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Friday, April 5, 2013

Your Evening Linc: LucasArts Shut Down, Filoni's New Show, Doctor Who 50th News, And A New DBZ Movie

No time to waste, let's dive in to some evening geekery:

1. Disney Officially Shuts Down LucasArts

LucasArts logo
RIP, little man.
This is a turbulent time for the Lucasfilm family of products. The latest news from the House of Mouse is that LucasArts will be shut down and production will cease on new titles Star Wars 1313  and First Assault. Disney will license out future titles to outside companies. Here is the full statement:
"After evaluating our position in the games market, we've decided to shift LucasArts from an internal development to a licensing model, minimizing the company's risk while achieving a broader portfolio of quality Star Wars games. As a result of this change, we've had layoffs across the organization. We are incredibly appreciative and proud of the talented teams who have been developing our new titles."
 Now, it's very easy to get emotional about this. LucasArts has produced some of my favorite Star Wars games of all time (Shadows of the Empire, Rogue Squadron, The Force Unleashed, Jedi Outcast, and Force Commander just to name a few). And after the crushing news of the cancellation of The Clone Wars, it's easy to think that the big bad corporate thugs are coming in and ruining everything we ever cared about. While I'm still scratching my head over The Clone Wars' demise, switching formats for LucasArts might prove to be a savvy move. As TheForce.Net notes, the gaming division's problems have been manifold. With three presidents in four years, no truly successful games since The Force Unleashed in 2008 and The Old Republic (which was developed by BioWare and had to switch to a free-to-play model shortly after launch), and the ugly business behind the cancellation of Battlefront III (also developed outside by Free Radical), does it really make sense for Disney to carry on supporting a lagging company? Game Informer goes into more detail in their extensive article.

Seen here: The money pit Disney wished to avoid
Business decisions are, by their nature, not solely based on emotions. Disney is a powerhouse for a reason and we have to assume that their decisions haven't been based solely on seeing how many fanboys and girls they can enrage in a month. As I said, there is a lot of nostalgia and fond memories playing LucasArts titles, but through licensing, we might see great new Star Wars games in the future. And as Disney slims down Lucasfilm's portfolio, I sincerely hope that all this increased focus on the sequel trilogy produces superb films in the coming years.

2. Filoni Developing New Animated Series
The Clone Wars
I call him by his Italian nickname: "Davey Strands"
One bit of good news to come out of all of this is that the Man with the Hat will soon be back in the director's chair. In an interview with Rebel Force Radio, Filoni says that he will be around to helm a new animated series. What this new show will look like and what stories it will tell remains to be seen. Here's his take on all the recent upheaval at Lucasfilm:
“It’s a function of our industry… It’s not my favorite part. You can luckily grow things and bring on many talented people, but there (comes) times when you have to shrink things as well. We happen to be in one of those times right now, but that just paves the way, hopefully, for new things and new creativity in the future.”
I hope so, Director, for your sake.

3. Doctor Who 50th: First Shots of Filming, and Eccleston Won't Return

I'll get the bad news over with first. It looks like we won't see all three of the new era Doctors together for the 50th anniversary special. As reported by The Mirror, Christopher Eccleston will not be reprising his role as the Ninth Doctor.

Ninth Doctor

Eccleston left after just one season, reportedly due to a difficult relationship with management, as well as a fear of being typecast. Despite some sources, Eccleston did not walk away from the project just as it began filming. According to a spokesman at the BBC:
"Chris met with Steven Moffat a couple of times to talk about Steven's plans for the Doctor Who 50th anniversary episode. After careful thought, Chris decided not to be in the episode. He wishes the team all the best."

Not letting the decidedly not "Fantastic" news stop them, the crew from Cardiff have been busy filming away. Here are some shots of the production thus far:

Doctor Who
Joanna Page as a young Queen Elizabeth I

Doctor Who
Constructing the TARDIS

Doctor Who
Tennant chatting on his mobile.

Doctor Who
A Zygon strutting his stuff
4. Dragon Ball Z: God vs. God

Dragon Ball Z God and God
Kame-hame-HELL YEAH!
Akira Toriyama, the creator of the Dragon Ball series, has turned up the heat with the newest DBZ movie, out this week in Japan, entitled ドラゴンボールZ 神と神! (That's DragonBall Z: God and God). The story follows Goku as he battles Billis, the god of destruction. According to an ancient prophecy, a Super Saiyan god will arise to challenge Billis, and the deity does not take kindly to that. Kotaku gives a excellent review, but it boils down to this: This movie is everything you can expect from DBZ, but with a bit of a surprise ending. Frankly, as long as we're getting new DBZ material, I'm happy. Hopefully it will be released State-side in the near future. Check out some of the pictures below:

Dragon Ball Z God and God
Another reason why I don't like cats.

Dragon Ball Z God and God
My main man Vegeta getting his Super Saiyan on.

Dragon Ball Z
Old friends (and foes) return in this celebration of all things Dragon Ball.

Dragon Ball Z God and God
A new Super Saiyan form arises.

That's all for tonight, folks! Remember to check out Doctor Who tomorrow night at 8:00 PM EST and Game of Thrones Sunday at 9:00 PM EST! You know I'll be watching!


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