I think I spent too much money on the new Call of Duty. I suck at this game. Someone come carry me through some zombie matches.
1 month agoBenBSinger Ben B. Singer
Episode- 100 Mario VS Sonic
It feels strange to reach this point. Humbling and exciting, yes, but also strange. If you had told me back in 2010 that I’d be making more than one hundred episodes of this horribly nerdy show, I doubt I would have believed you. Honestly, I’m not sure if I would have wanted to believe you. When I started this show, I didn’t expect Death Battle to reach this level of achievement and pass such a milestone few other highly produced shows ever can. I actually didn’t want it to.
This might sound strange, but when Death Battle first came to be, I didn’t view it as the thing that would define my career for the next decade, let alone the careers of dozens of other people alongside me. As I’ve said before, Death Battle was originally created to help catapult ScrewAttack’s then-waning notoriety, and after that I figured I would move on to something else. It was meant to be a stepping stone. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy working on it or didn’t put my all into every episode. I’m the kind of guy who gets really frustrated when someone takes the easy road on a project, so I don’t think I’m physically capable of allowing myself to do that! (If you’ve ever had to do a class group project all by yourself, you probably know what I mean.) The fact is, Death Battle was supposed to end at episode 26.
I say all this because even now, 8 years later, I was caught a little off guard by your responses to my question yesterday of what Death Battle means to you. Not by the positivity itself, which I appreciate, but because of the variety of answers. It’s amazing that after all this time I’m still learning new things about this zany show, and I’m sure I will continue to do so.
Now let’s talk about next week’s Mario VS Sonic, shall we?
It was interesting to watch all the speculation leading up to this episode’s announcement. A lot of people predicted that episode 100 would receive the same sort of treatment that a season finale might. Namely, that it would feature a long-awaited and popularly requested match-up. We’ve received thousands of requests to redo Mario VS Sonic, especially since we discussed the modern rules we use, but at this point it wasn’t on most people’s radar. Insert evil laughter here. Bwahaha.
We’re not treating this like a season finale. I mean, we’re going to have a pretty epic season finale just three episodes after this anyway! Episode 100 isn’t about making the biggest Death Battle that ever was in the history of the universe. This is a celebration of what Death Battle has become. How much we, the staff, have grown while making the show. How much you, the viewers, have supported us for so long. How much the show has evolved to become something of higher quality and more reliability than those early hectic days of seasons one and two. That is what I have been pouring into this episode day and night for the past few months. Plus, I've personally wanted to revisit this match-up for quite awhile!
Death Battle hasn’t been a completely smooth road. There have been many bumps and turns along the way, and even a few nasty crashes. However, the rewards found along the path have made this all worth it.
Seeing Torrian’s first 3D animation come in. Listening to Brandon’s “Titans of Magic” or Therewolf Media’s “Wings of Iron” on repeat. The first time we met all the Research Team members. The incredible fan art we show off on Death Battle Cast. Going to Chris Sabat’s studio to record his Solid Snake role. Wearing the original Death Battle shirt for the first time. Seeing Wiz and Boomstick finally get an official appearance. Every time we shout “It’s time for a Death Battle Panel!” at a convention. That day Goomba VS Koopa became the first episode to hit one million views. Creating my first custom sprites with no previous experience. Learning that Monty Oum, one of the largest inspirations for the show, appreciated our work to the point where he introduced us to the Rooster Teeth family we now find ourselves among every day.... and a wide assortment of other memories that would break the Rooster Teeth website if I tried typing them all up!
Thank you everyone - viewers, writers, animators, researchers, editors, actors, producers, musicians, artists, so many others... and you. Here’s to 100 more.
-Ben B. Singer
1 month agoBenBSinger Ben B. Singer
Time for some giant fighting robots!
Optimus Prime VS the RX-78-2 Gundam has been an incredibly popular request for a very long time, and one that I always knew we would do eventually. Well, either that or Optimus VS Burning Gundam, but I found pitting the original G1 Transformer against the first ever Gundam was a lot more thematically appropriate.
Since Nick left Death Battle, we ran into some obstacles working around filling his role without affected the quality of the show. Despite everything he was already doing while running the brand, Sean stepped up to handle Nick’s dropped duties as best as he could. While he’d done a phenomenal job with his episodes thus far, managing ScrewAttack comes first, so for this one I jumped in to take some of the load off his back and help with the research and writing more than I usually do. I took on Gundam, watching and reading through all of the Universal Century Gundam franchise.
Years ago, I’d done all this for Gundam Wing to make Tigerzord VS Gundam Epyon. I had previously heard that Gundam Wing was the best Mobile Suit Gundam series out there, and while it was really cool, I was unfortunately a little underwhelmed. So I didn’t have stellar expectations for this giant robot story. But hot damn, it turns out this OG Gundam shit is my jam!! I had a blast working on this episode, and if I could I would gleefully dedicate an entire episode of Death Battle Cast just to praise Zeta Gundam in all its brilliance! Not even kidding, go watch the original series. Totally worth it.
It’s not often that I’m a little sad about the victor we choose, but I was honestly a little bummed when it became clear the Gundam stood little chance against Optimus Prime. ‘Cuz you can’t spell Optimus without O P, am I right?
This was the first Death Battle animation to use the Unreal Engine, which beefed up our lighting capabilities and made long render times a thing of the past, among many other things. Coupled with this was getting Kristina, David, and Alex their first go at a 3D fight without Torrian! (Though he did supervise, he only worked on a rare couple shots throughout the entire battle.) There’s certainly a different feel to this fight, as Torrian had his own unique style. But so do these animators, and I’m curious how their personal styles will grow and perform as they continue making these kickass fight scenes!
Last but not least, we have the penultimate episode on the Road to 100; Nightwing VS Daredevil. We went into so much detail on the behind the scenes in our Death Battle Cast with Danny that frankly I’d suggest you just watch that instead of making me type it all out all over again, but I did want to touch on how this episode started.
After Death Battle started to grow in popularity in 2012, other versus shows began popping up around the internet. Most of them focused more on the fights than the analyses, but it was interesting to see other people and companies jumping on the wagon we pushed off on. Which, to be clear, we didn’t start ourselves. Sprite animations on Newgrounds kicked this party into orbit long before Death Battle made its mark. I just like to think we helped revive the craze a bit. Regardless, making characters fight to the death suddenly became a popular thing, and among the creators I saw, the live action fights really stood out to me. While Death Battle is more of an animated series than anything else, I am still a film major. I’ve studied film for nearly 2 decades and done plenty of my own film projects, including action scenes. So when I watch something like Ismahawk’s Minute Match-Ups, I could see a lot of the work, effort and money that went into making something like that...and I knew it was something ScrewAttack would never let me do. At least, not back then. It would be so expensive and require so many more people than ever before. It was impossible.
Then along came 2016. We’re a part of Rooster Teeth, we get in touch with Ismahawk, and everything changes so much for the better!
-Ben B. Singer
P.S. There’s one more blog left on this Road to 100! For my last entry, I want to hear from you. What does Death Battle mean to you? Why do you keep watching? And what do you want to know that you’ve never heard me talk about before?
1 month agosirlarr
Apologies for the delay, but we're finally ready to show you guys
The rollout is just a teensy bit complicated so I wanted to lay it all out for you guys. The show will broadcast this way every week --
Thursday, 10:30 AM PDT -- Streamed LIVE on roosterteeth.com, free to watch for everyone!
Thursday, 6:00(ish) PM PDT -- Livestream VOD will be available to watch for RT First members.
Friday, 2:00 PM PDT -- A leaner, shorter version of the show will post on the Funhaus YouTube channel.
Lots more details to discuss, obviously, but hopefully we'll address most of them in the show itself. Hope you guys tune in to watch live!
1 month agoBenBSinger Ben B. Singer
Inspiration may seem like an easy quality to gain, but also the easiest to quickly lose without dedication. Such dedication required of an animator to work for weeks or months on one thing that’s already been entirely planned shot-for-shot, leaving very little wiggle room or space for new creativity, is a feat often unsung. Let alone when that animator puts everything and every minute they have into a single piece of challenging work that previously seemed beyond their capability.
Or in simple terms, Luis Cruz is a goddamn animation monster!
