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5 Burning Questions After the PlayStation Showcase

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PlayStation 2021 Showcase was a presentation for the future of the PS5. Release dates and release windows were suspiciously vague at the PlayStation Showcase. Many of the games shown today are a long ways away from being ready for release dates. God of War: Ragnarok, Tchia, Project EVE, Forspoken and Tiny Tina’s Wonderland are the big things to look for next year. Director Eric Williams confirmed in a post-show interview that Santa Monica will be working on the next Santa Monica game.

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@blakeelonBlake Cram

(he/him/his). Recovering English graduate. Avid gamer, reader, and general nerd.

Last week, Sony shook the gaming world with an E3 caliber PlayStation Showcase, showing summer still has some kick before Fall. 

The presentation lasted 40 minutes, and games were announced in rapid succession. They embodied the adage, “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” in their gameplan: weaving lesser promos between very heavy hitters and out-of-nowhere surprises. 

Sony levied tons of information over the PlayStation Showcase duration and expanded on several games in post-show interviews. 

Despite the treasure trove of games we now know are coming in Sony’s near(ish) future, there are still plenty of questions to ask. Here are my top 5 burning questions after Sony’s Playstation Showcase.

1. What Will Come Out in 2022?

Release dates were increasingly absent during the PlayStation Showcase and release windows were suspiciously vague. We know Horizon: Forbidden West is supposed to come out in February, but which of Sony’s first-party studios will follow suit? Showing off cinematic trailers sans gameplay is a sign to me that many of the games shown today are a long ways out.

Not to be cynical, but I really think God of War: Ragnarok has a good chance of being pushed into 2023. Which leaves, Tchia, Project EVE, Forspoken, and Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands as the big things to look for next year.

The PlayStation 2021 Showcase was a presentation for the future of the PS5, and I think that future is a bit further away than gamers might be ready for.

2. Will the KOTOR Remake Be Worthy of the Original?

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The team has helped port and remaster other Lucasfilm titles such as Star Wars: Republic Commando, and the Jedi Academy series to modern consoles. Aspyr has proven to Lucasfilm that they can be trusted with beloved IP, but will their skills translate into a ground-up remake?

After the presentation, Ryan Treadwell of Aspyr confirmed that this remake will in fact be rebuilding the game completely–alluding to a significant level of change from the original. 

While we saw a stunning cinematic of Darth Revan that is sure to spark the hopes of any Star Wars fan, this tells us nothing about what the actual game will look like. I’m assuming the Knights of the Old Republic: Remake is at least a few years from being ready. 

Much remains to be seen on how well Aspyr can riff on the classic. 

3. What is Wolverine? And What Does This Mean for Insomniac?

Wolverine seems like a shoo-in for the studio that has made some of the best superhero games to date. This anti-hero is beloved by many and serves well for a fast-paced video game. As we saw in the film Logan, there is rich potential for a complex narrative. 

That being said, Wolverine is vastly different from Insomniac’s past protagonists, Spiderman and Ratchet. Spiderman has gadgets, web moves, and some of the best traversing potential known to video games. Ratchet has, well, an unabashedly overstocked arsenal of guns to play with. 

Wolverine has claws, a motorcycle, and a bad attitude. Don’t get me wrong, I love those character features, but Insomniac is going to have to get a bit more creative to pull off the same level of “fun” their past games achieved. 

The diversity of character abilities is one of Insomniac’s strong suits. Do they give Wolverine more abilities and gadgets? Do they double down on making his claws feel extra satisfying to slash goons with? This character also poses a darker tone than Spidey, which isn’t typical for the family-friendly Insomniac. Do they lean into this more mature character, or shy away?

We’ll have to wait and see. 

And, as for what’s next for Insomniac…

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Are they the frickin’ kings of Marvel now or what? How many potential superheroes will Disney entrust them with, now they have proven they can knock almost anything out of the park? Will they have their own Insomniac-Marvel universe full of crossovers now? 

Anything seems possible at this point. But, I’m losing my shit over the potential for some good X-Men games. 

