by Brian LeTendreWith all the holiday furor over the past couple of weeks, you may have missed the release of a game that Young Justice fans will probably want to check out.
Young Justice: Legacy is n action rolepplaying game set in the five-year period between season 1 and 2 of the beloved, but canceled cartoon series. The show's writers consulted on the story, and the voice cast from the show reprised their roles for this game. Here's the synopsis of the storyline:
A renowned archaeologist, Dr. Helena Sandsmark, is kidnapped, and the Young Justice team tracks a group of the Light’s most notorious villains around the globe in an effort to rescue her. But when the young heroes discover the Light is exploiting Dr. Sandsmark’s expertise to locate fragments of an ancient statue of legendary power, they must race against time to save the planet from imminent disaster.
The game is currently out for Xbox 360, PS3, Nintendo 3DS and PC. Sadly, the Wii and WiiU versions were canceled last month.
I am tempted to pick this one up, although the reviews have not been good so far. I think fans of the cartoon may be willing to overlook some gameplay flaws in order to get more Young Justice, though.
Check out the trailer below and decide for yourself. You can find out more about the game at www.youngjusticelegacy.com. If I end up grabbing it, I'll post a review.
by Brian LeTendre
Secret Identity was out in full force at New York Comic Con 2013 last weekend. And while we’ll be talking about the new show and the news that came out of it for weeks, I wanted to put together some quick impressions that I got from this year’s show. So, in no particular order, these are five things I took away from NYCC:
Holy Cow, The People
Saturday and Sunday are always jam packed at NYCC, but this year, Thursday was the most crowded I’ve ever seen it, and Friday felt like Saturday. Sure enough, when ReedPOP revealed the attendance numbers, they were record-setting: more than 130,000 people attended NYCC this year, putting the show on par with San Diego in terms of numbers. And it’s only going to get bigger.
Marvel and DC Take a Step Back
While I mentioned both of the big two, the real shocker here was DC--they had no booth at NYCC. Let that sink in. The second biggest comic publisher at the second biggest show in the country, and no booth. Worse, I attended the DC All-Access panel and the lack of enthusiasm on DC’s part was very concerning. DC barely showed up this year.
Marvel had a markedly bigger presence than DC, but their booth was pretty unimpressive as well. They had a small stage, a signing area, and an exhibit featuring the car (Lola) from the new S.H.I.E.L.D series. In contrast, Marvel had props from Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: Winter Soldier at San Diego this year. Very disappointing to see they didn’t bring the same enthusiasm to NYCC.
Everyone Else Stepped Forward
While Marvel and DC were dropping the ball, every other publisher at NYCC took a step forward this year. Archie, Oni, Image, BOOM!/Archaia, Valiant and Dark Horse not only showed up, but they had great booths, tons of signings and interacted with fans throughout the show.
The Oni panel I attended was packed with talent and the books being announced were exciting (Keep an eye out for Letter 44 and The Auteur in particular).
Archie killed it with their Afterlife with Archie display, and that book was the talk of the show.
To me, the message was clear: the rest of the publishers out there are no longer looking for Marvel or DC to set the pace for the industry. Each of those companies are aggressively coming after the big two, and we as readers are going to benefit from it.
Artist Alley was the Best It’s Ever Been
Without a doubt, the most inspiring thing about NYCC 2013 for me was the level of talent and diversity to be found in Artist Alley. From industry vets to first-time exhibitors, Artist Alley was lined with amazing artwork and original comics. I spent more money on comics and art this week than at any previous NYCC. Anyone who walked the aisles of Artist Alley was reminded that there is plenty of originality and diversity in comics if you just take a little time to seek it out. There was truly something for everyone.
ReedPOP Runs a Tight Ship
Despite the record numbers that attended the show this year, I actually felt like the show floor was more navigable than it had been in years past, particularly on Saturday. ReedPOP implemented a new badge policy this year, where you had to check in and out of the show. It could have been a disaster in terms of delays, but things flowed very smoothly for the most part. The army of volunteers and show staff really worked hard to ensure people got to experience as much as much as possible, and they deserve a lot of credit for that.
All in all, we had an absolute blast at NYCC this year. Thanks so much to ReedPOP for their continued support in allowing us to cover the show each year. We’ll be featuring the interviews we did for the next year, and as I mentioned, we’ll be talking a lot more about NYCC on future episodes of Secret Identity.
