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Nintendo Switch and 30 million units

It was very clear early on in Wii U’s life cycle that Nintendo had come to the same conclusion as many of its customers: the system wasn’t good enough. It took them only 2 and a half years of the console being available to announce the development of NX; the infamous codename for what would become Nintendo Switch. Suddenly, Wii U was as obsolete as it had always felt. It didn’t matter that Nintendo still had great titles for the console in the pipeline; Super Mario Maker, Yoshi’s Wooly World and Xenoblade Chronicles X to name a few. Whilst they may have had large cash reserves thanks to the system’s predecessor, Wii, the most beloved company in the industry seemed poised to continue its decline, with many calling for them to exit the hardware business entirely. Nintendo had to strike preemptively and confirm that, yes, they were already planning for the future and it was going to be unlike anything we had ever seen.

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Official patent for NX from Nintendo

Rumors of a hybrid system had been swirling since long before an official announcement from the company, which seemed like the perfect idea for a comeback. Many had doubts, including myself, that such a strong comeback was possible, but much to almost everyone’s surprise, NX exceeded expectations. I doubt even Nintendo initially believed they could sell over 10 million units within their first year, but this is the reality we are living in. To have the company firing on all cylinders again is a great feeling, and in light of that they have announced another incredibly lofty goal: 20 million units in 2018, bringing a total count to around 30 million by years end. Seeing as the most popular system this generation, PlayStation 4, only just achieved 20 million units in a year in 2017, this seems like an incredibly demanding ask. But it would be foolish to doubt that Nintendo isn’t up to the task. The sheer fact that more units should be available for sale this year will surely mean that they at the very least match their units sold last year. To achieve the feat of doubling that number will take a few strategic moves, but after the year Nintendo had in 2017, its clear that they’re capable of making them.

switch-online-1.jpgIn comparison to the pretty great Xbox Live and the not-as-great-but-reasonable PlayStation Network, Nintendo Switch’s online infrastructure is amateur at best and crippling at worst. Between the need for your smartphone to act as a conduit, friend codes, and convoluted matchmaking, it’s easily the biggest detractor for the console. It resulted in me putting down Splatoon 2, an otherwise great title, long before it deserved to be abandoned. Starting sometime in 2018, if you want to play online, it’s going to require gamers to purchase a subscription. Fortunately, the asking price is around a third of what the same privilege costs on either the Xbox One or PlayStation 4. However, that is no excuse for the system to be a massively inferior product.

Screen Shot 2018-01-16 at 12.57.34 PM.pngNintendo needs to rewrite the narrative regarding its online infrastructure. Players shouldn’t need their phone to matchmake with friends, and any connectivity to their smart device should be incredibly simpler than the Inception-like set up it currently has with things like SplatNet. A big part of the online seems to be a “Classic Game Selection”, where Switch owners will have access to a library of NES and SNES titles. Nintendo should take this a step further, and bundle in Virtual Console; titles available across all of their previous platforms. Increase the price of their service and do what Microsoft and Sony have tried to do with Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Now. Online is going to continue to be a thorn in Switch’s side unless Nintendo takes massive strides in this direction.

The biggest seller for Nintendo has always been, and likely always will be, Pokémon. With Switch, the realization that we’ll get a playable mainline game for our TV has been confirmed as a reality, and there’s strong rumors suggesting that it will be released this year. With Nintendo taking such an incredibly different approach to structure with The Legend of Zelda and launch title Breath of the Wild, crazy ideas are swirling in fans’ minds of what a home console Pokémon RPG would look like. An open world, swarming with visible Pokémon, gyms that can be tackled in any order, other players sharing the same space, to name but a few modifications. Nintendo Switch has the potential to completely reinvent a franchise that fans have seemingly been content with incrementally changing. Pokémon has sold in the tens of millions ever since its introduction 20 years ago, so a 2018 release has the potential of single handedly securing those extra ten million units.

