DID YOU READ

EA: Yeah, That One Steven Spielberg Video Game Is Never Coming Out

EA: Yeah, That One Steven Spielberg Video Game Is Never Coming Out (photo)

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Spotting Steven Spielberg at the Electronics Entertainment Expo is kind of like playing “Where’s Waldo?” You know he’s going to be there; it’s just a matter of where you’ll see him. The first time I saw him at E3 a few years back, shock ran through me. “One of the greatest filmmakers ever loves video games?!” It’s never surprising to see younger I’m pretty sure I saw him in Electronic Arts’ massive booth, checking out (I think) a Medal of Honor game before that series got its controversial reboot in the new game that comes out this week. Spielberg actually had a hand in creating the WWII shooter series.

Anyway, it wasn’t a surprise, then, when EA announced a partnership a few tears later between their LA development studio and Spielberg to create new video game properties. In the 2005 official statement, Spielberg then said:

“I have been playing EA games for years and have watched them master the interactive format.” Spielberg said in a statement. “Having watched the game industry grow from a niche into a major creative force in entertainment, I have a great deal of respect for EA’s understanding of the interactive format. I’m looking forward to working closely with the team in Los Angeles.”

The first games to bear Spielberg’s name were the Boom Blox games for the Wii. Formerly known under the PQRS codename, they were clever physics-based puzzles games with cute characters but not what anyone was expecting from the Spielberg/EA union. What people were really waiting for was LMNO, an ambitious, story-driven sci-fi project that was announced at the same time. A 2007 article from Newsweek–written by one N’Gai Croal–describes the game:

The second game, code-named LMNO and made for Xbox 360 and PS3, can be described as “North by Northwest” meets “E.T.” –if E.T. were female, grown up and, um, hot. You don’t play as the girl, however. You’re an ex-secret agent, and the bond that you forge while on the run with the computer-controlled woman–good, bad, indifferent–determines the nature of her special abilities and the ways in which she’ll assist you. Says Spielberg: “The challenge is, can the game have an emotional impact on players while they are actively manipulating the world?” Based on the clever ways in which he and EA are extracting a genuine performance from their digital Eve–complete with eyes that widen, lips that curl and translucent skin that lights up in different colors to express her quicksilver moods–we think Spielberg’s got yet another hit on his hands.

But it seems like LMNO–pronounced ‘elemental’–will never see the light of day. Developer Jake Kazdal–an industry veteran who worked at the EA LA studio, as well as at Sega and other companies–went on Gamasutra’s podcast and told the story of how politics seemingly killed the game. Joystiq further expounds in a post full of other goodies [http://www.joystiq.com/2010/10/11/report-rez-2-prototype-was-in-the-works-project-lmno-canned/]:

Kazdal expanded on the project as it once was, saying, “I don’t wanna get the EA police on me. I can’t say too much. It was very ambitious. We had a small team — very smart people on it. And we spent a lot of time thinking and talking. And doing some stuff. And it just sort of … I don’t know exactly what was the thing that made it fall apart.” He further explained the cancellation of the project — a project he claims to have worked on for two and a half years — by saying, “I’m sure anybody you ask is gonna tell you something a little bit different, but it didn’t end up ever taking off. There was some rival game stuff that may or may not have come out of EA that was basically the same thing minus some of the stuff we were doing. There was just a lot of politics.”

Ironically enough, Kazdal’s gone indie and the Skulls of the Shogun game that his Haunted Temple Studios is making has been hotly anticipated ever since showing at the Penny Arcade Expo in Seattle this summer. Chances are, politics won’t torpedo this project.

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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar

via GIPHY

IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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GIFS via Giphy

On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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