Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is the JRPG to anticipate on Xbox Game Pass in 2023

I will get straight to the point here – Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is my most wanted Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) of this current console generation and it is one of the main reasons why I subscribed to Xbox Game Pass (XGP) as soon as I bought my Xbox Series X console late last year. While a release date was not yet announced as of this writing, I am looking forward to this upcoming JRPG on my Xbox Series X sometime in 2023. Check out the official Xbox listing of Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes by clicking here.

During the recent Tokyo Game Show (TGS), publisher 505 Games and Rabbit & Bear Studios executives – including studio head Yoshitaka Murayama (the Suikoden series creator) and Junko Kawano (who worked on Suikoden and Suikoden IV) – had their own presentation and made announcements. During the TGS, the newest trailer of Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes was unveiled and it sure looks really good even though the footage shown was from pre-alpha build. Watch the newest trailer below…

As I mentioned earlier, no release date was announced during the TGS which I found baffling since that event drew a lot of viewers and gamers’ attention worldwide. Could it be possible that Konami’s surprise announcement of Suikoden I&II HD Remaster Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars coming to multiple platforms (including Xbox) in 2023 might have something to do with the lack of a firm release date for Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes? At least in my view, developer Rabbit & Bear is still working on finishing their JRPG.

Perhaps publisher 505 Games is doing a wait-and-see approach about the many video games expected to fill the market in 2023 with anticipated heavy hitters like Starfield, Forza Motorsport (2023) and Redfall to name a few. 505 Games will have to select soon a firm 2023 release date for Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes based on market competition and the development status of the game.

Exploration in the game will be a mix of 2D sprites, polygonal environments and some artistic backgrounds.
The battles in Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes have that dynamic touch and multiple playable characters can fill your party and engage the enemies.

For the newcomers reading this, Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes is a turn-based fantasy JRPG which has a design and style similar to what was seen in the first two Suikoden video games. As seen in the above trailer, the upcoming JRPG has the combined talents of game creators such as Yoshitaka Murayama, Junko Kawano and Junichi Murakami (Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow) plus musicians Motoi Sakuraba (Star Ocean series, Tales of series) and Michiko Naruke (Wild Arms series).   

Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes has a story set in one corner of Allraan, a tapestry of nations with diverse cultures and values. On Xbox.com, 505 Games released the first set of character profiles introducing: Nowa, Seign, Marisa, Lian and Garr. Their respective descriptions are as follows…

NowaWhen the League of Nations recruits warriors to assist in a joint expedition with the Galdean Empire, our protagonist answers the call and leaves his remote village to test his skills. On the mission, he finds an ancient rune-lens, unaware that the discovery will spark a war between the League and the Empire. After the conflict begins, he joins a unit in the League’s border guard. The protagonist is the “leap before you look” type. He doesn’t always weigh the pros and cons before springing to action, and while his constant need to involve himself in other people’s problems sometimes creates headaches for his companions, they like him for it and know his heart is in the right place. After all, if they ever got into trouble, he’d be the first person there.

SeignThe second-born son to House Kesling, a powerful imperial family. His older brother died on the battlefield. Seign is exceptionally gifted; after achieving outstanding grades at military academy, he was placed in command of a company of his peers and sent on the expedition to find the ancient rune-lens. During the mission, he meets the protagonist. The two warm to each other as they overcome adversity, and they learn of one another’s ambitions. Seign’s strategic mind allows him to analyze things from a broad perspective and make sound decisions. People often confuse his clear mind for a cold heart, but he is guided by strong ideals and a deep passion to fulfill them. After his brother’s death during a border rebellion, Seign began to think long and hard about what it means to fight.

Marisa – A young member of the Guardians, a clan that hallows and protects the forest. Since Marisa was very little her family has instilled their ways and traditions in her. She has a warm, affable smile — except on the battlefield, where she wears the countenance of a warrior.

Although the Guardians live as one with the forest, they have respect for the outside world’s culture and technology, and they are not against integrating the parts of it that make sense to them. Marisa is particularly forward-thinking in this regard and loves new things — especially cute things.

Lian – After the Empire’s forces invade league lands, Lian is infuriated and runs away from home without even the slightest semblance of a plan. She decides the first thing to do is hoof it to the biggest town she can find, and luckily that’s where she meets the protagonist and his companions. Lian was born in a dojo, and her father wasted no time in teaching her. She was doing roundhouse kicks before she even learned to walk properly.

Garr– A veteran beastman warrior. He and his clan make their living as mercenaries, and their vast experience and sheer brutality put them in high demand. War is all Garr has known, and to him life is one battlefield after the other until you die.

To date, Rabbit & Bear Studios already released the side-scrolling spin-off game Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising and has been working hard to complete Hundred Heroes. The shared game design elements between the early Suikoden games and Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes such has having over 100 playable characters, a story of war, in-depth world exploration, heavy use of 2D sprites for the characters along with their acts during battles, and dynamic group battles are not surprising given Murayama’s history of leading the development of the Suikoden JRPG franchise (until the 3rd game) during his time with Konami. Murayama also is a proven fantasy storyteller with the Suikoden games. Personally, I really loved playing Suikoden II which in my opinion is not only the best of the Suikoden game franchise but also one of the very best JRPGs of the 1990s that I have ever played as well as one of the best JRPGs that was not made by Square Enix.

