SDCC 2012: Blizzplanet’s Art of Blizzard Cocktail Party Winner Photos

Some of Blizzplanet’s twenty “Art of Blizzard Cocktail Party” ticket winners sent a couple of photos to share with our community.

Here are some of the comments and feedback from attendees:

I had a blast at the party with being able to see the work created by Blizzard’s artists up close and personal. It was great also talking to the artists of Blizzard — especially Sam Didier who had some fun stories from working at Blizzard; and starting out as an artist. I do wish though that everyone wore name tags so we knew who was from Blizzard, who was a contest winner, and so forth. The food was a little bit too fancy for me; but was still very good! Overall I had a great time and the swag bags were awesome; and thank you for choosing me as one of the winners!” — Eric Schultz

Joshua had the awesome opportunity to meet Blizzard SVP of Creative Design Chris Metzen and take home a photo for posterity.

All the attendees took home a swag bag full of cool Blizzard stuff:

Dezzen and a friend at the Art of Blizzard Cocktail Party: “I really enjoyed myself. It was a night I will always think back on fondly. ”

Were you one of the SDCC 2012 Blizzard Panel and/or Art of Blizzard Cocktail Party attendees? Got photos or video? Send it our way to post in the front page.

Brian Jaye sent us photos of the Blizzard panel, the Art of Blizzard exhibition and the cocktail party.

Blizzard T-shirts $7 Off – July 2012

JINX has a new deal page with StarCraft, World of Warcraft, and Diablo III T-shirts at varying prices ranging $12.50 – $15 — that’s $7 off.

Make sure to browse through the three-pages and to double-check your size and price-per-size. Some of these are bestseller T-shirt designs including the Alliance emblem polo, the Diablo III Butcher, World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Logo, Trust in Mengsk, . Sale ends July 24th, so get ’em while it lasts. *can’t combine with any other offers or discounts.

IDW Transformers: Autocracy by Chris Metzen & Flint Dille Goes Paperback

Early this year, Blizzard Senior Vice-president of Creative Design Chris Metzen and his pal Flint Dille (Transformers) joined up to write Transformers: Autocracy — a 12-issue digital comics available on iPhone and Comixology.

If you are a Chris Metzen fan, like myself, this will blow your socks off. IDW Publishing unveiled the Transformers: Autocracy (Paperback) last week at San Diego Comic Con. If you missed the digital version or waited for the paperback, here it is. Grab it while supplies last.

The sales went so great that IDW has pledged to the creative minds of Metzen and Dille for a second round.

According to a Twitter message, both authors and Livio Ramondelli (Artist) are joining up once more to create a Transformers: Autocracy sequel titled Transformers: Monstrosity (January 2013).

For those who missed it, Transformers: Autocracy was set after Chaos Theory and Megatron Origin. This story portrays Orion Pax and Megatron uniting to fight a common foe: Zeta Prime. A chaotic world that makes path to the birth of Optimus Prime from the ashes of Orion Pax. The moment in history when Orion Pax finds and dons the Matrix.

I’m nigh 40 years old. Back in the 80s, I didn’t miss a Transformers TV Series chapter. I loved to draw Optimus Prime, back then. It’s absolutely cool to read how Optimus Prime came to be his heroic self from the pen of Chris Metzen and Flint Dille. After reading the 12-issue digital comics, I wished to see more of Metzen/Dille, and my wishes were granted. Monstrosity continues the saga. As per Dille’s words: “Now that they have freedom, what do they do with it?”

Image by Seibertron

Transformers: Autocracy (Paperback) Letter from Chris Metzen

We joked that one day we’d find enough time outside of our day jobs to collaborate on something epic!

Well, when the opportunity presented itself to work on a Transformers story for IDW, that collaboration kicked into high gear. I had a number of themes I wanted to chase in the story; ideas and things I’d wanted to see rendered since I was a kid (how Optimus got a lot of unfinished character business from the ’80s that he wanted to make good on (Hot Rod’s impetuousness getting Optimus killed, the root of Megatron’s evil). Writing Autocracy allowed us to scratch all those itches at once.

We knew Autocracy would be a fairly dark, gritty story about the fall of Cybertron’s former governmental system — a theme that both Flint and I were fascinated with. We had talked a lot over the years about the world we live in today and the challenges of developing pop fiction in the post-911 world. We talked a lot about what it means to be a good soldier — about what roles real (or fictional) heroes play in a society where achieving celebrity has seemingly become an end in and of itself — and about how the “cult of personality” shapes and breaks leaders’ careers on a daily basis. It seemed to us that this was all really interesting DNA for a story … a story of how a banged-up cop who’s lost his faith in justice opens his heart to his people — and leads them to real freedom.

