Metroid Prime 4 Development Restarts; Retro Studios Takes Over – GameSpot

Nintendo has provided an update on the state of Metroid Prime 4. In a video, senior managing executive officer Shinya Takahashi admitted that development of the game thus far hasn’t reached the standards the publisher wanted and the project has been rebooted. Additionally, Retro Studios, the Texas-based team that developed the three previous entries in the series, has been brought back to work on the sequel.

“Although this is very regrettable we must let you know that the current development progress has not reached the standards we seek in a sequel to Metroid Prime series,” Takahashi said. “Nintendo always strives for the highest quality in our games and in our development phase, we challenge ourselves and confront whether the game is living up to that quality on a daily basis.

“From this perspective, we have determined that the current development status of [Metroid Prime 4] is very challenged, and we had to make a difficult decision as a development team. We have decided to re-examine the development structure and change it.”

Takahashi went on to confirm Kensuke Tanabe, producer on the game, will work “in trust and collaboration with the studio that developed the original Metroid Prime series, Retro Studios … and restart development from the beginning.” This collaboration, he said, will allow Nintendo to make a sequel that will meet the expectations of fans.

Takahashi also attempted to reset some of these expectations, particularly around how soon people will be able to see and hear more about Metroid Prime 4. “This change will essentially mean restarting development from the beginning,” Takahashi reiterated, “So the completion of the game will be delayed from our initial internal plan.

“It will be a long road until the next time we will be able to update you on the development progress, and development time will be extensive. However, we will continue developing the game so that when it is completed, it will stand shoulder to shoulder with the past Metroid Prime series titles.”

Metroid Prime 4 was first announced at E3 2017, with a very short teaser that simply showed a logo and a message that read “Metroid Prime 4 – Now in development for Nintendo Switch.” Shortly after its reveal, it was confirmed that Retro did not have any involvement in the project. Reports later suggested that Bandai Namco was working on the game in some capacity. Bandai Namco has collaborated with Nintendo on multiple Smash Bros. games, but its involvement with Metroid Prime was never confirmed.

The return of Retro Studios will no doubt come as good news for fans of the Metroid Prime series. The team itself has changed somewhat since it was last working on Metroid, with key members of the Prime development team leaving to establish Armature Studio. Retro Studios has maintained a strong relationship with Nintendo, developing Mario Kart 7 for Nintendo 3DS and various Donkey Kong Country games for Wii, 3DS, Wii U, and Switch.

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Scientists say these ‘frozen’ alligators aren’t dead. They’re still creeping people out. – Washington Post

The first time he saw them, on a freezing morning last January, George Howard thought the odd-shaped humps protruding from his iced-over swamp were tree stumps.

But somehow that didn’t seem right. He strained his eyes. They were tree stumps with teeth?

Howard panicked. He is, after all, the manager of the Swamp Park, which features an alligator preserve in Ocean Isle Beach, N.C. What appeared to be the frozen death of his alligators would be a tragedy both philosophically and financially.

He hopped the fence and clambered onto the pond, running toward the exposed alligator snouts. But, what could he do? The alligators were locked in the ice and immobile.

“I was like, holy crap, should I try to get them out of there?” Howard told The Washington Post.

But before he launched into an impromptu ice excavation, he decided some scientific research was in order, or at least some hurried googling. Relief washed over him as the search results loaded: His alligators were alive. They were surviving in the freezing water by sticking their snouts through the ice. Howard’s worry was replaced with another emotion: astonishment.

“It was the craziest thing I’d ever seen,” he told The Post this week. “I was just astounded. Initially I was [worried], and then I realized what they were doing and that it was the only way they could breathe. And I thought, how intelligent is that?”

Howard thought it a once-in-a-lifetime alligator experience. Then, last week, a cold snap pierced the air throughout much of North Carolina and the northeast, freezing the water in Howard’s 65-acre park near the Shallotte River.

No googling was necessary this time. Instead, Howard posted photos straight to Facebook. Customers were wowed. News outlets posted stories with the word “freaky” in their headlines. The gators remained unfazed.

Every one of the 18 alligators who live at the Swamp Park — all rescued after living in captivity — appeared to know the cold weather drill, Howard said. When it starts getting cold, the alligators submerge most of their bodies in the shallow water, then stick their noses up in the air in anticipation of the freeze ahead, creating a little hole to breathe through. Once the water freezes, the ice sticks to their snouts, locking the gator-cicles in place while their bodies dangle below the surface.

Howard doesn’t know the origin of the behavior. In fact, no one really does.

Adam E. Rosenblatt, a biology professor at the University of North Florida who studies how alligators respond to environmental changes, said that’s the big mystery. The behavior, he said, is likely not something the alligators learned by practicing but, rather, is instinctual, something developed over time through natural selection.

