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Exclusive: Composer James Hannigan Discusses Dead Space 3 and Teases Transformers Universe

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Exclusive: Composer James Hannigan Discusses Dead Space 3Dead Space 3 released on February 5th for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. We recently sat down with composer James Hannigan to discuss the game’s soundtrack and mixing in just the right amount of terror. Read on to learn more!

Read our read our Dead Space 3 review here.

AMANDA DYAR: Dead Space 3’s soundtrack was the first you’ve worked on in the highly popular series. How did you become involved in the project, and did you originally think it was a good fit for your talents?

JAMES HANNIGAN I got involved during the middle of last year, but things didn’t get too intense for me until fairly late in the day – partly because some of what I was set to work on didn’t fully come together or finalize until the later stages of development. With a game like this, as in TV or film, music can go through a lot of changes before it finally gets locked down, particularly for scripted sequences or cutscenes. The development team constantly challenge themselves about what they’re trying to achieve on an emotional level, and what kind of experience they’re trying to deliver to the player as he/she progresses through the game, and they also look at that from the perspective of how things fits into the game’s overall trajectory and narrative arc. So nothing that happens in the game ever really feels like an isolated experience.

The message sent out and the overall tone to convey matters a lot to them, and responding to that that can be pretty challenging for a composer. Not always challenging in terms of the actual composition (some of my music in Dead Space 3 is actually pretty simple taken at face value), but in terms of working out how the music will hit the right mark, emotionally speaking, and in ensuring that it does so at the right moment! So in that sense, it’s music to be appreciated in context, I think, and is written to be as supportive of the game as possible – often underlying dialogue or particularly dramatic sequences or conflicts between the game’s various characters. Although this is sometimes difficult to get right, it can also be pretty satisfying, as it means the music ends up truly connected to the game and becomes a meaningful and well-integrated part of the whole design.

AMANDA: Also on Dead Space 3 is fellow composer Jason Graves. Were you able to work together with Jason on some of the songs on the soundtrack, and what unique sound do each of you offer that Visceral Games was looking for in the Dead Space 3 soundtrack?

JAMES: We were mostly working on different areas of the game, although sometimes you’ll encounter areas that make use of tracks from each of us.

There’s possibly a bit more emotional range to the story with this installment of the series, but not in a way that detracts from the core sci-fi/horror experience, in my opinion. And that extra range provided some scope for a broader emotional palette to exist for music. So, although some of my music is occasionally used to create an air of mystery or fear, or to underline action, I’d characterize some of it as existing for narrative support, helping to move the story along.

The collection of tracks on the album release I believe were chosen to contrast with one another, and also to tell a story, covering key moments and situations encountered in the game. So it’s actually pretty varied, and a balance between atmosphere, exploration, action, cutscene music, boss battles and, of course, moments of abject terror.

AMANDA: Your work will also be featured in the upcoming MMO Transformers Universe. Can you tell us a bit about this upcoming game and your work on the project?

JAMES: I can’t say too much about the exact nature of the game, but some of the music in it is decidedly moving in a harsher direction than has historically been the case for Transformers, while some exists within a more familiar stylistic framework. Composing for the game is an ongoing process, and new content is getting planned for it all the time. I can say, though, that we recorded a large orchestra for some of the game’s music recently, and plans are afoot for some more orchestral production. I wish I could say more about it!

To learn more visit the official Dead Space 3 website, purchase the Dead Space 3 soundtrack on iTunes, and check out the official Transformers Universe website to register for the BETA.

Exclusive: Composer James Hannigan Discusses Dead Space 3

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Buy Stuff From Eibon Press, Get More Stuff For Free

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Eibon Press have announced that they’re starting Black Friday a day early and will be running their specials for almost a week, through November 28th. This year, they’re doing something a little different, a little more interesting. Rather than reduce prices on their inventory, they’re doing a deal where depending on how much you buy from their store, you’ll get a certain amount of free swag in addition to your order.

The first tier sees anyone who makes a purchase getting two double-sided mini-posters featuring art from their upcoming Bottomfeeder and Maniac and The New York Ripper series. The second tier sees anyone who spends at least $30 getting a free copy of their VHS Comics titles Laserblast plus the mini-posters. The final tier is for those who spend $50 and more and that will net the mini-posters, the #1 issue of Laserblast, and a free copy of Lucio Fulci’s Gates of Hell #2.

Lastly, five random people will receive an extra bonus gift, which they won’t reveal but promise that, “…you’ll love it!

All order cans be placed via Eibon Press.

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KISS Meets Army of Darkness in New Comic Miniseries!

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Dynamite Entertainment just announced that they are planning to bring two of their bestselling brands together in “KISS/Army of Darkness #1”. The new comic book series will unite the rock band with none other than Ash for some Deadite ass kicking.

The series will be written by Chad Bowers and Chris Sims and illustrated by Ruairi Coleman. And the debut issue of “KISS/Army of Darkness” features three art covers from Kyle Strahm, Goni Montes, and Ken Haeser.

You can find all three covers below along with quotes from the creative team. After looking through all of that make sure to hit us up and let us know how excited you are about this new hybrid comic series in the comments below or on social media!

