitsu: When you say that you’re going to make it more enjoyable for beginners, I’m sure the core fans must be worried about if that might mean there won’t be as much depth in the game for them to bite into. How do you plan on tackling that issue?

Harada: We absolutely plan on implementing the level of depth fans have come to expect of the series. It’s just that, for beginning players, if what their opponent is doing is too deep and profound for them to understand, then even if there is depth, they wouldn’t be able to get into it. So I think we need some kind of mechanic that will ease players into the depth level by level. So that in the beginning, even if you don’t have to be too conscious of the game’s mechanics to be able to enjoy playing it. We want to allow seasoned players to be able to start at the deep end. But at the same time, beginners will be just fine not using the advanced mechanics. That’s the balance we’re striving for.

Famitsu: I see. Alright then, when is the next time we will hear an update on Tekken 7?

Harada: Probably just before or after Tokyo Game Show, is what we’re looking at for now. That’s about slightly more than a month away, but in the meantime do stay tuned to us on Facebook and Twitter. We’ll be doling out bits of information over the course. And for the fans, please send us any questions you may have.

Harada has also stated that he will consider more stages, more countries, and possibly more fighting styles (and fighters) via his Twitter account. One thing is for sure, this game will be a big grand blast with (hopefully) scoring out the various feuds within the Iron Fist Tournament.

Maybe, just maybe we will finally not have to wait another decade for Kunimitsu to make it in a game.

 

5 August 2014 Articles  Featured Content  Gaming  Gaming Read more

Why Jason Moma might make Aquaman cool again

Many of us associate Batman with Christian Bale, as past generations have with Michael Keaton and/or Adam West. What’s interesting about our generation is the wrongful association with Aquaman being “that useless character from Justice Friends”. Although various media outlets like College Humor, or memes, or even shows like Family Guy and Robot Chicken have shown Aquaman to be a comically useless hero who’s only helpful with matters of the deep blue sea, that’s not the case at all. Yes, Aquaman does have powers that mainly focus with the deep and its inhabitants. However, he’s a foe that both heroes and villains alike respect and fear. He’s shows to be a powerful monarch as well as a force to be reckoned with, in battle as well as the Hall of Justice.
As of late last month, Twitter went viral with news of Jason Momoa, better known as Drogo from the hit series Game of Thrones being cast as Arthur Curry, better known as Aquaman. What struck many as an odd choice because of him lacking the ironic blond locks of Mr. Curry, as well as him not “looking like Aquaman”, it’s honestly a smart move. Momoa has portrayed many hardened characters such as Konan, Ronon Dex from Stargate: Atlantis, and most notably Drogo. It still isn’t certain what his role will be, given that there are rumors of him appearing in a future DC movie to even having his own Aquaman feature film. What is certain is that he will give a new spin on the way we see Aquaman and will give his mythos a revamp for a new generation.
Change isn’t necessarily a bad thing, only when it doesn’t add any particularly favorable aspects to one character. Momoa will add a gritty yet distinct flavor to the orange clad hero of the deep, as well as his origin story, which has changed over the years. From being banned from the sea because of his blonde hair to his mother being an Atlantian princess, there is an array of how they can handle this story. Momoa has a unique look and also possesses a sort of “beach” vibe which will add to how the sea life is incorporated into Curry’s storyline when realizing he’s actually an Atlantian, not from land. At the same time, if they go into the direction of introducing him in the future Superman film, having him already established as a superpowered hero from Atlantis isn’t so alien to Momoa, since Aquaman isn’t just a master of communicating with sea creatures. He’s also trained in the deadly arts of fighting, making Momoa a perfect candidate for an action packed adaptation to one of the most underrated super heroes in all of DC.

