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I think the general idea is that a BG3 would not be a sequel to BG1/2, although there would be scope for characters to show up, but would be a new adventure in a similar vein.
In fact, Black Isle spent some time working on BALDUR'S GATE 3: THE BLACK HOUND (before Black Isle tanked and BG3 was cancelled) and it was a stand-alone, new adventure set in the Dalelands. I think there were hints that Minsc might show up but otherwise the links to the first two games were fairly slender.
How much more is there in the books before we get into the unknown territory in which the producers will need to start relying on Martin's secret outline of the story's conclusion?
Arya: More or less caught up, save a couple of moments.Bran: The books are a tiny bit further forward.
Jon: Caught up with the books.
Samwell: About a book behind, but I strongly suspect the show will skip most or all of his book story and may pick up with him much later.
Brienne/Pod/Stannis: Unknown, as their story is now totally different.
Jaime/Bronn: Also unknown, their story is totally different as well.
Theon: Almost caught up, but Theon's story is now going to be different due to Stannis's fate.
Yara/Iron Islands: Way, way behind the books. According to rumour, the Iron Islands plot from Books 4/5 will feature in Season 6 instead.
Daenerys: Caught up.
Tyrion: Appears to now be ahead of the books.
Cersei: Caught up.
Kevan/Pycelle: A little bit behind the books.
So. VII remake. I vaguely recall reading somewhere that Square said, way back when, that VII wouldn't get remade until another FF game outsold it. Has that finally happened or did they just change their minds?
No, they said they'd make it when they felt satisfied they could do it justice and a new FF game came out that was better. I suspect they'll claim this for FFXV (regardless of its actual reception).
Chris Avellone leaving for inXile does make some sense. Avellone is one of the best-regarded CRPG writers in the world, but Obsidian's development slate right now includes games where he is doing nothing (such as the new tank MMO) or playing second-fiddle to Josh Sawyer (on PILLARS OF ETERNITY and the forthcoming DLCs and sequel). I get the impression that Avellone and Sawyer get on and work well together, but Avellone would like to head a project for a change. And given that his solo-led projects (FALLOUT 2, PLANESCAPE: TORMENT and MASK OF THE BETRAYER) have gotten way more acclaim than the Sawyer-led ones (ICEWIND DALE 2 and NEVERWINTER NIGHTS 2 basic) or their collaborative ones (ALPHA PROTOCOL, NEW VEGAS and PoE), I can see his frustration.
inXile, on the other hand, are finishing off TORMENT: TIDES OF NUMENERA, are planning WASTELAND 3, are making BARD'S TALE IV and now have VAN BUREN in the planning stage, although I'm of the opinion they are more likely to fold VB into WASTELAND 3. Getting the VB licence I think was only important because of the core idea Avellone developed which he never got a chance to use, the idea of there being "other PC parties", controlled by the AI, going about their business in the world and you run into them and either collaborate or become enemies or rivals. No other game has really done that. With inXile I think Avellone might see more opportunities to do interesting stuff.
Either that or he's finally going to write some novels, as some people have wanted him to do for years. Avellone go-founded Obsidian and funded most of the start-up costs, so if the others have bought him out, he's likely set up for life.
Either due to a change in actors or to a faulty memory on my part, I failed to recognize the armored perv that caught Arya's attention this episode. Someone on her List, presumably?
Ser Meryn Trant, one of the Kingsguard. Amongst his claims to fame were beating up Sansa on Joffrey's orders and killing Syrio Forel, Arya's sword-fighting teacher in Season 1 (which is why she's particularly keen to avenge him).
Overall XCOM 2 looks awesome. The only issue is that I would need a new computer for this (and Fallout 4).
I would say probably not. XCOM2 is using the original engine and doesn't look like it's been updated too far. Firaxis's attitude is that they don't see any reason to have hardcore, all-singing and all-dancing graphics and alienate half their player base, so the game will be playable on fairly old systems.
FALLOUT 4 is still using the Creation/GameBryo Engine. It's been updated a little bit with some fancier lighting, but that's about it from the look of it. If your system can handle SKYRIM with the settings fairly high, I suspect it can handle XCOM2 fine.
