It's opening weekend for the year's first giant-scale blockbuster.
It's just not happening at a theater near you.
At this point, I think it's safe to say that the launch of a AAA-title in the gaming world is just as big a cultural moment as the release of any movie, and if you want to argue it purely on an economic level, then many game releases are bigger than their movie counterparts at this point.
Monday night at midnight, I was smack dab in the middle of seeing “Among The Living” at the SXSW Film Festival, a completely lunatic new horror film from the French filmmakers behind “Inside” and “Livid.” When I travel to Austin, I stay with my favorite married couple, Aaron and Kaela, and it's become a home away from home for me. Aaron's a filmmaker, but he is also a rabid gamer, and while he was having a great time seeing films at SXSW, he had made arrangements months earlier to be busy with something else while I was watching that midnight movie. By the time I got back to his house, he had already gotten “Titanfall” up and running, and he was neck-deep in the campaign mode.
“Titanfall” is the first major release from Respawn Entertainment, and if this is any indication of their overall ambition, they're going to be a developer to contend with. I've only had a chance to turn it on three times this week, but I can already see why people are flipping out for it. Unlike many of the games I normally play, this exists first as an online experience. The campaign is only a few hours long, and even that is designed to be played online with other people.
The truth is that I haven't spent much time at all gaming online. Because I was a dedicated Playstation user from the PS2 until now, I just assumed that I'd make the next-gen jump when “Infamous: Second Son” was released. Last week, though, I flew into Austin for SXSW, and one of the CEOs here at HitFix, Jen Sargent, joined a huge group of my friends and peers who got together at the Salt Lick the night before the fest began. Over the course of that conversation, we both learned about Twitch TV and the ease with which you can broadcast a live streaming game event as well as archiving the videos afterwards.
So here we are. Time for an experiment. Gaming is already a part of my life, so why not share that as well We're taking a fairly different approach to games than movies in the house, and my kids really do not have any experience with console gaming. I figure there's plenty of time for that later. Due to that, though, whatever gaming I do is late at night, and I have a hard time scheduling any time that I could even use for multiplayer online stuff, even if I'd had more interest in it for the PS3.
XBox Live is the optimum version of console online gaming, though, and if I'm ever going to do it, then now is that time. I set up my account this week and got my gamer tag. If you want to add me to your own list of contacts, I'm FatherFilmNerd, and I'd be happy to play.
We're going to embed the livestream right here on this page, or you can watch me at the HitFix TwitchTV channel.
Watch live video from HitFix on www.twitch.tvI'm guessing the first thing you'll see is me adding the streaming embed to this page, and then an introduction, and then we're going to jump right into the game. I'm not sure if we'll play the campaign, since most of my friends have already played it, or if we'll just be playing individual games. Whichever way it goes, I'm going to be talking about my reaction to it as someone who is new not only to online multi-player but also the system. It's a big adjustment to get used to the XBox controller and wearing a mic and a headset, but I figure now's the time to learn.
After all, there are so many amazing games heading to the XBox One in the near future. I've got “Dead Rising 3” and “Call Of Duty: Ghosts” en route from GameFly, and I'm looking forward to “Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes” and “Wolfenstein: The New Order” in the next few months. All of that is a warm-up for what I suspect will be my obsession of the year, “Watch Dogs,” which hits the day after my birthday, on May 27.
“The Evil Within” from Bethesda and the creator of “Resident Evil” sounds irresistible, and I'm curious to see if “Murdered: Soul Suspect” lives up to its ambition. This year's two biggest titles after “Watch Dogs,” at least as far as I'm concerned, are Budgie's “Destiny” and Rocksteady's “Batman: Arkham Knight.”
And who knows? Maybe we'll share all of those experiences here. I'd like to think that this could be a great fun new way for us to share the media we love, and to discuss how the gaming experience itself is changing.
Let's have some fun with this tonight. We'll start at 8:30 PM PST, and we'll go till midnight. There's a ton of fun stuff ahead this weekend. Between now and Monday morning, you'll read a “Muppets Most Wanted” review, my almost-live coverage of the “Lost” reunion at the Paleyfest in Hollywood, and my review of “Divergent,” as well as some catch-up coverage of some of SXSW's best titles.
But first? Let's blow some things up.