 

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We have revamped the Batman series for mainstream audiences, away from the campy versions of both the 60’s and the Schumacher films from the late 90’s. What many remembered the last films from the Batman titles as Mr. Freeze shouting corny ice-puns or Poison Ivy hilariously trying to seduce Robin, Christopher Nolan made many forget that and instantly associate the title with a darker and more gritty, more realistic portrayal of Gotham City and its caped crusader. And the golden ticket wasn’t just the writing and directing, but the actor. What many considered an “odd choice”, Christian Bale proved to embody Batman. Will Momoa embody our generation’s version of Aquaman? Only time and internet trolls will tell.

21 July 2014 Comics  Entertainment  Featured Content  Features  Movies  Uncategorized Read more

Gaming & Comics: Is it still a man’s world?

The joke goes that there are two kinds of gamer girls: the attention seeking sexy type, and the seriously competitive type that shows no mercy. And why is that? In 2014 are female gamers still struggling to find acceptance amongst the gaming (and more rarely, the comic book/geek) community, or are they finding solace in a world that in previous years have shunned them.

Can you really blame how it works, though? Although it feels like a long time, five or ten years ago wasn’t such a distant past and people never thought they’d get behind a game that wasn’t about a male protagonist. There are still some issues when it comes with non-gaming areas. But that comes later. In general, gaming has always been targeted towards male players, and it’s apparent in the lack of females in earlier games (Zelda, Ms. Pacman, Chun-Li, Cammy, and Princess Peach, or Toadstool as she was referred to back in the day, are some of the more notable early ones that come to mind when thinking of retro gaming ladies) and even more apparent in how downplayed female video game characters were as video games got more sophisticated. Having them as stock characters, a sexual prize, or pigeonholed into many stereotypes we’ve come to recognize in many written and/or visual arts made it seem as if the only function for female game characters were to be identifiers that they were different and not the main character. This is what most probably didn’t really help a lot of female gamers feel represented, unless they were okay with the fan service.

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because her only object was to be a reward….and troll you into 7 more levels.

Speaking of which, looking around Reddit, DeviantArt, IGN, even Google, fanservice is still a heavy issue with gaming when it comes to female characters. While some women were created to give off a seductive feel and personality like Morrigan Aensland from the Darkstalkers series or Anna Williams from the Tekken franchise, it’s still apparent that “strong and badass” females are still heavily slanted towards the sexy and teasing side. For example, Lara Croft from Tomb Raider, Tifa from Final Fantasy, Jill Valentine from Resident Evil, amongst others, are played more sexy, despite their fiery and supportive roles. While there are some that are seen as a bit odd considering they really aren’t supposed to be sexual, such as Tira from the Soul series or Jack from Mass Effect, there are some that aren’t really seen in any way shape or form as giving fan service yet are still considered ridiculously successful (not counting games targeted towards a diverse audience such as Pokemon), Bayonetta, Silent Hill, and most recently, The Last of Us. Maybe a little fan service isn’t bad…but would people still be okay with it if we suddenly had male characters fight in an action game or a FPS wearing nothing but tight shorts and combat boots? Didn’t think so.

My friend Camille is a passionate gamer and has strong feelings when it comes to video games as well as being a female gamer. “Although there is still heavy fanservice, I feel it’s no longer a ‘wow it’s a girl playing Assasin’s Creed or Mario Kart…she sucks’ type of environment. Although a lot of guys still underestimate me, I’ve noticed in general it’s more about the player than the gender.” When asked if she’s ever been misjudged by her male counterparts, she had stated that there is still some hostility, but it’s not as common as before. “I remember years ago I entered a GameStop tournament for Super Smash Bros. Melee. I was the only girl, and guys expected me to play as Peach, Zelda, or Jigglypuff. Little did they know Link is my main, and I cleaned house. I made it to the final two. I guess it was a matter of judgment, but me being a girl didn’t deter my gaming skills.”

Samantha, another gamer as well as comic book fan stated “at the end of the day, I respect players for their skill, not their sex. It annoys me when I don’t get the same amount of respect in return just because I’m a girl. Real gamer girls don’t have to be just cute to be legit. It all comes in game. It’s annoying how people expect us just to be cute over also knowing your craft.”