Flint’s unbridled energy and constant stream of ideas really charged me up, and pushed me to reach deep to find the soul of this story. I learned a lot about franchise-storytelling from Flint over the course of developing this series (that I hope to leverage in my day job). But really, getting to work with one of my heroes on a franchise that he helped define has been a staggering honor. And, seeing Flint get to chase ideas he always wanted to tie up — and revel in the sheer geeky glory of the Transformers universe again — was great fun.

Of course, none of our highfalutin ideas would have come to life without the vision and talent of Livio Ramondelli. A newer artist on the Transformers scene, Livio turned out to be the perfect artist for this series — and the “missing third ingredient” to finalize our vision. Having grown up with Transformers himself, Livio’s instincts for these characters’ feelings and motivations really helped galvanize Autocracy’s core storyline. But it was his materful rendering of Cybertron’s scarred, immortal warriors — and the contrast between its stark urban collapse and hopeful, dawning horizons — that gave Autocracy its distinct visual authenticity.

Under Livio’s digital-brush, each page of this series literally strobed between darkness and light — and cut straight to the core of this beloved franchise; good vs evil — hope vs nihilism — all lovingly rendered in every detailed panel … Livio’s cinematic eye for storytelling and drama didn’t just define Autocracy’s look — it changed the way I’ll look at Transformers forever.

I also want to thank the very talented editorial team at IDW — who have kept the Transformers torch lit for years. First, to Scott Dunbier who suggested I take a swing at writing a Transfromers story “one day”. Props must be paid to Andy Schmidt (former series editor) for taking the chance on a couple of comics-newbies and allowing us to tell our story.

I want to give special thanks to the current Transformers editor, John Barber, for not only keeping us on track, but for shaping this story with us from the get-go. John’s patience, encouragement, and creative support were instrumental in getting this project across the finish line!

And, I’d be remiss to not thank all the great writers whose stories paved the way for Autocracy — especially Simon Furman, James Roberts, Mike Costa, and Eric Holmes. It’s been a great honor to help weave this evolving mythology alongside such great talents!

On behalf of Flint and Livio, I dearly hope you enjoy this tale — collected here in print for the first-time ever! It’s been a very rewarding adventure so far!

ALL ARE ONE.

Chris Metzen

SDCC 2012: Day Two

Some photos are starting to show up with Blizzard developers signing at the Insight Editions booth. Chris Metzen and Samwise Didier were signing The Art of Blizzard posters and books. Like it at the Insight Editions facebook.

Crave Online interviewed Sam Raimi at San Diego Comic Con. Raimi revealed he’s no longer the director of the World of Warcraft film. After he committed to direct “Oz, the Great and Powerful”, Blizzard decided to move forward with other plans for the film. The Warcraft film is still in development until further notice.

Brand ambassador Christina Sims interviews Christie Golden, author of World of Warcraft: Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, about her latest book and writing in general!

USAOPOLY Risk: StarCraft ships on September 1. It contains 330 custom pieces featuring StarCraft units.

Blizzard previewed the unpainted Sideshow Collectibles Diablo III Statue prototype. It looks awesome.

Looks like the “The Art of Blizzard” Cocktail Party seems was fun. What were the devs drinking? Who knows. Cowboy Jim Raynor would certainly have taken Tequila down the intake. Toast!

SDCC 2012: Day One

Day One at the San Diego Comic Con is pretty hot with the upcoming 2012-2013 Blizzard licensed products showcased for the world to see.

Sideshow Collectibles

Sideshow Collectibles has once more left me jaw-dropped with the unveiling of three statues: Diablo as you see him in ACT IV in Leah’s body, Arthas, and a new Tychus Findlay statue. Awesome … awesome!

For your knowledge, Sideshow announced a giveaway of this Diablo Statue. It ends on August 13th. Hurry up and participate in this Diablo III Statue Giveaway

Cryptozoic Entertainment

Cryptozoic Entertainment Christina Sims (beautiful BlizzCon cosplayer: Marry me!) gives fans a quick tour through San Diego Comic Con and some of the TCG / Board Game licensees’ booths. She will be posting a few videos throughout the weekend.

