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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

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Everything You Need To Know About ‘PUBG’s Zombies Mode

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 08:00 PM PST

PUBG Zombies is a bit of an oddity. Brendan “PlayerUnknown” Greene’s original vision of a Battle Royale spawned from his desire to speed up the combat-focused parts of DayZ — a game ostensibly about surviving a zombie apocalypse. To make his vision a reality, he removed the zombies (and made dozens of other tweaks). It’s ironic, then, that so many players find themselves drawn to a PUBG mode which adds the shuffling undead back into the game.

Of course, there’s a twist here. The zombies in PUBG Zombies are controlled by players, not AI, and they drop alongside the humans. If you’re a human, you have to kill all the zombies — and there’s a lot of them. If you’re a zombie, you simply have to kill the humans. The mode itself started as a bit of a hack — though not the bad kind — and has grown into something of a phenomenon itself.

How To Play ‘PUBG’ Zombies

Getting into a game of Zombies is super easy, although it relies on there being a custom game available.

All you need to do, when at the main menu for PUBG, is click Custom Games and sort by Zombies in the filter. You should be able to see any available Zombies games — click on one from the list and you’re off and running.

Bear in mind, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get to play as a human. It’s actually one of the problems with the mode in the eyes of Twitch streamer Stabbies, a PUBG Partner and the OCE region’s pre-eminent PUBG shoutcaster. Stabbies runs Customs games for Oceanic players on the regular, changing the rules of PUBG to create wildly varied game experiences. Modes like Demo Derby — where players only have cars — and Western War — where participants are limited to Win 94s and Revolvers — are extremely popular. But Stabbies has a firm rule against running Zombies as a mode.

“It’s fun, but it’s pretty boring if you’re a zombie,” Stabbies explained. “The rhythm of the game is thrown. In a regular game a lot of people drop down, gather loot and then all converge into a circle. But for Zombies that rhythm is ruined. You can’t loot as a zombie, it’s hard to communicate with other zombies and it’s generally not a lot of fun if you land near the survivors early and can’t form a giant horde with [your undead teammates].”

How To Play As A Zombie

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play Zombies, by any means. If you’re all about those brains, there’s a bunch of fun to be had. You just have to work for it. If you’re playing on the Zombies team, press Ctrl-T until it says “Voice Chat Unmuted” so you can hear your teammates. Try to get them to land somewhere central — School or Pecado are good options on each map. Zombies can’t use vehicles, so the closer to the middle of the map you are, the less time you’ll have to spend travelling to get into the circle.

If there are vehicles — the host can turn them off, but probably won’t — punch out the tyres by crouching next to them and hitting. It’s something to do, but it also restricts the Human player’s options when they come near.

You’ll probably have to make your own fun for a little while. The humans probably won’t come close until they absolutely have to — when the circle forces them to. Try to follow crates if you can — when you’re unarmed any weapon is powerful, but an M249 is more powerful than most.

When they come close, remember your strength is in numbers. While some of the zombies are bee-lining straight at the humans, see if you can predict where they’re going to run next and try to cut them off. If they manage to knock you, try to find a space where your teammates can get you back up — just like you would in regular PUBG.

Most importantly, have fun. You’re a zombie, just a cell in a larger organism. Victory comes when the humans die, regardless of whether or not you are the one who gets the kills — all the cells win when the organism wins.

How To Play As A Human

Right off the bat, you should know that as it currently works you’re unlikely to get to play as a Human in a Zombies mode custom game. Generally the lobby host will set it up so that they can control who plays on the human side — although very rarely you’ll find some true open lobbies. As custom game controls become more robust, hosts will ideally be able to assign people to certain teams for doing well as zombies and other things.

If you do manage to play as a Human, there’s a few things to keep in mind! Don’t carry too many heals, first of all. Once you start to really get hit by the swarm of zombies, your opportunities to stop will be near non-existent, so you’re really just wasting space carrying every First Aid Kit you can find. Instead, grab every bit of ammo you can. In regular PUBG, any of the other 96-99 players on the map could kill your enemies for you, but in Zombies only your squad can stop the Zombies menace.

Even if you think you got enough ammo, you probably didn’t. That moment when you realise you have to ration your ammunition — that you’ve been wasting it on speculative pot shots from a distance — that’s when the panic sets in.

When the swarm is upon you, be sure to juke as if your life depends on it — because it basically does. You can throw a few zombies off if you about face and run back at them for a few moments before continuing on your way. If you unequip your weapons until you’re going to use them, you run faster (which is also good to know for when you’re chasing the circle in regular PUBG).