Now this is one very dazzling moment shown during the latest Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes trailer.
Seign and Nowa going head to head with each other in this captured moment from the latest trailer.

Knowing that Murayama, Kawano and other notable Japanese creators are working together in making Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes, I have reasons to be confident about it. On my end, my taste on video games has changed a lot over the past fifteen years and that goes the same with my interest in JRPGs. Along the way, I really miss the fun I had with the first two Suikoden games as they had gameplay elements that were not only uniquely fun but also aged well. For me, Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes could become the most delightful surprise among JRPGs in this current console generation. It is my most-wanted JRPG of this console generation and I believe it will fit in nicely with the Xbox ecosystem which is already becoming an ideal haven for fantasy RPGs and RPG fans in general.

Watch out for Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, Windows PC and Xbox Game Pass in 2023.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

Former PS5-exclusive game Deathloop is now available on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Xbox Game Pass (XGP)

Deathloop, the acclaimed video game developed by Arkane Lyon and published by Bethesda Softworks that was once an exclusive game on Sony’s PlayStation 5 console, is now available on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and Xbox Game Pass (XGP)!

To start with, watch this official Xbox launch trailer of Deathloop!

Now watch this latest Deathloop trailer.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the official Xbox.com announcement written by Anne Lewis, Sr. Content Manager, Bethesda Softworks Senior Content Manager Anne Lewis. Some parts in boldface…

The award-winning, mind-bending, time-warping sensation critics are calling a “masterpiece” is now available on Xbox Series X|S! Deathloop transports players to the lawless island of Blackreef in an eternal struggle between two extraordinary assassins. Explore stunning environments and meticulously designed levels in an immersive gameplay experience that lets you approach every situation any way you like. Hunt down eight targets all over the island to put an end to the cycle once and for all, and remember, if at first you don’t succeed… die, die again.

Xbox players can now jump into the colorful world and time-warped action of Deathloop, running at 60 FPS on Xbox Series X|SDeathloop is also available now with Xbox Game Pass, PC Game Pass, and Cloud Gaming (Beta). Experience Arkane Lyon’s unique spin on the first-person shooter and lose yourself on Blackreef.

Everything You Need to Know About Deathloop – New to Deathloop? Get caught up with everything you need to know with this handy roundup.

What the hell is happening on Blackreef? – As Colt, you have one day to eliminate eight targets who are responsible for keeping the timeloop functioning. If you miss even one, the day will reset. But they’re scattered all over the island. How are you supposed to track them all down in just one cycle? To take out all of them before the day starts over, you’ll need to learn to manipulate the world around you, discovering your targets’ routines and schedules as you fight to solve the puzzle of the island. And the best part: You’re free to determine how to go about this.

You can take every mission — main missions and side missions — at your own pace and in any order you choose as you assemble those puzzle pieces. Each day is an opportunity to learn and piece together the mystery. You’ll get stronger, you’ll try new things, you’ll discover new paths, and eventually, you’ll break this f***ing timeloop. Learn more here on Bethesda Blog with The Story of Deathloop and Dig into the Basics.

Meet Colt – It’s no surprise that Colt is a mystery. After all, it’s hard to know much about a guy when he doesn’t know anything about himself. He has no idea who he is; why he’s caught in a timeloop on a frigid, isolated island; why people seem to know him… All he knows is that he’s having a pretty bad day, and he’ll *be* having a pretty bad day until he can do something about the timeloop. Progressing through Deathloop means uncovering not only the island’s secrets, but the secrets of Colt’s past. For better or worse, Colt’s determined to figure out who he really is and why he’s here. Learn more here on Bethesda Blog with Our Hero, Colt.

And Colt’s Hunter – Where Deathloop’s hero Colt is mysterious because he knows nothing about himself, its “villain” Julianna is mysterious because she knows everything about everything, and she keeps all those cards tucked carefully up her stylish sleeves. When you know everything, sometimes the most fun you can have is playing your winning cards while laughing in your opponent’s face. Learn more here on Bethesda Blog with And His Nemesis, Julianna.

Who Are the Targets? – Colt’s job isn’t easy. He’s trapped in a timeloop on Blackreef, surrounded by chaotic partygoers with itchy trigger fingers. At the top of the island’s food chain are either “Visionaries” responsible for keeping the timeloop going. If he can manage to take them all out in a single day, he can break the timeloop and finally escape. Eight targets, all spread out across an entire island, and just one day to kill them all. You better get to know all eight if you plan on getting the job done. Learn more here on Bethesda Blog with Check Out Your Hitlist and How Will You Take Them All Out?

Go Head-to-Head – While Colt’s single-player journey is the focus in Deathloop, if you’re feeling particularly devious you can switch things up and take on the role of Julianna and sneak into another player’s game to cause some chaos. Break the timeloop or protect it? The choice is yours. Learn more here on Bethesda Blog with Face Off Against Your Friends In PvP.

What’s New in the Goldenloop Update – Deathloop’s latest major update comes with cross-platform PvP matchmaking and a host of new goodies for you to enjoy. Get your hands on a new weapon, a new ability, and new trinkets, plus new enemies to go head-to-head with, and much more. Learn more here on Bethesda Blog about the Goldenloop update.

Deathloop’s Xbox debut is notable not only because it helps soften the blow related to the lack of big-budget Xbox-exclusive games this year but also because it was one of the Bethesda games Sony paid to be an exclusive on PlayStation 5 (PS5). With its availability on Xbox Game Pass (XGP), many millions of subscribers will get to play and enjoy the game complete with optimization for their Xbox Series consoles.