IDW Publishing

Transformers: Autocracy co-author Chris Metzen and Livio Ramondelli (artist) at the IDW booth. Photo by: Tiffany T. Wong

OUYA the Open-Source Game Console and StarCraft II eSports on the TV

A company established in Los Angeles, California started out a Kickstarter to collect money to develop an open-source game console.

They set a pledge goal of $950,000 and surprisingly it got up to 1.92 million dollars in less than 24 hours. They had surpassed the goal in only 8 hours.

Boxer8 founder Julie Uhrman explains in this video how she visualizes an open-source game console where the console is cheap, the library of games is free-to-play, and developer cost to produce games is low. Julie wants the players back to their roots. Back to their TV, in a new era where mobile gaming has flourished and dominates the market and consoles like PlayStation and Nintendo are driving developers away with the costs and difficulty and setbacks to develop for their consoles.

The key for this open-source game console to succeed are:

  • It’s based on the android platform.
  • Developers already know android development.
  • OUYA is inexpensive.
  • Game Publishers can develop games and thrive in a flexible environment.
  • Their development cost is dramatically reduced.

Ouya seeks game publishers to innovate and bring all games genres into their platform. So far Minecraft and Twitch TV have jumped onboard. This is big.

Speculation

With Blizzard Entertainment’s Next-Gen MMO Titan in the horizon, and Blizzard having its own Mobile department, it would be awesome to see Blizzard jump into the mix developing games for OUYA.

This might be the best chance to bring StarCraft II and Diablo III to the HDTV with some couching and ideas from Blizzard. Especially if OUYA integrates keyboard and mouse to their game console.

With its open-source factor, we could even see Razer innovate new Blizzard licensed products to support Blizzard games.

Twitch TV partnership with OUYA to bring video stream to the HDTV directly benefits fans. It means watching StarCraft II, and Diablo III PvP eSports straight from your TV without the need of a PC.

I can foresee Blizzard and OUYA building a great relationship if this open-source console game becomes a reality. By the looks of it, that reality looks promising. So far there are 15,392 backers signed up at OUYA’s kickstarter in less than 24 hours.

Is a Blizzard / OUYA partnership far-fetched? Not necessarily. Rob Pardo has expressed in the past his concerns about the lack of flexibility in current game consoles and the lack of a keyboard/mouse. This android-powered OUYA might be the big changer to bridge console and PC gaming development.

Anyone knows Ed Fries? He was formerly Microsoft vice-president of game publishing involved in the XBox development, and most recently the founder of FigurePrints which sells World of Warcraft character replicas created with a 3D printer. Ed Fries is involved in the OUYA game console project. Booyah! This is getting interesting.

OUYA: The Revolution will be televised

OUYA is a new game console for the TV, powered by Android.

We’ve packed this little box full of power. Developers will have access to OUYA’s open design so they can produce their games for the living room, taking advantage of everything the TV has to offer.

Best of all, OUYA’s world-class controller, console, and interface come in one beautiful, inexpensive package. All the games on it will be free, at least to try.
Great games come from great developers.

Developers can wave farewell to the roadblocks of bringing a console game to market. Anyone can make a game: every OUYA console is a dev kit. No need to purchase a license or an expensive SDK. It’s built on Android, so developers already know how it works.

That doesn’t mean OUYA is an Android port. You can create the next big title in your bedroom – just like the good old days! Who needs pants!?

OUYA could change AAA game development, too. Forget about licensing fees, retail fees, and publishing fees.

Estimated Launch: March 2013

Hardware Specs

  • Tegra3 quad-core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8GB of internal flash storage
  • HDMI connection to the TV, with support for up to 1080p HD
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Bluetooth LE 4.0
  • USB 2.0 (one) (possibly more in the future)
  • Wireless controller sporting two analog sticks, d-pad, eight action buttons, a system button, and 3″ touchpad
  • Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich

Check out the OUYA kickstarter page.

SDCC 2012: Blizzard Entertainment Licensed Products Schedule

Blizzard Entertainment Product Showcase Panel

Thursday, July 12
Room 6BCF
2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

Book Signings

On Friday, July 13 between 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. visit the Insight Editions Booth # 1035 for the book signing of Art of Blizzard. Meet Chris Metzen and Sam Didier there.

