Interview: Artists Louw & Pires share experience designing ‘Outcast Odyssey’

Card games are a hot topic right now with many card iterations of different properties releasing recently, including Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft and WWE SuperCard. Outcast Odyssey is a collectible card game coming soon to iOS and Android devices from Magic Pixel Games and Bandai Namco Games and with every card game, there comes a load of cards to see. That’s where talents like Warren Louw and Chuck Pires lend their skills to the new video game. The two comic artists are no stranger to the industry of drawing and creating for different projects and they share their experience in the comic and video game industry.

BuzzFocus: How did you get your start in art (best, biggest projects)?

Warren Louw: My first biggest breaks would have to be an ImagineFX cover and workshop in 2009 and doing a cover for DC Comics, Powergirl in 2010.

Chuck Pires: I was about 15 years old, I hadn’t been drawing too long. At school there was a group of us that drew and were pretty into video games, comics and anime. Hey it was the 90’s! All that stuff was still good back then! Anyway, my dad had seen me messing around with a few drawings and, him being a pretty skilled artist when he was in college, plopped his old collection of Frank Frazetta artbooks on my table. [He then said to me] “I’m glad, you’ve found a worthwhile hobby, but yer not gonna get any better looking at that stuff”. So that was pretty much it for me for the next year or so. I must have copied every pose or arm or leg that book had. Then, of course, I read the short biography they had at the beginning of the book, it said he’d been published at 15 or 16 years old. After that, the race was on. In my little brain I had to be published too.

After looking for art jobs online for a while I came across an ad for Hi-Fi colors, a comic coloring company looking for help. I was like yes! I had been messing with digital color for a few weeks so being 16, I naturally thought I was a god. Turned out, they weren’t looking for comic colorists so much as what they call “flatters”. Flatters lay all of the basic un-shaded colors down so that the colorists can easily select them and work more quickly. I took the job anyway and did my best at it for a few months, and even was used for personal projects for guys from the studio. It was paid published work and I was getting better at photoshop and coloring by doing it, so why not. Of course when the first comics I’d worked on came out, I rushed to see my name in print. I grabbed a book, popped it open only to realize most of the time flatters never get credited. So yeah, bummer city. I did flatting a while more after that but after I’d given my portfolio to the guys I was working for and not getting anywhere, I was looking for other opportunities. I was pretty bummed my little goal was squashed, but life goes on.

About a couple months after I’d stopped flatting I got a book in the mail from one of the guys I’d been doing work for, It was a personal project book that I unfortunately can’t remember the name of now, but right smack under his name was mine. That was pretty much when I decided, “yeah, this is what I’m gonna do with my life”.

After that, I spent a couple years buckling down and trying to improve my work. I took a couple classes at the community college and bought just about any issue of Spectrum I could find. When I was 18 or 19, Corvus Beli, the makers of Infinity, got a hold of me and wanted art done for their new rule book. I learned a lot about art and being a commercial artist on those books, and am still very grateful to those guys for giving me a shot!

BuzzFocus: Is this your first video game art project?

Warren: This would be my second video game art project. My first was working for the mobile gaming company, Phoenix Age Gaming on Castle Age and Underworld Empire.

Chuck: No, honestly, I couldn’t tell you what my first was. There was a time between Infinity rulebooks that I had to just take whatever work I could find. Not being a strictly comic artist and not being a cover illustrator kind of put me at odds with steady work, so when work came around I didn’t ask questions and just did what I could do. Most of the time when I do game work I’m being hired by someone who’s kind of outsourcing to me. A lot of them I haven’t signed NDA’s for the company.

BuzzFocus: What approach do you take differently with a project involving video games?

Warren: Well it totally depends on the briefing, but generally the level of detail and design is a lot more intense since there can be a lot of creative freedom. The level of incredible video game concept art these days can also be very influential.

Chuck: Well, the work itself is inherently different. Video games, you can add whatever crazy amount of detail you want, but it all has to work in 3D so it’s a very different beast from comics. Comics are all about readability and turn around. The work I’ve done in comics has gotten me to simplify and think about working more quickly. Meanwhile my work in games has helped me understand the medium more, and be more thoughtful of the work you’re doing.