Now that Microsoft owns Bethesda, Deathloop will be available for Xbox ecosystem users in the long term and I expect that Deathloop sequels and spinoffs will be Xbox-exclusive! What Microsoft owns, Sony cannot touch! No more future games of Deathloop for PlayStation! Right now, Sony is pathetically panicking and pretending to be a victim as they oppose the pending acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

Go for Deathloop on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S and XGP now!

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

Remastered versions of Suikoden and Suikoden II are coming to Xbox in 2023!

During the recent Tokyo Game Show (TGS), Team Xbox had its livestream event which was a mix of surprises and game reveals. Xbox chief Phil Spencer and Xbox CVP Sarah Bond spent time emphasizing their gaming business as well as their commitment with the game creators and gamers in Japan.

While the sudden release of the remastered version of the hit Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) Ni no Kuni on Xbox platforms and Xbox Game Pass (XGP) was indeed surprising, there was another major surprise pulled off by Konami that includes Xbox for a release some time in 2023 – Suikoden I&II HD Remaster Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars. Watch the official English-language trailer below…

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the official press release from Konami’s website. Some parts in boldface…

Announced during Tokyo Games Show 2022, KONAMI confirmed several fundamental improvements and quality-of-life features in the upcoming remaster collection:

Graphical Improvements

Pixel sprites and environment art enhanced with new screen effects including lighting, clouds, and shadow animations Flickering flames, smoldering smoke, the movement of leaves and insects, all add up to a lively in-game atmosphere!

The effects and direction have been redesigned, bringing memorable scenes back to life in more beautiful ways!

New Character Drawings

All character portraits have been updated in HD. Junko Kawano, who designed the characters for the original version of Suikoden released in 1995, has newly re-drawn all the character portraits for Suikoden I HD Remaster Gate Rune War.

Sound Improvements

Field Sound – A large number of environmental sounds not found in the original version, such as the sound of running water in the river, wind, insects, and running footsteps, have been added. You can enjoy an immersive experience like never before!

Battle Sound – All sound effects are now in HD. In addition to the impact of the 3D effects, the realistic sound greatly enhances the dynamism of the battles!

Game System Improvements

Many new features have been added, such as dialogue log, auto-battle, double-speed battles, etc.

Footage of the remastered Suikoden JRPG from Konami’s official trailer.
The 2D sprites look the same but they do look sharper in HD. Even the background elements look sharper.
World exploration in Suikoden is no longer the flat 2D map it used to be.

As I have played Suikoden and Suikoden II on the original PlayStation console in the 1990s, the announcement of Suikoden I&II HD Remaster Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars is big dream come true for me personally. I always wanted to replay Suikoden and Suikoden II without the hassle of having to spend a lot of money to buy a PlayStation or a Nintendo console. In my experience, Suikoden II is the peak of excellence of its own franchise as the creative team listened to the fans and learned from their shortcomings on making the first game which resulted in very rich gameplay, several fun features and compelling story. Suikoden II also remains a great example of using 2D sprites aided with 3D camera movements and some polygonal effects. Read my retro review of Suikoden II at https://carlocarrasco.com/2021/07/15/a-look-back-at-suikoden-ii-1999/

The lighting in this particular part of Suikoden II was enhanced to be dramatic looking.
Battle sequence from Suikoden II as shown in Konami’s trailer.
This touching scene from Suikoden II looks better than ever.

That being said, Suikoden I&II HD Remaster Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars coming to Xbox (note: Xbox One was officially listed as the Xbox console) is a big bonus not just for Xbox gamers who enjoy JRPGs but also for long-time gamers who loved the early Suikoden games who have not been spending much time with console gaming. As seen in the official press release from Konami as well as in the revealed footage in the official announcement trailer, there were several enhancements to make Suikoden and Suikoden II more presentable in today’s age of high-definition gaming. While the 2D sprites and in-game art works of the two classic JRPGs look the same (note: with some minor adjustments), I noticed the improvements on sound effects, the in-game lighting, some adjustments on textures, the higher resolution resulting in sharper images, and the redrawn character portraits (in the first game specifically).

Suikoden I&II HD Remaster Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars coming to Xbox is looking like a great addition on the Xbox ecosystem’s growing global appeal as the haven for fantasy RPGs gamers and also for gamers who like other types of role-playing games! For Konami, selling the two classic JRPGs on Xbox could mean bigger sales than what they achieved on PlayStation decades ago. Remember that 2023 will see the eventual release of Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes and the Xbox-eclusive Starfield. Right now, Konami is still at work on enhancing the remastered Suikoden and Suikoden II and they will have to decide which date in 2023 should mark the release. Personally, I can hardly wait to play Suikoden I&II HD Remaster Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars on my Xbox Series X console. Watch out for Konami’s announcement of the official 2023 release date. Also, here is hoping Konami will do a good job remastering the two classic JRPGs and that the promises they made in their press release will be fulfilled.

