Today, I can finally, officially announce what I’ve been doing for the past year up in Seattle. Yep, I’m co-writing Destiny, Bungie’s incredibly ambitious new shared world, first person shooter franchise with a 10-year story to tell.
I feel incredibly lucky that my journey as a video game writer over the past few years has taken me to such an incredible place. A true dream job.
Variety got how I feel about Destiny just about right when they called it: “Mythical science fiction with time traveling robots, magic-wielding warlocks wearing exotic capes, warrior rhinos, spider pirates and evil space zombies.”
Then also wrote, helpfully: “Destiny essentially takes elements that worked for Halo, Mass Effect, Journey, World of Warcraft and Borderlands, and combines them into one game that Activision and Bungie hope will entice gamers to devote the next 10 years of their lives to playing as the release of book-like chapters introduce new stories throughout the years.”
Of course, we still got a while before the disc is out in people’s hands. But I can tell you, I’ve played the game, a lot, and it is unbelievably fun. You will not be able to go back to other shooters once you’ve played Destiny.
Here’s the Vi-Doc that Bungie released this morning. It gives me goose bumps to see the first nuggets of the story I’ve been crafting with my co-writers since last spring start to filter out into the world’s imagination. And, yes, I think that is my arm reaching into frame around the 3:30 mark. : )
Here’s some links to some of my favorite press I’ve read so far:
Polygon did a really thorough write-up: here. They also did a really great piece on Bungie as company a couple weeks ago: here.
I’m really happy, as a long time screenwriter, to see the mainstream Hollywood media giving the game positive buzz too.
It’s hard to believe fan videos have reached such an accomplished level. This guy, who goes by Art in Motion, has made a truly accomplished trailer for Bungie’s Destiny, using nothing more than the few images that got leaked out through IGN recently.
Color me impressed, sir. If I were you, I’d give Bungie a call. I hear they’re hiring.
Here’s an incredibly sweet new piece of animation I’ve fallen for:
According to Deadline Hollywood:
The stop-motion animation short, about a lonely office desk toy taking a cross-country trip with the help of Google Street View, has gone viral, amassing 1.7 million viewers since it was posted 12 days ago.
About twenty years ago today, I was travelling in India when I had an interesting realization. I had, for a number of years, become slowly aware that I would see 11:11 appear on digital clocks an inordinate number of times – bordering on the supernatural. So often, when I would glance down at my cheap Casio travel watch, I would see an 11:11 flashing up at me. It felt somehow special or meaningful, so I decided to start keeping track of it.
That day in India, I began writing down every time I saw 11:11, where I was and what I was doing. And a pattern began to emerge. 11:11 actually seemed to be acting like a kind of Beacon. — The more frequently I saw 11:11, the more it seemed I was making Right Choices in my life, and the less often I saw it, the more it seemed to feel like I wasn’t living, perhaps, as authentically as I could.
Somehow 11:11 felt like a message system from somewhere deep in the universe, a warm/cold ticker-tape of my daily direction choosing, my own direct link to a personal, supernatural guide. Each 11:11, a little wink from the Creator. The more often the numbers appeared to me, the more I felt like I was getting closer to their Source! I felt like Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, who starts carving mountains in his mashed potatoes, and keeps seeing the same mountain with more and more frequency, until the mountain finally draws him to it.
But what was my mountain? If I was being given a magical guide through life, what was the goal? Where was I being led?
As I peered ahead into the future, creating over the years an increasingly complex personal, numerological mythology around 11:11, it was hard not to imagine that, somehow, today – 11/11/11 at 11:11 – was when it would all become revealed. The goal, the meaning, the purpose of twenty years of mystical messages.
And yet here I am… Today, just a few hours left to go. And I’m no clearer on what any of it was about, not the numbers, nor any of the daily choice that carried me from India to Culver City.
But that’s not a surprise. In truth, I stopped writing down every 11:11 that I saw a long time ago.