When we planned out Season 5 near the end of 2017, Samurai Jack VS Afro Samurai wasn’t actually part of the list of episodes laid out. A few months into the year though, Rooster Teeth held a little event for its employees. A meet-and-greet sort of thing, since the company was growing quickly and there were a lot of new faces all about. And of course, you can’t work up the nerves to talk to a bunch of strangers without a little alcohol, right? That was when Luis walked up to me and said that this year he wanted to do a completely hand drawn battle with Samurai Jack. Turns out he was a little inebriated when he said that!
Still, when we all came to the office the next work day, he stuck to his guns. He was absolutely set on making this hand-drawn sword duel. I immediately thought of making Afro Samurai the opponent, as Jack vs Afro had been a very popular request for a long time. I had always set that request to the side, because I knew that with our current capabilities we would never be able to do such an animation justice without cutting corners or blowing up a budget we just didn’t have. But all of a sudden, it could be possible. Maybe.
This was new to us. We’d never done this before. Sure, we’d done a hand-drawn battle with Blind Ferret the previous year, but that was a whole different ball game. Blind Ferret has a studio with multiple artists and animators to dedicate to their animations. In order for Jack vs Afro to happen, Luis would have to do the vast majority of the work all on his own. Most studios would have said no and shut down this idea right away. It’s a hell of a risk, especially when it would essentially take away our lead animator from any other projects for a couple months. Good thing we love taking these kind of risks!
It was incredible to watch Luis weave this battle together from scratch to art. With a little help from Jerky on backgrounds and a loooot of late nights, he managed to pull it all together for one of our most beautiful animations we’ve ever shown.
Samurai Jack VS Afro Samurai is what sparked the idea for the Road to 100 blog. I noticed that the episodes leading up to the big one hundred were incredibly special to us and Death Battle overall. Ryu VS Jin was Torrian’s last hurrah, with Optimus Prime VS Gundam marking a changing of the guard as we enter a new era of the show. Nightwing VS Daredevil would be our first ever live action battle, and Carnage VS Lucy would be one of the riskiest battles we’ve ever done.
There are a number of reasons Carnage VS Lucy could have blown up in our faces. First, this match-up isn’t exactly something a lot of people were requesting, much less thinking about. Second, Death Battle may obviously be all about violence, but we’ve never quite shown gore like Elfen Lied before… even Berserk wasn’t quite this bombastic. Third, this animation would be a challenge in and of itself, as one character doesn’t take lasting damage and the other fights with invisible weapons. It’s an odd combination, and difficult to maintain tension and weight to every moment throughout the fight. Fourth, a fan favorite Marvel character was going to lose to some anime waifu hardly anybody knows about.
After all that, I sort of expected a raging hurricane of controversy after the episode aired. Wonderfully enough, that didn’t actually happen! Despite being one of the few match-ups this year not based on fan request, Carnage VS Lucy has been one of Season 5’s most popular episodes! I really appreciate all of you being willing to give it a chance, even if it seemed like an odd choice from the start.
I think this is what makes Death Battle special. We don’t settle for a universal standard. Sure, popular and straight-forward fights like Black Panther VS Batman or Ryu VS Jin will crop up every season because that’s what many people want to see. But we still like to get weird sometimes! Whether or not your favored character won the match shouldn’t be the only surprise when you watch an episode.
-Ben B. Singer
P.S. Marvel VS DC match-ups are always popular, but what's a unique match-up you'd like to see that pits a Marvel or DC character against something else?
1 month agokriss Community Manager
I know this update is a long time coming that many of you have been waiting for, myself included.
We are NOW, OFFICIALLY in an internal beta for the new community site! This is a HUGE milestone for us, and all of us are excited for this achievement. Right now, we are going through the new platform with the goal to work with our amazing Engineering team, to figure out what works well (or...not so well), improve all sorts of aspects, and ultimately create a fantastic experience for you when the community site is able to go public.
We know you have been waiting for updates on the new site (some of you curious if it was even on our radar) and we want you to know that it has been, it is, and it will be because this is a huge priority for us.
For future updates and other news, myself, Chelsea, or Barbara will be making those announcements when we can.
That said, below is a sneak peek of the internal beta. Can't wait to show you more!
*SPECIAL NOTE* Please keep in mind that this is not a finalized version of the community site.
1 month agoBenBSinger Ben B. Singer
We’ve analyzed and portrayed a number of characters with extraordinary powers for years now, but I’m not sure we had ever delved into any with powers so incalculable when we began Doctor Strange VS Doctor Fate. Not to make this any easier on the team, this was one of Sean’s first Death Battle episodes to take point on as writer and project lead. Nick had left Death Battle production after Raven VS Twilight Sparkle, leaving Sean to pick up where he left off. Fortunately, Sean didn’t have too much trouble getting into a groove to make his time and research count… because holy crap, he really needed to. Have you watched this episode lately? Strange and Fate are absolutely ridiculous!
While researching for a Death Battle can be a long and arduous task, and there’s been more than a few occasions where our team has been frustrated over some feat that defies all sane logic, I have to admit that I really enjoy it when a new member first sits down for a particularly wild episode! There were multiple days where Sean would be quietly going over some comics or volumes… and then suddenly shoot back in his chair with a yelp of surprise, followed by some truly genuine excitement to share how Strange threw a star at a god made of black holes, or how Fate’s helmet bounced off the literal edge of all creation.
On a creative side, this made Strange VS Fate one of our most complicated episode to mold together. While they have measurable feats, they’ve each shown numerous powers that dwarf whatever numbers we could possibly attribute to them. They fight with magic, so the battle animation wouldn’t be straightforward. Also, their magic’s limits aren’t well defined, so the battle would have to be extremely complex. There was a lot of back and forth debating how we would present these characters and what basis we would use in our argument for the victor.
Ryu VS Jin, on the other hand, seemed like a fairly straightforward episode. While the characters weren’t exactly simple, it was a far cry from the immeasurable power of our old wizard friends three weeks earlier. That being said, this episode’s result relied so much on scaling over actual proven feats that many of the team were hesitant to lock down Ryu as the victor. In fact, there was a good while where most of us agreed that Jin should take the win. However, it’s very important to me that all our Death Battle analysis and victor prediction end with a unanimous decision, so this one took quite a while to settle. It was worth it, though!
After 4 years of animating for the show, Ryu VS Jin marks Torrian’s final project to work as a lead on. He’s moved on to that sweet gen:LOCK showbiz! We all knew this was coming for a long time, honestly, so we were fully prepared for the transition. Joining him for this one was Kristina Christofferson and David Fisher, two incredibly talented animators who took up the reigns after his departure. For his last go, we also did something Torrian’s been wanted to do for a long time. We teamed up with Omega Sparx to create a rap soundtrack! Torrian had been such an essential part of the team for so long, it’s been weird going over fights with him and counting how many flips he slipped in when nobody was looking.
This episode is extremely special to us.
-Ben B. Singer
P.S. If you could have just one of either Strange or Fate’s magic artifacts, along with all the powers it has, which one would you take and why? I’d take that kickin’ cloak! Hey, it’s stylish.
I Traveled To West Virginia To Play Fallout 76 For Three Hours And Came Back With Tons of Gameplay Details and Screengrabs!
1 month agoericvespe
Being a child of the '80s and early '90s video games were kind of a big deal. I put many childhood hours into NES classics (I vividly remember the excitement the Christmas I got Super Mario Bros 3), I was there at the birth of Sega, Super Nintendo, N64, Gameboy and my grandpa even let me play Doom on his work computer.
But in late '90s/early aughts I slipped into the comfortable suit of the casual gamer. Halo brought me back to consoles, but it wasn't until Fallout 3 that my mind opened on gaming as an art form. Part of the reason for this is that I was a late-comer to RPGs. I played a little KOTOR, but at the time I couldn't quite wrap my mind around the gameplay. Keep in mind I was young and dumb and a little too impatient with things that were unfamiliar.
So, I missed Oblivion and would have missed Fallout 3 if it wasn't for the overwhelming hype surrounding the title. Thankfully I gave it a spin on my 360 and my first true open world experience blew my fuckin' mind.
