Tag Archives: polygon

The ESA creates an esports scholarship for college competitors

The Entertainment Software Association is now offering sports scholarships. Esports scholarships.

The ESA, the trade organization representing United States video game publishers, announced on Thursday that it is expanding its 20-year-old scholarship program to include esports competitors in college.

The ESA Foundation’s esports scholarship is intended to elevate the participation of women and minorities, who account for a very small percentage of recipients of the esports scholarships awarded by other organizations.

The ESA Foundation’s overall goal is to advance opportunities for women and minorities in college, and their pathways into the video games industry. Established in 2000, it has raised more than $23 million in the two decades since.

The National Association of Collegiate Esports estimated last year that $16 million in esports scholarships have been awarded since 2016. The NACE comprises more than 170 member institutions across the United States, with more than 5,000 esports competitors enrolled at them.

The ESA Foundation’s esports scholarship joins two others the foundation annually awards: the Computer and Video Game Arts Scholarship, and a scholarship awarded in conjunction with Gay Gaming Professionals for service to LGBTQ+ communities.

Applications are open now, and will close March 2, 2020.

Source: Polygon.com

Animated Mortal Kombat movie ‘Scorpion’s Revenge’ launching by June

There’s a Mortal Kombat animated film on the way, and Warner Bros. expects it to release before the end of June, The Hollywood Reporter reports.

The film is called Mortal Kombat Legends: Scorpion’s Revenge. The voice cast stars Patrick Seitz as Scorpion. Seitz voiced Scorpion in Mortal Kombat X and is Tygra and Mumm-Ra in Cartoon Network’s upcoming Thundercats Roar.

Other cast include Joel McHale (Community, and co-host of 2013’s VGX) as Johnny Cage; Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter) as Sonya Blade; Jordan Rodrigues as Lui Kang; Steve Blum as Sub-Zero and David B. Mitchell as Raiden.

Two producers with animated Batman experience are helming the project: Rick Morales (Batman vs. Two-Face) and Jim Krieg (Batman: Gotham by Gaslight). NetherRealm Studios’ Ed Boon is aboard as kreative konsultant.

A live action, feature-length Mortal Kombat reboot, from New Line Cinema, is planned to release March 5, 2021.

Mortal Kombat 11 is the series’ current title; it’s about to deliver the fifth of six promised premium DLC fighters for its season pass, namely, The Joker.

Source: Polygon.com

Cyberpunk 2077 still needs crunch time to complete, CEO says

If anyone thought that delaying Cyberpunk 2077 by five months to September would give its developers a little more breathing room, well, guess again. In a call with investors on Thursday, CD Projekt’s chief executive admitted that development crunch will still be necessary as CD Projekt Red brings this project to term.

Adam Kicinski, answering “Is the development team required to put in crunch hours?” answered, “To some degree, yes, to be honest.”

Kicinski went on to say that “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.”

It somewhat fades the idea that this is another five months to polish up an otherwise finished game, and instead means developers need five extra months of full-on development to deliver something worth a launch.

What CD Projekt Red has on hand now is “playable; the whole game,” Kicinski said, adding that “it’s been like that for a couple of months.” Still, asked to describe what the trouble was causing the delay, he attributed it to “technical bug-fixing and polishing.” That said, the game is so detailed that “polishing is just a complex task. It’s about the number of things we have to take care of rather than some fundamental problem.”

Kicinski nonetheless said the development team considers the delay “a good decision, and that having an extra five months will enable us to deliver a perfect game.”

Another investor noted that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt was also delayed, but only by three months, from a February 2015 launch date to May 2015. Kicinski confirmed that the reason Cyberpunk 2077 was given a five month delay is to launch it in September, waiting past a summer quarter that is much slower for major releases.

Investors also pressed Kicinski for CD Projekt’s plans for Cyberpunk 2077 and the next generation of consoles, but he wouldn’t budge. “We have nothing to share here and now in relation to that,” he said.

Cyberpunk 2077 was originally scheduled for an April 16, 2020 release; on Thursday, CD Projekt Red assigned it a Sept. 17 launch, with a note saying that developers “need more time to finish play-testing, fixing and polishing.”

“We want Cyberpunk 2077 to be our crowning achievement for this generation and postponing launch will give us the precious months we need to make the game perfect,” the studio said.

Cyberpunk 2077 will launch on Google Stadia, PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.

