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Zak Wojnar

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About Zak Wojnar

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    Steven and Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York

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    New York City

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    instagram.com/zakwoj/
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    zak_valentine

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  1. One of the biggest surprises at Square Enix's E3 showcase was a provocative new IP called The Quiet Man (presumably with no connection to the 1952 John Wayne romantic drama). The trailer opened with a live-action segment showing off the picturesque scenery of Lower Manhattan, the heart of New York CIty. A lone, hooded figure carrying a paper bag walks into a dark alley where he encounters a trio of gaudily-dressed gang members. After they mouth off to him, he points to his ear, suggesting he is deaf and possiblly mute. As the two men approach the unnamed protagonist, the scene seamlessly transitions to what appears to be in-engine footage, and he beats them up while the tagline, Silence Rings Loudest. Square Enix is promising more from The Quiet Man in August, and there's evidence to suggest that this trailer is heavily edited, a tease of a greater reveal yet to come. The Quiet Man confronts three men in the alley, but only fights two of them in the brief CGI sequence. However, the third figure can be briefly seen sprawled on the ground behind the silent hero when the camera first pans around to his feet. Perhaps, when the game is fully revealed later on, an extended version of this trailer will present itself. The Quiet Man is a mysterious new game, and little is known about it. It appears to feature hand-to-hand combat it's set in New York City, and the lead character has beautiful hair, but it's too early to say anything more than that. Will the game feature live-action segments? Will it seamlessly switch between live-action cutscenes and high-adrenaline fighting gameplay? It's too early to say with any degree of certainty. Regardless, we're hyped to learn more about Square Enix's newest project. View full article
  2. One of the biggest surprises at Square Enix's E3 showcase was a provocative new IP called The Quiet Man (presumably with no connection to the 1952 John Wayne romantic drama). The trailer opened with a live-action segment showing off the picturesque scenery of Lower Manhattan, the heart of New York CIty. A lone, hooded figure carrying a paper bag walks into a dark alley where he encounters a trio of gaudily-dressed gang members. After they mouth off to him, he points to his ear, suggesting he is deaf and possiblly mute. As the two men approach the unnamed protagonist, the scene seamlessly transitions to what appears to be in-engine footage, and he beats them up while the tagline, Silence Rings Loudest. Square Enix is promising more from The Quiet Man in August, and there's evidence to suggest that this trailer is heavily edited, a tease of a greater reveal yet to come. The Quiet Man confronts three men in the alley, but only fights two of them in the brief CGI sequence. However, the third figure can be briefly seen sprawled on the ground behind the silent hero when the camera first pans around to his feet. Perhaps, when the game is fully revealed later on, an extended version of this trailer will present itself. The Quiet Man is a mysterious new game, and little is known about it. It appears to feature hand-to-hand combat it's set in New York City, and the lead character has beautiful hair, but it's too early to say anything more than that. Will the game feature live-action segments? Will it seamlessly switch between live-action cutscenes and high-adrenaline fighting gameplay? It's too early to say with any degree of certainty. Regardless, we're hyped to learn more about Square Enix's newest project.
