The Angry Birds Movie Update: Blake Shelton Is A Big Fat Pig

Hey now! Step away from the keyboard and put down that baseball bat, folks. Shelton IS a big fat (and green!) pig. Or more precisely, he’s voicing a big fat (and green!) CG pig named Earl in the upcoming The Angry Birds Movie:

Blake Shelton voices "Earl" in in Columbia Pictures and Rovio Animation's ANGRY BIRDS.

Blake Shelton voices “Earl” in in Columbia Pictures and Rovio Animation’s ANGRY BIRDS.

Of course, the filmmakers aren’t letting the man’s musical talents go to waste at all. The award-winning singer (and co-host of The Voice) is also lending his voice to the film’s soundtrack. No news as t what he’ll be singing or when it will be sung has been revealed, but there’s nothing wrong with a little (or big) surprise, I always say. Um, that does depend on the surprise, though. This counts as a good one.

Adding to an already talented cast that includes Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Bill Hader, Peter Dinklage, Kate McKinnon, Tony Hale, Keegan-Michael Key, Hannibal Buress, Ike Barinholtz, Jillian Bell, Cristela Alonzo, Danielle Brooks, Romeo Santos, and the YouTube team known as Smosh (Anthony Padilla, Ian Hecox), it looks as if the film will be getting a few (well, a lot) more fans hoofing it to a theater new them when it opens this summer.

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Holiday Greetings From Some Not So Angry Birds


 

Even the grumpiest Grinchy McScrooge, Esq. would get a chuckle or hoot out of this short promotional video cooked up to promote The Angry Birds Movie, headed to theaters in May 2016. It’s also the proper thing to do with an audio recording of kids who don’t know all the words to “Deck The Halls” trying their best to make it to the end of the song and failing miserably merrily at it. Of course, watch some overly enthusiastic Xmas supporters whine about this video not being in the proper spirit of the season or whatever when they should be chuckling at this while wearing a hideous holiday sweater and sipping a BIG cup of cocoa laced with something adult beverage-like. That bottle of peppermint schnapps Uncle Hugo game you two years back should come in handy right about now, I’d say.

“He’s Making A List And Checking It Twice…”

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Image courtesy atarimania.com (thanks!)

Yeah, yeah. I’m in the middle of a little (but not little at all) listing project for the fine folks over at Digital Press where I’m one of a few staff wroters who still works on the print ‘zine that gets published whenever we have time to get an issue out.

Everyone contributing to the next issue is going to be submitting a list of 30 “best” console or PC titles from each era 1971-2004 (for a total of up to 90 games from each writer) and those lists will get tallied up and then blurbed for readers to debate about later and perhaps get into unnecessary fisticuffs over.

Okay, that’s NOT the goal at all, but you know how the internet reacts to the most humble stuff these days. Then again, the DP readership is generally more mellow and reserved (well, usually). So I’m gathering whatever pops up from the staff collision at the end of the month will be quite a read. My own list is made up of mostly common games with a few oddball entries added in because they were and still are games that made quite an impression on me back in the day.

Anyway, let me get back to my compiling. I’m having a big brain battle over the final era thanks to so many systems to choose from, way too many PC games being too good and me trying to squeeze a mere 30 games out of thousands that also deserve to be included. Ah well -small world problem, right? If I don’t post anything again today, have a Happy Thanksgiving passed out in front of your TV or wherever else you’ll crawl for a nap after your turkey overdose.

The Angry Birds Movie: A Good Egg Is Getting Cooked Up For 2016

Angry Birds MPWhile The Angry Birds Movie trailer met with the usual internet mix of smiles and grimaces (and the even more usual whines and moans from the haters), it really didn’t do much in the way of telling exactly what the film would be about. Cue Columbia Pictures and Sony sending out invites to assorted media folk to roll on by and see selected scenes from the still in production film presented by producer John Cohen in a fun behind the scenes “featurette” style like something you’d see on a Blu-Ray or DVD.

