“Nintendo Says Diversity was ‘Extremely Important’ for New Switch Fighter Arms”

“Later this month, Nintendo will launch Arms on Switch, a fighting game with an eclectic cast of characters reminiscent of Blizzard’s megahit shooter Overwatch. While the games are built on different genres, one key similarity between the two is the variety of their rosters. That was by design.

“As this is a game where characters fight each other, we thought that it was extremely important to have this kind of diversity for the players,” explains art director Masaaki Ishikawa, “so that they had something to latch on to.”

The cast of Arms is fairly small by fighting game standards. There are 10 fighters in all, including several who aren’t human. But while the developer says it treated diversity as an important aspect of the character design process, Ishikawa believes Nintendo can do even better in the future.

“Our keywords in developing these characters were the fact that they have stretchy arms, but also their own unique personality,” he says. “So we’re not sure if we reached the level of diversity that we could have, but moving forward that’s going to be something that we take into account with our character design.”

Arms launches on Nintendo Switch on June 16th.

https://www.theverge.com/2017/6/6/15746004/nintendo-switch-arms-character-diversity

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“Bruce Lee-Inspired Tong Wars Drama ‘Warrior’ From Justin Lin & ‘Banshee’ Co-Creator Gets Cinemax Series Order”

Cinemax has given a 10-episode straight-to-series order to 19th century crime drama Warrior, inspired by an idea from Bruce Lee, created and executive produced by Banshee co-creator Jonathan Tropper and executive producer by Justin Lin and Danielle Woodrow via Perfect Storm Entertainment, and Shannon Lee for Bruce Lee Entertainment.

Warrior, which had been a passion project for both late martial arts icon Bruce Lee and Fast & Furious helmer Justin Lin, was originally set up at Cinemax for development in 2015 and was ordered to pilot last summer.

Last December, Deadline unveiled Cinemax’s programming strategy shift toward the type of fare that launched the network’s push into original primetime series: fun, high-octane, action, pulpy, straight-to-series dramas done in a cost-effective way primarily as international co-productions.

At the time, Kary Antholis, president, HBO Miniseries and Cinemax Programming, revealed that the idea was to do as many as four shows a year initially, three of them co-productions or very cost-effective and the fourth a marquee, homegrown show with a Banshee-level of budget. Back then, Warrior was already being eyed for a potential straight-to-series order to fill that marquee spot in the inaugural slate of the revamped Cinemax. Straight-to-series co-productions green-lighted under the model include a Strike Back reboot and Rellik.

Warrior follows in the spirit of the tradition of adrenalized Cinemax dramas that we established with Strike Back and Banshee,” said Antholis, listing the network’s two most successful original series to date. “We are brimming with excitement for this unique martial arts series combining Bruce Lee’s inspired conception with the immense storytelling talents of Jonathan Tropper and Justin Lin…”

http://deadline.com/2017/06/bruce-lee-warrior-tong-wars-drama-series-cinemax-justin-lin-jonathan-tropper-1202108759/

 

“New Netflix Schedule Dates Daredevil, Jessica Jones, And Luke Cage Comebacks”

“Netflix has plenty of original series to juggle these days, but the site never drifts far from Marvel. With shows like The Defenders and The Punisher dropped this year, Netflix has plenty of comic book content to drop in 2017. And, if a new report is to be believed, then fans can expect the site to dish out three more series next year.

Recently, Entertainment Weekly compiled Marvel’s upcoming schedule of TV releases. The sizzle reel nodded to shows like Marvel’s Inhumans as well as Cloak & Dagger. However, it was the site’s take on three developing Netflix series which had fans talking. Entertainment Weekly’s reel said that Daredevil’s third season would debut in 2018 alongside the second seasons of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones.

So far, neither Marvel nor Netflix have confirmed the site’s dating. Fans do seem keen on siding with the reel’s reported premieres. Many had already anticipatedJessica Jones and Luke Cage to get their new seasons next year. The latter show is already filming for season two, and Luke Cage is expected to go into production later this year.

When it comes down to it, fans were most surprised to hear about Daredevil. The series had its third season order awhile back, but little progress has been made on it thanks to The Defenders. The miniseries will premiere this August, leaving Charlie Cox free to reprise his devilish role in the hero’s standalone series afterwards…”

http://comicbook.com/marvel/2017/06/05/netflix-daredevil-luke-cage-jessica-jones-return/

“Overwatch’s Search for Diversity”

“Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan recently gave a speech at DICE on the importance of creating games that are inclusive. Following his speech, I sat down with him to talk some more about this subject. I wanted to hear about the process and the challenges of creating games that step outside video gaming’s character confines of overwhelmingly white, straight, male heroes.

Game making is a creative process, an amalgamation of individual ideas and biases into a collective consensus. Games are consumed by people with their own passions, frustrations and desires. These games are also subject to international censorship laws and the conservative media’s outrage machine.

We’re told that it’s impossible to please all the people all the time, but this has turned out to be a thin excuse for gaming’s lack of diversity. For a long time, developers and publishers have satisfied themselves with pleasing the small slice of humanity they feel comfortable portraying. Not coincidentally, this male, white and East Asian demographic is also dominant in development, retail, publishing and, yes, journalism.