  3. One of the biggest surprises at Microsoft's E3 conference was Dying Light 2. The big surprise wasn't just that it appeared and was showcased in a lengthy gameplay demo, but that it was presented by legendary game designer Chris Avellone, who is serving as Narrative Designer for Techland's zombie apocalypse sequel. Avellone is a veteran of choice-driven RPG epics like Fallout 2 and New Vegas, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, and the underrated cult classic, Alpha Protocol. Having him be the face of Dying Light 2 is a statement that the story is taking a greater importance this time around. Not that the story was bad or anything in the original Dying Light, but it's clear that Techland is focusing on integrating narrative importance into every aspect of this follow-up. By the looks of things, the gameplay looks like its iterating on the parkour and melee action of the original, making everything smoother, faster, and more responsive, and adding cool with new moves like swinging on a pipe to kick an unlucky enemy off a ledge to his doom. If all goes according to plan, Dying Light 2 will play just like the original, but even better. The real innovation here comes with the core theme of "choice." According to Chris Avellone, everything you do as a player will have an effect on the world. The example on display in the stage demo gives the player the choice of securing a cache of water from a pair of gangsters who are planning to sell it on the black market. The player can secure the water for the Peace Keepers, who distribute it to the local population, but their militaristic and fascistic rule over the area is strengthened. On the other hand, the player can betray the Peace Keepers and side with the gangsters, opening up trade opportunities with them but attracting the real dregs of society. As in most of Avellone's games, these decisions won't have plain, black & white consequences, but may have unforeseen ripple effects which can drastically change the game world. Avellone promises that there are "hundreds" of these types of decisions which will go a long way towards individualizing each person's odyssey through the world of Dying Light. Dying Light 2 is currently in development. View full article
  4. Zak Wojnar

    Dying Light 2 Is All About Choice

    One of the biggest surprises at Microsoft's E3 conference was Dying Light 2. The big surprise wasn't just that it appeared and was showcased in a lengthy gameplay demo, but that it was presented by legendary game designer Chris Avellone, who is serving as Narrative Designer for Techland's zombie apocalypse sequel. Avellone is a veteran of choice-driven RPG epics like Fallout 2 and New Vegas, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II, and the underrated cult classic, Alpha Protocol. Having him be the face of Dying Light 2 is a statement that the story is taking a greater importance this time around. Not that the story was bad or anything in the original Dying Light, but it's clear that Techland is focusing on integrating narrative importance into every aspect of this follow-up. By the looks of things, the gameplay looks like its iterating on the parkour and melee action of the original, making everything smoother, faster, and more responsive, and adding cool with new moves like swinging on a pipe to kick an unlucky enemy off a ledge to his doom. If all goes according to plan, Dying Light 2 will play just like the original, but even better. The real innovation here comes with the core theme of "choice." According to Chris Avellone, everything you do as a player will have an effect on the world. The example on display in the stage demo gives the player the choice of securing a cache of water from a pair of gangsters who are planning to sell it on the black market. The player can secure the water for the Peace Keepers, who distribute it to the local population, but their militaristic and fascistic rule over the area is strengthened. On the other hand, the player can betray the Peace Keepers and side with the gangsters, opening up trade opportunities with them but attracting the real dregs of society. As in most of Avellone's games, these decisions won't have plain, black & white consequences, but may have unforeseen ripple effects which can drastically change the game world. Avellone promises that there are "hundreds" of these types of decisions which will go a long way towards individualizing each person's odyssey through the world of Dying Light. Dying Light 2 is currently in development.
  5. Rico Rodriguez is one of gaming's most bombastic heroes. Each game in the series puts Rico in a new territory taken over by some bad guys. his job is to take it back, by any means necessary. Usually, that involves making everything explode using his iconic grappling hook and parachute, his crack driving skills, and a whole lot of explosive ordinance. As revealed in Microsoft's E3 press conference, Rico is back to cause more explosions in Just Cause 4. This time around, Rico has been dispatched to Solis, a region with a wide variety of geographic diversity, from arctic tundra to sandy desert and everything in between. Here, he will do battle with the Black Hand, a mercenary organization which appeared way back in the original 2006 game, as well as 2015's Just Cause 3. For the most part, Just Cause 4 looks like it's aiming to be more of the same, but bigger and better in every way. The game's E3 trailer showed off an insane level of destruction and over-the-top stunts that would make James Bond blush, like flying a jet fighter into a glass dome, crashing a motorbike into a flying helicopter, and, craziest of all, driving a muscle car into a whirling tornado. Indeed, Just Cause 4 features dynamic weather events such as tornadoes, thunderstorms, and more. A brief snippet of gameplay shows Rico driving a snowmobile across a snowy winter wonderland. Could avalanches pop up as an extreme environmental disruption? Considering the game is developed by Avalanche Games, it should be a no-brainer, right? The Just Cause series is an unmatched playground of blockbuster action. In terms of environmental destructibility, nothing else comes close to matching the grand scale of Just Cause's explosive gameplay. If all goes well, Just Cause 4 will be the biggest and best entry yet. We'll know for sure when the game launches on December 4. View full article