Source: Polygon.com

The 8 trailers that have us hyped this week

A million movie trailers drop online every week, which can make it hard to keep track of what’s actually coming up in theaters and on home screens. To help parse through the endless stream of upcoming movie and TV releases, we’ve assembled a list of the most exciting (and in some cases, weirdest) trailers that came out this week, along with a hype level rating, tracking whether these particular trailers actually excited us about the upcoming product. Afraid you might have missed something? Fear no more.

This week is heavy on superhero action and nostalgia, though a few less straightforward selections bode well for moving into the future.


Here are just a few of the questions prompted by the Morbius trailer: Who is Morbius? Is Jared Leto allowed to play another superhero? Why is Michael Keaton in this? How twisted is this going to be? So he’s not a vampire? Is that the Doctor from Doctor Who? Who is excited for this movie? As it turns out, Morbius is a Marvel character; afflicted with a rare blood disease, Michael Morbius uses bat DNA to attempt a cure, only to become a “living vampire.”

Movie release date: July 31 in theaters

Hype level: 4. Three points for Michael Keaton, one point for Jared Harris.

This movie would have been cool if it came out in 2012, back when the MCU fandom actually cared about Black Widow. But she’s dead in canon now, and no amount of backstory will make up for the fact that her death kinda sucked. What’s the point in finally fleshing out the original sole female Avenger, after she died just to make Clint Barton sad?

Movie release date: May 1 in theaters

Hype level: 3, but only for Florence Pugh as Natasha Romanoff’s sister figure, Yelena Belova.

Stargirl

Wow, our 2008 dreams of seeing Jerry Spinelli’s 2000 YA book onscreen are coming true, except this trailer makes the adaptation look like Manic Pixie Dream Girl: The Movie without the heartbreaking deconstruction of the book. Boring high-school student Leo would rather blend in — till he meets quirky, free-spirited Stargirl, who would rather stand out. She’s so magical! And fun! And the trailer doesn’t remotely hint at the complicated heartbreak to follow. What will happen? Guess we’ll find out.

Movie release date: March 13 on Disney Plus

Hype level: 5, though this would be higher if this trailer didn’t feel like the film is going to reveal someone dying of cancer in the middle of it.

In Guns Akimbo (the source of those endless “Daniel Radcliffe with two guns” memes), Radcliffe plays an internet troll who crosses the wrong people. So they bolt guns to his hands and order him to kill Samara Weaving, the number one player in a deranged live-action video game where people murder each other on a livestream for an enthused audience. It’s just as wild as it sounds, and it kinda rules.

Movie release date: February 28 in theaters

Hype level: 7, bumped up to a 8 during the scene of Daniel Radcliffe trying to open a door with his GUN HANDS.

Olympic Dreams

This soft, romantic story looks particularly endearing, but why does it sound like the volume has been cranked down to the lowest possible volume? It stars real-life Olympian Alexi Pappas and is reportedly the first film ever shot in the real-life Olympic Village, so points for authenticity.

Movie release date: February 14 in theaters

Hype level: A soft 6, just as soft as everyone’s voices.

The Lovebirds

Kumail Nanjiani is making a career out of movies where he accidentally gets pulled into a crime. Stuber was fine, but the fact that The Lovebirds has Issa Rae piques our interest. This brief trailer is funny and intriguing. We’re optimistic about this one.

Movie release date: April 3 in theaters

Hype level: 7. This looks funny! Love a rom-com that turns to crime.

Dispatches from Elsewhere

AMC has quietly been producing some of the best and strangest shows currently on TV (Better Call Saul, The Terror, R.I.P. Lodge 49), and it seems like they’ve got another gem on their hands with Dispatches from Elsewhere. Created by and starring Jason Segel, the series has an exciting cast — Sally Field, Richard E. Grant, André 3000, and Eve Lindley — and a strange premise. Grant seems to be the head of the “Jejune Institute,” a company promoting nonchalance and apparently running some kind of ARG.

Series release date: March 1 on AMC

Hype level: 10. Richard E. Grant! André 3000!!! What’s not to like?

Little Fires Everywhere

Based on Celeste Ng’s bestselling book of the same name, Little Fires Everywhere pits two very different families against each other in a sleepy suburban town. The trailer for the Hulu original is tense, and as model suburban mother Elena Richardson, Reese Witherspoon delivers some very May I Speak to the Manager vibes.

Series release date: March 18 on Hulu

Hype level: 8 — the book rules, and we’re entering a Reeseasiance!

Source: Polygon.com

Leaked Rise of Skywalker art hints at what might have been

An art book detailing the making of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’s appears to have concept paintings drawn from the rumored early script draft written by Colin Trevorrow.

