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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New Nasty

Whips, Chains and Hand Sanitizer

Turn On The Full Season Of Neurotica At IFC's Comedy Crib

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Jenny Jaffe has a lot going on: She’s writing for Disney’s upcoming Big Hero 6: The Series, developing comedy projects with pals at Devastator Press, and she’s straddling the line between S&M and OCD as the creator and star of the sexyish new series Neurotica, which has just made its debut on IFC’s Comedy Crib. Jenny gave us some extremely intimate insight into what makes Neurotica (safely) sizzle…

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IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. 

IFC: How would you describe Neurotica to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Jenny: Neurotica is about a plucky Dominatrix with OCD trying to save her small-town dungeon. You’re great. We should get coffee sometime. I’m not just saying that. I know other people just say that sometimes but I really feel like we’re going to be friends, you know? Here, what’s your number, I’ll call you so you can have my number! 

IFC: What’s your comedy origin story?

Jenny: Since I was a kid I’ve dealt with severe OCD and anxiety. Comedy has always been one of the ways I’ve dealt with that. I honestly just want to help make people feel happy for a few minutes at a time. 

IFC: What was the genesis of Neurotica?

Jenny: I’m pretty sure it was a title-first situation. I was coming up with ideas to pitch to a production company a million years ago (this isn’t hyperbole; I am VERY old) and just wrote down “Neurotica”; then it just sort of appeared fully formed. “Neurotica? Oh it’s an over-the-top romantic comedy about a Dominatrix with OCD, of course.” And that just happened to hit the buttons of everything I’m fascinated by. 

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IFC: How would you describe Ivy?

Jenny: Ivy is everything I love in a comedy character – she’s tenacious, she’s confident, she’s sweet, she’s a big wonderful weirdo. 

IFC: How would Ivy’s clientele describe her?

Jenny:  Open-minded, caring, excellent aim. 

IFC: Why don’t more small towns have local dungeons?

Jenny: How do you know they don’t? 

IFC: What are the pros and cons of joining a chain mega dungeon?

Jenny: You can use any of their locations but you’ll always forget you have a membership and in a year you’ll be like “jeez why won’t they let me just cancel?” 

IFC: Mouths are gross! Why is that?

Jenny: If you had never seen a mouth before and I was like “it’s a wet flesh cave with sharp parts that lives in your face”, it would sound like Cronenberg-ian body horror. All body parts are horrifying. I’m kind of rooting for the singularity, I’d feel way better if I was just a consciousness in a cloud. 

See the whole season of Neurotica right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

The-Craft

The ’90s Are Back

The '90s live again during IFC's weekend marathon.

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Photo Credit: Everett Digital, Columbia Pictures

We know what you’re thinking: “Why on Earth would anyone want to reanimate the decade that gave us Haddaway, Los Del Rio, and Smash Mouth, not to mention Crystal Pepsi?”

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Thoughts like those are normal. After all, we tend to remember lasting psychological trauma more vividly than fleeting joy. But if you dig deep, you’ll rediscover that the ’90s gave us so much to fondly revisit. Consider the four pillars of true ’90s culture.

Boy Bands

We all pretended to hate them, but watch us come alive at a karaoke bar when “I Want It That Way” comes on. Arguably more influential than Brit Pop and Grunge put together, because hello – Justin Timberlake. He’s a legitimate cultural gem.

Man-Child Movies

Adam Sandler is just behind The Simpsons in terms of his influence on humor. Somehow his man-child schtick didn’t get old until the aughts, and his success in that arena ushered in a wave of other man-child movies from fellow ’90s comedians. RIP Chris Farley (and WTF Rob Schneider).

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Teen Angst

In horror, dramas, comedies, and everything in between: Troubled teens! Getting into trouble! Who couldn’t relate to their First World problems, plaid flannels, and lose grasp of the internet?

Mainstream Nihilism

From the Coen Bros to Fincher to Tarantino, filmmakers on the verge of explosive popularity seemed interested in one thing: mind f*cking their audiences by putting characters in situations (and plot lines) beyond anyone’s control.

Feeling better about that walk down memory lane? Good. Enjoy the revival.

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And revisit some important ’90s classics all this weekend during IFC’s ’90s Marathon. Check out the full schedule here.

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Get Physical

DVDs are the new Vinyl

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available On Disc.

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In this crazy digital age, sometimes all we really want is to reach out and touch something. Maybe that’s why so many of us are still gung-ho about owning stuff on DVD. It’s tangible. It’s real. It’s tech from a bygone era that still feels relevant, yet also kitschy and retro. It’s basically vinyl for people born after 1990.

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Inevitably we all have that friend whose love of the disc is so absolutely repellent that he makes the technology less appealing. “The resolution, man. The colors. You can’t get latitude like that on a download.” Go to hell, Tim.

Yes, Tim sucks, and you don’t want to be like Tim, but maybe he’s onto something and DVD is still the future. Here are some benefits that go beyond touch.

It’s Decor and Decorum

With DVDs and a handsome bookshelf you can show off your great taste in film and television without showing off your search history. Good for first dates, dinner parties, family reunions, etc.

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Forget Public Wifi

Warm up that optical drive. No more awkwardly streaming episodes on shady free wifi!

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Inter-not

Internet service goes down. It happens all the time. It could happen right now. Then what? Without a DVD on hand you’ll be forced to make eye contact with your friends and family. Or worse – conversation.

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Self Defense

You can’t throw a download like a ninja star. Think about it.

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If you’d like to experience the benefits DVD ownership yourself, Portlandia Season 7 is now available on DVD and Blue-Ray.