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Gamed: Ben Affleck destroys the world

gamed ben affleck destroys the world superman batman

Thursday night, after coming from a screening of The World’s End (which you should go see), I stopped to join some friends for a drink. We talked about some of the news from Gamescom, the movie I just saw, and the headlines of the day among other things. And then it happened. Like an amber alert, one person after another began to check their buzzing phones. Some received texts, others were notified of breaking news through an app. Something major had just happened.

That same day the mayor of San Diego was forced to resign amidst so many allegations of inappropriate conduct towards women that Kobe Bryant was shocked. In Egypt the unrest is growing bloodier, and in Syria the use of chemical weapons may lead to military intervention (but to be fair, neither of those are ‘Murica, so no one, including our news agencies apparently, really seems to care). None of those stories came close, however, to matching the importance of the breaking news that Ben Affleck is the new Batman.

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"I'm Batman."
“I’m Batman.”

News of Tokyo being destroyed by a giant lizard would have earned a less horrified reaction. Affleck (Pearl Harbor, Phantoms), whose chin can destroy dreams with a single glance, will appear opposite Henry Cavill’s Clark Kent/Superman in 2015’s Batman vs. Superman. To say the Internet did not take the news well is like saying Russia is a little homophobic. If anger could be harnessed and turned into energy, the Internet would power the world forever.

The news of Affleck’s casting is apparently the most important thing on Earth right now judging by Twitter, Facebook, and most websites that feature news – with maybe one or two exceptions like the coming football season or the spawn of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West that will one day rise up to rule us all. But now that everyone has had a day or two to process the news and tempers have cooled, we can actually look at Affleck and wonder how he will do in the role.

Affleck is a good actor that has only improved over the years. His Reindeer Games days are long behind him, and recently he has limited himself only to meaty roles like in The Town and Argo (which he also directed). His ability as a director is sure to have improved him as an actor as well, so he definitely has the talent. The role will pit him against a younger Superman, and judging from the title, Batman vs. Superman, they are obviously going to fight – before inevitably coming together to face an “even greater foe!” ala every comic book team up story ever. In their super fight against each other though, Affleck has an edge.

Henry Cavill will once again play Clark Kent/Superman, and his dual identity will be more prominent in his second Superman film. Diane Lane will also appear once again as Clark’s mother, Martha. Batman is smart enough that he should be able to figure our Superman’s identity as Clark Kent, that’s almost a given. So during one of their fights, Bat-fleck can simply lean in and whisper “Hey Clark, I nailed your mom.”

Affleck and Lane
Batman = 1, Superman =0.

And then Superman would punch Batman so hard he’d be atomized and the movie would end with the world hating him. I’d call that a win for Batman. 

Oh, and because the universe (or maybe Hollywood) loves irony, that image above is from Hollywoodland, where Affleck actually played Superman. So basically, the old Superman slept with the new Superman’s mom. There isn’t enough therapy in the world that can undo that mess. 

PS. Just to get out in front of this, if someone reads this and doesn’t realize I am being sarcastic about the Affleck news being more important than the things happening in Syria, Egypt, and elsewhere, maybe you should consider giving up on this whole Internet fad.

Hot Coffee and News

Bye bye Ballmer

steve-ballmerAfter years of impressively mediocre work highlighted by some amazingly intense press conferences, Steve Ballmer announced that he is going to resign in order to spend more time with his money – sorry, his family. So what does this mean for gaming? The recent appointment of Julie Larson-Green as head of the Xbox division (and more) was generally seen as a stepping stone for her to get to the big seat and replace Ballmer. That may not hold, or she may not want it, but Microsoft knows the importance of the division, so expect things to stay the same for now, just with less forced integration of really bad tablets.

Shadow of the Eternals fails me

ShadowsA while back I had a bet with our own Adam Rosenberg regarding the Kickstarter campaign for the game Shadow of the Eternals. I loved the GameCube title Eternal Darkness, and Shadow is meant to be a spiritual successor. I was sure that the game would easily make its $750,000 goal, even after the first campaign was derailed when one of the Precursor Games employees was arrested on child pornography charges. Well, I was wrong, and the game only managed to raise $323K, meaning I lost the bet and will now have to cover something in the future in place of Adam at his discretion. It will likely be something I dislike. Man, I sure hope it isn’t anything to do with, I don’t know, football. That would be terrible…

EA offers money back guarantee

sim citySim City had a bit of a rough launch. The game, which requires an online connection, was hit with consistent server problems leaving gamers unable to connect; when they were able to play, they were frequently booted. Fans were understandably upset. Utilizing its lighting fast responsiveness as a company, Electronic Arts just announced a solution a mere six months later. Anything you purchase on its online distribution platform, Origin, will offer a seven day money back guarantee. That won’t help Sim City owners, but the next time EA completely screws up a launch, you’re covered.