Three Dog can't be on the radio, because I killed him. Multiple times, even!
They could either simply say that it's pre-recorded stuff from before his death, or canonically rule that he's still alive. Or was rebuilt as an android. Or had a twin brother.
There is a precedent for this, as the previous games all had to rule on what actually happened in FO1 and 2 (which both had many multiple endings), and it'll be hard for them not to confirm whether the water purifier was used or not in FO3 in FO4. The location means that what happened in NV shouldn't be too much of an issue.
The new POWERPLAY update in a few weeks will change mining. It adds drones which can recover minerals for you and better scanning options. It'll still be a niche activity, but at least it will be a bit more interesting than now. There will also be more varied missions with the greater focus on factions and sub-factions.
There is a great ASoIaF/GAME OF THRONES mod for MEDIEVAL II: TOTAL WAR (the last game in the series that permitted total conversion mods), as well as the utterly brilliant THIRD AGE: TOTAL WAR (a LORD OF THE RINGS mod) which somehow did a lot of things the engine wasn't designed to do. WARHAMMER already has a great M2 mod (CALL OF WARHAMMER) and I believe CA has (unofficially) acknowledged it as an inspiration. Bizarrely, there's even a ZELDA mod for MEDIEVAL II which is apparently really good as well.
There was a WHEEL OF TIME mod in development for a few years for ROME I (!) and then MEDIEVAL II, but ultimately it was judged that it was too unsatisfying because they couldn't integrate the One Power and flying units like draghkar satisfactorily in the engine, so they avoided it.
Perhaps Asians would be more interested if the novel and other categories included something by ASIANS (as in, from Asia...you know, that place which has Final Fantasy, Dragon Warrior, a whole slew of Sci Fi shows and cartoons that Americans have never...
Worldcon 2007 took place in Japan. It was by all accounts a lot of fun, lots of Japanese fans came along and there was some good stuff going on, but almost no Japanese writers or artists made it onto the ballot that year or afterwards and the con lost a ton of money. The lack of impact of Worldcon on Japan or vice versa is one reason why the proposed Beijing Worldcon has only ever gotten a lukewarm response.
There are some more non-American/European writers doing things and getting noticed, like Zen Cho (Malaysian), Benjanun Sriduangkaew (Thai, and very controversial herself), Ramez Naam (Egyptian, raised in the USA) and Ashok Banker (Indian), but the pool should be pushed a lot more in the US and other western markets, and there should be more translations available.
In the UK, "politically correct" was coined in the 1980s and used to refer to the policies and ideology of Thatcher's government: anti-union, anti-worker, pro-bankers, pro-big business. It was later conflated with the rampant corruption and collusion with business that blighted the end of the Conservative Party's two-decade rule of the country. Those on the right started using it to mock Blair and his right-on attitude and there's been an attempt (as in America) to use it to excuse various 'ist' behaviour.
I keep hearing that the combat is awful and your party members stand around doing nothing when they should be helping. Is this true?
No. In fact, the characters are pretty good at automatically engaging the next enemy once an enemy is killed, better than either the original BG games and certainly better than the recent DRAGON AGE ones.
Combat itself is pretty much the same as the Infinity Engine games, except that rather that using the D&D combat rounds, the game is fully in real time and 'turns' are limited by the characters' combat speeds, which vary depending on stats and the size and type of weapon they are using.
The title is GENTLEMAN JOLE AND THE RED QUEEN and the book is set after CRYOBURN. It will focus on Cordelia as the main character, for the first time since BARRAYAR.
2016 is also the 30th anniversary of the series (SHARDS OF HONOUR, THE WARRIOR'S APPRENTICE and ETHAN OF ATHOS were all published in 1986) and apparently there'll be some other stuff going on to celebrate it.
They are under an embargo, so it's hard to parse their thoughts so far:
I’m not able to tell you at this point if THE GAME IS REALLY GOOD or not. So you’ll just have to continue not knowing if IT’S DEFINITELY WORTH GETTING for a couple more days.