BuzzFocus: What challenges or obstacles did you face working on this project that you didn’t expect?

Warren: I totally did not expect how much work there would be with so many separate layers within the card set for Maggie Darwin. Each of the animals, Maggie, and different depths of the background all had to be on separate layers. I had to make sure everything was balanced out in terms of their details, sizes and shapes to all fit together as the card filled up more and more. Often I had to rearrange the layout to also make sure the progression made sense. Constantly going back and forth like that was quite challenging.

Chuck: Well, honestly most of the challenge might have been self imposed haha. For Outcast Odyssey, they initially showed me one of the cards for the game and had told me, “Ok, so we need 4 variations of these cards, each looking more powerful than the last”. It’s an idea I love, there’s nothing cooler in video games to me than feeling that progression, getting that cool new sword or that gnarly new set of armor, so I was all on board for that. They’d showed me a few cards, they were all awesome looking cards, but the transformation from card to card was not as noticeable as I thought it could be. [The] attitude I had with pretty much all my cards, “Maybe I’m not the most amazing artist on this game, but I can have some different looking cards” haha.

BuzzFocus: What’s your favorite part about working with video games? Worst?

Warren: Well, I totally love working with my team and making sure we are all on the same page. Its a great feeling knowing that your client is really excited about the initial concepts and happy with the end results.

The worst would have to be a few of the struggles during the process in terms of the designs. This is where I can often frustrate the hell out of myself, until I create something that looks awesome to me.

Chuck: [Sometimes] I feel like working the way I do, I miss the most awesome parts of working on games. I work from home [and] have for years. A lot of people hear it and they’re like “omg that must be awesome!” Truth is: it is and isn’t. There’s for sure no “office drama”, but you also miss out on making work friends and seeing how the actual game progresses and forms. Plus, it’s also not like a common workplace in that everyone has an inherent common interest. There’s no “hey man, did you watch the (boring sports thing) last night?” or something like that.

In my opinion, that’s the best thing about working on video games, unless its YOUR game. For instance, we all met up at San Diego Comic Con and I had a blast talking to everyone who worked on it about the game. This is not just some cash grab game, Jonathan Durr made the prototype in his spare time and Magic Pixel and Namco Bandai have come together to make it happen because they believe in it. Those kind of stories and people are what’s great about working on games to me.
As far as the worst? I dunno, turn arounds? Haha I hate those.

BuzzFocus: Are there any big or jarring differences between working on comic and video game art?

Warren: Hmm… Well in the comic world, you need to stick with the current designs for the characters and world involved. In gaming, you generally create new characters for brand new games, or updated designs for characters in the sequels, so there’s a lot more room for creativity, even in terms of the environments depending on the game.

Chuck: Well in one single project I’ve gotten to do both so I have a fresh perspective on it. First and foremost, it really really depends on the people you’re working for. You can have a fantastic or horrible experience in either, depending on who your bosses are. Thankfully this project has been one of those rare fantastic ones, so it’s just been about getting the job done.

Comics and games both have their pro’s and con’s, it really just depends on the personality. I’ve seen some guys that you can just go, “hey! I need 40 different kinds of space containers for a space game set in space!” and they can whip it out before lunchtime. Those dudes belong in games. Likewise, if someone can draw 22 pages the same 4 people hiding in a house from zombies for 4 issues, THAT guy belongs in comics. It’s all about what you find interesting as an artist.

In a lot of ways Outcast Odyssey wasn’t a traditional kind of game, as far as creating the art was concerned. Usually games are all about character designs, environment designs and about 20 versions of everything. This game is the first in what (we hope) will be a series so there wasn’t that need for continuity or previous reference material. We pretty much designed a lot of the characters right on the cards as we were going, so it was a lot of fun!

BuzzFocus: Any future or current projects that you would like to announce or share?

Warren: I’m currently finishing up a bunch of super hero related artwork for an anatomy art book, 21 Draw, being funded through Indigogo. Its been a real fun project to work on which will also be featuring 100 amazing artists from the entertainment industry.

