Telltale Games likely to close after final season of The Walking Dead

Clementine from 'The Walking Dead.'
Image: telltale games

UPDATE, 6:06 p.m. ET: Telltale Games has issued an official statement, which has been added below. Story has been updated throughout.

Beloved game studio Telltale Games went through a major downsizing.

The company went through a major round of layoffs Friday, dropping the size of its studio from about 250 people down to just 25 people as the developer moves toward “majority studio closure,” Gamasutra, The Verge, and US Gamer, and former Telltale employees reported Friday.

Known for its narrative-driven chapter-based games like The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, and Batman: The Telltale Series, Telltale is holding onto the small group of people to complete the final season of The Walking Dead, which still has three announced episodes expected to release in September, November, and December, according to US Gamer.

According to reports, the second Wolf Among Us game and the recently announced Stranger Things game have both effectively been canceled. 

Telltale Games started in 2004 and rocketed in popularity with their critically acclaimed Walking Dead game in 2012, introducing their narrative, episodic style to a broader market. Along with games based on The Walking Dead, Telltale created narrative games based on other popular series including Minecraft, Borderlands, Game of Thrones, Guardians of the Galaxy, and a whole bunch more.

Read more: https://mashable.com/article/telltale-games-layoffs/

Scots are loving this kebab shop sign in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

Thanos could use a deep fried kebab.
Image: marvel studios

Kebabs are good, but it’s a deep fried version that has got people talking.

If you haven’t seen the new Avengers: Infinity War, there happens to be a scene set in Edinburgh, Scotland where Elizabeth Olsen (who plays Wanda) and Paul Bettany (Vision) have a conversation front of a kebab shop.

But it’s not the conversation people are obsessing over. It’s the damn sign that says “WE WILL DEEP FRY YOUR KEBAB,” complete with a Scottish Saltire flag under it.

Yes, the sign actually says that.

So yeah, people think it’s pretty damn awesome. And by people, we’re pretty sure they’re just Scots, or at least Scots at heart.

OK, you’re probably wondering by now: Do people in Scotland actually deep fry kebabs? 

Well, the Scots deep fry a lot of things (hello, pizza crunch and deep-fried Mars bars), but it seems to be more of a joke about Scottish cuisine. 

But it wouldn’t be surprising if there was a chippy (a fish and chip shop) out there doing it. There was Glasgow’s Stonner Kebab from a few years back, which was a pork sausage wrapped in doner kebab meat, battered then fried. 

It’s also worth noting that the kebab shop in the movie, Hüsnü, was unfortunately only a film set. In real life, it’s a vintage jewellry store called Miss Katie Cupcake.

Being Scotland though, they’re probably hiding a deep fryer out back.

[h/t Junkee]

Read more: https://mashable.com/2018/05/01/deep-fry-kebab-avengers/

Former Batman Christian Bale confesses he’s not much of a superhero movie fan

A still from a movie that Christian Bale has not seen.
Image: Warner Bros.

Between Batman v Superman and Justice League, most of us have had plenty of time to process our feelings about Batfleck. 

But one person who’s yet to make up his mind is the previous Batman, Christian Bale – because he hasn’t actually gotten around to seeing those movies yet.

Bale admitted as much on MTV’s Happy Sad Confused podcast. “Yes, I’m interested [in seeing Ben Affleck’s performance],” he said. “My son seemed like he was really interested, but then I realized he just wanted to see that trailer and that was it. And, you know, I tend to go see films that [my kids] want to see.”

Perhaps that’s for the best, seeing as Justice League got pretty ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ reviews. However, Bale’s lack of interest in costumed heroes does not stop with Batman.  

“I have to confess, I’m not a huge superhero film fan,” he continued. “People seem surprised at that. I don’t know why. But I’ve not seen any of the Avengers films or any of those films at all. I hear they’re very good, but I’m quite happy just hearing they’re very good.”

Well, presumably, people are surprised because Bale’s starred in two of the most well-regarded superhero movies of all time, and also The Dark Knight Rises. But to each his own and all that. 