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She single-handedly spawned a ton of fan-service Deviant Art. Pun heavily intended.

However, gaming isn’t the only realm where girls are starting to emerge. Comic Books have always been seen as a “guy thing”, and although a lot of its core audience is males, women in comics as a hero, villain, or supporting character have usually ranged from a ditz who gets herself in trouble to heroes who can hang with their male colleagues, and at times, kick their asses. Although not as heavy as the video game industry, females in comics still suffer from the same fan service type issues.

Notable examples are Amanda Waller being a large woman of color (who was a huge force to be reckoned with) up until the New 52, where she’s just a curvy a sexy woman of color (who is still a huge force to be reckoned with), or the controversial New 52 version of Starfire. The main issue amongst female comic book readers isn’t really how women are portrayed. That’s not the case since heroes and villains alike have very strong and dominant personalities as a whole. The issue usually lies with how these said women are portrayed in mainstream media and sometimes completely ignored.

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Enter Emma Frost, also known as The White Queen in the X-Men series. She’s one of the top telepaths in the world, was one of the few first characters to possess Astral Projection, has defeated Magneto, Phoenix, as well as countless others in battle, was second in command in the now defunct Hellfire Club, as well as singlehandedly controlling the Jean Grey School for Gifted Youngsters for a short stint. With a resume like that, it’s surprising to see how her silver screen portrayal by January Jones in the 2011 hit X-Men: First Class portrayed her as a very pale version of her print version.

Witty, saucy, able to handle most mutants, the Emma Frost of the comic series had nothing in common with the…sexy version of the big screen. Although this seems like a focus on a singular female character, this type of thing happens more often than not in big Hollywood portrayals of comic book heroes and villains. Poison Ivy, Elektra, Catwoman (that terrible Halle Berry version that never wish existed), Shadowcat, Phoenix, Rogue, and Super Girl have all fallen to this pattern of casting these ladies from their dangerous and deep personalities, to their singular, almost insultingly lacking version of their graphic novel selves.

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While comic book fans both male and female alike have strong feelings about this, Samantha decided to throw her opinions out in the open. “It’s really crappy how these women are strong and are just as amazing as the guys, but besides Black Widow, they’re usually just played as sexy and useless. And that’s the image that the audience gets from these girls. We’re getting a Wonder Woman movie, but the baby steps make it so frustrating”. Camille, however, had a different approach. “I feel that depending on the genre itself, staying one hundred percent true to the medium isn’t really important. It’s a Hollywood adaptation and they’re going by what sells. I get that. It sucks sometimes but I understand. However, I see these new movies with female heroines like Frozen, Tangled, Maleficent, or shows like Game of Thrones and it makes me realize it’s no longer about having a female character vulnerable. They’re actually fleshed out characters.”

With both comic books and video games starting to show appeal to both genders, it’s highly apparent that it’s no longer a man’s territory. More and more women are entering the video game fields and more women are being incorporated into stories as serious characters, and even canon (such as Street Fighter finally putting Poison in a game). It’s smooth sailing for now on, and it’s no longer just about the guys.

 

 

25 June 2014 Editorials  Features Read more

New Character Joins the Brawl

As a new twist to the upcoming Super Smash Bros. game, a new character has stepped up to the plate. Pacman throws his hat in the ring as a new competitor for the new game, and brings a whole not of new moves and mechanics to the table. Looks like Mr. Game & Watch won’t be the only old-school arcade guy duking it out.The Namco mascot makes his fighting debut, along with other Nintendo favorites such as Rosalina (Super Mario) and Ghirahim (Legend of Zelda), as well as Sega’s Sonic (the Sonic franchise) on October 2014.

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13 June 2014 Entertainment  Game Trailers  Gaming  Gaming  Nintendo 3DS  Nintendo WiiU Read more

10 Things I want in the New Pokemon Games

Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire have been announced, and I’m jumping with joy since I pretty much sparingly played Emerald when these games were in their original run. With the incredible effects, graphics, mechanics, and story X & Y offered, RS remakes are sure to be a huge improvements that great games set up. But there are a few things Nintendo can work on to help make the gaming experience better.

