Upcoming superhero movies that’ll blow you away

It’s been almost a decade since Marvel’s Iron Man made comic book movie skeptics sit up and take notice, and despite the many superhero films (some brilliant, others awful) that have come out in that time, the craze isn’t going away any time soon.

There are a slew of superhero flicks scheduled to hit cinemas over the next few years, with studios gearing up to go head to head with their respective properties in the battle for dominance, which is only good news for us fans. But as franchises continue to grow and expand their rosters, it becomes hard to keep track of what (and when) everything is happening.

Well, fear not, because all the information you need to keep ahead of the curve can be found right here. From scheduled release dates to cast and crew announcements, this is everything you need to know about upcoming superhero movies.

Thor: Ragnarok

What We Do in the Shadows director Taika Waititi will get the chance to prove his blockbuster chops this November, having taken over from Thor: The Dark World’s Alan Taylor for the third film in the Thor franchise. Waititi has already given MCU fans a taste of his dry humor and directing style with his hilarious Team Thor shorts, though if the trailer that recently dropped at Comic Con 2017 is anything to go by, Ragnarok won’t be short on action.

The new footage shows Chris Hemsworth (reprising his role as the Asgardian god) meeting Mark Ruffalo as both Bruce Banner and the Hulk, and the big reveal coming at the end of the trailer is that he can talk in both forms now. The film looks like it’ll follow Marvel’s Planet Hulk story arc more closely than the plot of the actual Ragnarok comics, right down to the inclusion of characters like Korg and Miek.

British Oscar winner Cate Blanchett comes on board as Hela, goddess of the underworld and no friend to our hero. “She’s been locked away for millennia getting more and more cross,” Blanchett said of her character, “and then, with a mistake, she gets unleashed and she ain’t getting back in that box.” Fan favorite Tom Hiddleston is back as Loki, set to team up with Thor and The Hulk as well as newcomer Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson).

Scheduled release date: November 3, 2017

Justice League

The future of Justice League looked uncertain in March after tragedy struck Zack Snyder’s family. Despite initially choosing to return to work and keep his mind on finishing the highly anticipated DC team-up, Snyder ultimately decided family came first, saying, “I’ve decided to take a step back from the movie to be with my family, be with my kids, who really need me.”

Avengers director Joss Whedon agreed to shepherd Justice League through post-production and shoot a few additional scenes, though a recent Variety exclusive revealed that the extent of his work was larger than Warner Bros. let on. The studio is said to be spending around $25 million on extensive reshoots, which have become complicated because of conflicting schedules, and they need to digitally remove a mustache that Henry Cavill (Superman) is contractually obliged to keep during the filming of Mission: Impossible 6.

The November 2017 release date is as yet unaffected, however, and the reaction to the recent Comic-Con trailer has been positive. They managed to show a great deal without giving any key plot points away, and we got our first look at classic DC villain Steppenwolf, who’s being portrayed by Ciaran Hinds via motion capture. The biggest reveal came in the dying moments of the trailer, when Alfred all but confirms the resurrection of the Man of Steel.

Scheduled release date: November 17, 2017

Black Panther

For awhile, it looked like Selma director Ava DuVernay was nailed on to direct Marvel’s Black Panther, though the African-American filmmaker put those rumors to bed when she confirmed she had passed on the project. “I think I’ll just say we had different ideas about what the story would be,” she told Essence before thanking Marvel, who decided to reach out to Ryan Coogler instead.

Coogler (Creed) made some edits to the screenplay after agreeing to terms, and the sizzle reel he screened at Marvel’s Los Angeles offices in April reportedly had everyone very excited about Chadwick Boseman’s debut. Joining Boseman in a cast that Kevin Feige has promised will be “90 percent” African-American is Lupita Nyong’o, Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, and Creed’s Michael B. Jordan, who said that Black Panther will be a “very honest and gritty” movie.

Jordan is playing classic Black Panther nemesis Erik Killmonger, but he won’t be the movie’s lead villain. Boseman revealed that a character we’ve seen glimpses of already will step up as the main antagonist: Andy Serkis’ Ulysses Klaue. “Klaue is the real villain,” Boseman told EW. “I can say that I identify with Killmonger’s character. It’s going to be a fun character. He definitely has a different point of view. They are polar opposites. A superhero movie is only as great as its villains. I think they both provide a piece of that.”

Scheduled release date: February 16, 2018

New Mutants

Fox has handed the reins of their X-Men spinoff franchise to young filmmaker Josh Boone, confirmed to take charge of a possible trilogy of New Mutants movies. The up-and-coming director of The Fault In Our Stars (2014) has admitted to being “obsessed with Marvel Comics through the 1980s, long before there was a Sam Raimi Spider-Man movie,” and he took it upon himself personally to convince the studio in charge of the property to put the New Mutants on the big screen.

Boone and co-writer Knate Gwaltney put together their own New Mutants comic book based on stories they wanted to adapt for Fox, and the studio loved it. “It walked them through a trilogy of New Mutant films that would build on each other,” Boone said. “[It] took all the images we had loved from the series and strung them together to show them the movie we wanted to do.”

Fox recently confirmed a release date of April 2018 (putting New Mutants directly up against an as-yet untitled Universal Classic Monsters movie) and The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that Game of Thrones vet Maisie Williams and The Witch star Anya Taylor-Joy have signed on to star. Williams will play Wolfsbane, a young werewolf going through a crisis of faith; Taylor-Joy is set to take the role of Magik, the sister of X-Man Colossus. THR has also confirmed that Stranger Things star Charlie Heaton will portray invulnerable mutant Cannonball, and 13 Reasons Why actor Henry Zaga has agreed to terms over the part of Brazilian ladies’ man Sunspot. The fifth and final main role has been won by newcomer Blu Hunt, who will take on the part of Native American mutant Moonstar.

Scheduled release date: April 13, 2018

Avengers: Infinity War

For awhile it seemed like the third Avengers installment would be split into two separate movies, thought to be the case because the fourth movie was given the working title Infinity War Part 2. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo later cleared that up, admitting that the working titles were “misleading” and insisting that Infinity War would actually be a standalone movie. The sibling helmers will re-team with writing duo Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, who provided the script they worked from in 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier and 2016’s Captain America: Civil War.

In terms of the story, one team who we know will be present to help in the fight against Thanos is the Guardians of the Galaxy—behind the scenes footage that Marvel posted online shows Star-Lord actor Chris Pratt on set with Robert Downey Jr. and Tom Holland. Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel is also set to make her MCU bow.

An Infinity War featurette posted by Marvel in June 2017 bigs up the two upcoming Avengers flicks as the culmination of everything they’ve been working toward since the first Iron Man movie dropped in 2008. “These next two Avengers films will be an event like no one has seen on film before,” Joe Russo says, while Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige addresses their well-documented villain issue in the video, promising, “Thanos shows us why he is the biggest, the best, the baddest villain that we’ve ever had.”

Scheduled release date: May 4, 2018

Deadpool 2

After 2016’s Deadpool unexpectedly became the highest-grossing film in the X-Men franchise, keeping the creative team together for the follow-up seemed essential. That wasn’t to be the case—director Tim Miller soon departed the project, allegedly because star Ryan Reynolds didn’t back his demands for a larger budget. “All I can really add is that I’m sad to see him off the film,” Reynolds told GQ. “Tim’s brilliant and nobody worked harder on Deadpool than he did.”

David Leitch of John Wick fame has since stepped up to direct, and Josh Brolin will also be welcomed into the fold as the merc with a mouth’s time-traveling foil Cable. The actor recently shared a snap of himself working hard at getting into shape for the part, posting it alongside the caption “Cable’s coming.” In other recruitment news, Jack Kesy (best known as philandering rocker Gabriel Bolivar in FX vampire series The Strain) has signed on as a villain, reportedly to play Irish mutant Black Tom.

Stefan Kapicic and Brianna Hildebrand will return metallic X-man Colossus and his understudy Negasonic Teenage Warhead; however, recent rumors that Sunspot, Feral and Shatterstar were going to appear in the Deadpool 2 post-credits tag scene (thus setting up an X-Force feature film) have been shot down by screenwriter Rhett Reese. Things are obviously still in flux right now: the production’s start date has already been pushed back a week, according to sources on location in Vancouver.

Scheduled release date: June 1, 2018

The Incredibles 2

After helming a high profile disappointment in 2015’s Tomorrowland, Pixar legend Brad Bird is set to return to his bread and butter with a follow up to his 2004 animated superhero smash The Incredibles.

A second outing with the Parr family was first announced a decade after the original during a 2014 Disney shareholder meeting, with a 2019 release date penciled in. “I don’t like unwrapping presents before Christmas,” Bird said when pressed for details on the project, but he did say that the film was “very actively moving, and we’re excited about it. [We’re] trying to take it in some new directions.”

Bird clearly wasn’t kidding when he said that the project was moving with speed, as a few months later Frozone voice actor Samuel Jackson was posting photos to Instagram from his Incredibles 2 recording session and the release date had been moved forward to summer 2018, with Toy Story 4 pushed back to make way.

Scheduled release date: June 15, 2018

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Marvel’s Ant-Man sequel is now officially underway. The shoot began on the first day of August, days after a big casting announcement at Comic-Con 2017. Star Paul Rudd and his returning right-hand man Michael Peña were part of Marvel’s panel at the event, and they revealed some new additions for Ant-Man and the Wasp.

Laurence Fishburne has been cast as Dr. Bill Foster, a scientist who became known as Black Goliath in Marvel comics after messing with the Pym Particle and gaining powers. Michelle Pfeiffer has also been added to the bill, taking the part of Hank Pym’s (Michael Douglas) wife Janet van Dyke, thought to be permanently trapped in a subatomic quantum realm until the events of the first movie unfolded. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige was also present for the panel, and told fans that Pfeiffer was their “dream choice” in the role of Janet, the first owner of the Wasp suit.

Returning director Peyton Reed certainly seems excited about the film, particularly about introducing The Wasp to the MCU. “For me as a comic nerd, I always thought of Ant-Man and Wasp as a team and that’s a lot of what the second movie is really about,” he said. “To show her finally fully formed in this movie is really exciting.” According to the official synopsis Marvel recently released, the pair will reunite for “an urgent new mission” and “uncover secrets from their past.”

Scheduled release date: July 6, 2018

Venom

Sony has been trying in vain to get a Venom movie out of the blocks for over a decade, but we now have confirmation that the studio is prioritizing the project and is pushing for an October 2018 release. British powerhouse Tom Hardy has signed on to play the lead role of Eddie Brock, the first character to take on the Venom moniker in Marvel comics. Sony confirmed the casting when they tweeted a photo of Hardy wearing a Venom t-shirt along with a caption that revealed production is set to start this fall, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, director duties have been offered to Zombieland’s Ruben Fleischer.

Despite being a fan favorite, Venom has only been portrayed onscreen once, when former That ’70s Show star Topher Grace donned the black for Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3—now considered one of the worst miscasts in the history of comic book movies. Producers are hoping Hardy is better received by fans, as he’s set to play a central role in what they’re calling the Sony Marvel Universe. Hardy (who previously played popular DC villain Bane in The Dark Knight Rises) will be working from a script penned by Scott Rosenberg and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 co-writer Jeff Pinkner.

Scheduled release date: Oct. 5, 2018

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

The direct follow-up to 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse was initially going by the name X-Men: Supernova following a leak from a Fox source, though that insider was misinformed. The studio recently brought an end to the guessing game, announcing both the real title and release date of the 12th film in the franchise (assuming that New Mutants gets its scheduled April release). It will go by X-Men: Dark Phoenix and is set to open November 2018.

