Thor: Love And Thunder Has “Avengers 5 Feel,” Big Ensemble Cast

While COVID-related delays have put the Marvel Cinematic Universe on pause during 2020, with Black Widow getting pushed back over a year from May 2020 to May 2021, big things are in store for Marvel fans once theatres start opening back up. Though there are a heap of films and TV shows currently in the works, it looks like Taika Waititi’s Thor: Love and Thunder may be the next big Marvel movie to look out for.

In a general MCU update posted by Variety, insider gossip claims that Thor: Love And Thunder is building up to “an Avengers 5 feel” thanks to a sprawling ensemble cast. The film is set to shoot in Sydney, Australia in January, with many of the cast including Christian Bale and Natalie Portman having already arrived to start preparing for the shoot.

Love and Thunder has also suffered setbacks during 2020. Originally scheduled to begin filming in Sydney in March, the shoot was first delayed due to the catastrophic Australian bushfires, and later delayed again due to COVID-19.

Director Taika Waititi has shared a few details on the story of Love and Thunder, teasing an “insane” and “romantic” story back in July while working on the film’s script.

It will feature Chris Hemsworth returning as Thor, as well as Natalie Portman as Jane Foster, but this time wielding Thor’s hammer. Chris Pratt will also be making an appearance while Christian Bale has been cast as the villain, who’s currently unnamed.

Now Playing: Black Widow (2020) – Official Final Trailer

A Heap Of New Details On Amazon’s Lord Of The Rings MMO Have Been Revealed

As part of the acquisition of Leyou by gaming giant Tencent, a number of documents relating to Leyou’s collaboration with Amazon on a Lord Of The Rings MMO have been made public. The documents reveal some juicy new details about a project which, thus far, has been quite secretive.

The documents include a licensing agreement for the Tolkien property, which also makes mention of Lord of the Rings Online, an existing MMO that Amazon’s product will launch in direct competition with. The licensing agreement shows Leyou agreeing to pay over $8 million simply to secure the license for the Middle-earth game.

The documents also include a co-development agreement with Amazon, which involves the broader e-commerce company rather than specifying the gaming-specific Amazon Studios branch.

An amendment to the licensing agreement also includes a production schedule, which shows a rough timeline for the game–though notably the amendment was made prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning the schedule may have changed since.

It points to January 11, 2021 as a due date for a “draft of complete game lore and narrative,” with a playable prototype then due in June of 2021. It’s clearly still early days for the game’s development, with the public not likely to get their hands on it until an open beta in September 2022, or an open beta in January 2023.

This schedule is for the PC, with subheadings for a PS4 and Xbox One launch both saying the aim is to have the content complete and playable within six months of the PC open beta, and a full launch within twelve months of the beta. There is no mention of PS5 or Xbox Series X/S.

It’s no surprise there’s such a wait still to go on this game–MMOs are a big undertaking to make, and Amazon is no doubt hoping to drum up hype for the Middle-earth-themed game with its similarly huge Lord of the Rings TV show in the works.

Now Playing: Amazon Is Developing A Free-To-Play Lord Of The Rings MMORPG – GS News Update

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Black Friday 2020 Deal Brings NHL 21 Down To $28 Right Now

Black Friday 2020 might not officially begin until later this week, but the deals are already starting to pour in. EA’s Madden NFL 21 is discounted already, and now another one of the publisher’s sports games is available for a nice savings.

This year’s NHL game, NHL 21, is currently marked down to just $28 right now at online retailer Amazon. The deal applies to the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game’s standard edition.

Amazon’s deal on NHL 21 is the best around, but other retailers have discounted the title as well. For example, Best Buy is matching Amazon with a $28 offer of its own, while Target has the game for $30 on PS4 and Xbox One.

NHL 21 is playable on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, but EA is not releasing a dedicated update to the hockey game for those machines. Despite that, people playing NHL 21 on the next-gen consoles through backwards compatibility may see some benefits in terms of loading times and smoother frame rates.

For more Black Friday coverage, see our guide to this year’s Black Friday sales, store hours, and more. We’ve also browsed all the biggest Black Friday ads and highlighted the best Black Friday gaming deals to keep your eye on this week, including the best deals for PS5/PS4 and Xbox Series X/Xbox One.