I will also be doing my own personal studies of which I will be getting my fans involved in, so make sure to follow me on my Facebook page for that – https://www.facebook.com/ArtofWarrenLouw

Chuck: For right now, I’m working on the Outcast Odyssey web comic to help promote the game. Outside of that, I don’t know if I’m allowed to talk about yet!

BuzzFocus: Is there any dream project or game that you would love to work on?

Warren: Wow… well I’ve been a huge fan of the characters from Soul Calibur, so working on such a project would be incredible! I think Im still a far way from being talented enough for something like that, so hopefully one day!

Chuck: I’ve been doing this kind of work since I was 15 so there’s been a bunch. If you would have asked me when I was 15, I would have said for Joe Madureira to crash through the walls of my high school in an awesome car and tell me, “I need your help finishing Battle Chasers!” haha. In my early 20’s, I had “a proper sequel” to Final Fantasy Tactics I’d been working on and designing for almost a year in my spare time. Nearing 30, I have more dream projects than ever! From Joe Abercrombie to call me up and say “I want you to adapt Half a King into a comic!” to about 3 different ideas for games I have a burning desire to make before I die. I figure I have a pretty good shot at least one of these crazy ideas to come to fruition.

BuzzFocus: Thank you for your time, gentlemen.

Warren and Chuck: Thank you.

PAC-MAN and the Ghostly Adventures 2 impressions: New camera and boss fight

Based on the TV show of the same name, PAC-MAN and the Ghostly Adventures 2 is a sequel to last year’s PAC-MAN platformer. This title doesn’t follow any particular episode in the series, but is an all-new story based in the same world set on the show. Two characters, Spiral and Cylindria, are also playable for the first time and bring to the table new playstyles (which will be addressed later). Overall, part 2 improves on much that the original title was lacking.

After playing a few minutes of the new PAC-MAN and the Ghostly Adventures 2, one big noticeable change is the inclusion of a fixed camera. Adopting the style of recent 3D Mario titles like Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario 3D World, no longer is the player required to control the camera and the character. This change allows for much more straightforward play and avoids all the camera issues that plagued the first title. It also allows for less confusion for where PAC-MAN should be headed on any given stage. I’m a big fan of not being confused.

Also experienced was one of the boss battles with the videogame debut of PAC-Zilla, which is essentially playing as a giant PAC-MAN. You feel his weight in giant form as you jump and dodge attacks. Towards the end, Cylindria jumped into the mix and a first-person plane shooting sequence engaged. The mosh-up of gameplay kept me on my toes and I found some challenge to what I found to be an otherwise easy to win game.

PAC-MAN and the Ghostly Adventures 2 is set for October 14, 2014 release and all signs point to it being a better game than its predecessor.

Tekken 7 is now official

Announced at the biggest fighting game tournament in the world EVO 2014, Tekken 7 is coming. A short teaser and promise of more info at San Diego Comic Con on July 25 was also shown on the stage in Las Vegas. No information on details such as platform or release date window was made, but we’ll more than likely get that info later this month.

Tekken 7 was leaked earlier over this weekend, which spoiled the surprise, but Namco Bandai’s Katsuhiro Harada firmly states that this was not the intended title to be revealed at EVO. Did this put another game’s announcement on hold, or perhaps details on Tekken X Street Fighter on hold? The only other bit of info we know right now is that Tekken 7 will run on Unreal Engine 4.

ThunderCats the game is a shallow substitute for a second animated season

Thundercats premiered on Cartoon Network to a mixed reception from viewers. The reboot took the series in a different direction from the 80s TV show. Panthro was either dead or a traitor. Lion-O and Tygra were brothers, while Cheetara was caught in a love triangle between the two. And as for WilyKat and WilyKit, they were street urchins, prone to tomfoolery and thievery. Halfway through the season, viewers – both new and old – fell in love with these new Thundercats. Old fans realized that the heart of the series was still very much alive in Michael Jelenic and Ethan Spaulding’s contemporary retelling.

