Monday Jul 27, 2009
The Marvel Games panel happened on Sunday, the last day of Comic Con. The hall was full of eager Marvel fans, and there was much anticipation as the panel got started.
On the panel were:
Chris Baker, Manager of Licensed Games at Marvel
TQ Jefferson, Director of Licensed Games at Marvel
Evan Skolnick, Activision
Dan Tanguay, Activision
Kyle Brink, SEGA
Matt Fraction, co-writer of the Iron Man 2 game story
Lenny Brown, THQ
TQ started the discussion, describing his job. He works with developers and publishers through the entire process of making the games. He shared his triangle of success — respect the characters, respect the process, and respect the gamers.
He also shared his steps to improving games to keep them “suck-free”. First, they strive to improve the creative process. This means giving developers access to Marvel staff and Marvel talent. He cited Matt Fraction working on the Iron Man 2 game as an example of putting Marvel’s talent to use in their licensed games.
The second step is realizing that movie games don’t have to be “movie” games. They don’t have to be about the movie. It can be much more compelling to tell original and unique stories within the movie setting and universe. Because games take more time to make, and you can do things in games that you could never do in movies, this is quite beneficial.
The third step is to actively listen to fans. They read their blog comments, Twitter feeds, forums, and what’s published on the internet to gain insight into what the fans want and how they can improve.
Next, Activision showed a trailer for their new game (sorta… they had some technical difficulties, unfortunately) and talked a bit about it. THQ then did the same.
Kyle went last with Iron Man 2. He said that they received *lots* of feedback about the first game, so they started with the feedback that they got via fans, reviews, articles, etc to figure out what to do differently in the second game. What they heard loud and clear was that the controls and options needed a lot of work, so they started there. Kyle described some of the ways that the game improves on the first one, and takes it to the next level.
Matt Fraction was particularly glad to not have to follow the movie storyline. Movie scripts can change dramatically and constantly, and not being beholden to that is very freeing. They also talked about being able to do things in the game that would be way too expensive to do in a movie, so being able to use a movie setting but divorce the storyline from the movie makes for an all-around better game.
The audience asked some Q&A, including a few young kids who wanted to know about which Marvel characters would be seen and would be dying in the different games. No big reveals here, but I guess that’s to be expected.
At the end of the panel, a rep from Sony came up to announce that Marvel characters would be coming to Little Big Planet.
Sunday Jul 26, 2009
Friday was Bayonetta Day, I’m calling it. Friday was the day we not only had the first appearances of the Bayonetta model at the Comic Con show, but also the PlatinumGames Panel, and our special community event for Bayonetta at the Hard Rock Café. And to top it off, Friday was easily the busiest day at Comic Con that I’ve seen yet.
Where to begin? I guess a good spot is with our real life Bayonetta, who dazzled the crowd at San Diego Comic Con throughout the day. The costume is really amazing, and for a show that has such great support for costumed attendees, many people took the time to admire the quality outfit. What really cinches it is the way our Bayonetta model looks against the game, she’s a perfect fit and there’s no question, she is Bayonetta. I was fortunate to take some photos with some of the other cosplayers at Comic Con who stopped by for a photo opportunity.
Comic Con is also the first time we are showing Bayonetta as a playable demo for consumers outside of E3 and the response has been fantastic. People have been lining up to play the demo the entire show and there really hasn’t been a time when a controller isn’t in the hands of new or returning Bayonetta fan. While the demo stations were pretty packed all day, we still saw people walking down the aisles and working their way into the booth to get a shot at the game.
Rounding out the night our night was two very special events for the Bayonetta community. To kick it off we had a Bayonetta panel running with special guests from PlatinumGames to discuss Bayonetta’s design. I was only able to catch a few minutes of the presentation and handed out some passes to our Community event, which followed directly after the panel at the Hard Rock Café. The panel featured Bayonetta Producer Yosuke Hashimoto and Character Designer, Mari Shimazaki, as well as message from Hideki Kamiya taped prior to the show. G4TV was on hand to offer a live blog and GameTrailers was also in attendance to capture it in full. At the time of this posting, GameTrailers hasn’t yet posted their video, but we’ll update once it is added to their site.