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Black Friday 2020: This Razer Gaming Keyboard Just Got An Incredible Discount

Razer makes some of the best gaming keyboards out there today, and Black Friday 2020 has a number of discounts on some of their most popular models. The best Black Friday deal easily goes to Amazon, where you can get the Razer BlackWidow Elite gaming keyboard for only $85, down from its regular price of $170. That’s an incredible discount that is worth taking advantage of if you need a new keyboard.

The BlackWidow Elite also features Chroma RGB lighting, which you can customize in Razer’s Synapse software; a magnetic wrist rest, which makes gaming for longer sessions more comfortable; and dedicated media keys, which allow you to control your music, podcasts, or YouTube videos while you’re gaming. The Razer BlackWidow Elite also features USB 2.0 and 3.5mm audio passthrough, making it easier to connect certain devices and save on important USB ports on your PC.

If you’re looking for more PC gaming deals during Black Friday, there are quite a few great deals on Razer gaming mice, headsets, and more. Razer is expected to discount even more of its products leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so you’ll want to keep an eye on our guides for the best ones. You can also check out the best gaming monitor deals if you need a new display to get the most out of your gaming experience.

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour Adds A “Second Breakfast” Option

The Hobbiton Movie Set Tour in New Zealand has announced a new option for travellers seeking to have a more Hobbit-like experience visiting the iconic farm set.

Starting December 20, visitors can choose to embark upon the “Second Breakfast Tour.” As its name suggests, this tour of the set begins with a dusk tour of the movie set, a visit to the Green Dragon Inn for a pint, followed by a “hearty breakfast spread” in The Millhouse, the newly added attraction at Hobbiton.

“The breakfast table will be heaped with seasonal fresh fruit, breads, pastries, preserves, and cold meats and, as is the tradition in the Shire, second helpings are encouraged,” reads a line from the description. “A plated hot breakfast will be served featuring an assortment of a Hobbit’s favourite breakfast staples including fluffy scrambled eggs, streaky bacon, potatoes, grilled sausages and rosemary mushrooms.”

Vegetarian options are available, too, while the tour also includes coffee and tea. Below is a rundown of what’s included in the Second Breakfast Tour.

SECOND BREAKFAST TOUR INCLUDES

  • A fully guided tour of Hobbiton Movie Set
  • A visit to The Green Dragon Inn with your first Hobbit Southfarthing beverage upon arrival
  • A second breakfast continental breakfast spread in The Millhouse
  • A plated hot breakfast (please note any dietary requirements at time of booking)
  • Coffee and tea served inside The Millhouse during second breakfast

The Second Breakfast Tour doesn’t come cheap, as it costs $140 NZD for adults (17+) and $90 NZD for people aged 9-16.

New Zealand’s borders are currently closed, so you have to live in the country to visit Hobbiton and enjoy this new tour.

Bruce Banner Is Deadpool’s Dad In Netflix Time Travel Movie

If Ryan Reynolds isn’t the busiest actor in Hollywood, he’s definitely in the top five. On top of the just-announced Deadpool 3 and the completed-but-unreleased Free Guy, Reynolds has no less than 7 films in some state of production, including a time-travel flick called The Adam Project headed for Netflix. The movie is in early production, and is picking up an impressive cast that includes Mark Ruffalo (Avengers) and Catherine Keener (Being John Malkovich), THR reports.

Reynolds stars as a man who travels back in time to find his younger self, as well as his own father, to save the future, pursued by a woman with powerful technology.

In the above description, Mark Ruffalo plays a physicist, who is the deceased father of Reynolds‘ character. Keener will play the villain in the movie. Ruffalo and Keener join a cast that includes Jennifer Garner and Zoe Saldana.

The film also includes newcomer Walker Scobell, who THR says was discovered in an acting class, as Reynolds‘ younger self, and Alex Mallari, Jr. as Keener’s assistant.

Stranger Things director and producer Shawn Levy will direct the film; he recently worked with Reynolds to direct the video game-adjacent film Free Guy. Production companies Skydance, 21 Laps, and Maximum Effort are producing the movie; the latter two outfits belong to Levy and Reynolds.

