DID YOU READ

E3 2012: “Halo 4” demo and gameplay promises “everything matters”

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LOS ANGELES, California — The Electronic Entertainment Expo is fully underway in Los Angeles, and even with hundreds of games for attendees to see, it’s easy to argue that “Halo 4” is one of the most hotly anticipated titles in attendance. Microsoft and 343 Industries announced the follow-up to “Halo 3” last year at E3, and this year they brought a demo and some playable elements of the game for a select few to check out.

IFC was lucky enough to sit down for a demo of the game hosted by executive producer Kiki Wolfkill and franchise development director Frank O’Connor. Both seemed very aware of the legacy “Halo 4” is continuing, and they seemed ready to face that challenge head-on.

“With ‘Halo 4,’ we do look at it as the start of the next 10 years, the start of a new saga for ‘Halo,'” Wolfkill said, adding that they have identified the strengths of the franchise as something to focus on in this installment. “Our aspirations are definitely to deliver on an epic sci-fi experience. I think that’s a key piece of ‘Halo,’ and be able to deliver on that mystery and that awe and that sense of wonder of being somewhere new and alien.”

Though “Halo 3” seemingly concluded main character Master Chief’s adventures, there have been other “Halo” games released since. “Halo: Reach” took place before the events of “Halo,” while “Halo Wars” and “Halo 3: ODST” expanded the story in tangential directions. There have also been countless novels written that take place in the “Halo” universe and elaborate on the series’ mythology. But according to O’Connor, that was all in preparation of “Halo 4.”

“We realized that these things that take place in the alleyways and corners of the ‘Halo’ universe aren’t nearly as compelling or satisfying as the mainline story and the characters that people are familiar with. So it was a really simple decision: From now on, everything matters,” O’Connor said. “So every piece of story content that we’ve added to the universe since that point will actually pay off in ‘Halo 4.’ The characters that you’ve learned about, the technologies you’ve learned about, the mysteries of the Forerunner universe: everything’s going to be in ‘Halo 4.'”

“Halo 4” takes place five years after the events of “Halo 3.” As players who completed “Halo 3″on legendary difficulty will know, Master Chief was left in crysoleep in orbit above a mysterious alien planet. “Halo 4” will pick up right from where that left off, with Chief landing on the planet and facing off with new enemies there.

Those enemies will be called Prometheans, which are “effectively” Forerunners, as explained by O’Connor. The species was introduced in the “Halo” novels written by Greg Bear, and is the first set of new aliens that have been brought into the game franchise since the Covenant in the first “Halo.”

That’s not to say that the Covenant won’t be present in “Halo 4” as well. Whatever uneasy alliance there was at the end of “Halo 3” has since dissipated.

“The alliance with these particular Covenant is gone. Every Covenant that you encounter in ‘Halo 4’ specifically is a bad guy, and that will be very apparent why at the start of the game,” O’Connor said. “[The Covenant and Prometheans] will interact with each other and in various different ways. Sometimes they’ll be cooperating with you and other elements they’ll be resisting each other.”

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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.