SwitchPokemon.jpgThe only major barrier in the way of replicating the same success the franchise has had on handheld is the cost of entry. Currently, you can buy a 2DS for around 80 dollars or its XL brother for 150 dollars. The most expensive handheld Nintendo ever put out was the original 3DS at 249 dollars. Whilst the system would go on to sell a large amount of units, that was most likely thanks to a significant price drop made within 4 months of the handheld being on sale to 169 dollars. Nintendo Switch is currently priced at 300 dollars, hence why Nintendo has consistently positioned the system as a home console. Whilst this clearly hasn’t been an issue in achieving large sales in 2017, if the company wants to double their success in 2018, specifically with a release of Pokémon and intense gains with child gamers, some price adjustments may have to happen.

These can take place in several forms. The easiest would be either a temporary price drop or, even better, a permanent one. It’d be hard to see Nintendo dropping the price beyond 250 dollars. A bundle might solve this issue, especially if there were limited edition Pokéball themed Joy-Cons involved. But still, it’s clear from the history of the 3DS that 250 dollars is a big ask for something seen as a handheld. It does have the added benefit of doubling as a home console, and therefore negating that additional cost. There is, however, a more interesting way Nintendo could introduce a Switch at a reduced price: Nintendo Switch Lite. 200 dollars. Joy-Cons that remain attached. A slightly smaller frame. A smaller dock or perhaps even a single USB-C to HDMI cable.

If Nintendo were able to design a Switch that is a handheld first and home console second with a 100 dollar price reduction, partnered with the release of a new Pokémon title, and great online for good measure, they might not only sell 20 million units but exceed their own sales expectations.

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How to survive your first game of PUBG

After making headlines for months as a PC exclusive, even garnering GotY nominations, PlayerUnknown’s Battleground is finally on console, and will release a flood of new people upon the latest gaming craze. Needles to say, however, this version of PUBG, despite sharing the latest updates as the computer version, is very much starting from square one. Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned player or jumping in the first time with Xbox, here is some advice that will help you survive and give you a leg up on the competition.

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Don’t panic

A large military plane soars over a solitary island, structures of all kinds scattered across the terrain. One by one players jump out of the plane, visualizing in their head where they’re going to land. Snap! Their parachutes burst open, immediately grinding their free fall to a gentle descent. Between then and the moment their boots hit the ground, time seems to stand still. They have ninety nine other players to survive against, no weapons in hand and an ever shrinking playable area. They need to move quickly.

It’s easy to panic in your first few games of PUBG. With the threat of being hunted by other players and the looming electric wall that closes around the island like an ever-shrinking noose, no doubt players lose their patience. This will only lead to a swifter death. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds requires a lot of tactical thinking which is even harder to make under the pressure. Your first instinct will be, if you’re unlucky enough to fall outside the playable zone, to make a dead sprint to the white circle on the map. This is a mistake. You have five minutes before the map starts shrinking, and even when it does it will happen slowly. Beyond that, if you find yourself outside the electric wall, your health will also diminish at a leisurely pace (at least the first couple of times it shrinks). If you focus on being in the safe area as your primary goal, you are going to miss out on some loot that is going to help you down the line.

Even if you do find yourself in the playable area, you’re most likely near someone else also in the safe zone. The idea that someone is ready to kill you should always be in the back of your mind, but don’t let it psych you out that it gives them an advantage. Keep calm, and...

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Forage First

Loot. Loot. Loot. Loot is going to be the main barrier between life and death. The more you stock up on gear not only means that you’re going to be better equipped, but it’s less gear on the map for your opponents to forage. Who can get to the best weapons and equipment first is very likely going to end up closer to overall victory. You can get lucky like I did once and win armed with nothing but a pistol, facing off against an enemy with level three equipment and a SCAR-L assault rifle. But those instances are few and far between.

There will come a time in the game where you feel relatively well decked out and shift focus to hunting other players, but certainly when you start off that should be secondary to item collection. Looting is almost like a rhythm game. You’ll find a pace to pick up and equip gear, and the more you play, the faster you’ll get. The speed at which you can pick something up and optimize your inventory is just as important as what you’re picking up.

