There’s a Dreadful Bond Tech Demo. Go Take it For a Spin, Please

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With its Kickstarter in its final week, developer Clod Studio has released a gorgeously gloomy tech demo for Dario Argento’s Dreadful Bond which makes for an excellent look at the game’s environments as well as some impressive audio design in the form of a haunting piano tune and some appropriately unsettling sound effects. There’s no “action” here to speak of, but I’m betting some of you easily frightened types will feel more than a little creeped out by the strikingly realistic visuals and those assorted ambient sound effects that will have you stop moving your mouse around because it feels as if… well, as if something is watching your every move or worse, is lurking in the same space you are just over your shoulder.

 

 

Wait, that’s just me – I was hungry, poked around in your fridge and made myself a sandwich while I was waiting for you all to download that demo. Er, I hope you don’t mind? Anyway, I’m going to exit, stage left. Go check out that tech demo for Dreadful Bond and pledge towards its completion, I say. Also, you need a new loaf of bread and maybe some Colman’s English Mustard because that boring bright yellow stuff is kinda tame. Okay, Okay, I’m going!

-GW

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Review: Feather (Nintendo Switch)

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Because sometimes you really really need to relax, games such as Feather ($12.59, $9.99 on PC) exist and should thrive because they do what they do well enough to recommend to those with more open minds. Melbourne-based Samurai Punk‘s super-chill experience is as much of an art project as it is a highly playable stylized bird flight simulation and it works on a few levels some won’t immediately grasp. Its open world setting couple with the simple to pick up controls allow free exploration of the map which reveals a few nifty secrets for those willing to take the time to dive in and discover.

This is a game where the intentional low-poly look blends seamlessly with its lovely soundtrack that does a great job of transporting you and your brain into a comfortable place for as long as you need that respite. As there are no big goals other than enjoying the ride and locating all nine music tracks (accessible via circular gateways placed in select locations), it’s a case where if you want to end the game, it doesn’t mind when you quit because any “progression” you’ve made isn’t saved. Yes, that seems strange in this era of auto-saves or games recalling your last position before a huge event. Feather itself is the event, and it’s a low-stress one at that. Jump in at any time and fly until you’ve had your fill.

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Oh, the places you’ll go: Just explore everything, as you’ll fly into some odd spots worth seeking out.

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Dario Argento’s “For Bridget” is Just The Thing to Coax A Kickstarter Pledge

dreadful bond logoSo, Dario Argento’s Deadly Bond now has a nicely unsettling Unreal Engine 4-powered short film attached to it and at just over six minutes long, it’s also a nifty means of getting people to pledge to its Kickstarter. It’s a bit of a slow burner of a short, but has a nice payoff and will likely make a few of you want to see more in a playable form.

I’m waiting for a payment to come through for some work I did elsewhere so I can toss a few coins into that particular fountain, but you (yes, YOU) can go on ahead of me with your wallet out if you’re into the man’s work as well as all the effort Clod Studio has put into both the game and short film.Uh, mind the steps leading to that basement, as they’re a bit loose… oops, um… well, that looked painful, ouch.

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While you’re recuperating, I think you could use a little movie to watch… Here you go:

Sometime in 2020, you’ll want to set aside time for a little bit of dread, I’ll bet…

-GW

Dario Argento’s Dreadful Bond: When Supporting a Nightmare is a Good Thing

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Oh, it’s real, alright.

Normally, this would likely classify as an April Fool’s gag of the highest order… save for I got this announcement yesterday and it wholly checks out as legitimate. Yep, Dario Argento has given his blessing to and is the Artistic Director for what’s shaping up to be a rather impressive looking Unreal 4-powered psychological horror game that just so happens to be up on Kickstarter as we speak. Let’s go take a look at the work in question as a work in progress, shall we?

The project is far enough in its progression to be worth a look when the game is eventually released next year and I definitely want this to succeed just to see how well the dev team translates Argento’s visions into playable form. Yes, it would also be totally cool if the PS4 goal tier is met and surpassed just to play this on my system of choice. Granted, the PS5 is very likely to be a thing Sony either teases or announces outright within the next year, but I think developer Clod Studio is well on the way to making something quite artful and memorable no matter where it eventually ends up.

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Now, I just need to decide on my pledge: funding a simple name in the credits, or a digital download version of the final g\build, as those are my current budget limitations. There’s also a little something extra coming from Clod, but we’ll discuss that project once I get the clearance to do so.

-GW

Lost Ember: Making Mooneyes at This Great-Looking Game

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I’d been quietly following Mooneye Studios upcoming Lost Ember for a few years with the hope that the dev team would be taking their time to make an already gorgeous  game even more so. So this new trailer and actual launch date are making me really happy:

Lovely, isn’t it? Well, that July 19 release date for PC, PS4 and Xbox One is indeed a good thing, and with a Switch version also in the works, it’s safe to say about the only folks who might be a tad perturbed will be Mac and Linux die-hards who have to be a bit less grumpy unless their wants are taken care of. Anything is possible, so who knows what will happen in the future, I say. Go stick this one on your watch and wish lists, folks.

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A wolf whistle to the art team for such spectacular environments might not be a bad thing here.

– GW

A Few Words On Bernie Wrightson

Well, very few, actually. I was initially going to say some stuff here about meeting Bernie Wrightson at a Creation Convention here in NYC back in 1981 or ’82 where during a rare quiet moment I tiptoed up to his table and mumbled out some great appreciation for his work. He responded with thanks and when he saw me clutching a portfolio, asked if I was interested in drawing comics before humbly pointing me to Graham Ingles and Franklin Booth and a few other names as illustrators to look up when I had the time. But I don’t feel much like retelling the longer version of that story just now.