Simon Kinberg has been working hard behind the scenes on the X-Men films as a writer and producer since 2006’s The Last Stand, a botched attempt at adapting the classic Dark Phoenix Saga. This arc from the comics will of course be the basis of the upcoming Dark Phoenix movie, and Kinberg has been given the chance to personally right past wrongs in what will be his directorial debut. The assumption was that Bryan Singer would remain at the reins, though the Apocalypse director recently confirmed he was passing the torch, posting a photo of himself and Kinberg on Instagram with the caption: “Epic story in great hands.”

Kinberg has confirmed that the film will follow the franchise’s decade-skipping trend, jumping forward from the ’80s-set Apocalypse to a ’90s setting. In terms of cast, the key players from the previous entries are all reprising their roles, including Evan Peters. The American Horror Story star stole the show last time out playing Quicksilver and has wisely been recalled.

Scheduled release date: November 2, 2018

Aquaman

DC fans got their first look at Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice last year, and they’ll be seeing him again in next year’s Justice League before his first solo adventure drops. Originally set for an October release, Warner Bros. decided to move Aquaman back to a Christmas slot to plug the gap left by the delayed Avatar 2, meaning it will be going up against Transformers spinoff Bumblebee in a battle for box office dominance over the festive period.

Joining former Game of Thrones star Momoa on the cast are Amber Heard and Nicole Kidman, playing his love interest Mera and his mother Queen Atlanna, respectively. Images of Heard in full costume have been praised for their likeness to the comics, and we now know Aquaman will start looking a bit more Atlantean in his attire come Justice League. Those in attendance at Comic Con 2017 were shown his costume and given a first glimpse of the movie itself, which featured the Ocean Master’s underwater army of shark-riders.

The Ocean Master is Aquaman’s half-brother and will be played by Patrick Wilson onscreen. Momoa was asked by a member of the Comic Con audience if the underwater armada belonged to traditional Aquaman villain Black Manta, and he revealed that Wilson’s character will be his biggest threat. “That’s Ocean Master’s army,” he said. “Black Manta doesn’t have anything on him. I’m going to be fighting my brother.”

Scheduled release date: December 21, 2018

Untitled animated Spider-Man movie

African-Latino Spider-Man Miles Morales was only supposed to be around for four years in the pages of Marvel’s comics, created by Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli in 2011 as part of the alternate universe Ultimate Marvel imprint, which ended in 2015. This version of Spidey proved so popular that Marvel decided to merge him into the main line, and now he will be the focus of a (thus far untitled) feature length animated movie.

The young star of Rick Famuyiwa’s Dope, Shameik Moore has signed on to voice the teenage superhero and Liev Schreiber will voice the film’s villain, though Sony has managed to keep his character’s identity a secret so far. Bob Persichetti and Peter Ramsey are in place to co-direct a script written by Phil Lord, who is producing the project with regular collaborator Christopher Miller. At present, the film is scheduled to be released on the same day as DC’s Aquaman.

Scheduled release date: December 21, 2018

Glass

M. Night Shyamalan publicly toyed with the idea of a sequel to his superhero thriller Unbreakable for a long time—and 16 years later he delivered on that promise, though nobody knew it right up until the final moments of 2016’s Split. The James McAvoy-fronted film not only marked a return to form for the director, it confirmed the creation of a new shared movie universe with the appearance of Bruce Willis’ Unbreakable character. Shyamalan went to great lengths to keep the reveal a secret, telling The Hollywood Reporter that he tested the film with that surprise ending cut out to make sure nobody blabbed about Willis. He also revealed that he wanted make “one final movie that combines the two,” which he’s already titled Glass.

The director has confirmed that Samuel L. Jackson will reprise his Unbreakable role for what is to be the third film in his trilogy, and Split stars McAvoy and Anya Taylor-Joy are also set to return alongside Willis. Universal (who will co-produce with Blumhouse) have already released an official logline for the movie: “Following the conclusion of Split, Glass finds Dunn [Willis] pursuing Crumb’s [McAvoy] superhuman figure of the Beast in a series of escalating encounters, while the shadowy presence of Price [Jackson] emerges as an orchestrator who holds secrets critical to both men.”

Scheduled release date: January 18, 2019

Captain Marvel

Thus far, there has only been a single casting announcement regarding the upcoming Captain Marvel, and that is the all important one. Oscar winner Brie Larson will star as Carol Danvers in what is expected to be Marvel’s answer to Wonder Woman, and she has given every early indication that she is taking the role seriously, sharing pictures of herself reading the comics with her Twitter followers.

Director double act Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (who helmed the critically acclaimed Mississippi Grind together) have been drafted in to take charge of proceedings, with Meg LeFauve and Nicole Perlman collaborating on the script.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had a project where I’ve been more mindful about the impact that it could have and the importance of it,” Perlman admitted before hinting that she and LeFauve are steering away from a completely faithful adaptation. “If you were just going to do a straight adaptation of the comics, her origin story is very similar to Green Lantern. And obviously, that’s not what we want to do.”

Scheduled release date: March 8, 2019

Untitled Avengers: Infinity War sequel
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Kevin Feige recently confirmed that Avengers: Infinity War and its still-officially-untitled sequel would not be shot concurrently as originally intended. “We’re doing them one right after another,” Feige said. “It became too complicated to cross-board them like that, and we found ourselves—again, something would always pay the price. We wanted to be able to focus and shoot one movie and then focus and shoot another movie.”

Part of the problem was the size of the talented ensemble cast, many of whom are in high demand elsewhere (Chris Pratt, for example, has been juggling Marvel duties with the Jurassic World sequel). That problem looks like it might worsen going forward, as the Russos have revealed that they are considering as many as 67 named characters for inclusion in Infinity War.

The title of the sequel was being kept under wraps at Marvel though Guardians of the Galaxy star Zoe Saldana recently dropped a huge hint by mistake. The Gamora actress told a journalist that she is currently in the middle of shooting Infinity War and that they “all have to go back for Gauntlet later this year.” Does that mean Avengers 4 will be called Infinity Gauntlet?

Scheduled release date: May 3, 2019

Untitled Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel
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After Marvel and Sony finally came to a mutually beneficial arrangement regarding the use of Spider-Man, it seemed unlikely that the wall crawler would get just a single solo movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Tom Holland made his debut as Peter Parker in last year’s Captain America: Civil War and will front his own standalone movie Spider-Man: Homecoming this summer, but the British actor recently let slip that a sequel was indeed on the cards.

“My next project, I can’t tell you about,” Holland said. “But we’ve just finished Spider-Man [Homecoming] and we’re talking about the second one and who the villain is going to be and where we’re going.” The film, which is unofficially going by Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 at this point, is slated to be the start of MCU Phase 4, although Kevin Feige recently suggested that they might leave the whole Phase thing behind after the fourth Avengers movie.

Scheduled release date: July 5, 2019

Wonder Woman 2

Another big story coming out of Comic-Con is the official announcement of Wonder Woman 2. A sequel seemed inevitable after the box office success of Gal Gadot’s first outing as the Amazonian, and confirmation came in the DC Hall H sizzle reel. DC’s Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns confirmed that he has already started thinking about how Diana Prince’s story will play out. “I’m working right now on the Wonder Woman 2 script,” Johns told Yahoo Movies.

Director Patty Jenkins has previously discussed where she’d take the character should the sequel get greenlit. “The story will take place in the U.S., which I think is right,” she told EW. “She’s Wonder Woman. She’s got to come to America.” Jenkins also revealed she had second thoughts about returning, though decided it was an opportunity too attractive to ignore. “I had this revelation in the middle of the night: this is your dream cast, you’ve created a character that you love and you can say anything you want in the world right now,” she added.

According to Screen Rant, the second film will see Diana taking on the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Chris Pine is also reportedly returning, though given the events of the previous movie (and the fact that four decades will have passed in the timeline), that doesn’t seem to add up—unless, of course, Pine portrays a descendant of the late Steve Trevor.

Scheduled release date: December 13, 2019

Shazam

Dwayne Johnson has been attached to the movie adaptation of Shazam for more than a decade, so a wait of just a few more years isn’t likely to put him off the project. The WWE star turned Hollywood big hitter is poised to take on the role of Black Adam, a much-loved DC anti-hero and the arch-nemesis of Shazam, a teenager who can give himself superhuman powers by uttering the word “shazam.”

“I’ve lived with this character, and this opportunity for almost 10 years now, so it’s like, in my DNA,” Johnson said of playing Black Adam, a former slave who sets about taking revenge on his captors after he ends up with his own powers. “I’m like a little kid, and it’s the opportunity to create his journey, but that journey has to start out properly. And starting off properly is him not being a hero.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Shazam will be the next DC project to go into production, with the shoot expected to get underway as soon as January 2018. A meeting took place between Johnson and studio heads recently, where it was decided that the Rock had become too big a name to take second billing in the Shazam feature. Instead of introducing Black Adam that way, New Line Cinema (who have been working towards adapting Shazam properties for many years) will write him out of that film and give him his own solo movie.

Scheduled release date: 2019 (TBD)

Flashpoint

Changes of director and script rewrites meant that the March 2018 target Warner Bros. set for their Flash solo movie was always going to be a long shot. Dope director Rick Famuyiwa (who had already replaced Seth Grahame-Smith) left the project after reported disagreements over his screenplay, which is currently being rewritten from page one by Joby Harold. The release date has been pushed back to 2019 to allow Miller to work on the first Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them sequel.

Whether new scribe Joby Harold will tone down the role of Ray Fisher’s Cyborg (the character had a central role in Famuyiwa’s version) remains to be seen, though if DCEU executive producer Deborah Snyder’s interview with Forbes is anything to go by, the two are destined to team up. “Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher are kind of our youngest characters, and they have a really nice camaraderie with each other,” she said.

The latest news coming out of Comic-Con is that the project now has an official title: Flashpoint. This is, of course, the name of the DC crossover story arc in which the Flash has to use the Speedforce to travel back in time to stop his mother’s murder, altering the fabric of the DC Universe as he does. How closely the DCEU version will follow the dramatic events of the comics is unclear at this stage, but fans have already started theorizing.

Scheduled release date: 2019 (TBD)

The Batman

Last year it seemed all but certain that Ben Affleck would direct himself in the first DCEU solo Batman movie, but as 2017 came upon us the A-lister shocked fans with a surprise statement announcing his intentions to step down.

“There are certain characters who hold a special place in the hearts of millions,” Affleck said. “Performing this role demands focus, passion and the very best performance I can give. It has become clear that I cannot do both jobs to the level they require. Together with the studio, I have decided to find a partner in a director who will collaborate with me on this massive film.”

That partner ended up being War for the Planet of the Apes director and lifelong Batman fan Matt Reeves, who is currently signed on to helm The Batman. Affleck’s screenplay is to get a page-one rewrite from Chris Terrio (Argo), who also gave the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice script a complete makeover.

Scheduled release date: 2019 (TBD)

Suicide Squad 2

Despite the mauling it took from the critics, Suicide Squad took a whopping $745 million at the worldwide box office, leaving Warner Bros. with no doubt over whether or not to push forward with a sequel. Nothing is concrete as of yet, but Variety’s Justin Kroll (whose sources are rarely wrong when it comes to DC) has revealed that a number of directors are under consideration. Kroll reported that Warner Bros. planned to meet with Daniel Espinosa (Safe House), Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland), Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies) and, last but certainly far from least, Mel Gibson, who is the studio’s preferred choice according to the insider.

Gibson played down the rumors, saying that things were still in the “first date” stage, and the spark seems to have been missing according to recent leaks which claim that The Shallows director Jaume Collet-Serra is in the hot seat. The same source claims that DC’s occasional Suicide Squad member Killer Frost will replace Harley Quinn as the film’s female Task Force-X member.