While the panel was picking up and the tough questions were answered, I was off to help set up at the Hard Rock for the community event. The event was set to be one of the first community events I’ve been involved with and a chance for PlatinumGames to meet the fans directly and discuss the game they are creating. We also had some special things planned, including a raffle for our fabulous Bayonetta themed Xbox 360 and a score attack contest to award a special prize; one of the Scarborough Faire prop guns from the Bayonetta motion capture sessions.
In addition to the prizes, another brief presentation was made by PlatinumGames to show off some new areas within Bayonetta. First, another message was posted from Hideki Kamiya, welcoming the Bayonetta Community to the event, and wishing everyone a good time. Next, Yosuke Hashimoto and Mari Shimizaki spoke a bit more on Bayonetta and revealed the E3 behind closed doors demo that was previously only show to press. Hashimoto-san was guiding the controls and walked through a level surrounded by fire and molten lava, as Bayonetta navigated through the full 3d landscape across the floor and walls to reach a new boss encounter in a secluded courtyard. The encounter featured two fearsome, well, creatures, that required tactful dodging to enter witch time, or a slow motion state, to gain an advantage and deliver some punishing attacks. Mari Shimizaki then spoke about designing Bayonetta and showed off art from design concepts and renders. One interesting note was how Bayonetta’s hair was not always black, in the early concepts of the character, designs were made in a variety of colors.
After the presentation was completed, the score attack was announced to the crowd. The goal was to get as many halos from downed enemies as possible during a short playthrough on the Bayonetta demo. The rules were simple, players had a chance to log their score and would complete once the first boss was defeated, after 10 minutes were up, or if a death occurred. Since most players hadn’t considered the halos during the demo, the score attack offered a bit of a different strategy on how to be successful. After a few playthroughs and a handful of scores logged, some strategies were being devised and we even had some repeat players looking to update their scores. At the end of the 45 minute session, we had a clear winner with a score of 9300 halos, which is quite a feat indeed. Not only was the score better than anyone at the event, it was also better than the test runs performed at PlatinumGames prior to the event!
Rounding out the event was our raffle for the one and only Bayonetta Xbox 360. The Xbox is completely one of a kind and everyone in attendance had a shot at winning it! This was a big moment, as everyone in the room, myself included, was interested in picking the Xbox up (no, I was not eligible). The basket was revealed, a number pulled, and a Bayonetta fan picked up an awesome Xbox 360! And as you might expect, this was also the moment my camera memory card filled up, so I was not able to post shot of the winner for the blog. We did get some photos from others on the floor, so look for a follow up in the days to come once we’ve all had a chance to recuperate from the show.
Overall, the event and the day was a lot of fun and truly Bayonetta’s day at Comic Con 2009. PlatinumGames was fantastic throughout and I am very thankful that they came out in force to meet the Bayonetta community. We will have more photos from the event and show in another update, thanks to everyone who we met at the show and we hope you enjoy Bayonetta when it releases this January.
Saturday Jul 25, 2009
Our backs are stiff, our feet are sore, but nonetheless, Saturday at Comic Con pushes forward. There were lots of costumes, lots of SEGA fans, and lots of fun.
Some of us, however, were skipping out to have fun in the sun with friends! Just kidding, Ruby was working very hard today, too.
Kori came back and, after answering some PSU/PSO trivia questions, got some Rappies for his knowledge.
As the day went on, we passed out more shirts, and more Rappies.
When Bayonetta came to the show floor, she attracted quite a crowd, as usual. Other cosplayers were especially interested in having photos with her.
And to cap it off, we found some Predators in the crowd for the AvP fans.
Tomorrow is the final day of Comic Con, and the SEGA team is heading back to San Francisco right after the show. We’ve got more blog entries coming up though, so it’s not over yet!