This morning we're heading down to New York to help our pal Vin Ferrante set up the Monarch Comics booth (2018). We'll be hanging out and selling books there all weekend, as well as grabbing tons of interviews for SI. So, if you are at the show, stop by and say hi!
--Brian and Matt
by Brian LeTendre
I don't know about you guys, but I absolutely love the LEGO games. From the original LEGO Star Wars to the new LEGO City Undercover, the games are a blast to play with my kids or by myslef, and they've featured some of my favorite properties.
Without a doubt though, the upcoming LEGO Marvel Super Heroes game has me more excited than any that have come before. I was a Marvel kid growing up, my favorite hero is Spidey, and I love just about every aspect of the Marvel U.
The latest trailer for LEGO Marvel Super Heroes debuted at Gamescom last week, and it looks amazing. October 18th can't come fast enough. Check it out below.
On a recent trip to Albany (so recent, it was last Friday) I made a little detour to a real cool comic shop...'Earthworld'.
'Earthworld' is located on 537 Central Avenue in Albany, New York and is an amazing store. From the second you walk in you know you are in a real 'comic shop' run by folks who really love comics and all thing geek!
When you first walk in and look to your left there are boxes and boxes... and boxes of fifty cent books. I didn't have the time to dig thru them, but next time I'm so in!
As far as new comics go they have everything you may want and need! Even getting comp books, DCBS, and books from my local comic shop (that I do work at), i still was able to find a few things I needed.
Trades, toys, cards and supplies all over the store give you one stop shopping. But the biggest thing I noticed is that 'Earthworld' is spacious and incredibly clean!
So when you are in Albany, New York... or just passing through, you need to stop off at 'Earthworld'! To find out more, go to www.earthworldcomics.comAnd... friend them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/earthworld.comics?fref=ts
by Brian LeTendreRick Hershey, artist and game designer, is someone who has been a friend to Secret Identity since the very early days. I met Rick through our mutual pal Alana Abbot and interviewed him in issue #26.5 of SI. Last year, we talked about Rick's role playing game Steampunk Musha, and his successful Kickstarter project that allowed him to adapt his game to the Pathfinder RPG rules.
What I did not know, is that Rick and his wife have been dealing with some pretty tough times, and this week, Rick reached out to friends in the industry, as well as fans of RPGs fo some help. I'll let him tell you about it:A New Hope
My name is Rick Hershey. I've worked in the game industry for over 12 years now, doing illustration, graphic design, cartography, writing, game design, publishing, and much more. I love this industry, I love making games, and I love the people I've worked with over the years.
I have an amazing wife, Tristan Hershey, and four wonderful children (Mya, Marilyn, Madilyn, and Ricky). Shortly after my wife and I were married, she was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease and all our hopes, dreams, and plans were altered. For the last six years we've struggled to fight her disease (which also has given her constant kidney stones, rhumatoid arthritus, anemia, and a mini-stroke) while raising our children and trying to better our lives. I support our family on freelancing and publishing as I need to be home daily in case she is
The NEW HOPE BUNDLE is a means for my family to get the start to prosper we would of had without her disease. It's a means to overcome the debt from her illness and to start a new life with a chance to succeed.
What We Need & What You Get
When you purchase the NEW HOPE BUNDLE you get tons of pdf books from your favorite publishers, including the bulk of Fat Goblin Games products. That is hundreds of dollars of gaming goodness for a small price.
The money we earn goes directly to the Hershey family and will allow us to pay off bills, move to a better residence, and help eleviate the burden this disease has caused.
In addition, a portion of the money raised will go to establishing a non-profit group to help aid other game designers, writers, artists, and members of the game industry in their times of need.
Working in the gaming industry doesn't make most of us rich. I work hard to provide for my family as well as producing fun content for my own products and those of my clients. By purchasing the NEW HOPE BUNDLE you will remove an immense amount of stress from my family and allow us to worry about important things such as my wife's ongoing health and our children's happiness.
Other Ways You Can Help
There are many ways you can help, if you get the bundle or not. Please take a moment and share the link to this bundle on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. There are buttons at the top to make this even easier. Post in groups, on forums, and tell your friends. Make a big deal about this bundle and the value of these products and how everyone can help a family of the gaming industry.
To see all the products in the New Hope Bundle and make a purchase, you can go here. and here's the full link for you to share with others if you think they might be interested:http://www.rpgnow.com/product/117320/A-New-Hope-%5BBUNDLE%5D
We wish Rick, his wife and his family the best.