The other key thing to do when playing as a Human is to realise that you’re only going to have fun if the Zombies are having fun. If you go in with the idea of victory as your key goal, and you play it like you’re chasing a chicken dinner, you’ll find the Zombies are more reluctant to return for another game. If you restrict yourself and your crew to only using vehicles for transport, or to not wearing armour, or ditching the 8x scopes, the zombies won’t feel like they’re completely out of options.

“You almost have to role-play it,” Stabbies said about playing as a Human. As a PUBG Partner he’s able to set up a Zombies Custom match, and the games we played together as humans were populated in seconds. “You don’t want it to be boring for the zombies [players] so you have to hold back. Everyone can have a good time [that way].”

The games he set up restricted us to just the Western War weapons, with the addition of sniper rifles. The only Automatic weapons available were the VSS, the Glock and anything we might get out of a crate — although Zombies flocked to the crates every time.

In our games, we didn’t finish zombies off until the last few circles, essentially rewarding the cheeky players who tried to attack us early with a second chance. We hopped out of our vehicles to fight, we ran for our lives when we had to, and it was obvious we were never going to win. But the Zombies seemed to have fun, and even though we didn’t win, so did we.

One other thing worth doing is turning off ReShade — which you’ll have on if you followed our guide. Something about the normal palette of colours in PUBG lends itself very well to the Zombie apocalypse. You can also fiddle with ReShade settings in-game to make things a bit more apocalyptic if you want — although make sure you save your settings for when you return to the regular game!

PUBG Zombies can be fun, but it requires a certain attitude from all involved. When everyone is in that mindset, it’s chaotic and terrifying — but for now those experiences can be few and far between. Fortunately there are dozens of other Custom Games happening at any time — maybe you’re better off checking those out instead! If you’re in OCE, try out Stabbies stream – he plays a heap of other games as well.

The post Everything You Need To Know About ‘PUBG’s Zombies Mode appeared first on FANDOM powered by Wikia.

A Look Back at ‘Paragon’s Long but Necessary Development Cycle

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 04:26 PM PST

Paragon, the upcoming 3rd-person MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) title from Epic Games, is a great example of the pros and cons of early access development. Over the years, the game has been through many iterations. Now, it appears the game is in its final stretch. With an anticipated full release in 2018, there's no better time to take a look at Paragon's infamously long development cycle.

Standing Out in a Sea Full of MOBAs

Screenshot of a female 'Paragon' character

On December 5, 2015, amidst rumors of a new project, Epic Games, of Gears of War and Unreal Tournament fame, dropped the first announcement trailer for a new MOBA game. At the time, thanks to the popularity of titles like League of Legends and  Dota 2, nearly every studio was trying to capitalize on the genre. Many tried (and failed) to create a compelling MOBA gameplay experience.

MOBAs, which blend team-based, real-time strategy with fast-paced action combat, required more innovation to appeal to gamers. Hi-Rez Studios, for example, added a 3rd-person view to their title Smite the year before Paragon was announced. Paragon's trailer appeared to promise more of the same with one crucial difference: However, Epic defied expectations by giving us full control of our hero — something Smite was lacking.

Early Alpha and the Death of Legacy

Paragon's Legacy Map
'Paragon's Legacy map was loved by the community.

Epic released the first early alpha test for the game to a small group of players the same month. It was instantly a fun title — though definitely still a long way from release. Unlike many modern publishers' early access programs, Epic decided to show their game from a true alpha perspective. They countered multiple bugs, missing features, and unpolished gameplay with weekly patches and rapid development cycles. What players had was a beautiful game that fell short in gameplay.

After releasing the game to PlayStation players for free, Epic continued the open development of Paragon. That is, until September 2016 when they announced they would be revisiting major parts of the game. This led them to shelve the much-loved map (now referred to as Legacy), in favor of a much smaller, faster-paced version called Monolith.

A Polarized Community

The Monolith map

Monolith's inception polarized Paragon's very vocal community. Some appreciated the game's new, faster-paced, combat-focused direction. Others preferred the slower, more strategic legacy map.

Epic doubled down, however, stating that the old map would not return. Instead, they focused on trying to match the new map's aesthetic design to that of its predecessor. In September 2017, the huge patch "Monolith rising" brought a visual update, huge hero and balance changes, and lots of quality-of-life fixes to the title.

