Inevitably, there is now a Kickstarter for a new-but-faithful version of HERO QUEST.
They've already smashed the Kickstarter target (they asked for $58,000 and have already gotten $327,000) so this is definitely happening, with a fair number of extras on top.
it ceases being a D&D movie and becomes a "that character" movie.
Quite right, and desireable. It becomes a movie set in the D&D universe. That's what D&D as far as films or books is concerned: a common universe. There's no such thing as a 'D&D story' (three films has made that clear) unless it's a GAMERS/ZERO CHARISMA thing featuring people actually playing the game in RL. The mistake the previous three (!) movies made was trying to make an 'archetypal D&D movie' and discovering there's no such thing.
Except that to the general public, Drizzt really isn't that much better known than any of the other FR characters. Heck, if you're going for publicity and renown factor, you go with Elminster; he's as well known as Drizzt if not more and is a cool mage to boot with a story a lot more interesting.
Salvatore has considerably sold more novels than anyone else in the setting and more novels than D&D itself has sold gameing books. He's outsold Greenwood at least 3-1, if not by a lot more. Drizzt is considerably better known amongst the general fantasy readership (i.e. the SFF readership outside of gamers) than Elminster. Elminster's probably the second-best-known FR lead character, agreed, but it's a fairly distant second place. I'm not even sure who'd go in third place. Probably Minsc, as once you drop below Greenwood you're looking at books and authors who have sold a lot less than the FR computer games.
Alastair Reynolds is very good. He writes hard SF mixed in with more speculative elements (one of his novels is a cross-genre mix of SF and steampunk; another is half hard SF, half noir thriller set in 1950s Paris), but his hard SF is VERY hard. He has no FTL travel in most of his books and uses time dilation and sleeping capsules to get people from planet to planet in reasonable timeframes.
You can read his stand-alones in any order, as they have no sequels or prequels. PUSHING ICE is a good one to start with as it's a classic 'big dumb object' SF story. CENTURY RAIN is more offbeat, with half the story being set in the future and half in 1950s Paris, and the way the two stories come together is a bit contrived. It's still entertaining though. TERMINAL WORLD is the SF/steampunk hybrid and features a very, very clever twist to the setting (that in my estimation only about half of readers seem to pick up on). HOUSE OF SUNS is the only one of his novels I haven't read yet but by many accounts is his best book to date. It's about a woman who clones herself hundreds of times over to explore the Galaxy at slower-than-light speeds over the course of thousands of years. There's also ZIMA BLUE, a short story collection.
His current series, POSEIDON'S CHILDREN (consisting, so far, of BLUE REMEMBERED EARTH and ON THE STEEL BREEZE), is pretty good but a bit oddball for him. It's not finished (the third book is due in late 2014 or early 2015) and I don't rate it among his best work. It's certainly readable, though, and he has some interesting ideas about how Africa will undergo a massive, China-style econoic boom in the next century as more and more work and industry is outsourced there.
Reynolds's signature work is the REVELATION SPACE universe, in which humanity is threatened by self-replicating machines known as Inhibitors. It's excellent stuff, though confusing. I have a chronology here. The simplest thing to do is to start with CHASM CITY (also a strong contender for the title of his best book) and then go through the trilogy (REVELATION SPACE, REDEMPTION ARK, ABSOLUTION GAP), the short story collection GALACTIC NORTH, which actually concludes the story from the trilogy (bit of a bad idea there), and then the prequel (THE PREFECT) and the novella compilation (DIAMOND DOGS, TURQUOISE DAYS).
"It’s going to make us look at Eternity as a brand. What else can we do with it? I want to hook up with the Pathfinder guys and see about doing a Pathfinder Eternity world book thing. It sounds a little weird, but… A card game. A board game. I’ve already been chatting with Cryptozoic Entertainment. We have nothing going on specifically, but they have a lot of experience in board games and card games. That’s what’s going to be transformative."
If they want to make a D&D movie that people will actually want to go and see, they're going to need to use a setting and character people actually know. As I've said before, the Drizzt books have considerably outsold the actual D&D game products (all of them, over all editions, ever), and his name recognition as a D&D character is probably greater than any other one. Make a generic D&D movie and you'll have a fairly small audience (as was proven in 2000, although the movie sucking didn't help). Make a Drizzt movie and you'll get a hell of a lot more interest. The other option is to make a DRAGONLANCE movie, but then you're talking a lot more money, a longer commitment and a slightly smaller audience.
Now this is purely from a commercial standpoint. From a creative one, I think you can make a very solid and enjoyable movie based on THE CRYSTAL SHARD and maybe even the next few books. But I agree there's more interesting parts of the D&D setting to be mined: I'd love to see PLANESCAPE: TORMENT - THE MOVIE, but it'd cost more than AVATAR and would get 1% of the audience, so that's never going to happen. What I'd hope is that a new D&D movie franchise would be successful and we'd eventually see other films in other settings, maybe an EBERRON one, maybe a DARK SUN one and so on. You use the franchise's biggest guns - and no matter how much some people may dislike them, that's Drizzt and the Realms - to open big and then go to more interesting places later on, hopefully.
Sweetpea Entertainment - Courtney Solomon's production company - has counter-sued Hasbro for ownership of the D&D movie rights.
To recap, Sweetpea is the company which made the D&D movie in 2000 and its two zero-budget, direct-to-DVD sequels, WRATH OF THE DRAGON GOD and BOOK OF VILE DARKNESS. Last year, Sweetpea and Warner Brothers struck up a deal to make a new, big-budget D&D movie for the big screen.
Hasbro has been developing its own D&D movie project with Universal. According to Hasbro, Sweetpea's rights have expired due to them not upholding their contractual obligations. Most notably, the original agreement between Sweetpea and TSR allowed Sweetpea to retain the rights as long as they put a new D&D movie into production every five years. Sweetpea argue they did this by filming the second film in 2004 for release in 2005, and by producing the third film in 2010 (though it didn't come out until 2012). Hasbro assert that the rules only count if they made actual films; the second film was technically a TV movie (as it debuted on SyFy) so counts, but the third does not because it was a straight-to-DVD release.
Hasbro now want a judge to rule that Sweetpea's option has expired and they cannot make a new D&D movie, allowing Hasbro and Universal to proceed with a new project (rumoured to involve existing D&D properties, speculated to be a Drizzt film). Sweetpea's counter-claim demands that they be recognised as holding the sole rights to D&D and preventing Hasbro and any partner studio from using D&D branding or copyrighted material in any film project.
A hearing will be held on 25 March, 2014.
Storyline trailer, complete with OTT voiceover. "Some call him 'taffer'. I call him...Garrett!"
Interesting collection of quotes about the game from developers:
"Jumping, bouncing up and down, kind of broke the immersion,” says Schmidt. “We didn’t want you to be the master thief and you just tend to fall off stuff all the time."
If you want to go through the entire game as a ghost without being seen by guards, I'm sure that's an option.
Presumably not, if there's an unavoidable cut scene in which an entire building blows up with you sailing dramatically out of a window just ahead of a fireball. I suspect some guards might take notice of that.
Does it bother you that a video game does not accurately emulate a real combat situation?
When the game is supposed to be providing an emulation of a real combat situation, sure. It's not ARMA, clearly, but the whole appeal of CoD originally was that it nodded a bit more to real combat tactics than MEDAL OF HONOUR did.
More to the point, it's a major problem when previous games in the series did it better. CoD 1 and 2 didn't use this infinite wave tactic unless it made sense (i.e. in the middle of the Battle of Stalingrad with thousands of soldiers on each side, or announcements of reinforcements arriving in areas you'd previously passed through). CoD4, on the other hand, would have you on the roof of a building shooting at enemies pouring through a hole in a wall 20 feet in front of you. Logic dictates that you should eliminate the enemies in range, clear the area and then advance. The game instead had never-ending enemies pouring though until you advanced, out of cover and into a hail of their fire, and reached an arbritrary trigger point near the hole in the wall, at which point the enemy advance would cease and you could advance. This is poor game design, and similar things happened multiple times in both COD4 and MW2 (which is as far as I got in the series).
So you mention Far Cry as an example of a franchise that used to be open world, without bothering to mention that Far Cry 3 (barely a year old) is still an open world game, and that Far Cry 4 probably will be, too?