Divinity: Original sin and Wasteland 2 will not run on an old netbook, though...
WASTELAND 2 really should, its graphics are at least 10 years old. However, it's engine is not very well optimised. It's a bit ridiculous that the game causes my graphics card cooler fan to kick in to overdrive when far better-looking like games like FAR CRY 4 and SHADOWS OF MORDOR don't even cause it to break out in a sweat.
I was going to say that the best thing to do is wait until Thursday and get PILLARS OF ETERNITY. It sounds like the exact thing you've been looking for.
SWORD COAST LEGENDS is out at the end of the year. But in the meantime there's also DIVINITY: ORIGINAL SIN, SHADOWRUN RETURNS and its two sequel-ish successors (DRAGONFALL, out now, and HONG KONG, out later this year), not to mention WASTELAND 2.
* If you count Falling Free, which is set in the same universe centuries earlier but isn't part of the core saga.
ALIEN: RESURRECTION did do one thing right: the rewrites and mishandled direction annoyed Whedon so much that he decided to revisit the "misfit space pirates in space" concept five years later, resulting in the creation of FIREFLY. So that was one positive outcome :)
ALIEN 3 is a pretty good movie. It's just not a very good ALIENS movie, and was a step backwards when the franchise should have been looking for another way forwards. The "Aliens loose on Earth" concept seems solid, but I've never seen a real way for that story to go that doesn't descend into lots of shoot-outs and then nuking the planet.
Also, Ridley Scott was right when he said that the alien was no longer scary. It's too familiar a force now, we know how dangerous it is and how to kill it. That limits its potential for true horror, although you can still make a good war/suspense film with it.
I agree. One of the big problems with the gender stuff is that Rand, Mat and Perrin are presented as our primary protagonists when, looking at the whole series, it's actually Rand and Egwene who have the most cohesive and contrasting story arcs. In an adaptation, I'd make the story more about those two standing in for the gender stuff and put the other major characters (Mat, Perrin, Elayne, Nynaeve, Aviendha, Min) on a tier just below.
I'd also massively dial back the idea that the genders are at war with one another and show a much greater variety of relationships.
If a book you love is going to be made into a movie, get ready to be disappointed. That's just how it is. With very few exceptions.
This used to be more true than it is now. Things like LotR (but definitely not THE HOBBIT) and GAME OF THRONES show it can be done very well indeed.
I'm not sure about this, but I suspect that the series takes some inspiration from oriental cultures such as Buddhism and Chinese philosophy, so the theme of duality is very prevalent. For example, the symbol that represents the split source of power clearly resembles the Ying and Tang real world symbol. The duality of males and females is somehow related to that (I'm not deep enough in the series to know if it is ever explained or not).
The series is very heavily based on Buddhism and Chinese philosophy, with a massive dash of Hinduism and Japanese mythology as well.
Not so much "transgender" as reincarnated into a body of the other gender. The metaphysical implications are that a person's soul, not their body, determines their connection to saidar or saidin; also that the soul has a gender independent of the body, but in the normal course of things the gender of the body matches the gender of the soul.
Jordan was asked about this and he confirmed it was down to the soul. He was also asked about someone being born male in one life being reincarnated in the next as a woman and said it was something that might happen, but it was a complication he wasn't going to be looking at (IIRC). Fan speculation was that channellers would be much more likely to remain the same sex due to their very connection to the Power.
One of the biggest problems in the whole thing is gender reassignment. Whilst the 'now' of the series is a medieval society, the backstory is set in the Age of Legends, a far-future, post-scarcity SF society (which gets blown up through hubris, returning everyone to the dark ages). This society is far more advanced than our own so things like gender reassignment should be more prevalent than during our time, but it never comes up. They don't spend a huge amount of time on the Age of Legends sequences, but there was missed opportunity there to complicate things.