Scheduled release date: 2019 (TBD)

Cyborg

When Warner Bros. and DC first laid out their plans for their Extended Universe with the public, the fact that a stand-alone Cyborg picture was among them came as quite a surprise to many, but nobody was quite as shocked as the man who was hired to portray him.

Stage actor Ray Fisher was told only a matter of hours before the announcement was made that he was getting his own vehicle in 2020, having only signed on for a cameo role in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. “I didn’t know the extent to which DC and WB had planned on taking my character,” Fisher said. “When I signed on, I just wanted to be part of this world. But that specific information, I found out then and there. I didn’t think I’d be getting my own stand-alone film.” The studio has continued to keep its cards close to its chest, with little other than the release date known at this stage.

Scheduled release date: April 3, 2020

Green Lantern Corps

It always seemed highly unlikely that Ryan Reynolds would return to the role of Hal Jordan after a disastrous stint as the DC hero in 2011’s Green Lantern, though now that he has the wildly popular Deadpool on the go, that definitely won’t be happening.

Reynolds blamed problems with the script (it didn’t even exist when he signed on) for Green Lantern’s many failings, though Warner Bros. is determined not to make the same mistakes when they reboot the property to merge with the DCEU.

David Goyer (who wrote Extended Universe opener Man of Steel) and lesser-known scribe/director Justin Rhodes are teaming up to to write the screenplay for Green Lantern Corps, the title of which suggests that this could be a team affair rather than a film that concentrates on one Lantern in particular. There are no cast confirmations as of yet, but Fast and Furious star Tyrese Gibson has been rallying for a role hard.

Scheduled release date: June 19, 2020

Batgirl

The announcement that there is a Batgirl movie in the very early stages of development raised a lot of eyebrows recently, mainly because it came from Joss Whedon. The Marvel stalwart revealed that he would be directing a movie based on the DC character, dropping the bombshell during the Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 premiere no less.

“She came up, and I started getting obsessed with how a young woman could get hardcore enough to need to put on the cowl,” he said. “Like, what’s her damage?” As far as Marvel is concerned, Whedon has their blessing, with Kevin Feige confirming that the Avengers director called him in advance to discuss his plans.

One person on the DC side who is happy about Whedon straddling the divide is Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, who praised his approach to the genre. “I think it’s super exciting,” she admitted. “The tone of Joss’ work is great for female superheroes. He takes such a fun approach and I think he’ll have fun in the DC universe, which will be excited to have him.” Nothing official on casting yet, but star of The 100 Lindsey Morgan has been linked.

Scheduled release date: TBD

Gotham City Sirens

Suicide Squad director David Ayer faced some tough criticism in the wake of the film’s release, and while at first he seemed happy to just shrug off the negative reviews, he later conceded that there were changes he wished he could make in an open letter posted on Twitter.

Lucky for him, he will have a chance to put things right with Gotham City Sirens, a DC team-up movie based on the short-lived but super popular comic series of the same name. The huge reaction to Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn has led Warner Bros. to fast track this film, which is being written by Geneva Robertson-Dworet (Sherlock Holmes 3) and is being prioritized over a Deadshot solo outing.

Joining Quinn will be regular Batman foes Catwoman and Poison Ivy, with the latter role currently linked to both Jessica Chastain and Bryce Dallas Howard. Ayer’s open letter apology also hinted that Jared Leto’s Joker could play a part here.

Scheduled release date: TBD

Nightwing

What is becoming clear early on with the DC Extended Universe is that Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne will be a central figure throughout, much in the way that Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark is within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

On top of The Batman gaining momentum with new director Matt Reeves and Joss Whedon signing on for the first ever Batgirl film, Warner. Bros is also planning on introducing classic Bat-family member Nightwing to beef up the ranks.

Chris McKay recently directed The Lego Batman Movie for WB and is now being tapped for this DCEU project, with the studio reportedly keen for him to move into live action. Bill Dubuque (The Accountant) is working on a screenplay, and, while nothing official has been said about casting, Dave Franco recently threw his hat into the ring when asked if he was interested in the lead role. “Absolutely,” he answered, but added that the filmmakers could “literally go to anybody—but I’m here if they want me.”

Scheduled release date: TBD

Harbinger

In 2015, Sony struck a deal with Valiant Comics to bring their superhero universe to the big screen. The studio agreed to terms over a five-picture deal that would begin with a standalone film based on the Harbinger series, created by former Marvel editor-in-chief Jim Shooter for Valiant and released as part of the company’s launch in 1992. The comics follow a teenage harbinger (a race of evolved superhumans with psionic powers) named Peter ‘Sting’ Stanchek—the only one of his kind with abilities equal to Toyo Harada, a ruthless Japanese tycoon hellbent on building a superhuman army.

After the initial announcement, things went quiet on the Valiant front for awhile, although we’ve since learned that Arrival screenwriter Eric Heisserer worked on the Harbinger treatment and was also working on other Valiant projects. More recently, Deadline reports that Heisserer’s script is to be re-written by Justin Tipping and Joshua Beirne-Golden, whose 2016 collaboration Kicks earned critical acclaim for its “unique mix of adolescent anxiety, urban decay and societal friction in a remarkably confident fashion.” Fast and Furious franchise producer Neal Moritz is in place to produce.

Scheduled release date: TBD

Bloodshot

Back in 2015 Sony looked liked they had pulled off a shrewd bit of business when they signed a deal with Valiant Comics to bring their thus-far untapped superhero universe to the big screen. It was a five-picture deal that would begin with a standalone film based on Bloodshot, a former soldier who ends up with superhuman abilities after nanites are forcibly injected into his blood.

A 2017 release date was targeted but things went quiet on the production, and details were scarce up until recently. Arrival screenwriter Eric Heisserer (who wrote the comic series Secret Weapons for Valiant) is penning the Bloodshot script, and he recently let slip who would be directing it.

Dave Wilson (who runs Blur Studios with Deadpool helmer Tim Miller) is best known for his work in video game commercials and doesn’t have a feature length credit to his name yet, so Sony is showing a lot of faith in an inexperienced director by handing him the all-important franchise opener.

Scheduled release date: TBD

Shadowman

On top of their five picture deal with Sony, Valiant are also developing adaptations of their comics in-house, which they’ll then shop to different studios. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Shadowman—about a supernatural hero who played a central part in Valiant’s recent Rapture event—is one of the titles currently being adapted.

In the comics, the Shadowman moniker has been adopted by a few different people, though the version expected to be seen onscreen is Jack Boniface, the most recent character to take up the mantle. An African American jazz musician who finds himself in league with a mysterious organization known as the Coven after a spirit enters his body and gives him strange powers, Boniface has to learn to control his abilities quickly when his native New Orleans comes under threat from a dark dimension known as the Deadside.

Former Marvel writer Reginald Hudlin has been chosen to direct, and he’ll join Salem showrunner Adam Simon for a joint re-write of an original script by J. Michael Straczynski, who’s also written screenplays and comic books for Marvel. Valiant Entertainment’s own Dinesh Shamdasani is producing.

Scheduled release date: TBD

Archer and Armstrong

“Not since Batman and Robin has a more important duo hit the comic world,” Ain’t It Cool wrote in their review of Archer and Armstrong’s first six issues, re-released as a special hardcover in 2008. “[It] truly delivers the goods from its very first page until the last … you can’t believe what a wonderful trip you’ve just taken with these two magnificent characters.”

Archer is kind of like Marvel’s Iron Fist but with a much darker past: raised as a martial artist in a Himalayan Buddhist monastery, he’s the son of dangerous child molesters serving time in prison. After returning to the States he meets an immortal vagabond named Armstrong, a boorish lout who teams up with Archer in his fight against the Sect, a dangerous ancient order targeting them both. Valiant CEO Dinesh Shamdasani is producing, and he’s brought together an interesting writer-director combination for the project: Zombieland’s Ruben Fleischer is in line to helm this raucous buddy flick, working from a script penned by regular Pirates of the Caribbean scribe Terry Rossio.

Scheduled release date: TBD

Gambit

A solo Gambit movie has supposedly been in active development since 2014 when X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner confirmed that Channing Tatum would play the card-tossing Cajun mutant, whose only previous movie appearance came in 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine in which he was portrayed un-spectacularly by Taylor Kitsch.

Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) was hired as director with an October 2016 opening penciled in, though that was just one of many release dates that wound up being missed. When Wyatt dropped out, Doug Liman (Edge of Tomorrow) took his place, though he too became frustrated with the lack of activity and decided to jump ship to the Justice League Dark project DC has in development.

Despite Donner reiterating that Gambit was still in the works as recently as January 2017, its omission from Fox’s 2018 slate means it looks like a 2019 release at the very earliest.

Scheduled release date: TBD

​Justice League Dark

As the director formerly attached to the long-awaited Gambit adaptation, Doug Liman knows all about the superhero genre, and he has plans to make his mark with Justice League Dark. The Edge of Tomorrow helmer announced his intentions to take DC’s team of supernatural heroes down a grounded path, earmarking a big role for one fanboy favorite. “I think people will be surprised how character-driven and how intimate Justice League Dark is in kind of a field of bloated comic book movies,” he said. “We’ve found a way to do something that’s actually really personal and small, and that’s my goal… For John Constantine, we have an amazing setup for him for Justice League Dark that’s really human.”

There are no details on which comic book story arcs are being considered for inclusion, but Liman has hinted that the movie will take an adult approach after the success of recent R-rated superhero fare, which in his opinion have opened up new possibilities within the comic book movie genre. “There’s stuff to be mined from the people who have come before me that I’m planning to bring to Justice League Dark… my good friend Simon Kinberg, with Deadpool, really pushed the arena.”

Scheduled release date: TBD

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

If Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 was ever in doubt at Marvel Studios, the box office numbers posted by the second film have made certain that Gamora, Groot, Rocket, Drax and Star-Lord will team up for a third time, though the latter hero might not be taking centre stage this time out. Director James Gunn recently admitted that he intends to “complete his trilogy” and revealed that he has already begun working on the screenplay. The most interesting part of Gunn’s interview wasn’t that the script was underway, however, it was his vision for it, which apparently involves less Chris Pratt and more Zoe Saldana—the director said he’s had “some pretty intense conversations” with the actress about Gamora taking a more prominent role in the final Guardians outing.

There’s no slated release date as of yet, though casting news is already starting to trickle through, with Gunn confirming that Elizabeth Debicki will reprise her role as Ayesha, the Golden High Priestess of the Sovereign. “I absolutely plan on bringing Elizabeth Debicki back. She’s actually one of my favorite actors I’ve ever worked with. I think on this movie between her, Pom Klementieff who plays Mantis, and Chris Sullivan who plays Taserface, they really were three of the best actors I’ve ever worked with and were all such a joy on this film to deal with that I would love to deal with them again.”

Scheduled release date: TBD

Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen

The Guillermo del Toro chapter in the history of Hellboy is officially over, with confirmation in that an R-rated reboot is in development. Hellboy creator Mike Mignola first broke the news via Facebook, updating his fans with everything he could reveal at this stage. “Okay, here’s some news,” he wrote. “There IS going to be another HELLBOY MOVIE. It’s going to be an R rated reboot directed by Neil Marshall (The Descent, Game Of Thrones) and starring David Harbour (Stranger Things) as Hellboy.” Mignola signed on for co-writing duties alongside Andrew Cosby and Christopher Golden, according to The Hollywood Reporter, who have confirmed that the film has a working title of Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen.

The script is already done according to Cosby, who recently told Silver Screen Beat that the horror elements associated with the character will be fully embraced in the reboot. “I can’t really talk about specifics with regard to the story, which they’re keeping a pretty tight lid on at the moment, but I can say that this is a darker, more gruesome version of Hellboy. Neil said from the very beginning that he wanted to walk a razor’s edge between horror and comic book movie, which was music to my ears, because that’s what I was shooting for in the script, and precisely what Mignola does so well with the comics.”