For the newcomers reading this, the Suikoden game franchise’s core concept has been based on the motif of the Chinese classic novel Water Margin and the creative team back then (led by a very young Yoshitaka Murayama who is now leading Rabbit & Bear studios making Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes) created role-playing games that had engaging fantasy stories, feature-rich gameplay and a wide lineup of characters who collectively contribute to the game endings. The first Suikoden RPG of the mid-1990s follows a protagonist whose father is one of the empire’s five generals, as he gathers his 108 Stars of Destiny and friends to fight against the oppressive rule of the Empire in ruin. Suikoden II happens three years after the first game’s story, further evolving the game systems unique to Suikoden, such as Rune magic, the 108 Stars of Destiny, home base management, and Army Battles, which were well received in the previous game. Three childhood friends, including the protagonist, are tossed about by a great whirlpool of destiny.

Historically speaking, the Suikoden video game franchise has been strongly identified with PlayStation platforms. Suikoden and Suikoden II were released on the first PlayStation console while Suikoden III, Suikoden IV and Suikoden V were released on PlayStation 2. There were also some versions of Suikoden games that got released on Sega Saturn, Windows PC and Nintendo platforms. That being said, the inclusion of Xbox One as a platform for the upcoming Suikoden I&II HD Remaster Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars is very notable, even exceptional.

Watch out for Suikoden I&II HD Remaster Gate Rune and Dunan Unification Wars on Xbox in 2023. Also, I encourage you all to follow the official Suikoden Twitter account.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

Police arrest suspect accused of raping a lady who was lured to a cosplay photo shoot by him

Cosplay – the act of dressing up as a character from a work of fiction – can be fun to watch and do for as long as violations are not committed. The concept of cosplay here in the Philippines took a dark turn as the Manila Bulletin reported yesterday a crime news report about the arrest of man who was accused by a lady of rape after he lured her to what was supposed to be a cosplay photo shoot. Reportedly the arrest took four years to do and it turns out there was a warrant of arrest issued for the suspect.

To put things in perspective, posted below is the excerpt from the Manila Bulletin news report. Some parts in boldface…

A man who was accused of raping a woman he lured into posing as a cosplay artist was finally nabbed by authorities at a Quezon City mall on Monday afternoon, Sept. 5, 2022, after eluding arrest for more than four years.

Carl Jefferson Soriano, 26, was collared by operatives of the Manila Police District (MPD)-Special Operations Unit (SOU), and the Women and Children Protection Center (WCPC) of the Regional Intelligence Unit (RIU) of the National Capital Region (NCR) based on a warrant issued by Pasay City Regional Trial Court Judge Gina M. Bibat-Palamos last May 30, 2018. No bail was recommended for his temporary release.

Soriano’s arrest came four years after the complainant reached out to then broadcaster and now senator Raffy Tulfo in his complaints/civic action show, seeking justice for what Soriano had done to her.

The complainant told Tulfo in his show Raffy Tulfo in Action on Feb. 21, 2018 that she met Soriano on Facebook where the suspect engaged her in chats, and was able to convince her to model for him in cosplay costumes.

She said Soriano promised him P7,500 for the photoshoot.

She added that, on the day of the photoshoot, Soriano fetched her on a transport network vehicle service (TNVS), and brought her to a hotel in Pasay City.

According to the victim, Soriano even asked her to pay for the TVNS fare, and the hotel room, and that he will just add on these costs to her talent fee later.

Soriano then told her that two more models and another photographer would be arriving soon to join them.

But it was while they were waiting that the suspect was able to force himself on her, and even banged her head on the wall before raping her.

After she was violated, Soriano belligerently told her that they would have to go to his condominium.

However, after arriving at the lobby of the condominium, Soriano excused himself, saying that he was going to get something from his motorcycle. He never came back.

Indeed, the Manila Bulletin news report above is very disturbing. This might affect the way cosplay is done here in the Philippines from organizing private photo shoots to doing cosplay at special events like comic conventions or pop culture events that involve the use of costumes. Can you just imagine how vulnerable a female cosplayer would be playing Darna whose traditional look exposes a lot of skin?

Speaking of crime related to cosplay, the Anime News Network (ANN) published last January an article about a photographer who got arrested for allegedly drugging and assaulting multiple cosplayers.

Let me end this piece by asking you readers: What is your reaction to this recent development? Do you think the allegations of rape and the mentioned cosplay photo shoot are real and could be proven in court? If you are a parent who has a child fond of cosplay, does this crime news report make you feel worried about your child’s safety? Do you think that new rules are need to protect cosplayers from sexual assault, harassment and rape?

You may answer in the comments below. If you prefer to answer privately, you may do so by sending me a direct message online.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

For more South Metro Manila community news and developments, come back here soon. Also say NO to fake news, NO to irresponsible journalism, NO to misinformation, NO to plagiarists, NO to reckless publishers and NO to sinister propaganda when it comes to news and developments. For South Metro Manila community developments, member engagements, commerce and other relevant updates, join the growing South Metro Manila Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/342183059992673

Team Xbox’s Tokyo Game Show 2022 stream set for September 15

It is that time again. This year’s edition of the Tokyo Game Show (TGS) in Japan will be happening and already Team Xbox announced it will have an official TGS 2022 streaming event on September 15.

To put things in perspective, posted below is an excerpt from the official Xbox.com announcement. Some parts in boldface…

We are pleased to confirm that Xbox will be making its digital return to Tokyo Game Show on September 15 at 6 p.m. JST / 9 a.m. UTC / 2 a.m. PDT, with a streamed broadcast celebrating the vibrant players and visionary creators across the region. Like years’ past, this will be a show curated for our players in Japan and Asia.