“If the alligator species has been living in cold temperatures for a long enough time, then the ones who were able to do this are the ones that would be able to survive and reproduce,” he said. “How they knew how to do it? I don’t think anybody knows the answer at this point.”

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Rosenblatt said, scientists began studying the behavior in detail. Because most alligators live in warm, southern climates — North Carolina is about as far north as they go — it’s unusual for them to even experience extended freezing temperatures. No one except the alligators seemed too curious about how they managed to make it through the rare freezing nights.

Then in 1983, alligator ecologists noticed an entire congregation of alligators sticking their noses through the ice in North Carolina. They had heard herpetological legends of outcast alligators somehow managing to survive six straight winters in Pennsylvania or four years in Virginia.

But they knew the ice technique couldn’t be new behavior. The ancestors of alligators evolved 245 million years ago. Surely, they didn’t just choose a Keystone State cold snap to debut a new survival technique. It turns out scientists simply weren’t paying close enough attention.

Now, they know what’s going on in the ice: When the alligators go under, Rosenblatt said, they enter what’s called “brumation” — like hibernation but for the coldblooded — and their bodies almost entirely shut down. All they need to do is breathe.

“They basically shut down their metabolism. They don’t need to eat because they’re not burning a lot of energy,” Rosenblatt said. “They slow down their heart rate, their digestive system, and they just sit there and wait out the cold weather. It’s a pretty amazing adaptation.”

It does not always work. One of the earliest studies of “icing” among alligators, in 1982, examined an alligator who died doing it. After three days, its body temperature became too low for survival.

And scientists in 1990, for example, watched a group of alligators in South Carolina, including baby ones and found that the baby alligators didn’t know the technique, and were seen banging their snouts on the ice trying to break through before they drowned.

Three larger alligators who were late to the game survived under the ice for 12 hours before finally coming up for air and joining the others.

Once the ice melted, they all simply retreated back to shore, basking in the sun as though returning from a nap.

An alligator brumates with his nostrils outside of a frozen pond at the Swamp Park in Ocean Isle, N.C.

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Now we know why WhatsApp’s founders quit, and it’s not good news! – MSPoweruser

Last year WhatsApp founder Jan Koum suddenly resigned from his position at Facebook, reportedly over privacy issues.

Today, in a report from the New York Times, the other shoe dropped, as it was revealed that Facebook plans to integrate Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp in one unifying system using the same protocol and presumably back-end. According to the report, all the services would now use end to end encryption, but other privacy concerns have worried WhatsApp employees so much they have or are planning to leave.

The Times writes:

On Dec. 7, employees gathered around microphones at WhatsApp’s offices to ask Mr. Zuckerberg why he was so invested in merging the services. Some said his answers were vague and meandering. Several WhatsApp employees have left or plan to leave because of Mr. Zuckerberg’s plans, the people said.

Currently, unlike other services, WhatsApp does not retain messages, and users are able to sign up using only a phone number, rather than anything more identifiable.

The Times notes that integrating the services, such that one user can message another on a different app, as is the plan, would result in a massive network (around 4 billion users) which Facebook would be better able to monetize. WhatsApp employees reportedly, however, saw little evidence that the integration would allow the service to spread into USA, where the highest value users are.

No timeline for the integration has been revealed, though it is reportedly a priority for Mark Zuckerberg.

In a statement, Facebook said it wanted to “build the best messaging experiences we can; and people want messaging to be fast, simple, reliable and private.” It added: “We’re working on making more of our messaging products end-to-end encrypted and considering ways to make it easier to reach friends and family across networks.”

“As you would expect, there is a lot of discussion and debate as we begin the long process of figuring out all the details of how this will work.”

What do our readers think of this impending move? Let us know below.

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Anne Hathaway Confirms ‘The Princess Diaries 3’ Is Happening –

Your attention please: Anne Hathaway just dropped the biggest news that will give you all the nostalgic feels. It’s been 15 long, torturous years since the last Princess Diaries movie came to theaters, and fans of Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo and Mr. Robutusen have been waiting for another installment ever since.

While chatting with Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live, Anne confirmed The Princess Diaries 3 (unofficial title, BTW) is indeed happening. Most of America RN:



Are you intrigued? Well, here’s exactly what Anne said:

“There is a script for the third movie. There is a script.” In the least shady way possible, bless her heart. She added that your favorite character, Queen Clarisse Renaldi (Dame Julie Andrews), is also so here for this movie. Julie previously said, “I would very willingly and happily do it.”