I very much doubt that the Source gauges access to the types of magic based on how a person dresses, feels, and behaves. So if someone in this story had a female gender, lived, dressed, and in all ways behaved as a woman, but had been born male-bodied, they would be completely unable to access the female type of magic. (Barring apparently the possibility that they have a "female soul"). That brings to mind the accusations transgender people face routinely of "not being real", but with the accusation coming from the universe itself.
Jordan definitely failed to address this point. It's worth noting that not everyone in the setting can use magic as a matter of choice: it's a simple genetic quirk whether you can use the Power or not, and less than 1% of the population even has the potential to use it (and something more like 0.1% are 'inborn', that is will develop the ability to use it whether they want to or not). So my guess that Jordan may have tried to have dodged the issue by saying it never came up.
But it's definitely been discussed many times over the years by fans, especially given the fact that Jordan did nod at the issue through the forced reincarnation of one character in another person's body (of a different sex).
Something that Jordan also left very under-developed is that there is a hint that the One Power is not actually initially a natural ability but the product of genetic engineering in our near future (the series as a whole is set thousands of years in our future, and events from our time period are occasionally mentioned as myths and legends). Exactly how that works is completely left up in the air.
Incidentally, I would recommened Mark Charan Newtorn's four-volume LEGENDS OF THE RED SUN epic fantasy series which has a trans character in the third and fourth volumes that has been received very well.
It's quite possible it works that way in the series. It just doesn't come up because Jordan never brings up trans people - other than the one forcibly reincarnated into a body of the other sex. Which isn't quite the same situation.
There is a fair bit of discussion of other gender roles: Birgitte being a soldier and the later development of a female mercenary force, whilst the Aiel, Seanchan and Sea Folk all have considerably less (or none at all) restrictions on the roles women can pursue in their societies. In fact, the fact that only women can use magic does skew gender roles in the traditional medieval/Renaissance setting away from the norms. That's something Jordan does handle quite well.
What is interesting is that Jordan was very much a feminist (or feminist ally) in his own eyes, but that was from the POV of a middle-aged guy raised in the American South in the 1950s. He was probably seen as a progressive liberal by his contemporaries, but by other standards he did see things through a more traditional lens. Charitably you can say he was trying to present a revisionist take on epic fantasy where women are equal - or even superior in some respects - in society and he occasionally got it right, occasionally got it wrong. Definitely the early books suffer from the juvenile, junior school view of the sexes in constant opposition.
I think the story and concept is very strong, though. In fact, a TV show could improve upon it by having both male and female writers to show a more balanced perspective. And it would be interesting to see if they could bring more complications to the table.
They've done a lot of mobile games, so not much to judge on.
I'm interested that the lead director of DRAGON AGE: ORIGINS (who jumped ship in protest at the direction of DA2) and someone who worked on BioWare during the heyday of their classic era is at the helm for this game. That should be promising. Combat looks solid, graphics look pretty good since I'm guessing this isn't a high-budget project (the projected budget price backs that up) and it looks like a modern BALDUR'S GATE. Clearly inspired by recent KS successes like DIVINITY: ORIGINAL SIN and PILLARS OF ETERNITY.
I wouldn't expect too much from the game, it looks like it was made under a limited timescale and budget, but I'll certainly check it out. A new, proper, PC-only D&D game set in the Forgotten Realms and with some reasonable talent behind it shouldn't be sniffed at. I'm actually impressed they managed to restrain themselves from calling it BALDUR'S GATE 3 just to get more sales in.
Red Eagle's ability to operate as a legal company was suspended in August 2014, allegedly for tax issues in California. No-one's found any evidence that this status has changed recently, meaning they cannot legally sue anyone because they effectively do not exist. I guess that also means they can't have made this production and that the film rights have reverted automatically to the Jordan Estate.
I'm assuming that this actually isn't the case, otherwise the people behind Red Eagle are very daft indeed.
In addition, the actress who played Ilyena in the episode is Billy Zane's girlfriend, model Candice Neill. Either he's a huge fan of the books or he saw the potential in this going to series and decided to get on the action for the chance of an ongoing role or producer's pay-off later on.
That was Book 10. Even Robert Jordan, who was completely immune to criticism, later said it was 'misjudged', which was the closest he ever got to self-realisation.