In no particular order:

10. Better rivals: In X & Y, the group you start out with feels sort of dry. Calem/Serena only exist to get creamed by your team, Shauna is barely difficult and her “cuteness” gets aggravating at times (and creepy. Remember her weird friendship talk in Parfum Palace?), Trevor might as well be a NPC, and Tierno…well, I just don’t like him.

It would be awesome to bring back the darker rivals of Gen I/II. Serious, cocky, and give you great satisfaction when you kick their ass in the arena.

9. More clothing options: Like most create-a-character modes in video games, you get to choose skin, eyes, and customize your character. But being the tester for this, X & Y gave very limited options. With few hairstyles, colors, and limited choices with outfits (an example being guys didn’t have full outfits or as many hair styles as girls did), trainers managed to work with what they had. I’m not asking Nintendo to scrap the clothing options they have right now, just add more options. If trainers can have tons of different styles, why can’t the player?

Idea: why not bring back outfits from trainers/trainer classes from past games? It would be cool to wear a leather jacket from a Biker from GSC or maybe a schoolgirl outfit from Lass. Or even Ethan’s outfit from HG/SS, or Dawn’s from DPPt.

Mix and matching seems like a good idea.

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8. Steven for Champ: This is a little nit picky, but I hope they make Steven the steel-type specialist the champion. Reason being is that in Emerald, after defeating Juan (a water type trainer) you then face-off against Wallace as champion.

Another water-type trainer. Misty may have been excited, but I was not amused. Also, Steven is badass.

7. More Pokemon, more Pokemon in regional Dex: When RSE came out I was confused as to why they didn’t have my main pokemon, Gengar. It was a travesty now as it was then, and I hope they expand the amount of pokemon allowed in the pre-national Dex. Speaking of which…

6. More/better post-game play: As cool as X&Y were and as much as I liked them, I have to admit, the main thing that I did after that was breeding and raising pokemon. Besides the looker missions and the Battle Maison, there really wasn’t much to work with. Except now I can fill my pokedex.

Idea: Bring back the Sevii Islands. Or at least have rematches with trainers. Youngster Joey needs to come to Hoenn!!

5. Better Pokemon GTS system: You know, it really annoys me when I’m trying to find a rare or semi-rare pokemon, and being the lazy player that I am…I’m forced to use the GTS. Let’s say I want a Sudowoodo, I go on the GTS. But noooo.

People are begging for a Lv. 100 Kakuna or a Lv. 1 Dialga. MAYBE I can do the female Lv. 50 Glameow. But these requests are just ridiculous. Filter out the obviously hacked legendaries. Sorry, but having a level 10 Darkai is not gonna happen.

 

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4. Harder gym battles: Call me a snob, but the Elite Four and Kalos Gym Leaders were pretty easy. At first I kept thinking,

“maybe this Gym Leader will beat me”. That wasn’t the case at all. I defeated the game at ease with my team and the Elite Four as well. I remember how hard some battles from the past games were. I felt Drake and Lance were hard S.o.B.’s with their precious Dragons, as was everyone’s favorite adorable hellspawn Whitney and her stupid Miltank of death. But you know what, at the end of the day, I’m fine getting my ass handed to me on a platter. It’s challenging and it shows the game isn’t just raising pokemon and feeding them pokepuffs.

3. Incorporate the new advancements into Pokemon Contests: In RSE, I found the contests to be somewhat boring. It was cool, yeah, but it brought this mechanic as a sort of side mini-game that really wasn’t appealing. There really was no outside factor if your Pokemon had top ribbons. Now, however, we have the Pokemon Aime, pokepuffs, and maybe they’ll bring back pokeblocks/poffins.