Refining Paragon's Vision

Paragon user interface 2017
The latest iteration of Paragon's UI

Epic has continued to add more heroes, cards and features to the game. At the end of 2017, they completely redesigned the user interface, making it more in line with their new vision for the game. Around the same time, they also shifted their focus to revisiting older characters who stagnated due to the game's massive changes. Epic also added a new card system to the game. This polarizing change moved the game even further away from the vision originally pitched to the public. However, this change makes sense, as it supports the title's new focus on exciting combat.

Another Epic Games title, Fortnite, found massive success at the end of 2017 after adding a free, battle royale game mode similar to Playerunknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG). Fortnite, much like Paragon, had a long development cycle. Epic redesigned the game until it was a success. The same might soon be said of Paragon, as pushing back its release gives the team ample time to refine their goals for a 2018 global release.

Looking Ahead

Paragon's new card system
'Paragon's revamped card system took some getting used to for fans.

After nearly three years of public development, Paragon will (finally!) release early this year. And with it, we'll see some much-needed features. These features include a revamped matchmaking system — something players have requested since Paragon's beginnings — and ranked gameplay. No longer will players have to resort to running their own competitions to fill the gap. With these new changes, 2018 is certain to be a great year for Paragon and its fans.

Are you ready to jump into the game at launch? Check out our community-created guides on our Paragon-specific FANDOM site, Paragon.gg, and the Paragon wiki.

FANDOM is also giving veteran players the chance to win some limited-edition Paragon merchandise and prizes. Head on over to our competition page to learn more!

The post A Look Back at 'Paragon's Long but Necessary Development Cycle appeared first on FANDOM powered by Wikia.

‘The Commuter’ Review: Liam Neeson’s Least Enjoyable Action Thriller

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 02:24 PM PST

Liam Neeson has carved out a nice little action hero niche for himself, and The Commuter wants to add to that library. It tells the story of an ex-cop who has to deduce the identity of a passenger on his train ride home. If he doesn't, a mysterious cabal will harm his family. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?

If only The Commuter thought so. Instead, we end up with one of the least enjoyable Liam Neeson action flicks in his entire career.

Why So Serious?

Director Jaume Collet-Serra has teamed up with Neeson three times in the past for similar high concept action-thrillers: Unknown, Non-Stop, and Run All Night. Those have all had a sense of propulsive fun and even knowing schlockiness. The Commuter doesn't. The film is incredibly straight-faced and that grimly serious tone clashes with the inherently over-the-top story.

It feels like The Commuter wanted to stray closer to the Taken films in tone. That works for that series because of the brutal violence and grisly nature of the story. The Commuter is a much flightier idea but approaches itself with a disappointing lack of glee. If it let loose a bit, it could have some legs.

Hat on a Hat (on Another Hat)

In writing, there is a term called, “hat on a hat.” It means having an idea but then stacking another idea on top of it which distracts or muddles the original idea. That happens with The Commuter right away. The setup has Liam Neeson’s character given the proposition of figuring out the identity of a passenger on this train. If he does, he’ll plant a GPS tracking device on this person’s bag and he’ll be paid handsomely.

But, then it turns out that he must to do this task because his family has been taken captive. And on top of that, it all ties into some giant cover-up involving a faked suicide and corruption and… you see what I mean? The simple and admittedly compelling premise gets bogged down in a convoluted plot that also negatively affects the film's pacing.

And while the action sequences are solid and deliver what you want out of this kind of movie, they mostly take a backseat to the unfolding mystery. And that mystery is painfully dragged out and even becomes highly predictable towards the film's climax. That’s a shame because Collet-Serra is able to construct a handful of energetic fight scenes that make clever use of the tight quarters of the train. Too bad that they are so few and far between.

Is The Commuter Good?

It's the weakest of the Neeson/Collet-Serra team-up films — please watch Run All Night — and its few bright spots are overshadowed by the film's many other missteps. There’s a good but underutilized cast, a promising premise that’s undercut by a dour tone, and not enough action to justify the weak story. As a fan of Liam Neeson’s action output, this was a serious disappointment.

At least I'll save you the pain of me making some train-themed pun at this movie's expense. That's where I draw the line. Wait, does "the line" count as a pun? Dang.

The post ‘The Commuter’ Review: Liam Neeson’s Least Enjoyable Action Thriller appeared first on FANDOM powered by Wikia.

‘America’s Next Top Model’ Twist: Grandmother Added as Finalist

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 12:09 PM PST

If you’ve been following America’s Next Top Model, you know the age restriction has been lifted for Cycle 24.

The maximum age used to be 27, but as creator/host Tyra Banks announced on Tuesday’s season premiere, the new range is “18 to infinity!”

