Thursday 29 June 2023

New trailer for DUNE: PART TWO released

Warner Brothers have released a second trailer for their upcoming movie, Dune: Part Two.

Following on from Dune: Part One (2021), this film adapts the second half of Frank Herbert's seminal 1965 science fiction novel. It focuses on the exiled Paul Atreides as he aligns himself with the Fremen and seeks to destroy the Harkonnens who cast his family from power on the desert world of Arrakis.

Dune: Part Two is due to hit screens on 3 November.

Saturday 17 June 2023

Netflix offers a first look at its take on AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER, coming in 2024

Netflix have offered the first look at its upcoming live-action take on the classic Nickelodeon animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Gordon Cormier plays Aang, a young member of the Air Nomads who discovered he was the reincarnation of the Avatar, a powerful "bender" or manipulator of the four elements. The Avatar is the only person who can wield all four of the elements. Frozen in ice for a century, Aang's return coincides with the machinations of the evil Fire Lord (Daniel Dae Kim), who sets out to conquer the world with his armies.

Kiawentiio plays Katara, a young member of the Southern Water Tribe and a skilled waterbender and healer.

Ian Osuley plays Sokka, Katara's older brother. He lacks any bending powers but aspires to be a great and skilled warrior. His sense of humour and constant quipping leads to him being underestimated by opponents.

Dallas Liu plays Prince Zuko, the young son of the Fire Lord. His father was unimpressed with his timidity as a youth and has sent him out into the world to learn military skills and discipline. Zuko realises that capturing the Avatar and bringing him to his father would allow him to regain his honour, and sets about that task with zeal. Zuko is given guidance and advice by his tea-loving uncle, Iroh (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee).

The show also stars Ken Leung as Commander Zhao, Maria Zhang as Suki, Elizabeth Yu as Princess Azula, Lim Kay Siu as Gyatso, Amber Midthunder as Princess Yue, Yvonne Chapman as Avatar Kyoshi, C.S. Lee as Avatar Roku, Danny Pudi as The Mechanist, Utkarsh Ambudkar as King Bumi, James Sie as the Cabbage Merchant, Momona Tamada as Ty Lee, Thalia Tran as Mai, Meegwun Fairbrother as Avatar Kuruk, Sebastian Amoruso as Jet, Hiro Kanagawa as Fire Lord Sozin and George Takei as Koh the Face Stealer.

Netflix also released a short clip, although it wasn't very informative:

The show filmed from November 2021 to June 2022. Netflix has indicated that the show will not air until early 2024, a significant delay that raises questions about how long it will take to air further seasons, given the young ages of the primary castmembers.

Meanwhile, the original creators are working with Nickelodeon on new Avatar: The Last Airbender material, with an animated sequel movie to the original TV series due for release in 2025 and several additional projects in development.

Thursday 15 June 2023

BABYLON 5 animated movie gets a trailer

The Babylon 5 animated movie, The Road Home, now has a trailer and release date.

The film will be released on DVD, Blu-Ray, 4K and on-demand streaming on 15 August this year.

Set more than a year after the end of the original Babylon 5 TV series, the movie sees John Sheridan, former commander of Babylon 5 and the newly-inaugurated President of the Interstellar Alliance, arrive on Minbar to take up his new role. However, an exposure to tachyon energy results in him moving uncontrollably through time and even across different timelines (fans with long memories will remember Sheridan was previously exposed to such energies in the two-part episode War Without End). Visiting timelines where some of his friends are dead, or they lost the Shadow War, Sheridan has to make his way back to his own timeline, with the help of some old friends.

The animated movie sees Bruce Boxleitner, Peter Jurasik, Claudia Christian, Bill Mumy and Tracy Scoggins reprise their original series roles as President Sheridan, Emperor Londo Mollari, Captain Susan Ivanova, Lennier and Captain Elizabeth Lochley respectively. Due to the sad attrition of the original cast in the years since it ended, other roles from the show will be played by new voice actors: Paul Guyet as Zathras and Jeffrey Sinclair, Anthony Hansen as Michael Garibaldi, Phil LaMarr as Dr. Stephen Franklin, Andrew Morgado as G'Kar and Rebecca Riedy as Delenn. Mara Junot plays a Reporter and a computer voice, whilst Piotr Michael plays David Sheridan.

J. Michael Straczynski wrote the script, with Matt Peters directing and Warner Brothers Animation handling the artwork.

Straczynski and Warner Brothers have also been developing a live-action reboot of the show. This project was previously in development at the CW, although it seemed unlikely to proceed further there. Work on the project is currently on hold as a result of the currently ongoing Writers' Guild of America strike.

Wednesday 14 June 2023

Sales of SKYRIM pass 60 million copies

Bethesda Games Studios director Todd Howard has indicated that The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has passed 60 million copies sold. The news comes a few weeks after CD Projekt Red confirmed their similarly open-world mega-RPG The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has passed 50 million copies sold.

This would make Skyrim the seventh-biggest-selling video game of all time, and would drop The Witcher 3 down to a still-very-respectable joint-tenth (with rough sales parity with Blizzard's Overwatch). Ahead of Skyrim are Minecraft (238 million sales), Grand Theft Auto V/Grand Theft Auto Online (180 million), Tetris (100 million), Wii Sports (82 million), PUBG: Battlegrounds (75 million), Mario Kart 8 (62 million) and Super Mario Bros. (58 million). Note these lists do not include free-to-play games like World of WarCraft and Fortnite, which both have conservative estimates of at least 100 million players apiece since their respective launches.

