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Werthead

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Everything posted by Werthead

  1. No more than pod racing was out of place in the exact same city.
  2. Started off with Jedi: Fallen Order, which is splendidly old-skool. Very Jedi Knight/Jedi Academy in how it plays, complete with being able to die from falling off great heights (I'd grown so used to invisible walls in games preventing that, that was quite a surprise) or through otherwise just being an idiot. Refreshing. Though once again I am mildly concerned that only 62% of people who've ever installed and fired up the game made it to joining the crew of the Mantis, which happens at the end of the first chapter, about 25 minutes into the game.
  3. All the stuff handled by BBC Enterprises, BBC America, Britbox etc is done on a commercial basis already, so those would not be impacted in the short term. In fact, they may feed into the model the BBC as a whole has to adapt to in order to survive.
  4. They were a victim of timing: the cut-off date for renewal being before Season 1 finished airing and typically, the second half of the first season was a huge improvement over the first. The show is also very bleak about a worldwide crisis that kills vast numbers of people, which may have worked excellently five years ago or maybe twenty years from now, but mid-pandemic I think it just put people off. As I understand it, Station Eleven has worked precisely because they went in a different direction, tonally, whilst Y: The Last Man starts with fathers, brothers and sons dying pretty graphically and horrible on screen in front of people. The casting of Yorick was also a huge problem. The character is as much of a prick in the comics but has some charisma and can win people over. Ben Schnetzer does his best but just doesn't have that spark, and so Yorick's monstrous selfishness and self-centredness (certainly a thing in the comics, especially early on) just comes across as inexplicable and frustrating. I mean, you start thinking that if the complete extinguishing of human life might just be worth it if this irritating idiot bites the dust. Olivia Thirlby and Ashley Romans were on fucking fire though, and Amber Tamblyn and Diane Lane (naturally) were very good.
  5. They referenced that scene with the exact same characters in the same location in Book's second episode, so I think it's safe to say it is canon.
  6. The problem with the BBC is also its strength: its provision of programmes for science, history, education, the arts, children, and minority groups like the disabled and Welsh-speakers (the BBC helps subsidise S4C, for example), not to mention its regional programming. If the BBC could just say fuck it and drop those things, then it could survive as a much smaller, leaner operation on a Netflix-style arrangement with dramas, comedies, Attenborough shows, news and maybe BBC Radio 1, 2 and 4, possibly with some advertising provision (although various studies have warned that the BBC simply bringing in adverts won't work because it would either require every TV-advertising company in the UK to double their advertising budget or halve the amount they pay to other commercial channels to also advertise on the BBC, which would result in jack shit revenue for the BBC and a massively-reduced income for ITV, Channel 4 and everyone else). With those things, the BBC becomes untenable. I believe recent figures (Feb 2020) show that 91% of the British adult population uses the BBC at least once per week. So for the 9% of people who don't use it at all every week (and of course it's possible they do use it much less frequently than once per week, but still use it a few times per year), there should be a provision in place so they can cut the service altogether more easily. Of course, I suspect if you canvassed people, you'd find a bit more than 9% of UK adults who say they don't use it, but, in fact, do use it regularly so they can talk regularly about its evil wokeness, and if given the chance would happily drop paying the licence fee but continue using the service to keep tabs on it. The main lesson I hope the BBC learns here is that cosying up to the government and, at times, acting as its official propaganda wing is no guarantee that the government won't still use you as a punching bag and shit on you from a very great height. Particularly comical has been Conservatives criticising Johnson publicly and volubly (sometimes on the BBC!) then criticising the BBC for reporting them criticising Johnson, and using that as evidence that it is partisan.
  7. The United States and other countries have been providing Ukraine with logistical support and supplies and have condemned the annexation of Crimea (although there's also been arguments over Ukraine's traditional borders including Crimea or not due to the presence of the Russian naval base and the large pro-Russian population), so they haven't forgotten it. Whether Western countries would come charging in to defend Ukraine from a Russian invasion aimed at carving off more territory is unclear, but the arguments for Western troops to come in in response to a Russian land-grab of the entire country and a potentially massive humanitarian crisis (millions of people displaced westwards into Europe) would be stronger. NATO effectively negates the need for a common European army and the expensive duplication of effort that would entail. Also, NATO's guarantee of collective security was aimed against the Soviet Union but also applies elsewhere (see the USA invoking Article 5 to request assistance from allies post 9/11, which had nothing to do with Russia). Hell, Russia was in relatively serious talks to join NATO at one point, if relatively briefly. The Baltic States basically exist on Russia's sufferance and, understandably, that is not a position they wished to live in any more. Joining NATO guarantees their independence, and it gives NATO more resources to call upon.