Invite in hand, this little piggy went for a stroll down to Sony’s midtown screening room for a spell and came up for air quite pleased and impressed by what was shown. I can’t reveal anything about the clips, but Cohen’s presentation was perfect and answered the big fat question many have had since the film was announced. That being how the heck a game with no story to speak of is getting a full on feature film. In short, a story was written specifically for the characters in the game and how they first meet. It’s the three-act structure in full effect and as Cohen showed off artwork, character models and completed to in progress clips from the film, any skepticism I may have felt about the project was a distant memory long before his presentation ended.

Okay, it was less than ten minutes in is when I felt the film would be a great way to get fans of the game as well as non-fans into theaters next May… Continue reading

The Guest Hands-On: Quiet Hell Hotel Holds Soviet Science Hostage

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teamgotham_blackMadrid-based Team Gotham is a four-person studio that’s cooking up an unsettling Unity-powered first-person adventure game called The Guest that’s headed to PC at some point next year via Steam thanks to publisher 505 Games. Set in 1986, you’ll step into the shoes of Dr. Evgueni Leonov, a Russian scientist who wakes up in a strange Massachusetts hotel room that seemingly has no way out. In true adventure game fashion, searching for clues and items to combine and use come heavily into play as Leonov needs to problem solve his way through a number of scenarios as he uncovers what’s going on. Locked doors, batteries, scraps of paper, coat hangers, assorted tools and more could be studied and collected with everything you can carry having some use at some point during the game.

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The time period The Guest is set in means there are no handy cell phones to use to ring for help (and no cliched “I can’t get a signal!” moments either) or other modern tech on hand. All the good Doctor has are his frazzled wits and anything you find while scouring the rooms you explore. The demo at 505 Games’ NYC event was a short enough teaser to be extremely intriguing as it showed off some initially simple but extremely well done puzzles and a wild bit of business that sort of resembled a panic attack Leonov has when he accidentally locks himself in a bathroom. The resulting freak-out made for a nice jolt and the only way to get it to stop was to find and use some pills stored in the bathroom’s first aid cabinet. How Leonov got to that hotel is explained during the demo, but you definitely don’t find out what the heck is up with his room being as weird as it is.

Team Gotham’s use of Unity here is quite stellar for such a small team. The game has a nice realistic look yet shouldn’t be at all demanding on some lower-end gaming rigs. Other than some newspaper and magazine clippings, objects can be rotated and examined to simply read their labels or to uncover additional clues. Yes, items need to be combined in order to succeed, so be prepared to turn one of the aforementioned coat hangers into a handier lock pick at some point. While not a “horror” game at all (at least as far as I was able to see), the mixture of waking up in a half-trashed hotel room, the need to medicate Leonov on occasion and the cryptic news clipping and other clues he finds give The Guest a nice psychological vibe. While the game should have appeal to anyone looking for a finely crafted first-person game that’s not all about shooting up monsters (or anything else for that matter) fans of hidden object games who want something more cerebral should also take interest in this one as well.

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So far, this one’s PC only but it’s easy to see at least one of the big three wanting to add this game to their lineup. Given that The Guest is planned to be Oculus Rift capable at some point, it’s a no-brainer for Sony to want to add this to their Morpheus games lineup. Or at least that’s what I’d be angling for if I were picking potential indie hits at SCEA. While they only have a handful of titles on the way 505 Games is on a roll with a very strong lineup. With The Guest, ADR1FT, How To Survive 2, and Indivisible coming, it’s going to be a good selection of titles for gamers who want variety in their experiences.

Stepping Into The Rift @ The Marriot: Traveling Light Might Be A New Option…

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Hey, Kids! Time travel exists! Okay, it doesn’t (sorry, folks!), but I’m making it so with this post because I started it when I got back from the FUTURE, but my stupid computer decided to freeze up and not want to post it when I finished. Boo. Anyway, I was HERE for a while seeing part of the future of entertainment and travel courtesy of Marriott Hotels and a few very hard working and talented folks at Relevent and Framestore. More on this in a longer article shortly. My time-bending skills are limited at this point and I need my beauty rest… good night!

Realms, Swords & Magic: “Tell Me A Story”? How About You Play One Yourself, Kid?