Idea: all the above new mechanics can be used to determine your pokemon’s cuteness factor as well as performance in the battle portion. If your pokemon has high affection it performs better. If it has high joy it does better with the cute/beauty portion, etc. Feeding it different puffs and blocks also affect their mood and performance as well as enhance them in other areas.

 

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2. More Mega-Evolutions: Japanese gaming and comic magazine Corocoro has confirmed that there will indeed be megas for the Hoenn starters. This implies that there will be mega-evolutions for other pokemon. Hopefully we have a more expansive roster with mega-evolutions such as for example Shiftry or Sableye. This will make battles more interesting and unpredictable.

1. Bigger, badder villains: The GSC remakes made Team Rocket much more than just a syndicate of thugs. There were more characters and leaders from the gang we had to defeat. The same can be said about Team Aqua and/or Team Magma. Give them an updated roster of main leaders and villains. An updated team, and a sense of “stuff just got real”.

Well, that’s my personal wishlist for the Gen III remakes. What sort of things would you guys like in the upcoming games? Be sure to give some requests of your own.

Remember guys, Alpha Ruby & Omega Sapphire is a wish many of us have been wanting since Gen 5 and it comes out November of this year. Make sure to go get it!

29 May 2014 Gaming  Gaming Read more

Not the Pryde of the X-Men

Like a lot of you guys, I’m definitely stoked for the new X-Men movie “Days of Future Past”. But what is it really about in terms of the original story? To prepare for the upcoming film, I’ll be dishing out details and try not to spoil the events.

It should be understood that the comic itself is rather confusing when you look at it from a logical standpoint. This means that there’s a lot of jumping from one universe to the other and it can get contradictory and baffling at times. Maybe I should have also mentioned an important fact: there are two universes, Earth 811 (Days of Future Past) and Earth 616 (Marvel’s main universe). Both of these universes are essentially the identical until a certain point where they strand off into two completely different timelines. The main event that triggers this change is Professor X and Senator Kelley getting killed, which prompts for the Sentinel project to activate. This doesn’t count as a spoiler.

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Although Hugh Jackman reprises his role as the badass and surly Wolverine, it should be noted that in the comic book it’s actually an aging Kitty Pryde that witnesses her present being a desolate wasteland who transfers her consciousness to a Kitty Pryde from the past…which is the present (or past, told you it’s confusing). Kitty Pryde is, of course, known as the X-Men Shadowcat, played by Ellen Page. Shadowcat, which for the sake of the “future” is called Kate Pryde, is mature and has seen her fellow team mates die. Also, Phoenix and Cyclop’s kid in the alternate universe, Rachel Summers, who has no cool X-Men code name, is also a main character.

Also, it’s a cool fun fact (and kind of…depressing), but Earth 811 has its beings set in three different groups. H Class, which is comprised of “pure” humans, can and are allowed to screw. A Class, is essentially the equivalent of the Potter universe’s “half-bloods” or “mudbloods”, pretty much they have no power but they have the genetic code for the X-gene (the reason for mutants and the culprit of a not-so-creative name) either by relatives or just by luck. They aren’t able to have any sex life at all but are allowed into society. And finally, there’s the M Class, which are pure mutants and are placed in concentration camps to die or are just killed off. Like I said, cool but depressing.

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Pretty much, not to spoil a lot, the events are somewhat similar to the movie. The basic plot is the same: Sentinels are bad, humans are bigoted idiots against mutants, this must not happen, X-Men fight for this not to happen in their universe. And it may keep the huge allegorical message about all kinds of bigotry and intolerance and the dire consequences that come with being a judgmental, horrible person.

Oh, and half of the Marvel universe is dead. No Captain America, Spider Man, Thor, Iron Man, Wasp, Toad, etc. Wolverine dies, and this shouldn’t be an issue in the movie. C’mon, would they seriously KILL Wolverine?

On the plus side…we have Colossus and Dazzler left. Yeah. Colossus.

15 May 2014 Movies Read more