Archive for May 16, 2020
Batman is known for getting the job done by any means necessary, but when it comes to protecting the Batcave, occasionally that means relying upon a robot double of The Dark Knight himself.
The Batcave has long been one of Batman’s most sacred places. It serves as the base of operations for his war on crime, is home to his fleet of state-of-the-art vehicles, gadgets and Bat-suits, and museum of memorabilia and keepsakes. It’s no surprise the hero known for planning for every scenario would utilize an array of security measures. Batman uses everything from the typical, like motion sensors and alarms, to the unorthodox, like a giant mechanical T-Rex and swarms of actual bats. A lifelike robotic double of the Dark Knight fits right in with those bizarre precautions.
A robotic double of Batman was unleashed when the Teen Titans ventured into the Batcave to retrieve intel from the Bat-Computer. In Teen Titans #26, Damian Wayne leads an oblivious squad of Titans into the cave, however, the fifth Robin and son of Bruce Wayne didn’t have his father’s permission to enter with an entire team of young heroes. Damian leaves his teammates Kid Flash, Red Arrow, Crush, Djinn to keep watch while Roundhouse hacks into the computer. Robin warns them not to touch anything, but doesn’t prepare them for a potential assault from “Bot-man”. The Titans react to the attack believing they’re encountering the actual Batman, and fight or run for their lives, not faring too well in either case. Batman’s robot double succeeds in protecting the cave until the very real Robin returns and decapitates the android. The team shakes off the trauma of being abused by the mechanical vigilante and complete their mission.
As secret and secure as the Batcave is supposed to be, it’s no stranger to intruders. The Joker, the Court of Owls and Bane have all found their way into Bruce Wayne’s secret subterranean lair. It’s expected that Batman would continually tweak measures to deal with future threats and adding a robot to his repertoire makes sense. He may have even lifted the idea from his friend Superman, who’s used faux-Superman robots in the Fortress of Solitude, as seen in All-Star Superman. Clark’s robots are typically more of the assistant variety, but Batman adapts all plans to his own needs, enlisting a mechanical scarecrow of himself to strike fear into any unwanted guests in the cave. Even if said guest is a Robin intent on stealing information from the Bat-Computer.
Damian & Bruce have occasionally had a rocky relationship and Damian seemingly had no hesitation in lopping off the head of Batman. The young Wayne was fully aware the Batman he beheaded was a robot, but that League of Shadows training clearly hasn’t vanished from the boy. All parents are concerned about havoc teenagers may cause when the house vacant, while Damian is far from a kid throwing a party while Dad’s out of town, the same dynamics apply. Bruce is going to need something more substantial if he wants to thwart intruders of his son’s caliber. Maybe a call to the boy’s mother, Talia al Ghul, is in order…
In a major crossover, the beloved Small World fantasy tabletop series is joining forces with the classic Blizzard MMO World of Warcraft to bring players Small World of Warcraft. Though the high fantasy computer game may seem like a tonal mismatch for a cartoony civilization board game, Small World's focus on exaggerated fantasy races mixed with World of Warcraft's eternal feud between the Alliance and Horde factions seems like a recipe for a fun in-person time with friends.
Designed by Belgian tabletop whiz Philippe Keyaerts, Small Word was a favorite among many board gaming aficionados over the last decade. The game is lauded for its sense of humor, colorful board and pieces, and - above all - its excellent compression of more complex fantasy civilization into a more accessible and faster experience, so Small World is still on many tabletop experts shortlist for recommendations to players of all skill levels. Having gotten several expansions and even a crowdfunded sequel over the years, a World of Warcraft-themed version has understandably piqued the interest of a lot of intersecting fans of each franchise.
Asking players if they're "ready for the fight," a recent trailer by publisher Days of Wonder has neatly condensed the heart of the upcoming tabletop crossover, Small World of Warcraft, into a hype-inducing ad. The meat of the game looks like it plays similarly to the classic Small World experience of mashing up established races (in this trailer's case, humans and orcs) with playstyle-changing traits and forcing players to duke it out for territory on a tiny game board that keeps the action constant and fair.
Announced what feels like ages ago back at BlizzCon 2019, Small World's tentative summer 2020 release date is quickly drawing near. Though offering virtually nothing in the way of new information, this promotional footage's "release trailer" length and quality along with a reconfirmation of the release summer release window will help to reassure waiting players that neither COVID-19 nor development troubles have delayed the game. It's not a solid release date and things could still be subject to last-minute changes, but this still allays some fears.