FAR CRY was made by CryTek, and CRYSIS is its spiritual successor from CryTek (CRYSIS, in a somewhat different guise, would probably have been FAR CRY 2 itself if EA hadn't paid CryTek a vast sum of money to lure them away from Ubisoft). So there is a clear progression of FAR CRY - CRYSIS 1/WARHEAD/2/3. They even have the same structure (a linear sequence of missions) that FAR CRY 2 and 3 (which are fully open-world games) do not have. So yes, CryTek have very much simplified their original game design. You can see that in the CRYSIS series itself, even leaving out FAR CRY. CRYSIS 1 and WARHEAD took place on large, open levels with multiple paths to objectives and CRYSIS 2 and 3 took place on closed streets and in corridors with only minor variances possible.
Cover systems are awesome
They've gotten a lot better recently. When they were first implemented in the mid-2000s they were rubbish. MASS EFFECT 1's is probably the worst I've seen, with multiple deaths resulting from the game simply not letting you let go of the wall. By ME3 it had become a better system. As I said already, DEUS EX: HR had a superb one, because it pulled double-duty as a stealth mechanic as well. MAX PAYNE 3's was also pretty good, even if it did defeat the point of the series (bullet-time being the already-existing mechanic for avoiding getting shot). MAFIA 2 and GTA4's cover systems were completely useless, however, and I never bothered using them and completed both games straightforwardly.
To me, Force Commander and SW: Rebellion marked the end of the 'LucasArts Era.'
REPUBLIC COMMANDO was pretty good, to be fair. GALACTIC BATTLEGROUNDS was also 'okay', in a "This looks like a mod for AGE OF EMPIRES II" kind of way.
KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC 1 and 2 were also great, but of course they were only released by LucasArts. The actual programming was done by BioWare and Obsidian.
In a similar vein, JEDI OUTCAST and JEDI ACADEMY were both really good, but again developed by an outsider company (Raven, in those cases).
Out of curiosity, was I the only one that liked the Wing Commander movie?
I enjoyed it in the "it's so bad it's good" kind of way. It actually didn't seem to have much space dogfighting, which is weird as that's the main point of the thing. And changing all the ship designs from the game seemed a complete waste of time. And the Kilrathi looked rubbish. And Freddie Prinz Jnr. was terrible.
Some of the other actors were pretty good. Jurgen Prochnow is great in everything he's in. They did waste David Suchet though.
I still thought the first Freespace had the much better plot than the second - which is not a knock on the second game, because the first game was impossibly good. The Terran-Vasudan War to start, the first appearances of the Shivans, the race to save the Avenger prototype, and later the counteroffensive. The loss of the Galatea. The turnaround, then the appearance of the Lucifer (which still gives me chills). Every 3-4 years I dig out the original game to play it again.
I can respect that, but for me the second game trumps it. The original is very much THE HOBBIT to the second game's LORD OF THE RINGS (and plenty of people prefer THE HOBBIT). The second game is bigger, the story is more epic and far more full of twists and turns and the gut-punches are much harder:
The Colossus going down, the Shivans destroying the entire Capella system and its population of millions of people, the betrayal of the renegade human faction and so on.
I have fond memories of Tachyon; not the most in-depth flight simulator but fun, light and humorous story.
And the main character being voiced by Bruce Campbell :)
Bruce Campbell makes everying better (even SPIDER-MAN 3, very briefly).
If Korvo can beat up everyone in sight and smash his way into buildings without being stopped, why is stealth even an option?
Because Korvo is an assassin and a bodyguard in a much more high-tech, steampunk city. Violence and affinity for combat are in the job description. He also comes equipped with far more area-of-effect weapons (mines, grenades) and a more substantial range of lethal, long-range weapons (explosive crossbow bolt launchers, guns) for carrying out varying degrees of murdery. He is a versatile character built for both confrontational open combat and stealth, the steampunk equivalent of a special forces agent.
If Adam Jensen can beat up everyone in sight and smash his way into buildings without being stopped (even funnier here, since Jensen can literally smash his way into buildings with an upgrade), why is stealth even an option?
Adam Jensen is a mid-21st Century combat specialist in a vastly more high-tech cyberpunk city (several, in fact). He can be armed with missile launchers, miniguns, machine guns or explosive mines, and is capable of hacking networks to turn auto-turrets and robots against enemies. You also can choose to make him into a tank, a silent infiltrator or a hacker extraordinaire, just as you could with his predecessors in the previous games in the series.
He is a versatile character built for both confrontational open combat and stealth, the cyberpunk equivalent of a special forces operative (not to mention being a former SWAT agent).
If Batman can beat up everyone in sight and smash his way into buildings (also something Batman literally does in the Arkham games) without being stopped, why is stealth even an option?
Because Batman doesn't use guns because of his personal moral/philosophical code, so cannot effectively engage enemies at range. He therefore requires stealth to close to melee before he can unleash violence. Actually, since Batman's self-appointed job is to put criminals behind bars, it'd actually be less true to the character and series to completely stealth past criminals without neutralising them.
Garrett isn't Batman.
Could it be that the developers are (gasp) providing players with a choice of how to play their game?
That's fine, when it makes sense. Taking a character who through three previous games struggled when confronted with more than one enemy at a time and turn him into a powerhouse who can take down three bad guys in seconds and then dodge massive explosions does not.
Oh, look! I, too, can link to images of laughable disparity between level design complexity! Please, tell us more about how FPS level design is being "dumbed down".
Sure. Modern FPS games throw infinite waves of enemies at you until you move on and do what the game wants you to do (CALL OF DUTY 4) rather than letting you wipe out the attacking force and then move on (MEDAL OF HONOUR: ALLIED ASSAULT), as you would in any real combat situation. Modern FPSs like sticking massive signs on the screen (like "FOLLOW") to ensure you follow the NPC in front of you who is actually doing most of the cool stuff in the game (all of the modern CALL OF DUTY) whilst you stand and gawp. Games in series which were previously open-world, or almost (FAR CRY, CRYSIS), offering tons of different paths and ways of doing things, are now closed-down, linear corridor shooters (CRYSIS 2 and 3). Games now have elaborate and often-badly-implemented 'sticky cover systems' rather than just letting you just 'duck' behind something (DE:HR actually gets props for having a cover system which also doubles as a really good stealth mechanic) which worked fine for years. There are also modern shooters where you spend more time in unskippable cut scenes than actually playing the actual game (MAX PAYNE 3).
And, in almost no modern FPS (DE:HR gets props for this as well, though some might not count it as an FPS) can you quicksave at will, instead often having to use questionably-placed save trigger points.
Against that, there are some very good modern FPS games: the METRO series (where the linearity has a built-in explanation and adds to the atmosphere), FAR CRY 3 (even 2, where the execution was poor but the ideas excellent) and the last STALKER. Also, despite their problems games like CRYSIS 2 are enjoyable despite being dumbed-down.
Looks interesting. There hasn't been a true space-fighter sim since Freespace 1/2 (which is still amazing even 10+ years later).
STARLANCER, X-WING ALLIANCE, I-WAR 2 and TACHYON: THE FRINGE all came out after FREESPACE 2, and the first two (at least) were very good. There's also the X series and FREELANCER, although the space combat in both was iffy (and it's not the main focus of either game, which is trading).
FREESPACE 2 was the last truly great, truly brilliant space combat sim though.
I don't see any indications that Thief is being "simplified". I see indications that it is being changed (and, really, it's a little baffling that people are seeing developer quotes like, "We don't want to force you to play through as a traditional thief," and immediately coming to the conclusion that they're curtailing player freedom).
The indications are very clear.
1: You cannot jump at will.
All of these point to significant 'simplification' of the game compared to the first three titles in the series, and taking away of player agency so the developers can shoehorn more 'exciting' scenes down the player's throat. [/mixed metaphor]
In fact, the comparisons to DISHONORED seem to be off the mark: THIEF 4 seems to feature significantly less freedom and player choice than DISHONORED. At this point the game ending up as free and reactive as DISHONORED would be a good thing.
On the bugs: New Vegas' were significantly more detrimental to the game than FO3's or Skyrim's were. In FO3 or Skyrim you might get the occasional quest glitch or enemy randomly flying off into orbit. In New Vegas you would get crashes every 5 minutes and fairly frequent save wipes for the first month or so after release.
FALLOUT 3 also had significant numbers of CTDs in the first month of release (and actually quite a few BSoDs, which I never had with NEW VEGAS), it had Games for Windows Live forcibly installed with all its attendant baggage and crashes, and the DLCs crashed a lot as well (or, more randomly, the screen would go completely black but you could still move around).