  6. Rico Rodriguez is one of gaming's most bombastic heroes. Each game in the series puts Rico in a new territory taken over by some bad guys. his job is to take it back, by any means necessary. Usually, that involves making everything explode using his iconic grappling hook and parachute, his crack driving skills, and a whole lot of explosive ordinance. As revealed in Microsoft's E3 press conference, Rico is back to cause more explosions in Just Cause 4. This time around, Rico has been dispatched to Solis, a region with a wide variety of geographic diversity, from arctic tundra to sandy desert and everything in between. Here, he will do battle with the Black Hand, a mercenary organization which appeared way back in the original 2006 game, as well as 2015's Just Cause 3. For the most part, Just Cause 4 looks like it's aiming to be more of the same, but bigger and better in every way. The game's E3 trailer showed off an insane level of destruction and over-the-top stunts that would make James Bond blush, like flying a jet fighter into a glass dome, crashing a motorbike into a flying helicopter, and, craziest of all, driving a muscle car into a whirling tornado. Indeed, Just Cause 4 features dynamic weather events such as tornadoes, thunderstorms, and more. A brief snippet of gameplay shows Rico driving a snowmobile across a snowy winter wonderland. Could avalanches pop up as an extreme environmental disruption? Considering the game is developed by Avalanche Games, it should be a no-brainer, right? The Just Cause series is an unmatched playground of blockbuster action. In terms of environmental destructibility, nothing else comes close to matching the grand scale of Just Cause's explosive gameplay. If all goes well, Just Cause 4 will be the biggest and best entry yet. We'll know for sure when the game launches on December 4.
  7. Microsoft is tripling down on their blockbuster Gears of War franchise with three new games with widely disparate takes on the universe of chainsaw bayonets and tough-as-nails heroes. Gears Pop!, Gears Tactics, and Gears 5. There's no escaping the immense popularity of Funko Pop! figurines, and the first new Gears project is a mobile spin-off which replaces the tough-as-nails characters of the Gears of War universe with the adorable, big-headed trinkets. No gameplay details were offered on Gears Pop!, but it will surely be refreshing to see a bizarrely more family-friendly take on the ultra-violent world of Gears. Gears Tactics didn't receive a proper trailer, but a brief snippet of footage was shown on stage. A turn-based strategy title, Gears Tactics can be immediately described as Gears of War meets XCOM, and it's hard to imagine anyone complaining about that. Gears Tactics will be a Windows exclusive. Finally, the main event of the Gears segment, and arguably the entire Microsoft conference, was Gears 5. For the first time in the series, the main character is a woman, Kait Diaz, who was first introduced in Gears of War 4. As usual, the game will support two-player split-screen co-op, as well as single-player and online multiplayer. The trailer featured a welcome focus on character relationships and the mutual distrust between the Kait and her partner, suggesting this will be a more personal Gears story than ever before. If all goes according to plan, Gears 5 will feature explosive action and palpable drama in equal measure. All three of these Gears titles are slated for 2019. View full article
  8. Microsoft is tripling down on their blockbuster Gears of War franchise with three new games with widely disparate takes on the universe of chainsaw bayonets and tough-as-nails heroes. Gears Pop!, Gears Tactics, and Gears 5. There's no escaping the immense popularity of Funko Pop! figurines, and the first new Gears project is a mobile spin-off which replaces the tough-as-nails characters of the Gears of War universe with the adorable, big-headed trinkets. No gameplay details were offered on Gears Pop!, but it will surely be refreshing to see a bizarrely more family-friendly take on the ultra-violent world of Gears. Gears Tactics didn't receive a proper trailer, but a brief snippet of footage was shown on stage. A turn-based strategy title, Gears Tactics can be immediately described as Gears of War meets XCOM, and it's hard to imagine anyone complaining about that. Gears Tactics will be a Windows exclusive. Finally, the main event of the Gears segment, and arguably the entire Microsoft conference, was Gears 5. For the first time in the series, the main character is a woman, Kait Diaz, who was first introduced in Gears of War 4. As usual, the game will support two-player split-screen co-op, as well as single-player and online multiplayer. The trailer featured a welcome focus on character relationships and the mutual distrust between the Kait and her partner, suggesting this will be a more personal Gears story than ever before. If all goes according to plan, Gears 5 will feature explosive action and palpable drama in equal measure. All three of these Gears titles are slated for 2019.