If Blizzard and Days of Wonder are keeping a close eye on the calendar in their intentionally vague "summer 2020" promise, Small World of Warcraft could come as early as the first day of summer, June 20, 2020, only a little more than a month away. Until then, it can be sure that World of Warcraft and Small World fans alike will be have their swords at the ready as they prepare to charge headfirst into the upcoming tabletop crossover with a Leeroy Jenkins-like zeal.
Source: Days of Wonder
America’s Next Top Model’s creative director Jay Manuel revealed behind-the-scenes details about his time on the show and why he left. ANTM was a pop culture icon, spanning 24 seasons from 2003 to 2018. A diverse group of models flocked to the TV runway, putting themselves through a variety of strenuous photo shoots, all under the guide of outspoken former supermodel Tyra Banks. But the show’s run was not without its fair share of controversy due to the provocative photo shoots and offensive comments from the judges.
Jay Manuel was the creative director of the show for 18 seasons before being fired in 2012, despite being a personal friend of Tyra Banks and a fan favorite cast member. The decision not to renew the contract came as a shock to audiences because of how crucial his role was to the success of the show. Many have speculated it was due to the controversial nature of the photo shoots, which included racial swapping and models portraying eating disorders and death.
Manuel has since expressed in an interview with Variety what he thought about those controversial moments, “I do remember, and it was very uncomfortable for me, in Cycle 4, it was a photo shoot where the girls had to swap races…I was so afraid that I would wear this because I was the creative director, but it was not my idea. That swapped race was a layer added in. It was supposed to be a different concept. I remember that very, very clearly. I was basically told that I had to execute the creative, and it made me very uncomfortable.” Manuel goes one to say that final decisions were ultimately left up to executive producer Ken Mok and Tyra Banks.
He also revealed that he left ANTM over his inability to pursue other career goals due to demands of the show, and his departure was not due to “bad blood” between him and Tyra, which was reported at the time. Manuel clears up rumors that the show decided not to renew his contract, stating, “By the time I finished with Cycle 18, there was just so much more I needed to do with my career and I wasn’t offering anything new to the show, at that point,” and, “The show would negotiate four cycles at a time, and when they came to me for Cycles 17 and 18, they actually wanted Cycles 17 through 20, and we settled on 17 and 18, but that is something that the public was not aware of, and it was misreported.”
It appears one of the career goals Manuel spoke of has come to light, as he has a new book coming out called, The Wig, The Bitch, and The Meltdown, which is a satirical novel inspired by his time on ANTM. Although the book is fiction, Manuel says it will explore real behind-the-scenes moments from the show. If Manuel’s upcoming novel is anything like fashion industry veteran Lauren Weisberger’s The Devil Wears Prada, fans will have plenty to look forward to. And unless someone from ANTM writes a tell-all, this will be our best chance to look behind the curtain of one of the most polarizing and controversial reality shows to date.
Fans of Red Dead Redemption 2 are hunting for real life locations and landmarks that are represented in the game. Rockstar's famous action-adventure title was heavily anticipated following its original announcement in October of 2016, six years after the release of its predecessor Red Dead Redemption. The game released for consoles two years later in 2018, and a year after that on PC. Red Dead Redepmtion 2 received massive praise from most major publications and is, to date, one of the best-selling video games of all time.
It's not hard to see why Red Dead Redemption 2 has earned the success that it has. The game is remarkable for its in-depth, compelling characters, its exciting gunplay, and, most prominently, its beautiful locations. Rockstar put a lot of thought into making the setting feel as authentically western as possible, and in a game that's already so staggeringly detail-oriented, their work paid off spectacularly. Red Dead Redemption 2's open world is a delight to explore and a marvel to behold. Every nook and cranny of the world is fully realized with remarkable care, and many critics have agreed that the game absolutely raises the bar as far as open worlds go.
It should come as no surprise, then, that even two years after the game's initial release, players are still poring over Red Dead Redemption 2's masterfully crafted setting. As discussed in a recent forum post on GTANet, a Rockstar Games fan site, players of Red Dead Redemption 2 have been studying buildings and landmarks from the game to find connections to real life buildings. Red Dead Redemption takes place in a fictional region of the United States, but Rockstar took inspiration from a lot of real buildings to fill out its world. GTANet outlined in particular the efforts of a user who goes by Koeklin, who has matched several structures in Red Dead Redemption 2 to real-life buildings in New Orleans, Ohio, and others.
