Tag Archive: gi joe

Industry veteran and current Microsoft Studios creative director Ken Lobb explained that Black Tusk’s take on Gears of War would be “innovative” and run on Unreal 4 in a recent interview with Edge.

“I think the reality is what we have is innovative Gears Of War. That’s what I believe they’re going to make,” said Lobb. “They’re an internal studio, but the reality is it’s cool to have [an IP] that can be a grand slam right out of the gate. The concepts they’ve been toying with are awesome. You take what they were thinking about and their expertise on Unreal Engine 4, because that’s what they’ve been playing with since their founding, and really go with the IP.”

Ken Lobb has worked in the games industry for over 20 years, helping craft such memorable classics as G.I. Joe for the NES and Goldeneye 007 for the N64 (he’s who the infamous Klobb was named after). He even took part in the discussions that led to Metroid Prime before joining Microsoft in 2001.

Black Tusk is a relatively new first-party studio, founded in 2012 under the Microsoft banner, and was supposedly working on an original IP before being charged with Gears of War. To help get the feel of the franchise, long-time Gears of War producer Rod Fergusson was also brought on as studio manager when Black Tusk took on the project.

No other details about this new Gears of War project have come out yet, as Black Tusk only began work on the project a few months ago.


Children of the 80s will have to wait a while longer to see Cobra Commander in the White House as G.I. Joe: Retaliation has shockingly vacated its prime June 29th summertime blockbuster slot.

Paramount Pictures is claiming that the action-flick, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Bruce Willis, is being pushed because they found an opportunity to add 3D in post-production and with that becoming more prominent in populous overseas countries, the studio feels they can garner a larger international box office by sending the movie back into the editing room. Unfortunately, Paramount has already dropped huge truckloads of money on advertising for the movie and it was even a point of contention between The Rock and John Cena leading up to their Wrestlemania 28 match in April.

Now slated for March 29th, 2013, (also just before Wrestlemania 29) Paramount is confident that, as proven by The Hunger Games this past March, that March can still be a huge money making month. Others agree that the move could work out for G.I, Joe: Retaliation, but mostly because there is sure to be less competition around it making it seem more like the idea of going up against The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises in the weeks shortly after the original release date is what really helped prompt this move.

Moving into its spot is Seth MacFarlane’s highly-touted movie Ted about a foul-mouthed teddy bear, which is happy to be around for what looks to be a massive July 4th weekend this year.

Geek Movie Icon

Originally Published: September 29, 2009, on 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com) and Lundberg.me

Since he exploded into the limelight as Darth Maul in Star Wars: Episode I, Ray Park has been a staple in geek movies. Also being cast as Toad in X-Men and Snake-Eyes in G.I. Joe, this martial arts master and admitted comic book geek is living the dream playing some of the more iconic roles in geek lore.

He has now increased his geek repetoire by being cast on NBC’s Heroes as Edgar, a speedster with a dark side (no Star Wars pun intended).

Robin Lundberg and I had a chance to catch up with the geek icon to talk about his role on Heroes, his past roles, and if he could confirm some rumors for us about the progress of a possible Iron Fist movie.

– to listen to Robin Lundberg and I interview one of the great geek movie icons of our time, Ray Park.

The Real American Hero

Originally Published: August 11, 2009, on 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com), Examiner.com, and Collider.com

Although we are still in the midst of summer, the summer blockbuster season is coming to an end and with it, my series of double reviews (to my editor’s relief). Still though, this final one was also one of my most anticipated double-features yet.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is another movie inspired by a Hasbro toy line and 80s cartoon series. Many of us were drawn in as small children by the catchy theme song, brightly colored vehicles, and enough lasers to put any pop concert to shame. The PSAs it inspired is still the stuff of spoof nowadays as those of us who grew up on the series can look back now and laugh at the shoddy animation and cheesy dialogue.

So how would it translate to the big screen? Would it be as much of a laugh now as the cartoons are? At least those have the nostalgia of our childhoods to protect them.

I will say this: as an action movie; G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is top notch. Tons of explosions and non-stop fighting keep your attention for the entirety of the 1 hour and 58 minutes (Sienna Miller in hot leather spandex for 90% of the movie doesn’t hurt either).

Everyone cast in the movie gives a great performance and stays true to their characters’ personalities, which will make movie buffs and GI Joe fans alike pleased. Dennis Quaid does a spectacular job as General Hawk and Marlon Wayans is nowhere near being the weak link many suspected him to be in his performance as Ripcord. Ray Park was the perfect casting call for Snake Eyes and everyone else from Zartan to Destro to Scarlett were all top-notch.

The only casting problem I had was Brendan Fraser making a cameo as Sgt. Slaughter. He had three lines in the movie and was visible for no more than five minutes, all of them were frustrating because his presence stole attention away from other characters to see if he could live up to one of the more prolific characters in GI Joe history due to his wrestling origins. Of course, he failed, partially in my opinion because he didn’t give any of his famous one-liners like “At ease, disease!”

Aside from this, there were only two other problems I had with the movie. One was a minor detail, but would have made hardcore fans like myself beam with joy had it been included. The original GI Joe theme song was left out of the movie. It wasn’t even in the end credits. Considering the movie cost $175 million to make, you would think they could spare a little cash for an orchestra version of the classic cartoon theme.