The book, “Art of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” is due to release on March 31. A fan on Twitter posted images of several of its pages on Thursday. Many of the concepts seem to reference ideas from Trevorrow’s script, which leaked out earlier in the week and whose details have since been independently verified by several outlets.

Two of the pages show Kylo Ren, evidently on Mustafar, discovering a Sith Holocron that Palpatine had left for Vader. Another tweet shows Kylo Ren standing before a hideous, multiple-armed monster on another world; apparently this is Tor Valum, the Sith master who trained Palpatine and will train Ren.

Other pages show concept art that seems to directly reference events actually shown in The Rise of Skywalker, such as Rey and Kylo Ren’s duel amongst the Death Star debris on the churning seas of Exegol.

Trevorrow and Derek Connolly were both given writing credits for The Rise of Skywalker even though their script was not used. Trevorrow is best known for writing Jurassic World, but Lucasfilm executive producer Kathleen Kennedy was said to be unhappy with what he turned in back in 2018. An official statement at the time said only that Trevorrow/Connolly and Lucasfilm had mutually agreed to go their separate ways.

Source: Polygon.com

A ‘Games Under $20’ sale at the PlayStation Store leads MLK Day weekend’s best gaming deals

Long weekends aren’t only good for shortening your work week. Most retailers also take advantage of the extra day off by running sales tied to the holiday. Martin Luther King Jr. Day isn’t one of the biggest Monday holidays in terms of discounts, but there are a few nice gaming deals to be found.

The PlayStation Store is having a “Games Under $20” sale, with discounted PS4 games all under $19.99. Some quality indie games as well as older classics are on sale, including our favorite game of 2019, Outer Wilds.

If you haven’t yet played Fire Emblem: Three Houses, you may have felt like you played the whole Masahiro Sakurai during Thursday’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate character reveal. Spoilers or no, Fire Emblem: Three Houses is well worth playing (it was one of our top 100 games of the decade.) It’s on sale right now at Amazon for $49.94, which is about $10 off retail price.

Finally, Microsoft’s redesigned Elite controller adds Bluetooth and a rechargeable battery, as well as some tweaks to the thumbsticks, bumpers, and grips. The new model was just released in November, but Amazon Prime members can already save $20.

Consoles and hardware

Video games

Accessories

Source: Polygon.com

8 gems you can watch on Disney Plus right now

With more and more platforms joining Netflix on the streaming spectrum each month, launching more and more things people could be watching at any given time, there’s more and more collective anxiety about wading through all the movies and shows to find the good stuff. Luckily, we spend lots of time wading through those movies and shows to find the good stuff.

Take Disney Plus. Known for catapulting Baby Yoda to stardom in season 1 of The Mandalorian and being a centralized hub for the Disney animated classics you watched endlessly as a kid, Disney’s streaming service is also home to underrated films you may not recognize at first glance. To get you started, here are eight selections, ranging from features to shorts, that are worth your while.

Nyong’o smiles. Image: Walt Disney Pictures

Queen of Katwe (2016)

Mira Nair (The Namesake, Monsoon Wedding) is a master of the little moments, and her sports drama, about a young girl growing up in an impoverished corner of Uganda who rises to chess greatness, is full of bursts of heartwarming humanity. Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo are in total uplifting mode, swapping hockey pucks for pawns, but still imbuing the movie with the Mighty Ducks. Newcomer Madina Nalwanga leaves you with zero doubt that, with right support and nurturing, a champion can rise from anywhere.

the love bug split in two to out drive another race car Image: Walt Disney Pictures

The Love Bug (1969)

Most people know Herbie the Love Bug — would you be surprised if Lindsay Lohan’s Herbie: Fully Loaded holds a place in young millennial hearts? — but fewer and fewer people know The Love Bug, the quintessential mid-20th-century Disney family feature in which the automotive character first came to life. Disney Plus is filled to the brim with disposable, 90-minute adventures with a dash of magical realism, but the rambling tale of a Volkswagen Beetle with a mind of its own is as fleshed out and genuine as they come. Dean Jones stars as Dean, a down-in-his-luck racer who finds new purpose in life (not to mention love in the form of Michele Lee’s mechanic Carole) when he sticks up for Herbie and drives him in the legendary El Dorado race. Herbie’s full of tricks, and they remain satisfying 50 years later.

chip from chip n dale lays on the ground pissed Image: Walt Disney Animation

Donald Duck: Chip an’ Dale (1947)