New York Times bestselling author, Christie Golden, will be at the Blizzard Product Showcase Panel, but you might have a closer one-on-one experience with the author at two signing events:

  • Thursday, July 12 (4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
    Mysterious Galaxy Booth #1119

  • Thursday, July 12 (7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.)
    Cryptozoic Store
    411 Market Street, San Diego

On Saturday, July 14 head over to the Insight Editions Booth #1035. New York Times Bestselling authors Micky Neilson, Flint Dille and Matt Burns will be there signing copies of Diablo III: Book of Cain between 10:00 a.m – 11:30 a.m.

Booth Highlights

Insight Editions booth # 1035 will feature a sneak peek of the upcoming The Art of Blizzard book, which offers an exclusive look at the ideas and imagery that have defined some of the industry’s most critically acclaimed games.

DK Publishing Booth #2913 will feature the Brady Games World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Strategy Guide. Drop in for a discount promotional code you can use to buy it when on release date.

Sideshow Collectibles Booth #1929 will have a special treat for fans. Check out sculptures featuring characters from the Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo franchises, including the latest terrifying figure from Diablo III, to be revealed during the Blizzard Product Showcase panel.

Samwise Didier Autograph & Art

Hail noble Pack of the Storm!

The Panda King will be hosting an artistic extravaganza at the San Diego Comic-Con, July 12-15th. Samwise, who is writing this in third person, will be offering an array of personal and work related art prints as well as original #2 pencil Portraits of Power. As per usual, weapons, skulls and ale will be accepted as offerings and tributes to his royal Panda-ness. Details of table location and examples of the prints are located below.

See you next week loyal pack mates.

Samwise

http://www.comic-con.org/

http://www.artofsamwise.com/collections/all

Tricia Helfer

Non-Blizzard related, but Tricia Helfer (StarCraft II Kerrigan) just posted on Twitter she will be at the San Diego Comic Con on Thursday, July 12 at the Battlestar Galactica Reunion between 2:00 p.m – 6:00 p.m.

On Friday at the Tron Uprising panel betwee 2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. Tricia is also signing on Friday at 5:00 p.m.

Tricia will be signing on Saturday between 10:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the Hermes Press booth #1821.

Plenty of chances for you to catch up. Just watch your back. You can never truly trust Kerrigan.

Windows 8 Pro Hits October with Two Current Offers $39.99 and $14.99 Upgrades

Microsoft announced Windows 8 OS will be available to the public by the end of October 2012.

The company is really pushing the mass marketing campaign to facilitate Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7 users to jump into the Windows 8 Pro wagon with two crazy offers.

New Windows 7 PC Sales Starting Today

Did you purchase a Windows 7 PC or laptop since June 2, 2012? If you plan to buy one between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013 you can download Windows 8 Pro for only $14.99 — exclusively from Microsoft here.

The Windows 8 Pro upgrade offer Q&A can be found here.

Old PCs

If you are running Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7, you can download an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro straight from the microsoft.com website for only $39.99 — with the option to pay $15 + shipping for a physical DVD.

The downloadable Windows 8 Pro Upgrade Assistant allows you to stop/resume download, and to create your own bootable USB or .ISO file.

You can read full details of the upgrade process here.

Press Release

July 9, 2012 — Today in Toronto, Canada, at Microsoft’s annual Worldwide Partner Conference, Windows Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer Tami Reller spoke to thousands of partners from around the world. She shared some exciting new details regarding Windows that I wanted to pass along.

For the first time, we provided details on Windows 8 availability. Tami confirmed that Windows 8 is on track to Release to Manufacturing (RTM) the first week of August. For enterprise customers with Software Assurance benefits, they will have full access to Windows 8 bits as early as August. Additionally, she noted that RTM is when we’ll be turning on the commerce platform so that developers can start earning money for their apps – we’ll have more to share on the Windows Store for developers blog soon. Of course, right now with the Windows 8 Release Preview, all apps are still free for people to try.

Tami went on to say that Windows 8 will reach general availability by the end of October! This means that new Windows 8 and Windows RT PCs will be available to buy and upgrades will be available starting in October. She also mentioned that that Windows 8 will be available in 109 languages across 231 markets worldwide.

San Diego Comic Con 2012: Blizzard Entertainment Schedule

This year, Blizzard Entertainment is holding another panel at the San Diego Comic Con 2012 (SDCC) with a round of licensed-product companies showcasing their upcoming product line-ups. I’d assume the following companies will be in this panel: Mega Bloks, Gallery Books, DC Comics, Sideshow Collectibles, J!NX. Christie Golden is confirmed to be at this panel on Thursday, Friday and she will also be signing books on Saturday.

The panel will take place on Thursday, July 12th at 2:15pm – Room 6BCF.

