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Sony was reportedly in talks to sign Starfield before Xbox’s Bethesda buyout – Video Games Chronicle

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Sony Interactive Entertainment” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/companies/sony/”>Sony Interactive Entertainment was reportedly in talks to sign Bethesda Softworks” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/companies/zenimax-media/bethesda-softworks/”>Bethesda’s Starfield” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/games/starfield/”>Starfield as a PlayStation 5″ href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/platforms/playstation/ps5/”>PS5 exclusive, before its agreed sale to platform rival Xbox” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/platforms/xbox/”>Xbox this week.

The Elder Scrolls publisher – which Microsoft has agreed to purchase in a $7.5bn deal – had recently agreed other timed PS5 console exclusivity deals for new IP titles Deathloop” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/games/deathloop/”>Deathloop (Arkane) and Ghostwire: Tokyo ( Tango Gameworks” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/companies/zenimax-media/tango-gameworks/”>Tango Gameworks).

And according to journalist Imran Khan, talks had begun on signing Bethesda’s sci-fi RPG Starfield as a PlayStation” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/platforms/playstation/”>PlayStation exclusive.

“The timing on this announcement is absolutely fascinating,” Khan wrote on Monday. “The week after Sony solidifies their existing exclusivity with some Bethesda games but the day before Xbox opens up preorders.

He added: “FUN NOTE: Sony had been negotiating timed exclusivity on Starfield as recently as a few months ago. Going to guess either those talks are done or the price suddenly went way, way up.”

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Head of Xbox Phil Spencer” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/people/phil-spencer/”>Phil Spencer said this week that he will honour PlayStation’s timed exclusivity agreements for Deathloop and Ghostwire, but future Bethesda titles such as Starfield will be available for Xbox, PC” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/platforms/pc/”>PC and Game Pass. “We’ll take other consoles on a case-by-case basis,” Spencer told Bloomberg.

Game director Todd Howard” href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/people/todd-howard/”>Todd Howard provided a small update on Starfield following Monday’s Xbox news, revealing that it will feature Bethesda’s “largest engine overhaul since Oblivion.”

Bethesda’s Creation Engine has been used in its games since 2011’s Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It was then modified for subsequent titles including Fallout 4 and Fallout 76″ href=”https://www.videogameschronicle.com/games/fallout-76/”>Fallout 76.

Starfield was announced in June 2018 with a teaser trailer, following which Howard said it was a game he’s wanted to make “for a very, very long time.”

Nothing has been seen of the game since, and at last year’s E3 show the game’s director asked fans to be “very patient” in regards to the next unveiling of Starfield.

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“I will say this. I like when you really see the game to when it’s out [to be] as short as possible. As short as people will let me,” he said.

Howard was speaking in an interview with IGN in June 2019, in which he said Starfield broke Bethesda’s development cycle of working on Elder Scrolls and Fallout.

“We had done so many things. We were going, ‘Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Elder Scrolls, Fallout’ and you have this Starfield game in your head and your sort of say, ‘when?’ It can be never – you could say never – but we’re creatives and we have to make this game, and this is the time.

“And so The Elder Scrolls 6 is going to have to wait a little bit. Plus again, The Elder Scrolls Online is doing so well.”

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Health Canada encouraging British Columbians to download COVID Alert – Up News Info

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Health Canada is encouraging British Columbians to download the COVID Alert app, despite the fact that the province has not yet agreed to support it.

The agency has said that the use of the app could still be useful in curbing the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s still helpful to download COVID Alert from anywhere in the country, even if you can’t use it to report a diagnosis. That way, you’ll be notified if you come into contact with someone from a reporting province or territory or when people in your area are able to report a diagnosis,” a Health Canada spokesperson told Postmedia News.

For context, even though people in the province are unable to submit a positive diagnosis on the app, they can still be notified if they come into contact with someone visiting from a reporting province like Ontario or Quebec.

British Columbia and Alberta are the only two provinces that have not yet signed on to adopt the exposure notification app. Health Canada notes that it is working with provinces and territories, including British Columbia, to roll out the app.

COVID Alert is currently fully functional in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island. The app has reached more than 4.6 million downloads.

The app can be downloaded for free on Android and iOS.

Source: Postmedia News

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Not spooked by the pandemic, haunted houses find ways around COVID-19 – Yahoo News Canada

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TORONTO — Psychotic clowns. Axe murderers. Bedrooms possessed by poltergeists.

Many of the frights greeting visitors of horror attractions this Halloween will be familiar, but the thrill-creators behind them say one terrifying experience is squarely off-limits: the terrors of COVID-19.

Before the pandemic shook our lives, haunted houses sometimes dipped into the fears of contagion, splashing themed rooms with signs of a viral outbreak, hazmat suits and contamination warnings.

But with those experiences uncomfortably close to reality this year, horror masters like Shawn Lippert say reminding people of the virus is one line they’re not willing to cross.

“We use the analogy: Treat ‘COVID’ like the F-word in church,” said the owner of Scarehouse, an industrial-sized indoor haunted house in Windsor, Ont.

“It’s too real and so close to home. It’s almost like when you tell a joke and they say, ‘Too soon.’”

Lippert said that’s one of several rules he’s introduced at his haunt in order to keep people feeling safe and heath authorities satisfied. Ticketholders arrive at staggered times, and everyone is required to wear a mask.

Creepy objects that once brushed against visitors have been removed, and the giant airbags that evoke the feeling of claustrophobia have been stowed away to decrease the potential spread of germs.