The moment I stepped out of Vault 101 and took in the wasteland before me I knew something had changed. Where do I go? There's no waypoint, there's no voiceover guiding me to my next spot, there's no cut scene hinting at what I should do. I was off rails in a way I had never experienced.
It's quite brilliantly designed. I didn't know where to go so I followed a road past a burnt-out playground and the skeleton of some old buildings and eventually found myself in Megaton. It led me to the next area it wanted me to go by playing on the immersion element. Where would I go if I was actually there? Not off into the brush, I'd stick to the road.
Fallout 3 gave me a wow moment that I had only really experienced in movies before. I also remember talking to a friend who was playing at the same time as I was. We were both pushing a hundred hours at this point and I asked him what choice he made at Megaton. Did he blow up the town and get his lofty penthouse at Tenpenny Tower or did he do the good thing and deactivate the bomb?
His response: “What's Megaton?”
He had finished the game, done a hundred side quests and still never managed to stumble across one of the biggest landmarks on the map. That astounded me even further. If he missed something as huge as that, what'd I miss?
Hundreds of hours and many replays later Fallout 3 is still is a game I go back to from time to time. I dug New Vegas and Fallout 4, but to me Fallout 3 remains the gold standard. It might be a nostalgic view since that game was my “first time,” but it's how I feel.
Needless to say I fell in love with the world then and there and have been crazy for it ever since. Naturally when the opportunity came up to travel to West Virginia to play Fallout 76 early I was so, so, so in.
Especially for this peculiar entry into the series that I love so much. Listen, if this was simply Fallout 5 I'd be there for it, but since this is Bethesda's first foray into a multiplayer space (with this franchise, I'm well aware of Elder Scrolls Online) I had so many questions about what was in store.
First thing I can tell you is that Bethesda and Fortyseven Communications, their publicity company, know how to throw an event. They chose the location of this massive junket to be the Greenbrier Hotel, a crazy huge resort in White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia that not only is a major location within the game itself, but also carries with it an incredibly on-point little known secret: There's a real deal nuclear fallout shelter underneath it.
And I mean real-deal. It was secretly built by the US government in the late '50s and early '60s as a continuity of government project. Intended to be used by the entire Congress should the bombs fall, this bunker was built underneath a new wing the Greenbrier was adding on to their already gigantic hotel. In the early '90s The Washington Post outed the secret government location and since then it has been decommissioned and is a tourist attraction for resort guests.
So naturally the first thing we did when we arrived at the hotel was take a tour of the fallout shelter. A lifesized Vault Boy was waiting for us at the entrance and Mickey Mouse-style marched us through the front door.
The long, concrete hallway was exactly what you'd imagine entering something like this and I can tell you the claustrophobia is very real. When that 25 ton blast door closed behind us the reverberating thud could be felt deep your chest. I was maybe 200 feet into the bunker when the door closed and it was like getting hit by a shockwave.
We weren't allowed any cameras or other recording devices during the tour, so apologies for the lack of photos. Just know that they kept much of it as it was. From green lockers to bunk beds and old clunky computers it felt super Fallout accurate. I wanted to search for caps, but the tour guides wouldn't let me.
A giant portion of the bunker is now being used as a backup data server location, mostly for Fortune 500 companies, which is the real reason we weren't able to bring any electronics in. I suspect if someone snuck in, Mission: Impossible style, and plugged directly into these servers they could have made out with some hugely valuable information.
They did give us our phones back when we reached the kitchen/dining area where Bethesda was throwing a reception. Booze, party balloons, tinny old timey music ringing through speakers... It was about as immersive as you'd expect and just about the coolest goddamn thing I've gotten to do in a long time.
That was followed by some statements by everybody's favorite video game spokesman, Pete Hines, against the backdrop of Fallout 76 flags at the podium where the new Congress would have been run should the commies have bombed us back during the Bay of Pigs days.
He gave us a rundown of what to expect in the next couple of days and then we got to actually go to the opening night party.
Still in the bunker, but in a more modern room just off the secret entrance to the actual hotel, the dining hall was covered in Fallout iconography. Donuts in the shape of the Vault-Tec logo, giant Vault Boy statues in the corners, penny pressing machines that spit out Fallout 76 designs, a six foot tall glass nuke filled with bottle caps and a dinner comprised of dishes from the Fallout Cookbook. (The Blamco Mac & Cheese was delicious).
So the presentation was A+, but what about the game itself? All the glitz and glamor and brilliant marketing doesn't mean anything if the game doesn't work.
The way this was set up is they had dozens of squares made up of four monitors connected to X-boxes in a big ballroom. These were our Fallout 76 teams. Three people were visitors, one person was a Bethesda employee whose sole job was to shepherd us through the three hours of gameplay we were going to get.
I was in a group with my buddy Scott Wampler, a fellow Fallout fanatic who writes for Birth.Movies.Death. and we were all on headsets communicating with each other.
My goal going in was to touch on a lot of different experiences. I wanted to experiment with the PVP system, I wanted to roam as a group and see how co-op worked in the Fallout universe, and I wanted to branch off and see how solo exploring felt. I also wanted to get a sense of the scope of the map and toy around with the C.A.M.P. system.
That felt doable in three hours, but damn... there's so much to explore and the map is legitimately massive I felt rushed. When they say this map is 4x bigger than Fallout 4 they're not kidding. They're also not padding it out with large expanses of nothing. There's always something, whether it's a turned over car or shack with some loot or a bunch of low level bad guys or simply a gorgeous vista. It's not just empty space.
The main quest seems pretty straight forward. Your overseer at Vault 76 ventured out before Reclamation Day and you're following in her footsteps. It's a little Fallout 3 in that way. You always feel just a few steps behind her, finding her camps (which always have good materials, workbenches and items, by the way) and her logs giving you hints at where to go next.
Fallout 76 leans heavier on survival this time around, something I was concerned about. I'm the kind of player that doesn't want to worry about eating and drinking and all that shit. I max out my carry weight perks early because I hate being over-encumbered, so the idea that I have to travel with food and that ammo and health have weight isn't my favorite thing in the world, but I didn't find it to be all that much of a burden in the three hours I played.
One of the most helpful tips I got from the Bethesda devs was to constantly break down your junk into their base materials. You can do this at any work bench or chemistry station you come across in the West Virginia wilds and they made sure to make them pretty abundant. This significantly decreases the weight of the materials.
It's dangerous to travel with this junk, though, even if it's deconstructed because if you're killed it drops. If you're killed by a real life person they can collect your junk, if you're killed by a robot or creature you can go back to where you died, get your sweet revenge, and reclaim your stuff. Note: you never drop your armor or weapons when you die, but the devs wanted there to be some penalty for dying, so you do drop your well-earned for junk, which you need to fix weapons, armor and build up your C.A.M.P.
Not as common as workbenches are storage lockers and boxes (bright blue and yellow, hard to miss) where you can deposit anything you have and it automatically saves and can be accessed by any such storage.
So a good thing to do is loot, deconstruct, bank and then do that over and over again. You don't want to be caught with a bunch of rare mats you spent hours exploring for when a Deathclaw comes out of nowhere.
Let's talk about PVP a little bit.
I was super nervous about this and I think this is the most concerning aspect for most Fallout fans who are used to only having to worry about the dangers of the world. I didn't run into too much PVP stuff, so I can't speak authoritatively on this, but I'll give you the details I gleaned from my gameplay.
So you're not eligible to engage in combat with other players until you're level 5, so there's some built in protection. Nobody can start any shit with you until you level a bit and when they do there's an auto-leveler that kicks in so a level 60 in power armor with amazing weapons doesn't have an impossible advantage over level 5 you. I mean, you're still probably fucked if you decide to engage, but it's not a certainty.
And you do have to choose to engage. I accidentally engaged with one guy when we were both shooting at a swarm of Feral Ghouls. I took him down with my lowly pipe pistol, but didn't have time to collect his junk because that swarm of ghouls I mentioned was hot on my ass and chased me away.
Also of note: there is no friendly fire, so if you squad up and accidentally shoot a teammate in the heat of battle it does no damage, so you can't accidentally kill someone on your team.
