Dec 31, 2014

Infinite Fall End The Year Off Right With 'Lost Constellation'

You might remember us writing up Scott Benson's charming indie-adventure Night In The Woods way back in October. With the successfully kick-started project tentatively slated for release some time mid-2015 on PC and PS4, the lovely folks at Infinite Fall decided to tie off the year right by releasing a thematic side-project to wet our appetites for the game's proper release.

Lost Constellation is a Longest Night ghost story. Travel into the frozen woods in a folktale from the world of Night In The Woods.

This is a supplemental game, which is to say it's not a demo or a preview of Night In The Woods. In some ways Lost Constellation is a lot like NITW, but in a lot of ways it's not. It's a tangent, a side-story, a way for us to explore a bit in a more off-the-cuff manner. We hope you love it! 

After playing through a bit, I can definitely say that retains the same whimsical vibe of inventiveness, minimalistic charm, and dead-pan sincerity of its older sibling. More developers should take a page from Infinite Fall in crafting such wonderful one-off titles.

Download the game here, though as a courtesy, I'd recommend tossing a few extra bucks their way to say 'thank you' for such a nice gesture.

Abandoned Toy Story 3 Concepts Reveal a Fate Worse Than Sid

Remember that one scene in Toy Story 3 when Woody and his pals were being  rapidly sucked into the gaping molten hell-mouth of an industrial incinerator? Yeah, it could have been worse. The production of the third installment in the Toy Story franchise dates all the way back to 2004 (just five years after the release of Toy Story 2). Despite this, the final film would not see the light of a projection booth until 2010. So what happened?

In 2005, Pixar were in the midst of a "conscious uncoupling" from Disney. However, Disney still contractually retained the rights to create sequels to any of Pixar's properties produced during their initial 7-year contract, albeit complying with Pixar's right of first refusal. The contested film in question? None other than Toy Story 3.

A proxy animation-house named Circle 7 Animation (derisively nicknamed "Pixaren't") was created in 2004 to helm this new project. Few details emerged regarding this incarnation of the film; only the plot to rescue a malfunctioning Buzz from being decommissioned at a Taiwanese recall factory. Well, the concept art for that version has surfaced just in time for the holidays, and they are terrifying.

Special thanks to and kudos to reddit user oz27varela for uncovering and compiling this treasure trove of production art!

Dec 28, 2014

Adult Swim Release Some More Sick Tunes With 'Ghostly Swim 2'

Outside of mind-throttlingly bizarre animation and general craziness, Adult Swim is also known for its keen curatorial sense of music. Intent to keep their finger on the pulse of the emerging ambient electronic and indie hip-hop scene, the folks at Williams Street started their own in-house label imprint dubbed Williams Street Records in 2007 and have steadily grown a reputation for releasing both [AS]-related retail releases as well as annual free mix-tapes partnering with some of their favorite major labels and producers.

This Christmas Eve, Williams Street released their second collaborative tape with Michigan-based electronic label Ghostly International, known for such artists as Gold Panda, Tycho and Phantogram. The first Ghostly Swim album was one of my favorites back in 2008 and, after giving this one a spin since release, the follow-up is just as notable. So far, my favorites are Anenon's Grapevine, Dauwd's Kolido, CFCF's Oil, and Nautiluss' Lonely Planet. Listen and download the album for free off their website here!

Dec 27, 2014

'Tag The Jewels' Celebrates RTJ2 Across The World

When Hip-hop rap duo Killer Mike and El-P released the follow-up to their critically acclaimed collaborative project Run The Jewels this year, it was met with a praise almost eclipsing it's predecessor by both critics and fans alike. I myself have had the album regular rotation lately; a bruised and blistering barrage of bass-heavy bangers and bare-chested bravado.

Late this past October, Run The Jewels teamed with Graffiti Agency FatCap to curate a world-wide street art promotional campaign in tandem with RTJ2's release. Over 30 artists across 6 continents with one shared project; A mission to re-imagine Run The Jewels' iconic pistol-fingered chain-fisted logo in their hometown. From Los Angeles to Lagos, Paris to Jakarta, Sao Paolo to New Delhi and more. Check out more pieces after the break and at the project's official website. The love for RTJ is real.

'The Landing' is a Phenomenal Short-film of Poise and Substance

Damn. Right on the heels of last week's stellar sci-fi short Anomaly comes another equally captivating short film of mesmerizing tone and visual grace.

. A man argues frantically with a 911 dispatcher as he marches into a barren field, touting a shovel in hand. August 6th, 1960. A young boy named Edward plays a game of army-men versus aliens on his front porch before witnessing an frightening omen of cosmic significance.