One nice thing is that the game moves at an overall slower pace in these early days in comparison to if you were to jump on the PC version. Everyone will be getting used to the controls (a subject we’ll get to next), so it’s unlikely someone is going to catch you with a significant advantage right out of the gate. I was surprised at how slowly the kill count was rising, with around 75 players left at the same time that maybe half or fewer of the players would be alive on the PC. So take advantage of this current learning curve that everyone is undergoing to practice.

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Study the controls

Speaking of practice, every game of PUBG opens up on a small land mass off of the coast of the main island. You are on the landmass for 60 seconds, with god mode turned on and every gun available to you. Take this time before every match to study how the game controls. There are a lot of different actions players can perform, and especially because this is an Xbox preview game, the controls are a little finicky. For example, equipping and reloading are the exact same button, X, but the former requires a tap and the latter a press.

The moment I jumped into my first Xbox match, I stumbled my way through the as I was constantly mixing up my inputs. Fortunately enough, a lot of other players seemed to be doing the same, meaning it didn’t mean my immediate demise. But still, this window of everyone being a beginner is going to rapidly disappear. Make sure you’re not caught on the wrong side.

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Pay attention to the details

PUBG seems like the perfect game to throw on some music in the background, maybe even a podcast, as it is quite a solitary game if you play in solo mode. Funnily enough, especially when starting out, this would be a big mistake. Sometimes what keeps you alive is complete silence. Hearing a player will most likely happen before seeing them. Are they driving? If so, what vehicle? How close are they and which direction are they headed? If they’re firing, what gun are they shooting with? Are they inside the building with me, or outside? And if they’re inside, which floor and which room? These are questions you’ll be asking yourself as you play, and knowing the answers will help keep you alive.

PUBG has some visual elements, such as debris caught in the wind, that will catch your eye. You’ll constantly be imagining a player in your peripherals. It might sound silly, but learn what seeing another player looks like. The quicker you can discern an opponent and lock on, the more likely you are to win each excursion. I cannot stress enough how quickly showdowns are over. Most times, before you even know it, you’re dead. Whilst that may sound frustrating, it’s balanced out with moments where you’re on the other end of the gun. Those moments will be more frequent if you pay attention to the details.

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Learn where you want to land

Where on the island the plane arrives from and which direction it is headed is random with every game. Sometimes you’ll be initially flying over more barren lands, with other other games opening over the military base. There is no right or wrong answer to where you land, but it will dictate your game from then on. For example, the military base to the south of the map is littered with some the best loot, meaning a huge chunk of players are going to be concentrated over a small area very early on. If you want to get into the action fast, this is the route to go. It can be extremely daunting starting out a game like this, especially as sometimes you land literally within feet of other players, a race to the first gun you see ensuing. However, if you learn the maps and locations of loot, you can quickly deck yourself out and get to player hunting faster.

On the flip side, you can land over a more open area, meaning you’ll most likely be further away from other players, leaving a nice chunk of land for you to scout alone. This initially can seem like the best path to choose, but if you strike out and start in a cluster of buildings with low level gear the advantage is greatly tipped against you. As you can see, both approaches have pros and cons. Decide one route to to go and master it.

There are tons of tips and tricks you will pick up whilst you get sucked into PUBG, but these are the most simple ones I have found that have had the greatest impact. Good luck, and I’ll see you on the battlegrounds. Well, you’d be hope I don’t.

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The Road to The Last Jedi

We are just over a week away from the eighth installment in the Skywalker Saga, and if social media is any indication, millions of people all over the world are chomping at the bit to discover what happens when Rey comes face to face with Luke. If the trailers tell us anything, it’s gonna be a complicated situation. But how did it get so thorny? The Force Awakens didn’t provide much detail, delving into each characters’ motivations rather than getting viewers caught up on everything that happened between episodes VI and VII. Ancillary media such as comic books, novels and video games have been doing the heavy lifting in that department. Unfortunately, not every Star Wars fan has had the time to consume said media. Fortunately, we here at Zyte Heist are here to condense all the key plot points revealed to us to get readers up to speed.