The new Thundercats series was great for several reasons. The story was respectful of core mythos. Still, the showrunners pushed the series in a bold direction. Instead of a procedural action series, we got a multi-layered cartoon that wasn’t afraid to push the limits of storytelling. Unfortunately, the series was left in limbo following the Season one finale.

Several months later, a Thundercats game has popped up on the scene from Namco Bandai. Whereas the cartoon took daring risks to modernize the series, the game feels like an antiquated vestige of early 90s gaming. The Nintendo DS game is a cookie cutter side-scrolling game tacked onto the story from Season one. The lizard armies and other random enemy wildlife quickly become redundant. As far as the story goes, if you watched Thundercats, you’ll be able to fill in the blanks. However, all the nuances that made the series great are missing.

EDITOR’S PICK: Thundercats Ho! Season Finale, Dissecting the Reboot

The gameplay starts off with Mumm-Ra’s first attack on cats layer. Lion-O hacks and slashes his way through lizards with the Sword of Omens. With the right power ups, he can unleash an energy blast from his sword. However, you won’t be able to direct the attack well. This game has all of the bad qualities of early 90s development in it. There are blinking enemies who can’t take damage since you already hit them and weird collision detection issues that allow Lion-O to stand in front of an enemy without getting damaged.

Lion-O can also summon his fellow Thundercats for quick support. In the beginning of the game, Tygra is available. You can tap on the touch screen to activate him. He comes on the screen and shoots his gun all over the place – most of time, without actually hitting the target. Cheetara is available soon after you defeat Mumm-ra for the first time. She can drum up a gust of wind that is good for taking down aerial opponents. Kit and Kat don’t fight, but bring you power ups instead. Panthro, the last unclockable character, deals the most devastation with his Thundertank.

It’s an ultimately bland experience from start to finish. There is no differentiation between the boss battles. This is a game of stick-and-move with hardly any strategy. Once you have Kit and Kat available, you can almost always attack your enemies relentlessly, before calling in Kit and Kat for a health boost so that you can finish off your opponent.

The one good thing about this game is that you do get Lion-O’s voice from the cartoon. Will Friedle’s (voice of Lion-O) growl is great when he says, “Thundercats Ho!” Hopefully, Friedle gets to come back to live-action with the Boy Meets World sequel.

In any case, Thundercats the game lacks the heart of the TV series. Fans will want to play through the game, just to relive some of their favorite cartoon moments. However, it won’t be long before they turn off this shallow attempt at a video game. This is one game that we could have done without. Mark it a poor substitute for a second season of Thundercats.

ThunderCats
ThunderCats
Genre: Action
Platform: Nintendo DS
Developer: Aspect
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games
Release Date: Oct 30, 2012

Rating:

4 / 10

4th Hokage unleashes killer rasengan at Sasuke in Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 adds in a new ring-out features that helps ringed-out fighters get back into the battle. In this fight video, the 4th Hokage takes on Sasuke Uchiha. After taking a massive rasengan to the gut, Sasuke gets a hand from a fellow shinobi – throwing him back into the combat.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 – Training Mode a Win for Fighting Fans

Tekken Tag Tournament 2

Tekken is a staple franchise in the fighting genre community. However, even within the realms of fighting game fans, the esoteric combos remain the domain of the elite few. While fans of Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, and Marvel Vs Capcom can get easily jump between games thanks to a blend of half-circle attacks and charge moves, Tekken gamers have to really know their proverbial “shit.”

That’s why Street Fighter X Tekken was such an excellent game; it bridged the gap between two types of gamers.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 finally opens up the franchise to gamers who haven’t had the chance to spend the time to learn Tekken’s deep combo set.

Let’s be honest. Everyone loves the concept of playing Tekken. It’s not about hadoukens, sonic booms, freeze attacks or missiles, but rather “realistic” fighting. However, chaining those “realistic” moves together can unnerve even the most astute gamer – especially if you don’t know the difference between your roundhouse kick, back kick, side kick, axe kick or crescent kick. The basic attacks have almost as much variety as the combos.

