Archive for April 8, 2020
Hello Games has released gameplay footage of their upcoming game The Last Campfire. The game was announced during The Game Awards in 2018, and is set to release in summer of this year, in spite of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak and the many other video game releases which have been delayed this year as a result.
Hello Games as a developer is best known for its seminal and deeply controversial project No Man's Sky, the open-world space exploration game which put players in the middle of a vast, procedurally generated universe. While the game was deemed mediocre at launch it has since somewhat redeemed itself through numerous updates. Although Hello Games seems committed to continued efforts to refine and improve No Man's Sky, it has also embarked on a brand new project. The Last Campfire was announced two years ago and has been developed quietly since then, receiving a new trailer during Nintendo's Indie World Showcase last month.
Yesterday players got another look at Hello Games' newest title in the form of a roughly five-minute long gameplay preview. The preview showed off some of The Last Campfire's puzzle-based gameplay and was narrated by both Steven Burgess, the lead designer, and an in-game narrator whose presence Burgess elaborated on during the video. The narrator apparently follows the player character, Ember, throughout the game, and fills in backstory for the player's benefit, while also reacting to and commenting on Ember's actions in The Last Campfire. Ember seems disinclined to speak for themself, so the presence of a guiding voice should prove useful throughout the game. Check out the YouTube version of The Last Campfire's new gameplay trailer below:
Burgess stressed the tone of the game's story by showing off an early encounter with a skeleton, discussing the dichotomy between The Last Campfire's quaint, charming art style and the dark atmosphere of its story and themes. In a cutscene, Ember retrieves a useful item from the skeleton, but pauses for a moment of empathy, placing their hand on the skeleton's shoulder in a gesture of solidarity and sorrow. Burgess praised Chris Symonds' performance as the game's one-man art team, and then showcased an encounter with a caged flame which he claimed rather enigmatically was "a place where hope has become trapped." Ember's efforts to free the fire showed off the puzzle gameplay, which Burgess was quite proud of. He expressed an intent to keep interactions tactile, favoring pulling levers and chains over simply pressing buttons. He also remarked that while most games iterate on more difficult versions of the same puzzle, his desire for The Last Campfire is to have several distinct puzzles. To quote Burgess, "It's almost like a smorgasbord of all different types of logic puzzles."
The Last Campfire looks like a very endearing game. The art style is quite lovely and the atmosphere is very calming. It's clear from Burgess's comments a lot of love has been put in the project, and from the looks of things that love is paying off. It remains to be seen if The Last Campfire can avoid the rocky release of Hello Games' other noteworthy title, but based on what's been shown already, it's a game with a lot of heart and a lot of promise.
Source: Hello Games/YouTube
The Roommate Agreement was an important part of Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Leonard's (Johnny Galecki) living set-up in The Big Bang Theory, but the contract wasn't always enacted, with both men guilty of breaking some of the rules over the years. Since moving in with Sheldon, Leonard had to jump several hoops just to keep his fellow physicist happy. So while the very concept of the Roommate Agreement sounded weird and sometimes borderline wrong, he mostly abided by its rules.
Written by Sheldon, fans first learned of the Roommate Agreement in The Big Bang Theory season 2, episode 6, "The Cooper-Nowitzki Theorem", then-called the Friendship Agreement. Through a flashback, it was revealed that Leonard had to agree to the contract if he wanted to move into the apartment. There was later a revision, as seen in The Big Bang Theory season 4, episode 21, "The Agreement Dissection", so as to further lean the terms and conditions to Sheldon's benefit. The Big Bang Theory never revealed the full Roommate Agreement, but since it was routinely brought up throughout the sitcom's run, fans have a good idea of what some of the conditions were.
Sheldon primarily used the Roommate Agreement to keep Leonard in line. He would hand it over his head when Leonard was doing something that he wasn't comfortable with. However, Leonard wasn't the only one prone to breaking their agreed contract. Sheldon would unknowingly do something against the agreement he drafted. However, since he's the only one who ever took it seriously, no one called him out for it.