Of course, both games were fixed and patched up within a few months, but I still get multiple problems with FO3 (when I can actually get it working with Windows 7) and only one recurring issue with NEW VEGAS (sometimes the game will freeze if you load from the main menu, so you have to start a new game and then load from the worldspace, which fortunately only takes about 2 seconds). Yet NEW VEGAS is the only one of the two that was criticised for its bugs on release. This is very curious.
Games have changed, and Thief is too valuable of a property to be left to a niche.
Why is THIEF a valuable property? Because of its critical acclaim. Why is it critically acclaimed? The gameplay.
Also, THIEF cannot simultaneously be both valuable and a niche. If it's a niche, no-one would give a toss and Eidos wouldn't be interested in remaking it. It is valuable because it's a well-regarded, moderately well-selling series with interesting gameplay. So stripping down the gameplay doesn't make any sense, apart from one reason:
What actually appears to be happening is that Eidos is tapping the name-value of THIEF to create what is effectively a new, action-oriented gaming franchise with blockbuster production values and easy gameplay for a mass audience, whilst throwing a few bones to the hardcore fans. Since this worked with DEUS EX and FALLOUT - using those games' 'legendary' critical acclaim to hook a mass audience into a reboot - they clearly want to do the same with THIEF. The problem is that what they appear to be doing with THIEF is far more excessive than what they did with either DEUS EX or Bethesda did with FALLOUT.
Go take a look upthread, I told Hama to do outside and size up the world around him, and ask himself how much jumping up is going to be necessary for him to move across the environment. You could do the same. The reality is that jumping all over the place is a pretty weird thing to do and makes games (especially games with any kind of behind-the-head third-person perspective, and first-person games to a lesser degree) seem unrealistic.
I don't need to jump a lot whilst wandering around in real life because I'm not a thief in a medieval fantasy city. OTOH, if I was a parkour free-runner I'd be able to tell you that running is an invaluable part of my skillset. So your raising of this comparison is inane.
THIEF is a game where you have to avoid detection, shimmy up buildings, hide behind walls and fences etc. Being able to jump in such a world at will and on a semi-regular basis is a logical and realistic thing to do. Sure, bunny-hopping on the spot for ten minutes might be unrealistic, but then that's up to the player. If the player wants to do that, why not? They are supposed to be playing the game in the manner they want, after all.
Caveat: a lot of the discussion has focused on early preview builds, some of them from many months ago. The final game may well be far more stealth-oriented and reactive than the previews suggest. But based on the information released so far, things are not looking so good on that front. The final product may well be a solid, enjoyable game if taken purely on its own regards, but it may not match up to the aesthetics or gameplay of the franchise to date, which fans of that franchise have every right to criticise.
Metacritic scores that place it in the top 20 games of the last generation count as better than "reasonable", methinks.
Metacritic scores should be taken with a dash of salt, especially when you were actually arguing on the basis of sales.
NEW VEGAS outsold FALLOUT 3 and was certainly the better game; the review scores were slightly lower because, for reasons that remain satisfactorily unexplained, reviewers did not mention FALLOUT 3's significant bugs whilst they did mention NEW VEGAS's (and likewise, they would not mention SKYRIM's a year later). There is also irony here, as FO3 now doesn't work on Windows 7 or 8 (at least not for a lot of people, and not without faffing around), whilst NEW VEGAS works fine.
From a creative standpoint, NEW VEGAS was also certainly the better game, and better because it actually adopted so-called older, more 'hardcore' and old-fashioned styles of gameplay, such as having a much more reactive storyline which closed off entire quest lines if you annoyed the faction giving out the quest. So if it's a better game, and it sells better, whilst also being more 'old-fashioned', then that casts doubt on the idea that THIEF 4 will be good (or at least as good as the originals) when it is removing significant elements of the gameplay from THIEF 1-3, and also on the idea it is needed to make a game acceptable to a modern gaming audience.
The whole situation is more bizarre because HUMAN REVOLUTION (made by the same studio as THIEF 4, though not the same team) also stepped back from the more simplified choices of INVISIBLE WAR and institued some greater design choices and freedom harking back to the original DEUS EX. HR was of course a huge success.
tl;dr - I don't think that 'simplifying' or 'streamlining' a game for a modern audience is always necessary or always results in greater sales. FALLOUT: NEW VEGAS and DE:HR both seem to have benefitted from greater complexity, reactivity and freedom than their predecessors, so the argument that THIEF 4 needs to be dramatically simplified on the scale that Eidos have apparently carried out seems questionable.
Fallout 3 is actually a perfect example of a game that refreshes a long-dormant franchise in a way that modernizes it and manages to be excellent in the process.
It streamlined the game and made it more playable, sure. It also got reasonable reviews. However, it also took out a lot of the reactivity and player agency the previous games had. It also had a hugely-criticised ending as well.
NEW VEGAS, which combined the streamlined and more user-friendly approach of FALLOUT 3 but also restored the reactivity and player agency of FALLOUT 2 (unsurprisingly, as it was made by a lot of the same team), was better-received creatively (though the initial, long-fixed bugs caused more negative press) and outsold FALLOUT 3 by a considerable margin (almost twice as many sales in the first month, 5 million to 3 million).
That to me suggests that combining the old-school ethos of a franchise's core characteristics with more modern and more approachable gameplay is a more successful approach. DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTION also did this very well (bossfights aside, and those have been fixed in the new edition that came out this week) by restoring some of the freedom and reactivity of the original DEUS EX in a modern and approachable gaming context.
THIEF 4, on the other hand, seems to have removed rather more from the core gameplay of the series than would be warranted. Introducing takedowns, a more intensive (or intrusive) storyline etc is fine, but not allowing jumping and use of rope arrows at will in a logical context seems highly limiting, and more down to creative problems than anything else.
In particular, it is partially the job of sequels and reboots to improve upon the original games and introduce more options, or reboot a convoluted mythology. THIEF 4 needs to answer why it is removing player agency and choice when that is the cornerstone of the franchise.
Video games have always been hampered by a lack of reactivity: you do something the game designers did not account for, and it has no real impact. SKYRIM avoids this (as did FALLOUT 3) by making its key NPCs immortal: ambush the Stormcloak leader and he'll fall over, but you cannot kill him, because the game won't let you 'break it' in that fashion. This in itself breaks immersion. A DM, of course, can react to what the players are doing far more quickly and plausibly.
Something that Black Isle/Obsidian were and are very good at it is the illusion of reactivity. They go much deeper in making the game adjust itself to what you want to do. So in FALLOUT: NEW VEGAS you can wander into the main bad guy's camp at any time, Level 1 or 50 or anywhere inbetween, and try to kill him. If you succeed, great, he's dead and the enemy retreats. The game cheats a little bit: when the enemies return for the final battle they are led by a pretty similar new general, but it's the fact that you CAN kill the bad guy at will and the game acknowledges it (dialogue has characters reacting to you doing it with awe) that is impressive.
You can do this to any NPC in the game (aside from one robot vendor in a bullet-and-bomb-proof booth). There's consequences - quests are shut down, their faction turns on you - but the game does allow you to do exactly what you want, even to your own detriment.
More game should do that. DEUS EX (the original) did and it was great. MASS EFFECT made a good fist of it, but then spoiled it by collapsing the myriad different choices into just one of three slightly differently-flavoured endings (as did DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTION). WASTELAND 2 is promising to take it to even more extremes.
The reason such freedom is not usually given is because of franchiseitis: having wildly-differing endings means that the next game has to pick a single ending as canon and run with that, rendering the whole point of the choice in the previous game pointless. The alternative is to craft a sequel that acknowledges all of the previous variables, which is possible if you design the series with that in mind from the start (MASS EFFECT, to a lesser extent DRAGON AGE) but otherwise would be prohibitively expensive.
The BBC are mounting a big-budget, seven-part adaptation of Susanna Clarke's seminal 2004 fantasy novel. The series starts shooting in a few weeks and will be filmed in Montreal, Leeds and Venice. It will air in 2014.
For those not familiar with it, the story takes place in an alternate 19th Century England where magic returns to prominence after a practicing magician, Mr. Norrell, goes public. He takes on an apprentice, Jonathan Strange, and they work to help England in its war against Napoleonic France. Strange and Norrell later have a falling out and become rivals.