The murder system they put in place is a pretty great way to keep people from being griefing assholes. If you hound someone and kill them without them engaging in combat you're marked as a murderer. Suddenly you're a big bright red target on the map. Not only can everybody on the map see your location, everybody else disappears off the map for you, so you can't tell if they're closing in on you. A bounty is placed on you and the reward comes from your own caps, so there's zero upside to kill someone who doesn't want to engage. You don't get much out of it and stand to lose a lot.
We'll see how this plays out as the game is released and people progress to higher levels, but at least in early levels this was very balanced and I didn't feel like I was terrified of seeing other people.
The exploring felt very Fallout-like, the only difference is now you can do it with friends. The loot system is much the same as previous Fallouts, but I noticed caps, ammo and stimpacks were a bit tougher to find. In fact, I played a little Fallout 4 over the weekend it felt positively overloaded with ammo, caps and Stimpaks by comparison.
The loot you can get is unique to you, minus stuff that is sitting out in the open. If there's a tripwire trap, for instance, connected to a laser pistol only one person in the group can grab the laser pistol after disarming the trap. But if you unlock a safe or search a cabinet, every member of the group will get something out of it, often times very different somethings.
Same goes for defeated bad guys. If you get a hit on an enemy you will get something if you loot them. That starts getting a little frustrating if you're an explorer like me and want to thoroughly search stuff and your team goes on ahead and kills everything because then you have nothing but a trail of dead bodies with nothing on them, but it's a system that's not geared towards fucking over three of the four members of a squad, so that's cool.
Being able to play Fallout with a group is pretty badass, I gotta say. Our team explored a mine early on and while I was searching cabinets I found a security door code. At the same time Wampler found the security door and keypad, so I told him the code and he punched it in as I was on the way to him, the door opening just as I got there. Little touches like that really showed off just why being able to attack the Fallout world in a co-op way was exciting.
Another small change that was pretty fun was the ability to wear outfits over armor instead of underneath like it has been done previously. That means you can get a crazy clown costume or fireman outfit or whatever and still have all the benefits of the regular armor. I saw some Bethesda people on our server (playing from Maryland) with some crazy outfits. One guy had an intimidating black button down thing on and a bizarre skull mask.
You will be able to purchase cosmetic items using a new form of currency called Atoms, which you get from completing daily, weekly and lifetime challenges and for reaching milestones within the game.
The Atom Store wasn't in the build we were playing in, but the devs told us it will be exclusively cosmetic items and, yes, you can use real money to buy Atoms if you don't want to farm for them, much in the same way Overwatch sells lootboxes with their cosmetic items.
You will not be able to spend real money on Perk Card Packs since that can actually effect gameplay. You earn Perk Card Packs by leveling. Each pack has a piece of stale bubblegum (which can help hunger), three regular cards and one rare card. And a Dad joke. Can't forget the dad jokes.
Now any of these cards can be earned through traditional leveling, but the Perk Card packs might give you something you might not have picked or thought of picking and might make you try out a different kind of class, especially if you get a rarer one that is already leveled a bit.
If you're not caught up on how the new Perk Card system works... well, I still find it a tad confusing myself, but I'll do my best to explain it. This is your new perk tree. When you level up you can add a point to any one of your S.P.E.C.I.A.L. stats. That's Strength, Perception, Endurance, Charisma, Intelligence, Agility and Luck. You leave the vault with 1 point in each.
Each Perk Card has a point total. So, if you have one point in Perception and you get a one star Lockpick card you can put it in that slot. You can have as many cards with as many different abilities under each S.P.E.C.I.A.L. as long as the card point total isn't greater than the points you put into that skill tree.
It's a big change. I personally prefer the previous ways of picking permanent perks, but the idea here is that you don't get locked in to a specific character type. You can change out your perk cards at will and go from someone who is a badass melee character to a run-and-gunner if the situation calls for it. I think they also didn't want high level players to be walking Gods, either.
The VATS system also got an overhaul. It's kinda worthless now, at least at early levels, unless you just flat out suck at aiming. There are cards that let you target specific body parts, but vanilla VATS targets the whole body and seems to miss more than it hits. You're better off just playing it like a first person shooter. Since VATS doesn't slow down time anymore the only real use I found early on was using it as a kind of early warning system. Highlighting an enemy in the dark helped know where the attack was going to come from.
There are also smaller creatures and robots that harder to hit when firing from the hip. Liberator bots, pictured above, in particular are tough. They're little cylindrical robots that jump around, throw out buzz saws and blare Chinese army propaganda at you. I found VATS to be useful taking those little bastards out when they get up to you, but ultimately I rarely used it.
They moved the map to the start button, so I found myself constantly pulling up my Pip-Boy when trying to look at my map. My muscle memory is screwing me here. It's a little annoying, but I'll get used to it.
Because I was on a time crunch I didn't explore as much as I usually like. I'm pretty methodical when it comes to this series. I also didn't get to play around with the radio stations much. I'm told there is a lot more varied music than there was in Fallout 4, but I haven't personally experienced it. Since I was playing in a team I needed to communicate with them so I didn't have my Pip-Boy radio blaring.
The three hours blew by and Bethesda certainly knew how to end our experience. I was out in the wilds, completely separated from my group looting an interesting looking shack when I got an alert on my Pip-Boy. A computerized voice warned me a nuclear strike was imminent. A quick look at my map and I saw they were deploying it right in front of Vault 76 so we could all fast travel back and watch from relative safety. Note: Vault 76 itself can not be nuked, so you always have a free fast travel option when the nuke
I had about 3 minutes heads up that a nuke was coming in, more than enough time for me drop what I was doing and get into viewing distance. If I had my camp set up in the blast zone I think I would have had enough time to fast travel, close up shop and get the hell out of dodge.
The nuke itself was as much of an event as you'd imagine. The impact blew debris and leaves in a red cloud toward me as the mushroom cloud formed on the horizon. I stupidly decided to venture into the radiation and see how far I could get, but I was like a little old lady who dipped her toe into a too-cold pool and noped right the fuck out the second my rad meter shot up to 60 rads a second.
In the released game nukes will be an end game activity, irradiating certain portions of the map for a certain amount of time, mutating high level creatures that drop great loot and creating ultra rare crafting materials. You'll need radiation suits and/or power armor to venture in and survive.
Final thoughts: The felt like Fallout to me and that's all I wanted. Fallout with friends. The PVP aspect could turn bullshitty, but the little I experienced wasn't awful. With only 24 people allowed on a server at any given time I expect the PVP stuff to be rare unless you specifically seek it out. That might bum out some people who really want to kill other players, but that's not the game I wanted. What I want is a giant, immersive map to explore with my friends, a ton of shit to search for and collect and some cool new enemies to go up against. In my limited hands-on time I got the game I was hoping this would be.
Maybe 76 can't sustain a 100+ hours or dickhead 12 year olds will figure out a way to make it unplayable. I won't be able to say until the game's out and I can play the whole thing, but the highest compliment I can give the game is that I've been dying to play it since the hands-on event ended. Not only do I want to start from scratch and methodically go through the area surrounding Vault 76, I want to do it with my regular buddies.
1 month agoBenBSinger Ben B. Singer
Going into this year and committing to the most popular requests no matter what, I knew there were a few match-ups we had to do which would challenge the reception of our show. Specifically, despite the popularity of some requests, there were a couple which I wasn't sure how they would be recieved. Jotaro VS Kenshiro was one of those, but another was Crash VS Spyro.
Don’t get me wrong, Crash VS Spyro makes so much sense! It’s a classic rivalry of mascots! There’s a good reason for it to be a popular request! Everyone wants to see that, right? Well… sort of. It turns out many people are actually requesting different versions of this match-up. Some people wanted to see Crash and Spyro go at it with everything at their disposal. Others wanted to see their arsenals shrunk down to their classic origins. For example, let’s say we only took the classic versions of the characters. Classic Spyro makes sense, as he had a very distinct timeline somewhat separated from the second trilogy and Skylanders games.
However, Crash does not have such a split, so there really isn’t such a thing as “classic era” Crash in an official sense. What would be the cut off point? The GameBoy games? The PlayStation 1 games? If we intentionally remove part of Crash’s story to create our own version of “Classic Crash” and he loses, won’t that feel like we stacked the deck against him? How would the match have changed if we hadn’t cut out his modern games? If Crash did win, how would things have played out if Spyro had access to his arsenal and skills from the Legends and Skylanders games? And what will fans of Legends think when we completely shut out their version of the character? But if we include Legends and he’s way too powerful, will Crash fans be mad?