Koeklin's work was posted to a long-running thread on GTANet dedicated to mapping as much of the in-game world to the real one as possible, using mapmaking software and a keen eye. These efforts have been ongoing since before the game even launched, with fans scrutinizing the announcement trailer for as many details as they could spot. The work has been ongoing ever since, and thanks to the efforts of fans like Koeklin, who even managed to identify a building used in an in-game booklet, new discoveries are still being made.
This all but goes without saying, but the best indicator of a game's success should always be what the players think about it. Monumental technical and graphic advances are all well and good, but if people don't enjoy the game, those will only go so far. This forum proves that Red Dead Redemption 2 has the technical advances and the fans to enjoy them; two years after its release, players are still finding new ways to appreciate Rockstar's masterwork. A game that can keep fans interested with a level of engagement this staggeringly high doesn't come around that often, and it's admirable to see when it happens.
Here's what viewers can expect from Star Wars Rebels season 5 if the acclaimed Disney series were to ever return for another outing. Created by Dave Filoni, Simon Kinberg, and Carrie Beck, Star Wars Rebels was set a few years before the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and told the story of young Jedi Ezra Bridger and his various missions across the galaxy.
Bridger ran with the Ghost crew - an assortment of rebels trying to take down the Empire. Although they also worked with the likes of Mon Mothma, Ahsoka Tano, Leia Organa, and even Obi-Wan Kenobi, the team was made up of Kanan Jarrus, Hera Syndulla, Zeb Orrelios, Sabine Wren, and astromech droid Chopper. The series saw them take on various antagonists such as Inquisitors, Grand Admiral Thrawn, and even Darth Maul - who became one of Star Wars' most tragic characters thanks to Rebels.
While Star Wars Rebels season 4 was thought to be the conclusion of the show, it ended with a few questions still up in the air, notably the whereabouts of Ezra who disappeared when taking down Thrawn in the finale.
Star Wars Rebels offered audiences an alternative look into the action they knew from the original trilogy. As Hera says in the finale, "It was a simple story about a boy who was lost and a girl who was broken." By the time the series finished up in 2018, this was no longer the case, and the Ghost's purpose, to fight, was fulfilled. As the remaining members of the Ghost entered new chapters in their lives, they did so separately. Zeb found a home; Hera started a family. Dave Filoni often talked about he wanted the show to have a conclusive ending, and the events of Star Wars Rebels season 4 brought the show in line with the movies, and the narrative thereafter exists in Disney's sequel trilogy. While a few questions remain, the end of Star Wars Rebels brought peace to the Galaxy and to the lives of the Ghost crew.
When asked if he had any intention of returning to Star Wars Rebels, Filoni said, "No. Not really. I was really happy with how that series turned out, and I feel like we got to tell a complete story there." The series ended for no reason other than the creative decision to close the book on Rebels after season 4. However, while saying that there are no plans for season 5, Filoni didn't completely shut the door on seeing the characters return in the future. "I think that there’s always potential for stories that involve the characters from Rebels, which is maybe a better way to put it," he said. Fans saw Ahsoka's arc pick up in the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and the beloved character will be returning in The Mandalorian season 2 as well. It makes sense that Rebels' Sabine could appear in The Mandalorian's future too.
After the divisive reception to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and the success of The Mandalorian and The Clone Wars in contrast, it seems as though the future of Star Wars is on the small screen. Currently, the studio has Obi-Wan and Cassian Andor spin-offs in the works, as well as a female-led project, so they have their hands full. But there's a demand for more animated Star Wars, and given that Rebels has already been successful in the past and the reaction to bringing The Clone Wars back was so overwhelmingly positive, Disney would want to proceed with season 5 sooner than later - especially as there are no known animated shows in the works right now. If Star Wars Rebels season 5 happens, it could debut after the Obi-Wan and Andor spin-offs, potentially arriving in 2022 or 2023 as it can take a year or so to get the animation and voice work done.
Based on how Star Wars Rebels season 4 ended, season 5 could look at the disappearance of Ezra Bridger. There are a few questions left unanswered in season 4, but Sabine's final line talks about how it's time to bring him home before going to search for the missing Jedi with Ashoka. Bridger was thought to be dead when the finale aired, although Filoni has since confirmed that he is, in fact, alive; so is Thrawn, who vanished alongside Ezra. Both characters were crucial to Rebels, so any future installment would want to explore what became of them and their current whereabouts.
As fans know, the battle against the Empire didn't bring a lasting peace for the galaxy either as the First Order replaced them. While the Ghost crew's whereabouts at the time of Disney's sequel trilogy are mostly unknown, sharp-eyed fans spotted the ship in the climax of Episode IX. It was hard saying goodbye to Star Wars Rebels, but maybe the story isn't over yet.