Bertie Carvel, a noted British stage and musical actor, is playing Jonathan Strange. Eddie Marsan, recently seen as one of the stars of THE WORLD'S END, is playng Mr. Norrell.
It will be interesting to see if they can pull this off. The book is long and complex, with numerous storylines and a large cast of characters. Squeezing the 1,000-page novel into just seven episodes is going to be an impressive feat.
Sleet Storm wrote:
I think a year or so ago, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Hasbro does not value D&D very highly. And it's true even now that as a P&P game, Hasbro sees it very much as a niche product.
According to some reports, Hasbro grades its products on what makes them money every year and if a product line does not make them $20 million minimum, it's very likely to get shelved. And D&D as a P&P game never made them that much (except, maybe, the first couple of years of 3E). Previously WotC got around this by having all of their products graded together, so D&D and MAGIC and STAR WARS and everything else was lumped together. This is why some people say that MAGIC subsidised D&D, because it basically did. At some point WotC's product lines had to stand up by themselves, and when that happened D&D's financial situation became clearer.
The only things that saved the day, AFAIK, are the novel sales which have always remained strong, and also the computer games. There is also the situation with the long-gestating 'proper' D&D movie. Hasbro's policy is to exploit some products through selling film rights and then using that to boost their profile. This is how they brought TRANSFORMERS back into becoming a flagship line after years in the doldrums. This is their current main policy with D&D: to get a big-budget movie made. This is why they're now engaged in legal discussions over the rival Courney Solomon big-screen project.
If the movie bombs or never happens due to the legal issues, Hasbro may look at benching D&D to bring it back a few years later with a big media frenzy. Licensing it to a rival doesn't seem to be part of Hasbro's ethos.
There is no value in shelving a brand name if you can sell it.If it doesn't actively make money right now its a liability and needlesly binds money.
Hasbro are prepared to play the long game and bench a property for years if they can then bring it back with a huge fuss. They kept TRANSFORMERS going at a very low ebb for several years before the ENERGON/CYBERTRON explosion of the early 2000s and then the Bay movies.
If Hasbro concluded that the brand did not have any value at all, yes, they might consider selling it off. However, the D&D brand has value for the novels (D&D has sold many times as many novels as it has RPG books), the computer games (NEVERWINTER seems to have done better than expected; even the BALDUR'S GATE re-release has been successful) and of course, the hoped-for film franchise, which could make Hasbro millions or billions if it is a huge hit.
Haha:) get ready for DnD the ENERGY DRINK.
Steven Segal has an energy drink. Drizz Do'Urden could easily have one :)
Exactly, especially when utilizing their rights requires further investment into a product line that has already shown a low performance in the past.
But it doesn't. Creating 5E costs money, sure. If it bombs, then they can shut down the RPG department, fire everyone there but keep the novelists and the editor on. They can also keep the computer game liaison people, and the people involved in the movie deal. But the RPG department can simply be shut down (let's hope it isn't, of course), removing that investment cost.
I think the problem is that you are primarily seeing the value from the D&D brand name in terms of the money the RPG itself brings in. I don't think that's been true since the late 1980s at the latest. Since then the novels have always been far more profitable. I think in the period 1998-2005 (or so) the computer games also made a lot more money. D&D may have started as a roleplaying game, but that is not what has made Hasbro the most money out of the franchise.
DnD is obviously worth much less so no they wouldn't want 100 mil for the rights I don't think.
D&D as a brand and franchise would be worth a lot more than $5 million. You look at the books and computer games it's shifted in the past, and it comes to way more than that. The book-publishing arm alone probably generates a lot more than that in profit in a good year.
The RPG doesn't make anywhere near that, true. But as has been said many times, the RPG game is not what D&D means in Hasbro's eyes.
The movie licensing thing doesn´t really convince me.Theres been two movies already and they sucked donkeyballs both artistically and at the box office.I think people underestimate the importance of actually having the game out that is associated with the brand.DnD hasn't shown itself to be a crowd magnet,they tried.
Well, Hasbro has a deal right now with Universal, so clearly both Hasbro and a major Hollywood studio disagree with you. They are also taking legal action to block Courtney Solomon and Warner Brothers's own D&D movie project, which they wouldn't do if they didn't see value in it.
Everyone agrees the three D&D movies (yes, there's a third one; technically four if you count the DRAGONLANCE cartoon, but that was a Hasbro-approved product AFAIK) are terrible, but also that they are badly-written, badly-directed and they were poorly marketed. Hasbro didn't have anything to do with the previous projects and didn't bring to bear the kind of creative and marketing firepower they did with TRANSFORMERS to make it huge (even though it was also terrible). If they did that, a D&D movie could be pretty big. If they did a movie of THE CRYSTAL SHARD and brought in the massive Salvatore/FORGOTTEN REALMS fanbase who don't give a toss about the D&D game, that would also help enormously.
A movie would be potentially massive if done right. The existing movies are a good example of how not to do it right.
What I am saying is that the Brand has no "draw" outside of the gaming industry.
D&D's brand draw is definitely lower than it has been before, possibly ever. However, FORGOTTEN REALMS, Drizzt Do'Urden and DRAGONLANCE are all still big and notable brand names. NEVERWINTER NIGHTS and BALDUR'S GATE are also still quite well-known and respected. They are names that are worth more than D&D itself right now, frankly.
True ,but the new movie about Orcs and Goblins in [insert random and/or nameless fantasy setting here] would probably be as well recieved by the general public as the new movie about orcs and goblins in forgotten realms.
Yes, but that's why you don't do that. If you instead do a Drizzt movie it would be much more impactful. Salvatore's books have sold over 30 million copies worldwide, that's more than all the D&D core rulebooks for each edition combined. The first two DRAGONLANCE trilogies have sold over 20 million copies and the same thing applies there (though they'd be more expensive, and require multiple movies from the off whilst Drizzt could start with a one-off adaptation of THE CRYSTAL SHARD to test the waters).
I had all sorts of rotten experiences with Forgettable Realms. It really set me back on official settings. I was really apprehensive about Golarion but it turned out ok. A lot of that is probably the group I have now.
As someone mentioned upthread, the power to make a setting work in a gaming context is down to the DM. I've played in, and run, some awesome FR campaigns. I've played in, and run, some that have sucked. Same for other settings. The DM and the group have a lot to do with it. Problems in the setting itself are only problems if the DM chooses to employ those problems: that the Realms over-emphasises Drizzt as a signature character most people seem to agree is dull, but it should have zero impact on a campaign unless the DM chooses to roll out Drizzt and emo dark elves every five minutes.
Anyways, I see the settings as being a boon and a bane for Next. On one hand, the old settings have a following. On the other, you have your fan base split amongst so many settings its difficult to sell a lot of material to the base.
I don't see this as a problem. FORGOTTEN REALMS is and will be the #1 setting that WotC support for D&D. It's by far, in terms of both P&P material and spin-offs, their biggest-selling and most popular campaign setting. Nothing else in the D&D line touches it for campaign settings and expansions sold (or novels or computer games, for that matter).
What they do beyond FR for 5E I believe is up in the air still. Possibly EBERRON will make a reappearance and DARK SUN will depend on how well the 4E version did (I don't think it did great business). DRAGONLANCE they might bring back because it's the 30th anniversary of the setting and the original novels next year. But they will always prioritise the Realms because the fanbase it has eclipses that for everything else they do.
I think you are just determined to dislike him.
Who, Michael Dorn? I think he's great. Worf is one of my favourite STAR TREK characters, not least because of his excellent way with stoic one-liners.
If you mean J.J. Abrams, I think he is a very good ideas man who is at his best when he kicks off a franchise and then backs away and lets other people take over, as with LOST (which, despite a disappointing ending, did have some quality middle seasons) and, much moreso, FRINGE. As a director he's weak when working from his own scripts, or scripts from his regular team of yes-men, but does seem to be more effective in collaboration with others. I think he'll be a very good fit for STAR WARS. I just don't think either he or his writing team are doing a very good job on STAR TREK. They're trying to turn it into something it isn't (i.e. STAR WARS).
On the negative side, the presiding features of Trek, particularly TOS are "Those crazy Foreigners (Aliens) Mini-skirts, In TNG, some of that got replaced by Picard's "Holier than thou" stance.