  8. Not to mention some likely nods to Lucas's American Graffiti.
  9. I think what happens next is a concern. Starmer is unexciting, but more trusted and seen as being more competent than Johnson (and much moreso than Corbyn). He is seen as much more of an electoral threat, especially in the old Labour seats where people "lent" the Tories votes in return for getting Brexit done and may return to their traditional loyalties afterwards. So the next election is definitely seen as being harder than the 2019 one (which probably ended up being easier than expected, thanks to Boris's greater-than-expected personal charisma) for the Conservative Party. That's why they kept BoJo, because he still seemed to have that touch with the population at large despite misgivings about him in the Tories on numerous levels. Right now, he seems to have lost that popular touch and is seen as a liability. Anyone else would be an improvement, though all the candidates have weaknesses. A couple of them even have (from a certain point of view) strengths.
  10. I wonder if the Truss momentum was now a scare tactic to get Sunak to throw his hat into the ring, like when Peter Jackson didn't want to direct The Hobbit after Del Toro quit and the studios threatened to replace him with someone like Zack Snyder (an empty threat as ZS was busy, but still effective) to basically blackmail him into the job.
  11. I think it's just timing. Johnson's secret weapon was his popularity with the general public, which allowed him to remain in power after several scandals that would have toppled PMs in more civilised times. However, the public is turning against him so the Tories who always felt he was a bit wishy-washy and too crowd-pleasing have taken advantage of that to try to get him out of the way. The timing is also reasonable with regard to the next election, with probably more than two years to go it gives the new PM time enough to get into position and make an impact. The question of who to replace him with is the big one, and it looks like Sunak's reluctance from a few months ago might be wilting, with him talking to other MPs and Patel apparently indicating she would not support him in a contest suggesting he is now at least on the board.
  12. They're also already building the next-gen warships at the end of the series and they could easily say it only takes 5 or 10 years to get ready rather than 30. In fact, making it 30 years in the books felt a bit ridiculous, keeping everyone on the Roci for that long and most people in the exact same place (reminded me of George Lucas getting everyone into exactly the same place at the end of Revenge of the Sith that they were at the start of A New Hope, apparently ignoring the fact that nineteen years is a really long time). The fact the Peaches has a 5-year time bomb ticking suggests that if they do the timeskip, it's not going to be 30 years. It also allows them to keep Avasarala in play until the very end.
  13. NATO currently has thousands of troops parked along the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian borders with Russia, so any invasion of the Baltic States would mean Russia having to directly fire on NATO troops, almost automatically triggering Article 5 of the NATO convention, leading inevitably to a war between the United States and Russia; if the USA refused, the alliance would collapse almost immediately. There were reports a few years back of leaked Russian plans including one that would require them to invade and overrun the Baltic States and then invade Poland, Finland and Ukraine whilst mounting missile attacks on Germany and Britain. The idea would be that after five days or so, Russia would halt its advance and negotiate a settlement which would involve withdrawing from Poland, Finland and most of Ukraine (bar the eastern parts which would be annexed to Russia) and ceasing missile strikes on other countries but keeping the Baltic States. This plan seems fanciful but cynical enough to fit in with Putin's mindset. It's also quite extraordinarily dangerous and likely to result in WWIII. From a moral point of view, it was not. The Baltic States have thrived in the EU and are much richer, much better-off and much stronger than they would have been. If they'd have been left as independent states, they'd have been overrun and conquered by Russia (either outright or through proxies) years ago. One of the reasons Putin hates having those countries and cities so close (Tallinn, Riga and Helsinki are within a few hours' travel by car or train from St. Petersburg) is that it's abundantly clear they are doing much better than Russia itself, despite Russia being far vaster, far more populous with infinitely more natural resources. It makes Russians ask awkward questions about their government about why tiny Estonia is doing so much better than giant Russia and where the fuck is all their tax money going (since it's clearly not going on education or health, and even a fair bit of the massive military budget is going into individual pockets).