"The program you are about to hear is largely fiction; Science-fiction. We make no guarantee however how long it will remain fiction."
These two seemingly-disparate stories dove-tailed into The Landing; A beautiful 20-minute short film about the love between a father and his son, innocence lost, and how the sins of the past come to bear on our future. The film's already racked up five nominations and eleven wins from festivals across the world, even eliciting talks of a Oscar nomination for best short film. And it's not hard to see why. Take some time out of your day to check this one out; It's undoubtedly something special.

Metal Gear Solid 3's 10th Anniversary Artwork is Astounding

Has it really been a decade since the third installment in Hideo Kojima's landmark stealth-action series?! To celebrate the ten-year anniversary of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake-Eater, Kojima Productions enlisted seven artist to reinterpret the boss battles that would mold the man known as "Naked Snake" into the legendary modern-warrior known only as "Big Boss".

Art by Yoji Shinkawa
MGS3 means a lot to me personally as a gamer. It was my first formal introduction to the series, one of the first games I bought for my PS2, and one of the first games to almost moved me to the brink of tears. A cold-war era, James Bond-infused spy drama with action, laughter, poignancy and heart. It still stands as one of my favorite installments in the series and as one of my favorite games of all-time. Check out the rest of the series after the break!

Dec 25, 2014

ANOMALY is a Stirring Sci-Fi Re-imagining of Christian Nativity

Anomaly is the latest stunning collaboration between Directors Salomon Ligthelm & Dan DiFelice. Set amidst the starstruck euphoria and espionage-soaked paranoia of the 1960's, Anomaly draws from the same creative wellspring as the works of Steven Spielberg and Terrence Malick.

Oliver Grier, a young astronaut on a mission to space; experiences the heartache and regret of a broken relationship. The film follows Oliver and his fiancé Haylee Lawson's journey, as they navigate love and disillusionment.  During Oliver's mission, a long awaited astronomical event begins to take place - an event, predicted decades prior by scientist Noel Fitz, an elderly man whose theories have subsequently been disregarded due to an unstable mental condition.

Anomaly has just pole-vaulted itself near the top of some of my favorite shorts this year. Definitely one of the most beautifully shot films I've seen this year (That CIA-redacted title sequence à la Gareth Edwards' Godzilla sold me immediately).

The film hasn't been out for more than a day and it's already managed to garner effusive praise (rightly so) and provoke lively debate, picking apart the film's cosmically-drenched symbolism. Is the Bayt Lahm comet the returning star of Bethlehem? Is Haylee's child the second coming? Visually extraordinary, thematically provocative, and deftly written and directed; Anomaly could not have been released on a more timely date.

Dec 23, 2014

A Crow Is White - Himitsu

Regardless of your taste in music, A Crow Is White has some talented animators behind their most recent music videos. Earlier this year, fake!fake! introduced us to the colorful and frantic style also seen in Himitsu, which thankfully looks just as amazing as it did the first time.

The song's groovy bassline and cute vocals really pop with the constantly morphing animation which makes it hard not to want more. The mesmerizing nature of morphing animation as the song progresses really nails it with the bright color choices.

Space Shower Music has been knocking it out of the park with their artists, and A Crow Is White does nothing but reinforce my love for the record label. It's a shame a majority of their music will remain unknown to most of the world, especially with the amount of effort and love put into accompanying animation like this. For merch and other info on the band, check out their website over here.

Dec 19, 2014

Brainstorm Community re-imagines Tony Stark as a "Steam-Punk Iron-Man"

Jason Kang (via)
I first discovered the Brainstorm Concept Art Community Group via social media a few weeks back. The thing that struck me the most about the group's atmosphere was in how inviting they were to artistic newcomers of all degrees of technical skill and aesthetic temperament. As soon as I saw the results of the group's last major community event, "Steam-Punk Iron-Man", I knew I had to shine a spotlight on them.

This project turned out a wealth of varying reinterpretations and re-imaginings of the venerable "Genius-Millionaire-Playboy-Philanthropist", from Jason Kang's Rockwellian portrait pictured above, to Giby Joseph's Pyromaniacal snow-trooper,  Cheung Chung Tat's Iron-Gojira and Daniele Orlandini's phantom-like aviator, there's a wealth of inspiring creativity and familiar weirdness just below the break!