For more than a decade, every one of Disney’s Donald Duck cartoons opened with the “Donald Duck Song” an absolute bop that tells you everything you need to know about his character. He thinks he’s the most reasonable person in the room, he’s never temperamental, and he’d never start a fight. This is funny because it is demonstrably false, as you can see in Chip an’ Dale, the first named appearance of the legendary chipmunks. These perennial Donald-botherers appear alongside him for the first time here, and establish a familiar formula. Donald is a big jerk to them and, in righteous retaliation, they ruin his entire fucking day. This six-minute short is a beauty of comedic timing and even a bit of cartoon physics, showing that even the staid House of Mouse has always had a little place Looney Tunes-style comedy.

the fluffy dog dragon from pete’s dragon kneels next to his boy Image: Walt Disney Pictures

Pete’s Dragon (2016)

There is a reason to be skeptical of the Disney remake machine: The Lion KingAladdinBeauty and the Beast … yeah, OK, there are many reasons to be skeptical of the Disney remake machine. But Pete’s Dragon, an update of the 1977 boy-and-his-invisible-beast musical, works at a totally different level. Despite the presence of a giant, fluffy dog dragon, writer-director David Lowery (A Ghost Story, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints) grounds the story in the brisk reality of the Pacific Northwest. The visual effects work fades away as a feral Pete is rescued from the woods and reconnects with society. When the movie goes big, Lowery summons the energy of Steven Spielberg’s Amblin films, bringing as much heart as spectacle.

Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston sit at a table Image: Buena Vista Pictures

Frank and Ollie (1995)

Walt Disney possessed imagination and ambition, but there’s no Disney magic without Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston. Members of the company’s original “Nine Old Men” group, Thomas and Johnston were there as Walt dreamed up the first feature-length animated film, Snow White, and hand-animated classic moments in the features that would establish the studio as an all-ages juggernaut. Frank and Ollie takes viewers behind the scenes of the film and let’s the duo tell their own story in rare interviews. Having been a tough DVD to track down over the years, the film’s finally available with the click of a button.

a dandelion-headed woman dances in the desert Image: Walt Disney Animation

Destino (2003)

Conceived and storyboarded by some arty guy named Salvador Dalí back in the early 1940s, Walt Disney Animation kept this surreal short film in limbo to save costs during World War II. Nearly 50 years later, Walt’s brother Roy recovered the boards, gathered the animation troops, and finished a Disney animated film unlike any other. A mix of mythology, dance, and Dalí iconography, Destino is a legit work of art tucked away under many layers of Disney product. It’s a miracle!

Jim Hawkins on the prow of a ship Image: Walt Disney Animation

Treasure Planet (2002)

A kooky idea pitched by Disney duo Ron Clements and Jon Musker back in 1985, Treasure Planet tosses in just the right blend of steampunk, sci-fi, and early ’00s skater culture into Robert Louis Stevenson’s pirate tale. A 70-30 mix of traditional pirate elements and space opera tropes gives the movie a distinct feel, both in terms of visuals and sounds, where a sweeping orchestral score is mixed with some electric guitar riffs. Treasure Planet is zany and visually stunning, but it was also doomed from the start: The opening date coincided with that of the second Harry Potter movie, which meant that despite solid reviews, Treasure Planet flopped at the box office. If you missed it then, catch it now.

Source: Polygon.com

With all its games looking the same, Ubisoft shakes up its editorial team

Ubisoft is overhauling the central editorial team that advises on all of its productions, following lackluster sales of two Tom Clancy games that CEO Yves Guillemot blamed on a lack of differentiation in consumers’ minds.

Video Games Chronicle reports that Ubisoft chief creative officer Serge Hascoet will remain in charge of Ubisoft’s editorial group, but that he will be given more subordinates and they will be given more autonomy, so that he is able lead from a broader perspective rather than directing individual projects himself.

This change is meant to give Ubisoft’s individual franchises, from For Honor to Assassin’s Creed, more distinct identities. An unnamed source told VGC that the previous structure often meant that the tastes and opinions of one or two important people in the editorial team made it into Ubisoft’s games, making many of them feel the same.

Ubisoft’s focus on open-world environments in its AAA offerings and, even more recently, live service games with long life spans, contributes further to the blurring.

In a statement given to VGC, Ubisoft confirmed only that it was “reinforcing our editorial team to be more agile and better accompany our development teams around the world.” Asked for comment, a Ubisoft spokesperson referred Polygon back to the same statement.

Ghost Recon Breakpoint landed with a thud in October, both critically and commercially. In a call with investors later that month, Guillemot said Breakpoint had “been strongly rejected by a significant portion of the community” and that it “did not come in with enough differentiation factors, which prevented the game’s intrinsic qualities from standing out.”