Editors' Recommendations

In honor of ‘GTAV,’ we present our 10 favorite open world games
brush up on the best open world games around batman arkham city screenshot

If you are a gamer with a pulse and have been anywhere near a TV or computer, then you are probably at least vaguely aware that Grand Theft Auto 5 is coming soon. Rockstar’s open world crime/satire series is expected to push the current generation of consoles to their limits with its representation of the city of Los Santos and the surrounding areas. In terms of open world gameplay, it will at least be memorable, and might end up having an influence on all open world games that come after it.
So with GTAV on the horizon, we look at some of the best open world games out there, past and future. The majority of these games are on this generation of consoles (and PC, of course). There's an obvious reason for that: this generation of consoles has seen open world games expand in new ways thanks to the more powerful technology at its disposal. It isn't just the processing power though, it's just that developers can do so much more now, which is especially effective for creating better open world/sandbox games.
With that in mind, here are our picks for the best open world games around.
Assassin’s Creed III
This was possibly the toughest call on this list. There is no question that the Assassin’s Creed series belonged, but the question is which one? You can probably cut out Brotherhood and Revelations - they both add a few new tools and locales, but it’s tough to claim that they are better than the game that spawned them, ACII, which was revolutionary. They felt like spinoffs - admittedly excellent spinoffs, but spinoffs nonethless. AC3, however, was a completely new game. Connor may not have had the panache of Ezio, and the choice of Renaissance Italy versus Revolutionary America is mostly down to preference, but there were some undeniable improvements to AC3 – a better Desmond storyline, more world to explore, the introduction of tree-running – that gave it the upper hand and earned it a spot on this list. It was very, very close though.
Batman: Arkham City
Batman: Arkham Asylum was arguably the best video game based on a comic book ever made – at least until Arkham City was released. The prison city of Arkham is massive, and exploring it unlocks new missions, challenges, and more. Trying to collect all the Riddler trophies alone can be a massively time consuming task; introduce the Catwoman sections on top of it all and the game is immense. Throw in solid combat, a variety of missions, and the fact that you’re Batman, and Arkham City is a must play for open world gaming fans.
Borderlands 2
Borderlands 2 isn’t a traditional open world game in the same way that many others on this list are – partly because areas a coontained, but also because it is a truly cooperative experience. It can be played alone, of course, but it is more fun with others. It is also designed to be played again. And again. And again. It takes RPG elements, but it also is the only pure FPS on this list – and with good reason.
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
In many ways, Skyrim is the ultimate open world game. There are so many options on where to go and what to do that it can actually be overwhelming - and that's before you even touch the DLC. You can play for dozens of hours and only scratch the primary storyline. At times it’s tough to even classify what is a primary mission without the game specifically noting it because the various quests can be so intricate. Skyrim is an evolution of open world games, and it will likely influence RPGs and open world games for years to come.
Fallout 3
You could also make a case for Fallout: New Vegas, especially since that game took the building blocks of Fallout 3 and then added to them, but Fallout 3 was one of the games that solidified the shift in RPGs from the traditional Japanese, turn-based RPGs to the more free-form Western RPGs that now dominate the genre. (Plus New Vegas was plagued by glitches.) Fallout 3 is also was a pioneer when it came to the rise of console DLC. It wasn’t the first, but it made a huge impact on the digital distribution scene and helped to further legitimize console DLC as worthwhile (read: profitable) for publishers. It was also an amazing game filled with content, atmosphere, and the freedom to do what you want when you wanted.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
This was a tough one. Not adding a GTA game - that was never a question - but narrowing it down to just one. GTAIV and its DLCs-turned-standalone games, The Lost and the Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony, are better games technologically. Vice City was something completely unexpected and amazing. Even GTAIII deserves a mention for being groundbreaking. But San Andreas not only pushed the boundaries of what an open world game could do, it was a game that never stopped impressing players from the start to the very end. It was one of the best games on the last generation of consoles, and if Rockstar releases a remastered HD version on this gen or the next, it will be one of the best games on that generation of consoles too.
Mass Effect 3
It’s difficult to separate the individual games within the Mass Effect trilogy, at least in terms of story. Each game has its own start and finish, but they were all really just one long storyline. Of the three though, the third stands highest. Sure, Mass Effect 3 had some detractors over the finale, but the gameplay was improved over the others and the content was impressive. The inclusion of the co-op multiplayer added a lot as well, and the DLC further improved the story and the gameplay.
Red Dead Redemption
There are few developers better at open world games than Rockstar, and if you need proof that it isn’t just Grand Theft Auto, look no further than this game. Red Dead Redemption is not Grand Theft Auto in the Wild West. Sure, there are a lot of similarities both in gameplay and the tone of the story, but t doesn’t take much playtime to realize that the games are very different. Red Dead improves on the technical side of the GTA games, but then crafts a completely different type of story, set in a different world.
Sleeping Dogs
The inclusion of this game may surprise a few people. Sleeping Dogs had all the trappings of a familiar open world game: multiple missions to choose from, upgrades, hidden items, etc. It was actually a fairly traditional game in that sense and didn’t revolutionize the open world genre. It did, however, offer an incredibly compelling story revolving around the world of the Chinese Triads in Hong Kong. The plot is inspired by Hong Kong crime fiction and action movies  like Infernal Affairs and Hard Boiled, giving it an original and mature feel. It took an Asian flair and turned it into an international game – and a very good one at that.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
There’s more of a linear story in Skyward Sword than in most of the others on this list, but there is still a huge world to explore, with multiple things to do. Plus, it is one of the best games on a system that sold close to 100 million consoles. So there’s that. Skyward Sword not only managed to make the most of the Wii’s unique nunchuck controllers, it pushed the system further than many thought it could go. Sure, it featured SD graphics, but it also allowed players to explore the world of Hyrule (and Skyloft) like never before.