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A big question on everyone’s mind since The Force Awakens is “How the hell did The First Order come to be?” The Empire was seemingly defeated at the end of Return of the Jedi with the destruction of the second Death Star, the death of the Emperor and his apprentice Darth Vader. If you really think about it however, the Empire had conquered almost all the known galaxy, and even some parts of the unknown. Despite being dealt such a heavy blow, it would take time for the ramifications to be felt, and if the remnants of the Empire acted quickly enough, they could cauterize the wound and rebuild.

Well, that’s exactly what happened. The Emperor, being the clever wrinkled old man that he was, had a contingency plan if he should ever perish; Operation: Cinder. Operation: Cinder was a plan for the Empire to attack its own worlds with a series of satellites that effectively controlled the weather. And let’s be clear: they didn’t use them to make a nice sunny day with a high of 85 degrees. The rebellion eventually put a stop to it, but not before the Empire had made their point: despite the death of Palpatine, a fact known to only a few, they still had the means to dominate the galaxy.

Soon after, the Rebel Alliance dissolves and forms a New Republic. Now an actual governmental force, the spark is provided to create open civil wars across numerous worlds controlled by the Empire. Wishing to spare the senseless deaths of billions, if not trillions of life forms, the New Republic begins peace talks with the Galactic Empire. One last battle is fought over the planet Jakku, with the New Republic downing the Empire’s biggest Star Destroyer; the Ravager. What is left of the Empire at this point sues for peace, and both sides sign a treaty known as the Galactic Concordance. Like any non-fictitious treaty, there are a lot of details, but it essentially saw the dissolving of the Galactic Empire and its armed forces. There are Imperial factions, however, that holdout and retreat further and further into the Unknown Regions of the galaxy. They eventually band together, partnering with mercenaries and criminal organizations threatened by the New Republic. Thus, the First Order is born.

The rise of the First Order is aided by division within the New Republic. Two sides form; the Populists and the Centrists. The former wishes for each world under the New Republic to retain its sovereignty, whilst the latter wishes for a government to oversee all the planets, enforced by a strong military. Meanwhile, the First Order through the use of their mercenary groups beginning executing terrorist attacks across the galaxy to destabilize the New Republic rule whilst the iron’s hot. The Resistance is formed, led by General Leia Organa, to combat these hostilities. The Centrists within the New Republic, whose goals were to essentially create a government akin to the Galactic Empire, join with the First Order. You can see now, how despite the loss of the Emperor and the Death Star, the First Order was able to become so powerful, even rivaling the strength of the original Empire. 

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Luke Skywalker, Kylo Ren and Rey

These three characters, who are essentially the crux of the Last Jedi, are ironically the biggest unknowns in current Star Wars lore. Soon after the Battle of Endor at the end of the Return of the Jedi, Luke leaves to rebuild the Jedi Academy. Ben Solo, the son of Han Solo and Leia Organa, is born on the planet of Chandrilla. It is soon clear to Leia, however, that her son is being lured by the Dark Side of the Force. She sends Ben to train under Luke, only to have him succumb to the Dark Side, destroy the new Jedi Academy with the help of the Knights of Ren (we still have no idea who these guys are.) Luke escapes with his life and flees to Ahch-To, the island planet seen at the end of The Force Awakens and the supposed location of the first Jedi temple. Ben Solo takes up the name Kylo Ren and joins with the First Order. As for Rey? Nothing of her backstory has been explored in other media. What we see in The Force Awakens is the extent of what we know about her.

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Leia Organa, Han Solo and Chewbacca

Someone we do know quite a bit about is former princess now General Leia Organa. She and Han Solo are married soon after Return of the Jedi and move to Chandrilla. Leia becomes a political figure among the New Republic, entering the race to become its First Senator. Meanwhile, Han Solo and Chewbacca team up with some friendly bounty hunters and free Kashyyyk, the home planet of the Wookies, from Imperial control. It is at this point Chewie and Han actually temporarily separate, Chewbacca now able to live a life of peace with his family. Han returns and attempts to begin his life with Leia.