Scheduled release date: TBD

Silver Sable and the Black Cat

On top of their recent Venom news, Sony is also outlining plans to expand their budding Spider-Man universe and take full advantage of the Marvel properties they currently have the rights to. The pair the studio has chosen to focus on has come as something of a surprise, however, as both are minor characters that have little connection in the comics other than being two of Spidey’s many female conquests. With the positive fan reaction to Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman about to drop and Brie Larson’s debut appearance as Captain Marvel not too far off now, Sony execs are banking on female superheroes being the flavor of the month for a while yet and clearly hope to get in on the action.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Chris Yost (who worked on upcoming MCU installment Thor: Ragnarok) has been hired to tidy up a script penned by Lisa Joy, the co-creator of HBO’s Westworld. Ruthless mercenary Silver Sable, who has been both an ally and an enemy to Spider-Man over the years, has never been portrayed onscreen before, though Black Cat did pop up in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Well, kind of: Rogue One star Felicity Jones appeared briefly as a character called Felicia Hardy (Black Cat’s real name in the comics), though no connection to the acrobatic cat burglar was ever made.

Read More: http://www.looper.com/62046/upcoming-superhero-movies-will-blow-away/?utm_campaign=clip

Upcoming superhero movies that’ll blow you away

Badass Taiwanese Gamer Recreates His Entire High School on Minecraft

A Minecraft player in Taiwan has attracted the local community of the popular sandbox video game after recreating his high school alma mater because he was missing it badly.

The physical school

The player, a member of Taiwanese online network Dcard, started reproducing New Taipei Municipal Panchiao Senior High School in his first year of university and has now been building it for two years.

The virtual school

The player has recreated the school’s administrative building, library, swimming pool and campus in great detail, Taiwan News reported.

The administrative building

The library’s second floor

The swimming pool

With the help of his friends’ photos and Google Maps, he started with the school’s athletics field and surrounding buildings before constructing the main buildings.

The athletics field

The museum

The library entrance

He also had to visit the school to take photos and build the structures in better detail.

A normal classroom

A computer classroom

A small lecture hall

While the player acknowledged that there are still unfinished classrooms, walls and other areas, he still received praise for the impressive details that captured the actual look of the school, including drinking fountains, CNA noted.

The school facade

He is uncertain about when everything will be finished, but he hopes to incorporate a mystery plot and adventure map within the campus in the future.

Watch the video below for more details:

Badass Taiwanese Gamer Recreates His Entire High School on Minecraft

At the next Minecon, no tickets required

Annual gathering of the Minecraft fans has ditched physical interaction for digital.


A child plays Minecraft at the 2015 Minecon in London, England. The game’s creator, Mojang, announced Tuesday that this year’s convention would be a free online event to air November 18. (Reuters)

Fans of the video game Minecraft will only have to travel as far as their computer for this year’s Minecon.

Mojang, the company behind Minecraft, announced Tuesday that its annual convention, Minecon, will not be held in a physical location but rather will be produced and streamed free to fans across the world November 18.

The company is dubbing it Minecon Earth and offered few details of what viewers would see during the 90-minute interactive show.

The reason for the switch was due to accessibility for the game’s huge audience, the company posted on Minecraft.net.

“The Minecraft community is still growing, and there’s only a certain number of players we can host while keeping the friendly, intimate community atmosphere that’s made previous MINECONs so special,” wrote Owen Jones, Mojang’s director of creative communications in an announcement.

The desktop version of the game has been downloaded more than 26.5 million times, according to the website.

Traditionally, annual Minecons have been hosted in various cities for the past seven years with tickets costing an upward of $100 and selling out immediately. The convention would draw thousands of fans to see the best costumes from the game and hear from Minecraft developers and experts.


Kids compete in a Minecraft costume contest at the first Minefaire, held in Philadelphia in October 2016. The event will be held this month at the Dulles Expo Center in Dulles, Virginia. (Minefaire)

As an alternative to the actual convention, Mojang is promoting official community Minecraft events across the country for groups of local fans to gather. One such organizer is Minefaire, which will be hosting its first Northern Virginia event August 19-20 at the Dulles Expo Center in Dulles, Virginia.

The event will feature Minecraft YouTube personalities and events where attendees can play with other Minecrafters.

At the next Minecon, no tickets required

‘Minecraft Story Mode’ Season 2 Dated, Season 1 Coming To Switch

The second episode of the second season of Minecraft Story Mode will premiere August 15th, developer Telltale announced today. It will be available digitally for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC, Mac, iOS and Android.

Titled “Giant Consequences,” episode two will follow main character Jesse to an “icy unknown,” after the events of the first episode introduced them to a foe with the capabilities of ending entire cities. The episode will continue Telltale’s new “Crowd Play” feature, which allows others to help a player make decisions during the game’s narrative.

Alongside the new episode, Telltale announced today that the first season of Minecraft would be coming in its entirety to the Nintendo Switch. The Complete Edition will be available digitally or physically on August 22nd and will have all five regular episodes, as well as three bonus episodes originally only available in the ‘Adventure Pass’ add-on series. A retail version of the first season was released for other consoles last December.

Season two is expected to get a similar full release later this fall.

Minecraft Story Mode is a joint venture between Telltale and Mojang that tells a story within the Minecraft Universe. Since its original launch in 2015, Story Mode has received mixed reviews from critics, who have praised the game’s humor and criticized its technical issues.

‘Minecraft Story Mode’ Season 2 Dated, Season 1 Coming To Switch

Minecraft Marketplace adds 5 new community-created content packs

Minecraft is adding more community content to the Marketplace with a new batch of content packs.

A whole slew of content is hitting the Minecraft Marketplace today thanks to five new community-created packs. Most notable is the Infinity Dungeon EX map, which generates a new dungeon every time you enter. On top of that, however, players can now get their hands on a bunch of new skins with packs themed after summer fun, sports, medieval kings, and more.

Here’s a quick look at all of the new packs hitting the Marketplace today:

  • Infinity Dungeon EX – Fight alone or alongside friends through an intense randomly-generated dungeon full of horrible dangers, tricky puzzles and amazing treasure! Discover the secret of the Infinity Core, but make sure to watch your back…
  • Summer Festival Skin Pack – Throw on your summer gear and hop down to the beach! Live life like a turtle or a mermaid, and show off those summer colors with this seasonal skin pack!
  • Survivors Skin Pack – The world has gone to ruins, but these characters manage to survive against all odds. This skin pack is all about the rough-and-tough adventurers who use their strength and ingenuity to survive yet another day.
  • Kings and Paupers Skin Pack – From the heights of the castle down to the streets of the city, this pack will immerse you in the European medieval era. Serve as a virtuous queen, live as a beggar, bake bread, or handle the axe as an executioner in service of the crown!
  • Sports Skin Pack – Transform into an athlete with the Sports Skin Pack! Team player? Pick up a ball as a volleyball or soccer player. In the mood for gracefully sliding around? Become a figure skater or hockey player. Choose from 15 different sports and get your game on.

As far as cost is concerned, each pack runs 310 coins each. The exception is the Infinity Dungeon EX map, which is slightly more expensive at 830 coins.

This comes after the initial introduction of the Minecraft Marketplace in May, which is a place for Minecraft community creator partners to sell their work to players. Anyone on the Bedrock Engine, which currently includes Minecraft on Windows 10 and Mobile platforms, can pick up the new Marketplace content now. Minecraft on Xbox One and Nintendo Switch are expected to join the Bedrock ecosystem soon.

Minecraft Marketplace adds 5 new community-created content packs

Game of Thrones addicts recreate fantasy world Westeros in Minecraft six years after first brick was laid

Stunning footage shows how thousands of Game of Thrones fanatics have painstakingly recreated the fantasy world of Westeros using Minecraft .

A video of the model, entitled WesterosCraft , includes some of the most iconic settings in the HBO hit show that have been built using the game.

Featured areas include Kings Landing, High Hermitage, Misty Isle, Castamere and Oldstones in the latest glimpse into the virtual world – where the first brick was laid in 2011.

Thousands of gamers have contributed their efforts free of charge to help construct WesterosCraft since the launch.

Iconic settings in the HBO show have been built in block form (Image: Westeroscraft)
Minecraft players starting building WesterosCraft in 2011 (Image: Westeroscraft)
The model is about 65 per cent completed (Image: Westeroscraft)
It is believed thousands of players have contributed to WesterosCraft (Image: Westeroscraft)
 

Eventually, the world will serve as the setting for a game to allow players to take part in their own Game of Thrones-style adventures.

It was reported GoT star Isaac Hempstead-Wright was so impressed with the large-scale model he contributed to a voiceover to promote WesterosCraft .

Minecraft resembles a Lego simulator and has become an internet phenomenon, with 100 million regular users.

Eventually the world will serve as the setting for a game to allow players to take part in their own adventures (Image: Westeroscraft)
Cities and places of interest have been recreated in the latest video (Image: Westeroscraft)
The hit HBO show is currently in its seventh season (Image: Westeroscraft)
A completion date has not been set on the project (Image: Westeroscraft)

It allows kids and child-like adults to build massive structures out of blocks, before uploading them so others can explore the creations.

According to its website, about 65 per cent of WesterosCraft has been completed.

Game of Thrones is currently part way through its seventh season.

Game of Thrones addicts recreate fantasy world Westeros in Minecraft six years after first brick was laid

We Just Learned How Minecraft Can Do 1080p on the Nintendo Switch

Minecraft for the Nintendo Switch is about to look dramatically better when connected to televisions, and it’s thanks to the cautionary diligence of its console handlers that we’re seeing it now, a few months after release. The game shipped on May 11 locked in both handheld and TV mode at 720p, pushing on the order of about a million pixels. After the update, it’ll run at 1080p in TV mode, and push over twice as many pixels.

How’d they do it? Microsoft told TIME in May that the reason for the lower resolution involved “issues currently experienced shifting from one resolution to the other when docking/undocking.” The company passed along speculation from 4J Studios that 1080p might be attainable, but it couldn’t promise anything.

I just spoke with 4J Studios CTO Richard Reavy, and it turns out the issue of getting Minecraft for the Switch to 1080p involved double and triple checking the interface — and a bit of performance optimization. (4J develops all console versions of Minecraft.)

Reavy tells me the game needed further optimization to handle 1080p comfortably, but that the studio was confident it could make that happen given sufficient time.

“We did spend some time analyzing our GPU usage and optimizing things before we did this move as well,” he says. “We needed to spend some time looking at the fill rate and being more careful with that, just because of the number of pixels in 1080p. We kind of knew we could do the optimization and we would get there with the performance. But yeah, ultimately, the fundamental problem was switching resolution.”

More specifically, switching the user interface at different resolutions. Reavy tells me the user interface on each of the console versions — besides the Switch, they include the PlayStation 3 and 4, PS Vita, Xbox 360 and One, and the Wii U — have custom user interfaces. “Every interface seam is handcrafted by our art team to suit the exact resolution of the console it’s on,” says Reavy. Everything through May ran at a fixed resolution. But when the Switch arrived, 4J Studios had to grapple with its signature feature: transitioning dynamically between different resolutions without hiccups or pauses.

“We wanted to make sure the transition was really slick, and that the user wouldn’t notice anything, like it taking seconds unloading one user interface system for another,” he says. “And also because you can dock and undock your console at any point, it can be quite problematic that the user could switch the console at a really inopportune moment.” This explains Microsoft’s delay in rolling out the feature between May and now: 4J Studios simply wanted the time to thoroughly vet the user interface while changing resolution at any point while playing the game.