Official previews for the VH1 show identified two over-27 contestants: 32-year-old Khrystyana and 34-year-old Christina. But in a surprise twist, 42-year-old grandmother Erin Green was named the 15th finalist.

Green failed to stand out in the first photo shoot, and her stiff posing was described as coming from the ’80s. She had even packed her bags to leave when Banks stopped her at the door and told her she would be continuing in the competition.

The twist was even hidden from the press; Green’s photo doesn’t appear on the VH1 site nor in the group shot.

ANTM America's Next Top Model
Green doesn't appear in the official press photo.

Here are five fun facts about Erin Green, the oldest contestant in America’s Next Top Model history!

She’s a Glammother

Green is a mother of five and grandmother of three!

She’s a Twin

Green has an identical twin sister, Desiree. It would be fun if both Erin and Desiree competed against each other, but not necessarily original: Cycle 7 featured twins Amanda and Michelle, while Cycle 23 had sisters Tash and Cody.

She Has Plenty of Modeling Experience

Green began modeling in her twenties but had to give up her career after she had children. She and her sister have made up for lost time, often hitting the runway in fashion shows ranging from swimwear to couture.

She’s a Philanthropist

Green and her sisters are the founders of Twin of a Kind, an anti-bullying foundation. They’re organizing a Pretty Girl Conference Retreat in April, aiming to help girls build stronger self-esteem and create value in their communities. They enlisted the help of boxer Laila Ali to promote the event.

She’s a Reality TV Regular

If Green looks familiar, she’s had numerous TV appearances.

Green and her sister recently appeared on The Real to talk about their anti-bullying initiative.

She also appeared on Fear Factor: Twin Edition where she had to, among other tasks, gnaw the meat off a cow jawbone while wading waist-deep in cow parts. Hopefully, her Top Model challenges will be more glamorous.

‘America’s Next Top Model’: Tyra Returns and More Cycle 24 Changes

The post ‘America’s Next Top Model’ Twist: Grandmother Added as Finalist appeared first on FANDOM powered by Wikia.

Has Fan Phenomenon ‘DBZ Abridged’ Influenced ‘Dragon Ball Super’ and ‘FighterZ’?

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 11:40 AM PST

A decade ago, as fan culture on the internet was just getting its bearings in video, Dragon Ball Z Abridged was born. A fan-led project spawned by a deep love for the Dragon Ball, it would go on to gain unprecedented traction and have an impact on the fandom as a whole — perhaps more deeply than we thought.

Dragon Ball Z Abridged from Team Four Star is a video series recapping the events of the Dragon Ball Z anime, but not quite in summary format. It takes the series well-known formula of stretching one-on-one battles out for several episodes worth of content and condenses them into 10 to 15-minute shows. It also adds a ton of humor, riffing and embellishing on tropes already present in the DBZ series and making them more pronounced and absurd.

Any devoted Dragon Ball fan will tell you their excitement at the announcement of Dragon Ball Super, which premiere in 2015 and was the first new Dragon Ball anime in 18 years. But Super is unlike its predecessors it that it, like Abridged, leans into and magnifies its tropes. Which begs the question: did Dragon Ball Z Abridged have a deeper impact on series beyond just the fandom?

goku
The Goku of 'Dragon Ball Super' is portrayed as more of a simpleton than he ever was.

What Happened to Goku in Super?

The word “intelligent” doesn’t come to mind when you think of Dragon Ball’s main hero, Goku. But I don’t think “oblivious idiot” was ever on the table as well. But fans watching Dragon Ball Super can agree on one thing: Goku has actually become stupider. It has not escaped notice that the Saiyan’s normally cheerful and playful has been replaced with full-blown idiocy. He’s become simple. And we may have Dragon Ball Z Abridged to thank for that.

One of the hallmarks of Team Four Star’s video series is that Goku’s mental immaturity has been cranked up to 11. DBZ Abridged‘s Goku repeatedly mispronounces “Freiza” as “Freizer,” doesn’t know what sex is despite having married a woman and giving her two children, and is involved in some particularly obvious “look-at-how-dumb-he-is” jokes like the Muffin Button incident.

Goku is also used a foil for his son Gohan, who is portrayed as highly-intelligent and in constant awe of his father’s bad parenting and inability to complete simple tasks. (It’s also worth noting that in Super, Gohan has become an actual scholar — a nod perhaps to the Abridged version of Chi-Chi constantly pushing academics on him?)

