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DID YOU READ

E3 2012: “Dark Souls: Prepare To Die” edition will be “so satisfying” for fans

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LOS ANGELES, California — Namco Bandai took a gamble on “Dark Souls” when it was released for consoles last fall, and it paid off. The action RPG was a challenge for players, making them adapt quickly to the game’s mechanics and learn new strategies or else face repeated deaths from its enemies and environments, but the game earned itself a large cult following. Fans started a petition for Namco Bandai to port the game to PC so all users could play, and after more than a hundred thousand signatures, the publisher complied.

“Dark Souls: Prepare To Die” was announced in April, with developer From Software going into “crunch” mode to bring it to PCs. From Software announced they would add new material to the game for its PC edition, and console gamers started their own petition to have that content be available as DLC. From and Namco Bandai complied, and the new material had a presence at E3 this year, though it was not playable.

Senior manager for Bandai label products Nobu Taguchi said that this was in an attempt to preserve the mystery of the additional content until it is released on August 24 for PCs and later in the fall for consoles. It will include new bosses, like the Sanctuary Guardian that was shown in a demo video on the E3 floor, as well as new enemies, new armor, new weapons, new lore, new maps, new items and new magic.

“The amount of excitement that I can only say by words right now is just phenomenal,” Taguchi, a self-professed fan of the game, gushed. “It’s a phenomenal piece and fans will definitely love it, and I’m going to the extent that I’m willing to bet my life’s savings that this will satisfy every single ‘Dark Souls’ player that’s out there.”

He said that an experienced “Dark Souls” player will be able to do a rush A-to-Z playthrough of the new content in about five to six hours, while a more exploratory trek through the additional material could take up to 10 hours. And that’s not to mention the desire fans will have to go back after they finish and start the game from scratch with a new character, which Taguchi said could be an additional 100 hours.

One of the other more exciting new elements of the “Prepare to Die” edition is the inclusion of a new form of player versus player combat. In “Dark Souls,” players who wanted to fight against others could “invade” the world of anyone who was signed online playing the game in its “human” mode, whether they wanted to be invaded or not. Now there will be an “arena” location where players can come to specifically because they want to battle against their peers. PC gamers won’t be able to battle against those using the PS3 and Xbox 360, but they will be able to fight against players on their own platform.

“It kind of adds more flavor to the concept of how the actual PvP plays, without detrimenting somebody else’s gameplay who’s trying to enjoy adventuring, trying to play the game aspect of it,” Taguchi said. He added that players can choose from one-on-one, two-on-two or death match styles of battling.

As Namco Bandai and From Software aren’t particularly known for their PC prowess, there has been some concern from fans that the PC port of the game won’t be as optimized as it could be. Taguchi addressed this concern, saying that Namco Bandai is aware of its shortcomings and is trying to make the “Dark Souls” PC edition be as good as it can be.

“I think one of the beauties of the PC is that the hardware spec is obviously very strong. There’s a lot people who are used to gaming on PCs, so if you notice, they have a lot more stronger processing power on top of it,” he said. “In order to maintain the authenticity of what the consoles already have, we basically did make a direct port plus a few tweaks to kind of make things a little bit better. I won’t say it’s moving at 60 frames per second or anything, but it moves to the extent that it satisfies a lot of people’s concerns that they had with it.”

He added that one way fans’ concerns have been addressed is by making the game available on PCs both through Games for Windows Live and Steam.

“It was a difficult process because, realistically speaking, our background and From Software’s background is not very PC oriented, so when we heard the many community complaints or concerns over it, that was when we started exploring the possibility of Steam and fortunately and happily we were able to announce that we will be also releasing this on Steam as well,” Taguchi said.

Even if the “Prepare to Die” edition is successful, Taguchi said there likely won’t be additional DLC released in the future. This material was meant as a “thank you” to fans who asked for the game to be released on PC, but went against director Hidetaka Miyazaki’s original claim that there would be no additional content. That being said, this new content is going to make fans very, very happy.

“There’s so much content in there that I wish I could tell you. It will blow the ‘Dark Souls’ player’s mind. It is probably going to be so satisfying that I’m literally going to be expecting people to drain their humanity away in this game. Literally,” Taguchi said. “In the real world and real game, we will suck your humanity out. We will make you deprived.”

Are you looking forward to “Dark Souls: Prepare to Die” edition? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.

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Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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WTF Films

Artfully Off

Celebrity All-Star by Sisters Weekend is available now on IFC's Comedy Crib.

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Sisters Weekend isn’t like other comedy groups. It’s filmmaking collaboration between besties Angelo Balassone, Michael Fails and Kat Tadesco, self-described lace-front addicts with great legs who write, direct, design and produce video sketches and cinematic shorts that are so surreally hilarious that they defy categorization. One such short film, Celebrity All-Star, is the newest addition to IFC’s Comedy Crib. Here’s what they had to say about it in a very personal email interview…

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IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a fancy network executive you just met in an elevator?

Celebrity All-Star is a short film about an overworked reality TV coordinator struggling to save her one night off after the cast of C-List celebrities she wrangles gets locked out of their hotel rooms.

IFC: How would you describe Celebrity All-Star to a drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?