To be fair, Book 11, which he wrote alone, was a huge return to form. Books 12-14 were excellent and did wrap almost everything up very well.
Anyway, new developments! Red Eagle are suing Robert Jordan's widow because, hey, there's a couple of fans they haven't alienated yet.
1) Red Eagle made a ton of money on the deal. They bought the rights for $600K and sold them for at least $1 million to Universal (potentially as high as $9.9 million, but that's improbable).
2) The initial purchase was for The Eye of the World by itself. Presumably the later one was for the full series. If so, Robert Jordan got some bad advice as that was peanuts to pay for a series that had sold 40 million copies by that point. If not, Red Eagle can't adapt the whole series (and won't have made that any more likely due to their behaviour this week). This would go some way to explaining why no adaptation of the biggest non-adapted fantasy series on the planet has gotten off the ground whilst far less successful works are getting picked up all over the place.
3) The same studio that made Breaking Bad was interested in a deal, and may still be. That's pretty big news.
The outcome of the initial legal clash between Hasbro and Sweetpea (backed by Universal and Warner Brothers, respectively) was inconclusive. Both sides employed sharp lawyers, arguing that Courney Solomon has had twenty years to turn D&D into a movie franchise and failed and that Hasbro now deserves the rights 'back' (slightly inaccurately, as the movie rights were sold long before Hasbro bought WotC, or indeed before TSR was absorbed into WotC), whilst Solomon's lawyers pointed out they have a script in development with WB as a 'tentpole' project right now. The judge seemed rather annoyed by the whole thing and asked both sides to settle out of court, but that's not happened.
Both Universal and WB can see the big franchise potential here: a franchise that can generate not just big character films like the DC and Marvel things, but a whole universe where you can dramatically switch genres between films. Neither side are going to give up that potential - however remote of actually being successful - easily.
Relax people. It was made for the same reasons (and apparently on the same budget) as the gleefully bad fantastic four movie: to keep the rights and nothing more.
Apparently it was a bit of a fail in that area as well. This was made internally by Red Eagle and aired in an infomercial spot on FXX. They paid FXX a substantial sum of money to show it.
On that basis, this doesn't fulfil the terms of the contract, which required an external studio/producer to fund the series and get it greenlit. Red Eagle doesn't have a legal leg to stand on.
A Japanese company offered Robert Jordan a reasonable sum of money in the early 2000s to make an anime based on the books. However, they only wanted the rights to the first 3 and to turn the battle at the Stone of Tear into the Last Battle and end the story there. Jordan said no. Interest in an animated series ended at that point.
Later on, the money floating around the Universal deal got into seven figures. At that level, the chances of animation being the way forward go out the window. It simply won't make the return necessary.
My take on the sorry mess here. I've been following this story for a long, long time and there's a lot of different players involved. The major legal sticking point is that Red Eagle sold the film rights, with Harriet McDougal's approval, to Universal in 2008. The current project was not made under Universal's auspices and officially they couldn't re-sell the rights again without some sort of involvement from the Jordan Estate. That's likely going to be the sticking point that any possible legal action will hinge on.
Pretty good timing actually, as version 1.1 hits tomorrow. They've done seven minor updates since launch, but this is the first big one that has a load of graphical updates, some important stuff setting things up for later on (the addition of cities to planets, although you still can't land at them...yet), some rebalancing and a few new ships.
The game is playable with keyboard/mouse, certainly against NPCs, but if you're going to go up against other players I would recommend a HOTAS set-up. Gamepad will work in a pinch (the game's main designer actually uses a 360 pad, surprisingly) but I think a good stick set-up is the way to go. The Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS is cheap as dirt and very well made.
The starting difficulty could do with some tweaking. It's nowhere near as bad as EVE ONLINE, but the game doesn't do as great a job as it could of explaining things. However, the tutorials are reasonable, the downloadable manual is actually useful and YouTube pretty much covers everything else. The only thing that could do with an overhaul is trading, which is obtusely baffling, and happily version 1.1 is going some way to fixing that with a better galactic map and route-finding. That said, exploration and combat/bounty-hunting are viable alternatives to trading for making big money. Mining is terrible, but that's going to be fixed later.
