There’s a TV show coming based on Sega’s classic arcade game Golden Axe

Comedy Central just greenlit a cartoon based on the classic Sega arcade cabinet Golden Axe, further proving we are in something of a gilded age of video game adaptations. The animated show is getting a ten-episode first season and features a voice cast filled with comedic heavy hitters, like Danny Pudi from Community and Carl Tart from Grand Crew (RIP) and the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast universe.

It also stars Matthew Rhys, from The Americans and Perry Mason, and comedian Lisa Gilroy. The pilot is being written by Mike McMahon, the creator of Star Trek: Lower Decks and Solar Opposites, and Joe Chandler, a regular writer for American Dad. Chandler is the showrunner and McMahon is on board as the executive producer. Interestingly, several big Sega names are also involved with the show, including Haruki Satomi, Shuki Utsumi and Toru Nakahara, the latter being largely responsible for shepherding the Sonic the Hedgehog cinematic universe.

The plot looks appropriately zany, as there wasn’t too much story in those old arcade cabinets. The show bills itself as a “hilarious and loving homage to Sega’s 1989 video game series” and follows several warriors as they attempt to save the realm from franchise antagonist Death Adder. It does look to be doing a deep dive on the franchise, as one of the characters is the panther/man hybrid beast from Golden Axe III. Comedy Central promises “plenty of exciting cameos” from the fictional world. There’s no release date yet and the show is still in the script-writing stage. Animation takes a long time, so hold your horses.

We’ve really gone from zero to sixty when it comes to game adaptations, right? In just the past year, we’ve had shows based on The Last of Us, Fallout, Twisted Metal and more. There’s also a little-known movie about two Italian plumbers that may or may not have set the box office on fire. A TV show based on another Sega property, Knuckles, premieres April 26 on Paramount+

As for Golden Axe, there hasn't been a franchise installment since 2008, though that's about to change. Sega recently announced that its rebooting the property, alongside other classics like Crazy Taxi and Jet Set Radio

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/theres-a-tv-show-coming-based-on-segas-classic-arcade-game-golden-axe-185336446.html?src=rss

Apple renews For All Mankind and announces a spinoff series set in the Soviet Union

For All Mankind is coming back for a fifth season of space-based alt-history hijinks on Apple TV+. This is unsurprising news, given the near-universal critical acclaim heaped on season four. However, the company also surprise-announced a spinoff series called Star City that will follow the Russian space program.

Original series creators Ronald D. Moore, Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi are all onboard for Star City, though there’s no cast yet. The plot synopsis calls it a “robust expansion” of the universe and refers to it as a “propulsive, paranoid thriller.” It also looks to be taking viewers back to the events of season one of For All Mankind, chronicling the Russian moon landing that started the story.

“This time, we explore the story from behind the Iron Curtain, showing the lives of the cosmonauts, the engineers and the intelligence officers embedded among them in the Soviet space program, and the risks they all took to propel humanity forward,” Apple wrote in a press release.

The company didn’t say if the show would rely on frequent time jumps, like its forebear. To that end, Apple hasn't released any casting information for season five of For All Mankind. Given the show’s propensity toward expansive time skips, it’s highly possible series regulars like Joel Kinnaman and Krys Marshall are on their way out. After all, their characters were really getting up there in age and stretching credulity in season four. 

Joel Kinnaman looking old in a spaceship.
Apple TV+

This is some seriously good news for sci-fi fans, but still doesn’t take away the brutal sting of Star Trek: Lower Decks getting canceled. Paramount should probably just sell Star Trek to Apple already, since the latter actually seems to care about science fiction.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/apple-renews-for-all-mankind-and-announces-a-spinoff-series-set-in-the-soviet-union-173950761.html?src=rss

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes, by Sayonara Wild Hearts devs, comes out on May 16

The surreal puzzle game Lorelei and the Laser Eyes hits the Nintendo Switch and PC on May 16, as revealed at Nintendo’s Indie World Showcase event. This is a big deal, as the game’s being developed by Simogo, the company behind the mind-blowing adventure Sayonara Wild Hearts, which was one of our favorite titles of 2019. It’s also being published by Annapurna Interactive, who helped steward games like Stray, Open Roads and Cocoon to digital store shelves.