Screenshot01While I still despise facebook with a passion (yeah, yeah, I have an account there, but it’s more for work purposes that anything else), sometimes something unsolicited pops up on my page that’s actually worth a second look. Benoît Prézeau and the game he’s working on, Realms, Swords & Magic both got my attention because the man is either really talented or a mad genius or both. He’s making a text-driven role-playing game that plays out like a choose your own adventure book, but with what’s looking like a great deal more depth. All of this is still VERY early, but the opening text from the game’s web site got my brain percolating:

Realms, Swords & Magic is a text and illustrations based CRPG for Windows with a story spanning an entire lifetime and gameplay more focused on character interactions, than combat.

Yeah, that sounds pretty cool, folks. Go poke around Prézeau’s site and see what he’s up to, won’t you? He’s planning to do some sort of crowdfunding, and I say he SHOULD be supported, as a good story is better than some damn potato salad any day of the week, grrrr!

Sunday, Bloody (Dull, But Not Quite) Sunday…

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Well, it’s one of those Sundays where any major motivation went saaaaaailing out the window thanks to a lack of sleep. I blame Tales of Xillia 2 because I’m forging through it to get a review up, the crazy P.T. demo on the PS4 (thank you, Mr. Kojima!) as well as the soon to be released horror movie MOEBIUS for scaring my pants off (little in joke there – you’ll get it when you see this icky fright flick) and some rather stupid download issues with a couple of games I also need to review (it’s as if the entire borough is in some sort of slow time bubble in terms of finding a speedy connection anywhere!). Well, this week is going to be busy even if all that stuff above was done, but now I have to step on the gas a little more and hope today’s progress makes for a fun to read pile of articles.

Back in a bit. I’ve a bit of creative world-ending to take care of, now that I’ve got some coffee in me. Back in a bit (or tomorrow, whichever arrives first)…

Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom – Un nouveau « JRPG » fabriqué en France ? Oui !

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It’s too bad Shiness isn’t coming to consoles anytime soon. This lovely Unreal tech powered crowd-funded indie RPG is only a few days into its Kickstarter campaign and almost a third of the money needed to get it onto PC and Mac at some point is in the bag. French developer Ynnis Interactive is making JRPG fans drool with some gorgeous anime visuals, a stirring soundtrack, and what sounds like fully voiced characters (like in Avatar, speaking a language created specifically for the project!), all hallmarks of a solid RPG experience. While the game will be a traditional solo experience where a party of assorted members can travel with the lead character, Ynnis is also planning some sort of online mode for their game, but it’s too early to see how it will be implemented. Given the game’s combat will be more action-oriented and in fact, play like a fighting game, it’s safe to say this is what will really make or break the game experience for many backers.

Shiness Combat Animation Sample

Shiness MangaAs you can see from that wonderfully illustrated KS page, the game certainly has the looks of a AAA game straight from a top Japanese studio like Level 5 or CyberConnect 2 (a good thing indeed) and other than some proofreading to tighten up the English translation, this one looks as if it’s going to be a winner and meets its financial target based on the overall quality and level of polish on display. Even cooler, there’s a companion manga in the works (the first chapter is HERE) that should expand the game’s story, characters and world in the same way popular manga such as Dragonball, Naruto and others did for their respective characters. This is one of those projects I hope more than meets its goals just so all three console companies take notice and maybe offer up assistance in getting the game to their respective platforms.

EDIT! In fact, if the game does indeed meet its $100,000 target, a console version will be the next stretch goal, so make it happen people! Hmmm… now that I’m dreaming of drooling over Shiness on the PS3, Xbox 360 (and hopefully Wii U!), I also wonder how well that Unreal engine runs on the Vita?

Here’s the trailer above in French – it’s slightly longer, but pretty much the same:

Anyway, you know what to do if you’ve watched those videos above and now have a big smile on your face. Pledge away and secure whatever premium you can afford while keeping both fingers and toes crossed that the game hits its goals and then some. This looks like the beginning of a beautiful relationship if it all comes together as it needs to…