We invite fans to tune in to the Tokyo Game Show 2022 Xbox Stream where you can expect to see updates on existing titles from Xbox Game Studios and titles launching from developer partners that we hope will delight players here in Japan, across Asia and around the world.

The Xbox Stream will be available on Tokyo Game Show’s official YouTube channel, Xbox YouTube channels in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand, and on Bilibili in China.

While Tokyo Game Show 2022 will open its gates to the public for the first time in three years this September, the hybrid nature will allow players from around the world to also enjoy the latest in video games, technology, and games culture in Japan. With the theme of “Nothing Stops Gaming,” Tokyo Game Show 2022 will embody the solidarity of gamers and the promising future that lies ahead for our industry.

Gaming has always provided an important way to connect, but especially over the past few years. It has a transformative power to bring joy and foster community, and it’s at TGS where we can all enjoy the spirit of games together.

We look forward to you joining us digitally for the Xbox Stream on September 15 at 6 p.m. JST / 9 a.m. UTC / 2 a.m. PDT.

For more details on Tokyo Game Show 2022, visit the official site for the full schedule from the show’s organizers.

In the above announcement, the 2nd paragraph mentioning developer partners suggests that games – both brand new and those released previously on non-Xbox platforms – will be unveiled. I can imagine this would turn out to be a mix of independent productions as well as games from the medium-sized game studios and perhaps from the big ones.  

When it comes to the big game publishers of Japan, I can only hope that Xbox chief Phil Spencer and his team renewed and reinvigorated their business relationships with Square Enix, Capcom, SEGA, Bandai Namco and other game publishers to secure their new games for release on Xbox platforms plus PC and also some of their old-but-fun games (from the previous console generations) that would make nice additions to Xbox Game Pass (XGP). I would love to see classic titles like Xenogears, Final Fantasy VI, Breath of Fire IV, Virtua Fighter, Shining Force III, Tekken 3, Lunar, Suikoden and many others on my Xbox Series X through my XGP subscription.

The classic JRPG Xenogears would be a great addition into the Xbox Game Pass service.

Speaking of upcoming games from Japanese developers and publishers, I am anticipating the official announcement of the 2023 release date of the Japanese role-playing game (JRPG) Eiyuden Chronicle: Hundred Heroes. The announced Persona RPGs for Xbox and PC platforms, Star Ocean: The Divine Force and The Diofield Chronicle should be showcased with pre-release promotions in mind. Team Xbox will most likely announce Xbox Game Pass features and promos geared for the Japanese market.

Team Xbox should establish stronger relationships with their Japanese partners and keep on moving forward with what they have achieved so far in Japan in this current generation. Already Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S combined outsold the Xbox One in Japan by a wide margin (including a sales victory over PlayStation 5 in Japan last June). Until now, I am seeing almost every day on Twitter picture posts of Japanese gamers who showed off a new Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S console they bought. There is no doubt that Xbox is gaining traction in Japan better in this current console generation and that alone should convince Team Xbox to keep on intensifying and improving their gaming interest in Japan.

In closing this piece, posted below are Xbox-related videos plus last year’s Xbox TGS live stream…

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram athttps://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

Better than Streaming: Casablanca 4K Blu-ray set for November 8, 2022 release

Welcome back fellow geeks, Blu-ray collectors and movie buffs! In this edition of the Better than Streaming series, we take a look at the upcoming 4K Blu-ray release of the 1942 classic film Casablanca (starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman and Paul Henreid) which is set for November 8, 2022. Take note that this year marks the 80th anniversary of Casablanca which itself is an iconic American film, won the Academy Award for Best Picture, became memorable for movie quotes, its theme song and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

As I am writing this, Casablanca 4K Blu-ray still has not been listed for pre-order at Amazon.com but you can bet that its November 8 release date is definitive. According to the Blu-ray.com announcement, Casablanca 4K Blu-ray comes with the expected 4K restoration described as having achieved “the richest, most dynamic image possible, rendering the most romantic movie of all time the most beautiful it’s ever been.” For the 4K Blu-ray purists reading this, this upcoming 4K Blu-ray release has native 4K visuals confirmed already!

The official 4K Blu-ray cover of Casablanca.

For the details of Casablanca 4K Blu-ray, posted below are technical stuff sourced from its Blu-ray.com page.

Video

Codec: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: Native 4K (2160p)

HDR: HDR10

Aspect ratio: 1.37:1

Original aspect ratio: 1.37:1

Audio

English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono (48kHz, 24-bit)

French: Dolby Digital Mono

Spanish: Dolby Digital Mono

Italian: Dolby Digital Mono

Portuguese: Dolby Digital Mono

Japanese: Dolby Digital Mono

Subtitles – English SDH, French, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish.

Discs

4K Ultra HD

Blu-ray Disc

Two-disc set (1 BD-66, 1 BD-50)

Digital – Digital 4K, Movies Anywhere

Packaging – Slipcover in original pressing

Playback – 4K Blu-ray: Region free, 2K Blu-ray: Region A

In the most recent update of Blu-ray.com, more details about Casablanca 4K Blu-ray were posted. Posted below is an excerpt. Some parts in boldface…

The new Casablanca 4K Blu-ray image was restored and remastered from a 2022 4K 16bit film scan of the best-surviving nitrate film elements. The 4K-scanned digital images went through an extensive digital restoration process to clean and repair the picture for an unprecedented and pristine ultra-high-resolution presentation. The restored images were then graded in High Dynamic Range for today’s premium 4K display experience, providing the highest fidelity in image contrast and detail retention. This work was meticulously handled by Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging. The original theatrical mono audio has also been newly restored as well, providing a richer and broader frequency response than previously possible.

