Jon Schnepp, Adult Swim writer, director and animator, dies at 51

Jon Schnepp, a writer, director, animator and editor who worked on multiple Adult Swim series, including Metalocalypse, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, died on July 19 from complications from a stroke. He was 51.

Schnepp’s death was confirmed by Holly Payne, his wife, who composed a statement about Schnepp’s passing on Twitter.

“My life has been forever changed by Jon,” Payne wrote. “I feel endlessly grateful to have shared 16 years of laughter, love, and incredible adventures together, including the making a feature film, as well as a television series that I hope to complete and release later this year in his honor.”

As a creator, Schnepp is largely known for his work on Metalocalypse, of which he directed 34 episodes. He also directed the documentary The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened?, as well as a segment in the anthology horror movie The ABCs of Death.

Schnepp also worked for Collider as a host or panelist for its entertainment programming.

In addition to his wife, Schnepp is survived by his mother, Miriam, his father, David, and sister Deborah.

Every Upcoming Souls-like Game Dark Souls Fans Should Have on Their Radar

Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption

Upcoming Souls-like Games

Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption looks rather like a cutesy Dark Souls. Its dark-fantasy art meets an almost chibi-like character aesthetic. But don’t let that fool you into thinking this adventure will be any less brutal. In fact, given that the game is entirely boss fights, each combat encounter is likely to be savagely difficult, testing every scrap of your reflexes and courage earned from years of Souls games.

The clue as to the game’s trump card is in the name. In between each encounter players must sacrifice a stat and level, so rather than gaining power as the game progresses on, you’re instead being worn down. At least you’ll have unlockable weapons to give you an advantage, though.

I quite like the idea of zeroing in on a single feature of the Souls series rather than try to mimic its intricate level design or weave-in a mechanic in which players lose gathered experience for each death. Instead, Sinner: Sacrifice for Redemption is a visceral combat experience that is designed to push your ability to the edge. You’ll face-off with eight unique boss fights in the game, each with their own backstory to keep you invested in the pushing forward, and each presumably ramping in difficulty.

We Dare You, Square Enix, Put the Octopath Traveler Team on FFXVI, You Won’t

Nostalgia is a funny thing, something that can completely blind us from a game’s problems, or evoke a sense of wonder unlike anything else. Tomoya Asano and the so-called “Asano Team” at Square Enix have worked on two titles now that lean heavily on nostalgia, Bravely Default and Octopath Traveler. Both games feel like a natural advancement of the traditional Final Fantasy formula, and combine elements of the classic 16-bit JRPGs with that of modern games. Octopath Traveler certainly has its share of problems, but it’s amazing how unique and original it feels, and that’s something the mainline Final Fantasy series desperately needs right now.

Asano has worked as a producer on Octopath Traveler, Bravely Default, Bravely Second, Final Fantasy: The Four Heroes of Light, Final Fantasy Tactics: The War of the Lions, and more. He and his team clearly have a lot of experience and have produced some great work, to the point that they should be given the chance to work on something huge. I am of course talking about the next big Final Fantasy.

Now I should clarify, I’m not saying the next Final Fantasy has to be 16-bit or have a turn-based battle system. Those aspects aren’t necessary, but after the monumental task that was Final Fantasy XV, it’d make sense for Final Fantasy XVI to be a smaller, more refined experience. Square Enix definitely has a problem with the ambition and scope of their projects, just look that the elongated development of Final Fantasy XV, the Final Fantasy VII Remake, and Kingdom Hearts III. With the success of Octopath and huge cost of XV and the VII Remake, it might be a good idea to kind of go back to basics for the next big Final Fantasy.

There are many comparisons that can be drawn between Octopath and Final Fantasy VI, what with the separate character stories that come together. Of course, the difference is that Final Fantasy VI’s story really do weave together into a larger narrative, while Octopath’s remain mostly self-contained outside of lore. The idea of multiple protagonists was novel in Final Fantasy VI, and Locke, Celes, and Terra all shared an equal stake in events, not to mention other party members like Edgar or Setzer. This is an idea that Final Fantasy has moved away from since then. There’s obviously party members, but each story has a central protagonist that gets the most screen time.