GIF-JAM 2014

GIF-JAM 2014 takes some of the internet's most talented GIF artists and brings them together into 5-minute collection of mesmerizing loops. Accompanied with the music of the talented Paul Fraser, artists submitted their work unknowing of the final product. The result of the collaborative effort is nothing short of amazing. Despite each artist being unaware of the work put in by others there are quite a lot of similarities in ideas that comes into play.

The constantly changing music of Paul Fraser really ties the collaboration together, and gives the odd assortment of GIFs the opportunity to perfectly sync with the awesome tunes. For a full list of artists featured in the collaboration, check out the description over here

David O'Reilly's 'Heaven's Countryland' is Almost As Strange As The Reality It's Based On

I'm not one for pulling the "real-world" into the topic of posts, but given all that's been happening lately in regards to North Korea and the Sony hack and the indefinite suspension of The Interview's release, I thought it would be apt to turn some attention to David O'Reilly's terrifically animated short series for Adult Swim, Heaven's Countryland.

North Korea is a notoriously isolationist country known for its perpetual raw-nerve feud with its neighboring sister country. It's also most famously know for caricaturing the United States with claims of dick-dastardly do-no-goodery so absurd that they more often miss the point of legitimate criticism. I think O'Reilly and South African animator Mike Scott managed to encapsulate that paranoid vibe of personality worship and farcical weirdness perfectly in this 4-part series. Check out the rest after the break!

Dec 18, 2014

Space Battleship Yamato 2199 Trailer Is Filled With Chills For Fans Of The Classic (And New) Series

I thought things really couldn't get much better for the classic series, Space Battleship Yamato, considering how fantastic the 2013 remake ended up being. Thankfully I was wrong. After a rather sub par ending for Space Battleship Yamato 2199, a followup movie was announced to give the series the send off it deserves, (flying completely under my radar).

Earlier in October, another Space Battleship Yamato 2199 film was released, but the overall reception was rather poor, myself included. Rather than being a recap of the series like it's predecessor film, the new film features an entirely new plot line that's destined to fill that Yamato shaped hole in your heart. The movie is already out in theaters in Japan with no outside releases announced, but I would definitely keep an eye out.

Throwback Thursday: Darlingside - The Ancestor

This Thursday, we're throwing all the way back to 2012 with Darlingside's exquisitely beautiful music video for "The Ancestor". Long before Hiro Murai's "Never Catch Me", The Ancestor tells the story of the after-life and of one loving couple's attempt to weather the inevitable consequences of mortality. A older woman with a rose in her hair stares down at the graveside of her beloved. As day turns to night, the spirits of the departed are lifted out of their graves and hoisted into the great beyond along wisping tethers of lights. But one man cannot let go of his earthly ties, and a decision must be made...

Director Keith Boynton, lead animator Abraham Dieckman, lead artist Pamela Goodman and the rest of the team at Crazy Lake Pictures did a phenomenal job with this one. The vibrant colors and abstract art-style perfectly complement the track's dream-like tone. Check out more of their more recent awesome work here.

Self-Assembly Proves, Once Again, That Dead is Better

In Self-Assembly, A young couple are forced to resort to a demonic resurrection device in order to bring back their son after a freak incidence of tragedy. What comes out of the box is not what they put into it (or is it?), and the couple must decide whether to half-heartedly raise this mischievous homunculus who looks like one of the scammers from Futurama, or if the famous maxim of Stephen King's Pet Sematary remains true.

The short's ominous sense of dark serious is well-established, never abating for even a second while still managing to cram in a few unsettling laughs. It just gets weirder and weirder from minute one. Check out more of Director Ray Sullivan's work here.

Adult Swim Unleashes Another Batch of Nightmare Fuel with 'Unedited Footage of a Bear'

Adult Swim proves themselves, yet again, to be only the finest purveyor of late night faux-infomercial infused nightmare fuel. Coming off the the strength of their run away viral Too Many Cooks, the folks at Williams Street Studios couldn't let us slink quietly into the new year without giving our collective brains another go-through the cerebral atomizer of their anarchic brand of visual insanity. Put this in HD, full-screen, and buckle up for some face-melting weirdness.

Do you know what kind of bear this is? I need to know. For reasons.
Unedited Footage of a Bear is anything but; turning a 30-second clip into a meticulous 10-minute plunge into dark comedic absurdity. A wild-life shot turns into a medication commercial which then takes a nose-dive straight into territory that feels all too at home alongside psychological horror films like Primer and Side-Effects. Much like Too Many Cooks, words do not not do it justice. This is a fear best left experienced than explained.

Twin Shadow - Turn Me Up

I first encountered Twin Shadow through his inclusion on GTAV's in-game 'World-Wide FM' radio station. His song "Old Love/New Love" was an infectiously catchy new-wave revivalist pop track that instantly made me stand up and pay attention.