Another good piece of advice is to keep an eye on the GalNet news and don't be afraid to fly over to a sector of space where stuff is actually going on. The starting area is cool with lots of interesting systems and some fun missions, but it's also a bit too stable. I took off to the Dulos system, which is in a civil war and is also located along the Federation/Imperial border (such as it is) with lots of intrigue. Today the system blew up in a series of full-scale combat engagements, leading to quite a few good missions.
At the moment I'd say the game is in a pretty good shape and will easily give out about 30-50 hours of solid gameplay before it starts to drag a little. The good news about the iterative releases (especially as it's free) is that if the game does get a little too staid you can play something, come back 2-3 months later and likely find things have changed a fair bit.
Martin's publisher merely said it wasn't on the schedule and people went ape for no reason. If the book was finished tomorrow (unlikely but not impossible), it would then go on the schedule and be out in 3 months, so it doesn't mean anything at all.
And yes, HBO now have a roadmap to the end to the series. GRRM sat down with the producers at his house over a year ago and they mapped out a path from the end of ASoS to the end of the series as a whole. He told them how it ends, what happens to the major characters, who lives and who dies, and they banged out an alternate which will in some respects mirror what happens in Books 4 and 5 (and later) and in others will go differently. According to the producers, there's no way they can tie this up in 6 seasons, but it can be done in either 7 or 8, and HBO seems to favour 7 at the moment. They can't do everything even in just the fourth and fifth books in seven seasons, so they're taking a different, more concise path.
Right now, it's looking like:
The ironborn/Euron/Victarion stuff is going to be cut down or even removed altogether. I suspect Balon lives longer and is succeeded by either Yara or Theon (after Yara rescues him) directly with no further complications relate dto Dany.
It also looks like the Oldtown subplot is going to be cut altogether. Word on the street is that Jaqen H'Ghar will meet Arya in Braavos and tutor her there. With no Jaqen in Oldtown, no casting for Sam's father and with it not looking Sam is going there either, that whole story is looking dead in the water at the moment.
It also looks like Quentyn, the Golden Company, and the Griffs are all gone as well.
On the basis, I think it's more likely that Tyrion (and Varys?) will go straight to Dany in Meereen and light a fire under her to get her back to Westeros in Season 6, possibly with Dorne simply supporting her from the get-go (I suspect Quentyn's death in the books will push Dorne into supporting the Golden Company, which will backfire badly and likely leave Dorne in a bad state when Dany does show up).
It also looks like Stoneheart is also gone, which leaves where Brienne and Pod's story goes next up in the air, along with Sansa and Littlefinger's.
OTOH, the stories of Jon, Stannis (with the addition of Davos), Cersei, Dany, the High Sparrow and his followers and so on are all going to go down at least somewhat similar to the books. The Dornish story is also going to be similar, but with Jaime on hand (so to speak) and the Sand Snakes and Ellaria standing in for Darkstar and Arianne.
Wild Cards would be problematic do to the sheer number of authors you'd have to negotiate with rights from as well as the copyright status of the work itself.
Nope, it's all covered. Martin was working in Hollywood at the time so made sure the series could be adapted if necessary. The WILD CARDS Consortium (which consists of all the 20-odd authors who have written stories) jointly owns the work and the copyrights, and Martin and I believe Melinda Snodgrass have controlling votes in the Consortium.
The main deal is that I think authors' characters can only be used by other authors with their permission. Zelazny gave that before he passed away so his characters can still show up.
The rights to the series have been bought before and are now with SyFy, who I think are only a few months away from losing them. If they go, I fully 100% expect HBO to make a play for them.
Fey'lya's poltical career was essentially built on him saying to anyone who argued with him, "Many Bothan spies died so I could sit my backside here, and I'm not budging".
Not the best bit of the series (that was Ganner Rhysode in TRAITOR) but still a reasonable end to a character who'd been really annoying for about a decade by that point.