The New Movie Conan Full Trailer

The newest trailer, this one with actual film footage, for the 2011 Conan the Barbarian film is up on YouTube. It’s up for release in August.

For reference, here’s the first trailer as well, containing no footage but with a direct quote from the Robert E. Howard original:

The film is taking some flak in geek quarters for presumed infidelity to the source material. It’s really early to make such a call, but at the same time, fans of Robert E. Howard’s Conan have cause to be defensive about a property that was mis-handled for many years. One notable blogger (not an MMO blogger) seems to base his whole complaint around the fact that Jason Momoa doesn’t have blue eyes.

I’m as big a fan of Robert E. Howard as you’ll find, and am especially cognizant of the disconnect between the Howard character and the bowdlerized version as seen in print by such authors as L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter, in the Marvel comics, and in the Schwarzenegger films. I was preaching the virtues of Howard’s Conan (as opposed to the others) for many years before it became fashionable.

At the same time, the 1982 John Milius film represented my introduction to the character, and I have tremendous fondness and appreciation for it (if not for its sequel.) It departs, in many ways, from Howard, but in other respects it captures the essential essence of his stories and of the Hyborian world very well, even where it sometimes radically departs from the details of the character of Conan himself. And the quality of its production, especially with regard to production design, costumes and in the epic Basil Poledouris soundtrack (considered to this day by movie soundtrack aficionados to be among the best ever recorded,) cannot be questioned. It still stands today, in a time when we have seen The Lord of the Rings successfully adapted to film and can watch Game of Thrones on weekly television, as one of the great achievements in fantasy film-making. Milius’ Conan the Barbarian remains one of my favorite films of all time.

As far as the new film goes, as a Howard purist I am on the fence. Stephen Lang looks appropriately badass as the villain, but the scenery rings to me more of Final Fantasy than of Howard’s antediluvian world. But some of the scenes shown seem spot-on and the particular Howard quote used in the first trailer encourages me to think that the film-makers may indeed have grasped the essence of the character. I’m very interested in seeing the film when it comes out.

Reasons To Look Forward to Guild Wars 2

Heartless linked this earlier and I’ve just gotten around to watching it. It pretty much sums up all of our collective hopes and dreams for Guild Wars 2.

GW2 is a game I’ve gotten a bit wishy-washy on, but that’s due just as much to the delay in launching as anything else – another wave of reveals and videos is likely to get me pumped up about it again. If even some of the stated “top 10” pan out, GW2 will shake up the state of MMO design, which has grown so stale that almost any change will be positive. The Holy Trinity in particular, stated as #10, needs to die in a fucking fire. It’s a glitch imported from early MUDs into EverQuest and thence made an inexplicable standard design feature that almost every MMO uses. There are exceptions (DDO, for example and to a point,) but they’re few and far between.

I remain convinced that GW2 is much more exciting than Star Wars: The Old Republic. I have many potential concerns about it, among them that it may simply not fulfill many of its stated promises, and that it may end up being just as mechanically narrow as WoW, Rift or any of the other over-optimized games designed, intentionally or not, so tightly as to truncate the possibilities for emergent play experiences.

So we’ll see. And we can hope the thing comes out this decade, too.

New SWTOR Vids Out of PAX East

Some new SWTOR vids were revealed at PAX East, which just ended. This first to hit was the third “trailer” for SWTOR, which is all in-game footage:

Color me unimpressed, although in fairness I felt the cinematic trailers for SWTOR were mind-blowingly great, so it’s maybe not surprising that this seems a bit limp in comparison. The music and voice work sound fantastic, I’ll say that, but the art style and animations look really flat to me. The next piece is a 16 minute dev walkthrough of some mid-level instanced content:

This is far more interesting, in that we get a nice extended look at the actual gameplay dynamic. It doesn’t look bad, and some elements of it look extremely well-done, but at the same time I’m just not seeing any reason to be exceptionally excited about it. That could always change as we get closer to launch.

The Sands of War

Here’s a neat video of the last three years of EVE territorial control maps. Thanks to Sweet Little Bad Girl for the heads-up. I recommend watching it in HD. It’s interesting to see the ebb and flow of control, mostly gradual but occasionally dramatic.

Top Ten EVE Videos Appended

The internet’s top EVE blogger, CrazyKinux, has a post up today listing his Top Ten EVE Videos of All Time. Check those out – all of them are worth watching. But I have a couple of addenda.

First, there’s The Dronelands War, mentioned in the comments, a spectacularly well-done propaganda film about the conflict between Red Alliance and Ethereal Dawn. It’ll make you want to run out and enlist with ED.

CrazyKinux includes a couple of official EVE trailers in his list, but he left off my personal favorite, the very early Eve Never Fades, which lacks the crisp high-res graphics of the newer productions, but makes up for it in ambiance and a great musical track.

Lastly, and most importantly, we have the most important EVE films ever made, Clear Skies 1 and 2. CrazyKinux may have considered them out-of-category, since they’re full-fledged machinima in their own right, and they use footage from the Half Life 2 engine for internal scenes.

Watch these in their entirety, if by some mischance you haven’t already. Either one is about as good as any episode of Firefly; highly entertaining with great dialogue, and while the productions are a bit rough, everybody involved is an amateur, and the voice acting is terrific with that in mind.

The Cataclysm Opening Cinematic

And here it is:

I’ve gotta admit that Blizzard does a good job with these things. This one is better than the last one, which I thought was a bit overlong and plodding (comparatively.)