The multiple protagonists idea is something I’d love to see return in the next Final Fantasy, and it could serve as a great follow-up to Final Fantasy XV. Octopath’s narrative structure has you playing as characters around the entire world, and because of this you can get a feel for the rich world-building and lore the game contains. Each city is unique and each character’s story adds on bits of lore that help you understand the overall world and its history. This is something that Final Fantasy XV really had trouble with, as its narrative was so laser-focused on the main party that you didn’t get any feel for the overall world. By planting protagonists all around the world, Final Fantasy XVI could really enhance the scope of whatever conflict is happening. Of course, the stories would hopefully intersect much more than Octopath’s, and eventually lead to a larger goal.

Octopath Traveler has another interesting tidbit that really helps flesh out its world, with Alfyn and Cyrus’s Path Actions. By examining different NPCs you can get pieces of info, and also see a little biography on them. These are often well-written and surprising, like the random old man standing at the entrance of town who actually used to be an expert assassin, but got disillusioned with the profession after a job went wrong. so he retired. You would never have seen that piece of flavor text if you hadn’t examined the old man, and the little bits of people’s stories that you get makes every town feel alive. Again, this kind of design is something that could be implemented into a Final Fantasy game, and making it more focused on the world instead of just the main party, is something the more recent Final Fantasy games could have used.

There are also Bravely Default mechanics that you could combine with Octopath’s ideas, namely the job system and customizable options for combat. Being able to adjust the encounter rate and speed of battle was a godsend in Bravely Default, and they’re small touches that add to the quality of life of the experience. The job system in the Bravely games are also the most robust around outside of maybe Final Fantasy V, and being able to combine different jobs and skills together allowed for great variation between characters.

It also deserves special mention that Yasunori Nishiki, the composer of Octopath, should absolutely be on board for Final Fantasy XVI. It’s a wonderful, unique soundtrack that has a lot of pep and vigor, and again bringing fresh faces to the series can have great results, just look at Yoko Shimomura and Final Fantasy XV.

Both Bravely Default and Octopath Traveler have that spirit that made old Final Fantasy games great, but try new things to advance the genre or provide a unique spin on it. For the most part they both succeed, and it’s that kind of forward thinking that the Final Fantasy series needs. The Asano Team has direct experience with the Final Fantasy series, but they’ve been relegated to smaller projects so far. What they’ve achieved so far has been impressive but imagine what the team could do with a larger scope, more time, and more resources. Tetusya Nomura and his team are busy on Kingdom Hearts III and the VII Remake, Tabata and his team are on a new IP, so it could be the perfect opportunity for a fresh, ambitious team to take up the mantle.

Phantasy Star

New Phantasy Star Mobile JRPG Teased, Official Reveal Set for Next Week

It’s been quite some time since we’ve seen a new Phantasy Star game, but it looks like there’s a new one coming. The only rub? It’s a mobile game. Sega just opened up a countdown website teasing a reveal for a brand new JRPG set in the Phantasy Star series, which is being made in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the long-running classic franchise. An official reveal is currently set for July 24.

Of course, this is all a part of a Japanese website setup, so we’re not sure if it’s anything planned for the west, but it’s still very good news for longtime series fans. The new game will be coming to iOS and Android, but there isn’t any further information about what the game will feature in the future when it finally launches.

We haven’t seen an official Phantasy Star release in some time, and many Western fans are still frustrated by the fact that Phantasy Star Online 2 never got a launch here. The press release regarding the upcoming Phantasy Star project mentioned that the game recently passed five million registered users, and unfortunately we never got our fair shake at it.

If you’re looking forward to more  from the series, however, this might be your next big chance. We’ll have to keep our eyes open for a potential Western debut in the future. after it officially releases.

5 Most Embarrassing Ways to Die in Video Games

Falling to Your Death

fall damage

Deaths in video games are there to teach the player what not to do. It’s important to learn from mistakes and move on. Stuck on a tough boss? Study the boss’ movements and attack when the opportunity presents itself. Having trouble getting through a tough platforming section? Keep calm and focus your attention on timing your jumps and landing on the correct platform. However, sometimes video game deaths are downright embarrassing, and there is nothing to learn from these deaths. These video game deaths are the equivalent of accidentally choking and coughing when drinking a glass of water. The brain knows to close the valve between the esophagus and trachea to keep water out, but every once in a while it happens to all of us. These are five embarrassing video game deaths that happened to all of us, at least once.

Surging through the game, cutting down all those who oppose you with your mighty sword. You use deadly precision, perfectly timed evasions, and quick thinking to get through your enemies, nothing can stop you now. The next checkpoint is straight ahead, just beyond a simple jump. You ramp up speed and go for the jump, but something awful occurs. The character either jumps over the platform or just barely misses it, it doesn’t matter, you fall down toward your death.