Now Playing: Free Guy – Official Trailer

Madden 21 PS5 And Xbox Series X Upgrades Detailed, And They Sound Impressive

EA Sports has shared new details on the many upgrades coming to Madden NFL 21 on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, and they sound impressive and extensive.

A new blog post focuses on the various upgrades for the presentation package, and one of these is better-looking environments thanks to a new deferred lighting system.

“Everything looks more realistic with the newly crafted next gen lighting model. Players have never looked better and shine even at more challenging scenarios like nighttime, non-clear weather types, and dome stadiums,” EA said. “Pyro VFX casts dynamic shadows which dramatically improve the fidelity on player runout tunnels. Deferred lighting allows for more lighting sources in our NFL environments creating beautifully lit details.”

There will also be “contextual” reactions from players on the field and on the bench, along with crowds depending on what happens on the field. The PS5 and Xbox Series X editions of Madden 21 also feature new pre-game cinematics, while the teammates on the bench will no longer just stand there, but they will react more realistically.

Here is a rundown of some of those improvements specifically:

  • Players on the sidelines have player likeness, name, body type, and skin type
  • Players will jump out of the way of a ball out of bounds or move out of the way when a player runs or is pushed out of bounds. Sideline characters are set up to watch and react to the play.
  • Improved head-tracking and unique interactions for all characters in the player box without twinning

The upgrades also extend to how players look. Every player model in Madden 21 for PS5 and Xbox Series X is “brand-new,” EA said, and designed to accurately represent them in real life.

“The number of vertices and texture resolutions have nearly doubled and have been authored to fully utilize the graphics processor of the next gen consoles,” EA said. “Along with the outer appearance of the player bodies, the next gen consoles have also opened up opportunities to upgrade our render skeleton to better demonstrate secondary body motions and real-life muscle deformations.”

The level of depth and detail extends all the way to how a player’s arms and legs muscles moves on the field depending on the action they are doing.

Location-based audio is also being added for Madden 21 on PS5 and Xbox Series X. “Utilizing crowd placement data that provides one-to-one fidelity of crowd members in the stands, we are able to accurately place cone outputs utilizing spatialization effects and precise orientation,” EA said. This means you will hear the impact of spatialized sound FX, especially in the huddle and when the crowd roars.”

The extra horsepower of the PS5 and Xbox Series X also allow Madden 21’s various weather effects to appear more realistic. In heavy rain, water will pool on the sidelines, while snow will look more realistic. These new weather effects will affect how a player’s jersey looks, depending on the environment.

“We can render 10-times more particles while keeping our game running at 60 FPS,” EA said. “The real-time surface and material shaders have been upgraded to fully utilize the higher processing power of the CPU and GPU to represent surfaces that react to weather. See new rain and snow impacts specifically on helmets and jerseys where it affects the fabrics and sideline floors.”

Madden 21’s PS5 edition will use the DualSense controller’s haptic feedback to make the game feel more lifelike. Examples that EA provided included how the controller will give you a warning through its rumbling when a linebacker is rushing you or the feeling of the ball landing in your hands after a big catch.

“Feedback can be delivered to each hand separately to let you feel what the players feel on the field,” EA said. “With the use of adaptive triggers, users feel resistance on the trigger to give feedback on a player breaking a tackle or running low on stamina.”

Finally, players will be able to leave the field and celebrate in the crowd at 13 of the NFL’s 32 stadiums–you can see the full list here.

Madden NFL 21 launches for PS5 and Xbox Series X on December 4. Everyone who bought the game on PS4 or Xbox One can get a free upgrade on PS5 or Xbox Series X. Alternatively, EA will offer a standalone version of Madden 21 for PS5 and Xbox Series X for $70 USD, which represents EA’s first next-gen game with the $10 price increase.

Madden 21 will be discounted on Black Friday, but you don’t have to wait until then, as numerous retailers are already offering the title for under $30.

Now Playing: Madden NFL 21 Video Review

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Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: A Real-Life Version Of Orlog Is Coming

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla has an in-universe dice game that many players have been besotted by–so much so, that there are plans underway to make a physical version of it. Dicebreaker has learned that Orlog will be made into a real game in 2021.