Anyway, at the rate the rumors are flying about Affleck’s potential exit, we may have a new Batman by the time Bale gets around to seeing a superhero movie in theaters.

Though Bale’s not much for Marvel or DC, he acknowledged that there is one franchise he still adores. “Star Wars, I’m a huge fan,” he said. “Star Wars really interests me. I’ve still got the Millennium Falcon, I’ve got the AT-AT.” (Bale pronounces it “at-at” instead of “A-T-A-T,” just ICYWW.)

In fact, Bale was in “a discussion” about appearing in Solo: A Star Wars Story at one point – and though that particular conversation didn’t go anywhere, he’s got his fingers crossed for more like it. “I hope there’ll be future discussions,” he said.

In the meantime, someone should probably check back with Bale in about six months. The former Batman may not have any strong opinions yet about the new Batman, but as a Star Wars diehard, he’s bound to have some thoughts about the new Han Solo.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2018/01/03/christian-bale-ben-affleck-batman/

‘Justice League’ fizzling is the DCEU’s worst nightmare come true

The DCEU needs a hero.
Image: Warner bros. pictures

The DC Extended Universe is in deep crisis.

With $96 million on opening weekend, Justice League is by far the weakest box office performer of all the DCEU films. This was supposed to be their Avengers. Instead, it was their Aliens Vs. Predator: Requiem.

Five movies deep, with all your key heroes activated and united, is this where you want to land on the DCEU opening weekend rankings? 

  1. Batman v Superman: $166 million

  2. Suicide Squad: $133.6

  3. Man of Steel: $116.6 million

  4. Wonder Woman: $103.25 million

  5. Justice League: $96 million

What does Warner Bros. do now?

Now the studio finds itself in a real pickle

This is precisely what the studio was trying to avoid when it pointed Zack Snyder to the exits a year ago, plugging in Joss Whedon to rip out the critical movie’s guts and reshoot them with an all-new, lighter, jokier, ensembley-er tone.

The coming weeks will be worse for Justice League, as its box office returns drop like a stone. Wonder Woman may have the next-lowest domestic opening weekend, but that film had unbelievably powerful legs, holding strong for a stunning 21 weeks on its way to passing all the other DC films and landing in the Top 5 superhero movies of all time.

Justice League will be lucky to crack the Top 25.

And now the studio finds itself in a real pickle. It spent mountains of cash and political capital to pivot away from Snyder’s doleful vision that critics hated but at least was working with a loyal (and, ahem, vocal) swath of DC fans. There’s no going back to that look – that ship has sailed – but the way forward is not exactly clear, either.

Wonder Woman may be one of the most beloved superhero movies of all time; it will be shared and re-watched and talked about for generations. But melding casting, character, and director is a fussy magic, more a result of serendipity than planning or foresight. It’s safe to say that Wonder Woman succeeded in spite of its place in the DCEU, and certainly not because of it.

Aquaman was hardly the breakout character of Justice League, and yet he’s up next December. Neither Batman nor Superman has a date on the calendar, and Wonder Woman 2 is a full two years away. Shazam, Cyborg, and Green Lantern Corps are the only projects with spots on a calendar.

Shazam, Cyborg, and Green Lantern Corps? Are they serious with that game plan?

Shazam, Cyborg and Green Lantern Corps? Are they serious with that game plan?

It’s a mess, compounded by Warner Bros. desire to eject Affleck’s foibles from the Batmobile – how do you do that gracefully, keeping continuity and a straight face? – and the fact that the studio is in the midst of an ownership change. Anyone staring down the barrel of new bosses about to take over knows how paralyzing that can be.

With Suicide Squad director David Ayers out of the picture, not even it has a way forward. That movie was hot vomit but at least it made money; a sequel should’ve been a foregone conclusion the minute tracking came online.

Ahh, there’s that phrase: At least it made money. Something all the other DC films, love ’em or hate ’em, could boast. “We made it for the fans!” the studio crowed, and the fans, at least, turned out.

But for Justice League to fall below that important cosmetic nine-figures domestic opener is a big, blazing distress signal in the clouds that those fans are becoming impatient.

And you better believe someone is muttering that they should’ve just let Snyder finish this DCEU thing. At least that would’ve been a way forward.