  9. It may be hard to believe, but after sixteen years and countless spin-off titles, the Kingdom Hearts series has never seen an entry on the Xbox family of consoles. That's all about to change with the release of Kingdom Hearts III, the long-awaited grand finale to the trilogy. Microsoft celebrated the presence of the timeless Square Enix franchise on the Xbox One with a brand new trailer, and it's a big one! The trailer begins with Sora, Donald, and Goofy fighting off the Heartless in a snowy environment, where they encounter none other than the cast of Disney's Frozen, including Elsa the Ice Queen and Olaf the snowman. Based on the clips shown, it appears the story of this chapter of the game will involve Elsa's battle between the light and darkness within her heart, with Sora and Organization XIII urging her to join their respective sides. On the gameplay side of things, Sora is seen battling enemies while riding on makeshift ice skates and riding down a mountain using Goofy's shield like a slick toboggan. Square Enix has promised that the different Disney worlds will each have a variety of unique mechanics; from what we've seen, they're living up to their word. Other stand-out moments include the appearance of The Lion King's Simba as a summon, Hercules protecting innocents from a collapsing building, and exploring a cliffside forest with Rapunzel, complete with climbing her hair like a rope. To longtime Kingdom Hearts fans, the most shocking moment shows Mickey finally reunited with Aqua, who appears to have been turned to the dark side. He barely recognizes her silhouette, obscured by the darkness. She turns to face her old friend with Xehanort's trademark yellow eyes and exclaims, "Mickey, you're too late." Kingdom Hearts III means a lot to its fans, whether they have been with the saga since 2002 or if they only got into it recently, courtesy of the HD Remix re-releases. KH3 is a historic moment for many players, and it finally has a release date: January 29, 2019, nearly thirteen years after the North American release of KH2. Updated: At the Square Enix video presentation (narrated by the great Keith David!), a new Kingdom Hearts trailer made its debut. Essentially a remixed version of the one shown at the Xbox presentation, the clip nonetheless featured new imagery, including the appearance of Ratatouille, Riku, and young Xehanort. View full article
  10. It may be hard to believe, but after sixteen years and countless spin-off titles, the Kingdom Hearts series has never seen an entry on the Xbox family of consoles. That's all about to change with the release of Kingdom Hearts III, the long-awaited grand finale to the trilogy. Microsoft celebrated the presence of the timeless Square Enix franchise on the Xbox One with a brand new trailer, and it's a big one! The trailer begins with Sora, Donald, and Goofy fighting off the Heartless in a snowy environment, where they encounter none other than the cast of Disney's Frozen, including Elsa the Ice Queen and Olaf the snowman. Based on the clips shown, it appears the story of this chapter of the game will involve Elsa's battle between the light and darkness within her heart, with Sora and Organization XIII urging her to join their respective sides. On the gameplay side of things, Sora is seen battling enemies while riding on makeshift ice skates and riding down a mountain using Goofy's shield like a slick toboggan. Square Enix has promised that the different Disney worlds will each have a variety of unique mechanics; from what we've seen, they're living up to their word. Other stand-out moments include the appearance of The Lion King's Simba as a summon, Hercules protecting innocents from a collapsing building, and exploring a cliffside forest with Rapunzel, complete with climbing her hair like a rope. To longtime Kingdom Hearts fans, the most shocking moment shows Mickey finally reunited with Aqua, who appears to have been turned to the dark side. He barely recognizes her silhouette, obscured by the darkness. She turns to face her old friend with Xehanort's trademark yellow eyes and exclaims, "Mickey, you're too late." Kingdom Hearts III means a lot to its fans, whether they have been with the saga since 2002 or if they only got into it recently, courtesy of the HD Remix re-releases. KH3 is a historic moment for many players, and it finally has a release date: January 29, 2019, nearly thirteen years after the North American release of KH2. Updated: At the Square Enix video presentation (narrated by the great Keith David!), a new Kingdom Hearts trailer made its debut. Essentially a remixed version of the one shown at the Xbox presentation, the clip nonetheless featured new imagery, including the appearance of Ratatouille, Riku, and young Xehanort.