For now, 1080p is the biggest technical revision. The draw distance is still a bit lower than on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, you’re limited to “Medium” world sizes (3,072-by-3,072 blocks versus “Large,” which supports 5,120-by-5,120 blocks) and you don’t get the checkbox to create “Amplified” terrain. “Everything else is unchanged at present,” says Reavy. “We really just wanted to make sure jumping up the resolution wouldn’t cause any problems.”

Those differences may fade when, later this fall, Minecraft for the Switch transitions to the much more versatile and scalable “bedrock engine” that currently runs on Windows 10, iOS and Android devices. And it’s at that point things get really interesting, because Microsoft and Nintendo will be doing something that has no industry precedent, allowing Xbox One, iPhone, Windows PC and Nintendo Switch owners to play together in a single, seamlessly backend-unified ecosystem.

We Just Learned How Minecraft Can Do 1080p on the Nintendo Switch

Official ‘Minecraft’ Magazine out in the UK, coming to the US “SOON”

It’s no secret that Minecraft‘s [$6.99] true intention is to be present everywhere, and the latest endeavor is another step in that direction. As announced recently, Mojang is working together with Egmont to publish an all new Minecraft: Official Magazine, which will exist in physical form. The magazine is already out in the UK and will be traveling to another countries “as soon as logistically possible.” The new magazine is 60-pages long and filled with all kinds of tips, tricks, survival stories, and much more. The tips and tricks part contains various builds broken down into detailed steps to help readers figure out how to improve their skills.

In addition to the aforementioned sections, the new magazine also contains a comic starring new heroes, Bear, Scout, Sparks, and Monty. As you’d expect from a Minecraft comic, these characters each represent a segment of the Minecraft player base. You have a survivalist, a warrior, a builder, and an explorer. I continue to be pleasantly surprised by all that comes out of the Minecraft universe, and I think this magazine is going to be another big hit with the game’s players. Expect it to hit the US shores in the not-to-distant future.

 

Official ‘Minecraft’ Magazine out in the UK, coming to the US “SOON”

Minecraft’s annual convention is now an online stream

Minecon is being replaced with a free, live-streamed show called ‘Minecon Earth.’

Minecon has been a popular event for Minecraft fans since 2010, but this year the good people of Mojang are switching it up. Instead of a physical convention, it will host Minecon Earth — an interactive, live show that will be streamed online.

In an announcement, the Minecon team said that with such a large following, it’s hard to maximize how many fans can attend the convention while still keeping the “friendly, intimate community atmosphere” of previous Minecons. So instead, on November 18th, you’ll be able to stream the 90-minute-long Minecon Earth or attend a special theater screening. The plan is to “take the best bits of our previous events and incorporate them into a condensed show dedicated to all things Minecraft,” which includes showing off your specially-made Minecraft-themed costume. You’ll be able to submit your costume ahead of time for inclusion in the show. Swag will also still be a part of Minecon Earth. Exclusive goods will be on sale during the show and viewers will be able to order them online.

However, Mojang does want to keep some sort of in-person experience in the mix, so it’s also going to support community events led by approved partners like Minefaire, Minevention and Blockfest. Like regular Minecon, these events will feature popular YouTubers and streamers as well as tournaments and costume contests.

More information about Minecon Earth will be released in the near future and for those who are bummed about not being able to attend Minecon this year, check out our coverage of the 2015 event that took place in London.

Minecraft’s annual convention is now an online stream

The Cubist Revolution: Minecraft For All

The cubist revolution, now in its eighth year, is thriving.

That’s Minecraft cubes, of course.

The game where you build virtual Lego-like worlds and populate them with people, animals and just about everything in between is one of the most popular games ever made; it’s second only to Tetris as the best-selling video game of all time. There’s gold in them thar cubes: More than 120 million copies have sold since Minecraft launched in 2009.*

So what’s behind the game’s enduring appeal?

For Isiah Hammonds, 9, it’s all about the creative potential every time you fire up your computer.

“You can build anything – anything that you put your mind to! You can work with other people. It’s social. It’s just super fun!” he says while focusing intensely on finishing his virtual ice arena with his multi-player team of fellow Minecraft campers in Richmond, Calif. “It’s for our ice boat racing.”

Hammonds, a third-grader, is in a basement room in Richmond’s City Hall, next to the cafeteria and a janitor’s closet. There are long, narrow white tables with black computer monitors on top.

A lot of tech summer camps like this can cost upwards of $1,000 a week — but these 20 children are in a city hall basement because the space is free.

So is the program, which is run by the non-profit Building Blocks for Kids Collaborative with help from a group called Connected Camps.

It serves predominantly low-income African-American and Hispanic children, many of whom face basic barriers to catching the tech and gaming bug — like access to the internet and access to devices.

A lot of the children here are playing Minecraft for the first time, explains the camp’s digital literacy director, Teresa Jenkins. That’s because a lot of the families who come here don’t have computers at home. Or if they do, she says, they can’t afford high-speed internet or it’s simply not a priority.

“Rent. Food. Gas. ‘How am I doing to get the kids back and forth to school? How am I going to get back and forth to work? ‘ ” says Jenkins, “that’s the priority.”

Richmond is gentrifying amid the Bay Area’s tech-driven economic boom. But the city remains one of the area’s poorest, with a poverty rate of nearly 18 percent.

Children here can see San Francisco from their city and hear all about nearby Silicon Valley and its bevy of industry-disrupting companies, “but they don’t imagine they can be a part of that industry,” says Jennifer Lyle, the executive director of Building Blocks for Kids Collaborative.

This Minecraft camp, Lyle says, is trying to change that ‘we’re not welcome in tech’ feeling some low-income families in Richmond have. “To get people to come here and say, ‘No, our child deserves to have access to this,’ ” she says.

It starts by introducing young people and their parents “to the kinds of things wealthier folks get access to because they have the means,” she explains, getting “grounding in computers they’re not getting in school.”

Minecraft gets high marks from diverse quarters for its education potential. The game can help teach the basics of computer literacy and the key foundations of coding, animation, circuitry and more.

Children can absorb the broccoli of computer knowledge while reveling in the popcorn of building elaborate worlds out of cubes. And in camps like this, they can learn to work together as a team, says Morgan Ames, a postdoctoral scholar at U.C. Berkeley who helped create this camp and has studied its impact.

Campers here, she says, get to work through “the steps of designing something technological that somebody else will play.” Using aMinecraft tool called redstone circuits, kids can “think through the basics of circuits.”

But to really get that full experience, kids need the PC or Mac version of the game. A version not all have access to, Ames says. Ames also co-authored a study of Minecraft, this camp, and equity and access gaps by race, class and gender.

“Generally we found that middle- and upper middle-income kids play the PC version more. Boys tend to play it more than girls. And in general, white kids tend to play it more than children of color,” Ames says.

And that’s troubling, she says, because the PC version is simply a richer version of the game. “It has more options. It has more opportunities to learn to code. And we wanted to make it more accessible,” she says.

More accessible for children such as Jaiden Newton, 9. On this day I find her eagerly conspiring with her brother in a multi-player game at the camp.

“So he’s trying to build an underground tunnel to the other person’s arena so he can steal the flag,” she tells me.

She makes her way past a dazzling cube inside one of her elaborate cube structures.

“Those are Ender Pearls. It’s like a teleportation,” she says.

How long have you been playing Minecraft? I ask.

“About three weeks,” she says.

Lots of studies (and books and reports) show African-Americans and Latinos continue to be underrepresented in engineering and technical fields, alongside women. Silicon Valley continues to have a serious gender gap problem.

Ames says she’s collecting more data but her preliminary look shows that the tools out there to learn more about Minecraft — online forums, videos and the like — are dominated by boys.

Camps like this are vital, Ames says, to help change that equation.

Or as program director Jennifer Lyle puts it, this camp helps send a message to our parents, schools and Silicon Valley “we belong here.”

*[Note: Minecraft was purchased by Microsoft Corp. from developers Mojang in 2014. The foundation created by Microsoft founder Bill Gates is a financial supporter of NPR and NPR Ed.]

The Cubist Revolution: Minecraft For All

China’s Forbidden City has been recreated in billions of bricks in ‘Minecraft’

Okay, that’s dedication.

A small team of Minecraft users have spent more than two years building a virtual model of China’s Forbidden City.

The effort eventually came down to two guys labouring over the course of over two years, to lay down billions of bricks to eventually recreate the 600-year-old UNESCO World Heritage site.

The team was led by 22-year-old Su Yijun from Guangzhou, who orchestrated the plan from scratch in 2014, as volunteers dropped out one by one from the gargantuan task, Sixth Tone reports.

Their virtual creation covers a square grid of 100 million blocks, and even replicates furniture inside, from the Emperor’s throne, to the traditional Chinese-style beds of the time.

His video has been viewed some 870,000 times on Bilibili, a Chinese video portal.

The most difficult part of the project, he says, was being unable to visit and construct parts of the Forbidden City that are not open to the public.

“Many areas are not open to the public and….the interior decorations were not as how they originally appeared,” he told Sixth Tone.

Here's the Forbidden City IRL
Here’s the Forbidden City IRL

Image: PILIPEY/EPA/REX/Shutterstock

The Minecraft version
The Minecraft version

Image: 国家建筑师/bilibili

Real lion at the gates
Real lion at the gates

Image: LightRocket via Getty Images

Minecraft lion
Minecraft lion

Image: 国家建筑师/Bilibili

The Forbidden City was a Chinese imperial palace that served as the home for 24 emperors. It was so named because it was closed to the public for hundreds of years.

The palace grounds cover a span of 74 hectares, and attracts over 14 million tourists to Beijing to see it each year.

China’s Forbidden City has been recreated in billions of bricks in ‘Minecraft’

Minecraft’s cross-platform ‘Better Together’ update arrives in beta

Minecraft’s “Better Together Update” is rolling out now in beta, for players on Windows 10 PCs and Android devices. That means players on either platform with the beta installed will be able to participate in games from either type of device, together in cross-platform play.

This update was originally revealed at E3 back in June, and includes other feature additions like community servers and a community Marketplace with paid add-ons. There are also a range of new in-game item types, multiplayer host and permission options, and more.

The beta is also set to roll out for Xbox One “soon,” Microsoft says, which will add the gaming console to the cross-platform action. Microsoft also said when the update was announced that it’ll eventually add support for the Play Together Update to iOS, Nintendo Switch and VR devices (Sony was apparently offered the chance to participate in the update for PlayStation, but declined).

To get in on the beta, players will need the Xbox Insider app for Windows 10 and Xbox One, and on Android they’ll need to have Google Play and of course everyone will need a copy of the game.

This could be huge for unifying Minecraft’s massive player community, which is already quite the club.

Minecraft’s cross-platform ‘Better Together’ update arrives in beta

This guy who recreated his entire high school on Minecraft must have really, really missed it

Now this is dedication.

A Mincecraft player in Taiwan decided to recreate their entire school on the sandbox video game because they missed it so much.

The gamer, along with a few friends who attended the Banqiao Senior High School in Taipei, started working on recreating their school during their first year of university.

It took them two years to recreate the entire campus:

The amount of detail is incredible. From the athletics field:

Image: @MINECRAFTPCSH/FACEBOOK

To the swimming pool:

Image: @MINECRAFTPCSH/FACEBOOK

And just the general facade — there’s nothing this Minecraft player has missed out on.

Image: @minecraftpcsh/facebook

“I started this [project] in my freshman year because of homesickness,” said the gamer in an online blogpost.

The gamer, along with three other high school classmates, then started on the project in 2014.

But the project is far from over.

“There are still many parts of the school that are not completed, because we are very busy,” they said. “Only 87% is complete.”

The group have set up a Facebook page, to keep people updated about the project that they hope to complete soon.

Given it already looks amazing, we can’t wait to see how it turns out.