Special Features and Technical Specs:

  • BRAND NEW 4K 16-BIT RESTORATION OF THE FILM (2022)
  • NEWLY RESTORED ORIGINAL MONO TRACK (2022)
  • HDR PRESENTATION OF THE FILM
  • Commentary by Roger Ebert
  • Commentary by Rudy Behlmer
  • Introduction by Lauren Bacall
  • Great Performances: Bacall on Bogart (1988 PBS special)
  • Michael Curtiz: The Greatest Director You’ve Never Heard Of
  • Casablanca: An Unlikely Classic
  • You Must Remember This: A Tribute to Casablanca (1992 TEC documentary)
  • As Time Goes By: The Children Remember
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Outtakes
  • Who Holds Tomorrow? (1955 “Casablanca” TV episode)
  • Carrotblanca (1955 WB Cartoon)
  • Scoring Stage Sessions (audio only)
  • Lady Esther Screen Guild Theater Radio Broadcast – 4/26/43 (audio only)
  • Vox Pop Radio Broadcast – 11/19/47 (audio only)
  • Trailers
  • Warner Night at the Movies
    • Now, Voyager trailer
    • Newsreel
    • Vaudeville Days (1942 WB short)
    • The Bird Came C.O.D. (1942 WB cartoon)
    • The Squawkin’ Hawk (1942 WB cartoon)
    • The Dover Boys at Pimento University (1942 WB cartoon)
Overseas movie poster of Casablanca.

I personally am interested in this upcoming 4K Blu-ray release which is heavily loads with lots of features that will appeal to both Casablanca fans and other movie buffs. It has been a very long time since I last saw Casablanca during my college days. Sometimes, I accidentally saw parts of it played when I switched channels on cable TV. Casablanca 4K Blu-ray should deliver the promised improved visuals, sounds and immersion that streaming simply cannot achieve.

For the newcomers reading this, if you want the best home entertainment with Casablanca and if you are determined to discover its story, performances and memorable moments for the first time ever in your lives, I urge you all to avoid watching Casablanca reaction videos as well as spoileriffic video reviews of the movie on YouTube until you get Casablanca 4K Blu-ray. No offense to the YouTubers who make reaction videos and the spoileriffic video reviews but I say that Casablanca needs to be preserved for the movie-loving people who are about to see it for the first time ever.

Casablanca movie poster.

Watch out for Casablanca 4K Blu-ray on November 8, 2022.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at Harbinger #17 (1993)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the early 1990s and explore a part of the Valiant Comics shared universe through the Harbinger monthly series.

In my previous retro review, Sting, Kris and Shatiqua got into trouble upon seeing the traitorous Ax and his powered companions. Their encounter turned into a radically different turn of events when the Harbinger foundation’s armed personnel and Eggbreakers members arrived targeting Ax.    

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Harbinger #17, published in 1993 by Valiant Comics with a story written by Maurice Fontenot and illustrated by Howard Simpson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins in the past – January 11, 1991 at the Woodville State Mental Institution in Pennsylvania. One of the local doctors leads two formal visitors into the secured room of one of their patients described as a “fascinating subject”. His name is Simon and the visitors turned out to be from the Harbinger foundation. They tell Simon, who is invisible, that the Harbinger foundation was established to help special people like him, help him understand and control his talents, and he will not be alone as the foundation has others like him.

In the present day of December 23, 1992, Faith is flying just above a truck which is slipping out of control along a major bridge in New Jersey. Sting is barely holding on the top of the truck. Being unable to utilize his power to control the situation, Sting instructs Faith to pull the driver out of the truck. Moments after Faith saves the truck driver, the truck itself stops but ended up hitting a vehicle.

As Flamingo uses her power to put out a fire, Kris finds Sting on the side of a car feeling terrible. Sting wonders what is wrong with him as he failed to stop the truck…

Quality

Even though he is already in a relationship with Kris, Sting focused on the blonde lady in the middle of a party.

I want to point out that this is yet another build-up type of story from Fontenot and Simpson, only this time it introduces Simon who is involved with the Harbinger foundation not as a trained Eggbreakers member but rather as a patient still relying on medical and psychological care. Through Simon, you will feel his loneliness, his trouble to fit in with society and his personal pain related to being unwanted. Through him, you will also realize that even though it has lots of resources and experts as employees, the Harbinger foundation is not the ideal replacement for Simon’s father (who rejected him in the first place). That should also remind you readers that government units also can never be your parent nor your guiding light no matter what socialists and Commies say in this age of Joe Biden and the fascist Democrats (read: the Satanic Left). Fontenot’s script here is, unsurprisingly, really strong and Simon’s introduction never felt like a throwaway piece.

Apart from Simon, Sting and his teammates got a lot more of the narrative’s spotlight this time around which is like a breath of fresh air since the previous two issues focused more on Harbinger and the Eggbreakers. Even though they are already dealing with their domestic problems, the primary characters still make efforts to solve problems and help others knowing that they would not be compensated by society.

