DID YOU READ

E3 2012: Capcom promises “Resident Evil 6” will “satisfy fans of the series”

Resident Evil 6

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By Michael Rougeau

LOS ANGELES, California — The “Resident Evil” series’ slow shift from tense survival horror to balls-out action shooter has been both predictable and, for some, difficult to watch. But even the most ardent of fans have mostly resigned themselves to the reality that the series will (thankfully, for some) never revert to its awkwardly-controlled, fixed-perspective roots. No matter what Capcom may tell them, with a wink and a quip, behind closed doors at E3.

“There’s a fear that comes across,” said game producer Yoshiaki Hirabayashi. “You can have thrilling fear in action that makes, you know — it’s something you have to be there to experience yourself.” Having just played through a brief section of the game’s story, during which four characters team up to battle a hulking, frothing beast known as the Ustanak, Hirabayashi opened the floor up to questions. He spoke to a small crowd of about a dozen reporters through a translator.

“We thought this was a really good example to show you where that action comes into play,” he continued. “But please don’t think that this is representative of every single scene in the game — there’s going to be a giant explosion with an enemy falling out of the sky on top of you.”

The demo he showed off was designed specifically to illustrate a brand new concept in “Resident Evil 6” known as Cross Over. It goes like this: the game’s story is made up of three more-or-less parallel plot lines, one for Chris Redfield and series newcomer Piers Nivens, one for Leon Kennedy and another newcomer, Helena Harper, and one for Jake Wesker (son of series villain Albert) and Sherry Birkin, who first appeared as a child in “Resident Evil 2.” The three duos embark on separate journeys that will occasionally intersect, and that’s when the opportunity for a Cross Over emerges.

Upon reaching one of these intersections, the game will ask players whether they’d like to open up their experience to other live players. It’ll then pause and search for online players who’ve reached the same point in the story, temporarily merging the two games until that section is complete. During that time, the four players can work together or split up (sometimes even swapping partners briefly) to fight bosses, solve puzzles and so forth.

Players can choose to decline the Cross Over opportunity or play offline, in which case the other three characters will be controlled by the game’s AI. They can even request that the game only match them up with friends during Cross Over play, though that would require players on their friend lists to reach the same intersection as them around the same time and at the same difficulty, which seems rather unlikely unless it’s planned in advance. Rather, then, the idea is for players to be matched up with random allies, cultivating a sense of uncertainty that could add to the game’s tension.

“We feel the exciting part of this feature is to not know who you’re going to be matched up with,” Hirabayashi said. “It’s kind of a surprise.” Players who want to game with their friends, he added, can play more straightforward co-op by taking control of two characters in the same plot line.

In Hirabayashi’s demo, Leon and Helena are recovering from a plane crash in the middle of a Chinese city when they encounter Jake and Sherry, who are being hunted by the Ustanak. The group quickly realize that Leon’s target is Sherry’s boss, though they’re saved from coming to blows more by the arrival of the beasty than by their own ability to peacefully resolve said conflict of interests. The player switches between weapons quickly via a snazzy new real-time inventory UI, but all the bullets in the world can’t seem to harm the Ustanak, who absorbs them like the meaty sponge he is.

Ten feet tall, with interchangeable arm attachments (sporting a mini-gun or claw to suit the situation) and a cage strapped to his back, the Ustanak snares players who get too close and momentarily incapacitates them. “He’s like an ex-girlfriend,” Leon says, the heartthrob that he is. “Guy doesn’t know when to quit.” The four heroes take turns climbing ladders to gain high ground and shove explosive barrels down onto his head, continuing to shoot at him even when they’re knocked on their backs. Their new ability to run and shoot simultaneously (hard to believe, isn’t it?) comes in quite handy, as do fancy dodging and up-close combat mechanics.

There was little of the series’ past glories evident here, and the gameplay itself won’t make any best-of-E3 lists. But it’s definitely nice to see Capcom going the extra mile to devise something that’s never been done before, especially something that could generate such unique opportunities for interactive storytelling. “There could be points with, not just literal gameplay cross overs, but you might see — Leon could be on an airplane with a television screen in the background, and you see Chris on the TV,” Hirabayashi explained. Putting a pin in Leon’s storyline and starting up Chris’s will eventually bring players to the same point, but from an alternate point of view. “You’ll be free to explore the story from all sides in any order you like,” Hirabayashi added.

Besides, if he can be taken at his word, there will be horror aplenty elsewhere in “Resident Evil 6.” Capcom just didn’t want to show it off now. “The best way to show you Cross Over is four people kicking ass against a big enemy,” he reasoned. “We want to keep the horror for you to experience. I mean, if we were to show ‘Resident Evil 1’ here, we wouldn’t put a screen up and show you two dogs coming in the window. Because then you’d go and play the game and, like, ‘Oh yeah, that part.’ That wouldn’t be horror for you anymore. So we really want to keep that stuff for you. You know, the best time for you to experience horror is when you’ve got the game in your hands and you’re playing it and the lights are off and you’ve got the popcorn or whatever.”

IFC had the opportunity to briefly try out the Chris/Piers and Leon/Helena missions, and they did indeed feel like completely opposite ends of a very wide spectrum. Chris’s was a fast-paced shooting gallery similar to “Resident Evil 5,” in which he co-starred, and Leon’s was — well, Leon’s was slow. Painfully slow. It too was unimpressive, to say the least, but there’s still hope that Capcom’s simply withholding the good bits until the game’s actually out for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC on October 2.

“Leon’s got this real gothic horror aspect to his storyline, if you think of some really good classic ‘Resident Evil’ horror,” Hirabayashi promised, adding that each of the three plot lines will have its own type of scares. “So please rest assured there’s a good balance of elements in the game, and that should satisfy fans of the series.”

Are you happy with the ways “Resident Evil” has evolved? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.

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

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines

Shopping

The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.

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Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.

Booger

A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.

Ogre

Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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