Things seemingly go smoothly for a while, but quickly fall apart. Ben is sent away to study with Luke, causing a giant rift in their relationship. On top of that, it becomes public knowledge that Leia is the daughter of Darth Vader, creating massive distrust of her among the citizens of the New Republic. She steps out of the running for the First Senator, and with the rise of the First Order, decides to form the Resistance instead, taking firm action to face this latest threat when the New Republic would not. This would eventually lead to her separation with Han, who returns to his smuggling ways.

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Captain Phasma, Finn and Poe Dameron

Finn is another unknown figure, having been stolen at a young age from his family to be raised as a First Order Stormtrooper. Phasma was a member of the Scyre warrior tribe from the planet Parnassos. She assists General Hux, whose ship crashed on her world, and leaves with him in order to join the leadership of the First Order. Poe Dameron is the son of Kes Dameron and Shara Bey, soldiers in the Rebel Alliance who served alongside Luke Skywalker himself. Poe follows in his parents footsteps, serving as the Commander for the New Republic’s forces. After clashing with the First Order, and realizing the New Republic has no plans for combatting the remnants of the Empire, Poe defects to the Resistance, reporting directly to General Organa.

These are the key strokes we know so far that bridge the gap between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. I expect a tremendous amount of the gaps to be filled in with new information from The Last Jedi.

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Who’s going to die in Infinity War?

After an extremely patient and totally tolerant internet calmly waited without a single complaint for the trailer for Avengers: Infinity War, the day has finally come for Marvel to release the first official footage for the film. Naturally, the responses have ranged from “meh, underwhelming” to “which limb do I have to offer in order to see this movie RIGHT NOW?” A lot of people are also sitting comfortably in the middle, but let’s face it, most of us have teased the latter. Regardless of how you feel about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, one cannot deny the impact these films have had on the industry, and what a true accomplishment it is to release 19 interconnected movies within a ten year timespan. And with Avengers 4 in 2019 as the 22nd release and end cap to the current MCU, the top brass has promised some big changes which may or may not involve some beloved characters biting the dust. I think it’s safe to say that at least one, if not multiple heroes, will perish at the hands of Thanos. The following is a list comprised of the top candidates.

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Tony Stark/Iron Man

Tony in a lot of ways seems like the most obvious candidate, as well as being the most critical character to the MCU. If Kevin Feige really does intend to shake things up going forward, killing Tony would be really the only choice to manifest that change. The story of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is in some ways the story of Tony Stark, so to end it would be to end Iron Man. It’d certainly be a poetic way to close out this saga.

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Steve Rogers/Captain America

If Tony’s on the table, then Steve has to be. The Russo brothers already avoided his death once by not killing him off in Civil War; a departure from the comic it’s adapted from. Steve means so much to so many people: not just audiences, but every other Avenger and the civilians that inhabit that universe. It’d be a scenario that DC tried to pitch with Justice League and the death of Superman: the physical embodiment of hope perishing. But unlike the DCEU, where Superman was seemingly reviled but the majority of the population, a lot of people still believe in Captain America, despite the events of Civil War. Both Bucky Barnes AKA The Winter Soldier and Sam Wilson AKA The Falcon have taken up the mantle of Captain America in the comics after Steve was off the table. It’s feasible that the same could occur in the MCU.

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Clint Barton/Hawkeye

Hawkeye is a softball; a character that has seemingly been groomed from the very beginning of the franchise to die. This may sound harsh, and is in no ways meant to disrespect the character or Jeremy Renner’s solid performance, but he’s the least important original Avenger, meaning that the movies could very easily carry one without him. One of his most pivotal characteristics is the fact that he emotionally compromises Black Widow, which is a mark in the “Gonna Die” checklist. Natasha has been through a lot with losing Bruce Banner in Age of Ultron and the general “fuckupedness” of Civil War. Hawkeye dying would be the ultimate test of her keeping her shit together, which may prove difficult with her also having to deal with a crazed space overlord threatening to eradicate all life. Let’s also not ignore the fact that Hawkeye has received his fair share of character development in one of the better aspects of the second Avengers film. Clint Barton is a family man who, when not shooting bad guys in the head with arrows for S.H.I.E.L.D, tends to a farm in the middle of god-knows-where with a loving wife and children. Clint is the most human of all the Avengers, and as such, is almost our surrogate. To end his life would deal significant emotional impact to both the rest of the characters as well as the film audience. His death was even teased in Age of Ultron, with Quicksilver being the one to perish in his stead. At this point, it would honestly be surprising if he made it out of Avengers 3 and 4 alive.