You can see all of our photos from Comic Con on our Flickr feed. There are lots that we haven’t posted here, so there’s plenty more to look at.
Saturday Jul 25, 2009
There’s something to be said about working a sixteen hour day. Those of you in the working class know that most of us generally just work half that each day – eight or so, and when busy can move up to nine, ten, or at most twelve hours. The reason for this, in most cases, is pretty simple: Working sixteen hour days is about as pleasant as jumping headfirst into a pit of boiling lava while covered in fireworks and soaked with gasoline. In short, it’s not extremely pleasant.
And yet, because we love you guys, we do it anyway. We do it because there are some of you out there who go above and beyond the call of a SEGA fan – those of you who would devote hours of your life to creating a costume, promoting your favorite game to your friends, to learning all the ins and outs of the characters you play as and portay. You bring this passion with you – and it alone is what makes days like yesterday completely worth it.
In our morning session, we were stoked to see a girl come into the booth with what looked like… could it be? Yes – it is! A Rag Rappy from Phantasy Star! (And a modeled rare weapon item, to boot!) Her feathery-fanaticism won her the special PSZ Sarisa Figurine, inflatable rappies, and even more PSU Merch!
The first of many Sonic costumes that came by the booth! Note too that she made a custom hat, gloves, and even went so far as to get the golden buckles on the shoes right! Fantastic job!
Another female Sonic cosplayer (Interestingly, we’ve had just as many girls dressing up as Sonic as have guys!), this time with everyone’s favorite sidekick Tails in tow!
This kid was awesome. Let me emphasize, once more: Awesome. Not only is the entire costume (minus the hat) homemade, but he’s even got the personality down 110%, and a perfect photo stance to go with it. To the little Sonic: I think you should come apply to work at SEGA someday – people with your dedication have bright futures ahead of them. Hang onto that passion as you get older, and not even the worst (figurative) robots out there will stand in your way!
Phantasy Star Trivia and meet-up
During our morning Meet and Greet session, we had a ton of Phantasy Star fans swing by! The four you see here – including the rappy from above, all happened to drop by at once and got to meet each other in real life as opposed to the Gurhal system! Oh, and check out the shirt on Lock – the guy second from the left – it’s a custom PSU T-shirt with his character on the front!
Sights like this were common throughout the day – tons of PS fans came by to answer some PSO / U Trivia! Those who could answer the questions correctly got hooked up with this rare Phantasy Star Zero inflatable Rappy!
Valkyria Chronicles Trivia Competition
At about 4:00 PM we held a competition with some Valkyria Chronicles Trivia! Questions ranged from easy to medium to fairly difficult, and we had one guy who rocked almost all of them, winning the competition with 15 out of the 16 points! Our winner is pictured here in the middle – great job to you, sir! You’ve done Squad 7 proud – enjoy that Alicia Figurine! (If you look closely, you can see him holding it.) As a bonus, everyone who entered walked away with our new GAMER T-shirts, shown here.
“Man, those SEGA employees have it rough! Good thing we’re on vacation!”
Meanwhile… back at the ra- er, hotel, Silver, Sonic, and Super Sonic were getting a relaxing sunbathing session in near the hot tub. These plushies can be found in the 500-600 Aisles at Comic-con, and will run you anywhere from $5 for the little ones to $40 for the big ones (like Super Sonic in this picture.) They were too cool to pass up once we saw some people walking around with them, so we bought a few ourselves for the office and potential free stuff friday giveaways. Now we just have to figure out how to get them home…
Note: You’ll soon be able to find many of these plushies in theme parks like Six Flags across the US! Keep an eye out next time you visit one!
All in all, day three was busy, packed, and absolutely fun – and this blog is actually only about half of it! Keep an eye out for Clumsyorchid’s upcoming blog on the Bayonetta party that followed in the evening, and pictures of the winners of awesome prizes like that custom Bayonetta XBOX 360, and the actual Scarborough Fair gun prop used during the motion capture for the game!