With Ash vs. The Army of Darkness, Chris and I were given kind of carte blanche to do whatever we wanted to the world of AOD, and we went for broke,” Co-writer Chad Bowers says. “We introduced some new characters and concepts, and built a legacy for Ash’s comics adventures that I’m immensely proud of, but not in a million years could I have guessed we’d get to continue that momentum with the added bonus of tossing the world’s greatest rock n’ roll band into the mix! I’ve been in the tank for KISS since I was in middle school. I remember buying the KISS tribute album, KISS My Ass for the Lemonheads (they covered Plaster Caster), which lead to me picking up Greatest Hits, and so on. But when I found out there was a KISS comic with blood in it, I signed up for life! Of course, I adore the songs (literally listening to Do You Love Me right now), but I’m just as obsessed with the way KISS transcends the music to become something of a genre themselves. It’s something I think about a lot, honestly, so no surprise, it’s a big part of our story too!”

“When it comes to Army of Darkness, I guess you could say that Ash is a bit of a gambler, but he’s nobody’s fool,” Co-writer Chris Sims says. “And since our first story was set back at Alan Shepard High, we’re looking forward to showing him some things that you can’t learn in school. Okay, okay, I’ll stop with the deep-cut lyrics now, but for real — if you thought Deadites at Homecoming and the Supernatural Military-Adjacent Response Team were taking Ash in a new direction, just wait until you see how we team him up with the Starchild, Space Ace, the Demon, and the Catman. In the grand tradition of the film, we’re tearing up the entire space-time continuum and if you think you know how weird this is gonna get… well, you sure know somethin’!”

“Having done some work for Dynamite in the past, I’ve really been wanting to get my foot in the door here for a long time so I can play in the sandbox of the amazing licenses they have,” Artist Ruairi Coleman says. “Chief among those, and high up on my bucket list, is Army of Darkness: Hail to the king, baby! So, when I was offered the job of drawing the KISS/Army of Darkness crossover, I couldn’t believe my luck! The concept is totally bonkers, but in a way, that would make complete sense in the world of Army of Darkness. Thinking about it, I’m surprised it hasn’t been done already and I’m honored (and more than a little intimidated) to be the guy who draws it.”

“After a more than 40-year career, KISS continues to be one of rock’s most celebrated bands, while Army of Darkness continues to be a staple in the comic book industry. We’re both honored to have the opportunity to work so closely with Gene and Paul to bring their world-renowned alter-egos to comics alongside our very own Ashy Slashy,” says Nick Barrucci, CEO and Publisher of Dynamite Entertainment. “The raging guitar chords and pyrotechnic spectacle of their stage shows could have come straight from the pages of the Necronomicon, and this epic battle between The Demon and Deadites will appeal to the hellions in all of us!”

Issue #1 will be available on digital platforms courtesy of Comixology, Kindle, iBooks, Google Play, Dynamite Digital, iVerse, Madefire, and Dark Horse Digital.

The KISS/Army of Darkness miniseries event hits February 2018.

Synopsis:

KISS is on top of the world and rocking faces until the night disciples of The Destroyer show up and the band disappears. With the tour canceled, a young Ash misses one of the most important events of his life that will change his destiny. Now the Chosen One has to get back on the right path and join the KISS ARMY OF DARKNESS!

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Jason Lives Director Pitched Follow-Up: Jason Vs Cheech and Chong

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One of my favorite entries in the Friday the 13th series is director ‘s Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives. The mixture of old-school gothic horror and comedy is always a welcome treat around these parts.

But why wasn’t McLoughlin asked to write and direct the follow-up?

Actually, it turns out he was asked to follow up Jason Lives, McLoughlin recently told Mick Garris on the Post Mortem podcast.

But his pitch – Jason vs Cheech and Chong – didn’t go over so well…

“[Frank Mancuso Jr.] wanted me to do another film after we did Jason,” McLoughlin says. “And I said, ‘What are you thinking? I don’t know what it could be now.’ And he said, ‘Well, what do you think about Freddy (Krueger) and Jason?’ And I go, ‘But Freddy’s at New Line and the guys at Paramount have [Jason].’ And it’s like, ‘Well, we’re going to try and see if we can work something out.’ So, I started thinking about that, going, It doesn’t make sense. I mean he lives in one realm and — you know, I take this stuff very seriously, what realm a monster’s supposed to stay in. And he came back, he goes, ‘Eh, forget it, it’s not going to work anyway.’ And I said, ‘You know what? You guys own Cheech and Chong. What if we do Cheech and Chong-meets-Jason? They’re like camp counselors or something. It’s like, ‘Hey, man, I saw Jason out there.’ ‘No, man, that’s a myth.’ But he said, ‘You know what? No.’”

Too bad. While I don’t know how well a Cheech and Chong/Friday the 13th flick would go, with McLoughlin at the helm, the film would have at least been funny as hell.

Plus we already got these two knuckleheads in Part III.

Are you upset we never got Tom McLoughlin’s Jason vs Cheech and Chong? Make sure to let us know in the comments below or on social media!

You can buy Friday the 13th: Part VI – Jason Lives on Blu-ray HERE.

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