Lippert describes those as small changes in a challenging year.

Many haunt operators were jittery about moving ahead with their usual Halloween festivities, considering health authorities could shut down the houses without much notice if the region experiences a surge in local cases. That would leave a brutal dent in their investments.

“If we can keep our doors open for the full run at this point, that would be a success for us,” Lippert said.

Several Toronto haunted houses decided the risk was too high. Casa Loma’s Legends of Horror and 28-year pillar Screemers at Exhibition Place were among the operators who decided to sit this year out, even before the city introduced tighter restrictions that would’ve closed them anyway.

Some organizers have used the pandemic to imagine ways to scare the living daylights out of people from a distance — often from the safety of their own vehicles.

The Pickering Museum Village put a historic spin on its spooky experience with a drive-thru tour that urged visitors to creep their cars along a roadway checkered with old houses, as ghost stories played on their FM radios.

Others have gone online with virtual group parties for kids or, for those of legal drinking age, what’s being sold as Canada’s first Virtual Halloween Cocktail Crawl.

Mentalist Jaymes White decided to embrace the digital world this year for his annual Halloween seances. His new Zoom experience, called Evoke, invites a small circle of friends to channel a spirit through video chat. He admits the idea goes against the traditions of a séance, where people usually hold hands around a table, but he’s confident the spirits will still be ready to unsettle his guests.

“They don’t care that we have a pandemic,” he said.

Paul Magnuson, one of the leaders at Calgary artist collective Big Art, will take over a downtown self-serve car wash for three days for a drive-in of the dead later this month. 

Scare Wash is described as a trip to hell and back that begins when a wash attendee’s seemingly normal car rinse spirals into a nightmare.

Magnuson came up with the idea when it was clear plans for his usual neighbourhood spectacle wouldn’t be possible in the pandemic.

“Last year I turned my garage into a Dexter killer room where we did performances all night. In previous years I’ve had an interactive cemetery,” he said.

“I’m not going to let COVID take this holiday.”

Robby Lavoie felt a similar conviction for keeping Terror Train on track this year at the National Ontario Railroad Museum and Heritage Centre. The annual Halloween event draws thousands of people to Capreol, Ont., part of Greater Sudbury, and provides the museum with a healthy dose of revenue.

Lavoie said he drew inspiration from videos he saw of a Japanese zombie drive-in haunted house over the summer. He knew there was a way to tone down the gore and make the idea a bit more Canadian.

After speaking with museum organizers, Lavoie secured the board’s approval for “Inferno 6077,” an immersive drive-in horror experience inside the garage of the fire hall. 

Pulling from his own knowledge of working in live theatre and movies, Lavoie began thinking on a grand scale. He hired a local writer who penned a story about townsfolk who seek revenge on an old man, and built rolling set pieces for the spectacle, which reaches its peak when the space is engulfed in flames, an illusion created with lights and projections.

“We’re putting you almost in an interactive movie, and it all came together within a month,” he said.

“I see myself doing this again next year, even if there isn’t COVID.”

Kathrine Petch understands the urge to keep Halloween on the calendar. As the general manager of Deadmonton Haunted House in Edmonton, she’s laid down strict COVID-19 precautions for their Area 51-themed haunt.

“The absolute, pure excitement of the customers is contagious to us,” she said.

“As long as we can pay the bills and have some money left over to make a different haunted house next year, I think we’ll be pretty happy.”

Petch said keeping Deadmonton open during the pandemic was important to everyone who runs the show.

“One of our biggest goals was to provide people with some kind of escape from all the crappiness that is 2020,” she said.

“And when they reach the end of our haunted house, at least they know the scares are done.”

Follow @dfriend on Twitter.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 20, 2020.

David Friend, The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version misspelled Robby Lavoie’s given name.

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Adobe is adding its ‘content authenticity’ tool to the latest Photoshop beta – The Verge

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Adobe will let some Adobe Creative Cloud customers try a tool that builds trustworthy attribution directly into a picture. As part of a bigger software update, Adobe is moving forward with the Content Authenticity Initiative, a system it proposed last year. The tool adds an extra panel to Photoshop, and using it attaches metadata that’s supported by Adobe-owned art sharing site Behance.

Adobe lays out exactly how the process works in a video. The system lets users toggle four kinds of metadata: a picture thumbnail, the name of the person creating the image, some broad information about the types of edits that were made, and the original assets used to create the image. These are then cryptographically signed so it’ll be evident if anyone tampers with them.

If the picture is uploaded to Behance, users can see all that information as a pop-up panel, or they can click through to a dedicated website. The CAI panel is coming to “select customers” in Photoshop’s beta release over the next few weeks.

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Adobe’s demonstration video hints at how the system might be useful. If one of a composite photo’s original assets also used CAI, for instance, you can click through and see the full details for it as well — essentially giving artists a one-click attribution tool when they’re building on other people’s images. As we’ve discussed before, CAI isn’t designed to stop determined trolls from faking an image. But if you’d like to make clear that you’ve Photoshopped an image, CAI is also a simple and low-key way to do so.

Adobe eventually wants lots of apps, websites, and even cameras to support the CAI — likely hoping to make it a de facto standard for image attribution. CAI’s effectiveness ultimately depends on how much buy-in it can get across the wider internet, and Adobe has named a few high-profile partners like Microsoft, Twitter, and The New York Times Company. For now, though, Adobe is going to see how the option works within its own ecosystem.

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