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Vision

Since Age of Ultron, when Vision was created with the Mind Stone as his power source, fans have asked “How can Vision survive Infinity War if Thanos needs the Mind Stone for the Infinity Gauntlet?” Well, the answer is simply that he can’t. I’m sure Tony could find a way to power Vision without the Mind Stone, but it seems he’ll be pretty busy with other work in Infinity War. And much like a brain, the Mind Stone is Vision. Even if his body finds a new power source, it’s extremely unlikely he’ll recognizably be himself any more. We even see in the trailer a clip of Thanos, or one of his agents, seemingly trying to pry the Mind Stone from Vision’s head. This is either a red herring or the beginning of the end for the character, but if Thanos is to complete the Infinity Gauntlet, it’s going to happen one way or another. Vision is also one of the few characters that could be feasibly resurrected. All they’d need would be to pair his body back with the Mind Stone, which if they defeat Thanos would imaginably be possible. And much like Hawkeye and Black Widow, Vision has become an emotional crux for Scarlet Witch. After losing her brother Pietro AKA Quicksilver in Age of Ultron, losing Vision would be another devastating blow that may put her over the edge. It’s happened in the comics before, and it might be the thing the heroes need to defeat Thanos, as Scarlet Witch is arguably the most powerful Avenger. That rage might fuel her to really unleash all she’s got on Thanos and his horde.

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Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch

Speaking of Wanda, she is also a viable candidate for perishing. She’s not an original Avenger, and yet has made a huge impact on the team since her arrival; she was essentially the crux of Civil War. Arguably she is the most important character to be added to the team since they formed. Thanos would also want her off the table; as I mentioned earlier she’s pretty much the most powerful Avenger, so his best chances of winning are taking her out. Like I also touched upon, there’s certainly precedence in the comics for Wanda going off the deep end when under trauma and significantly losing her shit to the point that she does unimaginable damage. This could be an interesting set up in which Scarlet Witch unleashes all her energy at once, sacrificing herself after losing Vision and dealing a massive blow to Thanos in the process. In his weakened state, the rest of the team might have an actual chance of defeating him. The icing on the tragic cake would be if Vision was brought back, but with Wanda being his only real human connection, he himself goes through a great deal of loss that defines his character going forward.

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No matter who dies, I think it’s important that the deaths stick. People have propositioned that everyone might die and that the Time Stone will be used to undo all the damage. I find that to be a cop out and in no way a satisfying end, and I think Kevin Feige and the Russo brothers believe that as well. In the comics, all too often are hero deaths used to shock audiences, only for those characters to be resurrected down the line because writers simply don’t know what to do without them. Since the MCU is more contained, controlled and a seemingly finite thing, the storytellers could continue even if their biggest names are taken out of the sandbox. And if that’s going to happen, Infinity War and its sequel are the films to do it.

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Marvel needs the Fantastic Four

Earlier today CNBC reported that Fox was potentially selling its entertainment wing, 21st Century Fox, to Disney in order to focus on news (bleh) and sports. Whilst this harbors some unfortunate possibilities in regards to monopolizing entertainment, nerds couldn’t give a fuck about such things if it means X-Men and Fantastic Four fall under the MCU. It couldn’t be more perfect timing, as Disney and Marvel look to put an end cap of sorts on the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Avengers: Infinity War and its sequel. Obviously, this deal (if it even does exist) is in very very early talks, and it sounds like it may even be off the table for the time being. Regardless of whether it’s even financially beneficial to Disney, it’s narratively crucial for Marvel Studios and the future of their franchises.