Goku was never the smarted crayon in the box, but he certainly wasn’t a bumbling idiot. After all, he had the fortitude and courage to continuously fight to save the world. But in Abridged, he’s just plain dumb. And in Super, we’re seeing a similar version of Goku, down to his stubbornness in being best friends with Vegeta despite the latter’s ever-simmering disdain for him. Seeing as Abridged is the only place we’ve seen super-simple Goku before, it’s not hard to imagine the creators seeing fans’ enjoyment of this work and taking a leaf from Team Four Star’s book.

nappa
Nappa, a minor character in 'Dragon Ball Z,' became a star in 'DBZ Abridged.'

Look Who’s Fighting in FighterZ

Another more recent piece of the Dragon Ball universe is the upcoming 2D fighting game, Dragon Ball FighterZ. In the game’s story mode, a new character — Android 21 — leads the charge in an all-out battle between some of the series’ biggest heavy hitters. Just by looking at the cast, though, it’s difficult to not see more parallels between it and DBZ Abridged. 

Being the current anime series, it feels as though characters from Super should have the most representation. But while there are characters and character variants (like SSGSS Goku and Vegeta) from Super, there are more from the series past — characters that had a ton of screen time and gained more popular traction through DBZ Abridged:

    • Android 21DBZ Abridged’s current arc is the Cell Games, in which our heroes battle it out against Perfect Cell. Prior to that, it spent a lot of time with Androids 16, 17, and 18, as well as Dr. Gero. The actual Androids Saga happened in Dragon Ball Z in 1992 — more than 25 years ago. It’s not exactly fresh on people’s minds. But here is a new Android with a connection to this old plotline — something recently shown in Abridged just last year. Coincidence? Why else would developers pull from this old storyline?
    • Captain Ginyu and the Ginyu ForceAbridged spent several episodes on the Ginyu Force, parodying them like super sentai. They were minor characters in DBZ, and again have been pulled from the old, original Freizer plotline. Abridged built a ton of jokes around these characters, making them some of the more memorable ones from the series. Another coincidence?
    • Perfect Cell: Perfect Cell is the current focus of Abridged, played as being charismatic and more than a little flirtatious. He is from the old Android Saga storyline, so it makes sense to see him brought back with Android 21 in play. But how much do we have Abridged to thank for his inclusion?
    • Nappa: A minor character from the very beginning of Dragon Ball Z, Nappa’s inclusion here is even more telling of Abridged’s influence. Nappa is portrayed in Abridged as incredibly simple, like Goku, and over-enthusiastic. He pesters Vegeta constantly and is a collection of loud, crazy one-liners. After his death, however, Team Four Star has kept Nappa in their show in the form of short scenes insinuating he’s either a ghost or a producer on the show. It’s clear Nappa is beloved by Team Four Star, and he’s one of the series’ fan favorites. So his inclusion in FighterZ is pretty suspicious.
trunks dbz abridged
Neither did we, Princess Trunks. Neither did we.

Where Does It Start? Is There More?

With all that to chew on, it’s hard not to look at the future of Dragon Ball and not tie Dragon Ball Z Abridged to it. The fan creation reinvigorated older parts of the series and created smart, funny adaptations of the series’ tropes. But just how much it too much fan influence? It’s not impossible that Akira Toriyama and the series’ producers have seen what Team Four Star has done and how fans have responded to it. It’s not incredibly farfetched for them to think they’re giving their audience exactly what they want, based on how popular the decade-long fan series has become.

Perhaps we’ll see more of this moving forward, and the Dragon Ball series is developing in a sort of cyclical nature. After all, it was fan fervor that brought the series back to TV after nearly two decades of silence. Maybe fan fervor and adaptation will also continue to influence the content that makes it in.

The post Has Fan Phenomenon ‘DBZ Abridged’ Influenced ‘Dragon Ball Super’ and ‘FighterZ’? appeared first on FANDOM powered by Wikia.

Weird Wednesday: ‘The Norwood Suite’ is Basically a ‘Twin Peaks’ Video Game

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 11:24 AM PST

Steam is full of strange, bizarre, cerebral and sometimes existentially terrifying indie games. It’s a cornucopia of weird geniuses making interactive art and we can’t get enough of it. In our quest for strange and interesting games we’ve stumbled upon The Norwood Suite a quirky game about a hotel, and all the weirdos who stay and work in it. If Twin Peaks had a video game it’d probably look something like this.

 

What’s The Norwood Suite?

