During Sony’s PlayStation 5 Showcase on Wednesday, developer Arkane Studios gave fans their latest glimpse of its timelooping assassin game Deathloop.
While details on the game still remain a little vague, the trailer did offer us plenty of clues as to what’s going on. The game’s main character Colt seems to be an assassin stuck in a timeloop, for some reason. Every day he wakes up in a place called the Black Reef at a massive party where he’s convinced he needs to kill a few key people to break free of his timeloop. He says he has eight names on his kill list, but this trailer is mostly focused on a scientist named Egor.
In the trailer, Colt finds a way to stop Egor’s regularly scheduled loop behavior and get him and another target into the same room at the same time, giving Colt the chance to take both out at once. This could mean that players will have plenty of options in how they change the circumstances, or this could just be the normal setup for this mission. Once the shooting starts, Colt seems to have all kinds of reality-bending powers, including teleportation and telekinesis, which he can use to execute his targets. But the mission is more complicated than that.
Just like all the other Deathloop trailers, this one also involves another protagonist named Jules. Jules only has one mission in her various loops and it’s to kill Colt, and at the end of the trailer she succeeds, seemingly resetting Colt to the beginning of his loop and foiling his plan. In the actual game, Jules can be randomly controlled by other players who want to play the game in multiplayer. They’ll randomly invade the games of various Colt players in an attempt to ruin their plans and protect the timeloop.
Deathloop is scheduled for release sometime in the second quarter of 2021 and will available on PlayStation 5 and PC.
Cyberpunk 2077 dev breaks promise, will force employees to work six days a week
Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt Red has told employees that six-day workweeks will be mandatory ahead of the game’s November 19th release date, even though the studio has repeatedly and explicitly promised it would never do that, Bloomberg reports.
On two separate occasions in 2019, studio co-founder Marcin Iwiński told game journalist Jason Schreier how it would address crunch, once even saying that “we want to be more humane and treat people with respect.” It seemed pretty clear from excerpts like this that mandatory crunch was not going to be part of it!
Jason: If I’m a designer at CD Projekt Red and I say you know what I have kids, I have a family, I’m going to work from 10am to 6pm every day, and that’s it. Even until the very end. Am I going to be okay with that?
Iwiński: Yes. Yes.
Jason: No matter what.
Jason: So you can commit to that?
Iwiński: We’ve committed to that already.
While CD Projekt Red didn’t completely throw crunch time out the window, the company was clear that employees would be able to say no. In one interview with Kotaku, Iwiński said the studio would have a “non-obligatory crunch policy,” meaning that while the company could still ask employees to work overtime, it would not be “mandatory.” The words in quotes are Iwiński’s actual words.
But by January, it was already starting to look like the company wasn’t going to keep its promise to employees. As Polygon notes, when asked whether the development team would be “required to put in crunch hours” during an investor call in January, CD Projekt CEO Adam Kicinski answered yes, suggesting that it was somehow out of his hands: “We try to limit crunch as much as possible, but it is the final stage. We try to be reasonable in this regard, but yes. Unfortunately.”
In an email obtained by Bloomberg, CD Projekt Red studio head Adam Badowski offered a similar excuse, suggesting that his company somehow has no alternative than to force employees to work harder to address the remaining bugs and glitches in the game — even though a CD Projekt Red employee told Bloomberg that some staff had already been working nights and weekends “for more than a year.”
“I take it upon myself to receive the full backlash for the decision,” Badowski wrote in the email. “I know this is in direct opposition to what we’ve said about crunch. It’s also in direct opposition to what I personally grew to believe a while back — that crunch should never be the answer. But we’ve extended all other possible means of navigating the situation,” he said, apparently without describing any of the other possible means that the company has already tried.
Cyberpunk 2077 was originally supposed to launch on April 16th, but the studio pushed the game’s release to September 17th, saying the developers “need more time to finish play-testing, fixing, and polishing” the game. CD Projekt Red would then push the release date once again to November 19th, explaining that the development team needed extra time to “go through everything, balance game mechanics, and fix a lot of bugs.” We’ve already waited this long and the game is almost done: could CD Projekt Red just push the release date one last time instead of forcing its developers to crunch?
‘Pokémon Go’ will roll back some of its COVID-19-related changes
As the coronavirus pandemic spread in the spring and summer, Pokémon Go rolled out a series of changes that made it easier for players to keep participating. Now Niantic Labs has announced that while some of the temporary bonuses it added will remain active, several of them will go away as of October 1st.
In April the game added a feature where your buddy Pokémon would gather gifts from nearby PokéStops even if you didn’t leave your home, and now it will only do that if you’re running low. The distance walked to hatch eggs is going back up to where it was previously, and incense that attracts Pokémon will only have increased effectiveness while walking.
Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna review: the ending fans waited for
Fights like Star Wars vs. Star Trek or Marvel vs. DC have made it clear that it’s impossible for fandoms to agree about anything. But for a certain type of ’90s kid, there was no fight more important than the war between Digimon and Pokémon. Though the franchises have similar names, were both born as video games, and feature kids going on adventures with strange monsters that fight for them, their latest-feature film projects show the core difference between the two series.