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In 2018, Avengers: Infinity War will release and act as the first part in a grand finale for the Marvel Cinematic Universe with a fourth Avengers film in 2019. Whilst Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige has stated in earlier interviews that they have plans for the MCU until 2028, it certainly sounds that whatever those eight years holds will be drastically different from what came before. Phase 4 will likely hit the big reset button, and many are hopeful that the X-Men will fill a potential void left by The Avengers if a sale were to happen. However, the team that fits more in line with Marvel’s direction is actually its first family, the Fantastic Four.

As the Marvel Cinematic Universe has grown, so has its scope. With Guardians of the Galaxy, the franchise began its foray past Earth and into the cosmos. With Thanos serving as the big baddie to round out Phase 3, that foray is looking more and more like a settlement. This isn’t just an accident. Marvel leaving the heroes on Earth behind and exploring the galaxy is exactly what it needs to do to prevent the formula from becoming stale, something their harshest critics claim has already happened. Whilst the company has already set up the cosmic side of the MCU with Guardians, it would be a smart idea to fully hand the baton over by going back to the beginning: Iron Man.

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A few years ago in the comics, Tony Stark realized that much like a bad relationship, he was a toxic element for Earth having put it in jeopardy so many times over. This is a storyline explored time and time again in the films, specifically with the creation of Ultron. Infinity War, and drawing Thanos to Earth, may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. A fourth and final Iron Man movie, giving Tony the solo swan song he deserves, that has him exploring space only to return to Earth and actually retire the armor, would be a fitting way to kick off Phase 4.

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We know that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3. is already in production at Marvel, and with the likely end of the Avengers series, it’s probable that Star-Lord and company will replace Iron Man and friends as the tentpole on which the MCU forms around. However, in order to truly begin anew, Guardians as a series would likely have to end not long afterwards. Phase 4 would also likely explore other cosmic characters such as Nova, with precedent for his appearance set up with the introduction of the Nova Corp back in the first GotG film. Eventually, superhero antics would need to return to Earth, and there is no better team to do that than the Fantastic Four.

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For those not in the know, and those fortunate to have not seen Fox’s last two attempts at an FF franchise, the Fantastic Four is the story of Reed Richards, Ben Grimm and Sue and Johnny Storm whom obtain powers whilst on a mission into space. If you want the details, the story is told in a very jovial fashion via the 90’s cartoon theme song. Seriously, they sing about how they got their powers and exactly what each of their powers is. It’s so very 90’s. Ultimately, this could prove to be an important narrative tool for the MCU to not only bring it back to Earth, but have a new flagship series to rally its solo films around.

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What Marvel also desperately needs is a compelling villain, and they don’t get much better than Doctor Doom. Victor Von Doom (you’d almost laugh at this name if it weren’t also ironically badass) is the leader of the fictional country of Latveria and has armor permanently grafted to his skin. Believing himself to be every bit Reed Richard’s superior, his vanity leads him to become the Fantastic Four’s primary antagonist. Fortunately, he also happens to be the most compelling villain Marvel has ever written thanks to his tragic story and twisted ideas of heroism: he would likely be the hero if he weren’t such an egotistical narcissist. The MCU is desperately lacking worthy arch nemeses for its heroes, and Doom would be a giant bandaid for that wound. And whilst talking about the X-Men getting caught up in all of this is a conversation for another time, this potential sale would also mean Disney would acquire Magneto who is every bit as awesome as Doom.

Personally, I see no easy way forward for Marvel without the Fantastic Four in their catalogue. The dynamic between its team members and the gravity of having a villain such as Doctor Doom would be a complete reinvention for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, something needed after 22 films at the end of Phase 3.

 

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2018 Video Game Fantasy League

Announcing the 2018 Video Game Fantasy Publisher League. Full page here.

You and up to three friends can play as your own publisher. Select 4 titles from each platform, and the winner with the highest cumulative review score wins.

Last year the Unranked Podcast had a hilarious season. The 2018 season is going to be bigger and better.

You can download a drafting sheet here, and check out the rules page for all of the info. Continue to follow along for updates, the first reviews will begin coming in soon. So come and play along!