“There’s always going to be someone upset with things that we do,” Kaplan says. “We know we’re not always going to get it right. But it’s about trying to be welcoming to a lot of people and thinking about others…”

https://www.polygon.com/features/2017/3/20/14960924/overwatch-diversity-jeff-kaplan-interview-blizzard

“The Dark Tower: What You Need To Know”

“It would be tempting to say Hollywood is once again in the Stephen King business but for the fact that it has never left it. In the four decades since the release of “Carrie,” there have been dozens of movie and television adaptations of his novels and short stories. This year alone, we will see the evil clown-centric movie “It,” the bondage-gone-wrong Netflix film “Gerald’s Game,” a Spike TV series based on the monster-insect novella “The Mist” and “The Dark Tower.”

Oh, “The Dark Tower.” What many loyal readers of Mr. King see as the magnum opus of his career has had a tortuous road to the big screen. The film, due Aug. 4 after several delays, stars Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey and is directed by Nikolaj Arcel, whose last film was the 18th-century Danish drama “A Royal Affair.”

Sony Pictures hopes that this is but the first entry in a franchise that can span both movies and television. The story of how “The Dark Tower” was made covers many years. The story of “The Dark Tower” is even more complex. Here are the basics:

What is ‘The Dark Tower’?

It’s a sprawling series of seven novels written between 1982 and 2004. (An eighth interstitial novel was released in 2012.) The first four books were published every four to six years. But after Mr. King was hit by a minivan in 1999 and almost died, he decided to finish the saga lest another accident finish the job. The final three books were published in 2003 and 2004.

Characters from the “Dark Tower” books have frequently appeared in other stories by Mr. King (one of the series villains is also the main antagonist of “The Stand”), and vice versa, effectively making the series the backbone of the author’s oeuvre. Mr. King himself also makes an appearance in the novels, which still comes as a surprise even if you know about it beforehand…”

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/03/movies/what-you-need-to-know-dark-tower-series-stephen-king.html

“Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” is Frighteningly Relevant”

“There’s a scene early on in American Gods, the best-selling 2001 fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman, where someone accuses a man of being a “hustler.” “But that is the least of what I am,” the man replies. “On the whole, I make my money from people who never know they’ve been taken, and who never complain, and who will frequently line up to be taken when I come back that way again.” Gaiman, himself, is that same sort of hustler-plus — a weaver of fictions who slips past your mental defenses and toys with your thoughts, not just stealing the minds of his legions of fans, but making them beg him to steal them again and again.

The 56-year-old Englishman got his start writing thoughtful twists on superhero comics in his native country, then broke big with his surreal fantasy-comic epic Sandman in the late 1980s and early ’90s. Since then, he’s amassed a worldwide following for his prose, penning best seller after best seller: Anansi Boys, Coraline, The Graveyard Book, Good Omens(with the late Terry Pratchett), The Ocean at the End of the Lane, andFragile Things, just to name a few.

But American Gods is perhaps the best-known of the bunch. It follows the tribulations of Shadow Moon, an ex-convict who wanders the U.S. — Gaiman’s adopted country for more than two decades — alongside a mysterious con man named Mr. Wednesday. Along the way, Wednesday and Shadow link up with ancient gods from an array of Old World pantheons, all of whom are living in obscurity in the hidden corners of a decaying America…”

http://www.vulture.com/2017/04/neil-gaiman-american-gods-is-frighteningly-relevant.html

“Marvel Releases First Cast Image of the Runaways Series”

“Following the announcement [earlier] of the cast for Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger, Marvel has made another big reveal about their TV productions with the lineup for the title heroes of their series Marvel’s Runaways! The Marvel’s Runaways cast includes:

  • Ariela Barer (New Girl, One Day at a Time) as Gert Yorkes, a purple-haired, bespectacled, contemporary riot grrrl. Never passing up a moment to stand on a soapbox, Gert sometimes wields her persona as a brash social justice warrior to mask her true feelings.
  • Lyrica Okano (The Affair, Unforgettable) as Nico Minoru–tough, intelligent, and independent–embodies teenage angst. A budding “Wiccan,” Nico’s carefully crafted goth appearance isolates her from her peers and family, but maybe what she really needs is someone to talk to.
  • Rhenzy Feliz (Teen Wolf, Casual) as Alex Wilder is a loud-and-proud nerd. Admittedly a bit of a loner, Alex spends much of his free-time playing video games, but deep down, what he wants most is to reunite his childhood group of friends.
  • Gregg Sulkin (Faking It, Don’t Hang Up, Anti Social) as Chase Stein is a lacrosse-playing, high school heartthrob. While many write him off as a dumb jock, Chase exhibits flashes of untapped brilliance in engineering, not unlike his wildly successful father’s.
  • Virginia Gardner (Goat, Little Bitches) as Karolina Dean, model-perfect exterior with a lot going on behind her professionally whitened smile, is burdened by the lofty expectations and responsibilities put upon her by her parents. Underneath her veneer of privilege and perfection, Karolina is experiencing a newfound eagerness to explore her identity and pursue her own desires.
  • Allegra Acosta (100 Things to do Before High School, Just Add Magic) as Molly Hernandez, the youngest and most innocent member of her friend group, is known for her peppy positivity and a deep yearning to belong…

http://www.comingsoon.net/tv/news/810247-marvels-runaways-cast-revealed