IT’S A LOT.
This goes back to that whole problem with taking characters from different parts of their timelines or sources, it creates a mess. This is why I generally don’t like making the character selection so complicated, and streamlined this one as it was. I’m absolutely positive our solutions for the episode were the best ones possible.
Sora VS Pit was yet another long requested episode finally getting its time in the spotlight. It was also yet another chance for us to show off Nick’s hilariously good/bad Goofy voice! Similar to Jotaro VS Kenshiro, I knew that despite this being such a popular request this was one of those that came from a very vocal minority of viewers, but it didn’t matter to me. I was sticking to the goal of this season, getting those popular requests out there, and this one was easily one of the longest running popular requests we’d ever had. I’d venture to say this request’s insisting popularity out-endured even the likes of Galactus VS Unicron.
Then there’s Leon VS Frank, one of the only two match-ups this year not from the top 10% of the most requested. Truth be told, this match-up exists purely because Torrian wanted to do it. I always like to give the team some match-ups each year that they’re passionate about. More often than not, this turns out spectacular episodes like Balrog VS TJ Combo. However, this ultimately had to be moved to Luis’ 2D team… and honestly, I think it worked out really well! Luis was able to pull off some things with the animation that I don’t think Torrian could have, and we ended up with a really cool thematic battle that’s wonderfully different from most of our episodes.
Also, before I wrap this up, there’s another huge change to this season that I want to bring up. I already mentioned how a couple musicians have really brought our battle sequences to a whole new level, but I also want to talk about the sound design. This was the year we began fully integrating into Rooster Teeth creative process, including getting the assistance of audio engineers Chris Kokkinos and Philip Spann. There’s a saying in our field of work that holds a lot of weight; “Sound makes up 70% of what you see.” It’s absolutely true, and these guys have improved our episode quality dramatically. It’s been fascinating to watch some of our older animations and compare them to what we’re capable of producing now. The difference is staggering, and certainly worth a little bit of celebrating with our big 100th episode, right? Right!
-Ben B. Singer
P.S. This marks the last week of the Road To 100 blog! Do you have any questions or thoughts about Death Battle you’d like me to address in an upcoming entry?
1 month agokriss Community Manager
I think most of you know about my avocado obsession. The running joke is that since I'm allergic to avocados, I should be staying away from them, but in truth, I do love them, and I'm even growing avocado trees!
I have four seeds currently growing in glass cups, but two of them are almost ready to pot in soil (I think). Two seeds are from small Hass Avocados and the other two seeds are from large Hass Avocados. Seems that it's highly likely they will not produce fruit which I am incredibly bummed about, but this project has been fun to watch.
This all started when I was given an Avoseedo as a Secret Santa present last year from my friend Kyle. It's basically a little plastic pot that has a separate "seed holder" that is meant to float when you fill the pot with water. Basically, place the seed in the holder, fill the pot with water, and refill when the water line dips too far. Change water as needed. My first seed didn't grow very well, so I decided to try again a couple months later. The second seed took its sweet time cracking and growing a root, but it now has a long stem and I'm waiting for leaves to start sprouting. I accidentally damaged the main root, so it took a while for it to recover from that. Over time, I decided to try and grow three more seeds, and they're growing beautifully!
Here's one of them.
It rained a lot this past weekend, so I didn't pot them in soil. Perhaps this coming weekend, that'll be my house project. I think I should name them. What do y'all think?
1 month agoalyssa.walker
I wanted to introduce myself and share some news. I joined the Programming team a few months ago as the Scheduling Manager. Since then, I have been helping to figure out the best times and dates to launch new episodes. I will also be scheduling the 24/7 channels that you see on our site and app.
This week, we switched over the streaming players on these feeds (Rooster TV Beta, AHTV Beta, and Funhaus TV Beta). Since the launch of the channels, we have been using YouTube’s player to air episodes of our content on a 24-hour basis for the whole community to enjoy.
Because of this player, we were only able to create random playlists and could not program a schedule. On Wednesday, we began using a new player to stream these feeds. This change means that there will no longer be the ability to click-through to the playlist on YouTube from our site, but it DOES mean we will have a lot of new possibilities for scheduling the feeds. (YAY!)
Not only will this switch give us the opportunity to eventually incorporate all live broadcasts and livestreams into the channels, but we will also be able to better curate and specifically schedule the content airing on them. Be on the lookout for marathons, theme days, and holiday content as we start to get more involved in scheduling each channel. And if there’s anything you want to see, let us know! We want to include videos and content that you want to see.
1 month agoJoshuaKazemi @joshuakazemi
Another week another round of editor notes!
Top 10 Nightmare Fuel in Kids Movies - Editor Notes
#10 - Dumbo - Like any kid worth his salt, I used to rewatch my Disney VHS tapes constantly. I only ever saw Dumbo once. The elephant parade is probably why. No thanks!
#9 - Toy Story - Still my favorite movie. I wrote "Joshua" on my VHS clam-shell.
#8 - Wizards - I've never seen Wizards. It looks horrifying.
#7 - Spirited Away - I love this movie, obviously but it still creeps me out! Also here's an actual editorial note: I originally had one ominous sounding track to play through this entry and then Chad suggested that I save that track for the pig parent reveal. The whole entry works so much better because of it. That's one of the many reasons I love collaborating at ScrewAttack. It always makes thing better.
#6 - Return to Oz - Never saw it. No thanks.
#5 - Brave Little Toaster - I've never seen this all the way through. I feel like I should.
#4 - All Dogs Go To Heaven - Nick talking about his Dalmatian, Disney, gets me. It's so sincere!
#3 - Coraline - I've never seen this either! But I had to cut this together so I kinda know every that happens now. Oh well.
#2 - Watership Down - Watership Down sounds like a straight up war movie. Like what??
#1 - Willy Wonka - This is another movie from childhood that I only watched once. One and done. It's creepy!
The Desk of The Desk of Death Battle - Red's Special Pokeballs - Editor
- So quick story: Ben watched this cut to approve it but hadn't heard anything about this script or video. So the "Pokeball" reveal really caught him off guard. It was pretty hilarious. Also this manga is WEIRD.
- It's SO HARD to find music right for Pokemon. I've probably already said this but it's still true.
- As you might imagine, coming up with an appropriate title and thumbnail for this episode was an ORDEAL.
- 02:44 - everybody poops, Jocelyn.
- I tried to find a clean (no music, no additional edits) clip of Emeril doing his "Bam!" thing for the line: "Let's kick it up a notch." It doesn't exist.
1 month agoBenBSinger Ben B. Singer
Before I jump into Season 5 chatter, can I just say that I am extremely proud of this year so far? I personally think it’s been our best one yet, and not just by quality alone. If you don’t think the same, maybe you will once I’ve completed the next few blogs… which will unfortunately be the end of this series. Yep, we’re almost all caught up! The Road to 100 is in its final stretch!
I’ve already covered the first episode of this season, Black Panther VS Batman, but I’d like to express my intentions with this season. This would be the first time we could produce a season without some dramatic life-altering change happening. We wouldn’t be completely changing the guard like in Season 3, and we wouldn’t be adjusting to a new work environment like we did throughout Season 4. Season 5 was the perfect time to hone in on what we’d always strived to do; make the most requested match-ups of all time!
Thanks to our match-up suggestion form, we noticed Black Panther VS Batman had quickly risen to sit comfortably in the top 10% of all requests. I believe all but two match-ups in this season spawned from that same category.
The next episode was Raven VS Twilight Sparkle. Yeah, I know, another pony episode! Honestly, if you had asked me a year earlier if we’d bring My Little Pony back into the fray, I probably would have said no. Deadpool VS Pinkie Pie seemed like a pretty good wrap up to that pile of shenanigans. However, the concept of pitting Twilight against Raven had actually intrigued me since all the way back in Season 1 when I worked on Starscream VS Rainbow Dash. I had seen the match-up requested then and I continued to see it requested throughout the years. It was an extremely popular request, just shy of Raven VS Scarlet Witch and Raven VS Phoenix. Raven had been such a popular request for so long that I knew she belonged in this season of top requests. Which meant I had a very difficult choice to make between those three ideas.
