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Episode 26 - Bungie's Destiny

OTF looks at one of the most-anticipated games of next year!

Sean Sorensen and Dwight Tejano are joined by guest Evan Nikolich, a World Designer at Bungie Studios.  Dwight and Sean ask about the path that eventually brought him to Bungie, and Evan talks about his responsibilities and what he's looking forward to the most when gamers get their chance to play.

Listen now:

   

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10:00AM

SDCC 2014: Sunset Overdrive

Now that the new generation of consoles have finally been released, this year's E3 was devoted entirely to games.  Quite a few were worth keeping an eye on, but the game that piqued my interest the most was Sunset Overdrive -- by a large margin.

Compared to most of the games shown, Sunset Overdrive was a breath of fresh air.  In a world of first person shooters set in monochromatic backdrops, Sunset Overdrive revels in color, activity, quirkiness, and fun -- the type of game you'd hope for from the house of Ratchet and Clank. Being a big fan of the Lombax-Robot series, I was excited to see Insomniac Games back with a game that celebrates just being loud, fun, and unique.

At this year's SDCC, we were invited to the festivities at the Xbox Gaming Lounge.  After partaking in the free food and drink, Tek rushed to see what Master Chief was up to and I found my way to Ryan Schneider of Insomniac Games for the details on Sunset Overdrive.  Check out the interview!

Sunset Overdrive crashes onto the scene on October 28, 2014!

10:00AM

SDCC 2014: Batman: Assault on Arkham - Part 2

In Part 2 of our roundtable disussions at San Diego Comic-Con with the talented people behind Batman: Assault on Arkham, we focus on a handful of the stellar cast members lending their voices to some of DC's most iconic characters.

Batman himself, Kevin Conroy, is joined by Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds), John DiMaggio (Futurama), and Troy Baker (Batman: Arkham Origins) as they discuss everything from Batman fandom to voice over technique as we talk about this latest animated adventure. We'll even throw in Troy Baker's uncanny Sam Elliott impression. Enjoy!

Batman: Assault on Arkham is available now! Also, be sure to check out Part 1 of the roundtables if you haven't already!

10:00AM

SDCC 2014: Batman: Assault on Arkham - Part 1

Last week saw the release of Batman: Assault on Arkham, the latest animated adventure from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. However, while the Dark Knight’s name is in the title, the true stars of the movie are the members of the Suicide Squad, the villainous group of DC villains whose roster seems to change every time they appear.

As one of three animated films to be released in 2014 from WBHE, it’s no small feat to bring Assault on Arkham to audiences, but it’s accomplished by a core group of talented people who have done it many times before. At San Diego Comic-Con, we got to sit down with Assault on Arkham’s Co-Director Jay Oliva (Justice League: War), Producer James Tucker (Son of Batman), and legendary Voice Director Andrea Romano (Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League) to talk about what it takes to bring this project to the small screen. Check out the video below!

Check back soon for Part 2 of our Assault on Arkham roundtable discussions with some of the film’s talented voice actors!

Batman: Assault on Arkham is available now!

10:00AM

Review: Star Wars #20

This will be a day long remembered…

The final installment in Dark Horse’s ongoing Star Wars series arrives today, capping Brian Wood’s run as writer at 20 issues. Over the course of the 20 issues, Wood deftly filled in the gap between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, focusing on the Rebellion’s struggle to find a new home and stay one step ahead of the Empire, but his final entry leaves much to be desired and brings the series to an unceremonious close.

The four great heroes of the Rebel Alliance, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca, have set out to rescue a deep-cover operative who also happens to be a childhood friend of Leia, but it becomes a race when droid bounty hunter IG-88 sets his sights on the same quarry. Seren Song, the operative in question, manages to keep herself hidden among some supply convoys, but when the promise of salvation arises, she sets out to rendezvous with her old friend. The happy reunion is cut short, however, by the merciless mechanical hunter, prompting a dogfight between the Millennium Falcon and the IG-2000. After enacting their escape, the Rebels breathe easy as Leia and Seren share a heart-to-heart, as well as the intel that put Seren in so much danger. With years of seemingly innocuous geological data in hand, Seren literally hands Leia the Rebellion’s best hope for finding a new world on which to build their base.

