The past week brought us a healthy mix of news. The news which arguably created the most buzz was the casting of Ellie and Joel for the Last of Us series. The rest were some good news for those that can’t wait to play the new Ratchet & Clank, surprising news from Ubisoft who’s slowing down their AAA release schedule, PC players finally getting the chance to try out Kingdom Hearts and more.
HBO’s The Last of Us Series Confirms Casting for Ellie and Joel
Riding on the popularity of the first game and the success of the second one, HBO is entering the production of The Last of Us series. The question that was on all of our minds was who’s going to be cast as the two main characters – Ellie and Joel. Well, we now know the answer and the honor goes to Bella Ramsey (Game of Thrones) and Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones, The Mandalorian, Narcos). Reactions to the casting have been mixed with one camp being focused on the fact that the actors don’t resemble their in-game characters while others are excited to see them flex their acting skills as these iconic characters.
Other than that, we got some info on the talent behind the camera. Craig Mazin, who has previously worked with HBO as the creator of Chernobyl, will be involved with the series as a scriptwriter and executive producer. Kantemir Balagov, a Russian filmmaker, will be directing the pilot episode. Also, depending on where you stand on the story of the second game, you’ll be glad or hate the fact that Niel Druckmann will also be heavily involved with the adaptation. For more information, be sure to check out our original news coverage.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Release Date Revealed
Our favorite Lombax Ratchet and his robotic friend Clank are gearing up for a new adventure. The lovable duo is set to make their debut on the PlayStation 5 may be sooner than most of us thought. Currently, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is just short 3 months away, arriving on June 11th, 2021. Along with the release date information, we got a look at the physical and digital editions as well as some exclusive pre-order content. Digital standard edition pre-order gives you a cool armor set and a wacky weapon, the digital deluxe edition gives you 5 armor sets, photo mode stickers, 20 upgrade materials, and digital soundtrack and art book. For more information and full release date reveal trailer, check out our original news coverage.
Ubisoft will dial down the number of AAA releases in the future
Ubisoft is most known for its gargantuan franchises like Assassin’s Creed, Watch Dogs, Ghost Recon, and more – all expensive, AAA games. This fact was commented on by Ubisoft CFO Frederick Duguet during an earnings call with investors. Now, while he did say that the company has at least three major AAA-titles lined up for release from April 2021 to March 2022, he also surprised everyone with a statement that the company is planning to shift its focus from big game development to games of lesser scope.
Certainly, they won’t give up on their big games, but they’ll start developing more free-to-play and mobile games, pursuing the insane growth of that market in recent years. Hyperscape, their most recent attempt at a lower budget, F2P game wasn’t very successful so it will be interesting to see how they tackle these, smaller games in the future. For more information and a full investor call statement, check out our original news coverage.
Kingdom Hearts Series is coming to PC via Epic Games Store
After years of seeing multiple releases on handhelds and consoles, the Kingdom Hearts franchise is finally coming to PC. The games will release over on Epic Games Store on March 30, 2021. And yes, when we say the franchise will release, we really mean it. Everything from Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix, Kingdom Hearts 2.8 HD Final Chapter Prologue, all the way to Kingdom Hearts 3, and the recently launched Kingdom Hearts: Melody of Memory.
Something that’s sure to spark debate is the high pricing for some of these, fairly old games since each will cost $59.99, with the exception of Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 + 2.5 Remix which will cost $49.99. This means you’ll have to shell out a whopping $230 for the entire catalog. Still, there’s no doubt in my mind that many fans and those who’ve never had the chance to play Kingdom Hearts will flock to Epic as soon as they release. For the full announcement trailer and more information, check out our original news coverage.
Stolen CDPR data has reportedly already been sold via online auction
As you know, CD Projekt Red has been the victim of a targeted attack. The hackers did away with a huge chunk of data from their servers, including the source code for Cyberpunk 2077, Gwent as well as an unreleased version of The Witcher 3. They also snatched some company files and data regarding finances, human resources, and more. The ransom note they left gave CDPR a few days to contact them or they would otherwise sell the data or publicly release it in order to smear CDPR’s reputation.
Shortly after, CDPR came out with a statement, saying that they are investigating the hack and that they wouldn’t give in to any sort of demands, despite possible damages. True to their word, the hackers seem to have sold the data, the information being revealed via screenshots of a post on the hacking forum Exploit. There seems to have been an auction where the entirety of the stolen data was offered and ultimately sold. The bidding had a $1 million starting price or a buy-it-now price of $7 million price tag. It ultimately not known who purchased the data or how much it was sold for but CDPR is continuing their investigation in the matter.
Jack Black will voice Claptrap in Borderlands Movie
Much concern has been raised regarding the still early in production Borderlands movie. Fans expressed concern over the adaptation not following any of the storylines in the games and instead seems to be a somewhat generic rescue mission featuring two popular characters – Lilith and Tiny Tina. While the casting of Kevin Hart as the serious vault hunter Roland is an exception, many see the light at the end of the tunnel with other actors. Cate Blanchette is set to portray Lilith while Jamie Lee Curtis will embody Tannis. While we still have no word on Tiny Tina, we now get an awesome new addition in Jack Black who will voice the favorite dumbass robot Claptrap.
Black is returning to games after more than 10 years, after voicing Eddie Riggs, the heroic roadie in Double Fine’s Brutal Legend back in 2009. Chances are high his voice will be modified for the role of Claptrap, but his quirky personality is definitely a great match for such a crazy humorous character. There’s plenty of talent to go around associated with the film but we’ll see how successful it will ultimately be. Most game-based movies end up being extremely bad. Let’s hope it’s different with Borderlands. For everything we know so far about the movie, check out our original news coverage.
Epic has a new tool for easy crafting of realistic faces
Realistic characters and NPC’s have always been somewhat of a talking point in games. The main reason for that that they are starting to severely stand out as low quality when compared to the increasingly realistic environments. Well, Epic is looking to change that with a browser-based software tool powered by its Unreal Engine called the MetaHuman Creator. The tool will significantly reduce the developer effort needed to quickly create lifelike, truly convincing characters. We’ll see how it’s going to be used in the near future, but the prospect of a world populated with these ultra-realistic characters is certainly an exciting one. The developers will then have more time to spend on other aspects of the game which should contribute to the overall quality of their end products.