This guy who recreated his entire high school on Minecraft must have really, really missed it

Why The Emoji Movie Fails

The Emoji Movie might have been 💯 . It might have been a work of quiet genius, in the manner of Toy Story or The Lego Movie or Inside Out: a quirky and soulful exploration of the worlds that exist in parallel to our own, investing objects that would seem merely to be dully inanimate with story and, thus, empathy. It might have been, too, a particularly timely exploration of smartphones and their contents: Here, after all, are objects that are with so many of us, at our sides and in our hands, humming bits of glass and metal that tell a million little stories with each swipe, and each tap, and each touch of a warm human pulse.

But: no. The Emoji Movie, instead, is a frenetic mishmash—not so much a single story of a parallel world so much as a roller-coaster-y tour of some of the apps of 2017: Spotify, Instagram, Twitter, Candy Crush, even Dropbox. Everything, here, is branded—even the parallel world itself, Textopolis, which is home to Gene, the offspring of two “meh” emojis. Gene is, in the grand tradition of such for-kids-but-also-not-totally-for-kids films, Different. He is not limited, in the way of the emoji, to one expression; he can make them all. But in order to realize that which makes him Different might actually make him Special, Gene first goes on a dizzying journey—through Textopolis, yes, but also through Spotify and Just Dance and YouTube and, in general, late capitalism as it is understood and manufactured by the Hollywood of the moment.

Because of that—and because also, ironically, of the premise that might have been 💯—critics eviscerated The Emoji Movie. Really gleefully eviscerated it. (Schadenfreudenunicoden?) The New York Times called it “nakedly idiotic.” BuzzFeed wrote that “it’s barely a movie so much as a confused attempt to both condescend to an audience about their short attention spans thanks to mobile devices while also trying to profit off of that very same audience.” Gizmodo did an all-emoji review of the film featuring, primarily, the Thinking Face emoji in several permutations. So critically unloved was this film—so squandered the promise it represented—that for a moment it seemed to be in contention for that rarest of honors: a 0 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. (Alas, even that moon-shooting was a failure: The film currently stands at an awkward score of 7 percent.)

In a weird way, then, The Emoji Movie is not just a critical flop, but also a metaphor for a Hollywood that is struggling to find the line between branding that audiences love and branding that audiences resent. Here is a film that takes some of the most intimate tools of people’s lives—the hearts and eggplants and joy-tears and tacos and other images that help them to express their love, and their desire, and their sadness—and considers how wacky it would be if one of those images was actually a guy named Gene. Here is a film that takes the revolution that has resulted from the advent of digital communication and whimsically brands it. Emojis, after all, are not just the little doodads that live in your WhatsApp. They are also, in the most basic and most profound of ways, tools—parts of a global continuum that has included everything from hieroglyphs to emoticons to text itself. They ask questions about what it really means for something, at this point in human history, to be “universal.”

The Emoji Movie, as it happens, shares a rough premiere date with The Emoji Code, the new book from the scholar and prolific author Vyvyan Evans. Evans’s book (subtitle: The Linguistics Behind Smiley Faces and Scaredy Cats) is an analysis—aimed at a popular audience—of the academic research that has been conducted about emojis since their creation in the late 1990s. It summons linguistics, and psychology, and cognitive science to consider why emojis have proven so popular and, so far, enduring. It reads, often, as a defense of what Evans refers to as Emoji, with a capital E: the complicated system of pictographs that augment text in digital communication. The collection of unicode that, Evans argues, “enables us to provide the non-verbal cues otherwise missing from textspeak.”

Evans’s book is a thorough exploration, in other words, of the extremely two-dimensional stars of The Emoji Movie. But it is also, in its arguments, something of an implied condemnation of The Emoji Movie. In Evans’s science-informed telling, emojis are not a language unto themselves, as has sometimes been suggested, but rather tools of communication that are productively basic: useful bridges of the emotional gaps that can exist in the dull black and white of text as it is rendered on a screen. The Emoji Code in many ways champions emojis against those who have seen the cheeky pictographs not as extensions of English, but as a threat to it—and to, by extension, language as we have known it.

And while that framing can itself occasionally read as overly two-dimensional—there are few people, at this point, who seem to believe that emojis will be the death of English, or any other language—it also situates The Emoji Code well with the ideas espoused by the linguist John McWhorter, and by the linguist Gretchen McCulloch, and by so many other canny observers of English as it lives and grows in its new digital environments: Language, breathing free, is its own kind of democracy. And that is evident online, in particular, where a good turn of phrase, or a new meme, or indeed a cleverly deployed emoji, can be so easily amplified and adapted and woven into the language. Emojis, in particular, are elastic in that way: They can mean whatever the writer, and whatever the recipient, decide they mean, together.

That can lead to a productive kind of ambiguity. Remember that tattoo Drake got a few years ago, which could be read either as two hands, praying, or as two hands, frozen in a high five? The star, as New York’s Adam Sternbergh pointed out, finally settled the matter: “I pity the fool who high-fives in 2014,” Drake clarified on his Instagram. But there would be many more debates in that vein. Are those dancing twins, symbols of female friendship, or Playboy bunnies, symbols of female objectification? Is that a toothy mouth-gape a grin or a grimace? When I texted “Drinks?” and you texted back, “🐙,” what did you mean?

This kind of ambiguity, Evans suggests, also gives way to useful flexibility. It allows emojis the kind of semantic suppleness that helps them to humanize, and augment, and otherwise expand, our text-based communications. Emojis can function as punctuation. They can work as pictographic versions of “lol.” They can convey personality—identity—with notable economy. Slack, the group-messaging service widely used for professional chatting, recently offered users the ability to add emojis to their handles, as a kind of status update—a 📅  would mean “in a meeting,” a 🚌  would mean “commuting,” a 🌴  would mean “on vacation,” and so on. Almost immediately, though, the service’s users expanded on Slack’s idea: They began using the emoji-status capability to augment their handles in more playful and expressive ways. Suddenly, Slack chats proliferated with people whose names were accompanied by screaming cats and expressionless faces and tiny, squared portraits of Jay-Z. The emojis had been used for a different purpose than the one originally intended. They had been made at once more fun and more expressive of users’ identities. They had been, in their way, democratized.

It’s a small point when it comes to emojis but a bigger one when it comes to the political power of language. Emojis are part of a broader phenomenon playing out across social media: English is exploding, at the moment, with new words and new grammars and new modes of human expression. It is alive—not in the way the creators of The Emoji Movie have imagined on our behalf (hey again, Gene), but in a much more meaningful way. As Evans puts it:

While Emoji will surely continue to evolve, and other systems and codes will be developed that will complement and, doubtless, replace Emoji as it currently exists, its emergence provides the beginning of a more or less level playing field, between face-to-face interaction and digital communication—better enabling effective communication in the digital sphere.

The Emoji Movie is notable in part because, in its very conceit, it pushes back against all of that buzzing evolution. It tries to brand it. It tries to turn it into intellectual property. As Alex French reported in a fantastic piece for The New York Times Magazine, there’s a booming business in Hollywood right now, one that involves taking existing intellectual property and, through the insistent alchemy of the studio budget, converting it into a Story. Angry Birds. Battleship. Fruit Ninja. Jumanji. And on and on.

Films like this are of course part of a much larger trend in Hollywood, the one that involves comic-book franchises, and sequels-to-sequels, and a hefty reliance on the general notion of the “universe”—films that give rise to anxieties about the reboot industrial complex and that cause people to wonder, extremely fairly, whether Hollywood is simply out of new ideas. (In 2016, La La Land was the only film of the year’s 20 top-grossers to have been wholly original—that is, not based on existing material. In 1996, nine of those 20 had been based on original screenplays.)

But The Emoji Movie and its fellow travelers are different. They aren’t merely adapting stories from another genre; they are taking something that has no story of its own—the toy, the game, the emotion—and attempting to inject story into it. As the producer Tripp Vinson told French, the changes that have come about in Hollywood over the past decade have “forced me to look at everything as though it could be I.P.” Sometimes, the results of that general approach to the world—everything can be a story—are delightful. Sometimes, they can be creatively Lego Movie-esque, their imagined worlds allowing for satire and allegory as well as entertainment. Many more times, though, those films read as cynical. They scan less as works of cinema than as weary exercises in forced anthropomorphism: big-screen versions of Clippy. (“It looks like you’re writing the script for a soulless cash grab! Would you like help?”)

And that’s another problem with The Emoji Movie. It takes all the productive linguistic experimentation that is happening every day—every minute—every second—in people’s phones and lives and reduces it down to stock characters who go through the motions of extremely conventional storytelling. Sony won The Emoji Movie in a bidding war against, reportedly, Warner Bros. and Paramount. In that sense, Gene belongs to the studio. But in another sense, Gene does not belong to anyone. Those silly little pictographs belong to us all. The Emoji Movie grafts its own plot onto the tools that real people, people who are not Hollywood studio executives, have been using to write their own stories, to have their own fun, to tell their own truths. No wonder the movie made them, in the end, a little bit 😡.

Why The Emoji Movie Fails

‘Schoolifying’ Minecraft Without Ruining It

Steven Isaacs — @mr_isaacs on Twitter — is a full-time technology teacher in Baskingridge, N.J. He’s also the co-founder of a new festival that set the Guinness World Record for largest gathering dedicated to a single video game.

The game that cements both halves of his life together? Minecraft.

(In case you haven’t heard, Minecraft, originally developed by Markus Persson of Sweden, offers players the chance to build a 3-D world out of “blocks.” Since its release in 2009, Minecraft has sold more than 121 million copies, making it the best-selling game of all time after another blocky favorite, Tetris.)

Other games allow you to fight monsters, construct giant castles, build power plants, navigate mazes, chop down trees for wood, survive in the wilderness or band together into guilds. Minecraft has all of the above. It is so open-ended, in fact, that some refer to it as a platform instead of a game, or an “infinite Lego set.”

It wasn’t long before an advance guard of teachers like Isaac started using the game in classrooms. One, Joel Levin of New York, co-founded a company called TeacherGaming which came out with a modified classroom version, MinecraftEdu.

In 2014, Microsoft bought Minecraft. This past school year, the company purchased MinecraftEdu and launched an official Minecraft: Education Edition.

Teachers are using Minecraft in every imaginable subject, from literature to social studies to math. Build a 3-D diorama of an archaeological dig; retell a Japanese folktale; test bridge designs in different materials. Isaacs’ students build video games within the game.

In Diane Main’s computer science class at a private school in San Jose, students interview each other and then build each other’s dream homes, based on what they learn about their “clients.”

“It’s the weirdest thing in the world to think about,” muses Meenoo Rami. A 10-year classroom veteran and national board certified teacher, Rami now works for Microsoft, spreading the Minecraft gospel to fellow teachers.

“A little tiny company creates a game and it goes insane,” she says. “It’s not meant for learning, but some adventurous teachers think it might be good for learning” and start doing, she says, “super cool stuff.”

Then, a giant corporation gets ahold of it.

The acquisition by Microsoft, and the transition from Edu to EE, has set up a classic tension: What happens when a phenomenon nurtured by amateurs suddenly goes mainstream? And will it be good or bad for students?

At the skate park

In the Edu days, teachers set up and maintained their own servers — a server is a single version of the game that a certain number of users can play in together. This required some technical know-how, but also allowed for lots of experimentation and customization, or “mods”.

“Scrappy educators and hackers and YouTubers kept adding stuff on, and it was very much an organic, geek-led movement,” says Mimi Ito, a cultural anthropologist at UC Irvine who studies how children and teens use media. She is also the founder of an online Minecraft summer camp.

Ito compares the game to a skateboarding park: a place that kids flock to and have a blast while also picking up wicked cool new tricks. “Kids are mostly hanging out, but they’re also learning from each other,” she explains. “Some are more advanced and are displaying their skills, so there are open invites to level up.”

