xbox entertainment studios closes

A year and a half ago it looked like Microsoft was really going to take the plunge into developing Netflix-style original content. The company hired a former CBS exec, Nancy Tellem, to lead the Xbox Entertainment Studios division, and announced a live-action Halo series produced by Steven Spielberg. Now, Microsoft has killed off Xbox Entertainment Studios, and in so doing is all but abandoning the plan to create original content for Xbox Live.

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More Than A Game
More Than A Game is a 2011 documentary by Thomas Hewett and Jack Abbot following competitive Street Fighter video gamers who are training and traveling to Las Vegas to compete in the United States Championships.

Every year, thousands of players from all over the world will descend upon Las Vegas to find out who is the globes greatest competitor in Street Fighter, Marvel Vs Capcom, Tekken and other fighting games.The documentary covers more than the events of the EVO tournament, discovering the lifestyles of pro-gamers, their aspirations and accomplishments and their love of their past-time turned profession. Following the progress of US Street Fighter champion Justin Wong and UK champion Ryan Hart as they spend their final month of preperation for the games, traveling to and participating in the tournament. We have unique access to the lifestyle of the pro-gamer, along with a glimpse at a growing cultural phenomenon that has grown almost ten-fold year on year.

I’ve always been interested in documentaries about competitive geeks in a niche world — King of Kong is one of my favorites. More Than A Game seems to take the world and gamers a bit more seriously. The whole movie is available online for free on Vimeo for a limited time only, so if it sounds interesting check it out while you have a chance.

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sigourney weaver alien isolation

Sigourney Weaver is playing Ripley again — or, more precisely, she’s remaking her first turn as Ripley. The cast members from Ridley Scott’s Alien (minus Ian Holm and John Hurt) are reprising their roles for a downloadable content (DLC) expansion for the forthcoming game Alien: Isolation. So we’ll hear Weaver, Tom Skerritt, Yaphet Kotto, Harry Dean Stanton and Veronica Cartwright once again doing the roles that made them icons for a generation of sci-fi and horror fans.

The expansion will allow players to take control of Weaver’s character Ellen Ripley, and also Captain Dallas, and Parker as they attempt to survive the incursion of the original xenomorph aboard the cargo ship Nostromo. Read More »

ready player one movie

One of the most entertaining, page-turning books I’ve read in the past few years is Ernie Cline‘s Ready Player One. Before it was even published, Warner Bros. acquired the rights to the video-game influenced story, which plays like a high-tech blend of The Social Network, Willy Wonka, and Ender’s Game.

That was 2010 and since then, the only update was about a script rewrite in 2012. Two and a half years later, one more writer is coming onboard. His name is Zak Penn, better known as the original writer of The Avengers and X2. His job is to shape up the script so Warner Bros. can sign a director this fall. Read the latest on the Ready Player One movie below. Read More »

Legendary is Making a ‘Dead Rising’ Movie

Dead Rising Movie

Capcom’s zombie-fighting video game series Dead Rising was a debut title on the Xbox 360; that first game and the titles released since all bear a great deal of influence from zombie movies. (Dead Rising 3 debuted with the Xbox One last fall.) But while the games are already heavily film-influenced, it’s no surprise that Capcom wants to complete the circle with a Dead Rising movie. What is surprising is the manner in which it is going to happen.

Legendary is producing the film, but this won’t be a theatrical release. Dead Rising will be a “full-length digital feature” that will first stream on Sony’s service Crackle.  Read More »

Sony Is Making a ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ Movie

Sonic the Hedgehog movie

Hollywood’s track record with video game adaptations is spotty at best. But video games are well-known properties with wide name recognition and built-in followings, so there’s always going to be someone willing to try and buck that trend.

Today, that someone is Sony and producer Neal Moritz, and the project in question is a Sonic the Hedgehog movie. Hit the jump for more details on the project.

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Halo Nightfall

Today at Microsoft’s annual E3 press conference there was no word about the Steven Spielberg-produced Halo series that is expected to premiere in 2015. But there was some brief info on the other series based on the Halo games, which counts Ridley Scott as a producer. That one is a smaller-budgeted “digital series” originally said to be similar to Halo: Forward Until Dawn. Now we know the title: Halo Nightfall. Read More »

Star Wars Battlefront E3 Trailer

I’m not a huge video gamer, but the Star Wars Battlefront E3 trailer has me excited for the future of the Star Wars universe in the interactive space. The trailer is a behind the scenes look at how EA’s Dice Studio is working hard to recapture the magic of the original Star Wars trilogy of films, going back to the Lucas archives to capture new details from the models and props. They also revisited some of the original filming locations to hopefully recapture the feeling of the spaces. The trailer is cleverly edited to play to our emotions and our nostalgia for the original films (yes, it worked) but  the Star Wars Battlefront E3 Trailer doesn’t show a whole lot in terms of real gameplay, a couple little snippets of early in-engine footage. Watch the trailer now embedded after the jump.

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