Sisters Weekend: It’s this short we made for IFC where a talent coordinator named Karen babysits a bunch of weird c-list celebs who are stuck in a hotel bar. It’s everyone you hate from reality TV under one roof – and that roof leaks because it’s a 2-star hotel. There’s a magician, sexy cowboys, and a guy wearing a belt that sucks up his farts.

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IFC: What was the genesis of Celebrity All-Star?

Celebrity All-Star was born from our love of embarrassing celebrities. We love a good c-lister in need of a paycheck! We were really interested in the canned politeness people give off when forced to mingle with strangers. The backstory we created is that the cast of this reality show called “Celebrity All-Star” is in the middle of a mandatory round of “get to know each other” drinks in the hotel bar when the room keys stop working. Shows like Celebrity Ghost Hunters and of course The Surreal Life were of inspo, but we thought it
was funny to keep it really vague what kind of show they’re on, and just focus on everyone’s diva antics after the cameras stop rolling.

IFC: Every celebrity in Celebrity All-Star seems familiar. What real-life pop personalities did you look to for inspiration?

Sisters Weekend: Anyone who is trying to plug their branded merch that no one asked for. We love low-rent celebrity. We did, however, directly reference Kylie Jenner’s turd-raison lip color for our fictional teen celebutante Gibby Kyle (played by Mary Houlihan).

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IFC: Celebrity seems disgusting yet desirable. What’s your POV? Do you crave it, hate it, or both?

Sisters Weekend: A lot of people chase fame. If you’re practical, you’ll likely switch to chasing success and if you’re smart, you’ll hopefully switch to chasing happiness. But also, “We need money. We need hits. Hits bring money, money bring power, power bring fame, fame change the game,” Young Thug.

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IFC: Who are your comedy idols?

Sisters Weekend: Mike grew up renting “Monty Python” tapes from the library and staying up late to watch 2000’s SNL, Kat was super into Andy Kaufman and “Kids In The Hall” in high school, and Angelo was heavily influenced by “Strangers With Candy” and Anna Faris in the Scary Movie franchise, so, our comedy heroes mesh from all over. But, also we idolize a lot of the people we work with in NY-  Lorelei Ramirez, Erin Markey, Mary Houlihan, who are all in the film, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Sam Taggart. Geniuses! All of Em!

IFC: What’s your favorite moment from the film?

Sisters Weekend: I mean…seeing Mary Houlihan scream at an insane Pomeranian on an iPad is pretty great.

See Sisters Weekend right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib

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Reality? Check.

Baroness For Life

Baroness von Sketch Show is available for immediate consumption.

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Baroness von Sketch Show is snowballing as people have taken note of its subtle and not-so-subtle skewering of everyday life. The New York Times, W Magazine, and Vogue have heaped on the praise, but IFC had a few more probing questions…

IFC: To varying degrees, your sketches are simply scripted examples of things that actually happen. What makes real life so messed up?

Aurora: Hubris, Ego and Selfish Desires and lack of empathy.

Carolyn: That we’re trapped together in the 3rd Dimension.

Jenn: 1. Other people 2. Other people’s problems 3. Probably something I did.

IFC: A lot of people I know have watched this show and realized, “Dear god, that’s me.” or “Dear god, that’s true.” Why do people have their blinders on?

Aurora: Because most people when you’re in the middle of a situation, you don’t have the perspective to step back and see yourself because you’re caught up in the moment. That’s the job of comedians is to step back and have a self-awareness about these things, not only saying “You’re doing this,” but also, “You’re not the only one doing this.” It’s a delicate balance of making people feel uncomfortable and comforting them at the same time.

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IFC: Unlike a lot of popular sketch comedy, your sketches often focus more on group dynamics vs iconic individual characters. Why do you think that is and why is it important?

Meredith: We consider the show to be more based around human dynamics, not so much characters. If anything we’re more attracted to the energy created by people interacting.

Jenn: So much of life is spent trying to work it out with other people, whether it’s at work, at home, trying to commute to work, or even on Facebook it’s pretty hard to escape the group.

IFC: Are there any comedians out there that you feel are just nailing it?

Aurora: I love Key and Peele. I know that their show is done and I’m in denial about it, but they are amazing because there were many times that I would imagine that Keegan Michael Key was in the scene while writing. If I could picture him saying it, I knew it would work. I also kind of have a crush on Jordan Peele and his performance in Big Mouth. Maya Rudolph also just makes everything amazing. Her puberty demon on Big Mouth is flawless. She did an ad for 7th generation tampons that my son, my husband and myself were singing around the house for weeks. If I could even get anything close to her career, I would be happy. I’m also back in love with Rick and Morty. I don’t know if I have a crush on Justin Roiland, I just really love Rick (maybe even more than Morty). I don’t have a crush on Jerry, the dad, but I have a crush on Chris Parnell because he’s so good at being Jerry.

Jenn: I LOVE ISSA RAE!

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IFC: If you could go back in time and cast yourselves in any sitcom, which would it be and how would it change?

Carolyn: I’d go back in time and cast us in The Partridge Family.  We’d make an excellent family band. We’d have a laugh, break into song and wear ruffled blouses with velvet jackets.  And of course travel to all our gigs on a Mondrian bus. I feel really confident about this choice.

Meredith: Electric Mayhem from The Muppet Show. It wouldn’t change, they were simply perfect, except… maybe a few more vaginas in the band.

Binge the entire first and second seasons of Baroness von Sketch Show now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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