More on character development, the team leader Sting continues to desire recruiting and helping powered young adults before the organization of Toyo Harada gets them first. This shows his arrogance and delusion as he rejects the reality that he and his team don’t really have the massive resources the Harbinger foundation has when it comes to recruitment and providing the constant needs of recruits. Furthermore, Sting does not even see his current problem (with his super power) as a hindrance at all when facing the Harbinger foundation.

Storywise, this comic book is more balanced with the spotlight on characters on the two sides of the spectrum with Simon being symbolically caught in the middle of the conflict. This is really solid storytelling.

Conclusion

Something’s wrong with Sting.

I like Harbinger #17 (1993) very much. What it lacks in spectacle, it bounces back big time with character development, deep dramatics and introducing a new character who gets connected with both Sting’s team and the Harbinger foundation. This story obviously keep on building up something for a future conflict between the two forces and already I am eager to find out what will happen in the next issue.

Overall, Harbinger #17 (1993) is highly recommended!

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at Sludge #11 (1994)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back, superhero fans, 1990s arts and culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we revisit the Ultraverse of Malibu Comics and examine one of its many stories told through an issue of the Sludge comic book series.

In my previous retro review, a more character-driven story about Sludge was told as the city crime war story has ended. What made issue #10’s story standout was the unexpected physical change Sludge goes through which is something he had desired apart from wanting death. Ironically, this made him more vulnerable to physical attacks. Needing help on something, he reaches out to the New York Daily Globe’s reporter Shelley Rogers.

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Sludge #11, published by Malibu Comics in 1994 with a story written by Steve Gerber and drawn by Robb Phipps.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins with Sludge about to engage in a physical battle with the Bash Brothers just outside the Lalama Clinic. Shelley Rogers is just standing nearby. The Bash Brothers proved to be troublesome for Sludge until Shelley explains to one of them that their mother was not harmed. The said mother comes out and after an exchange of talk between them all, they realize Sludge needs the help of Dr. Ferdinand Lalama who was involved with the Caldwell Pharmaceuticals which itself was responsible for the stuff that affected Sludge in the first place.

Shelley then notices that Sludge is reverting back to his previous gooey state. At the same time, Dr. Lalama made no communication for almost a week…

Quality

Something wild is about to happen.

As a story that started with Sludge needing to find a specialist to help treat him, this one went wild with the fantasy concepts. Without spoiling the plot, this wild ride has strong science fiction elements such as energy streaming and traveling to another dimension through a portal. The sci-fi elements are indeed a factor that made this tale of the search of Dr. Lalama a really intriguing read.

With regards to the titular hero, this story encourages researching details of his origin (how he went from human into a chemical being) as well as reading issue #1. Sludge himself is more vulnerable than before and the unpredictable changes with him added suspense to the narrative. This story also contains themes of scientific experimentation and molecular manipulation which were nicely planted into the story’s sci-fi aspect. That being said, I can say that what was explained near the end of the comic book was both intriguing and worth reading.

Conclusion

A really interesting discussion here.

Sludge #11 (1994) is indeed a really intriguing and entertaining read. Without spoiling anything, I can say that it cleverly answered questions about how Sludge came to be, what Zuke and a regeneration formula did to his state and what forces behind the pharmaceutical company took place that affected the titular character. This is really fitting as this comic book was the 2nd-to-the-last issue ever published. That being said, I can say that I am looking forward to what will be told in issue #12.

Overall, Sludge #11 (1994) is highly recommended.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

Better than Streaming: Police Story 3: Supercop 4K Blu-ray set for December 13, 2022 release

Welcome back fellow geeks, Blu-ray collectors and movie buffs! When it comes to cinematic martial arts and stunt works that are thrilling to watch, I can say Hong Kong action filmmakers and performers really stand out. More notably, Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh are the cinematic icons of Asia whose decades-old works remain memorable to this day.

That being said, if you are fond of Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh, and if you want something really fun to add to your collection of 4K Blu-ray movies, then you should get ready for the release of the 4K Blu-ray of the 1992 Hong Kong action film Police Story 3: Supercop (also referred to as Police Story III: Supercop) which has been set for December 13, 2022. The good news here is that advanced orders of Police Story 3: Supercop 4K Blu-ray are being accepted already. You can order it right now by clicking here.

The 4K Blu-ray cover.

For the details of Police Story 3: Supercop 4K Blu-ray, posted below are technical stuff sourced from its Blu-ray.com page.

Video

Codec: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

HDR: Dolby Vision, HDR10

Original aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Audio – TBA

Subtitles – English, English SDH

Discs – 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray Disc, Single disc (1 BD)

Packaging – Reversible cover

Playback – 4K Blu-ray: Region free, 2K Blu-ray: Region A

Police Story 3: Supercop 4K Blu-ray will come with extra stuff and key features. Check out the official product trailer below…

I personally am interested in this upcoming 4K Blu-ray of the movie that had Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh as the stars. For one thing, I only saw the Dimension Films version released in 1996 simply titled Supercop and that version had some content of the original Hong Kong version cut out. I am also interested in the extra stuff related to the dangerous stunts Chan and Yeoh pulled off while making the film. Other aspects of the film’s production, which includes filming in Malaysia, are something I would like to see.  