Minecraft as a teaching tool wraps up so many contemporary trends in education. It’s inherently collaborative. “The multiplayer part is really at the heart of it,” says Isaacs, noting that many other tech tools available are, at best, “two kids, one computer.”

It’s creative, because it’s almost entirely open-ended.

And new features keep expanding the possibilities. The Minecraft material “redstone,” which simulates electrical circuits, offers the chance to layer-in engineering lessons too. Code Builder allows students to use programming tools to perform tasks within the game.

Stampy Cat and Gizzy Gazza, and Office365

But the most important factor that makes teachers gravitate toward Minecraft is that so many, many kids really love it.

That’s what Isaacs discovered when more than 12,000 “crazed fans and their parents” paid between $49 and $79 to attend the first Minefaire, last October in Philadelphia. They’re fans not only of the game itself, but of YouTube celebrities with millions of subscribers. Essentially, Minecraft has its own rock stars, with names like Mr Stampy Cat and Gizzy Gazza.

With all this grassroots enthusiasm, it’s not surprising that Microsoft would identify Minecraft as an important trend. The tech giant has been eager to re-establish itself in the classroom market. Microsoft Office was once standard in schools. But with Apple and Google now dominating in devices and Google in free classroom software, the company needed a new inroad.

Microsoft’s Minecraft is a little different than what came before. The Education Edition conforms better to traditional lesson planning, particularly grading. For example, you can take pictures of what you built with a “Camera” and create a “Portfolio” with commentary to document your project.

If you don’t want students shooting off fire cannons in the middle of a science lesson, you can block that feature. There is a “Classroom” mode and even “chalkboards.”

The Education Edition also has different licensing that makes it, in most cases, more expensive for school districts. It requires schools to be registered on Microsoft’s platform.

Taken together, the changes have some observers wondering whether the company is going to turn Minecraft into a product, with all the ubiquity — and all the fun — of PowerPoint or Office.

‘The scrappy, user-generated Minecraft’

“There’s some danger in having it become more packaged and commercial, losing that energy that was more about this scrappy user-generated Minecraft,” says Ito. In the old days, she explained, teachers bought MinecraftEdu once, with licenses for each machine. Students kept their individual accounts from year to year, and inside and outside school, as they wished.

Now, Microsoft requires that teachers buy licenses for each student who uses Minecraft — $5 per user per year — and to renew them every year. It takes less technical know-how than maintaining a server, but in most cases this is far more expensive than the MinecraftEdu model.

“It’s an equity issue,” says Diane Main, the teacher in San Jose.

Microsoft’s Rami responds that Minecraft is a great value compared with other ed-tech products. There are bulk discounts, and the company is exploring need-based discounting as well.

On Minecraft Education’s official message boards, there are complaints about the new sales model: “As an educator I look at this and I see opportunity,” one teacher wrote. “Microsoft looked at it and said: ‘How can I make a better profit.’ ”

Rami says the company is trying its best to listen to all the feedback. Microsoft has recruited 60 of the most enthusiastic Minecraft teachers, in 20 countries, to serve as “mentors.” They “inform our work by giving us feedback and keep us honest and grounded to the work that teachers actually do in the classroom.” Main and Isaacs are both mentors.

Mentors help bring other teachers on board with Education Edition and provide suggestions for new features.

“It’s a two-way pipeline of feedback,” Main says. This is a voluntary position, but there’s also the potential to earn money by leading professional-development sessions.

In the process of cultivating this community, Microsoft has converted potential critics into supporters.

“Microsoft has been fighting an image problem, but this has softened me toward Microsoft in general,” Main says.

“They’re one of the model companies in terms of ed-tech,” agrees Isaacs.

But an issue with the pricing and licensing changes remains, says Ito. Rather than accounts belonging to individual students, they belong to the school, like a textbook that is yours for just one year.

“It’s pretty significant,” says Ito. “The identity lives within the Microsoft suite. It’s not a user identity that the kid retains and has at home.” For that reason, says Ito, many of the old-school Minecraft teachers are holding on to their MinecraftEdu licenses for now.

Main is one of them. Despite her status as a mentor, she says she can’t use Minecraft: Education Edition in her own classes, because her projects depend on students being able to sign on from home and collaborate. She says she has hope that the company will soon figure out a workaround, based on the progress they’ve made on other issues raised by teachers in the last 18 months.

Nevertheless, the shift away from individual accounts to school-based logins is part of a bigger transition that may be inevitable.

The reason teachers brought Minecraft into the classroom is because young people love it. But anything that is incorporated into schools is touched by standards, tests and grades, and often becomes mandatory.

Isaacs and Main are using Minecraft as a fun gateway to other kinds of learning with tech — and an appeal to students who don’t necessarily see themselves as stereotypical coders.

But by definition, if Minecraft becomes standard issue in more schools, it will no longer be a passionate, personal discovery for most students, or teachers for that matter.

Will it still have the same appeal and foster the same engagement?

Main says she’s had this exact debate with one of her students, a former homeschooler. “She was talking about the risk of making Minecraft suck by schoolifying it. And I said, ‘Just because you schoolify it doesn’t mean you suckify it.’ It doesn’t matter what it is, anything can be done badly or done well.”

‘Schoolifying’ Minecraft Without Ruining It

Egmont launches first official Minecraft magazine with Mojang

Mojang has partnered with UK publishing house Egmont Publishing to create the first official Minecraft magazine, which launches this week.

The 60-page launch issue, which hit stores on Tuesday, is priced at £4.99 and will have a monthly onsale period. Inside, readers will find 14 pages of hints and tips on how to become a better build, a behind-the-scenes looks at Mojang’s offices in Stockholm, as well as a whole showcase of exclusive builds that have been broken down into detailed step-by-step guides.

The Minecraft: Official Magazine will also have its own team of adventurers created by Mojang exclusively for the magazine. Sparks, Beat, Scout and Monty will present both the tips and guides section as well as star in the magazine’s official comic strip, which has been co-created by Mojang.

Egmont has a long history with Mojang, publishing a number of official books that together have sold 9m copies in the UK market to date. The Minecraft: Official Magazine is the only Minecraft mag that has been developed in partnership with Mojang for its 55m active user base.

Cally Poplak, MD Egmont Publishing said: “Outstanding publishing for children means curating and packaging quality content in a desirable print format that they can collect and share with friends. We are proud to have done this with our bestselling Minecraft books and we cannot wait to share with the Minecraft community the only magazine that Mojang endorses.”

Laura Adnitt, publishing director at Egmont Publishing UK added: “We are thrilled to be bringing this exceptional product to the UK market this summer. The appetite for Minecraft is stronger than ever and we know that the Minecraft community will devour the exclusive content in our official magazine.”

Lydia Winters, brand director at Mojang also said she was “delighted to see this magazine come to market: it is the result of many months of hard work and all things Minecraft as we worked on making the best possible magazine for our community.”

Egmont launches first official Minecraft magazine with Mojang

3D printing now in Minecraft’s beta update ‘Better Together’

Microsoft has updated Minecraft and now 3D printing is part of the blocky world. ‘Better Together’ is the name of the beta release that works with Remix 3D, a Microsoft community where users can share their work.

Minecraft players can now export their creations to Remix 3D.

3D printed Minecraft architecture. Image via Minecrafters.
3D printed Minecraft architecture. Photo via Minecrafters.


The integration of Remix 3D

3D printing Minecraft creations is not a new concept and several options have appeared in the past allowing gamers to purchase 3D printed characters and 3D printed buildings. However, this is the first time that Microsoft has integrated 3D printing into Minecraft.

Better together is also Microsoft’s first foray in allowing players to be able to join each other in the game – regardless of platform. Players on PC or console will be able to create, inspire, cooperate and compete in the update.

3D Minecraft City Render. Image via Minecraft gallery.
3D Minecraft City Render. Image via Minecraft gallery.


Why would players want to 3D print their Minecraft creations?

Minecraft is created using voxels -aka volumetric pixels- this gives the game a blocky aesthetic. The look is frequently seen in 3D design. For example the chair below.

The Voxel Chair v1.o. Photo via Design Computational Lab.
The Voxel Chair v1.o. Photo via Design Computational Lab.

The update also gives players an item that is their own creation and allows them to create models for their own 3D printed, external Minecraft model world.

Beta consoles updates making creations easily accessible

Currently the beta update for Windows 10 and Android are available – Xbox One’s beta is coming soon. Eventually the update will include Nintendo Switch.

Follow us on Twitter here.

Featured image shows the Better Together Update.

3D printing now in Minecraft’s beta update ‘Better Together’

Better Together FAQ

All the mysteries of the impending mega-update revealed!

The Better Together update is on its way! What does that mean? It means that we will soon be unifying Minecraft for console, mobile and Windows 10 into one lovely shiny edition of Minecraft. And what does that mean? That means players on those platforms will be able to join each other in-game, create, cooperate or compete together on massive servers, and access whatever swish skins and Marketplace adventure maps they own on any of their compatible devices. You can read more about the fancy features coming with the update here or jump in the beta to get an early (and probably slightly unstable) glimpse.

You probably have a few more questions about just how this whole platform convergence thing will shake down. And so we put together this crazy long FAQ for you. So many questions! So many answers! And we’re not done yet – we’ll probably be tweaking and adding to this FAQ as more info comes in.

So…

LET THE QUESTIONING BEGIN!

Q: Which version of Minecraft will you be using to unite Minecraft?

A: We’ve been developing the Minecraft version that is currently on mobile and Windows 10 since 2012, also known as our Bedrock Engine, and will be bringing it to Xbox One and Nintendo Switch as part of the Better Together Update.

Q: What will this version be called?

A: At launch, the Bedrock Engine-based version of Minecraft will be called simply Minecraft on all platforms. Our general rule of thumb is that if a version can play together with the others, it’s called Minecraft. The original Java PC version and all other isolated versions will have “Edition” names, like Minecraft: Wii U Edition and Minecraft: Java Edition.

Q: Why are you renaming the PC version of Minecraft? Does this mean that you are stopping development on the PC version?

A: Now that we have finally achieved a unified Minecraft which can be played on most devices, we wanted to simplify things and make it clear that they can all play together, so it felt to be the right time to simply call them Minecraft. We also found that the community refers to the Java PC version as the Java Edition, so it felt natural to rename it to make it more distinctive from the other versions of the game. We plan on actively supporting the Java Edition going forward with updates as we always have and have also welcomed several new members to the development team in Stockholm.

Q: When will the Better Together Update launch?

A: The Better Together Update will launch this Autumn, once it’s ready and we’ve satisfactorily evicted bugs from the premises.

Q: Who will be able to play in the Better Together Update beta?

A: All players who own a digital copy of Minecraft: Windows 10 Edition or Minecraft: Pocket Edition on Android will be able to participate in the Better Together Update Beta for Minecraft. The beta for Android and Windows 10 will be available starting today, and Xbox One will be available soon. Stay tuned to @Minecraft on Twitter for updates about beta availability.

Q: How do I get started with the Better Together Update beta?

A: Windows 10 PC beta testers will need to have downloaded the Xbox Insider app.

1. Go to the Store app on Xbox One or a Windows 10 PC.

2. Search for the Xbox Insider Hub app.

3. Download and install Xbox Insider Hub.

4. Launch the Xbox Insider Hub.

5. Navigate to Insider content > Minecraft Beta.

6. Select Join.

7. Have fun and find bugs!

Beta testers on Android will need to have devices that support Google Play and own a copy of the game purchased through the Google Play Store.

Q: I own Minecraft: Xbox One Edition on disc. Will I be able to participate in the Better Together Update beta?

A: Due to technical limitations, we’re only able to include owners of digital versions.

Q: I own Minecraft: Xbox One Edition on disc. Will I be able to get the Better Together Update for free?

