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EA Reportedly Deciding Whether To Triple Down On Anthem 2.0: They Shouldn’t – Forbes

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A new report is coming in that at long last, EA is about to commit to one direction or the other for the long-gestating, somewhat baffling reboot of Anthem, known as Anthem 2.0 or Anthem Next.

Jason Schreier at Bloomberg reports that EA is set to make a decision this week about Anthem’s fate, whether or not to triple down on the revival idea, when they have previously doubled down by having a team of 30 or so work in “incubation mode” for the future of the game for the past year and a half. To move forward, they would have to at least triple the size of that team, the report states.

As someone who has played more Anthem than most and been more generous in my assessment of the IP, even if in a perfect world, I would love to see a totally revitalized Anthem 2.0 and have a new looter to add to my rotation, I still have to say….

Nope, don’t do it. It just doesn’t make any sense at this point.

It’s hard to count the number of factors working against the idea here.

First of all, the team recently lost its leader, Christian Dailey, who was moved to lead Dragon Age 4 after Mark Darrah’s departure. And of course it lost all the original directors attached to it long ago, as they left the company or moved to other projects. It’s not clear who is leading the team now, and what experience they might have.

Next, there’s nothing to indicate that anything short of a massive expansion or sequel would allow Anthem to regenerate enough interest for this to be viable. And given the state of Anthem at launch, players would expect things like that to be…free. BioWare coming out to charge $40 for Anthem Next or just going all the way for Anthem 2 at $60 would be another wild swing and a miss after the legacy of the original.

The team size here has never made sense. 30 people working on this for a year and a half is tiny, and tripling it to 90? Current active looters like Warframe and Destiny have hundreds of people working on them at all times. What could the scale of an Anthem reboot possibly be with a team of that size? And if it’s not big enough, it simply won’t matter at all.

There is always a lot of talk comparing Anthem 2.0 to the possible resurrection of other “lost” franchises. And yet games with big turnarounds like Diablo 3 or Final Fantasy XIV had a legacy to protect for that IP, and fans had loads of goodwill for each franchise. Anthem has none of that as a brand new IP that is mostly remembered as a meme, even if that may not be entirely fair. Other games like Destiny 1 and No Man’s Sky may have been brand new IPs that put their heads down and fixed things, but they had the entire studio working on that transformation, not 10-20% of their workforce. And clearly, BioWare’s priorities right now are Dragon Age 4 and now the upcoming Mass Effect, as they probably should be.

It’s over. It was over a long time ago, and I don’t see anything fruitful coming from this, whether it’s 30 people or 90 people working on it. The market position is not there. The fanbase never got large enough. Its competitors are too well-fortified. Just…no.

My advice? Harvest the good from Anthem and use it elsewhere. I think there’s a lot of neat stuff in the combat, from gunplay to mobility, and even if Mass Effect 4 isn’t having everyone zip around like Iron Man, clearly, there’s a lot of neat stuff there, and the teams that built it could obviously use their skills elsewhere. I’ve always maintained that Anthem probably just should have been a Mass Effect game in the first place.

We’ll see what happens later this week, and if this report pans out. It is difficult for me to imagine EA moving forward with Anthem 2.0 now, but then again, it was difficult to imagine why they committed to doing it in the first place. We’ll have to see, but for now, EA has no comment on the report.

Follow me on TwitterYouTube, Facebook and Instagram. Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series, and The Earthborn Trilogy, which is also on audiobook.

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Abbotsford Airport had 4th highest traffic in Canada in 2020, and its number are down – Chilliwack Progress – Chilliwack Progress

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Abbotsford International Airport (YXX) became the fourth most active airport in Canada during the pandemic – and its total traffic was down from 2019.

December ended what was described as a “devastating year” for air travel, according to a Statistics Canada report (Feb. 25) on the total air movements at the 90 airports under NAV Canada.

Statistics Canada defines air movements as any “take-off, landing, or simulated approach by an aircraft as defined by NAV Canada.” The numbers show Canada’s major international airports are seeing comparable runway activity as smaller airports.

Total aircraft movements at top 10 Canadian airports, 2020. Statistics Canada report.

Vancouver International Airport, for instance, had the third most traffic with 156,540 total aircraft movements in 2020 (down 53 per cent from 2019), while YXX had 137,265 (down just 17 per cent).

Month-over-month since May, Abbotsford Airport has consistently been in the top five for aircraft movements, even reaching number two for July and August when their traffic surpassed 2019’s numbers.

Other international airports are seeing similar declines. Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson Airport – Canada’s busiest airport historically – experienced the largest drop at 62 per cent, having over 280,000 fewer take-offs and landings in 2020.

“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, other international take-offs and landings nosedived to levels not seen in 20 years,” the report says.

Across the country, international flights were down 58 per cent for the year, flights to the U.S. fell by 68 per cent, while domestic movements declined 36 per cent, according to the report.

Year-over-year change in aircraft movements, by sector. Graph from Statistics Canada.

More restrictions were announced by the federal government on Jan. 29, 2021 to curb the spread of COVID-19 and the new variants. Airlines have since suspended all flights to and from Mexico and other Caribbean countries until April 30.

As of February, all international flights are being funnelled through four Canadian airports, and passengers have to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test before departure, and must quarantine for three days at a government approved hotel.