The Tekken Training Mode gives gamers a chance to set up specific fight scenarios – something that’s necessary in any fighting game to truly improve. Players not only choose which board they want to play on, but also setup key positioning. You can focus on training when you’re trapped against a wall or hovering over a balcony as well as select which direction your character is facing.

That’s not all.

Ever been trapped on the floor, while your opponent kicks you non-stop?

Players can setup that scenario too. You can also be the player standing up, while you set the opponent to be the victim. Gamers can further practice tag strategies – this is Tekken Tag Tournament after all. You can practice Tekken Tag 2’s unique Tag Throws, where you toss your opponent (or put him/her in a strangle hold) and call your teammate in to deliver a follow-up kick.

In Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, a smart gamer – and even the button masher – can usually figure out a way to get out of those pesky walls – the domain of the “I like to cheese” fighter. However, in Tekken, button mashing while trapped against a wall, will only keep you — trapped against the wall. This Training Mode will give you a chance to truly earn your Tekken stripes and get out of those traps.

Tekken trainees can also keep the moves up on the HUD, while they practice. Usually, to do this, you either have to click into a command list (which disappears after you see the move) or enter a special training mode that doesn’t allow you to manually setup a specific fight scenario.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 comes with other additional modes and a few cosmetic features. There is a Fight Lab, which uses a rank progression system and new unlockable characters. There is no customization, but you can unlock some pretty wonky characters – such as a robot with a trashcan head.

Tekken Re-engineered Trailer

Gamers can customize their music from their personal CD library. Namco has also announced that the World Tekken Federation, its online social community, will be free on launch.

iOS & Android Gamers: Kick off June with a Pac-Chomp Discount

If you haven’t had the chance to check out Pac-Man on iOS or Android yet, you can kick off June with Pac-Chomp. It’s a unique combination of match-3 gem gameplay and the classic Pac-Man game.

Oddly enough, I just discovered this hidden gem on Google Play market, currently a free download for the basic version. Instead of matching three gems or more, gamers match three like-colored ghosts. However, Pac-Man is also on the board. You can just match ghosts to advance to the next level, but the joy is trying to get Pac-Man to connect with one of the power pellets. Once he does, the ghosts change into the highlighted, blue-colored ghosts you remember from the classic Pac-Man game. Then, you can gobble them up by swiping your finger, controlling Pac-Man.

Currently, Namco is celebrating one million downloads of the game by selling the full game for $.99 instead of $1.99 through June 6 on iOS. On Android, it’s discounted to $.99 from $3.86. Yeah, it’s a pretty drastic drop on Android. I’ve been playing the free version and have been getting hours of fun chomping action in. So far, I haven’t upgraded yet. The full version gets you past Level 6. There are tons of power ups in the free game to enjoy between stints of Temple Run. So I’d suggest you check out the free version for yourself and make the decision from there.

Get Pac-Chomp on iPhone:
PAC-CHOMP! - Namco Networks America Inc. Games

Get Pac-Chomp on iPad:
PAC-CHOMP! - Namco Networks America Inc. Games

Xbox 360 Anime Review: Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Storm Generations

For Anime lovers, adapted fighting games are all about character depth and the thrill of fighting through a mythos rich in epic battles. In the case of Dragon Ball Z, Goku may be the star, but the rush comes from fighting as Vegita or the world destroyers, Super Cell and Majin Buu. Naruto Shippuden is no different. Most people who pick up Naruto titles have seen the TV series already. These players are seldom looking to relive lengthy cinematics, but rather play as one of Naruto or Naruto Shippuden’s many characters. Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Storm Generations adds little nuance in the way of story from last year’s predecessor. However, new chakra mechanics and 72 playable characters make this an excellent title for both new and seasoned fans.

Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Storm Generations removes the needless fetch quests that filled the gaps between battles. Instead of going for a large-scale story mode, the designers focused on the one thing that mattered, fighting. Gamers will see artwork from the anime series between fights matched to character voices from the anime. However, players won’t have to waste time traveling through the Leaf Village to meet the Hokage or to prove themselves to the legendary copy ninja. The between-fight cuts are flattened out like those found in Soulcalibur. If you want the full story, you’ll just have to watch the anime or read the manga.