  11. It's been ten long years since Devil May Cry 4, the final entry in Capcom's over-the-top gothic action franchise. Although some fans were sated by the 2013 reboot, developed by Ninja Theory, many brushed it aside, awaiting a proper return for Dante, Nero, and the rest of the gang. Finally, Devil May Cry 5 has been announced. Hideaki Itsuno, director of DMC3 and 4 (as well as the cult favorite, Dragon's Dogma), has returned to helm a brand new entry in the original Devil May Cry continuity. An eye-popping new trailer showcased all the crazy action, demonic insanity, and charismatic swagger fans have come to expect from the series, all with an extra coat of next-gen paint, courtesy of the current suite of gaming consoles. The game will feature three lead characters: Nero, returning from DMC4, who has lost his arm and is seeking revenge, series stalwart Dante, who rides in on a cool motorcycle and brandishing a grizzly beard, and a third character, who has yet to be properly revealed. Devil May Cry is a series which prides itself on unbridled cinematic action and an unmatched sense of style. This upcoming fifth chapter has been a long time coming, but Dante and Nero are playing it cool, as though they had never left. Devil May Cry 5 is currently on track for a Spring 2019 release View full article
  12. It's been ten long years since Devil May Cry 4, the final entry in Capcom's over-the-top gothic action franchise. Although some fans were sated by the 2013 reboot, developed by Ninja Theory, many brushed it aside, awaiting a proper return for Dante, Nero, and the rest of the gang. Finally, Devil May Cry 5 has been announced. Hideaki Itsuno, director of DMC3 and 4 (as well as the cult favorite, Dragon's Dogma), has returned to helm a brand new entry in the original Devil May Cry continuity. An eye-popping new trailer showcased all the crazy action, demonic insanity, and charismatic swagger fans have come to expect from the series, all with an extra coat of next-gen paint, courtesy of the current suite of gaming consoles. The game will feature three lead characters: Nero, returning from DMC4, who has lost his arm and is seeking revenge, series stalwart Dante, who rides in on a cool motorcycle and brandishing a grizzly beard, and a third character, who has yet to be properly revealed. Devil May Cry is a series which prides itself on unbridled cinematic action and an unmatched sense of style. This upcoming fifth chapter has been a long time coming, but Dante and Nero are playing it cool, as though they had never left. Devil May Cry 5 is currently on track for a Spring 2019 release
  13. As the Microsoft E3 press conference drew to a close, Phil Spencer's final statements were cut off by a burst of static, as though the Microsoft stage had been hacked by outside forces. Sure enough, it was the long-awaited reveal of Cyberpunk 2077. In January 2013, the game was first promoted with a provocative teaser trailer. Five years later, we finally have a new look at the highly-anticipated RPG from the developers of The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. Unlike that initial teaser, which was entirely pre-rendered, this new trailer consists entirely of in-engine footage. Cyberpunk 2077 is a follow-up to the legendary pen-and-paper RPG, Cyberpunk 2020, and puts players in Night City, California, a science-fiction world of corporate espionage, wealth disparity, cybernetic modifications, and bright neon lights. While no actual gameplay was shown, the imagery on display points towards a number of prospective gameplay mechanics. The video begins on a subway, suggesting a vast city and public transportation system for players to explore. The protagonist is seen driving a retro-future 1980s car, so maybe vehicles will be a central component of the game, a 21st century counterpart to Roach, the horse from The Witcher III. The trailer offers fleeting glimpses of underground fight clubs, people who are augmented to the point where they're more machine than human, children playing virtual reality video games, and even a basketball player using booster jets attached to his boots to gain an extra edge. More than any gameplay revelations, the