Not so sure they have that now.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/11/19/justice-league-box-office-fail-zack-snyder-warner-bros-what-now/

Ed Skrein is leaving ‘Hellboy’ over casting backlash, and good for him

Image: Nils Jorgensen/REX/Shutterstock

Ed Skrien is stepping down from his role as Major Ben Daimio in the upcoming Hellboy reboot amid some all-too familiar controversy.

Diamio, originally seen in the Hellboy book published by Dark Horse Comics, is of Japanese descent. Skrein — who you may recognize as the O.G. Daario Naharis on Game of Thrones, or baddie Francis Freeman/Ajax from Deadpool — is not.

The erasure and whitewashing of characters of color, particularly Asian ones, in TV and film is a long-standing problem. The most recent example did not go unnoticed:  

After this backlash, Skrein decided to do the right thing. 

In a statement via Twitter, he announced on Monday that he would be stepping down from the role so that it “can be cast appropriately.” 

It’s pretty rare to see this, and Twitter responded with overwhelming positivity. Comic writers, fellow actors, and fans expressed gratitude and respect for the move.

Hopefully more people in Hollywood take this cue. Or better yet, they never have to, because we’ve seen enough examples of these terrible decisions already.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/08/28/ed-skrein-hellboy/

MashReads Podcast: ‘The Idiot’ is one of the best books you’ll read all year

Image: Penguin Press, Mashable Composite

If there is one word to describe Elif Batuman’s new novel The Idiot, it’s the word “mundane.” And that just might be the novel’s greatest strength.

The book follows the year in the life of Selin, a Turkish-American freshman at Harvard. As Selin goes through her freshman year, she must navigate getting along with her roommates, an infatuation/ relationship with an older Hungarian student, and later, a trip to Europe to teach English.

Oh, and all the while dealing with the typical college freshman woes of examining the relationship between truth, existence, and language while studying linguistics. Casual.

But what makes The Idiot shine is the way the novel meticulously documents the banal situations and observations Selin has in her day-to-day life. Whether it’s Selin thinking about math (“I wasn’t particularly interested in high school math acquisition, but nobody ever said we were put on this earth for our own entertainment”) or Selin watching a crush dig through his pockets (“An amazing sight, someone youre infatuated with trying to fish something out of a jeans pocket”), Batuman writes of Selin’s adventures with a bluntness and dryness that’s witty, so mundane that it’s surreal, and yet, instantly relatable in a way that will make readers want to scream, “EXTREME SAME!”

And in a lot of ways, the dry narration is the point. The Idiot is a meandering, largely plotless novel that concerns itself with, yes, what happens to Selin, but also with what stories we tell, how we tell them, and to whom.

“I felt a wave of nausea to realize that I had propagated these stories just by telling Svetlana what was going on just because I wanted to tell some other person the basic events of my own life,” Batuman writes later on in the book.

Put all together, Elif Batuman’s the The Idiot is a smart, fresh, and disarmingly relatable novel that’s sure to be one of the best books you’ll read all year.

This week on the MashReads Podcast, we read and discuss Elif Batuman’s new novel The Idiot. Join us as we talk about language, passive vs. active characters, and what makes The Idiot so special.

Then, inspired by The Idiot, which follows conventions of Russian literature, we discuss impactful and formative Russian literature, including The Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Forty Rooms by Olga Grushin.

And, as always, we close the show with recommendations:

  • Aliza recommends catching up on Game of Thrones. MJ piggiebacks off of that and also recommends Funny or Die’s Game of Thrones recap series “Gay of Thrones.

  • Peter recommends Edgar Wright’s new movie Baby Driver.

  • MJ has a host of micro-recommendations including: reading The New York Times Magazine’s Letters of Recommendation and listening to Carly Rae Jepsen’s album Emotion when you’re having a bad day.

Next week are discussing the latest dive into the Spider-Man universe, Spider-Man: Homecoming, because, comic books, folks. We hope you’ll join us.