It was great seeing and meeting so many SEGA fans there – special thanks to all of you who came by the booth to say hello!
You make our sixteen-hour-days a lot more bearable.
Thursday Jul 23, 2009
Day 2 of Comic Con is behind us, and what a day it was!
After getting in some morning blogging and work time, the community team headed over to the SEGA booth to hand out T-shirts to cosplayers. It wasn’t long before we had a few people come by.
Although not technically a costume, we couldn’t resist handing out a t-shirt as a reward for this home-made Sonic Team shirt.
Here’s our winner, Kori-Maru as he’s known on the SEGA blogs & forums, with his Madworld prizes.
While we were chatting with Kori, a film crew from Gamespot TV came over to talk to one of our brand managers, Derrek, about Bleach.
We also had a visit from an enthusiastic young man named Steven. (That’s him in the photo at the top). His dad said that Steven’s whole life was Sonic, and he was very excited to play Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing. As he went over to play the game, the Gamespot crew finished filming Bleach and moved on to Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing.
Since he was doing such a fantastic job, Steven continued to play the game while the Gamespot crew filmed. He was a such a great sport for helping us out, that we’re going to send him a free copy of the game when it’s released.
After hanging out at the booth for a little longer, we went in search of food. The line was long, but the food was pretty good. Because there was nowhere to sit, we ended up on the floor.
As it turns out, our lunch seating was fortuitous. As we gazed to our left, we caught sight of some Sonic artwork in Artists’ Alley. When we walked up, we realized that it was Ken Penders, best known for illustrating the Sonic the Hedgehog comics. Ken had many items for sale, including some old Sonic comics.
Ken signed some comics for us, and we had a great conversation. We also picked up some original page layout illustrations from the comic books. Here’s one illustration, alongside the final page in the comic.
After seeing Ken, we walked down the show floor a but farther and found Sands of Destruction at the Funimation booth.
A little farther down the way, we came upon some limited edition Metal Sonic figurines. These are only for sale at Comic Con.
As we left, the crowds were getting thicker outside the convention center. It was a busy, but great day, and I’m looking forward to seeing what tomorrow brings!
Thursday Jul 23, 2009
This Friday, we’re holding a special event with PlatinumGames to show off our upcoming game, Bayonetta. The event will feature some face time with the PlatinumGames crew, a chance to play some Bayonetta in an exclusive event, and potentially win one of the hottest Xbox 360’s I’ve ever seen. No kidding.
A machine almost as beautiful as Bayonetta herself, the Xbox 360 arrived in our offices a day before San Diego Comic-con and nearly everyone in the office stopped by to gaze at it. While checking out the event space yesterday, PlatinumGames had a chance to look at the Xbox and were in awe of how good it looked. The unit is fully functional and will be available to one lucky winner who attends the event, if you aren’t attending there is still hope!
If you are at Comic-con and want to attend the event and get your hands on Xbox, there two ways you can score a ticket to the event:
There you have it, be sure to come out and see us at the Show even if you aren’t in costume! Sega is located at marker 5200 on the show floor.
Updated 7/23 – We will also have limited tickets available on a first come first serve basis to those attending the PlatinumGames Panel at San Diego Comic Con. Be there early to get in line and grab a pass to this exclusive event!
Thursday Jul 23, 2009
Last night, Iron Man 2 (the game) had its world premiere in the Marvel booth. The photo above is of the Marvel stage, and the game was played on those screens in the upper corners. There was a great crowd gathered to see the game for the first time.
Kyle, the Creative Director from SEGA Studios San Francisco, led the demo. Dean, the producer of the game, did the driving. The demo took about 15 minutes and we got to see lots of flying, shooting, melee, and the boss battle for the level.
The game has an all-new story (not tied to the movie) written by acclaimed comic book writer Matt Fraction. There are diverse play spaces and enemies, and great controls that let you fly indoors or out. You can choose what’s in your suit, and how you want to fight your enemies.