The battle system remains largely intact. However, there are a few key differences. Naruto Shippuden utilizes simple button mashing gameplay so that fighting is accessible to gamers of all ages. Players can get through most battles by combining melee attacks with chakra power boosts and timed jumps. If your timing is flawless, you’ll unleash one of the character’s special abilities, which seamlessly flow into the action like an animated cut scene. It’s great to catch someone with Naruto’s Rasengan when the attacker is in mid jump. Then, follow up the attack by calling in your teammate to deliver a quick special attack.

Once again players have a few additional items at their disposal, like paper bombs. These can be accessed via the D-Pad. For seasoned gamers, strategy comes in to play by using your substitution jutsu to teleport around the board, delivering surprise attacks. Your opponent may think he is attacking you, when he or she is really attacking a log. In the prior Naruto games, substitutions exhausted chakra from your power meter. The chakra meter is similar to the power meter you would encounter in Street Figter IV or Marvel Vs Capcom 3.

naruto shippuden

In Generations, the substitution meter has been separate dfrom the chakra meter. Not only does this give you more flexibility to use substitutions, but it also expands the level of strategy in the game. For seasoned players, this allows fights to move at a slower pace, with more tactical attacks.

The AI has gone through a slight upgrade in the campaign. Enemies make better use of substitutions for awesome counters and sneak attacks. Also added is a new chakra dash cancel. This also contributes to a new layer of depth in fighting. The chakra dash cancel gives close-range fighters a better chance to beat long-range attackers. It’s also great to fake attacks and deliver devastating counters.

The rich roster of 72 players (without the burden of DLC) and two modifications to fighting help make Generations stand out from its predecessors. Online battle keeps the fight going for “hours on end” without lag. The Naruto community has already hopped on this title and it’s relatively easy to find a battle.

Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Storm Generations
Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Storm Generations
Genre: Anime Fighting
Platform: Xbox 360 (Also available on PS3 )
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Developer: CyberConnect2
Release Date: March 13, 2012

Rating:

7.9 / 10

‘Tekken’ Yoshimitsu & ‘Mass Effect’ Liara T’Soni Bishoujo Sculpts Dazzle Kotobukiya 2012 Lineup

kotobukiya tekken tag

Comic book and science fiction fans who are also statue collectors should already know about the impact that Kotobukiya has made in recent years especially with their ARTFX line and Star Wars sculpts. Their Marvel Studios line is also impressive as is their Bishoujo take on Marvel’s cast of female characters. Gamers should take note though, because Kotobukiya’s most impressive statues in 2012 are targeted at them. On display at Wondercon Anaheim were two new sculpts that are available for pre-order.

kotobukiya tekken 2The first is the Tekken Tag 2 Tournament: Yoshimitsu Fine Art Statue, priced at $449.99, this highly detailed Yoshimitsu stands on top of a giant head and towers at a whopping 21 1/2 inches tall (1/6 scale). An intricate paint job accentuates tons of battle damage and tech innards spilling out of the bottom of the head. Yoshimitsu was sculpted by Japanese master artist Takayuki Takeya, and will be available June 2012 but place your pre-orders here or at your local comic shop because these are going to go fast!

Kotobukiya Description
An honorable warrior and leader of the Manji Clan, Yoshimitsu stands victorious on the severed head of a gigantic mechanoid! Wearing his unique and distinctive armor, the Tekken fighter holds his two swords in triumph, waiting for his next opponent. Yoshimitsu’s demonic armor is amazingly detailed with multiple textures including metals and sculpted “fabric,” layered plating, intricate piping and designs, buckles, straps, and much more. Matching the varied sculpt is a fantastic paint job capturing the one of a kind look; burnished purple and gold armor plates cover bluish gray clothing and are decorated with silvers, blues, and white. Yoshimitsu also has an enormous circular device behind his head and two detailed scabbards, one mounted on his back and the other at his hip.

Click on the thumbnail above to enlarge.