TREK also reflects the era it's made in: fear of foreigners/embracing of mini-skirts for the 1960s and Picard's moralising in the 1980s. In fact, I think it was Ronald D. Moore who said that nothing dates ST:TNG as much as there being a counsellor on the bridge of the ship. DS9 reflected Balkanisation, to a certain degree, whilst ENTERPRISE was more about misplaced nostalgia (or at least the idea behind it was) rather than looking forwards.
What the Abramsverse reflects is more concerning: a total abandonment of cohesive plot logic (which TREK at least kept in vaguely distant contact with in prior incarnations), misplaced nostalgia but also an arrogant belief that things in the past can be remade better today, a desperate desire for short-cut storytelling (riffing off TREK II's ending without the 15 years of character development and audience familiarity beforehand that really made it work), ill-conceived fanservice and, of course, lens-flare.
There's been a whole stream of updates through the day, so yeah, the inability to update the list after a few minutes was slightly annoying. We seem to be reaching a more final count, which stands thusly:
1) J.K. Rowling (c. 450 million)
As for Goodkind/Martin, G**@ind's figures are five years old, so he is likely somewhere higher (maybe 27-28 million). GRRM, however, is sell far, far faster. He will probably overtake within a year. Martin's sales-per-book are also much higher already. He has more actual readers, but Goodkind has more sales as he has a lot more books in his fantasy series (GRRM's non-ASoIaF books have sold well, but nothing like his main series has).
Scott Betts wrote:
The gaming community? Of course they do.
It is interesting that you keep referring to yourself as being outside the 'gaming community'
You play games, you talk about them on the Internet, often to the tune of dozens and dozens of posts in single thread about them.
You are a member of the gaming community, Scott. Trying to separate yourself from them merely so you can continue making superior, highly generalised and mostly unsubstantiated claims about them therefore isn't really working.
I'd tell you that you were a fully-paid up passenger on the crazy train.
Criticising a game for valid reasons is perfectly fine.
Saying you want to personally find and murder the family members of the people who made it are not.
There two are not equatable in any fashion.
What you seem to be suggesting is that no criticism of a game on any level is permissable, because if you do you automatically are encouraging other people to go and threaten to shoot their goldfish or something.
This is a position that makes no logical sense whatsoever.
Japanese figures still not in, though there's a cool video of Del Toro visiting Japan for promo work and hanging out with a life-sized Gundam.
Overall and without the Japanese figures, the film has hauled itself up to $344 million which is pretty good going (the next milestone is $380m, when it doubles its budget).
I'm surprised more people aren't picking up on the fact he was the Angel Islington in Neil Gaiman's NEVERWHERE (the original TV mini-series; the novel is based on the TV show).
His last role was as a World Health Organisation doctor in WORLD WAR Z. In fact, he is even listed in the credits as 'WHO DOCTOR' :-D
Interestingly, the noise over the long-in-development hell ROBOTECH movie has gone up quite a lot since PACIFIC RIM launched. If RIM does end up being a huge success in the additional markets it still needs to hit, it could open things up for a new range of mecha movies.
Yeah, sometimes you need to roll with the punches. I really enjoyed the game when it first came out. Does any of the DLC add to replay-ability?
The DLC adds some unique new locations for battles and a new subplot to the game. It's nice and adds a little bit more variety to the game, but it's not a gamechanger. I got it because I really enjoyed the game (it was my game of the year of last year, no question) and it added a bit more variety to replays.
I'm hoping they release some more info on XCOM 2 soon. They're working on it - there was a teaser trailer a few months ago with the council rep saying your skills will be needed again soon - but my guess is that they are holding fire on any new info until after THE BUREAU ships.
This was a terrific film. Really enjoyed it. No cliche was left uninvoked, no dialogue was too cheesy to be written, but it didn't matter. There was a joyful enthusiasm that carried it through plot holes and plausability issues with more aplomb than any blockbuster of the last few years. I can't remember the last time I saw such a huge effects-fest and genuinely enjoyed it as much as this one. I certainly preferred it to The Avengers (and it totally dumps all over Stid!), but haven't seen Man of Steel so can't weigh in on that comparison.
What I liked:
The Jaegers all had great names.
Idris Elba was also totally awesome and had the best name of any character in any film to date. Stacker Pentecost. Only Elba could pull that off.
We didn't see much of them, but the Russian Jaeger pilots were pretty cool. The way they very casually walked off when Mako freaked out and charged the plasma cannon whilst everyone else shat themselves in terror was quite funny.
Also, the Russian Jaeger Cherno Alpha is designated as the T-90, making it the military descendent of the WWII T-34 tank. I laughed at that.
The international scope of things. The film's mostly set in Hong Kong, only one of the main characters is American, with the others being British (and Elba is always better when he's doing his English accent, with an allowance for his Baltimore one), Japanese and Australian. Chinese and Russian characters are also heavily implied to be totally badass (though we don't see too much of that in the film).
Burn Gorman fulfilling the, "What Game of Thrones actor is going to be in this film/TV series/whatever?" quotient (though he'll be better known from Torchwood).
Mako was a great character, very well-played by Rinko Kikuchi. The flashbacks were very well done. Apparently they got the entire street to vibrate for real when the Kaiju smashed up Tokyo, so the little girl's reactions to the ground rumbling were totally authentic.
Part of the film being set in Sitka, Alaska, kept reminding me of The Yiddish Policemen's Union, which was randomly amusing.
The pacing was excellent. The film felt like it was 90 minutes long and I was surprised to see it was well north of two hours long.
I really liked the fact that although romance was implied, it was not actually invoked. Raleigh and Mako seem to be heading that way, but never get there and it wasn't necessary to press the button on that relationship.
A lot of the people in the film do heroic things without being total white-hats.
The alien parasites seemed to be a shout-out to Cloverfield, which was cool.
The ending seems to be a raised middle finger to Independence Day, especially the Jaeger landing in front of the aliens who kind of go, "WTF?" as a nuke goes off in their faces. Only the Jaeger pilots didn't hack the alien mainframe with an Apple Mac, so obviously this was vastly superior.
The dedication to Ishiro Honda and Ray Harryhausen (Honda was sort of the Japanese Harryhausen and did a lot of creature work on the Godzilla movies).
A few things I didn't like:
The F-22s engaging the Tokyo Kaiju with guns and then ramming it in Mako's flashback. Er, why? Elba-Jaeger was already on its way. If their missiles had had no effect, then their guns certainly wouldn't hurt it.
Mako being called Mako. Every time someone mentioned her name I was plunged into traumatic flashbacks about driving across a flat planetary surface and then bouncing through the air for no discernible reason.
The Kaiju ripping the Jaegers' hulls open like tissue paper in close combat several times (when Gipsy went down in Alaska and then Cherno Alpha going down in Hong Kong) but the Jaegers surviving even rougher combat whilst being several miles underwater and not suffering hull breaches until it was dramatically satisfying to do so.
A lack of an explanation for why the Jaeger programme was running down. I was expecting the Precursors* to have somehow been involved in arranging to shut it down but nope. There was just no real explanation for it.
The Jaeger programme not being started up again when the Sydney Wall collapsed. That was pretty much BS: there's no way Australia would continue to support the wall project given how it blatantly it had failed.
* Apparently the official name for the aliens who made the Jaegers.
The biggest problem and one I've seen quite a few critics raise was the curious gender imbalance in the film. Mako is the only female character of note in the entire film, versus at least seven male characters of note (the Australian pilots, Raleigh, Stacker, the two scientists and Ron Perlman). Of the secondary characters, the Russian Jaeger pilot was cool but had like two lines in the whole film. And that was it. Given the international and multi-ethnic cast, it seemed rather jarring to only have one major female character in the whole film.
Abrams did not delete anything, and it's getting tiresome to hear people say that.
Spock and Nero's trip to the past created an alternate timeline*. That timeline did not delete the Prime timeline, but it exists alongside it. However, it is not possible to access the original timeline from within the new one as they have become separated. Maybe the Guardian of Forever or Q could do it, but why would they? More to the point, Spock seems resigned to remaining in the Abramsverse to help atone for his mistakes in the past.
The continued existence of the original timeline is proven by:
1) The continued existence of Spock Prime. The original timeline collapsing would also result in Spock Prime (and Nero and his crew) vanishing, if not immediately than within a certain period as with the particles that temporarily shielded the Enterprise-E from the changed timeline in FIRST CONTACT but would have dissipated eventually.