The other detail was a major oversight and is what makes this great action movie only a so-so GI Joe movie. The movie takes a lot of liberties with the original GI Joe story and makes some changes in order to fit in the obligatory love story. Every character in the movie is related somehow. Baroness is Cobra Commander’s sister and is also Duke’s ex-fiancée. Baroness though is not really evil, but under mind control created by Dr. Mindbender who everyone confuses with Cobra Commander early on because they look exactly alike. By the end of the movie, you’re just shaking your head, as everyone had to be related to everyone else by some weak link.

If you take account of the fact that the movie killed off key characters who never die in the cartoons or the comics and you’re left questioning whether this movie deserves a sequel. I will say it does, but it had better have a different writing staff, that’s for sure.

In the end, this was a great action movie that held your attention the whole way through with great performances, but a really poor GI Joe movie. GI Joe fans have to see it to confirm their fears and non-GI Joe fans should see it if they’re tired of all the romantic comedies out there (or are trying to still get the lewd images from Bruno out of their minds).

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra gets a 3 out of 5.

Typically, video games based on summer movies do not do well, but Transformers 2 broke that trend earlier in the summer. I’m happy to say that G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: The Video Game also breaks that trend and easily surpasses the movie.

Taking place immediately after the movie, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: The Video Game begins with the Baroness being teleported out of GI Joe custody via Cobra’s newest weapon, the MASS device, a teleportation tool to increase troop movement across the globe.

Starting with Duke and Scarlett, you begin by searching for kidnapped teammates Heavy Duty and Ripcord as Breaker, Data Frame, and Dial-Tone try to unravel how the MASS device works back at the PIT (GI Joe’s base of operations) and how GI Joe can remove this military advantage from Cobra’s hands.

This game hit every right cord with this hardcore GI Joe geek. It felt like you were playing updated versions of the old-school NES games that were based on the cartoons. You’re able to play with two Joes at a time while selecting from a roster of 12 possible Joes, all with unique weapons and special abilities. You can switch between the two Joes at any time also as long as they do not get knocked out on the mission and this flexibility can help in creating some interesting strategies. You then march across four general terrains in 20 specific missions as you progress through a classic GI Joe storyline.

Although not the prettiest of games in differentiating the terrains, taking cover to take out HISS tanks or hopping in your own MOBAT tank to destroy Cobra watchtowers was a great feeling.

Add-in the more destruction you caused to Cobra facilities, the more you could fill up your accelerator suit bar, which basically rendered you invincible with tank-like firepower for about 15-20 seconds. The best part of this was during your invincible rampage, almost as classic as Mario’s superstar song, an orchestrated version of the original GI Joe theme played. This alone will endear this game to any and all GI Joe fans.

The only thing this game really lacked in was the gameplay. Even on the hardest difficulty it only took me about 10 hours to complete all 20 missions and unlock all characters. The auto-targeting system was also abysmal. If you storm a room full of Neo-Vipers and turrets, the system would lock onto the 2500 bonus points item in the far corner of the room. It’s not fun trying to avoid a hail of blue lasers and adjust your targeting system at the same time. Not to mention the inability to control the game camera making it easy for enemies to ambush you around blind corners adding an unnecessary level of difficulty.

If you can fight your way through the glitches, you’ll enjoy the storyline and the homage to the old school GI Joe cartoon and games. With tons of collectibles and unlockable characters, the addition of bosses like Firefly, enemies like the B.A.T.s (Battle Android Troopers), and another 20-30 NPC GI Joes that you interact with over the course of the game, this game is easily a must have for any GI Joe fanatic.

Ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best.

Graphics: 7.0: There is nothing special about the visuals. A third-person, arcade-style shooter set in very generic locations, the graphics will not blow you away. They won’t take away from the experience either, though.

Audio: 10.0: Original orchestrations for each level and the inclusion of the original GI Joe theme when you strap on the accelerator suit makes the music a definite strong point for this game. Add-in solid sound effects and just enough overacting from the voice talent (only Cobra Commander from the movie cast was also in the video game, which might be the reason why) to make this a very enjoyable auditory experience.

Plot/Plot Development: 9.0: An original plot more along the lines of the original cartoon and only loosely based on the movie script with Cobra acquiring a super weapon and GI Joe needs to save the day. None of the relationships established in the movie were referenced in the game, which made me very happy, and the introductions of all the characters were perfectly done. The only fault I found with the development was that it all seemed to come together too quickly at the end, like they had ran out of time. Other than that, this was classic GI Joe.

Gameplay: 4.0:
This is where the game stumbles. A horrible camera system that never follows the characters as closely as it should, an even worse targeting system, and only about 10 hours of gameplay on the hardest difficulty keeps this game from being a superior product.

Replay Value: 8.0: A co-op mission mode, at least five collectibles per mission, and 14 unlockable characters will make you want to keep playing G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: The Video Game for a good while. The only disappointment was a lack of a vs. mode, but considering the style of the game, it probably wouldn’t have been very good anyway.

Overall (not an average): 8.0: Any and every GI Joe fan will love this game because it gives you what you want on every level. You have the ability to switch between two Joes at a time on the fly, the original theme, a plot worthy of its namesake, and enough classic collectibles to keep you on the hunt for hours. Glitchy gameplay is really the only thing that keeps this from being an upper echelon game, but considering it is only $50 instead of $60 and hits every fiber of nostalgia in my being, this is a great game.

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra: The Video Game is available now for all systems.

And now you know…and knowing is half the battle (blue lasers and red lasers is the other half).

-Ray Carsillo