The most surprising part of this finale is that it is a mere two-issue arc. In #19, Wood set up what could have been yet another great, long-form entry into Star Warlore, reuniting the four main characters for a heroic rescue mission which turns into a race against one of the top six Star Wars bounty hunters. Instead, it’s over surprisingly quick, with the majority of the action occurring in issue #19 anyway. There are points where #20 feels like Wood is stretching it out just enough to make the page quota. For an entire page, Seren Song recounts her childhood memories of the planet where she will be meeting Leia and company. It brings the action to a dead halt, making the reader wonder if this world will play a greater role in the future, but seeing as this is the final issue, there is no follow up. The saving grace, however, comes in the form of the Han/Leia banter we’ve come to know and love, bookended the issue. It provides a bit of levity, especially in the absence of the typical comic relief in the form of the droids, but also sets the pair’s relationship down the path we see it on in The Empire Strikes Back.

Several artists contributed to Star Wars during its 20-issue run, but Carlos D’Anda is the man who kicked it off, and it’s only fitting that he be there for the sendoff. What we have seen and come to expect from him over the course of this run is right there, from yet another spectacular space firefight to the subtle emotions creeping across the faces of the characters. D’Anda’s art always had an energy about it, especially in the form of the characters; it’s difficult to put into words, but even his portrayal of Luke during a lightsaber exercise or Chewie reacting to a space-born threat comes off as dynamic through the art. One off-putting surprise, however, is D’Anda’s depiction of the Millennium Falcon. What is known to both characters and fans as a junky, unassuming freighter, is seen in issue #20 as flat and sleek, looking more like an Imperial cruiser than a space hauler that’s been around the galaxy a few dozen times. It hardly detracts from the rest of the art in the book, but it is a surprising image, nonetheless.

It’s a little sad to have been disappointed by the final issue of a series I have loved from #1. Brian Wood definitely made his mark on Star Wars lore by acknowledging what came before while, at the same time, exploring new territory, but the conclusion leaves us wanting just a bit more. Was it a result of the impending departure of the Star Wars license from Dark Horse, which in turn prompted a “why bother?” mentality? Who is to say? For all we know, Marvel may kick off their own series next year to further close the gap between Episodes IV and V, so one can hold out hope.

Star Wars #20, one of the last Star Wars titles to roll off the Dark Horse Comics press, is available today.

10:00AM

SDCC 2014: Halo: The Master Chief Collection

The Halo series continues to be one of the most popular video game franchises in history, spawning not only nine games, but also novels, comics, and even a live-action miniseries. After taking over the production of Halo games from Bungie in 2011, 343 Industries has strived to continue the Halo legacy and create new and exciting content for its rabid fan base every year.

2014 is no exception with the impending release of Halo: The Master Chief Collection, an anthology that packages the four Halo games centered around everyone’s favorite Spartan, including the long-awaited HD rebuild of Halo 2 to commemorate its 10th anniversary. In addition, the collection will feature not only access to the multiplayer beta of Halo’s next installment, Halo 5: Guardians, but brand new ongoing content in the form of Halo: Nightfall, a live-action, episodic digital video series in the vein of Halo: Forward Unto Dawn.

At the Xbox lounge at San Diego Comic-Con, we got to talk about both the collection and the series with 343's Frank O'Connor and Nightfall's Christian Contreras. Check out the intervuews below!

Halo: The Master Chief Collection launches in North America on November 11th, 2014!

10:00AM

Watch the First Seven Minutes of "Star Wars: Rebels"!

Last night, Star Wars fans were treated to a sneak peek at the upcoming television series, Star Wars Rebels. Following the airing of the Phineas and Ferb: Star Wars special, Lucasfilm and Disney XD have brought the first seven minutes of Rebels online and you can check out the video below!

Star Wars Rebels continues the legendary Star Wars saga with all-new adventures following the exploits of the motley crew of the starship Ghost. They are among the select few who are brave enough to stand against the growing tyranny of the Galactic Empire.

Scheduled to premiere in October 2014 as a one-hour special telecast on the Disney Channel, Star Wars Rebels will be followed by a series on Disney XD channels around the world.

10:00AM

SDCC 2014: Cape/Cowl/Create

To celebrate Batman's 75th anniversary, as well as promote the upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight video game, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment partnered with VICE to bring us Cape/Cowl/Create, an art exhibit showcasing the Dark Knight's famous cape and cowl re-imagined by top artists. Fashion designer Asher Levine was tasked with creating true-to-scale replicas of the cape and cowl and creative individuals ranging from LEGO Master Builder Nathan Sawaya to film director Zack Snyder put their own spin on the famous visage for all to enjoy.

We had the pleasure of talking with a few of the featured artists, including Mr. Sawaya, as well as 5th Cell's Akio Segawa and artist Conrad Leach at the Hard Rock Hotel at San Diego Comic-Con!