And Anne echoed that, saying, “I want to do it. Julie [Andrews] wants to do it. Debra Martin Chase, our producer, wants to do it. We all really want it to happen.” As we all do.

Even though Anne and the would-be cast are super excited about bringing the characters back, she admits they’re a bit nervous. “It’s just we don’t want to unless it’s perfect because we love it just as much as you guys love it,” she said. “It’s as important to us as it is to you, and we don’t want to deliver anything until it’s ready, but we’re working on it.”

Princess Mia/Anne didn’t say how far along the script was or when the movie might come out, but before I turn 60 would be lovely.

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Bloomberg rips Trump: ‘totally incompetent’ – POLITICO

Michael Bloomberg

Though both are New York billionaires, Michael Bloomberg distanced himself from the president, casting Donald Trump as someone he knew only “casually” through interactions on the subway and at ribbon-cutting ceremonies. | Brian Witte/AP Photo

White House

The former New York mayor and potential 2020 contender touts his credentials for president in a hard-hitting speech.


McLEAN, Va. — Michael Bloomberg came to Virginia on Friday to deliver a message to Democrats: I told you so.

The former New York City mayor delivered his most scathing remarks about Trump since he called then-candidate Donald Trump a “dangerous demagogue” and knocked his business credentials in a speech at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

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“I said then that he was just not suited,” Bloomberg said Friday morning in a speech at the Democratic Business Council of Northern Virginia event. “He did not have the skills, the temperament, the work ethic to be president of the United States.”

Though both are New York billionaires, Bloomberg said he knew Trump in their former lives only “casually” through interactions at ceremonial events. He assailed the former real estate mogul for what he called “a complete failure of presidential leadership” and “totally incompetent management” as some federal agencies remain shuttered amid the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

The government has been partially shut down for more than a month as Trump and Democrats spar over billions of dollars for his border wall.

“The whole episode really is a cynical, political stunt, and, unfortunately, we’re the ones paying the price,” Bloomberg said. “You’ve gotten exactly what I described: This is a person who should not be the president of the United States, and I think we have to get serious. He is way in over his head.”

Bloomberg dismissed America’s executive-in-chief as a “real estate promoter who’s never run a large organization before” and “lost big on a bunch of bets” after inheriting his fortune from his father.

And as he continues to mull whether he will seek the Democratic nomination for president, Bloomberg touted his credentials for the job.

“We’ve gotta do something to make sure we get somebody different in the White House two years from now, and I’m committed to do that,” he said. “This is about competence — or the lack of it. The presidency is not an entry-level job, and the longer we have a pretend CEO who is recklessly running this country, the worse it’s gonna be for our economy and for our security. This is really dangerous.”

He likened Trump and his administration to a horror movie: “But instead of Freddy Krueger in the ‘Nightmare on Elm Street,’ we’ve got Donald Trump and the nightmare on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”

He also advised voters to reject Trump in the next election in terms he understands: You’re fired. He asked attendees who in the room would hire Trump to run their business and noted that in the private sector, businesses have boards that try to help leaders before taking a more severe step.

“If you can’t help them, you move them out, you fire them,” he said. “And so that’s what we’ve gotta do. And for two years a number of honorable people have tried to help the president, only to leave in frustration.”

The antidote to Trump and the gridlock in Washington, Bloomberg suggested, is a pragmatic, experienced executive who can reach across the aisle. He acknowledged his own qualifications, which largely stems from his 12 years in City Hall, an executive role he said involved foreign policy and international affairs as the site of the Sept. 11 terror attacks and the city with the largest number of embassies in the nation.

“We’ve gotta make sure that we offer real alternatives for 2020 — candidates that can do the work, that have training, have experience in delivering services rather than just going to rallies and giving speeches, the people that know how to manage,” he said. “These jobs — whether it’s president or governor or mayor — those are executive jobs. … And we’ve gotta make sure we put up candidates that do that.”

He joked about his rationale for visiting early states — going to Iowa because of climate change and New Hampshire because he has a home there — but acknowledged that he’s thinking about taking a shot at the White House.

“It would be great to be president of the United States, but you’ve gotta take a look at comparing that to what you can do in the private sector,” he said. “You gotta take a look at the possibilities of getting elected. You’ve gotta look at your family and your private life and your company that gets disrupted and changed around. And I’ve got a pretty good life. Having said that, I don’t like walking away from challenges.”

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), who attended the breakfast, told POLITICO he was struck by Bloomberg’s “matter-of-fact” observations and would like to see him run to expand the party’s choices.

“I think he brings enormous credentials and experience and authority to a possible presidential run,” said Connolly. “The real question, though, is given sort of where our party has shifted, is that something that can excite the base and can he inspire with that managerial-first approach?”

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