I noticed a lot of people thought we chose this match-up just because Twilight and Raven share the same voice actress, Tara Strong. That’s not the case, and I found it to be nothing more than a fun coincidence. We did include a little nod to it by casting Kira Buckland as both characters in the Death Battle! The reason this match-up was picked was because of their powers, specifically their empathy magic. In this regard, this match-up seemed so much more obvious than throwing Scarlet Witch or Phoenix at Raven just because they look similar or have bird themes going on.
A lot of the top requests turned out to be fairly straightforward matches where one character would simply be stronger or faster than the other and that’s all they need, but I want to make sure that every Death Battle season has plenty of quirkier, more complex fights to keep things fresh.
Another battle that wasn’t quite so straightforward was Jotaro VS Kenshiro! We’ve been getting requests to bring a JoJo character into Death Battle for ages, but we’ve always been a bit hesitant about it because JoJo related content on our channel hadn’t been as popular as other content. Personally, I was a little concerned that I was merely hearing from a vocal minority that could lead to a dud of an episode release. It’s not that bad, but Jotaro VS Kenshiro is one of our least viewed episode this season, despite being awesome as all hell! Still, this year was the year of requests, and vocal minority or not, Jotaro VS Kenshiro was one of the absolute top. So screw it all, we did it anyway! See kids? Your vote really does matter!
One of the many, many reasons I think this has been our best season yet is the music. Therewolf Werewolf killed it with their track for Jotaro VS Kenshiro! It’s still one of my favorites, though each new soundtrack keeps challenging the top spot for me. A great start to the year!
-Ben B. Singer
P.S. When we announced that this season would be the year we cover a bunch of top requests, what particular match-up did you expect to see, and have we covered it yet?
1 month agoGeorgeFromGeorgia RT Events Coordinator
This past weekend can only be described as a beautiful, emotional, hilarious train wreck.
It was the best wedding I've ever been to.
My closest friend, Tony, got married to the love of his life. I was the best man, but due to health concerns, the pastor couldn't make it. Now, about 9 years ago I got ordained as a joke and in the time since then I completely forgot about it. Tony and Amy (the bride) did not.
The thing about officiating your best friend's wedding is you are already emotionally invested so anytime someone starts crying you can't help but cry. And I cried a lot.
Like a whole lot.
I was standing there and I heard sniffling to my left; Tony was teary mess and when he made eye contact with me it was like a faucet opened. I'm pretty sure we cried more than anyone else at the wedding.
All this is to say, I saw my brother get married this weekend. I got to be a part of it and I'm ecstatic to add another chunk of people to my family.
TLDR; I'm not crying, you're crying!!!
1 month agojack I Like Lego
Aloha folks! It's my favorite time of year, Extra Life Season! We've got a ton of Extra Life stuff coming up, starting on October 4th! That's right, this year's recruitment stream begins at 6pm CST on Thursday, October 4th. We're looking to build up Team Rooster Teeth for Extra Life and we're looking for amazing folks such as yourself to join.
Oh hey, did you know, this year is Extra Life's 10th anniversary? It's incredible to think that our first stream was just Geoff and I back in 2010, hanging out in the AH office, and even then, that was two years into the life of Extra Life! This year will mark our 6th "big" stream for Extra Life, and we can't be more excited.
Extra Life's official Game Day is November 3rd, but if you are playing along, you aren't beholden to that specific day. On November 3rd, Rooster Teeth will host our third Community Stream where we point our stream at different Rooster Teeth Community teams across the planet, all raising money for Extra Life! You can sign up for Extra Life (and join the Rooster Teeth Super Team) by going HERE. Don't forget, the way Extra Life works is that all donations that go to you will actually direct towards a local Children's Miracle Network of your choosing!
Since 2008, the Extra Life community has raised over $40 MILLION dollars in funds directly helping kids in Children's Miracle Network hospitals all over the United States and Canada. So much of that is from you, our amazing community.
So, the long and short of it:
Our Extra Life Rooster Teeth Recruitment Stream is October 4th at 6pm CST until 10pm CST!
The Rooster Teeth Community Extra Life Stream is November 3rd from 8am until November 4th at 8am.
The Rooster Teeth Extra Life Stream will be November 10th from 8am until November 11th at 8am.
We will be showing off some badass stuff we have planned (including exclusive items) during our recruitment stream, so please, join us! We love you guys!
1 month agoBenBSinger Ben B. Singer
Let’s finish Season 4!
Batman Beyond VS Spider-Man 2099 is a unique episode among Death Battle. It’s essentially an alternate take on an older episode (Batman VS Spider-Man) using their inspired characters. It was very interesting seeing how this match-up differed from the classic!
There was actually some internal debate over cancelling this episode. As it was entering the early stages of production, we completed planning out the schedule for the following year’s season. Lo and behold, the very first episode of Season 5, and only two episodes following this one, would be Black Panther VS Batman. The Black Panther movie was coming out in early 2018, and Batman was by far his most requested opponent, so doing that match-up at that time seemed like the natural choice.
There was some legitimate concern that having two episodes so close together which feature a Batman might create some annoyance among viewers. Considering Batman Beyond is quite different from the classic Bruce Wayne take, we stuck to our guns and went forward with the plan.
Good thing too, as I was really looking forward to this one! We’ve often discussed the idea of “grudge match” episodes where we return to an old match-up but, as the great Shyamalan insists, with a twist!. What would happen if the Power Rangers and Voltron pilots fought without their machines, or if Natsu and Ace fought in a rainstorm heavy enough to douse their fire? We’ve refrained because it would be hard to create such a scenario that doesn’t appear to favor one combatant over the other, and overall the idea didn’t seem worth it. However, this was sort of akin to that idea in a fundamental way, presenting some entirely new mechanics and dynamics into the Batman versus Spider-Man debate. Like having old man Bruce and a holographic Marilyn Monroe get in on the fight! Who saw that coming?
(There’s even a vehicle related easter egg hidden in the fight. Did you spot it?)
I’m very proud of how Torrian handled his Sephiroth VS Vergil animation. It was one we’ve wanted to do for a long time, but our animation timeline fell a little behind during Thor VS Wonder Woman production. There was a lot going on in that one, and it pushed the render farm to its limit. So we were actually pretty concerned that the animation for Sephiroth VS Vergil would suffer from this. That Torrian wouldn’t have enough time to reasonably accomplish this. Luckily, we formed a plan with an entirely new scheduling process.
And to be perfectly honest, I think this one’s animation is one of his absolute best of all time.
This wraps up Season 4! I’ll be jumping into the current year this Friday, and I’m excited to finally talk all about what I believe is Death Battle’s best season of them all.
-Ben B. Singer
P.S. What was your favorite episode from Season 4?
1 month agoBenBSinger Ben B. Singer
With both Wonder Woman and Thor coming to theaters in 2017, it seemed only natural that we’d put them together in a Death Battle episode. I’d actually planned on us doing this match-up for a long time, even before Gal Gadot and Chris Hemsworth tweeted about it! I probably would have included in in Season 3 if those two movies hadn’t been announced as releasing the following year.
I think there are very few characters who will ever get the chance at more than one Death Battle, but Thor and Wonder Woman are perfect as combatants for the show! They have impressive and measurable powers, unique and interesting arsenals, are capable of jumping into any fight at nearly full potential with no prep-time, (Sorry, Batman!) and are frankly just really fun to talk about!
And then we get to easily the most complicated match-up of the year; Naruto VS Ichigo.
This was another match I always knew we’d bring into the show. It was always a question of timing. Specifically, the question was: “Do we wait for both Bleach and Naruto series to end?” In this case, we were able to do just that. Unfortunately, it's not always a reliable option.
I often get questions about this from viewers. Some people are adamant that we should wait until a series is over before bringing related characters into a Death Battle. That way we can examine them at the maximum potential. This makes total sense on paper, sure… but oftentimes it isn't very practical. If we were to always wait until the end of a series, then we’d have to ignore a vast majority of top requested episodes for so long that their demand may plummet dramatically before we do them. People want to see what’s hot at the moment, after all. Even then, there are some series that simply have no hope of ending anytime soon, and will likely still be in circulation even after Death Battle has ended, whenever that may be. Is it really fair to ourselves, let alone the audience’s wishes, to indefinitely put off episodes for who knows how long?