2:00PM

SDCC 2014: DC Animated's 2015 Lineup Announced

At the screening of Batman: Assault on Arkham at San Diego Comic-Con on Friday evening, producer James Tucker announced the lineup of upcoming DCU films slated for next year.  While none of them are quite as ambitious as, say, The Flashpoint Paradox, there's a lot to look forward to, especially if you're a fan of Scott Snyder's Batman.

Coming in early 2015, the Aquaman origin story, Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, based on the Geoff Johns-penned Aquaman story arc of the same name.  A continuation of Justice League: War, Justice League: Throne of Atlantis will feature Matt Lanter (Star Wars: The Clone Wars) as the aquatic monarch, along with Jason O'Mara as Batman, Nathan Fillion as Green Lantern, and the rest of the main cast from the first movie.

Next up in the first half of 2015: Batman vs. Robin.  Featuring the first-ever animated appearance of the Court of Owls (think Gotham's own Illuminati elite), Batman vs. Robin will be loosely based on the rather excellent "Court of Owls" story arc by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo from the current New 52 Batman series.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Bruce Timm is returning to the DC Universe! Looking to premiere at San Diego Comic-Con 2014, Justice League: Gods and Monsters features an original story and character designs by Timm himself.  No further information was announced.

Before 2015, however, we still have plenty to see this year, including Batman: Assault on Arkham.  Continuing in the same universe as the WB Montreal game, Batman: Arkham Origins, Assault on Arkham features Batman butting heads with the Suicide Squad, as they attempt to retake control of Arkham Asylum. Check out a clip of the Batman: Assault on Arkham, available now on demand and on August 12 on physical media.

Keep an eye on the Fridge for more Assault on Arkham, including interviews with the legendary Kevin Conroy, Andrea Romano, and more!

10:00AM

SDCC 2014: Return of The Venture Brothers!

OTF's coverage of San Diego Comic-Con 2014 kicks off with an old favorite!

It's no secret that we love The Venture Brothers. Since our last conversation with series creators Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick at NYCC 2013, there still have not been any new episodes, but we're closer to season 6 than we were in October. With that in mind, I talked with the duo about their plans for the forthcoming season, as well as their storied history with Comic-Con.

The Venture Bros.' sixth season is currently slated to begin airing in January 2015 with a potential holiday special due this fall.

10:00AM

Review: Star Wars: Rebel Heist #4

Star Wars: Rebel Heist wraps up this week with issue #4, and its conclusion brings us one month closer to Star Wars’ departure from Dark Horse Comics. The series has been a roller coaster of action, intrigue, failure, and success as the core heroes of the Rebellion, alongside some green recruits, have endured every imaginable challenge as they pull off an elaborate robbery spanning multiple worlds.

As the Rebel Heist series unfolded, we followed Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Chewbacca as they played their respective roles in the caper, so it was only natural that the fourth and final installment would bring Luke Skywalker, slayer of Death Stars, into the mix. One would think that the last issue would merely wrap up the story, but instead, it steps outside of the continuity to recount everything that has already transpired, tying the three seemingly unrelated exploits together, and ultimately uniting the participants. We learn that Luke was, in fact, there the whole time, orchestrating the ordeal like a head coach on the sidelines, and had every intention of swooping in at the last minute to save the team’s collective hide.

Writer Matt Kindt clearly took a cue from Return of the Jedi as he put Han, Leia, and Chewie into a situation not unlike the one in which they found themselves after conspiring to infiltrate Jabba’s palace. The situation looked bleak, but we quickly realized that everyone was meticulously placed and patiently waiting for Luke to arrive and tip the balance. After reading Rebel Heist, one could draw the conclusion that this plan was the inspiration for the one pulled off in the film. Kindt also maintains the theme of telling the story through the eyes of a newcomer, but takes a very different approach for issue #4. Whereas the first three accounts were given by those working alongside the Rebels, this tale is told by someone lurking in the shadows, charged with a far more sinister task.

The artist team of Marco Castiello and Dan Parsons once again produces some very memorable visuals, which include Chewbacca standing victorious over a rancor corpse, Han’s amusing encounter with a Stormtrooper, and Luke stealthily dispatching a rooftop sniper. What impresses me the most about the art is the consistent ability to capture such striking emotion on the faces of the characters. From panic to surprise to pure smugness, Castiello and Parsons make good use of a single panel, despite how limiting it may be.

Even though it is simply a 4-issue mini-series, Star Wars: Rebel Heist definitely captures the familiar heart of Star Wars while at the same time exploring some very different aspects of the beloved characters. We've known them for working as a team for years, but to see how each of them operates as an individual, especially through the eyes of a stranger, paints a whole new picture of Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewie.   

Star Wars: Rebel Heist #4 is available today from Dark Horse Comics!