4. What’s Next for Sony Santa Monica?

I know I’m getting way ahead of myself. But, what will Sony Santa Monica be working on next?

Director Eric Williams confirmed in a post-show interview that God of War: Ragnarok will be the finale of Kratos’ crossover into Norse mythology. Does that mean the series reverts to Greece? Does this narrative take a turn into another cultural mythos? And, does the story continue with Kratos as the main protagonist, or will Atreus get his own game? 

It’s telling that Williams said this will be the end of the Nordic tale for God of War, not necessarily the finale for the franchise. What is even more intriguing, is what his cohort didn’t say during the interview.

Cory Balrog (director of God of War 2018) was also interviewed. He is currently working on the Ragnarok team–Sony Santa Monica traditionally switches directors every game to get fresh eyes on projects. When asked what he was working on at the end of the interview, he alluded to…something…that is far too early to talk about. He promised more would be shared after the team can shift focus from shipping God of War: Ragnarok.

What the heck is Cory Balrog working on? Is it the next God of War game? Or — like Insomniac revealed in today’s Playstation Showcase — is it something completely new?

5. What About the Top Dog?

Naughty Dog just completed the Last of Us Part II and is allegedly working on a multiplayer experience in that universe, similar to the Factions mode included in the original Last of Us. Surprisingly, we didn’t see even a teaser for this incoming addition. Does this mean Last of Us Part II multiplayer is farther off? Or are the rumors off? We will have to wait and see. 

However, much like we see with Insomniac, studios are often juggling a couple of projects. I would assume Naughty Dog has the capacity to work on another game in conjunction with their multiplayer endeavors. Could we see a DLC story to the Last of Us Part II like the Last of Us had Left Behind, which fleshed out more of Ellie’s story? C’mon Naughty Dog. Tell us more about Lev and Yara. Or the leader of the Wolves, Isaac, voiced by Jeffrey Wright. 

There is a wealth of potential for more in this story– is this the real reason the multiplayer mode is being kept quiet? Because a story mode coming in tandem? I can dream, can’t I?

There’s also the Uncharted franchise that could be ready for a new installment… Seems like a good time with the live-action film coming soon starring Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg, and the remasters of Uncharted 4 and Lost Legacy coming to PlayStation 5. 

One thing is for sure, Sony’s prize studio is surely scheming up something more than multiplayer. We’ll just have to wait to see what it is. 

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The Millennium Project Overview.pptx

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“Ethical Markets highly recommends this Overview of all the achievements of our partner, the Millennium Project and its leaders Jerome Glenn, Ted Gordon and Elizabeth Florescu.  We are proud of these achievement and I am honored to still serve on its Planning Committee .

Hazel Henderson, Editor“

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Book Review: “Beyond Knowledge: How Technology Is Driving An Age of Consciousness

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A Highly Original Exploration of the Next Stage in Human Evolution

Book Review

By: Hazel Henderson

I enjoyed this book immensely.  As a colleague of Professor Halal some years ago on a tech forecasting project within the World Future Society, I was happy to re-connect and with this invitation to write this Foreword.

“BEYOND KNOWLEDGE: Technology to Create an Age of Consciousness “is a highly original exploration of the next stage of human evolution, as planet Earth is now teaching us directly.  As I have also stressed, the planet is now our programmed learning environment, mirroring back to humans the global problems we have caused due to our limited perception. This feedback from planet Earth is forcing us to mature, as Halal describes in such innovative and useful detail.  We are looking at ourselves and learning to assess in new ways our limited cognition, our emotions and our continual conscious and sub-conscious processing of the realities of our condition.  The growing calamities of floods, fires, superstorms, biodiversity losses, species extinctions and more frequently zoonotic viruses and the COVID-19 Pandemic are Nature’s current lessons and feedbacks to assist our cognitive and spiritual development.

As Halal points out, if we cannot evolve to overcome our cognitive and emotional infancy and mature into full, wise adulthood, we will not survive. I agree and believe that many other species will take over the constantly evolving life processes of planet Earth.   I was forced to confront the “Global MegaCrisis“ which Halal and our mutual friend and colleague, futurist Michael Marien have described so  succinctly.