In Valhalla, players can encounter Orlog opponents across the map. It’s a dice game where players roll six dice and then choose which ones to re-roll, trying to collect “god favors” from certain die faces to turn the tide of battle.

While Ubisoft did not share any further details with Dicebreaker about their plans, the site is reporting that PureArts is working on the physical version of the game. The company has previously produced numerous Assassin’s Creed collectibles.

Dicebreaker also reveals that Orlog was originally more of a deck builder styled game, but that changed over the course of Valhalla’s development.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is now available on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC. Soon you’ll be able to pick the game up at a discounted price thanks to Black Friday sales. The game earned an 8/10 in GameSpot’s review.

Now Playing: Assassin’s Creed Valhalla Review

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Star Wars: Licensed Baby Yoda Macarons Are Here, But You Don’t Want To Know The Price

When Baby Yoda stole the show in the latest episode of The Mandalorian by stealing a packet of fluorescent-blue space macarons, it wasn’t a stretch to imagine those same cookies showing up as a new snack at Galaxy’s Edge, or a licensed product. As predicted, luxury brand Williams Sonoma has now revealed its official “Nevarro Nummies Macarons,” as well as their staggering price tag, as picked up by io9.

If you don’t have the Force to nab yourself some cookies from an unsuspecting classmate, a packet of 12 space macarons will set you back $50. While $4.15 each seems a lot for a cookie, it’s not necessarily a high price for a gourmet French macaron–though even the most dedicated Star Wars fans might still baulk at spending $50 on snacks, especially when you can get an adorable life-sized Baby Yoda for half the price.

“Inspired by a sweet moment when a young Nevarro student debated sharing his treats with the Child,” the Williams Sonoma listing reads, “21st-century artisans in California have created these ethereal French-style almond macarons capturing the essence of this scene with Nevarro Nummies. For authentic galactic flavor, each exquisite treat is artfully hand-piped with a rich, creamy vanilla filling.”

No Caption Provided

Sadly, they don’t look all that much like Baby Yoda’s version either–while the show’s macarons are a violent shade of blue, and even more vibrant when the Child pukes them back up, Williams Sonoma’s version are a more gentle shade of powder blue. With the listing specifying that they are shipped chilled or frozen, it’s likely these delicate treats aren’t going to come wrapped in a foil packet, either.

The luxury goods company seems like a strange choice for this tie-in, considering Nevarro doesn’t seem like the kind of planet to have a huge fine-dining culture. Still, given the popularity of the Mandalorian–but especially anything involving Baby Yoda–it’s likely these expensive treats will still fly off the shelves.

Now Playing: The Mandalorian Season 2 Episode 4: Easter Eggs & Things You Missed

Marvel’s WandaVision TV Show Will Include Characters Talking To The Camera

2020 will mark the first year since 2009 without a Marvel movie in theatres, but fans of the MCU are getting something new in the form of the WandaVision TV show on Disney Plus in January 2021.

Marvel boss Kevin Feige has now shared a few more details on the show, telling Empire that the series was influenced by classic American TV shows, while also incorporating modern elements like talking to the camera as they do on The Office.

“I loved TV, and watched far too much The Dick Van Dyke Show and I Love Lucy and Bewitched and everything,” Feige said. “We go up to the Modern Family and The Office style. The talk-to-the-camera, shaky-camera, documentary style.”

Also in the interview, Feige spoke about Elizabeth Olsen’s character, Wanda Maximoff AKA Scarlet Witch. He said no character from the Infinity saga experienced more pain and trauma than she did, and she’s also extremely powerful, and all of this presents the potential to tell interesting stories on the WandaVision TV show.

“It seemed exploring that would be worthwhile post-Endgame. Who else is aware of that power? Where did it come from? Did the Mind Stone unlock it?” Feige said.

The other main character is Vision, and Paul Bettany is returning to play him once more on the TV show.

WandaVision is coming to Disney Plus on January 15. It is the first of numerous Marvel spinoff TV shows for the streamer; others include The Falcon and the Winter Soldier starring Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan; Loki starring Tom Hiddleston; Hawkeye starring Jeremy Renner; and Ms. Marvel featuring Iman Vellani in the title role.