Science-Fiction Weekly – Jurassic World 2, Star Citizen, Reborn, Loading Human
Star Wars: The Force Awakens dominated 2015's domestic box office with $936,662,225 earned, the highest since Avatar in 2009. We expected Star Wars to be embraced in a big way, but I think it's safe to assume few people believed Jurassic World would be a juggernaut, let alone the fourth highest grossing movie of all time with $652,270,625 in theater receipts. The buzz coming off of the trailers wasn't great, but like a raptor sneaking through the grass, it was the surprise blockbuster of the year.
That enormous success has led to the announcement of Jurassic World turning into a trilogy. Work on the second film is well under way with Juan Antonio Bayona taking Colin Trevorrow's place in the director's seat. We are now learning that the sequel, set to release on June 22, 2018, will be more terrifying than its predecessor. This news comes from an interview with Bayona, conducted by a Spanish publication called Noticiasrcn (and translated by Scified). "It will be darker and scarier then the previous film," Bayona said. "Obviously when you have Chris Pratt it will also be very funny. But it will be darker. It is a second step in a trilogy, and the second step is always dark as in [Star Wars] The Empire Strikes Back or [Star Trek] The Wrath of Khan which are the examples you always get. We are going to places where the saga has never been before, and at the same time we are paying tribute to the franchise. We will take it a step further. There are things that will happen that people are not expecting and they really are shocking."
That sounds pretty damn great, but I hope the series truly embraces the "world" in its title to show us what happens when dinosaurs become a threat to society. The rumors of the military using dinosaurs on the battlefield scares the life out of me, and I hope the darker tone implies more jump scares and dinosaurs hunting in populated cities than a gritty war scenario. I know the film will have to start at the theme park, at least to get the ball rolling, but enough with the vacation setting; bring it closer to home.
Star Citizen is another thing that needs to get closer, but if the news coming out of last week's CitizenCon is any indication, release plans are still nowhere close. The buzz after the Con's two-hour keynote (which you can watch in its entirety below) was a mixture of frustration and anger. Not only did Roberts Space Industries drop the bombshell that Star Citizen's single-player game, Squadron 42, would be delayed out of 2016, it wasn't even shown at the con. Star Citizen has been in development for four years, and although backers have been fed tiny morsels along the way, it would nice to see something big release. Squadron 42 needs to hit soon.
Let's stick to the negative vibe for just one more second: Independence Day: Resurgence is out today on Blu-ray, DVD, and UHD. It's a terrible film. An abomination, really. In my review, I say that "the writing walks a fine line between cheesy and downright awful. It even stoops to two different urination jokes, a middle finger being flashed to invading aliens, and Brent Spiner's old-man butt."
If you would like to see any of that stuff, by all means watch it, but just know that it doesn't hold a candle to the original film, or most science fiction that graces the silver screen.
One thing you should put on your radar (and read immediately) is Mark Millar and Greg Capullo's incredible first issue of Reborn, published by Image Comics. With HBO's Westworld and this comic in my life, I am a happy camper right now. Part of what makes Reborn fun is uncovering what is happening, so I won't go into the plot too much, but I will say it deals with death in an interesting way. Also, the art is by Capullo – you can't beat that. Don't even dwell on the art pictured below for too long; just run out and buy this book!
If you've been dying to use virtual reality to shave a beard on an alien world, you may want to take a look at Maximum Games' Loading Human, the first entry in a new episodic adventure series for PlayStation VR (and soon on Rift and Vive). Only venture into this first episode for strange interactions like this, and not for the story or an immersive VR experience. Loading Human puts you into the shoes (and fully viewable body) of Prometheus, the son of a man who is called "the most important scientist in history." We learn that Prometheus has traveled across the galaxy to find an energy source that will save his father's life. It turns out his father is trapped in a device he created to achieve immortality. The Quintessence should free him.
To make this story unfold, Prometheus must solve item and environment-based based puzzles to open doors, activate machines, and basically make the plot move forward. The PlayStation 4's Move controllers are used in interesting ways to generate free movement in each environment. Think of Prometheus like a car. Hitting the X button makes him walk in the direction you are facing, much like stepping on the gas in a car. Rather than turning your head to alter trajectory, pointing the Move controller in a desired direction and clicking a different button makes an immediate shift in direction – an act that can be incredibly jarring at times. I wanted to move my head more than the game demanded, but the controls eventually gelled with me, and I found myself freely moving about the large spaces. The game is loaded with interactive elements, and Prometheus often reflects on items that end up in his hands.
The story, which moves at a snail's pace, is made worse by Prometheus' stiff dialogue delivery. The puzzles don't make you think much, and are more about tinkering and discovery. This is just the first of three parts, so hopefully the gameplay and story become more interesting in the next installment, but you should probably hold off until we know more. Loading Human is off to a rough start, and it didn't conclude with a revelation that makes me want to see what happens next.
The final bit of game news I have for you this week is of the highest order: Star Control is coming back! Stardock just announced a new entry today, called Star Control: Origins. As the name implies, this game is taking us back to mankind's first steps into space. You play the role of a captain aboard Earth's first deep-space starship. Sounds cool!
And that's it for this week. Before you leave, use the comments section below to let me know what you think of the news (especially the potential direction for Jurassic World 2). See you in seven days!