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Ben Affleck to fight Superman as the new Batman
ben affleck to wear superhero tights once again this time as batman

Ben Affleck is the new Batman. Relax. Let it sink in. The Oscar-winning Argo director and star is officially confirmed by Warner Bros. for the role of Gotham City's Dark Knight in the follow-up to Zack Snyder's summer 2013 hit, Man of Steel. Snyder returns to helm the sequel, creating what the press release describes as "an entirely new incarnation" of Batman. Production begins in 2014.
Ben Affleck, your new Batman
The Superman/Batman big-screen team-up was first revealed in July during the San Diego Comic-Con. The convention also revealed that Snyder would return to direct the Man of Steel sequel, and that Henry Cavill would reprise his role as Supes. The identity of the Batman actor was left a mystery, one that's been the subject of much speculation in the weeks since. We can now put that speculation to rest.
"Ben provides an interesting counter-balance to Henry’s Superman," Snyder said in a prepared statement. "He has the acting chops to create a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter, but retain the charm that the world sees in billionaire Bruce Wayne. I can’t wait to work with him."
Longtime Affleck collaborator and friend Kevin Smith offered a far less official, and more poignant, statement of his own, via Twitter.

Holy shit... BEN AFFLECK IS THE NEW BATMAN!!! Do you know what this means? It means that I've seen Batman naked!!!
— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) August 23, 2013

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Precursor Games co-founder arrested on child pornography charges

Precursor Games co-founder Ken McCulloch is in police custody and facing child pornography charges following a raid on his home in St. Catharines, Canada, according to a media release from the Niagara Regional Police Service (via Joystiq). McCulloch's various computers and peripherals were seized as evidence, and he now faces one count each of Possession of Child Pornography, Making Child Pornography Available, and Accessing Child Pornography. The arrest came as part of an investigation that started in April 2013. 
Precursor Games announced its presence in May 2013 with the reveal of an Eternal Darkness spiritual successor, Shadow of the Eternals. The new studio brought over several devs from Silicon Knights, including Eternal Darkness creator and SK founder Denis Dyack, Precursor CEO Paul Caporicci, McCulloch, and others. Caporicci took to Precursor's user forms shortly after the arrest news broke to make a brief statement: "Having just learned of these disturbing charges today and based on the serious nature of them, Ken McCulloch is no longer affiliated in any way with Precursor Games." 
McCulloch's been completely scrubbed from Precursor's website and a video in which he and Dyack introduce Shadow characters is now set to  private. There's been no further update from Caporicci or from anyone else at Precursor since the arrest.

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