In The Big Bang Theory season 4, episode 3, "The Jazzy Substitution," Sheldon was having a hard time coming to terms with his break-up with his not-girlfriend, Amy (Mayim Bialik). Since this was the first time that he had to process feelings for the opposite sex, he didn't know how to cope with the stress, so Sheldon decided to adopt 20 cats. This was a clear breach of contract since pets were banned in the apartment except for service animals. The situation got so bad that Leonard had to ask Mary (Laurie Metcalf) to come over and help her son.
Given how the Roommate Agreement came about, Leonard was mostly the one accused of breaking the rules. In The Big Bang Theory season 3, episode 15, Leonard was invited to observe the Large Hadron Collider at the CERN Laboratory in Switzerland, but instead of taking Sheldon with him, he decided to take Penny (Kaley Cuoco). Ultimately, he was forced to take Raj (Kunal Nayyar) since both Penny and Sheldon caught flu. Later in the same season, in episode 22, "The Staircase Implementation," Leonard insisted on turning the thermostat up by two degrees when it should always be kept at 72 degrees. This caused a massive fight, resulting in Leonard wanting to crash at Penny's unit across the hall.
The Roommate Agreement also mandated that a roommate should be informed of any impending coitus 12 hours before it takes place. Considering the many times Leonard had unplanned intercourse with various women throughout the years, this clause was broken over and over again. Sheldon wasn't exactly guilt-free either since he never announced any of his intimate moments with Amy. The gang just knew because they used to do it only once a year for the longest time. Since Leonard and Sheldon broke certain clauses of the Roommate Agreement, both of them should've had been kicked out of the apartment at different points in time in The Big Bang Theory.
Disney+ has already hit 50 million paid subscribers worldwide, less than six months after launch. After seemingly conquering the movie industry over the last decade thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Pixar, live-action remakes, and more, Disney decided to get involved in the streaming wars (just like many other studios competing with Netflix). With a catalog full of beloved classics and some high-profile origins, like The Mandalorian, Disney+ launched in late 2019 with a substantial following.
Shortly after the launch of Disney+, it was revealed that over 10 million people already subscribed to the service just one day after the domestic launch. Thanks to free subscriptions from Verizon and other workarounds, though, it was not clear just how big the Disney+ audience actually was. In the months since, Disney has continued to roll out its service in countries around the world. And even though they haven't had any original content that has the same appeal of The Mandalorian's first season, they have continued to increase the amount of content that Disney+ can offer subscribers, and it has paid off.
Disney announced today that Disney+ has surpassed 50 million paid subscribers around the world. The milestone comes shortly after the service launched in UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Switzerland. Disney+ also recently went live in India and the country already accounts for roughly 8 million of the 50 million subscribers Disney is reporting now. Here's what Kevin Mayer, Chairman of Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International, said about the achievement in the press release:
We’re truly humbled that Disney+ is resonating with millions around the globe, and believe this bodes well for our continued expansion throughout Western Europe and into Japan and all of Latin America later this year. Great storytelling inspires and uplifts, and we are in the fortunate position of being able to deliver a vast array of great entertainment rooted in joy and optimism on Disney+.
Although Disney+'s 50 million subscribers pale in comparison to the 161 million global subscribers Netflix can boast, the speed at which Disney+ has grown is still surprising, even for Disney. When the service was about to launch, Disney projected that it would have between 60-90 million subscribers by the end of 2024. They are miraculously only 10 million subscribers shy of that baseline already and could reach that milestone as Disney+ becomes available in more countries over the course of 2020. What makes these figures all the more impressive is that Disney's nearly doubled the subscriber count of Disney+ in the last two months, as they reported 28 million subscribers in February.
Even though the substantial increase in Disney+'s subscribers has more to do with the service being widely available, it is possible that coronavirus could be partially responsible for this rise. With people around the world in quarantine, many may have turned to Disney+ to help pass some time. The early releases of Frozen 2 and Onward probably didn't hurt either. Disney has already announced that Artemis Fowl will now debut on Disney+ at an unconfirmed date and that other movies could follow suit.
If Disney+ continues to grow at this rapid pace, Disney should be well-positioned to see their biggest pieces of exclusive content thrive in the future. The studio previously announced that season 2 of The Mandalorian will debut in October, while the first MCU content was also scheduled for a 2020 launch, with The Falcon and The Winter Soldier in August and WandaVision in December. Even if these releases are delayed now, Disney+'s subscription count will put them in front of more eyes than expected whenever they do drop.