Equally impressive but a bit more budget conscious is the Japanese Import Mass Effect Liara T’Soni Bishoujo Statue, priced at $59.99, Liara T’soni stands nearly 10 inches tall (1/7 scale). This statue was sculpted by Busujimax (Takaboku Busujima) features tons of detail on her coat and weapons. Place Liara on your pre-orders here or at your local comic shop. And if you look next to Liara, there’s a Ghostbuster Lucy Bishoujo too that was released back in August 2011.

kotobukiya mass effect

Kotobukiya Description
A “pureblood” Asari, Liara is both a scholar and a warrior. Channeling her martial instinct, the distinctive blue-skinned alien stands with a Phalanx at the ready and a folded M-3 Predator holstered at her hip. Alert to danger and careful to observe her surroundings, Liara leans on her slightly bent right leg and arches her back, emphasizing her gorgeous body. The doctor is mostly covered by her armored outfit, but it accentuates her curves instead of hiding them. A skin-tight black bodysuit is visible under matching boots, jacket, and lingerie-like clothing in stunning blue and silver. Meanwhile, Liara’s head is bare, revealing her striking blue skin and alien features that make her unique from previous bishoujo statues!

kotobukiya dc women

More Bishoujos!
Some of the other great sculpts on display were the DC Comics Bishoujo Collection. Pictured here are two versions of Batgirl and this slick Poison Ivy statue striking a pose. Marvel gets in on the Bishoujo act too with an awesome Elektra sculpt, a sexy Mystique, and an X-23 ready to attack.

kotobukiya batman artfx

For Batman fans there’s an ARTFX statue based off of Jim Lee’s 2002 Hush that stands 11 inches tall (1/6 scale) and was sculpted by Kouei Matsumoto. It is available for pre-order for $99.99 And mutant fanboys have got to love these full figure (1/6 scale) X-Force statues of Warpath ($199.99) sculpted by Erick Sosa featuring real metal blades and a to-die-for Archangel ($229.99) statue that will need at least 18 inches tall of clearance on your display shelf.

kotobukiya xforce

And what’s becoming a new trend are collectible chopsticks, but these Alien Chestburster Chopsticks ($9.99 each) are based off the movie Alien. There are also silicone ice cube trays of Alien egg pods for $9.99–Let’s hope one of these don’t hide in your sushi or noodles because you’d hate to get that sinking feeling in your stomach a few hours later.

kotobukiya chopsticks

All of Kotobukiya products can be ordered through your local comic shop or online directly through Kotobukiya’s website.

Photos taken by Lucky Bronson

Naruto Shippuden Gets an ‘Ultimate’ Boost this March with Zabuza & Haku

If you’re a fan of Naruto Shippuden, then there are a few reasons you will want to check out the upcoming Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Storm Generations game from Namco Bandai.

For starters, the animations have always been fluid digitized renderings of the 2D cartoon. This game will have over 60 minutes of new animations from Studio Pierrot. Plus, if you’ve never played the previous Storm games, you will be delighted to know that this Ultimate version has over seventy playable characters as well as fifteen support characters from the first two Storm games. There are also new online battle modes.

Now forget all of that. If you’re a fan of Naruto, then the real reason you will want to check out this title is to play as Zabuza and his apprentice/partner Haku. Zabuza is one of the memorable secondary characters that appear in the Naruto series. Appearing in the original series and subsequent cameos in Shippuden (episode 129 and with Haku in 183), Zabuza has the cool title of being called the Demon of the Hidden Mist; he earned the moniker after slaying 100 Ninja Academy graduates, before he was even a student.

While this game won’t appeal to hard core fighter players, thirsty for Mortal Kombat and Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, it will definitely be an instant win in the hands of Shippuden fans.

“Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Storm Generations is an essential addition to the library of any Naruto fan,” said Carlson Choi, Vice President of Marketing, NAMCO BANDAI Games America Inc. “Beyond the unprecedented number of characters and online modes, stalwart fans can enjoy over an hour of brand new animation created by Studio Pierrot for the game.”

The new Storm game streets on March 13.

Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Storm Generations on PS3

Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Storm Generations on Xbox 360

*This article has been updated