  14. This was probably Johnson's own motive: he wanted to be the Prime Minister who heroically stepped in once Brexit was done and he could declare victory but also say, "Alas, Theresa May negotiated this and we have to live with it but I'll continue to fight for fairness blah blah". May bounced early and Johnson had to come in much earlier than he wanted and was immediately confronted by the pandemic crisis which he promptly bumblefucked. Sunak would clearly be the frontrunner: he's a relative newcomer, especially to the mostly-non-politics-following public so is not tainted (in their minds) by earlier controversies and failures. He's a real conservative hoarder itching to smash down the austerity trigger again and let poor people starve, which is like superstrength viagra to the hard right of the Tory party, which is a larger percentage than it used to be. He's quite young (at 41 he'd supplant Cameron and Blair to become the youngest living Prime Minister and sixth-youngest overall), which will go down well, and he's from an ethnic minority whilst also being a relatively hardcore Conservative, which a lot of Tories really like. He doesn't have any demons or controversies ready to burst out just yet. His main negative would be that a lot of saner Tories believe that after twelve years of hardcore austerity that did nothing but drive up the country's debt and drive down its competitiveness (whilst other countries that invested in their economies saw very rapid returns and bounced back far quicker from the financial crisis than we did), there's literally no give left in the system and any Tory government announcing a fresh run of austerity would be be bounced out of office very quickly. In particular, the new northern intake would look on any such plans with a lot of suspicion as they'd be first in the firing line. It does look like a contest would be between him and Liz Truss: Gove seems to be a busted flush and would be optimistic to throw his hat in the ring. Hancock may have been a contender but fucked himself over, and it is far too soon for him to return to prominence. Patel seems to know how widely she is loathed and she has hitched herself very closely to Johnson's flag. Javid seems less of a contender than he did a few years ago, but might be able to rally some support. They have really scraped the bottom of the barrel until it has given way and they're now halfway to Earth's core. I don't think there's too many other realistic contenders.
  15. Not necessarily, but it's certainly a Boris thing and always has been.
  16. Jade Empire doesn't even have inventory management, let alone side-quests, and was also BioWare's first-ever experiment with a real-time, directly controlled combat system (two years before Mass Effect). A very interesting game. It also had John Cleese in it taking the piss out of World of WarCraft, which is random but amusing. I have been looking at God of War, especially at the surprisingly reasonable launch price (which I can save another £10 on using the Epic Store coupon, but I think I'd prefer the convenience of Steam). Although I'm also feeling finally like embarking on the Mass Effect Legendary Edition playthrough. I should really stay on target and finish my OG Final Fantasy VII replay though.
  17. I can't see how Boris can survive this. It's utterly preposterous, with both the left wing and right wing press unleashing their full firepower against him.
  18. Absolutely 100% yes. It's why if you watch an Amazon show based on a book in your web browser, it will flash up a link to the first book in the series, or the store page for the author or series. I mean, are they thinking they're going to cover the entire costs of the show from their retailer's cut of selling the books? No. But it's a nice chunk of cash, and I suspect it's something Amazon leverages when talking to potential partners. They can sell the original books directly to customers which Netflix and HBO cannot. Wheel of Time has shifted an absolute fuckton of books in the last two months (and sales were steadily rising before that, for the first time since the paperback release of AMoL in 2014). If even 10% of them come through Amazon, that's a nice chunk of cash and something they can factor into deciding to renew a show or not. A Song of Ice and Fire sold ~78 million books off the back of the TV show, The Lord of the Rings sold 50 million books off the back of Jackson's movies (in the first five years after FotR came out, I believe, so probably a lot more since then) and The Witcher has sold at least ~10 million off the back of the Netflix show. If a show hits a phenomenal level of success, the profit generated by the books for the retailer alone can easily stretch into the millions to tens of millions, enough to offset the cost of production of at least a few episodes. How the hell they'll handle LotR though is another question. There isn't a single book the story is based on, and the closest equivalents, The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales, I think will be fairly offputting to the general audience.
  19. The determination that Putin has probably made is that Russia has two ways forward: becoming a really democratic country which clamps down on corruption, stops the mass leeching of public money to the oligarchs and basically sorts it shit out, which will give his political career the lifespan of a flea on the back of a terminally depressed lemming, or continue trying to create a sense of paranoia and fear and blaming Russia's crippling problems on other countries, particularly Western countries for trying to hem Russia in. The latter is a much easier thing to achieve. The problem is that this solution, trying to recreate the USSR, won't work because Russia by itself cannot project enough force to make it work, especially if NATO is willing to simply stand up to him and not let his bullshit fly. It makes you wonder how much internal pressure he is under, because these recent moves do seem somewhat out of character for him. Although clearly not a nice guy, Putin has mostly acted rationally, playing a weak hand spectacularly well on occasion, and at all times seems aware that Russia is not the Soviet Union and cannot try and throw its weight around like the USSR did. Russia's greatest successes in recent years have come through providing limited but forceful interventions on behalf of allies (such as in Georgia and Syria) without getting bogged down in a lengthy guerrilla war (the memories of Chechnya are still very fresh in the Kremlin) and without risking war with the United States. The US even swatted down Russia over Syria and Russia chose not to respond rather than risk a military confrontation with the infinitely superior US. These recent moves seem contrary to that limited-risk doctrine.