I usually see this conversation in regards to manga/anime characters, but look and Wonder Woman and Thor! They both have ongoing comic series with no end in sight. Thor in particular was going through a powerful life changing and character molding arc at the same time we made Thor VS Wonder Woman. Yet it would be a ridiculous notion to wait until their comics end. Perhaps waiting on a manga story is more reasonable, as they typically only have one author and usually build up to a planned conclusion. But then look at things like Boruto and Dragon Ball Super. If fans want to see more, they’ll usually get it, and those types of show are often the subject of the most frequent Death Battle requests. There’s no way for us to predict and accommodate such things. For example, One Piece is potentially going to continue for another whole decade, if not more! Is it really worth it to wait 10 more years before bringing Luffy into Death Battle? If not, when would be a good time to do such a thing? This makes an excellent case for "milestone-specific" character interpretation. Like using Teen Gohan but removing anything related to or past Adult Gohan.
Most of the time, I just view our match-ups as they are at the time they air. If Bleach gets a sequel series and Ichigo gets a massive upgrade, perhaps that would warrant a rematch episode. Who knows? There’s no grand plan, but I certainly strive to strike a balance. We try to include characters who have had enough information to present them at a reasonable level. For example, Saitama from One-Punch Man was in high demand when that series first began, but I refused to put him in an episode until more OPM content had been published. Same goes for Ruby VS Maka, the match-up Monty Oum himself requested. I’d rather wait until RWBY has publicly explored her powers which have only been hinted at so far, as it would be unfair to pit Ruby against a character from a complete series while we still known so little about what she is capable of. Yet at the same time, I’m not sure it would be feasible to wait until either One-Punch Man or RWBY are 100% complete before including those characters. It’s all a balancing act of figuring the right time and place. I prefer to take Death Battle one episode at a time, and focus on what’s available at said time.
And in the case for Naruto VS Ichigo, there was a lot to focus on.
After a miscalculation that unfortunately slipped into the Android 18 VS Captain Marvel episode, we took new steps to ensure our analyses and mathematics were correct. We certainly put more eyes on every piece of information from then on. Given the complexity of this massive episode, this additional support was put to the test, and became incredibly useful when a mistaken calculation occurred.
You know how we used Ulquiorra’s ability to destroy Las Noches to help determine Ichigo’s maximum power output? These was a lot that went into this calculation. Hell, it takes nearly 2 whole minutes to explain it all in the episode! Anyway, one part required calculating the square mileage of Las Noches to determine Ulquiorra’s power output. Because Las Noches’ size isn’t very clearly defined, this became a challenge in and of itself. In a very early draft of the script, it was believed that Las Noches was circular in shape. However, as the script passed through the process, this was noted as a mistake, as a few particular screenshots show that Las Noches is, in fact, square. Obviously this changes the dimensions of the city a lot, and in fact a square city meant Ulquiorra’s power was much greater than if it were circular, so it was incredibly important to catch such a specific, otherwise arbitrary detail. But our team has gotten really good about catching stuff like that and acting on it!
This animation was really special, too. Many of Ichigo’s more powerful forms have had very rare appearances in media. By using custom artwork, our Death Battle became one of the first fight videos in existence to show Ichigo’s final form in actual combat! I know some people were confused about the Mugetsu move being used as Ichigo’s last resort, since theoretically his merged Hollow form could be more powerful. Including Mugetsu as the final attack was actually inspired by our research into fan discussions. Here’s the thing; these characters’ upper limits were extremely difficult to determine. Their upgrades and alternate modes don’t scale linearly like the Super Saiyan forms. As such, the Bleach fandom is pretty divided on Ichigo’s power levels throughout the series.
To top it off, the Mugetsu move saps Ichigo of his powers. We knew that the only place it could fit would be the end of the fight. We also knew that if we didn’t include it, there’d be a whole section of Bleach fans arguing that we didn’t use his most powerful form. Regardless on where you stand on that debate, it seemed most logical to pit both “top tier” forms against Naruto’s giant fox mode. Judging by the overall positive response this episode got, I think we made the right call!
-Ben B. Singer
P.S. What’s your opinion on saving characters until a series is over? If you prefer waiting, what are your thoughts on characters who are a part of ongoing series with no reasonable end in sight like One Piece and comic books?
1 month agoericvespe
The biggest get of Fantastic Fest was the new Halloween and instead of ending the festival with it they threw it right up front, charging the festival with a rush of energy right off the bat.
You might have heard that the approach to this film isn't a remake or a reboot or a traditional sequel. The concept is to throw out pretty much everything after the first film and make it a direct sequel to John Carpenter's 1978 original. That means all the stuff about Laurie Strode being Michael Myers' sister is out the window as is the crazy convoluted Myers cult-y backstory that was added in the Halloween 4-6 years.
The key reason this movie works is precisely because of that choice.
Here's the thing. When you strip Myers of motivation and reason for being the killing machine he is you return him to being the faceless boogeyman that was originally credited only as “The Shape.” His mask is a blank slate, a white screen for the audience to project their greatest fears onto. The Shape is random death. He's a walking car accident or heart attack or lightning strike. Giving him a reason to be hunting Laurie Strode (he just gotta kill any and all sisters!) in Halloween 2 undercut that, which is why he became less and less scary as the movies went on.
With 2018's Halloween they go back to The Shape. We meet Michael early on and he's just a shell, a motionless, thoughtless vessel. The thing that triggers him back into action isn't the calendar flipping over to Halloween once again or because he catches a glimpse of Laurie Strode... You don't know why he puts the mask back on again. And THAT's the way it should to be.
Once he slips the mask on, he's once again random death personified. You don't know who he'll go after, who he'll spare, what captures his attention and what doesn't. In fact you get the feeling that if Laurie Strode wasn't seeking him out he could have gone on his rampage and never once reunited with his previous target. Again, THAT's the way it should be!
Getting The Shape right sounds like a small part to making a worthy sequel, but up to this point Halloween 2018 is the only sequel to actually pull it off. So that alone makes this film a big recommend, but it's not the only thing Halloween 2018 has going for it.
There's a strong subtext about how people deal with trauma that adds a little meat to a movie ostensibly simply about a brutal killer going on a Halloween night rampage through suburbia. Laurie Strode is a survivor, a little bit in the Sarah Connor/T2 mold, but it's not an easy equation from hurt in the '70s to superhero in the twenty-teens. Like most trauma survivors, Laurie has to carry the stain of the events she survived into her daily life. That had an impact on her future relationships, how she related to her children, how her education unfolded, how she did her job. It's a part of her, both positive and negative.
She has prepared for the day random horror would come back into her life. In this case it was embodied in Michael Myers, but if it was aliens invading or a dirty bomb going off in Haddonfield or any other even that requires a call to action she would have been just as ready to tackle it in the name of protecting those she loves.
Some of the subtext is deep, some of it is lightly brought up and kind of forgotten, but the important thing is it's there and it gives Jamie Lee Curtis a lot to work with. She's so great in the movie. Strong, without being supernatural, flawed without being a cliché. You root for her and kind of feel sorry for Myers should he find himself in her crosshairs because he ain't ready for it.
The movie isn't full of jump scares, but you do get some brutal, unexpected kills. It gets gory, but it doesn't depend on gore to provide the horror. Again, what makes Myers scary is you know he's around and you know he won't stop once he sees you and they play that up big time.
Now, Halloween 2018 isn't perfect. It's a tad choppy in the first act. It doesn't seem to really get into its flow until Myers is out and about. There's also a subplot involving Myers' psychiatrist that I didn't care for. It's weird, out of left field and frankly kind of feels like it belongs in one of the lesser sequels this one is so smartly ignoring.
However, the movie has it where it counts. Jamie Lee is on point, Judy Greer, who plays her daughter, has some good stuff to do, Will Patton is solid as the Sheriff who has an unexpected connection to the events of the first film and, most importantly, Michael Myers is scary again.