Lorelei and the Laser Eyes was originally teased a couple of years back and looks to be a more frightening experience than Sayonara Wild Hearts. The game’s title is quite literal, as you play as someone named Lorelei who has, wait for it, laser eyes. It’s set inside of a mysterious mansion, with a mostly black-and-white color palette. It looks positively soaked in vibes.

There are all kinds of different puzzles to solve as you explore this mansion, so expect the gameplay to change on a dime, just like Sayonara Wild Hearts. Despite the brand-new trailer, much of the title is still soaked in mystery, which is likely a purposeful move by the devs and publisher. We do know that it’s non-linear, so you can explore and solve puzzles at your own pace.

This is Simogo’s ninth game. In addition to Sayonara Wild Hearts, the Swedish company made Year Walk, The Sailor’s Dream and Device 6. All of these games toyed with surreal imagery and unique gameplay mechanics, and Lorelei and the Laser Eyes most definitely follows suit. There’s no price yet, but eager players can already wishlist it on Steam.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/lorelei-and-the-laser-eyes-by-sayonara-wild-hearts-devs-comes-out-on-may-19-165030366.html?src=rss

Yars Rising revives a 40-year-old Atari game as a modern metroidvania

How many of you had “sequel to a game from 1982” on your Nintendo Indie World Showcase bingo card? If so, you just won big. Yars Rising is a modern metroidvania take on the Atari 2600 classic Yars’ Revenge, and all it took was 42 short years to reach fruition. By my math, this is the longest break between sequels in gaming history, and it's not even close. 

That’s not the only interesting tidbit about this game. As previously mentioned, it’s a metroidvania, but this one is made by WayForward. For the uninitiated, the company’s basically a metroidvania and retro-gaming factory, going all the way back to the Game Boy Color and the original Shantae. Since then, WayForward has released a slew of fantastic Shantae titles and many other games in the metroidvania genre, including the criminally underrated The Mummy Demastered. WayForward also helped with Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night, which is considered the spiritual successor to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The devs know their stuff.

Now, Yars Rising may be the sequel to Yars’ Revenge, but that doesn’t mean it plays anything like it. The original was an early version of what eventually became known as shoot 'em ups, like R-Type and Ikaruga. The new one is a sidescrolling platformer in which you play as a person, and not a flying alien bug. However, there looks to be plenty of narrative nods to the original.

In addition to traditional metroidvania action, the developer promises “a balance of stealth and combat” and plenty of “retro-inspired mini-games.” It’s coming to consoles and PCs later this year. In the meantime, I’ll start preparing for Yars Returns in 2066.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/yars-rising-revives-a-40-year-old-atari-game-as-a-modern-metroidvania-163023972.html?src=rss

Sony’s new Bravia TVs boast powerful processors and a Prime Video calibration mode

Sony just revealed its lineup of new TVs for 2024. While many boast interesting features that we’ll get into later, the biggest change is naming conventions. Sony TVs used to be named confusing strings of numbers and letters, but that’s all gone now. The names here are clean and simple. They all use Bravia, a long-time Sony moniker for televisions, and a single digit number.

The Bravia 3 is a standard 4K LED TV with dynamic HDR, upscaling technology and a 60Hz refresh rate. This is the most basic box within Sony’s lineup, but it still looks plenty capable. The company promises that it also uses eight percent less power than last year’s equivalent, which is always nice. The TV is available in sizes ranging from 43-inches all the way up to 85-inches, with prices going from $600 to $1,800.

A TV.
Sony

Don’t ask what happened to Bravia 4, 5 and 6, because the next TV in the lineup is called the Bravia 7. This is a mini LED box with some neat tech, including a powerful updated processor and Sony’s proprietary Backlight Master Drive local dimming algorithm. The company says this allows it to feature 790 percent more dimming zones compared to last year’s similar X90L. The more dimming zones a TV has, the smaller each one will be. This leads to an increase in precision and a better contrast ratio.

It also uses less power than the X90L, to the tune of 15 percent, and boasts a new calibration mode primarily intended for Prime Video content. The Bravia 7 is available in sizes ranging from 55-inches to 85-inches, with prices fluctuating from $1,900 to $3,500.