2) The continuation of the 24th Century novels and computer games, particularly STAR TREK ONLINE. Though both the novels and ONLINE take place in their own splinter-timelines, Paramount could have ruled the cessation of all such projects to focus on the Abramsverse. This they have not done.
3) Paramount/CBS would arguably not be spending $9 million per season ($63 million in total! Or almost as much as a season of GAME OF THRONES) on the revamped STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION box sets for a series that has been retconned out of existence.
4) The comic book prequel for the movie, ruled as canon by the film's own writers, shows the TNG/DS9/VOYAGER timeline continuing to exist after Nero goes back in time.
* There is also an alternate fanon explanation that Spock and Nero's journey may have accessed a pre-existing different timeline. This would explain the differences pre-existing Spock and Nero's arrival or which cannot easily be explained by it, such as Khan's different appearance, the different appearance of the Klingons and their homeworld, and the different appearance of Federation technology and ships.
I'm really not looking forward to the guys version of Star Wars. I've always been a bigger Trek fan, but I like Star Wars.
I think Abrams, by himself, is a perfectly adequate director. Where I have problems is with 'Team Abrams', which also incorporates writers like Orci, Kurtzman and Lindelof. Oddly, they're all adequate-to-good on their own or with other partners (as long as that partner isn't Michael Bay), but when in a team they just seem to get carried away with indulging themselves and not actually making good material. I think that was part of the problem with the two previous STAR TREK films.
However, with VII Abrams is working with Michael Arndt, who is a really good scriptwriter, and being advised by Lawrence Kasdan, who worked on and co-wrote EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and RETURN OF THE JEDI. I think that he has a much better chance of making a stronger film with such a team, rather than his familiar old gang.
I was a bit confused by the OP. Since such a show would take place in Federation space, it wouldn't really be anything like VOYAGER, not to mention taking place in the Abramsverse.
As a STAR TREK fan, I think there should be a new show and it should be set in the Prime universe. The Abramsverse is nice for a side-trip and all, but it's retreading ground previously explored, only with less morality and character development and more giga-lens-flared explosions. The only TV show in the Abramsverse I'd like to see would be one with the film cast in it every week, and that's never going to happen.
For the next STAR TREK show, there would seem to be two alternatives. The first would be a new show that would pick up in real-time since the end of the 24th Century shows (i.e. if the new show started in 2020, it'd be 19 years since the end of VOYAGER, 21 since the end of DS9 and 26 since the end of TNG). The new show would have an all-new cast and would steer away from repeating the prior shows, but it would have scope for exploring a few dangling elements: the now-homeless-and-angry Romulans discovering that the Federation tricked them into a war, for example. The trick here would be to appeal to existing fans whilst not geting into a continuity frenzy that is offputting to newcomers. This is why I think I don't think a USS Titan or Captain Worf series would work. Bring in TNG/DS9/VOYAGER characters for the very occasional cameo (like Tom Riker and Q in DS9, or Lt. Barclay in VOYAGER), but no more than that.
The other alternative - which may actually be the better idea overall - would be to do the NEXT NEXT GENERATION and shoot ahead another 80-100 years with a whole new cast and a whole new situation and jettison all the prior baggage away.
MIRROR'S EDGE is another recent (ish) game with a female protagonist that apparently under-performed. It still sold something like 2 million copies in its first year on sale, which was actually okay because DICE made it as a relatively small, minor side-project to stop them going crazy making BATTLEFIELD games until the end of time. It didn't hit EA's sales projections, but it made a profit. Which is presumably why they announced MIRROR'S EDGE 2 at E3.
I don't think the problem is a female protagonist per se, but more that the mega-selling game franchises haven't taken a proper chance with a female protagonist. There was some disgruntlement that GRAND THEFT AUTO still hasn't had a female lead character, and with 3 in GTA5 it seems they could have introduced one. It's all the more odd as the GTA series has a fair number of female criminals, cops, agents, civilians etc as major supporting characters, just not one as a main. It seems way past time.
Limitations on the role of women soldiers in western militaries may explain a similar lack in CALL OF DUTY, but even there, there is some scope with the games set in the future and the games partially set in WW2: 75,000 female Russian soldiers served at Stalingrad alone, for example. That would be an interesting path for either Treyarch or Infinity Ward to take at some point.
This is great. There's a mod (fan-made version) for the strategy game CRUSADER KINGS II which allows you to play in Westeros rather than medieval Europe. PC GAMER magazine is running a diary of someone playing as Ned Stark and trying to do a better job than in the books. Unfortunately, it all goes a bit wrong from the very start.
Some spoilers from the first book and the first season of the TV show, although it deviates from the book/TV storyline almost immediately, so nothing further is spoiled.
It is easy to go OTT in explaining the FR to people. It's a bit like being a fan of the SONG OF ICE AND FIRE books and when the TV show starts you present your non-book-reading friends with a 20-page primer on the backstory, geography and who the hell everyone is. It might be useful but there's probably a lot of unnecessary information in there they don't really need (and if they do need it, the show should explain it when it becomes important).
If your DM is ignoring the 4E Realms (a very good move), then all you really need is the 3E FORGOTTEN REALMS campaign setting book. Even that's probably overwhelming in the amount of info it presents people. The Old Grey Box (the campaign 'book' for 1E) is great, but quite a bit out of date now. The 2E boxed set is a bit more up to date (there's only four years between the 2E boxed set and the 3E campaign setting, though a fair bit goes down in that time), but realistically I think the 3E book is the one to go for. Plus if you're playing FR in PATHFINDER, the 3E book is more compatible with the rules you already know.
Trying to cram the Realms down to the basics (this is the 3E incarnation):
The 1E Realms are a fairly standard setting with not a huge focus on epic characters and powerful magic. By 3E the Realms had become a 'high-level' setting, with plenty of Level 30+ wizards and priests wandering around. 2E is somewhere in the middle. The Realms is still characterised as a high-magic setting, though in practice I find this varies by DM. DMs can emphasise the magic and break out wizards armed with a five-page spell-lists if they want to, but plenty (especially veterans of older editions) prefer to downplay magic in the setting and take out elements they feel are too overpowered (like the Red Wizards of Amazon.com).
I think that's about as basic a basic overview as you're going to get.
I have an introduction to the Realms here. It covers the factual, behind-the-scenes history of the setting and also some of the fictional background.
One of the most exhaustive sites out there is Candlekeep. It can be a bit daunting in its size, but when you get in there there's some great info to be found. Realms creator Ed Greenwood used to post there a lot, and I believe the 4E Realms is not very popular on there, so most of the material is for the original incarnation of the setting.
I have quite a lot of both the 2E and 3E material for the game. There was not much on Ormath, aside from it being on the Shining Plains so it was a waystop for people travelling from the Vilhon Reach region to the Western Heartlands/Amn region. Not a huge amount going on there for most of its history. I'll double check my VILHON REACH sourcebook and see if there's any further detail there.
While I don't have any numbers I'm pretty sure there are still (though we're dwindling) more GH players than any other setting.
I don't think so. The Realms have always been TSR and WotC's #1, best-selling setting. They have been continuously in print from 1987 to now, and the current and temporary limbo-like state between 4E and 5E is the longest period between fresh FR material (and the novels are still coming out like clockwork). It is by far both company's biggest-selling novel line; R.A. Salvatore has sold 30 million + novels in the FR alone.
Compared to GREYHAWK, there's no real comparison. GREYHAWK has been in print and in vogue for only relatively brief periods of D&D's history.
In a popularity poll on a forum, yes, I can see GREYHAWK winning. It's old-school, it's the original, it's Gygax's and it's not as overpowered and over-detailed as the Realms.
Consider this, from '74 to '89 there were only two real settings, GH and Mystara
In that same period you also had DRAGONLANCE (1984) and RAVENLOFT had been introduced through adventure modules (although the original black box didn't come out until 1990). FORGOTTEN REALMS came out in 1987. SPELLJAMMER came out in 1989. There was also ORIENTAL ADVENTURES (1985-88, when it became part of FR).
So there were a few campaign settings out there.
SYNDICATE was released in 1993 and was a major jump forwards in gaming. It depicted a series of vast cyberpunk cities, with the player controlling four cyborg agents from above. The player had missions to fulfil to transform their small company into a world-dominanting colossus, and immense freedom in how to undertake those missions. Some players would prefer to use sniper rifles and a stealthier approach. Others would prefer to whip out miniguns and drive in all guns blazing. Others would use the 'Persuadatron' to force a massive crowd of mind-controlled minions to rush the enemy with overwhelming numbers. Between missions you could research new equipment, recruit new agents and make more money as part of your plan for global domination. In 1996 it was succeeded by a sequel, SYNDICATE WARS, which did much the same thing but in full 3D with destructible buildings.