In the 1960s, I organized Citizens for Clean Air to inform New Yorkers of the polluted air they were breathing. We ran a free ad campaign with the help of a volunteer ad agency and some enlightened media executives.   We showed the late Robert F. Kennedy who was running for his Senate seat, all the sources of this pollution and why we were campaigning to correct the GDP, so as to subtract, not add these pollution costs.  Kennedy’s speech on these problems of GDP at the University of Kansas, became a rallying cry for reform of this obsolete indicator, still too often quoted as a measure of national “progress“!   In 1975, I joined Lester Brown on the founding board of the WorldWatch Institute, and again, I was forced to  face up  to this Global MegaCrisis at every board meeting, as the human effects on planetary ecosystems deteriorated.

So William Halal’s deep dive into how humans have evolved over millennia and created our technological tools is enlightening and demonstrates high ethical principles for examining the ways we must change and mature into deeper consciousness.  Halal shows how our new information tools are reflecting back our need to examine our own consciousness and how we must evolve beyond acquiring scientific knowledge toward also studying our belief systems, our religions and spiritual motivations.

This indeed, is the next page of the human agenda open before us.  This task far outweighs the mad dash of trivial innovations geared to short-term profits so typical of Silicon Valley’s adolescent culture.  Halal instead offers his own innovative approach: seeing and assessing our technologies as our latest “tools of consciousness”!  This goes far beyond the remit of such government research agencies as the US Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) which was shut down in 1996, slaying the messenger informing us of our planetary depredations.  I served on OTA’s Technology Assessment Advisory Council, and I am heartened that the US Congress has an effort by over forty members to fund OTA, and the Biden Administration seems equally committed.

Meanwhile, I have taken Halal’s new tool to heart.  This “tool of consciousness” approach has helped me see myself, my daily work, my virtual electronic presentations more clearly, as well as my moods, attitudes, physical fitness and my preparations for my company’s succession and my own coming experience of leaving this incarnation and going virtual.

In all the chapters of “BEYOND KNOWLEDGE”, Halal uses this guiding spiritual, consciousness framework, to explore how we humans are progressing along the path to the kind of wisdom and maturity necessary to manage our further evolution in the Age of the Anthropocene.

Halal’s chapters on “Uniting Spirit & Science”; “A New Social Contract“;  “Democratic Enterprise“; “Virtual Education“;  and “From Religion to  Spirit to Global Ethics“ provide  deeper grounding in our current situation.  They are consistent with the 16 Principles of The Earth Charter, developed since its launch at the Earth Summit in 1992, and ratified by thousands of NGOs, academics, government officials, cities, investors and business leaders.  I attended its launch in 2000 at the Peace Palace in The Hague and still remain an advocate of this universal declaration of human responsibilities to complement Eleanor Roosevelt’s effort in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.  No rights without responsibilities, as we are learning!

This book is a wise contribution to the great global debate on the Global MegaCrisis.  It is also a feast, and provides an enduring roadmap to guide the human family toward a sane, viable sustainable future.  We are living through stressful times, yet stress is evolution’s tool forcing species to adapt.  Breakdowns drive breakthroughs!

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Hazel Henderson is a global futurist and her eleven books and current research continue to map the worldwide transition from the fossil-fueled Industrial Era to the renewable circular economies emerging in a knowledge-rich, cleaner, greener and wiser future. Ethical Markets Media Certified B. Corporation, which Hazel founded in 2004 after 20 years advising the Calvert Group of socially-responsible mutual funds, continues the work of reforming markets and metrics to guide investors toward our long-term survival on planet Earth. In the 1960s, with the help of a volunteer ad agency and enlightened media executives, Hazel organized Citizens for Clean Air to inform New Yorkers of the polluted air they were breathing. They showed the late Robert F. Kennedy, then running for his Senate seat, all the sources of this pollution and why they were campaigning to correct the GDP to subtract, not add, these pollution costs.  Kennedy’s speech on the GDP problem at the University of Kansas became a rallying cry for reform of this obsolete indicator, still too often quoted as a measure of national “progress“!  In 1975, Hazel joined Lester Brown on the founding board of the World Watch Institute, and again, she was forced to face up to this Global MegaCrisis at every board meeting, as the human effects on planetary ecosystems deteriorated. For more, see Hazel’s recent presentation at the Family Office Forum in Singapore, March 5th.  Hazel can be reached at [email protected]