In 1983, Peter Norwood, one of the world’s most celebrated pianists and composers, mysteriously vanished. His private mansion was turned into the Hotel Norwood, which, over the years, accumulated its own share of notoriety. But the mystery of what really went on during Norwood’s time never truly got uncovered… until now.

The Norwood Suite is a first-person adventure game that takes players to the secluded Hotel Norwood on a simple friendly errand that quickly unfolds into something much more involved. Filled with bizarre characters and curiosities, this mysterious resort is a dense, open-ended world teeming with hidden passages and secrets to discover.

Peer into the lives of the hotel's guests and staff, explore and interact with surprises behind every door, and piece together a jigsaw narrative that rewards your curiosity. The Norwood Suite features surreal art design, as well as an original atmospheric musical score, composed by Cosmo D, that integrates itself directly into the game world.

The post Weird Wednesday: ‘The Norwood Suite’ is Basically a ‘Twin Peaks’ Video Game appeared first on FANDOM powered by Wikia.

Star Wars Has a Box Office Problem That You Might Not Know About

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 09:26 AM PST

Star Wars is possibly the most bulletproof franchise of all time when it comes to box office numbers. Each film — with one minor exception — has brought in at least $200 million during its domestic run in theaters. Star Wars has always seemed like the easiest financial win at the movies.

But, with Disney’s acquisition of the property and dedication to blockbuster budgets, they are finding that one territory doesn’t have the same enthusiasm for that galaxy far, far away.

The China Syndrome

star wars china stormtroopers great wall
Disney had 500 Stormtroopers lined up on the Great Wall of China as a promotional event for 'The Force Awakens.'

The Middle Kingdom has proven a very difficult challenge for the House of Mouse when it comes to Star Wars. Why exactly? Because the original films were not released in China during their initial runs. Therefore, the nostalgia factor that plays so heavily into Star Wars simply isn’t there on a cultural level for Chinese audiences.

So, Disney has pumped a lot of dollars into marketing these new Star Wars films in China. They staged a huge event where 500 Stormtroopers posed on top of the Great Wall of China. They have sunk a ton of money into promoting these new films. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to have paid off. The Last Jedi struggled to open in second place for Chinese audiencesRogue One featured popular Chinese actors Donnie Yen and Jiang Wen and was still unable to crack $70 million in China. That’s less than half of what Rogue One made during its opening weekend in the states.

Considering that China has become the driving force for a number of Hollywood blockbuster franchises — the Transformers series has been propelled heavily by Chinese audiences — what does this mean for the future of Star Wars?

Stay on Target, or Unlearn What You’ve Learned?

There are a few routes which the franchise can take. The most likely one is that Disney continues its current path and tries to market these movies in big ways to Chinese audiences. But, that also means they have to keep making Star Wars films that might appeal to Chinese tastes. That could limit the potential for smaller scale Star Wars films since an epic scope and a “theme park ride” feeling is crucial to selling American blockbusters to Chinese moviegoers. The top American films distributed in China in 2017 were The Fate of the Furious and Transformers: The Last Knight. That should tell you something.

However, if Disney/Lucasfilm decides to cut their losses in China when it comes to marketing, it’s possible that the door could open up for Star Wars films that are more targeted to American audiences. Part of the desire to make films out of familiar plot elements — the Death Star, Han Solo etc. — stems from trying to mine a cultural cache with as global an audience as possible. If Disney/Lucasfilm abandons that approach, could we get more projects like Rian Johnson’s proposed new trilogy?

No matter what happens, Star Wars has a tough puzzle to solve with the Chinese film market. When The Last Jedi opens to less than $30 million — that’s the lowest opening in China for these new Star Wars films — something clearly isn’t working. What do you think the solution might be? I don’t have a solid answer but I’d love to hear your thoughts!

The post Star Wars Has a Box Office Problem That You Might Not Know About appeared first on FANDOM powered by Wikia.

Why Shuri Could Be Black Panther’s Secret Weapon

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 09:01 AM PST

When Black Panther hits screens in February, it will tell the story of T'Challa's ascension to the Wakandan throne following the death of his father, T'Chaka, depicted in Captain America: Civil War. With his father's passing, T'Challa also assumed the mantle of Black Panther, protector of Wakanda. The incumbent Black Panther is not only bestowed with mystical powers gained via a spiritual ritual and special heart-shaped herb, but he also wears a suit with distinctive properties.

But while T'Challa is indeed very capable as Black Panther – we've seen a glimpse of what he can do in the Marvel Cinematic Universe already – he's nothing without his sister Shuri. Here's why Shuri just might prove herself crucial to T'Challa's reign and extremely important in both Black Panther and Avengers: Infinity War.