In the same conference, investors were told that Watch Dogs: Legion was being delayed past its original March 2020 release date. It and two other games, Rainbow Six Quarantine and Gods and Monsters, were also pushed closer to the launch window of the upcoming PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles, expected this holiday season.

“While each of these games already has a strong identity and high potential, we want our teams to have more development time to ensure that their respective innovations are perfectly implemented so as to deliver optimal experiences for players,” Guillemot said in a statement then. He added that the company needed to leave more time between the launches of its live service games so that they aren’t cannibalizing one another’s interest and audience.

Source: Polygon.com

Ubisoft files lawsuit against Rainbow Six Siege DDoS attackers

Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege publisher Ubisoft has filed a lawsuit against the owners of an alleged distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack website. Multiple people from across the globe are listed in the lawsuit, which was filed Thursday in a California court and obtained by Polygon.

DDoS attacks in Rainbow Six Siege have been a big problem for Ubisoft. In September 2019, the developer enacted a multipronged plan to stop players that perpetuate DDoS attacks, which create lag in multiplayer matches and can crash servers. Ubisoft said it saw a 93% drop in the frequency of attacks after it shared its plan. Now it’s looking to quash the problem from the source — a group of people the company says are selling subscriptions to DDoS services.

The defendants, which allegedly operate a website called SNG.ONE, sell subscriptions for up to $299.85 for “lifetime” access to the server, according to the lawsuit; a monthly subscription costs around $30. A screenshot from the complaint showed Fortnite, FIFA 20, and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 4 as potential targets, too.

Ubisoft says the site owners “are well aware of the harm” their services have caused the company. “Indeed, Defendants have gone out of their way to taunt and attempt to embarrass Ubisoft for the damage its services have caused to [Rainbow Six Siege],” Ubisoft lawyers write. The lawsuit points to a tweet sent by an alleged defendant:

Likewise, Ubisoft alleges the defendants created a fake “seizure” notice on their website that “falsely claimed” Microsoft and Ubisoft had taken over the website. The lawsuit says the defendants admitted they created the seizure notice “in order to get Ubisoft to admit that they have a problem,” whatever that means.

Ubisoft has asked the court to shut down the websites, and award damages and fees. Polygon has reached out to Ubisoft for more information. SNG.ONE did not return a request for comment.

Source: Polygon.com

Valve says it’s not working on Left 4 Dead 3

While Valve is returning to the Half-Life franchise after more than a decade with its VR-exclusive Half-Life: Alyx this year, the company says it’s “absolutely not” developing another heavily rumored game: Left 4 Dead 3.

In a statement to IGN, Valve said that it “briefly explore[d] some Left 4 Dead next gen opportunities a few years ago,” but that it’s not working on a new Left 4 Dead now and hasn’t done so for years.

A new Left 4 Dead game has been rumored for close to a decade, mostly in the form of leaks and hints excavated from files and source code in Valve’s Source game engine. Some of that work in unearthing references to Left 4 Dead 3 has been done by Tyler McVicker of the Valve News Network YouTube channel. McVicker has published videos on asset leaks and other information about scrapped Left 4 Dead projects, including one that he reported was canceled in 2017.

But it was McVicker’s recent tweet about a Left 4 Dead VR game that stoked speculation about the game’s existence and imminence. In December, McVicker tweeted that “Left 4 Dead VR is real,” and with the recent confirmation of Half-Life: Alyx, that tweet was widely interpreted to mean that L4D VR was in active development. In a new video posted Friday, McVicker explained that his reference to Left 4 Dead VR “had to do with a prototype that was in development in 2017 that I had found out about and have been working on a project for.

“That’s all I said on the matter,” McVicker continued, saying that his comments were misconstrued by gaming websites.

They were also apparently misconstrued as fact by the China president for HTC VR, Alvin Wang Graylin. On Friday, Graylin tweeted slides from a presentation he was giving on VR trends in 2020. One of those slides included the line “Valve HL Alyx / LFD3 will drive consumer and AAA studio interest,” leading some to believe that Graylin had inside information on a new Left 4 Dead, given Valve and HTC’s previous relationship.

But Valve has uncharacteristically squashed those rumors for now. In the meantime, Left 4 Dead fans will have to remain content with the first two games, or one of their upcoming spiritual successors, such as GTFO or Back 4 Blood, the latter of which is being made by original Left 4 Dead developer Turtle Rock.

Source: Polygon.com