With two albums and a novel(!) already underneath his belt and a third follow-up titled Eclipse slated for next year, Twin Shadow (a.k.a. George Lewis Jr.) is making some serious power moves lately. The first single off of his aforementioned upcoming album is titled "Turn Me Up" and features a music video that feels just as spacey, brooding and heart-sullen as his impeccable production.

Dec 17, 2014


It should be a surprise to no-one that I love fractals. Intricately dense three-dimensional landscapes representative of complex mathematical patterns that permeate throughout all scales of the natural (and unnatural) world, from the grid-based construction of contemporary cities to the veins of a tree-leaf.

VFX artist Julius Horsthuis has just released a compilation of his fractal animations over the past year; combining over 20 clips amounting to just over an hour of footage into one 4-minute visual espresso shot of inspiration. He's also currently got an interactive 360-degree project called "Foreign Nature" coming out sometime next year for the Oculus Rift. Check out more of his work here. Great job Julius, see you in the new year!

Starbomb's Smash! is a Ballad to Smash Bros' Brawlin'

Egoraptor and Danny Sexbomb's Starbomb project has always turned out some hilariously awesome videos in the past. The latest video for the lead single off of their next album titled Player Select is no different. Smash! captures the essence of what it's like watching Nintendo's host of colorful, iconic and unassuming mascots go head-to-head in a brutal crucible for supremacy. Danny's proclivity for hair metal power ballads and Egoraptor iconic deadpan-retorts make for a match made in music.

Time Trap

Time Trap is a gut-bursting hilarious sci-fi comedy romp through the multi-verse. When a cosmic engineer's ship richochets through an asteroid field and crash lands on a long-abandoned planet, he must use a chronological travel device known as a "time trap" to scavenge replacement parts throughout the planet's past and repair his ship to return home. What happens along the way is a series of hysterical vignettes and jaw-dropping special effects.

With a Doctor Who-style theatrics and a Looney Tunes flair for physical comedy, Time Trap is tightly-packed, well-oiled machine of a short film that lands its punches and never runs out of ways to surprise you. Director Michael Shanks is a VFX-wunderkind, with only 23 years of life under his belt and already courting the attention and talent of industry folks like Guy Pearce. We're keeping our eyes on this guy.

It's Happening: Final Fantasy XV TGS English Trailer

The Last Guardian. StarCraft: Ghost. Half-Life 3. Final Fantasy XV. The fifteenth installment in Square Enix's long-standing JRPG franchise is one of modern-gaming's great white whales. Originally announced in May 2006 as a spin-off of Final Fantasy XIII titled "Final Fantasy Versus XIII", Final Fantasy XV (phew, that's a lot of roman numerals) retains the series' standard-bearing legacy of flashy FMVs, gravity-defying haircuts, and ridiculously complicated plots that more often than not result in deicide.

This footage has been floating around the web ever since it premiered at this year's Tokyo Game Show, but the fact that the English dub has finally been released feels like a occasion to take notice of. The previously unrevealed road-trip element to this installment has me especially intrigued. Along with that frenetically-paced combat, I wonder what other curve-balls this next installment has in store for us. Still no stated release date as of yet, a demo is being prepped for release next year, albeit with some slightly draconian requirements.

Dec 16, 2014

The Art of Vitaly Medvedovsky

Vitaly Medvedovsky's paintings are the very definition of picturesque. A Ukrainian-born alumni of OCAD and Concordia University, Medvedovsky aspires, and succeeds, in cultivating a rich inner mythology coursing all throughout the body of his work.

Arctic labyrinths, impossible attic spaces with no end, and the husks of bi-planes strewn about empty airspaces littered with the remnants of a long-dead world. It's as if his subjects reside within a truman show-esque simulacra of half-reality that's nested within the foggy borders of a half-forgotten dream. Occasionally, from time to time, an inhabitant might manage to peek past the curtain to catch a fleeting glimpse of the edges surrounding this whimsical paracosm of otherworldly delights.

The muted vibrancy of Medvedovsky's colors and the elegant simplicity of his compositions bring to mind comparisons to Jonathan Blow's upcoming video-game The Witness. Beautifully impressionistic, pop-surrealist storybook illustrations underscored with an almost rockwellian aura of poignance and solemnity. Check past the break for more of his work over this past year, with more paintings in-progress to come!