The Bravia 8 is the company’s latest OLED model. The OLED panel ensures a “perfect black” response and the box includes the same calibration mode for Prime Video found with the Bravia 7. However, the most interesting aspects of this line have to do with size and form factor. The Bravia 8 is 31 percent thinner than last year’s equivalent model, with a slimmed down bezel. It should really pop when hung on a wall. There are only three sizes in this lineup, and the 55-inch model costs $2,000, the 65-inch version costs $3,400 and the 75-inch box costs a whopping $3,900.

A TV.
Sony

Finally, there’s the flagship Bravia 9. This is basically a souped-up version of the Bravia 7, as its another mini LED box. Sony says that the display technology is similar to what’s found in a mastering monitor, which is a lofty promise. It’s 50 percent brighter than last year’s X95L, which was already plenty bright, with a 325 percent increase in dimming zones. 

There’s also a 20 percent reduction in power consumption when compared to the X95L and new beam tweeters for improved audio. The Bravia 9 features Sony’s proprietary Backlight Master Drive and the new Prime Video calibration feature. The 65-inch version of this TV costs $3,300, while the 85-inch model comes in at a jaw-dropping $5,500.

All of these TVs are available right now for purchase, so go ahead and empty that bank account. In addition to the new televisions, Sony just released a whole bunch of new audio products, including soundbars and an update of its neckband speaker.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/sonys-new-bravia-tvs-boast-powerful-processors-and-a-prime-video-calibration-mode-160046996.html?src=rss

Cozy cat sim Little Kitty, Big City arrives for consoles and PCs on May 9

After the massive success of Stray, the world has been crying out for another big game about cats. Well, our pleas have been answered. The cozy cat sim Little Kitty, Big City will be available for download on May 9 for multiple platforms, including the Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and PC via Steam. It costs $25 and preorders are available now, with Switch owners getting 10 percent off for the time being. It’s also a Game Pass day one release.

There’s a new trailer, which was revealed at Nintendo’s latest Indie World Showcase event. It looks very cute. You play as a, duh, cat and explore a Japan-inspired city, getting into mischief and wearing a bunch of costumes. It’s a cozy game, so don’t expect any bloodthirsty cyberpunk ruffians to chase you around town.

The cel-shaded visuals are adorable and the “mini-open-world” looks like its filled with stuff to do, people to annoy and sun-soaked spots to take a good nap. We’ll never fully understand what goes on in the brains of our favorite felines, they are aliens after all, but this game will at least give us some time in their shoes/paws.

The developer is a company called Double Dagger Studio, which was started by veteran game designer Matt T. Wood, who spent nearly two decades honing his craft at Valve. He worked on a whole bunch of games that seem to be the polar opposite of a cat sim, like Left 4 Dead, Portal 2 and CS:GO. Despite this pedigree, Little Kitty, Big City features no combat and has been likened to classic stories like Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/cozy-cat-sim-little-kitty-big-city-arrives-for-consoles-and-pcs-on-may-9-145650339.html?src=rss

Menteebot is a human-sized AI robot that you command with natural language

The whole world is ragging on a barely functional $700 AI pin at the moment, but what if similar tech was squeezed into a gigantic robot that lives in your home? That’s a worst case scenario for the recently-introduced Menteebot, a human-sized robot that’s stuffed to the brim with AI-adjacent bells and whistles.

It’s being advertised as the “personalized AI-based robot you can mentor.” It can run, walk sideways and even turn, all “with the same balance and control as a human.” Manufacturer Mentee Robotics also says it’ll adjust its gait when lifting heavy objects. It should be able to lift these heavy objects with ease due to the fact that it’s, well, absolutely gigantic. Many of the models also have no head, which certainly doesn’t recall any old-time myths about a scary demon on a horse.

Now, we’ve had humanoid robots for a while. There was Honda’s Asimo, which has been sadly discontinued, and the army of nightmare creatures that Boston Dynamics is busy cooking up. Agility Robotics has been building out its robot assistant Digit and Elon Musk, who never makes false promises ever swear to God, says that Tesla is working on a humanoid robot called Optimus.