In 2012 EA released an ill-advised FPS 'reboot' of the series, which lacked all of the strategic elements and had none of the original attributes apart from some similar weapons. The game was an unmitigated failure.
SATELLITE REIGN is again played from an overhead perspective with four agents, although this time your agents have skills, stats and more specialisations available. There is also only one immense mega-city, rather than lots of little ones. You have more moral choice in this game, being able to work for 'good' corporations as well as trying to conquer the world for your own profit. Several of the guys from the original games are working on it, along with veterans from Rockstar and other companies. They're also only asking for a relatively modest $350,000.
Wait, what the hell?
We have 48 million Xbox 360 users connected online nearly 24 hours a day. That is much more than any of our closet competitors and vastly more than Steam.
That'd be the Steam with 57 million users? What a cretinous statement from Microsoft.
The developers of DAYZ's standalone edition have basically said they consider the XB1's restrictions and way of operating to be against their business ethos, so they will be launching DAY Z solely on PC and PS4. Which is quite harsh. Obviously not a massive blow, but DAY Z is one of the very few recent PC games/mods/whatever that my console-only friends have been looking at with actual interest. The standalone version could be absolutely massive if done right, and if it's a PS4 exclusive (amongst consoles) that could be yet another argument in the PS4's favour.
According to Bleeding Cool, who have checked this story with multiple sources at the BBC, a 'large' number of the missing episodes of DOCTOR WHO from the 1960s have been returned to the BBC. The BBC will formally announce this shortly once they have a plan to release the missing material to the fans.
As people may or may not be aware, in the 1970s the BBC, showing less foresight than a chronically depressed lemming, decided it would be a splendid idea to wipe their stocks of DOCTOR WHO episodes to re-use the film. Almost the entirety of the First and Second Doctor's runs were literally burned in the BBC's incinerators as a result. Fortunately, many, many copies of the material had been made when the series had been sold to other broadcasters around the world. As part of a serious restoration effort beginning in the 1980s, over half of the lost episodes were returned to the BBC archives from these other sources. Right now, 106 episodes remain missing, including nine complete serials.
According to the rumour, a 'large' stash of the missing episodes has been recovered. Several of the totally-missing serials are allegedly included, and several almost-incomplete serials have also been completed. The one constant in the rumour is that the 1967 seven-part serial EVIL OF THE DALEKS has been completely restored (only one episode survives). Several also report that the episode haul may complete William Hartnell's run as the Doctor (currently 44 Hartnell episodes are missing). If so, that suggests that at least 50 episodes have been recovered. However, the reports also say that the haul is not the complete run, and a few episodes remain missing. The source for the episodes is allegedly an African TV engineer who kept the episodes after transmission rather than junking them as instructed.
According to Bleeding Cool, the BBC will only announce the news once they have a release plan in place, and also possibly to tie in with the 50th anniversary in November.
However, several fans have pointed out that only a few WHO episodes from the 1960s were ever broadcast in Africa, and we know that EVIL OF THE DALEKS and THE TENTH PLANET (the fourth missing episode of which, featuring the first-ever regeneration scene, is also reportedly in the haul) were never broadcast over there. 'The Feast of Steven', an episode of THE DALEKS' MASTERPLAN (the 12-part megaepic in DOCTOR WHO's second season), was also never sold or transmitted outside of the UK and shows every sign of having been lost forever, so it seems unlikely that would be in the haul (it'd need to be to complete Hartnell's run).
How much of this story is accurate remains to be seen, but Bleeding Cool seem certain of their sources.
"Men are bad and the stuff men like is bad" isn't going to work in a base thats so heavily male dominated. Beating people to a pulp with swords and blowing their heads off with bolts of flame or laser pistols is always going to appeal to more guys than women.
Science fiction and fantasy fandom has had a very, very large female component for years. Even back in the 1970s you'd find signifcant numbers of women at SF conventions, though still a minority, and today you'll probably find numbers hewing closer to parity.
The New York Times ran an article criticising GAME OF THRONES for being aimed at men, but polls and studies showed that about 42-45% of the viewers were women. As a moderator on Westeros.org, I can say there've been times in the history of the board when women have made up the clear majority of the people (55-60% or so), and right now it's almost exactly at parity.
The notion that 'only boys like science fiction and fantasy' was never true in the first place, and certainly is not true now. What has changed is the Internet, which has made it much clearer that women are an active and large part of the fandom and are prepared to speak up about issues that pre-Internet they wouldn't have, or wouldn't have had the platform to do so (the major SFF magazines and fanzies, which is where fandom was heavily centered up to the 1990s and the arrival of the Internet, were dominated by male editors).
Scott Betts wrote:
And, ignoring all this, this is a brutally stupid complaint. You're not going to be using 1.5 mbps for the Xbox One unless you're actually using an online service like playing a multiplayer game online, or downloading a digital title. In which case: what the hell did you expect?
As the article said, very clearly (confirming what Microsoft have already said), the XB1 will be using cloud computing to help run games faster. Any game that takes advantage of this system will require a substantially fast broadband connection to work. If the game doesn't have that connection, it will not work because the XB1 itself is not powerful enough to render the game natively. As the console lifespan unfolds, I can see more and more games will be using that feature to stay ahead of the static technology in the console (I actually think this is part of a plan to gradually transfer to the next-next generation being 100% based on cloud gaming).
Even used in a limited form, cloud-gaming is monstrously bandwidth-dependent.
Some are valid, but a lot of them are examples of the same impotent outrage seen elsewhere on the internet.
I've said in the past that some of your analyses have been correct and interesting. However, you are also guilty of using weasel words and discussion-closing techniques such as 'impotent outrage' in an attempt to shut down the discussion when you don't like it. Since it's clearly not working, I think adopting a less hostile and divisive tone might be more constructive.
I've spent probably half of this thread telling people what Microsoft actually said
To be fair, you've also spent half of it completely ignoring any information that does not fit the narrative you are trying to portray. For example, you waxed lyrical about how it turns out that Microsoft will allow you to sell and buy used games. You completely 100% ignored the fact, even when it was presented to you, that you will only be able to do this once and once only, as said by Microsoft themselves, effectively meaning the end of the second-hand gaming market (since stores will not be able to tell in a practical manner which games can be resold and which cannot).
Dragon Age 3
Has this been confirmed for current-gen? Given that BioWare are apparently going down the same open-world route CDProjekt are with WITCHER 3 (which has been 100% ruled out for PS3 and 360), I'd be very surprised if they massively limited the game by doing that.
Xbox One is not prohibiting used games. You can trade them into retailers.
Once. And only retailers that play by Microsoft's (as-yet undisclosed) rules and meet their criteria.
You can't go into a shop and buy a used game, finish it, and trade it in again. You can only buy it once and after that it's useless. The next time someone tries to play it, it will flash up on the screen that it's a used game and they can only play it if they pay Microsoft the full retail price (which I can see causing monumental headaches with people taking used games back to retailers for a refund when that happens).
So yeah. No, that's BS and sounds unworkable in practice.
wicked cool wrote:
I think it's more likely that Nintendo will release a tablet-like version of a handheld console to compete. Also, if Nintendo were to heavy drop out of the console race, I think they'd do a Sega and continue as a software publisher for the other consoles. Nintendo's character portfolio is simply way too huge, popular and lucrative for them to go under. Hell, if they ever got into too much trouble Disney would probably just buy them. Nintendo haven't had a great time of it recently, but they are also a fairly sensible and robust company, and are not likely to simple vanish or collapse overnight.
Sony is in trouble as a company overall, although the console division has been doing okay (if not as great as they did in the PS2 days). Sony's suffered a lot from their consumer electronics division simply failing to excite anyone for a long time. Sales of their TVs and audio equipment have been falling for years, and their failure to get on the MP3 bandwagon early on has hurt their brand. Sony are also unlikely to die completely, but they are ripe for a takeover - probably from Samsung - if things carry on the way they are.