Schedule

2:15pm – 3:15pm

Blizzard Entertainment Product Showcase— Love Diablo, World of Warcraft and StarCraft? Join Chris Metzen (Blizzard Entertainment SVP, story and franchise development) and a team of esteemed guests as we reveal never-before-seen licensed products and plans for 2012/2013. Talk to the designers, writers and artists themselves as we dig into Mega Bloks, novels, comics, statues and more. Panel and Q&A session moderated by Kat Hunter (host of Blizzcon coverage on DIRECTV). Room 6BCF

 

Chris Metzen and Flint Dille recently wrote the Transformers: Autocracy online comic book # 1-12. If you are into Transformers, visit him at the IDW / Hasbro panel:

10:00pm – 11:00pm IDW & Hasbro— Join senior editor John Barber (Transformers: Robots in Disguise), editor Carlos Guzman, and Hasbro’s director of global publishing Michael Kelly reveal secrets and upcoming plans for Transformers, G.I. Joe, Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, and more. A new Transformers series will be announced-as well as a new license. Panelists include Larry Hama (G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero), Chris Metzen (Transformers: Autocracy), Flint Dille (Transformers: Autocracy), Livio Ramondelli (Transformers: Autocracy), Andrew Griffith (Transformers: Robots in Disguise), Brendan Cahill (Transformers: Robots in Disguise), Mike Costa (G.I. Joe: Cobra), plus surprise guests! Room 9

Booths You Shouldn’t Miss

Samwise Didier (Blizzard Senior Art Director) will be signing artwork at booth # DD-09 at the Artists’ Alley.

Insight Editions may be found at booth # 1035. The book will ship in October 10th, but SDCC attendees can buy and take home the “Art of Blizzard“.

Mega Bloks is exhibiting at booth # 3947 — they plan to launch several World of Warcraft sets this Summer. Chances are they might showcase some of them here.

Sideshow Collectibles can be found at booth # 1929 — there’s a possibility they might have a prototype of the World of Warcraft: Arthas polystone statue.

Last year, Blizzplanet had coverage of Blizzard Swag panel held at the San Diego Comic Con 2011. You should check it out to find out what to expect this year.

Blizzard / Insight Editions Art of Blizzard Art Exhibition & Cocktail Party

At least 20 Blizzplanet visitors will attend San Diego Comic Con taking home one of our tickets courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment and Insight Editions. If you are an SDCC attendee, we recommend you to participate in our current giveaway which ends on Wednesday, July 4th. Hurry up!

Floor Map

An attendee? You might want to take a look at the SDCC floor Map. (PDF) Or get your mobile prepared with SDCC My Schedule.

Seeking Alpha Contributor Speculates Next-Gen MMO Titan Announcement Soon

Seeking Alpha contributor Jeff Borack speculates Vivendi might decide to reveal details of the Next-Gen MMO Titan to excite shareholders in the event Vivendi had to sell some shares.

It’s all speculation, as there is nothing concrete announced by Vivendi. There is no BlizzCon this year to make a Titan announcement. The next Activision Blizzard Financial Results Conference Call might be a candidate to mention Titan, but Blizzard would require a big event to showcase slideshows and gameplay video — either a Video Games Convention or a Mobile Games Convention.

The upcoming events, I can remember off the top of my mind, for the former are:

  • Game Developers Conference Online (Austin, Texas) — October 9-11, 2012
  • Games Convention Online (Leipzig, Germany)
  • GamesCom (Cologne, Germany) – August 15-19, 2012
  • PAX Prime – Aug 31-Sept 2, 2012

What do you think about this speculation?

Seeking Alpha Excerpt

Activision (ATVI) stock has recently been under pressure on news that Vivendi might be looking to sell a large chunk of shares. Currently owning 61.5% of the company, Vivendi pulling out could/should depress the stock price.

With Diablo on the market and Mists of Pandaria expected soon, Blizzard will have nothing to get investors excited about, at least not to the upside. We do, however, have WoW subscription numbers to lose sleep over. Subscriber losses have been a major driver of the stock in recent quarters. But Blizzard has an ace up its sleeve.

Codenamed “Titan”, Blizzard has been working on its next-gen MMO for years now. Investors probably wouldn’t have a clue if not for a leaked production schedule targeting a 4Q13 release date. WoW was announced in September 2001 and released in November 2004. If investors are expecting a 4Q14 release, we should have already had an official announcement.

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