RELATED: New travel rules leave flight options on U.S. airlines for Canadian sun seekers

RELATED: Abbotsford Airport hit hard by COVID-19 pandemic


@portmoodypigeon
patrick.penner@missioncityrecord.com

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Microsoft .NET Conf: Focus on Windows – InfoQ.com

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Earlier this week, the first edition of the .NET Conf: Focus series for 2021 took place, featuring Windows desktop development topics. The event targeted developers of all stripes, covering both existing functionalities on .NET 5 and upcoming projects such as .NET MAUI and Project Reunion. The focus conferences are free, one-day live-streamed events featuring speakers from the community and .NET product teams.

The focus series is a branch of the original .NET Conf, an annual event organized by the .NET community and Microsoft that showcases the latest developments for the .NET platform. Each focus event targets a specific .NET-related technology, providing a series of in-depth, hands-on sessions aimed at .NET developers.

.NET Conf: Windows was different from the other past events in the series because it was focused on a single operating system (OS) – which may seem strange considering the ongoing unification plan towards a cross-platform, multi-OS .NET framework. However, the focus was justified, considering the importance of upcoming projects such as .NET MAUI and the ongoing efforts related to ARM64 development.

The conference started with an overview of the latest developments related to .NET and desktop development. In this context, Scott Hunter, director of program management at Microsoft, talked about existing .NET 5 features related to desktop app development, such as self-contained single executable files and ClickOnce deployment. He also talked about the latest performance improvements and features in Windows Forms and WPF, assisted with live demonstrations by Olia Gavrysh and Dmitry Lyalin, both at Microsoft.

The following session, presented by Cathy Sullivan (program manager at Microsoft), featured the preview release of the .NET Upgrade Assistant, an automated tool to assist developers in upgrading existing .NET applications to .NET 5. While not being a complete upgrade tool (developers will still have to complete the upgrade manually), its GitHub repository includes a link to a free e-book on porting ASP.NET apps to .NET Core that covers multiple migration scenarios.

The remainder of the sessions were short (approx. 30 minutes), covering topics mentioned in the keynote (such as WPF and Windows forms – including the recent support for ARM64 released with .NET 6 Preview 1), app deployment with ClickOnce, and specific coverage of WebView2, Microsoft’s new embedded web browser control used by Windows Forms. Other interesting sessions included demonstrations on building real-time desktop apps with Azure SignalR services (presented by Sam Basu) and accessing WinRT and Win32 APIs with .NET 5 (presented by Mike Battista and Angela Zhang, both at Microsoft).

The last three sessions focused on features and projects expected to ship with .NET 6 later this year. Daniel Roth, program manager at Microsoft, talked about building hybrid applications with Blazor. Hybrid applications are native apps that use web technologies for the UI, and support for cross-platform hybrid apps is an important feature of both .NET 6 and .NET MAUI.

Zarya Faraj and Miguel Ramos explained the concepts behind Project Reunion, which provides a unified development platform that can be used for all apps (Win32, Packaged, and UWP) targeting all the Windows 10 versions. The event was closed with a presentation by Maddy Leger and David Ortinau (both at Microsoft) on the future of native applications development in .NET 6 – which focused on .NET MAUI.

A relevant takeaway from the conference is how the recent efforts on developing native device applications targeting multiple platforms are revolving around .NET MAUI. However, it is important to notice that .NET MAUI does not represent a universal .NET client application development model, merging both native and web applications. This is an important distinction, especially in light of the many cross-references and mentions of Blazor Desktop, another highly anticipated feature in .NET 6. Richard Lander, program manager for the .NET team at Microsoft, recently approached this topic in multiple comments and posts:

I think folks may be missing the narrative on Blazor desktop. It is intended as a compelling choice for cross-platform client apps that enable using web assets. […] Blazor Desktop and MAUI are intended to be separate. Blazor Desktop will be hosted via a MAUI webview. MAUI will provide the desktop or mobile application container. MAUI will enable using native controls if that is needed/desired.

The next focus events are still undefined. The complete recording of this event is already available on YouTube. Recordings of all .NET Conf and .NET Conf: Focus events are available in curated playlists on MSDN Channel 9.

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Pokémon turns 25 – Eurogamer.net

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I choose you!

Pokémon is 25 years old today, 27th February 2021.

27th February 1996 saw the release of Pocket Monsters Red and Green in Japan for the Game Boy.

25 years later, Pokémon is one of the biggest entertainment brands in the world, and one of the most successful video game franchises.

Designer Satoshi Tajiri has said he was inspired to create the Pokémon saga after collecting insects as a boy.

Pocket Monsters Red and Green was a huge hit in Japan. Pokémon Red and Blue, as it was known on these shores, wouldn’t launch in Europe until 5th October 1999.

Since then, Pokémon has established an empire, with scores of video games, TV shows and films. Pokémon’s link to Nintendo has endured, with the core series of games all launching on the company’s platforms.

And Pokémon shows no sign of slowing down. Amid the enduring popularity of mobile hit Pokémon Go, a flood of new games are coming soon.

New Pokémon Snap is due out on Nintendo Switch in April 2021.

Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl launch in late 2021, and see a retro-styled return to Sinnoh.

And an open-world Sinnoh game called Pokémon Legends Arceus and set in a feudal version of the region then follows in early 2022.

Shorter term, tomorrow, 28th February, a live Pokémon concert starring Post Malone will also take place.

So, here’s to you, Pokémon! I choose you!

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