Some video games implement an invisible wall to prevent the player from simply walking off a cliff, or the character grapples the edge of a platform to avoid fall damage, but some games are more than happy to allow players to walk off a ledge to their deaths. The most frustrating thing about falling to your death is that it occurs at the most inopportune times. It always seems to happen right before a checkpoint or just by accidentally nudging the analog stick just a bit too much for the character to walk off the platform (looking at you, Dark Souls). Some platformers or action games implement difficult jumps to test the skill of the player, dying during these sections are not embarrassing, it’s a core part of the game. The real frustration crops up on a death that was very easily avoidable, a mistimed jump, running too fast near the edge, or not looking at the screen as the character simply walks off the platform. These video game deaths can lead to a loss of progress and force the player to go through a challenging area again. There are more unsatisfying ways to die in video games, but this is one of the lamest.

Spider-Man PlayStation 4

Sony Announces Amazing Red PlayStation 4 Pro for Spider-Man PS4 Launch

Sony is launching a special “Amazing Red” PlayStation 4 special edition in preparation for the launch of its upcoming Spider-Man game, launching later this year. The custom console, which features the huge, iconic Spider-Man logo on the top, comes bundled with a physical copy of the game as well as special vouchers for DLC, as well as a matching controller with a red and white color scheme.

The limited edition bundle is up for preorder right now, and you can pick it up starting at $399 now. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to tell whether or not it’s going to be a fingerprint magnet with glossy paint, but it doesn’t look like it will be, at least as far as the press images are concerned.

If you can’t wait to get your Spider-Man on when Sep. 7 rolls around, you might want to go ahead and lock in your bundle, especially since this is a very unique-looking console with an enormous logo to boot. You can see it all broken down in the official trailer via Sony, so check that out and see if you don’t want one of the new systems by the time you get finished watching.

Will you be picking up one of these console bundles? Let us know in the comments below!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer being rebooted with new cast and black lead actress

Joss Whedon is taking us back to Sunnydale with a new, updated version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the cult favorite supernatural series is officially being revived by 20th Century Fox Television, with the new version to be written by Midnight, Texas creator Monica Owusu-Breen. 

Whedon, who created the original series, is on board the remake project as executive producer. Together, the two previously collaborated on the series Agents of SHIELD.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which originally aired from 1997 to 2003, starred Sarah Michelle Gellar as… a Vampire Slayer named Buffy Summers, who worked to balance school, life, and a duty to fight the supernatural over the course of seven seasons.

No network has yet been attached to the new version of the series, which is still early on in its development. Though no casting for the series has been done yet, the decision has been made to cast a black actress in the role of Buffy, with the reboot intending to feature a much more diverse cast than the largely white original.

The series was one of the first major successes for Joss Whedon, who would later go on to prominence as the director of The Avengers, among other things. It is based off of a 1992 movie of the same name which Whedon wrote. 

Though the series and its spinoff Angel have been off the air for years now, Whedon has kept the Buffy the Vampire Slayer story going with canonical comic book stories, continuing the adventures of Buffy and friends long after their runs on television concluded.

In addition to working on the new version of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in an EP capacity, Whedon is also expected to oversee a new sci-fi series, The Nevers, on HBO.

Venom SDCC footage reveals another symbiote

There’s more to Venom than meets the eye.

On Friday evening, Venom director Ruben Fleischer and actor Tom Hardy, who leads the film as photojournalist-turned-parasite-host Eddie Brock, took the Hall H stage at San Diego Comic-Con as part of Sony Pictures’ film slate presentation. There, the pair unleashed new footage from Venom that revealed another symbiote will play a major role in the movie.

Bloody Disgusting press was in attendance at the Venom panel, and have delivered the goods on what the eye-widening reveal entailed. 

According to the outlet, the footage sees Hardy’s character — possessed by the symbiote Venom — battling against another symbiote in a vicious showdown. The creature’s identity apparently wasn’t explicitly addressed in the clip, but Fleischer subsequently revealed that it is, indeed, the host-hopping symbiote Riot. 

In the May 1993 comic Venom: Lethal Protector #4, which Venom partially adapts, Riot bonded to the Life Foundation staff member Trevor Cole. Three years later in January 1996’s Venom: Along Came A Spider #1, the symbiote took hold of Howard Ogden after it was forcibly separated from the monstrous Hybrid symbiote that had fused to prison guard Scott Washington. 