Launched in 2011, the game casts players into the northern, subarctic province of Skyrim, part of the Empire of Tamriel, where they have to deal with a civil war, an invasion of dragons, stirring undead in ancient ruins and the vagaries of the weather. The game was enhanced with several expansions (Hearthstone, Dawnguard and Dragonborn) and has since been re-released twice with upgraded graphics and features, as well as being ported across three generations of video game consoles and PCs, with re-releases and ports becoming so commonplace that it became a meme that even the developers commented on.

Skyrim is the fifth game in the Elder Scrolls fantasy series, which also consists of Arena (1994), Daggerfall (1997), Morrowind (2002), Oblivion (2006) and spin-off games Battlespire (1997), Redguard (1998) and The Elder Scrolls Online (2014). Oblivion is currently getting a fan-led remaster called Skyblivion, with a planned release date of 2025. The Elder Scrolls VI is currently in pre-production, and the hope it will be out before the end of this decade.

Bethesda are also the studio behind the Fallout post-apocalyptic series, having developed Fallout 3 (2008), Fallout 4 (2015) and Fallout 76 (2018), as well as publishing Obsidian Entertainment's Fallout: New Vegas (2010). Bethesda's next game is the science fiction epic Starfield, which is due for release on 6 September this year.

Sunday 11 June 2023

Bethesda Game Studios drop a deep look at STARFIELD

Bethesda Game Studios have hosted a deep dive into their latest open-world RPG, Starfield.

Set in 2330, Starfield depicts a galaxy where humanity has settled dozens of worlds and established several interstellar alliances and governments (Earth's fate is somewhat nebulous, but appears to have been rendered inaccessible or uninhabitable, although you can visit Io, Mars and the Moon). However, the cost of further expansion is ruinous and most exploration programmes have been curtailed. Constellation is the last organisation trying to keep deep space exploration going. Their efforts appeared for naught until they discovered tantalising evidence of intelligent life elsewhere in the galaxy, which is where their latest recruit (i.e. you) comes in. As a new recruit, it's up to you to investigate this mystery or leave that to others whilst you undertake side-missions and additional jobs for other factions, which you can even join.

The game's setting is around 1,000 planets, moons and asteroids scattered over 100 star systems within a relatively short distance from Sol. A gravity drive allows for FTL travel between these worlds. The game allows you to land on and explore any of these worlds, either at pre-existing towns or colonies or wilderness areas where you can set up your own bases. You can also design, adjust and customise your own spacecraft, and even steal new spacecraft by boarding them in combat. Flying between planets allows you to engage in combat, trade with other vessels and undertake piracy. Planets will also have variable gravity, allowing you to jump further, or unbreathable atmospheres, requiring you to use breathing apparatus.

You will have a lot more company than is normal in a Bethesda game, being able to recruit crewmembers for your ship and staffmembers for your colonies. However, you will have more traditional, high-profile companions who accompany you on your quests, such as the robot Vasco (who, like Cosworth in Fallout 4, can address you by your actual name, if it's one of the thousands of names programmed into the game).

The game has a very robust character creation system and a massive skill tree. In fact, the RPG elements seem much stronger in this than in Fallout 4, which was criticised for streamlining the RPG mechanics compared to earlier Bethesda games.

Starfield will be released on 6 September this year on PC, Game Pass and Xbox Series X/S.


Ubisoft has formally announced a new Star Wars video game. Star Wars: Outlaws is the franchise's first open-world action game. It is set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, and a cinematic shows Han Solo, frozen in carbonite, being delivered to Jabba the Hutt.

In the game, the player takes on the role of scoundrel and pirate Kay Vess. Vess gets in over her head with several crime syndicates - including possibly Jabba's - and has to live on the edge to regain her freedom.

Developed by Massive Entertainment for Ubisoft and Lucasfilm Games, the game is scheduled for release in 2024.

CYBERPUNK 2077: PHANTOM LIBERTY gets release date and expanded trailer

Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty will be released on 26 September this year.

Cyberpunk 2077's first (and possibly only) story expansion sees protagonist V given an impossible mission: to go into Dogtown, a sealed-off area of Pacifica, Night City's most lawless district, and rescue the President of the New United States. The expansion seems inspired by John Carpenter's Escape from New York, which is a great model to base things from, and sees the game's high-profile casting expanded from a returning Keanu Reeves as Johnny Silverhand, with Idris Elba joining the fray as NUS Agent Solomon Reed. Unsurprisingly, complications abound.

The expansion will be available for PC, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.

Obsidian Entertainment lift the lid on their new fantasy RPG, AVOWED

Obsidian Entertainment have revealed more about their new fantasy RPG, Avowed.

Set in the same world as Pillars of Eternity (2015) and Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire (2018), Avowed is a first-person game set in the Living Lands, an island located far to the north of the Eastern Reach and Deadfire Archipelago. The game will allow players to tailor their protagonist's specialisation, with them able to use swords, pistols, magic or some combinationthereof. The game will also have companion characters, and the game's first trailer introduces one of them, Kai, a Coastal Aumaua and former soldier turned adventurer.

The game will see the player tackling underground dungeons, exploring bustling port towns and fighting undead.

Avowed is currently scheduled for release in 2024 on PC and Xbox, and via the Game Pass service.