Today in the Rundown, we examine the future of the console industry in light of some recent comments by Microsoft, find out what new TV series Marvel has in the works, have a look at a retro Batman animated movie and the upcoming live action Justice League, get an update on what Ubisoft has planned for virtual reality, have the first details on the next expansion for Cities: Skylines, and finally, take a look at the new MacGyver TV series!
Traditional video game consoles might be coming to an end. With the new Xbox One S rolling out in stores and the higher-powered Project Scorpio coming next year, Microsoft is on the verge of doing away with traditional console generation cycles. That’s according to Microsoft’s head of Xbox games marketing Aaron Greenberg, who tells Engadget that, for Microsoft, “the future is without console generations.” He says that they see Project Scorpio as a way of upgrading the Xbox One hardware without it being a new generation, which allows them to build on their existing game library and community without starting fresh with a completely new system. Xbox head Phil Spencer has made similar statements in the past, saying that he’d like to get rid of the seven-year gap between consoles and instead introduce regular hardware updates, similar to what the mobile phone market is doing. This will be a big change in the console industry, although it’s unclear how console gamers themselves will feel about it; they’ll get more up-to-date games, but only if they continuously update their hardware. PC gamers have already been doing this for decades, so we’ll have to wait and see if it catches on in the console world. Project Scorpio will arrive late next year.
Netflix isn’t the only streaming giant joining forces with Marvel. Following the success of their Netflix-exclusive shows Daredevil and Jessica Jones, Marvel is entering into an alliance with Netflix’s biggest rival Hulu. Marvel Television has officially announced that they’ve inked a deal with Hulu to create an all-new series based on their hit comic Runaways. The books first hit shelves in 2003, and focus on a group of teenagers who discover that their parents are secretly supervillains, forcing them to become heroes in order to stop them. The books have a very cinematic feel that should lend itself well to a television show, which makes sense given that the comics are co-created and written by Brian K. Vaughan, who’s worked on TV shows like Lost and Under the Dome, not to mention countless other comics from Marvel, DC, and Vertigo. Expect the Runaways show to take place in the same cinematic universe as Marvel’s other shows and movies, which means existing characters could potentially crossover and vice versa. Marvel hasn’t said when Runaways will premiere on Hulu, but expect to see it in the next year or so. Hopefully this doesn’t make things awkward with Netflix. They’re already working on an entire slate of new Marvel projects, the latest being Luke Cage, which premieres next month.
If the new Batman is too dark for you, a more friendly version of the character is making a comeback. Warner Bros and DC have unveiled Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders, a new animated film that features the vocal talents of 1960s Batman Adam West and his loyal sidekick Burt Ward as Robin. This is their first time playing the two heroes in decades, with the exception of their appearance in Lego Batman 3, and they aren’t the only actors from the classic show; original Catwoman Julie Newmar will reprise her role as Catwoman. Like the original show, the new film will have plenty of campy humor, along with all the retro puns you could want. I guess that means Batman won’t be killing villains by crushing them with his car or blowing them up. Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders arrives this October.
And over to the live-action DC cinematic universe. New photos have emerged showing Henry Cavill as Superman on the set of Justice League, and he’s got his traditional red and blue costume, along with the iconic Superman curl in his hair for the first time. This may come as a bit of a surprise given that Cavill recently posted an image of a new, all-black Superman costume, similar to the character’s appearance after the Death of Superman comics. I guess this means he’ll be sporting more than one fashion ensemble in the film. The presence of the hair curl could indicate that the movie will see Superman return to his less dark and brooding roots, although we’ll have to wait and see about that. Justice League hits theatres next summer.
Ubisoft is about to make a big push into the world of virtual reality. The game maker has announced release dates for their first three VR games. First up, Ubisoft Montreal’s Eagle Flight will take off October 18 on the Oculus Rift, with a PlayStation VR version coming November 8, and an HTC Vive version landing on December 20. The game lets players take the role of an eagle soaring through the skies above Paris, and it has both singleplayer and multiplayer modes. Next up, Ubisoft will warp players to the final frontier with Star Trek: Bridge Crew, hitting all three VR platforms on November 29. It’s developed by Red Storm Entertainment, the same studio behind many of the Tom Clancy games, and will put players into the captain’s seat of their very own Starfleet vessel. Although it takes place in the new JJ Abrams timeline, it features voice actors from both Trek universes, including Levar Burton, Jeri Ryan, and Karl Urban. Can’t wait to try that one. Finally, Ubisoft’s third VR game Werewolves Within takes a bite out of all three VR headsets on December 6. It’s also developed by Red Storm Entertainment, and is sort of like a multiplayer VR version of the board game Ultimate Werewolf, where players try to figure out which member of their group is secretly a wolf. It supports up to 8 online or local players, although I don’t think anyone owns eight different VR headsets, so you’ll probably have to stick with online. That’s not all. Ubisoft has also revealed that a free VR update for their PS4 game TrackMania Turbo will be available starting November 8. These are just the first wave of virtual reality titles coming from Ubisoft. The publisher has previously stated that they’re very interested in what VR has to offer, so expect to see plenty more from them in the future.
There’s no better test for a virtual mayor than guiding your city through a natural disaster. The PC game Cities: Skylines is getting a new expansion called Natural Disasters, which will introduce city-destroying catastrophes like earthquakes, fires, and meteor impacts. You’ll get to show your mayoral skills by planning your response to each situation as it evolves, and you’ll even be able to create custom disaster scenarios and then challenge your friends to see how well they handle it. Natural Disasters will be available for Cities: Skylines this winter.
It seems like they’ll craft a remake out of pretty much anything these days. CBS has unveiled their new TV series MacGyver, a remake of the classic 1980s show. Like the original, it will focus on a secret agent who uses household objects like bubble gum, tinfoil, and paper clips to craft weapons, modify items, and basically get himself out of any sticky situation. The show stars X-Men mutant Lucas Till as a much younger version of the character, and the pilot episode was directed by James Wan, best known for Insidious, The Conjuring, and the most recent Fast and Furious movie. You’ll be able to catch the new MacGyver when it premieres on September 23.
This constant upgrading really irks me. I don’t do it with my phone (& it still makes calls & texts fine); don’t do it with my Mac (& it still works fine); & I’m NOT going to do it with my console. Most of us aren’t made out of money, & I’m sick of these companies thinking we are.