I’m left with an interesting 200-page journal of random moments over a couple decades – but it lacks any kind of synthesis or clarity. The thing I craved long ago, when I felt like a carefully-coded treasure map had been handed to me, was the treasure at the end. And that treasure was the meaning of it all. And here I am at what must be the end of the rainbow, the greatest accumulation of 11’s that all those other 11’s long ago were leading me to – and the pot’s empty. There is nobody behind the curtain waiting with answers.
Yet, here I am. And I have to be honest with myself. I look around at my life, and it’s a good life. I’m happily married to the woman it seems like I was destined to be with. We’ve created a child who is stunningly precocious, and could only have sprung from the union of our two souls. And I have a career that pays me to be creative, and work at home in pajamas. All I lack, it seems, is the meaning of it all. But really, who ever gets that?
Maybe this is it. Maybe this is exactly where that beacon was leading me.
Life is good days and bad. And I still seem to glance up randomly just in time to see an 11:11 on the clock whenever the days are good ones. And when the days are bad, a sudden, surprising 11:11 sighting will still fill me with warmth and a sense that, despite everything, I’m actually doing okay. That I’m still going the right way.
11/11/11… This isn’t the mountain that I’ve reached today, but really, just another heightened moment to check in, and ask myself: Am I living as authentically as I can? Are we all?
I’m so happy to see an English-dubbed version of Jan Svěrák’s Czech puppet film finally coming soon to a theater near you. What a beautiful, enchanting trailer. Brings me right back to my childhood adventures in the deep woods.
These two videos are wonderfully charming and heart-warming.
Somebody lost a roll of film in New York. Someone else found the roll and developed it, then went online to try and track the people down. This is the video he made:
Two weeks later, the owner of the lost film roll contacted him, and he and his girlfriend went on a road trip through Europe to return the photos. He made another video which is just as sweet and touching, and makes me want to take a European road trip right away:
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are just genius at celebrating the pop cultural detritus of our childhood while simultaneously creating utterly asinine characters. (See their Zombie Survival Guide video further down on this blog for more proof).
For those of you who don’t know, I co-wrote the video game ASSASSIN’S CREED II. A very exciting gig to be part of.
Just last week, one of the sequences I wrote solo was released as a DLC (Downloadable Content) – and to promote it, a trailer was released.
You have to watch it. This is very cool.
I love seeing all my dialogue and action scenes rearranged into trailer moments.
My favorite is a line taken from the beginning of the sequence — when Ezio hears he’s going to be helping the very sexy Caterina Sforza. And being the horndog he is, says: “I think I’m going to like this mission.” — But for the trailer, they build up slowly to it, using all these incredible action shots: Boom! Boom! Boom! And then cut to Ezio, smiling knowingly:
Man, I have always loved this Hal Hartley dance number!
And whatever happened to Elina Löwensohn? She was too cool and so beautiful.
I got to rent her video tapes at Kim’s Video once, 12 years ago when I was but a lowly video store clerk. I told her I was a fan. She was surprised I knew who she was, and hung out and flirted with me for a few minutes. Made my day!
Check out some great animated pieces I found online this morning.
This is a music video from an Israeli singer named Oren Lavie, with some lovely uplifting stop-motion. Utterly charming…
There’s a page all about how the video was made: here. It notes:
* Some of the bed sheets used in the video were taken from Oren’s own bedroom and are now considered collectors items, worth at the moment not very much and therefore used as bed sheets.
Here’s a trailer for a film called “Sita Sings the Blues,” that was animated by a woman named Nina Paley.
Here’s the description:
“Sita is a goddess separated from her beloved Lord and husband Rama. Nina is an animator whose husband moves to India, then dumps her by email. Three hilarious shadow puppets narrate both ancient tragedy and modern comedy in this beautifully animated interpretation of the Indian epicRamayana. Set to the 1920′s jazz vocals of Annette Hanshaw, Sita Sings the Blues earns its tagline as “The Greatest Break-Up Story Ever Told.”
All writing (c) Joshua Rubin, except where noted.
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“Don't take life so serious, son. It ain't no how permanent!”
- Porky Pine, from Pogo, circa 1960