Superhero Shorts: City of Heroes Incarnate

Superhero Shorts: City of Heroes – Incarnate

Right down in my bio it says that I’m a City of Heroes player, the first superhero MMO, and the best one in my opinion. I’m currently taking a break from it partly because I needed a breather from it, and partly because this blog takes up a lot of free time that CoH used to occupy. One of the best things going for CoH that even those who don’t like the game can’t argue is the game’s community. They are a creative and friendly bunch. There are several players who make machinima videos for the game and one of the best and definitely the most popular is Samuraiko. I had many videos to choose from, but I decided to focus on the one that had the most narrative to it, was tied to the game, and is a pretty good watch by itself. It explores the moment when the lead Hero of the game, Statesman, and the lead villain of the game, Lord Recluse, gain their powers for the first time and become Incarnates.

This is one of the only Samuraiko videos to feature voice actors and I thought they were used quite well. This is another one of those times similar to Babble-On Begins where it’s hard to distance myself from the subject matter that I am very familiar with. The origin story of the two signature characters of City of Heroes is never told within the game, but there are other ways to find the information, and this video does a pretty great job of imagining how it might have happened along with showcasing a couple snippits of new heroes gaining their own powers across the city as part of the in-game explanation for why there are so many heroes within the game. I definitely enjoyed the short but interesting video. And I was able to talk to Samuraiko herself and ask a few questions about her videos.

Bubbawheat: This video was made before the end game Incarnate system was added to the game, was it a good bit of luck or did you have a feeling the game would go in that direction eventually when you made this video?

Samuraiko: I had absolutely no idea the game would go in this direction. My original intent was strictly to commemorate what I thought was a major storyline event (and one that I’d still love to do as an actual “short film”! 😀 So I dropped Keeper of All Lore Joe “Hero 1” Morrissey a PM with a bunch of questions about the lore (I already had the “Web of Arachnos” novel), and he answered a bunch of stuff for me. And we determined that States is blond, Stefan is dark-haired. I have the PMs to prove it.

BW: Is there another event in the history of City of Heroes that you think would make a good video?

S: Oh Gods, there are so many. The fall of Astoria… Atlas vs the Fifth Column in Independence Port… actually, now that I think of it, so many of the events that appeared in my “History in the Making” video would work! (And I at least would have the advantage of knowing that the playerbase would want to see them, because they voted on the list in the first place…) And I still want to do a video on the first Rikti War… so much to do, so little time.

BW: What do you think of the game’s decision to kill off Statesman, changing the landscape of the in-game signature heroes?

S: I agree that it had to happen eventually… the whole le roi est mort, vive le roi concept (“the king is dead, long live the king”). How the Powers That Be handled it… ummmmmmmm, not so enthused. And I know there’s been a lot of rather acrimonious debate about it among the playerbase. I’d have done it differently, but that’s just me. I really wanted him to go out in a blaze of heroics – something big, EPIC in scale. As it was, all I could do was make my little vignette cutscene that’s set right after his death, which I was SO gratified a lot of players enjoyed.

BW: How many videos have you made for the game? What’s your favorite one?

S: Thirty, at last count! (Wow…) All since I started playing the game back in July 2007, too. And that includes commercials, music videos, parodies, etc, and my little one-off experiments. My favorite? That’s tough – I’d call it a three-way tie between “Incarnate”, “Avatar: COH Style”, and “Midnight’s Secrets” (the I12 trailer). And I still have almost fifty that I want to make (yes, 50 – the list is here – oy.)

BW: Which kind of videos do you prefer making, the issue trailers you are most often known for, videos like this with a narrative to it, or fun music videos like your Do You Want to Date my Avatar parody?

S: Fundamentally, I think I enjoy the narrative and music videos more, because it’s more about telling a story than trying to “sell” an issue. For example, when I first did “Incarnate”, I had no idea it would become as popular as it did, because it wasn’t anything that players could PLAY, per se. It was just there to tell a story. And yet even now, I still get comments and PMs from people that they love it, because it brings home the heart of the story of COH. As for the music videos, I love those – and I do try very hard to contact the original artists to get permission because I want them to know how their music has inspired me.

BW: And I ask everyone this question, what’s your favorite superhero movie?

S: Oh that’s tough! Ummmm… errr… I’d have to go with a tie, and both of them are just so camp you almost can’t help but laugh, but I love FLASH GORDON (yes, the 1980s movie) and THE SHADOW (the Alec Baldwin/John Lone film). While I am dying to see THE AVENGERS when that comes out next month, and have enjoyed IRON MAN and THOR and whatnot, those two are just diehard favorites. (For animated superhero movies, BATMAN: MASK OF THE PHANTASM ties with BATMAN BEYOND: RETURN OF THE JOKER – both just ROCK.)


Thanks so much for your answers, and I hope to feature more City of Heroes video makers in the future. And you’ll also be happy to know that I’m planning on watching The Shadow to review on Thursday. Until next time, this has been Bubbawheat for Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights.


About Bubbawheat

I'm a comic book movie enthusiast who has watched and reviewed over 500 superhero and comic book movies in the past seven years, my goal is to continue to find and watch and review every superhero movie ever made.

Posted on April 14, 2012, in Superhero Shorts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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