Intelligence

Shuri is incredibly clever. She's up there with the likes of Tony Stark and Hank Pym in the brainy-stakes. Director Ryan Coogler told Entertainment Weekly that Laetitia Wright's Princess Shuri is "not only a fighter but a brilliant scientist on a par with Iron Man's Tony Stark." Her super-smarts alone would give Shuri an edge in many situations but, on top of this, her engineering skills are unique. And in fact, she's leader of the Wakandan Design Group.

In an interview with Black Girl Nerds, Wright said: "She's just someone who's very innovative, very open-minded, and wants to help push her country Wakanda forward by using technology."

A Tech Whizz

shuri_Black Panther
Shuri wielding her twin blasters.

Shuri applies her genius to creating technology for Wakanda. The nation is rich in Vibranian, a valuable and powerful substance that can only be found within the confines of Wakanda. We've already seen a number of her weapons in the trailers, including a pair of heavyweight gauntlets. These twin blasters are designed in the shape of panther heads and look a bit like panther claws on steroids. We first see her wearing them emerging from the palace, fists raised and ready to strike.

She's also responsible for designing the Panther Habits, or suits, worn by the Black Panther. Made from Vibranium, the habits are bullet-proof. Light enough and flexible enough to allow freedom of movement, the most striking aspect is an ability to absorb and redistribute energy to bestow the wearer with superpowers. Including cat-like abilities to fall from great heights while landing feet-first, unscathed.

Fight Skills

While we don't see much of her fighting abilities in previously released footage, she certainly looks ready to pitch in when it comes to battle. If not lead. And from the comics, we know that she's got enviable martial arts skills. We expect to see Shuri on badass buttkicking form in Black Panther.

Comic Book Clues

Black Panther
Shuri (right) primed for action with Lupita Nyongo's Nakia.

In the comics, Shuri is a formidable character. She took on the role of Black Panther herself when T'Challa was injured. She also became the ruler of Wakanda in her own right. Comic-book Shuri, therefore, has all the same enhanced abilities that T'Challa has.

In addition to this, in the comics Shuri is able to transform herself into a bird; or, through direct contact, several people into a flock of birds. We might not see her display this ability in Black Panther, but who knows where the future of the MCU may take Shuri? She could be well-placed to take over from Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa should he meet his fate.

Everything We Know About the ‘Black Panther’ Soundtrack

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5 Games to Fill the ‘Persona 5’-Shaped Hole in Your Heart

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 08:00 AM PST

Maybe you never saw it coming, but Persona 5 entered your life and, 100 hours later, has left you satisfied in ways that few other games have. Now, if history is any indication, it will be a long time before we see Persona 6. What are you supposed to play until then? Here are five games that will scratch the Persona 5 itch until Atlus delivers a successor to 2017's best RPG.

Persona 4

If Persona 5 was your first Persona experience, you're in luck: Persona 4 is more of what you love. Fantastic characters and writing weave together a story that's as crazy and unforgettable as the one told in Persona 5. Not to mention you're already well-versed in the combat system (not much changed between sequels). You won't have guns anymore, but you'll be able to summon all manner of hyper-powered Personas to do your bidding. Remember the melancholy you felt saying goodbye to your Persona 5 friends when that game ended? Well, get ready for more tears when Persona 4 wraps up. Perhaps even more so than Persona 5,  this game’s characters really worm their way into your heart.

An honorable mention to Persona 3, as well. Some people even prefer it to Persona 4Although the lighter tone of the latter game gives it the edge over its predecessor. Honestly, every recent Persona game could’ve earned a spot on this list (Persona Q, Persona 4: Dancing All Night, the Persona 4 Arena games). But what fun would that be?

Shin Megami Tensei IV

The Persona series is actually a spinoff of the popular Shin Megami Tensei games. The focus in Shin Megami Tensei is on dark plots and mid-battle conversations with demons, much like Persona 5. In Shin Megami Tensei IV, you are a knight of an honorable order sent into a dungeon to investigate demonic disturbances. What you find is truly stunning and turns your concept of the world upside-down.

Battles range from fairly difficult to absolutely insane. This is not a game for the weakhearted. You'll need to master your demonic helpers' powers if you want to succeed. Many of them will be familiar faces from the Persona series. You'll already have a leg up by knowing the meanings of the various spell names, such as Mazio meaning lightning. Also, check out the pseudo-sequel, Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse. It has hundreds of hours of gameplay and is a real challenge to boot.