Panda Bear - Boys Latin

Ah, Panda Bear. The Animal Collective front-man and Daft Punk collaborator's fifth album, "Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper", is slated for release early next year. The video for the album's second single "Boys Latin" is just as bizarre, trippy and tranquil as Panda Bear's distorted echoing lyricism.

Boys Latin chronicles the story of a young woman out for a hike along a coastal tide pool. Her encounter with a sea anemone triggers a phantasmagorical reaction. She meets a man who seems to be in a similar predicament, and together they start a family of sorts.

Lady on a mission.
The psychedelic coloring and involuntary violent nature of their transformations almost bring to mind comparisons to the 1980 sci-fi thriller Altered States. The gorgeous 2.5-D graphics look positively out of this world.San-Francisco production house Encyclopedia Pictura did a phenomenal job on this video.

Dec 15, 2014

'The Grey Matter' is Dark, Gruesome and Brilliantly Hilarious

Dark comedies focused around the assumed banality and bureaucracy of the after-life aren't anything new (i.e. Beetlejuice and Wristcutters: A Love Story), but The Grey Matter is one of the most gruesomely brilliant twists on the trope thanks to snappy dialogue and sharp transition-editing for comedic effect. After a mysterious injury, an office "stiff" named Simon finds himself stumbling through an absurd, increasingly unorthodox, and potentially fatal series of events.

The Mccoubrey Brothers' short feels like a Twilight Zone episode by way of David Lynch. Ebon Moss-Bachrach is fantastic in his role as meek and unassuming Simon (and that stetson fedora he's rocking definitely feels like a callback to Peter Weller's role in Naked Lunch). And that ending? Forget about it. Go watch this short immediately. Right. Now.

Monarchy - The Beautiful Ones

Monarchy's beautifully abstract video for their single The Beautiful Ones ostensibly tells the story of two lovers who, in an attempt to escape the persecution of the "real" world, escape into a dreamlike universe illustrating the strength of their passion through embrace of different other couples. The video deftly combines sharp graphic design and beautiful watercolor overlays, as well as double exposure photography to create a gorgeous surrealistic testament to romantic love.

Director Thomas Blanchard sent us over this video awhile back and we only *just* got around to posting it. Our bad, Blanchard! Looking forward to seeing more of his work in the future.

Dec 11, 2014

Metal Gear Online is 'The Phantom Pain's' Multiplayer Co-op Mode

A little late on this one, but I couldn't help but put in my two cents on the world premiere trailer for Metal Gear Solid V's online component. First introduced in the 2005 re-release of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Metal Gear Online takes the tried-and-tested subterfuge skills of Metal Gear fans and pits them alongside and against one another in a massively multi-player combat arena.

Further expanded upon in Metal Gear Solid 4, MGSV's iteration will incorporate awesome new additions such as tactical sideswipe dodge, toy puppy distractions, thermoptic camouflage, ghillie suits, fulton balloon cannons, flanking teleportation disposables, and pilotable bi-pedal Metal Gears that can karate kick opponents. Phew, this is whole other game in and of itself!

The Phantom Pain was already one of my most higly-anticipated titles of 2015, but this new trailer just makes the wait that much more excruciating. There's rumors that series creator Hideo Kojima may have "stealth-announced" the game's release date at this year's Game Awards as early as June 22nd of next year. However, given Kojima long-known propensity for fan-baiting promotional antics, this itself could be another total diversion. In any case, I'm excited to finally witness Big Boss' fall from grace first-hand in 2015!

Throwback Thursday: Major Lazer - Aerosol Can Feat. Pharrel

Yes, I'll admit that once in a very long while, a choice music video or short film does manage to escape the long-sight of the omnipresent hive-mind that is Awesome-Robo. Though we are dedicated to bringing the very latest in awesome art, animation, movies, and off-the-wall internet content, we also know the value of giving incredible art of the past its proper due. So, for the week's throwback thursday, we're bringing it back to Major Lazer's animated video for the track Aerosol Can featuring Pharrel on vocals. Enjoy!

TF2 Short 'End of the Line' is a Testament To the Power of Fans

Fourteen Minutes. That's how long this latest Team Fortress 2 short is. Fourteen minutes; painstakingly modeled, textured, choreographed and edited together by a stalwart team of twelve incredible fans. Not to mention an awesome tie-in update with new in-game hats, costumes and weaponry courtesy of sixteen equally awesome fans. This film's got everything; Drama, comedy, tension, spectacular stunts, cinematic references up the wazoo (The Great Escape, The Shining, Spider-man 2, Super 8 and A Fistful of Dollars to name a few) and a climatic finale that's as tense as it is hilarious. Check out the 'End of Line' community event page here. Bravo guys, Valve would be wise to keep their eyes on you!