Danny McBride's input can absolutely be felt, especially in some of the character dialogue. There are a couple of minor characters who pop up and their sharp, funny back and forths just scream McBride to me. I may be completely mistaken, but there's one character in particular, a kid named Julian, that feels like he's McBride's stand-in. He's got heart, but loves fucking with his babysitter, making him probably my favorite new character in the series in ages. In fact, I love Julian so much I want to see a spin-off movie where it's just him talking loving smack to various babysitters for 2 hours. I may be the only one, but I'd be there with bells on if that happened!
The film looks great, with deep nighttime blacks and rich cinematic photography that fits extremely well with Carpenter's original. Speaking of, John and Cody Carpenter's score is another great layer that makes this feel in line with the original and not tacked on to the series.
Halloween 2018 just feels right. That's the highest compliment I can give it. It feels like a worthy, legit followup that finally, fully understands what made the first film tick.
1 month agoBenBSinger Ben B. Singer
Now here’s a group of episodes that are extremely special to me!
Let’s start with Balrog VS TJ Combo, currently the latest Death Battle appearance of a Killer Instinct character. This match-up was specifically requested by Nick and Torrian for this season, and quickly became their pet project.
As far as the fight goes, Nick and Torrian were on the same page from day one. Obviously it had take place in a boxing ring, but the real question was whether or not we should apply boxing rules to the animation. The original script had them battling through many timed rounds, with it all coming to a head in the final one. My concern was that it might create confusion among some viewers about whether or not these sporting rules were taken into account when choosing the victor. Particularly if one of these rounds ended in a “saved by the bell” moment where it appears either character could have won if the fight took place outside a sporting event. The last thing I wanted was to see a fleet of comments demanding that we redo the episode without the ring rules. While I think Nick and Torrian were a little disappointed I was basically having to tear their idea apart, we eventually came to the compromise you see in the episode itself. Personally, I think the final result is the best possible direction we could’ve had. Just thinking about this episode excites me!
One of my favorite things to do with Death Battle combatant is compare their fighting styles to those in real life. Oftentimes, especially with fighting game characters, their styles are specifically labelled, giving us a starting point to really dive into their potential in depth. Part of this sort of research also involves how the two combatants’ fighting styles would play off each other. Some styles can be natural counters to others. This was our first episode featuring a duel between two boxers, giving us a unique opportunity to study a sport we hadn’t covered yet. It was fascinating comparing Balrog and TJ to the boxing triangle theory, as well as boxers like George Foreman and Muhammad Ali. I love it when good research just clicks together like that!
Shredder VS Silver Samurai was a fairly unique episode. Similar to Carnage VS Lucy from our current season, it was a match-up that wasn’t heavilly requested, yet not totally unheard of. We chose it not necessarily for any potential view count and popular success, but simply because we thought it would be an interesting bout. I think it turned out to be a complete success! Examining how the characters related to the histories of ninja and samurai was well worth the time, and Luis pulled off yet another gorgeous animation alongside sprite artist Chris Bastin aka Jerky! Jerky is the one responsible for a lot of the custom sprite work you’ve seen in Death Battle seasons 4 and 5, including some of the most grotesque deaths like Ace’s burning face and Super Shredder incredibly over-the-top finishing move here.
Shredder VS Silver Samurai also marked a turning point for a section of Death Battle production that hadn’t changed much since the beginning; the music! Starting with this episode, all Death Battle animations would feature a completely original battle score! This first one, Shredding Silver, was composed and performed by our good friend Brandon Yates, who would be helping with many, many future episodes since then. Soon after this, we teamed up with Werewolf Therewolf to alternate episodes with Brandon. Every time these guys send in a track for an episode is the highlight of my day, even if it’s just an early mix that’s going to be changed before the final cut. Bringing in original music actually changed the way I looked at our battle sequences. We could do so much more now, and really make these battles something of our own. I think the recent tracks for Carnage VS Lucy and Optimus Prime VS Gundam are excellent examples of that.
Then there’s Smokey Bear VS McGruff the Crime Dog! The battle of the PSA mascots. Seriously, what the hell is this episode? RIght???
This was an gag episode long in the making. Three years, in fact. Despite having two separate teams for different Death Battles at this point, this one actually started as my project in 2015, then became Nick’s project in 2016, and finally Sam’s project in 2017. Every Death Battle project lead at the time got their hands on this one! It was really fun exploring the history of these characters. Most of the ScrewAttack staff is in our mid 20’s to mid 30’s, so not all of us were familiar with the original outings of these mascots. For example, I had no idea it used to be common practice for some grade schools to actually sing the Smokey Bear song in class every week. The more you know!
This idea was originally pitched to us at a convention and we agreed to do it. Not sure why we made such a rash promise like that on the spot, but hey, never let it be said I don’t keep my promises! Even if it takes… you know… three whole years to do them…
But there’s a good reason, I swear! If we were going to do this episode, we were going to do it right. I would accept no other notion outside of a completely hand-drawn animation. As you may recall, ScrewAttack’s budget planning didn’t allow for much show growth until Craig left. We could finally pull together episode we wanted, all thanks to the Blind Ferret animation studio! We loved working with them so much we asked them to animate our 100th episode… which, surprise, is coming up in just a few weeks!
-Ben B. Singer
1 month agoEric_Duncan VP, Marketing
Hey all -
The next RT Box is going to be available starting October 1 and will run until the end of the year or until we're out of inventory, whichever one comes first.
So, if you're already an RT Box member and you haven't skipped the box or cancelled your auto-renew, you're good to go to receive the super special holiday edition!
If you aren't an RT Box member yet, but really want this super cool box - you can sign up for it starting OCTOBER 1! (That's just in a few days.)
Thanks for being awesome. Can't wait to see y'alls reaction to the cool stuff we've made this time around.
1 month agoBenBSinger Ben B. Singer
Out of all the Season 4 episodes, these three were potentially the toughest projects. (Except for maybe Naruto VS Ichigo, but I’ll save that for later!) They were difficult to make not necessarily because of amount of research required or some debating debacle. This was the summer ScrewAttack moved to Austin to join Rooster Teeth proper.
Death Battle is already a very complicated production affair with a lot of moving parts and connecting pieces, so uprooting the lives of the entire staff across the span of two months certainly put some strain on our schedules. Some of the writing may have suffered a bit from our divided attentions, but overall I don’t think the controlled chaos was very noticeable thanks to the team’s skill.
Fortunately, the battle sequences didn’t falter! Animators Zack and Aquilla returned after a long hiatus to work on 18 VS Marvel and Lucario VS Renamon respectively, while Luis took on Metal Sonic VS Zero. This was around the time when Luis joined Torrian in the office to become our main 2D animator. Ironically enough, his Metal Sonic VS Zero was also the first Death Battle to incorporate both 2D and 3D animation! Given what I’d seen him do before, I really wasn’t sure how he’d pull off something as crazy as Metal Sonic’s Metal Overlord. Luis told me not to worry, he had a plan, but I still wasn’t expecting Overlord to have very much screen time. Then lo and behold he shows off this awesome battle sequence!
Before we could get started on Lucario VS Renamon, we had a long discussion about whether or not evolution should be included. I didn’t want it to be a repeat of Pokemon VS Digimon, so trainers/tamers were out the window. However, there was some evidence to suggest Renamon could digivolve on her own, and Lucario technically Mega Evolves on his own in Smash Bros.
Both instances required very specific circumstances, but existed nonetheless. Ultimately, it was my desire to keep this match-up different from Pokemon VS Digimon which led to evolutions being banned regardless, making this a very straight-forward one-on-one fight. I believed it would be a closer fight this way, and given the Digimon’s huge advantage last time, avoiding the possibility of such a power difference would likely encourage viewers to enjoy it more.
Also, while returning characters are far infrequent in Death Battle… I actually think it would be worthwhile to give Captain Marvel another chance at the arena. She continues to be a highly requested character with all sorts of match-up ideas. Who knows? Maybe one day...
Well, now that we were settled into our new space, it was time for Nick and Torrian to get started on a pet project they’d been talking about all year long. No blog tomorrow, but on Friday I’ll talk about Balrog VS TJ Combo!
-Ben B. Singer
P.S. Of these 3 episodes, which was your favorite and why? Which was your least favorite?