And if you’re looking for another book to sink your teeth into, we suggest Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, our new MashReads book club pick for the month. Gyasi will be talking to MashReads IRL on Tuesday, July 25 at 6:30 p.m. EDT at Mashable HQ in New York City. RSVP here and join us!

Don’t forget to follow MashReads on Facebook and Twitter for the latest, greatest book news.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/07/16/mashreads-podcast-the-idiot-elif-batuman/

J.K. Rowling’s tweets about the London attacks mix solemnity with snark

Image: AP/REX/Shutterstock – composite by mashable

J.K. Rowling had some choice words to share with her followers in the wake of Saturday’s cowardly terrorist attack on London citizens.

She was tweeting in response to a New York Times post that characterized the United Kingdom as “reeling” in the wake of its second terror attack in two weeks. Saturday’s incident followed a May 22 suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

The NYT tweet in question links to coverage of the Saturday attacks, noting that they “hit a nation still reeling from the shock of the bombing in Manchester almost 2 weeks ago.”

She even fended off a troll who accused her of being disconnected and out of touch. In response to a derisive tweet that scoffed at her commenting on the news from the safety of a “walled off secure compound,” Rowling issued a corrective.

Then, when the same troll corrected her surname spelling of Superman’s arch-nemesis it’s “Luthor” in the comics Rowling went all-in on the snark.

As usual, she saved her most withering blast for a favored and ever-deserving Twitter punching bag: Donald J. Trump.

Responding to a tweet from 45 that brazenly chastised the mayor of London for trying to rally the spirits of his constituents in the hours after the attack, Rowling issued another snarky corrective.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/06/04/jk-rowling-london-attacks-tweets/

Mark Hamill had a great joke about Trump appearing next to Darth Vader

Image: Disney

Mark Hamill felt a great disturbance aboard Air Force One over the weekend.

It all started on April 6 when Donald “45” Trump popped into the press cabin aboard the presidential airliner to answer some questions about his missile strike in Syria. And in a truly “truth is stranger than fiction” twist, he delivered his remarks just as Darth Vader made his Rogue One debut on the monitor next to Trump’s face.

I can’t make this stuff up.

The internet predictably chuckled at this momentous photo opp. But one Twitter hero journalist and Star Wars toy collector Brent Ashcroft went a step further on Friday: He asked Mark Hamill for a reaction.

The Luke Skywalker actor hasn’t been shy about knocking the Trump White House. He’s even taken to recording audio of himself reading Trump’s more problematic tweets in the voice of the Joker, the Batman arch-nemesis whom Hamill has famously voiced in animated features and video games.

He responded to Ashcroft’s tweeted query with feigned confusion. “Rogue One?” Hamill asked. “I thought they were just screening Steve Bannon’s home movies.”

Bannon, of course, is Trump’s controversial Chief Strategist and the former executive chair of “platform for the alt-right” Breitbart News. He is also, by his own admission, an admirer of those who attain power through “darkness.”

“Darkness is good,” Bannon said in a 2016 interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That’s power. It only helps us when they” THR believed Bannon’s use of “they” was a reference to liberals and the media “get it wrong. When they’re blind to who we are and what we’re doing.”

Sigh. Let’s just go back to appreciating Hamill’s tweet.

WATCH: Stephen Colbert and ‘SNL’ have figured out the right way to use President Trump

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/04/09/mark-hamill-trump-darth-vader-steve-bannon/

Before Leia: This U.K. actress may be joining the young Han Solo movie

Phoebe Waller-Bridge promoting ‘Fleabag’ on August 7, 2016 in Beverly Hills.
Image: Getty Images for Amazon Studios

Move over, Chewie. There may be another kind of fleabag aboard the Millennium Falcon next year.

Actress Pheobe Waller-Bridge, star of the BBC and Amazon-produced comedy show Fleabag, is in talks to join the forthcoming Han Solo movie, Mashable has confirmed via a source familiar with the talks.

With the Han Solo script locked up tighter than the Death Star on Sunday, we don’t know who or what Waller-Bridge would be playing.

But Variety, which first revealed the talks, says she’s the voice for a “CGI-driven” character much in the same way Alan Tudyk gave his voice and mannerisms to K-2SO in Rogue One.