Final Fantasy XV

One of the biggest draws of Persona 5 is spending time with the characters, watching their friendships grow and change, and feeling like you've become friends with them, too. It's difficult enough for a game to make you care about a fictional character; getting you to think of them as friends is even harder.

That's where Final Fantasy XV succeeds, in a way no other Final Fantasy has. The adventures of Noctis, Prompto, Ignis, and Gladio become less about the Big Bad Evil they must defeat and more about exploring the friendship between these four young men. Right from the start, it's clear how much these characters like each other. From everyone's playful ribbing of Prompto to Ignis's fussing over Noctis's dietary needs, these are real people with a real friendship. It helps that Final Fantasy XV is a fun, action-packed RPG. The game mechanics will keep you busy, but the characters are the reason you'll stick around.

Danganronpa (series)

The Persona games are mysteries. While Persona 4 takes this quite literally, setting up a murder mystery investigation, at their core, every title is about unraveling the circumstances around the protagonists. If you can't get enough of anime teenagers solving crazy crimes, you need to give Danganronpa a try. While a very different sort of game from Persona 5 (it's more of a mini-game-filled visual novel), you'll see the similarities right away. A bunch of quirky teens gathered together, forced by a wise-cracking stuffed bear to kill each other — the plot wouldn't feel out of place in the Persona universe at all.

Each game in the main series revolves around a series of "class trials." One of your classmates is murdered, and it's up to the rest of you to figure out whodunnit or risk being executed also. You'll fall in love with the characters, though you'll know any of them could be taken from you at any moment. Do yourself a favor and start with the original, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. Later games will have a much bigger impact if you play them in order.

Catherine

I couldn't write this article without mentioning the Persona team's downright bizarre puzzler. Catherine isn't an RPG about teenagers solving mysteries, it's the story of Vincent, a man in a long-term romantic relationship who is beginning to waver in his commitment. At night, he dreams he becomes a sheep and must climb a seemingly endless tower or suffer a horrible death in real life. Yeah, it's got the Persona weirdness for sure.

Despite its oddities, Catherine is one of the most grown-up looks at life and relationships in any game, period. Its story and gameplay are completely separate entities, but you'll fight your way through each tower-climbing puzzle to find out what happens next to the hapless Vincent.

While nothing can replace Persona 5, this is truly a golden age for offbeat Japanese games. Everything on this list comes highly recommended — even if you somehow never played Persona 5. For those who have, these games will ease your pain until Persona 6 comes around.

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‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’: New Clip Shows Thomas Leap to Uncertain Death

Posted: 10 Jan 2018 06:13 AM PST

A brand new clip from Maze Runner: The Death Cure has landed — and it features Dylan O'Brien's Thomas, Thomas Brodie-Sangster's Newt and Ki Hong Lee's Minho under fire in a corridor.

The high-octane footage shows the trio racing through a WCKD facility looking to escape when they come face to face with Janson, played by Game of Thrones star Aiden Gillen, and a bunch of armoured henchmen.

They dart into a room and lock themselves in without much of a plan as to what to do next. As Janson orders his minions to get the door open after knocking fails to yield results, Thomas and co. frantically scan their surroundings.

An anonymous lackey takes to the lock with a circular saw.

"Any ideas?" asks Minho.

"Maybe," says Thomas after looking out of the plate glass window standing between themselves and a huge drop.

Next thing we know, Thomas has grabbed a large metal canister and hurled it through the window. It smashes through and plummets to the ground below.

"OK. That's doable," says Thomas. "Just need a bit of a running start."

"You sure about this?" asks Minho, worried.

"Not really," he responds, breathing heavily.

"Nice pep talk," says Minho.

"Yeah. Bloody inspired," adds Newt.

As they're standing there thinking, Janson bursts through the door, and the only thing they can do is jump. So they jump. And that's where it cuts, leaving us on a massive cliffhanger.

In the clip, just before they jump, you can see evidence of the Flare — the man-made disease that turns humans into zombie-like crazies called Cranks — taking hold on the side of Newt’s face. Unlike Thomas, Newt is not immune.

Here's the official synopsis for the film:

In the epic finale to the Maze Runner saga, Thomas leads his group of escaped Gladers on their final and most dangerous mission yet. To save their friends, they must break into the legendary Last City, a WCKD-controlled labyrinth that may turn out to be the deadliest maze of all. Anyone who makes it out alive will get answers to the questions the Gladers have been asking since they first arrived in the maze.

Maze Runner: The Death Cure is released on January 26.

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