There’s one major difference between the aforementioned bots and Mentee’s creation. Menteebot is stuffed with AI algorithms, natural language processing models and software that unlocks “advanced training techniques.” The company says that this means the robot is “not bound to a limited set of commands” and that it can even hold conversations with humans. As a matter of fact, users issue commands to the robot via natural language. 

It’s a robot with two arms and two legs that can, in theory, do many of the same things we do. The company says that we can train it to do these things. This seems to sort of work like another controversial piece of AI tech, the Rabbit R1. To teach Menteebot a new task, you run a simulated version of the bot through a digital version of the task. The software completes the task over and over until it figures it out. Then the robot should be able to complete the task in the real world. This seems like an extremely lofty promise, but we’ll wait to see the final result. Here’s hoping it doesn't hallucinate and do whatever the heck it wants like other bits of AI tech. 

Menteebot does look quite agile. There are tons of videos of the robot being put through its paces. It can run and the arms and hands “present a full range of motion and enough accuracy to perform delicate tasks.” To that end, there’s a video of it gently handing a piece of dinnerware to a person.

While it’s highly unlikely this robot will live up to the initial promotional materials when it arrives in 2025 (just look at the initial promises Humane made for the AI pin), it still seems pretty darned cool. There’s no announced price, but it’s certainly going to be a whole lot more than the aforementioned $700 pin. This is an agile humanoid robot that weighs over 150 pounds. 

Menteebot will be available in two flavors. There’s the residential bot, which is forced to do household chores, and the commercial bot, which is forced to do manual labor. No matter which you choose, for heaven’s sake, be extra nice to the thing. Don’t boss it around. Let it sit at the dinner table. Keep it away from the vast majority of sci-fi. It can watch Star Trek: The Next Generation, maybe, as Data seems like a decent enough role model.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/menteebot-is-a-human-sized-ai-robot-that-you-command-with-natural-language-110052927.html?src=rss

Rode’s $90 MagSafe mount lets you attach pro lights and mics to your iPhone

Modern iPhone cameras are extremely capable video recorders, but typically require accessories like lights and microphones to ensure professional results. Audio gear manufacturer Rode just announced a pair of gadgets intended to simplify this process, so streamers won’t have to build a cumbersome rig in the computer room or haul one to an outdoor space. 

The Rode Magnetic Mount is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a MagSafe mount with a pair of connection points for accessories like the aforementioned lights and microphones. There are two adjustable cold shoe arms that allow people to use the phone in portrait or landscape mode. For the uninitiated, “cold shoe” refers to metal connection brackets that lack power, whereas “hot shoe” would refer to metal connection brackets that feature electronic contacts.

It’s not just for iPhones, as any smartphone snuggled into a MagSafe-compatible case should work. The Rode Magnetic Mount is made from high-grade aluminum, so it’s on the pricier side when compared to the endless barrage of similar products on Amazon. It costs $90 and begins shipping on April 24.

A man using the device.
Rode

Rode also announced the Phone Cage, which promises to “turn your smartphone into a professional filmmaking rig.” This is basically a beefier version of the aforementioned accessory, with five cold shoe mounts for attaching anything a budding filmmaker could possibly need, all while keeping the phone safe and snug inside its cage.

To that end, the mounts integrate with an array of thread sizes for attaching accessories like tripods and handles. There are also cable management slots, as five accessories could mean five cables snaking about and threatening to ruin that perfect shot. Again, this is for MagSafe models, which start with the iPhone 12. It’ll also work with another brand of smartphone inside of a MagSafe-compatible case. The Phone Cage starts shipping on April 24 and costs $120.

Rode recently purchased rival audio gear company Mackie and announced a renewed effort to design and release products for content creators. It looks like these mounts are part of that push. The company also just launched a new dual-receiver wireless lapel microphone for multi-mic setups.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/rodes-90-magsafe-mount-lets-you-attach-pro-lights-and-mics-to-your-iphone-184033154.html?src=rss

Samsung awarded $6.4 billion CHIPS Act grant to build ‘semiconductor ecosystem’ in Texas

The Biden administration just announced a preliminary agreement to award Samsung up to $6.4 billion in grants as part of CHIPS Act funding. This money will complement the $44 billion in private investment that the company has promised to spend in the state to build a “semiconductor ecosystem.”