Ryan Wardlow's impressive poster art available here 

Dec 10, 2014

This Mad Max Fury Road Trailer will Inherit the Earth Long After the Apocalypse

I don't want to get into the practice of lobbing overly-gracious superlatives at every pretty trailer that walks my way, but Gotdamn. This new trailer for Mad Max Fury Road is a high-octane sensory overload of bondage-clad brutality and enough freak sandstorms to rend an apocalyptic siege campaign to the bone.

After a severely protracted twenty-five year stint in development hell, thirteen of which spent under the helm of director George Miller, it's exhilarating to finally see the fruit of these cinematic labors come to bear. All three of the Mad Max films are science-fiction classics in their own right (Personally, I think The Road Warrior was the Dark Knight of its time), so let's see if Fury Road has the metal to stand alongside the series' forebearers.

This screenshot does not do the trailer justice.
This trailer follows on the heels of other high-profile triple-A sci-fi films like Terminator Genisys, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Star Wars The Force Awakens. Couple that with the Wachowski's Jupiter AscendingBatman v. Superman (that v is stupid), Jurassic World, The Fantastic Four Reboot, Del Toro's Crimson Peak, Insurgent, Ex Machina, and Mission Impossible V (phew!) and it looks like 2015 is shaping up to become the next great year of sci-fi. So much film, so little hours in the day.

Little Prince Trailer is Beautiful, Surprising in the Best Possible Way

Le Petit Prince (or as it's better known in the anglosphere The Little Prince) is one of the most long-enduring and celebrated works of children's literature of all-time. The first trailer for the latest adaptation of this classic novella has been released, and it's beautiful and surprising in the best possible way.

Written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and published in 1943, The Little Prince follows a young boy as he falls to Earth from a comet, stranded in a desert as he searches for safety and peace of mind in a harsh, alien world.

I never read the book as a child, but I did read it to my 5 year-old godson once and I can honestly say that we were both transformed for the experience. The decision to add a "real-world"story as a framing device in this film is an intriguing one. I'm looking forward to seeing how that culminates alongside the original. The Little Prince comes out October 7th of next year. I can't wait til this one makes it stateside!

Bloodborne Gameplay Trailer is Dark, Dreary and Full Of Terrors

Bloodborne is a game I've been eyeing with covetous anticipation ever since it was announced at this year's E3. The unruly brain-child of Hidetaka Miyazaki (Armored Core, Dark Souls), Bloodborne is another third-person action-RPG in the same vein as the Souls series, this time set within the walls of a labyrinthine city gripped by a demonic disease that transforms its victims into nightmarish abominations. You, a traveling demon-slayer, must plunge into the dark heart of Y'harnam and find a cure for the disease that eats away at your own life. But can you make it out alive?

Something that is starkly apparent in this trailer is the radical shift in game-play pacing between this game and the aforementioned Souls series. Whereas Demon's and Dark Souls relied on lumbering, tension-soaked hack-and-slash chipping away at a monster's enormous health bar, Bloodborne appears just as brutal though with a greater emphasis on faster feedback between you and your opponents.

It's almost like a more horror-centric take on Devil May Cry meets Vampire Hunter D meets, of course, Dark Souls. I'm sure this won't be the last time From Software wets our appetite for information before the game's March 24th release next year, so stay tuned!

Dec 9, 2014

Adr1ft is "Gravity: The Video-Game" and That Alone is Worth Being Excited

I think we're sorely in need of games that emulate and creatively capitalize off of the inherent euphoria of weightlessness. With the exception of a couple games like Shattered Horizons, Gravity Rush, and Aether, the majority of our high-fantasy and sci-fi titles are grounded stubbornly on Terra Firma. That's where Adr1ft comes in.

What makes Adr1ft so promising in my eyes, aside from the impressive visuals and keen design choice for full-body awareness, is that it looks like a true dyed-in-the-wool survival-horror game. Not in the sense of fending off lumbering monstrosities or marauding flesh-ghouls, but through navigating and surviving a perpetually hostile terrain that remains utterly indifferent to the plight of your well-being. No release date as of yet, but you should definitely count this as a title to look forward to!

Cumbia de Piedra

The heyday of traditional, hand-drawn 2D animation may have come and gone, but there still remain artists and animators who know the aesthetic and emotional value of returning to the basics. Case in point: Cumbia de Piedra.

An exceptionally impressive music video beautifully realized through rotoscoping, watercolor painting stills, and other wonderful old-school tricks. This track is phenomenal too, an infectiously jazzy and rhythmic piece that's as hypnotic as its accompanying video.