But within Venom, it’s Riz Ahmed’s Dr. Carlton Drake — the high-ranking Life Foundation who extracted five other symbiotes (Agony, Lasher, Phage, Scream, and, of course, Riot) from Venom — whom Riot selects as its temporary host. Even if Riot gets bored with Drake and chooses to kick him to the curb, the symbiote can reappear later in Venom, as Fleischer mentioned Riot is able switch hosts as often as it pleases. “He has a unique trait. You don’t know where Riot is going to turn up,” the director teased.

So, how does the film footage arrive at this symbiote-versus-symbiote fight? 

The clip is said to open on a scene in which Eddie talks to the owner of a bodega; things then flash to Eddie meditating in hopes of suppressing the “‘parasite in his body that also talks to him” and him sprinting through the woods. Ahmed’s Drake appears later on, discussing how fusing humans with symbiotes is the way of the future. (This sounds similar to what the character opined in the previously released Venom trailer.)

Action picks up thereafter, with Venom generating “extra limbs to attack [Eddie’s] enemies while on a motorcycle chase.” And then, the famous Eddie-to-Venom moment happens: he stretches to seven feet tall as Venom wraps around his human form and flickers a long, slimy tongue between massive fanged teeth. Apparently, viewers “went nuts at the sight of the full Venom,” which tore Eddie’s opponents to pieces and “regenerate[ed] all his wounds.” This all ultimately leads into Venom facing off with Riot. 

Elsewhere in the footage, Venom quips a hilarious one-liner as the clip implies he’s eating a crook — “Eyes, lungs, pancreas. So many snacks, so little time.” — and remarks that he simply “has a parasite” when he devours someone else inside a market and a cashier gives him a horrified look. Venom acting both evil and funny? Sounds like those brooding twenty-something bad boys no one can resist — except a lot slimier

Fleischer made it clear that what was shown during SDCC is rough around the edges and still needs some TLC from the VFX department, making the chances of the footage surfacing online nearly nil. The good news is that Venom is set for release on October 5, so even if fans at home never see what con-goers saw on Friday night, there isn’t too much time left to wait to catch the full movie.

Stargirl live-action series coming to DC Universe

The future lineup of the DC Universe streaming service is continuing to expand with a live-action Stargirl series on the way from writer Geoff Johns.

Johns unveiled the 13-episode series at San Diego Comic-Con, according to io9The show will follow the character of Courtney Whitmore, a character Johns created with James Johnson, Lee Moder, and Chris Weston in 1999.

The series will follow the adventures of Stargirl as she helps to form the Justice Society of America, the first superhero team in the DC Comics (or any comics) universe. Johns will work on the show as a writer and executive producer.

This isn’t the first time the character has made an appearance on screen, with a version of Stargirl previously showing up on the CW’s Legends of Tomorrow during its second season as one of the members of the JSA. She also appeared in Smallville

While the production has yet to cast its Courtney, Johns did say that the Stargirl version of Stargirl will be reimagined as a younger woman than her previous iterations, which would seem to suggest that Sarah Grey, who played the character on Legends of Tomorrow, is unlikely to be reprising the role in the new series.

Johns recently left his post as the president of DC Entertainment in an executive shakeup at the company, which is reportedly in the middle of reevaluating the direction of its film franchise. The development appears to have left Johns — who started his entertainment career as a comic book writer — with more freedom to directly develop projects rather than oversee the broad picture of DC Comics properties on screen. In addition to Stargirl, he’s also one of the developers behind Titanswhich is set to be a debut series for the DC Universe service.

No release date has yet been announced for Stargirl. The platform it will air on, DC Universe, is expected to launch sometime this fall.

The Bar Has Been Set for Cute Pikachu Blankets

I’m not sure if a bar for Pikachu blankets even existed before today, but it exists now, that’s for sure.

A Reddit user by the name of BasilFawltier shared today what is now officially the cutest Pikachu blanket I’ve ever seen. Knit – it’s knitting right, not crocheting(?) – by his wife for their niece and nephew, these (presumably) children now possess what should be considered a national treasure.

Credit: BasilFawltier and r/Gaming

I want it so damn bad, but I have to imagine that it took forever to knit. Maybe not though; I’m not even sure if what you do to make that is called knitting, let alone how long it would take for someone who knows what they are doing, I’m hardly an expert. I know it would take me a lifetime, that’s for sure.