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Source: https://www.ethicalmarkets.com/book-review-beyond-knowledge-how-technology-is-driving-an-age-of-consciousness/

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Researchers make Synthetic Starch out of Carbon Dioxide

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Brimming with bio stories on #regulation, the businesses transitioning to #carbonneutral, the latest investments in #futurefoods.

‘Bioresearch of the Week’ is back with innovations & discoveries in the fields of health, materials, and farming, and ‘Biomass Innovations Under Investigation Part 4: Forestry and Energy Crops’.   And  making Synthetic Starch from CO2 !

Best of the Newsroom 

MeliBio Presents First Real Honey Made Without Bees

MeliBio, Inc. has revealed its real honey, made without bees. The company, which uses proprietary technology, will offer the plant-based ingredient for B2B customers and foodservice

>> Read the article

Germany Reveals First Commercial Plant Making Clean Jet Fuel

German officials presented what they said is the world’s first commercial plant for making synthetic kerosene, which is promoted as a climate-friendly fuel of the future.

>> Read the article

British Army Begins Push to Embrace Renewable

The UK Army opened the doors of its first pilot photovoltaic solar farm late last week, under a £200m programme known as Project Prometheus that is intended to increase the military’s use of renewable power.

>> Read the article

Xi Jinping Announces An End To Coal Use

The President of China announced that China is working to end its coal-fire projects abroad and at home. China accounts for 54% of the world’s coal-created electricity, making the country the biggest consumer of coal.

>> Read the article

French Fashion Group Kering Is Going Completely Fur Free

One of the largest luxury companies in >world, Kering took the decision for all of its brands to stop using any kind of animal fur, demonstrating how consumer demand for sustainable clothing and accessories is increasing.

>> Read the article

ESWET Responds to EP Report on Methane Emissions

European Suppliers of Waste-to-Energy Technology welcomes the European Parliament’s report that “supports bold actions to minimize the damages methane causes to the environment”.

>> Read the article

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Source: https://www.ethicalmarkets.com/researchers-make-synthetic-starch-out-of-carbon-dioxide/

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“Wows, no more cows?” by Nick Silver

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Governments, large corporations and investors are frantically announcing climate change pledges. Trillions of dollars are being invested in the transition to net zero, and many investors are disinvesting from fossil fuel companies, with a resultant hammering of the valuations of these companies, bringing into question their future viability.

To transfer away from fossil fuels in many sectors – such as personal transport and electricity generation – is happening as we speak. getting our power from renewables is now cheaper than traditional sources, and we can perfectly happily drive round in electric cars, with the added bonus of being able to smugly drive past lines of internal combustion engine cars queuing for petrol.

There are more difficult sectors to abate, like shipping. Yet even for these there, is a feasible transition to net zero – for example ships could switch to green hydrogen or ammonia. Admittedly this is difficult; but if you could get the industries to line up and make a quick shift at scale, prices would rapidly drop, at some point in the future a profitable shipping industry would emerge and consumers wouldn’t notice the difference.

Even so, there is one sector which represents about 20 per cent of emissions, which would need to be removed.

There are currently around 1.5 billion cows on the planet. A cow weighs about 10 times more than a human; the total mass of cows is about twice that of the human population. Also, as people get richer, they generally eat more meat, so this number is trending up.

Cows are inefficient machines for converting plants to calories, so they need a lot of land, mainly to produce food for the cows. If we just ate the plants directly, we’d need only about a third of the land that we currently use for agriculture. We could use all this extra land for stuff like growing trees to suck carbon out of the atmosphere, or dare I say, returning it to nature.