Kyle said that as producers and developers, it’s a lot easier when not tied to the movie storyline — they are freed up to do whatever they want.
We got a glimpse of some interior spaces, which are new to the franchise and add variety to the gameplay. Lots of people didn’t like that the last game only had exterior play, so they’ve added the interior spaces in this game.
As the fighting continued in the demo, Kyle said that at every point they were asking themselves “Why is this Iron Man’s problem?” because they didn’t want to put anything in the game that the cops or the Army could handle. This makes for a more exciting and challenging gameplay.
At the end, we got a glimpse of Crimson Dynamo, who a lot of fans also wished was in the first game. He’s in this one!
At the end of the demo, the Marvel team passed out some limited-edition posters to the crowd.
Then Matt Fraction came on stage to sign things for fans. Before he sat down to sign though, he took some time to get a close-up look at the suits on stage, and even took a few photos of them. It was cool to see him as interested in them as the fans in the crowd were.
Matt sat down and signed stuff for fans. There was a huge line that wrapped all the way around the Marvel booth!
That’s all for the premiere, but there’s a lot more to come. There will be several more demonstrations of Iron Man 2 on the Marvel stage, as well as in the Marvel booth and in the SEGA booth. This was my first time seeing the gameplay too, and I have to say that it’s looking really great.
Wednesday Jul 22, 2009
Here we are, sunny San Diego for Comic-con! The weather is nice and we are getting accustomed to our home away from home for the next five days. So what have we done today? Well, we had a chance to go through the convention hall, see a bit of the area, do some fun out of office emails via phones and get ready for the main event this week!
The show officially kicks off tomorrow with the doors opening at 9 am, but tonight there was a preview night, a pre-show chance to check out some special unveilings and get your hands on some nice gear from the floor. Sega was there in force with the full community team (woo) and everyone who will be manning the booth during the next four days.
This is my first Comic-con, I missed out on the trek to New York earlier in the year. I’ve done one smaller fan focused convention, but this is nothing like I’ve ever seen. The closest I know is E3, which is a beast in and of itself, but Comic-con is a consumer show with massive crowds, or so I’m told. Looking at preview night, I was a bit taken aback by the masses of people walking through the space. Overheard by too many people to count: “This is the busiest Preview Night I’ve ever seen.” I’m anticipating the next few days to be absolutely slammed, and can’t wait to see it!
As you can see from the photos posted, the Sega Booth is equipped with four playable games including, Planet 51, Bleach: The 3rd Phantom, Bayonetta, and Iron Man 2. Fun stuff! Look out for some upcoming blogs about a few of those tonight, we are all hitting the laptops and doing some posts about the stuff we saw.
Tuesday Jul 21, 2009
The SEGA community team is leaving for San Diego tomorrow morning! We’re excited to bring you all the action from San Diego Comic Con 2009. We’ve got lots of great stuff in store for you, whether you can attend or not.
If you are attending San Diego Comic Con, we want to see your best costumes! The community team will be at the SEGA booth to meet our fans, take some photos, and get pass out goodies to people dressed in SEGA costumes! We’ll be at the booth at the following times:
Thursday: 11am – 12pm and 4pm – 5pm
Friday: 11am – 12pm and 4pm – 5pm
Saturday: 11am – 12pm and 4pm – 5pm
Sunday: 11am – 12pm
Come to the SEGA booth at those times, and Ruby, Clumsy, and Kellie will be there to meet you! (We are not guaranteed to be at the booth except at those times, so make room in your schedule to come then!) If you come dressed in a SEGA-related costume, you’ll get a free “GAMER” T-shirt (limited to the first 250 people). We’ve got other, special prizes you can get in addition to the T-shirts. Ruby already did a fantastic job detailing the cosplay prizes and our trivia contest, so instead of repeating him, I’ll just link to his previous blog about it.
If you are not attending San Diego Comic Con, we’ve still got you covered. We’ll be blogging, tweeting, photographing, and video recording to bring you everything SEGA from the show floor.
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