"Cumbia de Piedra is an animated music video produced by Fabrica promoting MOHS, the second album of Jhon William Castaño Montoya, a researcher in Fabrica's music team. Realized by Tomás Pichardo, a Fabrica animator from the Dominican Republic, Cumbia de Piedra is a hand-made 2d animation that explores the culture, colors and textures of Cumbia."

'Sidera' is a Dandy Gal In Space

Sidera is one of four short animation clips produced by France-based production team Catfish Deluxe and Yapiko Animation for Julien Neel's latest film Lou! Journal infime. In the film, Lou is a shy but thoughtful young girl with a profound imagination.

As she charts the uneasy road of her early adolescence Lou retreats to the comfort of her sketchbook where her sci-fi alter-ego mother Sidera blasts across the galaxy in her Space Whale-ship and rides bodybuilding My Little Pony centaurs across sugar-coated dunes of dessert (get it?) planets.

Can you say, "New Background Image"?
Honestly, this is one of the most imaginative short animations I've seen in a long time. Beautiful backgrounds, hilarious character designs, and awesome space action abound. I'm getting a heavy Space Dandy meets Gurren Lagaan meets Stephen Universe vibe off of this.

Yopi the Robot

Yopi is an adorable one-minute student film courtesy of Débora Cruchon and Paula Assadourian, alumni of the prestigious CalArts and Gobelins animation academies respectively. The short, an entry in  CalArts-Gobelins 48-hour collaboration contest, follows a well-meaning robot boy-scout embarking on a nature hike on a journey to set the world right with hilarious results.

The chalky pastel backgrounds and enchantingly child-like sound design combine to create a skit worthy of a Saturday morning cartoon or an awesome bed-time story. Hope to see more work from these two in the future!

Dec 8, 2014

Meder Taab's 'Legend Of Korra' Art Is Drop-Dead Gorgeous

The Legend of Korra is hands-down one of the most thoroughly satisfying animes I've watched in recent memory. Korra, much like its predecessor Avatar: The Last Airbender, is one of those few miraculous animated shows manages to deftly tackle emotionally difficult and complex ideas in a way that feels both nuanced and easily-accessible.

Institutionalized prejudice? Egalitarian fascism? Depression and the struggle to define a self-identity? If Korra was only meant to be a cartoon show, its creators sure haven't been acting like it. That's why fan-art for the series, like Meder Taab's amazing countdown posters for the final season, get me so excited. Pieces like these make me appreciate Legend of Korra so much more, not just for what it is for but also for what it's capable of being.

A fun-loving, sci-fi fantasy martial arts romp with endearing characters, brilliantly choreographed fight scenes, thought-provoking villains, and revelatory meditations on life, identity, and self-acceptance if you'd only look beneath the surface. I'll be sad to see it end.

Check out the rest of Taab's series after the break, and if you haven't already, go give A:TLAB and TLOK a watch-through! You won't be disappointed.

No Man's Sky's Latest 'Game Awards' Trailer is a Feast for The Senses

Last Week's The Game Awards ceremony premiered a buffet table of game-play trailers and announcements. Among them was a new trailer for No Man's Sky, the procedurally-generated sci-fi exploration indie-darling that stole so many a gamer's heart at last year's VGX awards. We've already given Hello Games' sci-fi opus props numerous times in the past, but this game just can't help looking better and better as time goes on.
I'm getting a major Roger Dean vibe off of this trailer

Take the clean and charming simplicity of procedural games like Minecraft and Cube World, the pastel-rich saturation of Eskil Steenberg's expermimental MMO Love, and combine it with the fine-aged game-play of Lucas Arts' Tie-Fighter and you've got one of the most visually-provocative titles that's come along in a long while. If someone could have recorded a video of my face while watching this, I'd probably look like David Bowman entering the star-gate in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Gobsmacked.

Dec 6, 2014

Street Fighter V Trailer Leaks, Announced "Exclusive" To PS4 And PC

This past friday, a speculated trailer for Street Fighter V leaked onto the internet via a thread post on NeoGaf. Naturally this alone would be more than enough to send forum followers and fighting game-aficionados into a tizzy, but there was yet one last detail that made "Rise Up" the talk of the day. The fade-in text proclaiming console exclusivity for PS4 and PC! Gasp! could it be true? Could this be the very latest in a series of killing-blows in the arbitrary corporate contest that is the "Console Wars"? Sure looks like it. Check out that tear-jerking, nostalgia-inducing montage trailer above.