Here are this years team selections for the Unranked Podcast.

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3. Clock Town – Chapter 3

Listen to Episode 3: Clock Town – Chapter 3

Our heroes try to solve the mystery of the strange ailment plaguing the citizens of Clock Town


 

Listen & Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Pocketcasts, Soundcloud or wherever you get your favorite podcasts. New episodes every Wednesday.

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News from a flat Earth

Imagine if our toilet hadn’t backed up this last week. What would the headlines and the news be talking about, we discuss in this brief reprieve.

Cast: Christian Humes, Emily Langston, and John Murphy

Topics covered
-Water found on Mars
-Four corners of a flat Earth
-The Bachelor
-Paddington Bear 2
-Judge Judy
-FCC Senate Vote


Listen & Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Soundcloud or wherever you get your favorite podcasts. New episodes every Tuesday.

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097 – Sick Fantasy Draft

I won my first Solo Chicken Dinner! Then, uh, I guess a few more cool things happened. Check them out on episode 097.

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Episode 100 is right around the corner! Send us questions for our first ever power hour live show. Email@UnrankedPodcast.com

Right out of the gate starting 2018 right with your favorite foursome. This episode has everything. Alex has his longest complaint rant on record, we get into some delicious reader mail and discuss what comes next.

Cast: Christian Humes, Alex Marinello, Dan Weine & Tom Caswell
Pokémon: 096 – Drowzee
Gaming Discussions: DropMix, Nintendo Direct, PUBG, Fortnite, Zelda
Etcetera: Cooking classes, visitors, live show, HQ, New Years
Podcast Game: HU Trivia


Listen & Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google PlaySoundcloud or wherever you get your favorite podcasts. New episodes every Thursday.

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The New Colossus

Last year we released a series of interviews with host Jonathan Shapiro. He spoke with modern-day immigrants, along with those working in immigration law. During these interviews, he would ask his guest to please read The New Colossus, a poem by Emma Lazarus.

This poem has become a point of contention in recent history. Our current political leadership continues mock and insult non-white nations. Many of us point to The Statue of Liberty, and this poem engraved at its base.

A reminder of who we are and have always strived to be.

America is a nation of immigrants.



Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
 
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
 

Today we release a special episode, a reading of that poem. Featuring the voices of our guests. Take a moment today to listen and remember these words.

Thanks again to everyone for lending their voice to this project. Special thanks to Greg Grunberg, Cristela Alonzo, Wilmer Valderrama, Judy London and Public Counsel.

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Most Dateable

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This week Alana and Jackie tackle a surprisingly complicated subject.

Who is the most dateable dating demographic in the U.S.?  What makes someone dateable and someone else not? Interested in jumping into the online dating pool, but worry that there will not be enough eligible daters for you? The data may surprise you.  Single?  Listen up!

 

Listen & Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google PlaySoundcloud or wherever you get your favorite podcasts. New episodes every Thursday.

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2. Clock Town – Chapter 2

Listen to Episode 2: Clock Town – Chapter 2

Our heroes reach the top of the mountain and explore the mysterious Clock Town.

Featured

Oprah 2020

This week we discuss why or why not Oprah as President is exciting.

Cast: Christian Humes & Emily Langston

Topics covered in this weeks episode
-Oprah & Golden Globes
-The Shape of Water
-Death Stranding
-Jumanji
-Fire & Fury


Here’s an extra for the listeners. (The video game trailer described in the episode.)

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096 – Some Assembly Required

 


 

Episode 100 is right around the corner! Send us questions for our first ever power hour live show. Email@UnrankedPodcast.com

Right out of the gate starting 2018 right with your favorite foursome. This episode has everything. Alex has his longest complaint rant on record, we get into some delicious reader mail and discuss what comes next.

Cast: Christian Humes, Alex Marinello, Dan Weine & Tom Caswell
Pokémon: 096 – Drowzee
Gaming Discussions: DropMix, Nintendo Direct, PUBG, Fortnite, Zelda
Etcetera: Cooking classes, visitors, live show, HQ, New Years
Podcast Game: HU Trivia