Thursday, July 22, 2010

San Diego Comic Con 2010: Day One Video Game Panels

Thursday at this year’s San Diego Comic Con International featured a prominent video game appearance including special panels for upcoming releases which some I visited.

At the morning, one of the many meeting rooms featured Capcom’s “Dead Rising 2” with a high volume of people attending.

While developers Blue Castle Games were unable to come by to talk about the game, creator and executive producer Keiji Inafune and producer Shinsaka Ohara appeared before the crowd. Inafune discussed a bit of how surprisingly successful the first game was and hopes that Dead Rising 2 will “cater more to western audiences.”

More details of the plot have been revealed where the zombie outbreak hit Las Vegas and later the main area Fortune City.

While Dead Rising 2 takes place 5 years after the original, the downloadable “Case Zero” will confine to the Vegas infection just two years.

Dated for an Aug. 31 release date just a short of a month before the full game, Case Zero is an Xbox 360 exclusive priced at 400 Microsoft Points. The game is “To provide a taste of Dead Rising 2 while serving something new,” Inafune said. Case Zero introduces sequel protagonist Chuck and his daughter surviving zombies in Vegas. The downloadable also gives background on the anti-zombification medicine “Zombrex” which will serve a strong role in the full sequel.

Chuck in Dead Rising 2 participates in a zombie killing show in Fortune City to fund enough money for his daughter’s Zombrex medication. Along the way, Chuck gets framed for trying to destroy television equipment and must clear his name before a 72 hour extraction deadline.

Capcom also details about Dead Rising 2’s multiplayer where players can play against each other or in co-op as well as participate in mini-game challenges dubbed “Terror Is Reality.”

Set for Sept. 28, Dead Rising 2 will receive a special “Zombrex” edition featuring various props and a special disc different in both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions. While the PlayStation 3 will receive a making of documentary, the Xbox 360 version will have Inafune-directed B-movie horror film “Zombrex Dead Rising Sun” with an exclusive alternate ending.

Later on, Ubisoft began a panel for “Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood” featuring G4TV’s Morgan Webb on moderation.

Writer Jeffrey Yohalem described how the whole Assassin’s Creed series relied on a specific set of rules where everything in the game had to have justification for it to exist. The storyline relying on controversial historical periods and being “the spine of the experience;” meaning that other elements including gameplay and sound aids this plot.

Brotherhood continues the storyline of Italian assassin Ezio Auditore di Firenze and his struggle leading to truly leading the Assassin Order. Yohalem confirmed that the themes of Brotherhood was heavily influenced by “The Prince” by real-life person and series character Machiavelli. Characters in the “Assassin’s Creed 2’s” story including Ezio’s mother Maria and will have a much larger and complex role in shaping his destiny.

The multiplayer fits in to the story where members of the antagonistic group Abstergo takes over personas of assassins to train them. Along with an overview, two new characters were announced including the bearded “Blacksmith” and the smirky “Soldier.”

With the release of Brotherhood, a comic book series is planned. Taking place in early-1900 Russia, the protagonist is a novice assassin named Nikolai who travels between Siberia and St. Petersburg while the infamous Tunguska Event occurred.

Towards the evening, members of Bungie initiated a demonstration of new features in “Halo: Reach.” Multiplayer designer Lars Bakken discussed the options that can be placed in returning mode “Firefight.” Players can customize wave types and enemies, end a game prematurely, and provide objectives including generator defense. Still multiplayer enabled, Reach features matchmaking along with friend based joining. A mode introduced in the panel is “Versus” where one can be a Spartan defending Covenant forces led by another playable member. Versus will be playable tomorrow at Comic Con.

Another part of the live demonstration is the much improved “Forge” mode. While the multiplayer favorite “Blood Gulch” returns to Reach re-titled as “Hemorrhage,” it’s part of a tremendously bigger map called “Forge World.” Just like its title, it’s a map perfect for different designs using Forge. The capabilities of constructing new things in Forge has increased like where objects can clip on other pieces and much better rotation controls giving new possibilities in making outrageous designs. Bungie also had video documentary shortly released showing what can be done in the new Forge mode.

Before the end of the Halo: Reach panel, Bungie revealed a special Xbox 360 containing a special silver design on the console and two controllers along with a full copy of the game. The special edition console is planned to release the same as Reach.

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