trailer offers a look at a city on the brink of collapse, wallowing in a mix of despair, glamour, violence, and rollicking freedom. As the unnamed protagonist of the clip says, "It's a city of dreams, and I'm a big dreamer." While Cyberpunk 2077 is arguably still as mysterious as ever, we now have a solid look at the setting of the title, and the appropriately punk rock tone Polish developer CD Projekt Red is attempting to capture. Cyberpunk 2077 looks to be shaping up to capture the spirit of the Cyberpunk movement, the tech-based optimism of its 1980s inspiration, and the role-playing mastery of its developers. Cyberpunk 2077 will release "when it's ready." View full article
  14. As the Microsoft E3 press conference drew to a close, Phil Spencer's final statements were cut off by a burst of static, as though the Microsoft stage had been hacked by outside forces. Sure enough, it was the long-awaited reveal of Cyberpunk 2077. In January 2013, the game was first promoted with a provocative teaser trailer. Five years later, we finally have a new look at the highly-anticipated RPG from the developers of The Witcher III: Wild Hunt. Unlike that initial teaser, which was entirely pre-rendered, this new trailer consists entirely of in-engine footage. Cyberpunk 2077 is a follow-up to the legendary pen-and-paper RPG, Cyberpunk 2020, and puts players in Night City, California, a science-fiction world of corporate espionage, wealth disparity, cybernetic modifications, and bright neon lights. While no actual gameplay was shown, the imagery on display points towards a number of prospective gameplay mechanics. The video begins on a subway, suggesting a vast city and public transportation system for players to explore. The protagonist is seen driving a retro-future 1980s car, so maybe vehicles will be a central component of the game, a 21st century counterpart to Roach, the horse from The Witcher III. The trailer offers fleeting glimpses of underground fight clubs, people who are augmented to the point where they're more machine than human, children playing virtual reality video games, and even a basketball player using booster jets attached to his boots to gain an extra edge. More than any gameplay revelations, the trailer offers a look at a city on the brink of collapse, wallowing in a mix of despair, glamour, violence, and rollicking freedom. As the unnamed protagonist of the clip says, "It's a city of dreams, and I'm a big dreamer." While Cyberpunk 2077 is arguably still as mysterious as ever, we now have a solid look at the setting of the title, and the appropriately punk rock tone Polish developer CD Projekt Red is attempting to capture. Cyberpunk 2077 looks to be shaping up to capture the spirit of the Cyberpunk movement, the tech-based optimism of its 1980s inspiration, and the role-playing mastery of its developers. Cyberpunk 2077 will release "when it's ready."
  15. Microsoft kicked off their press conference with a bang, showing off a brand new Halo title from 343 Industries, Halo Infinite. Rather than a traditional story trailer or gameplay demo, the short video clip offered a "game engine demonstration," showcasing the graphical capabilities of the new SlipSpace engine. The sight of herds of animals, real-time rain, lighting, and time of day effects were impressive and could potentially indicate that the new title might be willing to explore beyond the series' traditional linear FPS action, or at least offer a significant new spin on the series. The two-minute demo showed a wide variety of locations before ending with a provocative shot of Master Chief, holding his iconic helmet at his side... Though they stopped short of actually showing the Chief's actual face, which has been often teased in the series, but never actually revealed. There's a lot of anticipation and mystery surrounding Halo Infinite, which Microsoft boss Phil Spencer promised would be Master Chief's "greatest adventure yet." Halo is one of Xbox's signature franchises, and it's a safe bet there are a lot of fans who are extremely excited to see the legendary series make a triumphant return. View full article
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