As for the movie itself, it has a lot of thrills and to watch them – as well as Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh themselves – again in 4K is something to look out for. On the aspects of story and continuity, this 1992 movie was the 2nd sequel to the original Police Story (1985) movie that I saw long time ago on home video. Filled with lots of action, very dangerous stunts (note: Chan doing the dangerous pole stunt with exploding electric lights inside a shopping mall was the definitive stunt to see) and car chases, Police Story became successful and spawned sequels. Police Story 3: Supercop had Chan working with Michelle Yeoh (note: this was her comeback) and in my view, they had fine chemistry together and proved how great they are with fighting and stunt work. No computer-generated images here as the action and stunts were really done by the stars with high risk and danger. Chan and Yeoh are movie legends now and their team-up in 1992 is alone a solid reason to anticipate the 4K Blu-ray release.

Asian region movie poster of Police Story 3: Supercop.

Watch out for Police Story 3: Supercop 4K Blu-ray on December 13, 2022.

In closing this Better than Streaming piece, posted below are Police Story 3: Supercop-related videos and some videos related to Jackie Chan and Michelle Yeoh.

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco

A Look Back at Harbinger #15 (1993)

Disclaimer: This is my original work with details sourced from reading the comic book and doing personal research. Anyone who wants to use this article, in part or in whole, needs to secure first my permission and agree to cite me as the source and author. Let it be known that any unauthorized use of this article will constrain the author to pursue the remedies under R.A. No. 8293, the Revised Penal Code, and/or all applicable legal actions under the laws of the Philippines.

Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the early 1990s and explore a part of the Valiant Comics shared universe through the Harbinger monthly series.

In my previous retro review, the story heavily emphasized the thoughts, feelings and acts of Kris who is trying to live a normal life, maintain her relationship with Sting and also dealing with the vision she had about the infant she lost who eventually grew up to be Magnus the robot fighter. While Sting and his teammates deal with their domestic matters without the hassle of being held accountable for the crimes they committed, the Harbinger foundation keeps on training several powered young adults called Eggbreakers for dangerous missions.   

With those details laid down, here is a look back at Harbinger #15, published in 1993 by Valiant Comics with a story written by Maurice Fontenot and illustrated by Howard Simpson.

The cover.

Early story

The story begins on the morning of December 15, 1992. Ax, the computer expert who turned traitor against Sting, Faith, Torque, Flamingo and Kris before (for reference, click here and here), returns home concealing his left arm with his jacket. He tells his companions that he just ran into a bit of trouble and that encountered Bloodshot. When asked about what happened to his arm, Ax just makes an excuse to move away.

Moments later, Ax is inside a large room filled with computers and other high-tech pieces of equipment. The male companion who asked about the arm realizes that Ax’s left arm is gone. Ax then admits he lost his arm and has to build himself a new arm as soon as possible.

Meanwhile inside a top secret facility of the Harbinger foundation, members of the Eggbreakers are training hard and even having fun talking as the action happen…

Quality

Nothing like a youth member getting the rare opportunity to meet the big boss right after the end of a big meeting.

I will go straight to the point here. The biggest and most surprising aspect of this Harbinger comic book is that much of the narrative focused strongly on the Harbinger foundation and its young adult members which left little spotlight for Sting, Faith, Kris, Flamingo and Shatiqua.

As this is the story of the people from the other side of the spectrum, writer Maurice Fontenot crafted a script that emphasized the Harbinger foundation to be more human than the usual sinister force that was portrayed before. You will not only see the founder and main villain Toyo Harada here but also the members of the Eggbreakers who are composed of young adults not too different from Sting and his companions. Unlike Sting’s team, the Eggbreakers are constantly trained with a high-tech facility and necessities provided by Harada who is simply uncompromising with his way on achieving things. There is also one particular young adult member who looks up to Harada as a great and positive figure who is dedicated on making the whole world a better place.

The good news here is that Fontenot’s writing is rock-solid! The character development is very in-depth, the young adults of the Harbinger foundation act and speak naturally, and strong focus on the Harbinger foundation’s internal matters and developments really gave me a clearer understanding of the organization on top of its reputation in this comic book series. That being said, Howard Simpson’s art here maintained the visual tone of the series while moving along smoothly when visualizing Fontenot’s script.

If there are any weaknesses in this comic book, it is the need to re-read it in order to get yourself oriented with who is who among the Eggbreakers and the other Harbinger foundation people. This is because there are lots of characters here.

Conclusion

The Eggbreakers in training.

Considering all the story build-up and character build-up that was focused mainly on Sting and his teammates, Harbinger #15 (1993) is clearly a major surprise and a major pay-off which ultimately adds to the anticipation of the future conflicts between the two sides. What Fontenot and Simpson presented here was outstanding work and it sure is entertaining as well as refreshing to read. At the same time, this Valiant comic book gave me some X-Men vibes but in a twisted and bastardized manner. As such, this Harbinger issue is very unique.

Overall, Harbinger #15 (1993) is highly recommended!

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Thank you for reading. If you find this article engaging, please click the like button below, share this article to others and also please consider making a donation to support my publishing. If you are looking for a copywriter to create content for your special project or business, check out my services and my portfolio. Feel free to contact me with a private message. Also please feel free to visit my Facebook page Author Carlo Carrasco and follow me on Twitter at  @HavenorFantasy as well as on Tumblr at https://carlocarrasco.tumblr.com/ and on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/authorcarlocarrasco