If she gets the part, Waller-Bridge would be the latest in a line of relatively unknown young British actresses to appear in a blockbuster Star Wars movie. Daisy Ridley was the breakout star of The Force Awakens; Felicity Jones held her own at the center of Rogue One.

She’d also be the third woman to play a starring role in a Disney-led Star Wars film without showing her face. Lupita Nyong’o was similarly hidden behind the CGI character Maz Kanata, while Gwendoline Christie was unseen beneath the armor of Captain Phasma. Both those roles were rumored to have been offered to male actors first.

The Han Solo film’s actors confirmed so far include Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian (the previous owner of the Millennium Falcon so yeah, we’re pretty sure the ship shows up in this) and Woody Harrelson who’ll play a “bit of a criminal” mentor to Solo.

And of course, Alden Ehrenreich stars as the scoundrel himself. He revealed last year that he had been screen-tested next to a Wookiee. No definitive word yet on whether this means Chewbacca himself shows up at this point in Han’s life. But given the way Lando treated Chewie like an old pal when they met again in Cloud City “you still hanging around with this loser?” we wouldn’t bet a hand of Sabacc against it.

Adding a female voice (at least) to the proceedings would thus provide some necessary relief and representation in a movie that is otherwise shaping up to be the most male-centric Star Wars adventure yet.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/02/08/han-solo-fleabag/

Trump is the biggest villain of all at the NYCC ‘Gotham’ panel

 

“Make Gotham great again.”

An approving crowd cheered for Gotham star Robin Lord Taylor as he remixed The Donald’s campaign slogan at the show’s New York Comic Con panel. Taylor’s Penguin is running for mayor, and his candidacy, entailing a villain running for office, feels like a reflection of the real world.

“At this rate, Penguin looks pretty freaking good,” Taylor joked. “Wouldn’t you say?

“I think the Gotham writers are writing our actual reality right now, and that’s probably the scariest thing you could possibly imagine.”

Penguin’s mayoral run is shaping up to be a major plotline in the show’s third season. From the little we’ve seen so far, Penguin is capitalizing on the public’s emotional distress to turn it against his more experienced opponent.

Sound familiar?

“He tries to present himself as he thinks a candidate should look,” Taylor said. “There is a certain homage to a certain candidate who is out there which is entirely intentional.”

Taylor then pointed out that the show’s flirtation with commentary is nothing new for comics. From the early days of Batman and Superman pushing back against fears over the rise of organized crime to Marvel’s more recent metaphoric forays into intolerance and social justice, Gotham is just a new voice in the mix.

Image: Fox

“Our show is like any comic book in that the stories are written to reflect the times in which we live,” Taylor said. “Comic books are written with that idea in mind, the social climate. So our show is reflecting that.”

The panel moved on to other topics at that point, but Trump came up again after actress Erin Richards, who arrived late and missed Taylor’s earlier Trump talk, laid into the GOP candidate on her own.

“Did everybody hear what he said on Friday about women?” she asked. “It’s embarrassing.”

Taylor then mulled over what would happen if Penguin found himself speaking privately while a hot mic a la Trump.

Taylor laughed. “If Penguin was caught on a hot mic, he wouldn’t say anything nearly as vulgar or disgusting.”

Richards nodded her head in agreement, adding, “Nothing could be as bad as what that man has said.”

She then launched into a full-on anti-Trump stump speech for Hillary.

“Please, please, please vote Hillary. Please. Please vote Hillary. For the world. Please. For me. I can’t vote. I wish I could vote. I can’t vote. Britain is behind you if you vote Hillary. Though I don’t know what we’re doing at the moment, I apologize for Brexit.”

Trump came up one final time, late in the panel, when a fan asked the Gotham stars what they would write if they had control of the GOP candidate’s Twitter feed.

For Taylor, it was: “I’m sorry for making a mockery of the United States. I’m sorry for being embarrassing. I’m sorry. I’m ashamed. That’s what I would say.”

And for Richards: “I am removing myself from the presidential race. And from all races. I’m removing myself from the Earth.”

Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/10/08/gotham-new-york-comic-con-panel-trump/