Press ReleaseIntroducing Everlove, A Narrative Romance Game Coming to iOS and Android in August Developed by Silicon Sisters, creators of games "by women, for women," Everlove is an interactive guilty pleasure for fans of romance novels Female-focused development studio Silicon Sisters Interactive is pulling back the curtain on their next project: Everlove, a casual game designed to appeal to the more than 74 million people who read romance fiction each year. An interactive narrative that plays like a romance novel brought to life, Everlove will release for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Android in August with versions for PC and Mac to follow. The studio's co-founder and CEO Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch will show the game for the first time at next week's Casual Connect conference in San Francisco.
In the book industry, romance is a hugely popular genre that yielded sales of $1.438 billion in 2012, according to the Romance Writers of America (http://www.rwa.org) -- more than mystery and sci-fi/fantasy novels combined. Romance readers are 91% women, the majority between ages 30-54. This demographic intersects perfectly with the predominantly female audience of casual games. "Look at the splash Fifty Shades of Grey made last year. Romance fiction has a huge audience that no one else in the game industry is trying to reach," says Brenda Bailey Gershkovitch. "Video games traditionally explore male fantasies: winning a fight, competing in sports, saving the princess. We at Silicon Sisters love some of those games, as do plenty of other women. But a game that specifically delves into female fantasies -- what is that game like? That's a question we're trying to answer with Everlove." With a focus on storytelling, character interaction, and lite HOG elements, Everlove puts players in the shoes of a young woman named Rose who has turned to past-life regression to gain insight into her personal problems. Under hypnosis, Rose is transported to the pastoral village of Heart's Home, where she soon discovers that she has chemistry with several of the locals. While building relationships, uncovering carefully guarded secrets, and navigating personal dramas, players define Rose's character and choose her path, with the game's outcome reflecting on the very issues that the modern-day protagonist wants to resolve. Silicon Sisters' portfolio includes two School 26 games for teen and tween girls, which have had approximately 700k downloads in more than 30 countries. Everlove will be the studio's first game for adult women.
Today Silicon Sisters launched an Everlove Facebook page, where they plan to post more game details and assets leading up to the game's August release: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Everlove/416015075132982
by Brian LeTendre
I have to tell you, I’ve never been a huge fan of Deadpool. I mean, I like the idea of the "Merc with a Mouth”--a psychotic,wisecracking assassin with ninja skills and a healing factor to rival Wolverine. But every time I’ve tried to get into the comics, I get bored. I feel like Deadpool gets written as a one-trick pony a lot of the time, and the fun wears off pretty quickly for me.
Having said all that, I think Deadpool has a lot of potential as a video game character, if done right. And major kudos need to go out to high Moon Studios, because they have created a game that truly delivers the Deadpool experience. As it turns out, that interactive element is what was missing for me--I enjoyed the heck out of playing as Deadpool in the game.
The story in Deadpool: The Game (written by comic writer and former Deadpool scribe Daniel Way) is ridiculous and pitch perfect. All you really need to know about it is that Deadpool threatens High Moon Studios into making him the star of his own video game, so he not only knows he’s in a game, he constantly refers to the script and the game design itself as you play through it. Mr. Sinister is the big bad that Deadpool ultimately has to face off against, and along the way there are appearances by both popular and obscure heroes and villains from the X-Men universe.
Deadpool: The Game is a third-person action game featuring ranged and melee combat, platforming and some light puzzle solving. You can shoot and slice your way through hordes of enemies with upgradeable weapons special attacks that you charge through chaining combos together. It can be repetitive at times, but most action brawlers are, and if you embrace the combat system, you can have a lot of fun with it. There is enough customization so that you can spend most of your time with the weapons you like most and then upgrade them with damage buffs and other perks. You’ll get out of it what you put into it. I myself upgraded a pair of sledgehammers until they pulverized just about anything that got in my way.
The real stars of this show however are Nolan North, Daniel Way and the dialogue writers for the game. North so perfectly captures the multiple personalities of Deadpool that I will now hear his voice(s) every time I see Deadpool in a comic from here on out. And the writers fully embrace everything about the insanity of the character. From the fourth wall breaking, to the banter between personalities, to the fact that he never stops talking for more than two seconds, North’s Deadpool is consistently entertaining.