Seriously though, this constant back-and-forth fiefdom of formerly console-agnostic franchises is getting tiresome. More often enough, with the obvious exception of key first-party titles such as Halo, Super Smash Bros. or God of War, you can pretty much bet your bottom dollar that a "console-exclusive" installment in a major series such as Street Fighter or Tomb Raider will trickle their way onto other existing platforms eventually.

Why you might ask? Because video-game development is expensive and developers/publishers need to recoup their losses. It feels as though this trend of semantically-veiled "exclusivity" is only going to become more uniform throughout this console generation. That, or the post-release content for a major title is going to be preferentially rationed between one of the three consoles throughout that game's post-release life-span (e.g. Destiny on PS4).

Okay, enough of my soapbox. Check out more of those killer gameplay screenshots of Ryu and Chun-Li after the break!

Dec 5, 2014

Eric Wareheim and Mr Oizo's 'HAM' (NSFW)

At this point there isn't much purpose in me talking about how weird Eric Wareheim's work is. We have come to a point where it would be more surprising if Eric Wareheim created something even half normal. Even with the expectation of weirdness, HAM still delivers in an eerie and uncomfortable fashion.

Set to the heavy and harsh electronic beats of Mr Oizo (also known for his work on Rubber and Wrong Cops), HAM holds the same feeling that I imagine gaining from a fast food induced fever dream. 

The tongue-in-cheek look at fast food culture is portrayed in an uncomfortable fashion, accentuated by some impressive makeup. John C. Reilly has always been a goofy looking dude, but the prosthetic work for HAM turns our beloved Dr. Steve Brule into a horrible caricature of obesity.

I'm really digging the more recent influx of Eric Wareheim's solo work and seeing him working with Mr Oizo is all I can ask for.

Tourist - Illuminate feat. Years and Years

The year is 1992, a man receives a series of love letters written in Korean. Since Google Translate doesn't exist yet, he's left confused. What could this mean? Nicolas Ménard's music video for Illuminate answers this question with a cascade of minimalist pop abstraction and a flush of hypnotic game-boy inspired graphics. In a world that has not yet been mediated by the ubiquity of technology, can love hope to transcend language and culture?

Check the video's equally beautiful tumblr page here. And make sure to drop by Ménard's vimeo page and website if you dig what he's dishing out.

Dec 4, 2014

'Terminator: Genisys' Trailer Goes Back To The Future To Return To The Past

Terminator: Genisys (Genesis? je ne sais quoi?) is the fifth and latest installment in the long-running sci-fi action film series and yes, yet another reboot featuring Sarah Connor, her messianic apocalypse-fighter son John, and Arnold Schwarzenegger once again reprising his role as the titular killer-cyborg turned stalwart protector.

Something's rotten in the state of the multi-verse, and Sarah (Emilia Clark) must once again team up alongside her soon-again-to-be love interest Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) to prevent yet another mercury-morphing killing machine from extinguishing humanity's one last hope for survival. But can the couple manage to succeed where their countless other incarnations have failed? Can they prevent the inevitable "Judgement Day"?

Polished Chrome and Pearly White

The Terminator series has always had a fondness for reboots and reinterpretations, but that's to be expected from a series about hyper-intelligent murder-mechas and the human rebels who fight them sending each other back and forth across time in a chrono-cataclysmic cat-and-mouse game for supremacy and survival. I'm intrigue by the premise, if only out of love of the original Judgement Day. Though this trailer makes me wonder, can the Terminator franchise ever really exist without Schwarzenegger?

Terminator: Genisys is slated for next summer, July 1st, 2015.

Dec 3, 2014

'The Splinter-Cell' Is A Love Letter To The Franchise At Its Peak

Ubisoft's Splinter Cell is an influential stealth-action series that's been going through something of an 'identity reinvention' as of late. After 2005's sublime Chaos Theory, the series took an abrupt direction into full-on open assault warfare with titles such as Double Agent, Conviction, and Blacklist, straying away from the stripped-down stealth sensibilities of its earlier incarnations.

Directors Ben & Andrew Adams of Austin-based Atomic Productions have managed to craft a short that infuses the best elements of the franchise from both its earliest and later years, though with the noticeable absence of Michael Ironside's signature caustic wit. This short's still amazing though, and I look forward to the promise of more live-action Sam Fisher adventures in the near-future.

"The Splinter Cell' is a live-action short set in the past that follows the early years of the franchise lead as he becomes the titular hero. Before the game stories, before the modern times, and before Third Echelon: There was only a man. Sam Fisher."