Where Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back – Evolution is a shot-for-shot remake of the first Pokémon movie, with updated CGI animation and without the original songs, the newly imported movie Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna is the conclusion of 20 years’ worth of stories, closing the book on a beloved franchise by looking back at what made it so special, then acknowledging that neither the characters nor the audience can remain kids forever.
In its opening scene, Last Evolution begins by taking us back to where it all began, to the streets of Tokyo, where a giant Parrotmon crosses over from the Digital World and starts wreaking havoc, while Maurice Ravel’s “Boléro” plays in the background. Viewers who find it off-putting to see the film blatantly wearing nostalgia on its sleeves by playing the original musical arrangement of the 1990s anime theme song should be warned: this movie probably isn’t for you. But if the mere sound of the late Kouji Wada’s “Butter-Fly” brings tears to your eyes, then you better bring a towel when you watch, because Last Evolution is like Toy Story 3 for anime fans.
Though the opening scene directly reflects the opening of 2000’s Digimon: The Movie, it quickly lets the audience know that things have changed. This isn’t the ’90s anymore, and technology has grown along with the DigiDestined, who are now coordinating battle strategies in mid-fight like an anime version of The Avengers. Five years after the events of the 2015 film series Digimon Tri, and 10 years after the events of the original series, the DigiDestined have grown up just like the audience has. Izzy (Mutsumi Tamura) is now the CEO of a tech company. Joe (Junya Ikeda) is in medical school. Mimi (Hitomi Yoshida) is working as an influencer who says she’s “spreading kawaii” across the world. Sora (Suzuko Mimori) has apparently left the DigiDestined behind to focus on following her family’s business, as seen in the short film prequel “To Sora.” Even the kids from 2000’s Digimon Adventure 02 are back, after an egregious absence during Digimon Tri. After the nostalgia-filled opening credits, a new threat emerges and goes after all DigiDestined across the world. And Tai (Natsuki Hanae) discovers a timer in his Digivice, counting down to the moment his partnership with his Digimon Agumon will end forever.
Kizuna is fast-paced and features gorgeous fighting animation, including scenes that combine the art style of the original Mamoru Hosada-directed films with new digital animation techniques. But director Tomohisa Taguchi and the animation team at Yumeta Company clearly made this film for the millennials who grew up with the franchise and want a little more than constant battle scenes. The plot is a detective story with an intriguing central mystery, and the tone is much more melancholic than most modern anime movies, as the end of the partnership between the DigiDestined and their Digimon casts a large shadow over every scene they share. Thankfully, the film gives the characters enough moments to breathe, with mostly silent sequences where they contemplate their future and their past, without dialogue and with a minimalistic score.
The original Digimon Adventure portrayed some heavy themes for a kids’ show, including divorce, depression, and death. And as the characters grew up, the themes continued to mature. Tai goes out for drinks with Matt (Yoshimasa Hosoya), and he’s now working part-time at a gambling parlor, and has a porn stash in his apartment. He has no idea what he’ll do with his future. Though Joe, Izzy, Mimi, and Sora seem well-adjusted in their 20s, Tai and Matt struggle with deciding what to do with their lives and how to let go of their childhoods as they prepare for an uncertain adulthood.
The film begins with the text “the more that people accept the future chosen for them, the less they will age,” and viewers’ enjoyment of the film will depend on how they interpret that phrase. Though we know the film is counting down to the moment the DigiDestined grow up and leave their old adventures behind, there’s no clear idea about what the film considers “growing up.” It’s more specifically about the moment when people realize they can no longer juggle what their lives used to be like when they were kids, and the life they’re now entering.
But it’s also about the danger of forcing yourself to grow up before you’re ready. It’s about those who think they have to leave their old friends and lives behind, and those fighting to embrace both the past and future as much as they can. Like Toy Story 3, Kizuna goes for a bittersweet conclusion that waves goodbye to childhood while suggesting that eventually, we all learn to find a balance between our responsibilities and our desires. Some audiences may not agree with the way the film handles this theme and its connection to the infamous epilogue from Digimon Adventure 02, which reunites both teams of DigiDestined, as well as their Digimon and their children, in the far future. But for those who are on board with the way the film handles the transition out of childhood, Last Evolution will be like saying goodbye to a childhood friend you don’t often speak to, but still hold close to your heart.
Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna manages to be the best addition to the Digimon franchise since Mamoru Hosoda was at the helm. Its references to previous franchise installments, its surprising cameos, and its emotional story all help put a bow on 20 years of adventures, while providing a nice returning point for fans who may have skipped the underwhelming Tri series of films. It’s a love letter not only to the entire franchise, but to those who have grown up watching these characters throughout the years. This is the conclusion fans have been waiting for.
Digimon Adventure: Last Evolution Kizuna is available for digital rental or purchase on iTunes or Microsoft, and will arrive on Blu-ray and DVD on October 6.
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