A: Players who own Minecraft: Xbox One Edition on disc and have bought DLC or played for at least five hours in the past 12 months will be able to upgrade to Minecraft for free, for a limited time. If you haven’t played in the past 12 months, you can play five hours now and unlock your upgrade.

Q: Is the Better Together Update coming to all editions?

A: The Better Together Update will release for Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, mobile, VR and Windows 10 devices this fall. As long as players own the current Minecraft console edition at the time of the Better Together Update’s release, they will receive the new version of the game for free.

Q: What is going to happen to the old console edition?

A: The old console edition will not be available for new purchase after the full release of Minecraft on Xbox One and Switch. Existing owners will still be able to access and play the old console version and minigames, but those versions will not receive updates after the official release of Minecraft.

Q: I really like the worlds that I’ve built in the old version of Minecraft. Can I play them in Minecraft?

A: Yes, worlds from Minecraft: Xbox One Edition will already be there waiting for you in the play screen, so that you can continue playing. We are still working on exactly how this will work on Nintendo Switch.

Q: Are there infinite worlds in Minecraft?

A: Yes! And, if you play with a world from Minecraft: Xbox One Edition or Minecraft: Nintendo Switch Edition it will keep generating more world when you get to the old edge of your map.

Q: Is there cloud saving in Minecraft?

A: The Bedrock Engine can save files wherever they would naturally go on each platform.

Q: Will DLC content transfer over to the new version of Minecraft?

A: Our goal is to get all the existing DLC content to be transferable from the old version to the new version. For DLC pieces that are currently out on the old console version and Bedrock, like the Greek Mythology Mash-Up Pack, those entitlements will be available on the new version in Beta. A select list of content will only be available on the platform it was purchased on and not available in multiplayer. Herobrine has been removed.

Q: Since you only have to buy DLC once going forward, how will that work with console-exclusive DLC like the Halo Mash-Up Pack?

A: Platform-specific content will only be available on the platform it was purchased on and not available in multiplayer.

Q: What will happen to mini games and season passes? Will those transfer to the new console edition?

A: Players can still enjoy the existing mini games using the old console edition, and with the new version of Minecraft and community servers they’ll have access to thousands of new mini games to try out for free.

Q: Will the new version be available on PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch?

A: While we are thrilled to be able to confirm the new version of Minecraft is coming to Nintendo Switch, we are still in discussions with Sony about PlayStation and have nothing to confirm. We would love to work with Sony to bring players on PlayStation 4 into this ecosystem as well.

Q: Will players be required to have an Xbox Live Gold account or Nintendo’s paid online service to use Realms or play online with their consoles?

A: We follow the multiplayer policies for the platforms that we are on, so for example, multiplayer on Xbox One will require an Xbox Live Gold account. Players on mobile will still be able to play in multiplayer using a free Xbox Live account.

Q: Are add-ons coming to console editions?

A: Users of the new version of Minecraft on consoles can access worlds that already utilize add-ons or resource packs, can download Marketplace content with add-ons, and can use add-ons on USB drives if the platform allows it.

Q: How close in parity are Bedrock Engine platforms and the PC/Java Edition these days?

A: There will always be small differences between Bedrock and PC/Java. Going forward we plan on releasing updates for PC Java and Bedrock in similar timeframes.

Q: How will the Better Together Update change my experience playing Minecraft?

A: The Better Together Update will bring the latest and most-requested features, and give more players the chance to connect in more ways – via Realms, massive multiplayer servers, and cross-platform play.

Q: Is the Better Together Update safe for kids?

A: The Better Together Update will enable players to discover new content and creations across all devices, as well as the option to find new and like-minded players, as with any multiplayer game. Helping keep kids safe online is a priority for Minecraft, and we provide parental controls across platforms via Xbox Live which help parents choose the content, communication and sharing settings that are right for their families. For many, the most important of these is making sure that your kids are using child accounts which you have control over. To do this on Xbox, you can find out more at http://aka.ms/xblsafety.

Servers

Q: How does server integration into Minecraft and the Minecraft Marketplace work?

A: Players will be able to find and access community servers right from within Minecraft itself using a server browser. The server browser has a list of vetted server partners that they can join with one touch. Not only are we partnering with these servers to offer integrated access directly from Minecraft, but we are also providing them with monetization, store, wallet and login backend support. This takes a lot of administrative and backend work off of their plate so that they can focus on creating and maintaining great online communities.

Q: Why are you adding servers to Minecraft?

A: Minecraft has always been a game about creativity, community, and innovation. Minecraft servers open up the world of Minecraft by offering players access to a ton of minigames made by the community and millions of Minecraft players who come together to socialize and play Minecraft online.

Q: How do prospective server partners go about getting incorporated into the server browser?

A: Server owners who would like to participate in our partner program can apply at http://developer.microsoft.com/Minecraft. While we will have four servers at launch, we are interested in bringing on more partners as time goes on.

Q: Who are servers for?

A: All Minecraft players can use the servers when logged into their Xbox Live account. Minecraft server hosts are required to have registered business identities to apply for the program.

Q: Do I need an Xbox Live account to join a server?

A: Yes, you will need an Xbox Live account in order to access servers from Minecraft. An Xbox Live account is an important part of the player identity that helps players keep track of progress, identity and purchases; and helps server moderators and Minecraft and Xbox support teams keep players safe.

Q: I could already join a server on Minecraft. What does it mean when you say “servers are coming to Minecraft?”

A: For the first time, some servers will be accessible from the game menus without any additional effort from the player – no copying and pasting IP addresses, it’s as simple as clicking a button.

Q: Which servers are included right now?

A: Lifeboat, Cubecraft, InPvP and Mineplex are our first four server partners. We will add them to the Better Together beta as they become available.

Q: Why did you choose these partners instead of others? Will you be adding more?

A: All of the server partners at launch have experience hosting servers for Bedrock Engine platforms, as well as experience managing servers with tens of thousands of concurrent players at any time. Similar to the Minecraft Marketplace, we encourage server hosts to apply at creator.microsoft.com/Minecraft to become a server partner. Also like Marketplace partners, server partners will need to have examples of their work hosting Minecraft servers, be a registered business and, for now, be able to host their own servers.

Q: Can I still access other servers via direct IP connect?

A: Players will still be able to access servers from beyond the servers listed in the server browser from mobile. On consoles, due to platform restrictions, server access is limited to partner servers only.

Q: What does this mean for the future of Minecraft? Will the studio stop updating the game because new gameplay and minigames are available via servers?

A: No, similar to the launch of Minecraft Marketplace, we will still share new content and update the game from a team standpoint, but we’re also implementing a range of options and new creations from the community.

Parental Controls/Safety

Q: Are servers safe for my children to play on?

A: Servers accessed via the in-game listings utilize Xbox Live accounts, which offer parental controls that parents can use to set limits for how their kids can interact online. Our official server partners have also taken steps to ensure online play is safe and comfortable for all ages, including chat filtering, in-game reporting, and live moderation. All server partners agree to enforce the Microsoft and Xbox Live code of conduct (http://www.xbox.com/en-US/legal/codeofconduct) which outlines a broad range of behavior that should be prevented, reported or banned in server experiences.

Q: Are there parental controls that I can use to limit how my child plays/interacts on servers?

A: Yes. Minecraft and server experiences integrate with the Xbox Live account parental controls which have some privacy and parent control settings including:

Parents can turn off chat, which will allow children to join servers but not see or participate in any in-server communication with other players

Parents can limit multiplayer to ‘friends only’ or ‘no multiplayer’ which prevent children from joining servers at all.

Q: What do I do if someone is harassing me? How do I report them?

A: Both servers and Xbox Live offer tools for reporting and blocking other players. You can no longer see chat messages from players you’ve blocked, and they can’t invite you to multiplayer games or join your Realm. When you report a player, depending on the severity of the issue, customer support and enforcement teams can affect a server ban, Minecraft ban or Xbox-wide ban.

Q: Will this change Minecraft’s ESRB game rating?

A: No, our ESRB rating will remain E10+.

Q: Do you require servers to sanitize content to comply with the ESRB rating for Minecraft?

A: To be listed in the in-game server browser, we require that servers provide moderation and ensure that their content is safe and appropriate for players of all ages.

Phew! That’s it for now!

Better Together FAQ

Microsoft says it’s still trying to get Sony on board with Minecraft crossplay

Good luck

While Microsoft already tried to sweeten Sony on the Minecraft crossplay deal before their E3 announcement, it was to no avail. They had already gotten Apple, Google, and Nintendo on board with the concept, but currently market leader Sony seemingly didn’t want anything to do with it.

A new FAQ dealing with the “Better Together” update however informs us that Microsoft is still trying to win them over, stating: “While we are thrilled to be able to confirm the new version of Minecraft is coming to Nintendo Switch, we are still in discussions with Sony about PlayStation and have nothing to confirm. We would love to work with Sony to bring players on PlayStation 4 into this ecosystem as well.”

This isn’t necessarily a new development, but the idea that Microsoft is still trying is encouraging. Maybe they’ll cut some under the table deal where Sony gets a bigger taste of Minecraft sales? Who knows, I just hope it happens at some point.

Because then we can start talking Rocket League full crossplay across all platforms and so on. It would be a brave new world with giant playerbases and lengthy support cycles. Pretty much every developer I’ve spoken to over the past few years has wanted it, and so do the players.

Microsoft says it’s still trying to get Sony on board with Minecraft crossplay

‘Minecraft’ PS4 Tips, Tricks Guide: Update 1.55 Comes With Plenty of Fixes; Better Together Update Goes on Beta

The latest patch update for “Minecraft” on PlayStation 4 is now out. Update 1.55 offers plenty of fixes and changes, including a free Glide track for users.

Reuters/Thomas PeterPlayStation 4 users get an update for “Minecraft” but the game is still not open to cross-play with other platforms.

Some of the fixes include removing the bugs affecting tasks like milking a cow, stacking crafted Banners and spawning Wheat, Ladders and Banners, as well as Monsters in the Woodland Mansions. The fixes also correct the unlocking of the Sniper Duel and Camouflage, as well as some displacements and colors.

The full list of the fixes was published on the Minecraft forum. It also outlined the general additions, including the free Glide track, which can be a big help to players’ efficiency during the mini-games.

The updates will appear automatically once a player logs in to the PS4 console. In addition, players can also purchase the Biome Settlers 2 Skin Pack, which will work with update 1.55.

Meanwhile, Sony announced in June that updates for “Minecraft” on the PS4 will continue even as the company opted out of the cross-play service, which goes to beta this week via the Better Together Update. This cross-play service enables players of “Minecraft” on the Xbox, PC and mobile phones with Windows 10 to use their saved games on any of the platforms, except PlayStation 4.

“Minecraft” developer Mojang tried convincing Sony to join the cross-play for years but remained unsuccessful. The developer, however, recently announced securing Nintendo Switch’s interest.

“While we are thrilled to be able to confirm the new version of Minecraft is coming to Nintendo Switch, we are still in discussions with Sony about PlayStation and have nothing to confirm,” Mojang stated on its official site. “We would love to work with Sony to bring players on PlayStation 4 into this ecosystem as well.”

During the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in June, Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe president Jim Ryan said their main reason for opposing and blocking cross-play for the PS4 is to be able to safeguard the kids playing on the platform.

“We’ve got to be mindful of our responsibility to our install base,” Ryan told Eurogamer. “Minecraft — the demographic playing that, you know as well as I do, it’s all ages but it’s also very young.”

Ryan added that the cross-play platform would not be able to protect the kids from external influences while playing “Minecraft.”

‘Minecraft’ PS4 Tips, Tricks Guide: Update 1.55 Comes With Plenty of Fixes; Better Together Update Goes on Beta