The internet is chock full of his amazing work, so here’s one link of many to sink into for a spell. Funny that I just ordered a bottle of India ink and was planning to break out the brushes and dip pens to do some de-stressing over a ton of stuff. I guess I’ll have Bernie on my mind at many points, but I won’t even try to emulate his style, as his Swamp Thing and other horror imagery had me hooked in since about 1970 or ’71 and was my primary reason for wanting to draw.

Back in a bit. I was working on something else – well, a few somethings else, but once again, the wind has left the sails.

 

-GW

Berserk’s Back: Have You Got The Guts To Read It?

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Okay, I’ll admit it. I have almost NO experience with Berserk outside a poring over a few borrowed issues of the manga back in the 90’s and playing through three video games based on the manga and anime (Super Famicom, Dreamcast and PS2, FYI). That said, with Koei Tecmo set to release the gloriously violent Berserk and the Band of the Hawk on February 21, 2017, Dark Horse Comics has put out the word that Volume 38 of Berserk will be slicing its way to comic stores and online retailers July 5, 2017. Why post this so early? Well, I think I need to play catch up and I think that’s enough time to play catch up on the other 37 volumes, of course!


 

I’ve been following the game closely, but not reporting much on it or watching any videos other than trailers and official gameplay videos like the one aove because I want to go in as cold as possible and not have stuff spoiled by yakky streamers who got early access even if they love what’s coming. In any event, I need to co clear up some room on my calendar I guess. Slowly going Berserk is a lot better than the alternative, right?

– GW

Trump: Playboy + MAD+ Dark Horse = Something MUCH Better Than You’re Thinking

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Oh, that cartoon guy with the funny hair tooting his own horn may look familiar, but trust me, he’s not only got NOTHING to do with what’s going on down in D.C., he was around before that name was a big deal. Dark Horse Comics’ second volume in its Essential (Harvey) Kurtzman series just so happens to be the complete collection of Trump, a swanky satire magazine published by Playboy from 1956-57. While only two issues made it to newsstands and a third was aborted, the talent on display was tops (Mel Brooks, Will Elder, Jack Davis, Wally Wood, Al Jaffee, Russ Heath, Arnold Roth and more). Unfortunately the upscale satire mag folded up shop and pretty much sunk into obscurity save for hard core collectors who’ve tracked down and saved a handful of copies over the decades.

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Dark Horse comes to the rescue once again with another find hardcover collection, Trump: The Complete Collection – Essential Kurtzman Volume Two (MSRP $29.99). Both full issues are here plus what would have been a third issue had the magazine stayed around. As both a slice of magazine history and collection of outstanding comic illustration from some of the greats of the era, the detailed notes on every bit of art, letters to and from principals involved and other elements lend a great insight into what worked and what went wrong. It’s a “Come for the curiosity, stay because you’re learning stuff’ read that comes highly recommended even if you’re not a fan of top notch late 50’s satire.

Granted, I’m as old as dirt, so I love the corny but reliably amusing jokes here as well as that gorgeously detailed art. As with Harvey Kurtzman’s Jungle Book: Essential Kurtzman Volume 1, plopping this on your coffee table will automatically make your friends think you’re a sly, sophisticated guy or gal with a super cool sense of humor. Hmmmm, perhaps Dark Horse out to zip over both tomes to that kinda cranky guy who needs a big laugh? Provided he makes it past the cover without blowing a gasket, I think it might generate half a laugh. I hope.

– GW

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Ni no Kuni II: RENEVANT KINGDOM – Level-5, At The Top of Their Game


 

Feh, who needs Final Fantasy and its overly complex kitchen sink boy band kettle-pot plot latest entry when Level-5 is simply making some of the best, if not THE best pure JRPGs out there today? Don’t get me wrong, folks. I don’t hate FF at all. It’s just moved so far into being too hip/ster and modern for my tastes with each installment. The first Ni no Kuni was fantastic, albeit a wee bit too epic in length if one wanted to see and do it all. Sadly, my PS3 was stolen before I got to complete the game (over 90 hours was put into those save files), but this sequel got me pumped to dive in for more and more stunning visuals now that it’s a PS4 game. Just ogle the hand-drawn and painted magnificence (oh, alright, it’s all digital, but still!) and hear that solid voice acting knowing you’re in good hands with this upcoming console exclusive. Lovely work here, just beautiful and I can’t wait to dive in.

-GW

Shadows On The Grave: Corben’s Still Got Those Horror Chops

shadows-on-the-grave-dhRichard Corben’s artwork has always been brilliant, freakish and frightening on a few levels, but his horror work over the last few years has been a perfect blend of caricature and crazed creativity. I rather loved Rat God, his violently hilarious and uniquely stylized love letter to Lovecraft that was one of Dark Horse Comics best mini-series of 2015. Okay, Bunn and Cook’s absolutely brilliant (and I would watch the hell out of a good TV or movie adaptation) Harrow County is flat out scarier. But Corben’s style of stylistic horror is second to none in my book.

shadows-1sotg30532Shadows On The Grave #1 is the first issue in a beautiful new miniseries comprised of short stories with Corben going all out in both black and white and grey-toned art that’s simultaneously lovely, twisted and somehow realistic through all the bigfoot layers. There’s his reliable work with the human and unhuman form that makes poring over each panel a joy (yes, even the disturbing stuff is worth a look in all its glory) and his writing is just fun and tight what with all the tonal shifting going on. The man is a master of adding humor to tense situations as his characters get put through their paces by fate and other means, but I shall wisely leave the actual reading of the book to each and every one of you interested.

Issue 1 lands at your favorite comic emporium December 14 ($3.99), Issue 2 is arriving in January, and let’s see now… #3 should be next March. Yep, get this is you’re into the Creepy stuff. You see what I did there? Did you? Yeah, go get that as well.

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