I’m just giving the reader a conception here of why cows need so much land. The environmental damage – not just climate but species and habitat loss and so on – caused by these 1.5 billion cows has been catalogued elsewhere and in summary the word ‘catastrophic’ would be a massive understatement. I am also not going to get into a moral debate about the ethics of eating meat.

It is no doubt true that there are some humane farms which treat their cows nicely, but large scale factory farming is too horrible for most of us to contemplate. I’ve never had the misfortune of visiting a meat packer, but from all the reports I’ve read a visit would turn a meat lover vegan. In wealthy countries like the UK, the native population refuse to work in them, so they have to import labour from poorer countries who are prepared to endure the working conditions. Not to put a too fine a point on it, these are shit jobs that no one wants, and do nothing for domestic employment.

The easiest way to reduce the environmental impact of this industry would be behavioural change, people could massively cut down on their meat and dairy consumption. Governments could help this by taxing meat and dairy, and subsidising substitutes, and also running public health campaigns against meat (it would be massively beneficial for people’s health to cut down meat consumption). Instead, they do the opposite, subsidising the meat and dairy industry and blocking anti-meat and dairy advertising.

There has been a trend, especially amongst young and educated, to eat less meat. Data seems to suggest that there have been modest declines in beef consumption in wealthier countries. Yet, without massive government intervention it’s unlikely that this would ever be on the scale needed and also would be swamped out by increasing wealth of consumers in developing countries.

Even so, there is another, technological, fix on the horizon, namely lab grown meat (and synthetic dairy) which should be game-changers. The first lab grown burger costs $280,000, the price has now dropped to $10, and from what we have seen with other technologies such as microchip and solar panels, once new technology is scaled up, the price continues to drop.

It’s quite hard to convince people to switch to being vegetarian, but if you offer people two very similar products – a cow burger and a lab-grown burger –  and if the latter is cheaper and healthier (you don’t need to pump lab-grown meat with hormones and anti-biotics), many more people would switch.

Added to this, the biggest purchasers of beef are companies like McDonald’s which have climate change commitments and face investor pressure to reduce emissions – switching to lab-grown meat for them should also be a no-brainer. The same would be true for multinationals who make dairy products.

The dairy and meat industries have survived scrutiny to date because they are a powerful industry and lobbying group and often rural communities have disproportionately large influence on politics, but also because most people like meat and dairy products and don’t like to be told that this is wrong.

But all this could change, with increasing climate impacts, there is increasing political and popular will to reduce emissions, there will be an alignment of corporate and finance against high carbon emitters. At the same time, there are real (and possibly better, cheaper and better funded) substitutes for meat coming to supermarkets and restaurants. The smart money is already going towards meat and dairy substitutes – for example Oatly, a company which makes oat milk, was recently valued at $10 billion.

The unacknowledged alliance between meat eating voters and dairy industry will be broken, and overwhelmed by the new alliance of politics, popular pressure and big finance. This may seem unlikely, but it’s currently happening to the fossil fuel industry and that seemed even more unlikely until it happened.

Which means that meat producers should and will be looking to switch supply chains to lab-grown meat and synthetic dairy. The likely result is that Big Ag, and large food suppliers, such as supermarkets, will be fine as they can just switch suppliers. But anyone involved in the animal business, such as cattle herders and dairy farmers basically have no long-term future. Sure, there will be a market for small scale, high end, organic producers, but these are only a tiny proportion of the industry.

As always the people least equipped to change will be the hardest hit – small and medium sized farmers. To avoid disaster for these people, governments should be telling meat and dairy producers that that they should look to do something else, and should help farmers and other in the supply chain to re-tool and re-train.

Needless to say they won’t. To any of these people reading, I am sorry to have to deliver this message, and I am sorry to say that you have been let down by your representatives like the NFU and the government for not being straight with you and not having any foresight.

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Source: https://www.ethicalmarkets.com/wows-no-mor-cows-by-nick-silver/

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