  20. A line in the sand with the Tories is don't fuck with the Queen, especially around the time of a royal death. Divided opinions on the news. Several commentators saying Boris can ride this out, but others saying no chance, especially citing the Telegraph turning against him fully, which is really bad news. The only debate is over his replacement. The Truss momentum from a few weeks ago seems to have died down, so Sunak seems to be the favourite again.
  21. Russia has raised the ante by suggesting it could deploy military forces to Venezuela and Cuba. This comes after four meetings between NATO, US, EU and Russian representatives in five days failed to make significant breakthroughs. Russia has essentially demanded that NATO roll back its membership to 1999 levels and effectively withdraw troops and assets from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, North Macedonia (which became the alliance's newest member on 1 January this year), Albania and Montenegro, and sign a pledge promising that Ukraine will never join the organisation. The Alliance has told them to fuck off and it will take no action that invalidates NATO's founding charter and the democratic right of any nation to join. The Polish government has expressed much-enhanced concern in recent days that they believe the possibility of a military crisis in Eastern Europe is now more likely than a few weeks ago, when they seemed to think it was mostly Russia posturing in return for political concessions. Interestingly, Ukraine has seemingly suggested that the rounds of negotiations did result in some minor agreements behind closed doors, which may have taken the temperature down just a notch, but not by much. Ukraine still fears a military intervention by Russia in at least the disputed eastern territories between now and the spring. Ukraine has increased military preparations against a Russian invasion, including trying to acquire portable and man-mounted anti-air and anti-armour systems as well as their continuing rollout of drone acquisitions from Turkey (the use of which in achieving several small victories against Russian-backed rebels in the east of the country seems to have sparked some of this Russian response). It looks like Ukraine's plan in the event of an invasion is to almost immediately switch to a partisan-style guerrilla uprising and hit the Russian forces with asymmetrical warfare. Oddly, this story is getting very little traction in the UK news.
  22. I don't have a timer playthrough for KotOR (I still have the DVD-ROM) so had to go by the save game stamps. I don't remember it being much more than 25. Might have been 30. KotOR 2 was slightly longer. Of course, those stamps don't reflect reloads, which is a big advantage of how Steam tracks it. Still, KotOR 1 and 2 are super linear; there really isn't much scope for side-quests and optional content because you pretty much encounter everything in a single playthrough. Mass Effect 1 is I think BioWare's shortest game. I completed it at 11 hours with a significant bug which sometimes froze the game in cut scenes, so I had to skip most of the cut scenes in the game or risk the same thing happening (and read the plot description on a website to fill in the gaps). The second time, when that problem was fixed and I had the DLC installed and I spent fucking ages humping mountains with the buggy, it raised the play time to about 17 hours. Jade Empire was somewhat longer, I've played it through three times and I think it was between 20 and 25 hours.
  23. The vespa bikes did remind me of the very 1950s diner and hovercars in Attack of the Clones, and the retro-Buck Rogers designs in The Phantom Menace.
  24. I think it's simply that Boba Fett knows Tatooine from having worked there for Jabba before, and Jabba's palace is located near Mos Espa and it's part of his territory, as was established in The Phantom Menace. Boba Fett's name and reputation carries more respect on Tatooine then most places in the galaxy. I think there is some confusion because Mos Eisley is Tatooine's better-known big city and Jabba hangs out there briefly in the Special Edition of Episode IV, but it looks like Eisley is the biggest spaceport and one of the reasons Han was there was to avoid Jabba. Greedo and Jabba had to come to him. Some of the semi-canon maps of Tatooine put it on the other side of the planet.
  25. I mean, obviously not. The Last Jedi did reasonable business but it was sharply down on The Force Awakens, and The Rise of Skywalker barely scraped a profit. Solo actually did bomb and lost money. The only universally-well-received Star Wars movie since 2015 is Rogue One. The combined impact of that was pushing the next feature film off until way into the future (it's now going to be at least five years between Star Wars theatrical releases, probably more). The Resistance animated series also did very poorly. The new canon novels are selling a very modest fraction of what Bantam and Ace did in the 1990s and early 2000s (which they can probably thank Chuck Wendig's less-than-competent intro books for), although the new comics are doing reasonably well both critically and commercially. It's clear that Disney are taking a close look at Star Wars's performance and there does seem to be a correlation between critical reception/divisiveness and the money coming in. OTOH, the new Star Wars video games have sold incredibly well (even the generic Battlefront games and the hugely controversial second one) and The Mandalorian has done massive business driving Disney+'s early success almost single-handed. I'm actually a bit puzzled as to what purpose Boba Fett serves really. It's not going to draw in more people than either The Mandalorian or Obi-Wan, and I don't see it aiding subscriber retention in the meantime. The only function it is serving is taking up six weeks in the schedule where Disney+ don't want people to un-sub until the next high-profile show launches.
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