This money will be spent to finish a “leading-edge” campus in Taylor, Texas that will focus on research and development of advanced logic technologies, manufacturing and, perhaps most importantly, packaging. When it comes to chips, packaging refers to providing power, inputs and outputs. It’s a highly specialized process that’s typically done overseas, which means that even chips built on US soil have to get shipped to another country and then mailed back. Samsung’s dedicated packaging facility should eliminate some of these headaches and strengthen the overall supply chain.

The money will also go toward an expansion of Samsung’s pre-existing facility in Austin. Taylor and Austin are only 40 minutes away from one another, leading the Biden administration to suggest that the combination of both facilities will turn “Samsung’s existing presence in Texas into a comprehensive ecosystem for the development and production of leading-edge chips in the United States.” The president also says it’ll lead to 21,500 jobs for Texans, with $40 million set aside for training.

The CHIPS and Science Act has given the federal government authority to award funding and offer loans to tech companies to encourage domestic spending. GlobalFoundries received a grant of $1.5 billion back in February to help with a major expansion, in addition to snapping up a $1.6 billion loan. The company plans on spending this money in Malta, New York to build a new fabrication facility that manufactures chips for the automotive, aerospace, defense and AI industries.

Intel recently received the largest CHIPS grant to date, grabbing up to $8.5 billion to continue various US-based ventures. Intel plans on using that money to build some new plants that manufacture semiconductor chips for the AI industry. It’s building two new fabrication facilities in Arizona and two more in Ohio. Intel will also use the financial windfall to modernize a pair of pre-existing plants in New Mexico and one in Oregon. The company says it’ll be investing $100 billion in US-based chip manufacturing, leading to an influx of around 30,000 jobs.

President Biden signed the CHIPS and Science Act into law back in 2022 to encourage domestic semiconductor research and manufacturing in order to lessen America's reliance on Chinese suppliers. All told, it sets aside $52 billion in tax credits and funding for companies to expand stateside production.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/samsung-awarded-64-billion-chips-act-grant-to-build-semiconductor-ecosystem-in-texas-165414946.html?src=rss

Meta is shutting down Threads in Turkey following injunction against data-sharing with Instagram

Meta is shutting down Threads in Turkey on April 29 after an interim injunction from the Turkish Competition Authority (TCA) against automatic data-sharing with Instagram. The TCA ruled that linking Threads and Instagram without user opt-in “will lead to irreparable harms” and that Meta “abused its dominant position” in the industry with the practice. The TCA also suggested that the linking exists primarily to increase the company’s “market power.”

Rather than make any changes to how Instagram and Threads integrate in the region, Meta’s pulling the nascent social media app. The company says this is merely a temporary measure as it works to appeal the injunction, but there’s no timetable for that. In the meantime, Meta suggests that users in Turkey either deactivate their accounts or delete them entirely. Those who deactivate will have their posts and interactions restored “if Threads returns” to the country.

Turkish regulators aren’t the only people who think the automatic linking between Threads and Instagram is, at best, a bit creepy. It’s been a point of contention since the platform launched last year. The apps were so tied together that users couldn’t even delete a Threads account without nuking their Instagram account, though Meta patched this several months back.

Meta also began promoting Threads posts on Facebook and Instagram without user consent, eventually allowing people to opt out of the, uh, “feature.” This is the type of automatic data-sharing that bristled the TCA, leading to the recent injunction.

Also, this isn’t the first regulatory battle between Meta and Turkey. The country fined Meta $18.6 million back in 2022 for data-sharing across its apps, according to a report by TechCrunch. This is an alleged violation of the country’s competition laws. The country asked Meta to submit documents detailing its efforts to stop violation of these laws, but Turkish regulators said the explanations were lacking. As such, the country slapped Meta with additional fines, to the tune of $160,000 each day.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/meta-is-shutting-down-threads-in-turkey-following-injunction-against-data-sharing-with-instagram-154725011.html?src=rss