Microsoft have been hammered by their failure to get on either smartphones or tablets early enough, and the miserable response to Windows 8. Their reputation has been battered by a whole host of crazy decisions. They're still incredibly wealthy, however. It's possible that XB1 could be a colossal failure and they could still weather it.
The only thing that really bothers me is that some of the console exclusive games are actually pretty good. I am kinda sad that i missed them all, since i haven't purchased a console since sega genesis and don't intend to.
We have a PS3 and a Wii in the house, and that's allowed me to enjoy a few exclusives (MARIO GALAXY 1 and 2, FINAL FANTASY XIII - which was terrible - and soon RED DEAD REDEMPTION and maybe UNCHARTED), but none of them have really blown me away. I played a bit of HALO 3 on a friend's 360 and whilst it was good, it was not great.
The only console exclusive I really missed was ALAN WAKE, which then had its exclusive status revoked and came out on the PC in a significantly superior form anyway, so that worked out well :)
A company absolutely has the right to try and control their public image.
I agree with this. It's Microsoft's own YouTube channel, if they don't want comments there, that's up to them. I'd argue that Microsoft should perhaps be trying to control their public image by engaging more with criticisms and giving out more information, but at the end of the day it's their choice. And it's not like there aren't thousands of other YouTube channels and websites which do allow feedback and discussion.
Torrenting itself is not illegal.
The act in general isn't, and many companies use legal torrent systems (Blizzard, most notably). However, the specific discussion was about someone receiving a torrent link to Season 3 of GAME OF THRONES, which very definitely IS illegal.
They went from "The" console to a distant 3rd.
Nintendo won the last generation, with 25 million more sales than either Microsoft or Sony. Their console was also profitable throughout 100% of its lifespan. They've won EVERY handheld generation. Nintendo have done very, very well. Even WiiU hasn't been an unmitigated disaster despite some efforts to spin it as such: Nintendo projected first quarter sales of 4 million and got about 3 million. Disappointing, but the company is robust enough to absorb it without too much trouble.
Given that Sony are in trouble due to the collapse of their non-console business, I'd currently rate it that Nintendor are more likely to survive the next generation than Sony are (and I would not rule out Sony being bought out by Samsung and the next PlayStation coming out from that company instead).
If you want to know the truth, there are numerous reasons why the odds overwhelming favor Valve winning again despite the additions to the law.
Valve will continue as they always have done in the USA. However, they will not in Europe. The law has been changed specifically to deal with the problems of digital DRM and the inability to resell games (a clear violation of both Europe-wide and individual country retail practices). Valve are fighting it at the moment, but they really have nowhere left to go.
It's a placeholder price. Amazon whacks them in and at usually anything up to 50% higher than the RRP so they can then reduce the price later on when the real thing is revealed.
If the XB1 really is £599 and the PS4 is any cheaper, than Sony will be laughing all the way to the bank.
Isn't that [graphical/CPU power] all we care about?
No. The PS2 was the weakest console of its generation and outsold the Dreamcast and Original X-Box comprehensively. The Wii was by far the weakest console of its generation and outsold the others by a lot.
Having superior firepower under the hood [/mixed metaphor] is a nice boost, but it doesn't always help. What will happen is that the developers will make the game to work on the weakest system and port it, whilst the more powerful console will sit there with unused capacity (apart from for exclusives).
So the evidence is overwhelmingly that technical superiority is not what gamers care about at all. It just has to be 'good enough' to power some good games, not good enough to melt your retinas out of their sockets. And to be frank, no console gamer in their right mind would ever want that: if they did, they'd be gaming on a liquid nitrogren-cooled PC with three Titans in SLI configuration and playing the photo-realism mods for SKYRIM and GRAND THEFT AUTO IV at 4K and 120fps, until their game is interrupted by the PC acquiring sentience and conquering the Internet (apart from those 25% of console owners who aren't connected, who will have the last laugh after all :) ).
- Want a bigger hard drive? Then wait for the inevitable slimline version. Otherwise, naff off.
To be fair, this is not a problem, or as much of a problem as people are making out. For my PC I have 120 games on Steam and an additional 183 boxed. It is not physically possible to have all of them - or even a majority of them - installed simultaneously (I have a 1TB internal drive and a 250GB 'essentials' backup drive, as well as a 1TB external).
Instead, I have about 10-15 installed at a time and uninstall and install as needed, from disk or Steam as required (I have a 30MB cable broadband connection, capable of 3-4 MBps downloads from Steam). For most of my games it's faster to install from Steam than it is from a disk. When I uninstall, the saves either remain stored on the PC or are stored in the Steam cloud system (I can also manually back up saves, and if they're small enough store them in email attachments). Achievements, trophies, stats etc are all stored on my profile regardless of whether the game is installed or not.
Both the new consoles will use similar systems (except that PS4 apparently won't 'always' need you to install a game completely, probably just on the majority of occasions). Unless you have a pathological need to have more than 20 games installed simultaneously, there shouldn't be an issue.
All of that said, 500GB hard drives in both machines seems rather cheap when you can get 1-2TB drives for not a huge sum of money. I'm also surprised that neither will be toting a solid-state drive (if only for the OS) for near-instant-load times. That seems more backwards than anything else.
The rules of regeneration appear to be:
1) You have a period of a bit under a day after regeneration in which your body still has regeneration energy clinging to it. You can change your features cosmetically (as Romana) did in this time without 'wasting' a regeneration. You can also have your hand cut off and it will regrow in this time period.
2) Regeneration is a form of genetic engineering: Gallifreyans are not born with it but receive it when they become Time Lords by going through the Academy. The Rassilon Imprimature, a form of genetic imprinting which also allows Time Lords to bond with TARDISes and survive lengthy exposure to time travel, appears to be the method by which regeneration is enabled.
3) You can receive the Imprimature once and once only. If you have a set of regenerations, a second set cannot be added to the same body. Presumably it has no effect or an adverse effect. This is why Borusa concocted such a ludicrous scheme in 'The Five Doctors' to extend his lifespan rather than simply sneaking in an extra set of regenerations. The Master got around this by transferring his consciousness to other bodies (one Treman and human) which were then given new sets of regenerations.
4) Time Lords can regenerate safely twelve times, giving them thirteen lives. An attempt to regenerate again is not necessarily fatal, but can leave you a withered husk with not further ability to regenerate (as befell the Master). Time Lords can also voluntarily suspend regeneration if they wish to die (as the Master did in his John Simm incarnation). Regenerating in a TARDIS is preferable, as the TARDIS helps the process along. Other Time Lords can also help in some unspecificed fashion. Sometimes potential future incarnations can step back and aid the regeneration in a time loop (as with the Watcher).
5) Regeneration appears to have been created by Rassilon as a stop-gap in his quest to find the secret of immortality. Rassilon eventually succeeded, but felt that the secret was too corrupting and refused to give it up, instead going to permanant suspension. However, as the Rassilon who appeared in the Time War (Timothy Dalton) looked very different to the Rassilon who went into suspension (some bloke), it appears that Rassilon's secret still involved regeneration. It may simply have removed the limit on the number of regenerations possible.
6) Regeneration results in total cellular reconstruction, including of the brain. Memories and certain core characteristics are retained across regeneration but it is not certain consciousness is. It's possible that the Doctor does actually die as a person each time he regenerates and 'someone else walks away' (as the Tenth put it) with his memories. This means that regeneration is not an easy way out of a situation: there may be continuity of body and memory, but not consciousness or 'soul', if you will. I imagine this is a point of philosophical discussion amongst Time Lords.
Methods by which the Doctor can get around the limitation:
I: He inherited River Song's remaining 10 incarnations, thus we don't have to worry about it until we get to the Twenty-Third Doctor.
II: The Time Lords somehow overcame the limitation during the Time War - possibly using Rassilon's unspecified immortality technique - and 'upgraded' all Time Lords including the Doctor to make them more effective soldiers. It seems to be unlikely Rassilon would share his secret with the Time Lords, however.
III: The limitation was artificially imposed by the Time Lords. With them gone, the limitation no longer exists and the Doctor can regenerate indefinitely (the BBC website seemed to support this hypothesis for a while). This also seems unlikely, as Borusa could have gotten around his own problem this way.
IV: The Doctor will also have his consciousness transferred to another body and will be able to find a way of implanting new regenerations (maybe even the TARDIS is capable of doing so?), just like the Master.
V: The show will ignore the limitation and turn it into a story point.
VI: The show will ignore the limitation altogether and just let fans get on with arguing about it :)