There are a lot of genuinely laugh out loud moments in this game, like the scene in which Deadpool is belittling Vertigo’s superpower as he’s vomiting profusely through his mask. He literally crawls toward her and keeps jawing at her as he gets sicker and sicker. It’s gross and hysterical at the same time, and a great example of how there are really no boundaries with how far High Moon was willing to go with the character. And the supporting cast is full of characters from Deadpool's various comic runs, including fan-favorite Cable. Every single time Cable shows up is pretty much a gut-buster.
I had a blast with this game, and as I mentioned, I’m not even a big Deadpool fan. Those who do follow his comic exploits will absolutely love this game. I had so much fun that it actually made me want to go back and give the comics another chance, especially Way's run.
4 out of 5 Disembodied Voices
by Brian LeTendre
Naughty Dog’s highly anticipated post-apocalyptic game The Last of Us is launching around this week. The game paints a bleak picture of the future, where most of the world has fallen victim to a parasitic fungus that turns humans into savage killers. If that sounds silly, then you should watch the video below of the Cordyceps fungus that affects ants--it was the basis for the concept behind The Last of Us.
Freaky, right? Anyway, Dark Horse teamed up Neil Druckman, the Creative Director for The Last of Us, and artist Faith Erin Hicks for a prequel miniseries that ties into the game. The Last of Us: American Dreams leads into the events of the game, and features a young orphan named Ellie, one of the game’s main characters.
The first issue of this series opens with Ellie being transported to a facility for orphans run by the military. We get to see the world through her eyes as she catches glimpses of just how bad things are outside of the militarized zones, and how life inside them isn’t that much better. Ellie makes a few enemies right off the bat, but also meets a fellow orphan who has the potential to become a friend and running companion. Together they sneak out of the facility to do some exploring, which is where things leave off in the first issue.
I think the book does a nice job of setting the tone for the world you can expect to see in the game. Ellie is a character you can sympathize with right away, as it’s clear she's gone through some pretty crazy stuff, and she’s had to learn to take care of herself. I’m interested to see how much of the world we’ll get to see as the series goes on.
If you’re at all interested in the game, this book is worth picking up.
3.5 out of 5 The Future Looks Bleaks
by Brian LeTendreBack in 2011, I reviewed a very interesting iOS RPG from developer The Game Bakers called Squids (you can red the review here). In Squids, the developers took inspiration from turn-based RPGs and added their own unique approach to controls, classes and character upgrades that made Squids stand out from most other handheld RPGs.
This week, the latest game from The Game Bakers debuted on iOS and Android. Combo Crew takes its inspiration from late 1980s / early 1990s arcade brawlers, and much like they did with Squids, The Game Bakers took an innovative approach to controls and upgrades that results in a very addictive and entertaining experience.
From its story, soundtrack and level designs, Combo Crew definitely calls back to it’s roots. Even the character animations will have you thinking about Streets of Rage or any number of 2D fighters from back in the day. The game is both a love letter to--and a send up of--all the brawler conventions we grew up with.
But my favorite thing about Combo Crew is that there is no virtual d-pad or joystick, and that makes for truly enjoyable combat. All of the action takes place with taps, holds and swipes, and I was pleasantly surprised at how deep the movesets can actually be. Because there’s no need to worry about your character’s movement, you use the swipe controls to whisk between enemies, delivering combos, charged attacks and counter moves in fast-paced rounds. While things start out simple, you are eventually handling screens full of enemies, and looking like a ninja doing it.
Like a lot of mobile games, you earn points and currency based on how well you do each round. You can then use the base currency to purchase more moves for your characters, which can then be swapped in and out of their movesets. The gold medals (which are reminiscent of NES-era controllers) that you earn for really good rounds can be used to unlock new characters as well (including one of the characters from Squids).
While I did not have a chance to try out the co-op mode, Combo Crew takes a unique approach to this as well. There is an endless mode of the game where you fight waves and waves of enemies. When your character is downed, you can request help from a friend via Facebook. If your friend plays the same level and beats it, your character in your game gets revived, and earns health points equivalent to your friend's score on that level.
I am really enjoying Combo Crew so far, and I haven’t even unlocked everything yet. If you enjoyed arcade brawlers, then you should absolutely check The Game Bakers’ latest offering, as it might be the best implementation of the genre I’ve played on a mobile device.
4.5 out of 5 Air JugglesYou can grab Combo Crew for iOS here and Android here for $1.99.