Become Human’ Dev Has Some ‘Great News’ Coming In 2019

The developers at Quantic Dream had a pretty good year, with its latest release, Detroit: Become Human, clearing two million copies sold, adding to its continuing success on the storytelling game front. But it appears that there’s more where that came from as the team has teased something big on the horizon for 2019.


It posted on Twitter earlier today, not only thanking fans for the success that it’s achieved with Detroit this year, but also hinting that there’s some “great news” on the way, though they didn’t indicate what it is just yet. You can see the tweet (and the “group applauding” GIF) below:

There is some speculation that we could see some downloadable content for Detroit: Become Human, focusing on Hank and Connor. At least, that’s what fans seem to be wanting, based on the tweets below.

Then there are a couple of oddball requests, because reasons.

Whatever Quantic has planned, it’s sure to be intriguing, based on what we saw from the game this year. More Androids!

Detroit: Become Human is available now for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro.

J.D. Salinger at 100: Is ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ still relevant?

Tuesday is J.D. Salinger’s 100th birthday, but Holden Caulfield is still 17. The iconic teenager of “The Catcher in the Rye” is forever suspended in the amber of our youthful alienation.

Although a few pious schools continue to ban Salinger’s only published novel, for millions of adults, a faded copy of “The Catcher in the Rye” is a sweet teenage treasure, as transgressive as a trophy from band camp. Ninth-graders who secretly read the book with a flashlight when it came out in 1951 are now in their 80s.

To read it again as an adult is to feel Holden’s pain lingering like a phantom limb. His righteous cynicism is adolescence distilled into a sweet liquor. But the novel also feels like revisiting your first house. The familiarity is enchanting but discombobulating. The story is smaller than you remember, and some details you had completely wrong. But what’s most striking is how common the novel’s tone has become over the intervening decades. Holden is Patient Zero for generations infected by his misanthropy. We live in a world overpopulated by privileged white guys who mistake their depression for existential wisdom, their narcissism for superior vision.

We have met the phonies and they are us.

“The Catcher in the Rye” was not originally marketed as a book for teens, but they responded to it as their anthem: More than 65 million copies have been sold. I suspect, though, that the novel wouldn’t be such a phenomenon if it debuted today. We’re in the middle of a long-overdue renaissance in young-adult literature, and it looks nothing like the monochromatic shelf of titles that came before. The current hot novels are by Jason Reynolds, Elizabeth Acevedo, Angie Thomas and other writers who tell stories that reflect the vast diversity of our culture. It’s no longer tenable to imagine that the anxieties of a white heterosexual young man expelled from an expensive prep school capture the spirit of our era. Today’s snarky young anti-hero instead looks like Norris, the black French Canadian boy who moves to Texas in Ben Philippe’s forthcoming young-adult novel, “The Field Guide to the North American Teenager.”

Salinger himself, the legendary recluse, would fare even worse in our age of social media. “I’ve borne all the exploitation and loss of privacy I can possibly bear in a single lifetime,” he wrote to Ian Hamilton in the early 1980s, long before anybody had a Facebook account. (When Hamilton persisted with his biography, Salinger effectively crippled the book in court.) But nowadays publishers expect writers to participate actively in the marketing process — and so do readers.

Consider that in 1961, two months after the publication of “Franny and Zooey,” Time magazine ran a 6,000-word cover story on Salinger — a publisher’s dream — but the piece included no direct quotations from the author and no recent photos. That sounds tragic in an era when writers feel compelled to Instagram every moment of their lives — from the death of a spouse to the consumption of a salad. If two hours go by without a tweet from Roxane Gay, we all start to worry. Against that standard, Salinger’s insistence on eschewing publicity feels exotic, possibly the symptom of some mental illness.

But our demand for personal access to writers isn’t the only challenge Salinger would face in today’s publishing market. In 1998, when Joyce Maynard first detailed her teenage relationship with Salinger, it was fashionable to make allowances for the abusive behavior of manipulative men, particularly if they had written popular books. (In a vile column that could have appeared in 1899, Maureen Dowd dismissed Maynard as a “Leech Woman.”) Fortunately, the #MeToo movement has shifted the parameters of what’s acceptable, as Maynard pointed out this fall in a stinging critique of the way Salinger and the press treated her.

At the moment, it’s not clear how Salinger’s reputation will evolve in the new century. As usual, time helps, e.g. we can ignore Ernest Hemingway’s behavior; we can’t ignore Sherman Alexie’s. The biographies have tended to leave two impressions: Salinger’s fiction is even more autobiographical than we thought, and Salinger himself was even loonier than we suspected. Homeopathy! Acupuncture! Dianetics! In 2013, David Shields and Shane Salerno suggested that Salinger’s undescended testicle could help explain his entire life. “Surely,” they wrote, “one of the many reasons he stayed out of the media glare was to reduce the likelihood that this information about his anatomy would emerge.” (Someone asked on Twitter, “Why didn’t he just wear pants?”)

Toward the end of “The Catcher in the Rye,” Holden starts obsessing, “Don’t let me disappear. . . . Don’t let me disappear.” That’s not likely anytime soon. But will Salinger’s appeal survive the passing of the generations that adopted him as their misanthropic saint?

Like the dioramas in the Natural History Museum that Holden adores, Salinger’s books never change. The author went to extraordinary lengths to prohibit adaptations or continuations of “The Catcher in the Rye,” and his heirs have honored his wishes. There are no e-book or audio versions of any of the books he published. Even an austere boxed set released this fall required his son, Matthew, to admit that his father would never have approved these modestly redesigned editions: “He’d certainly hate this centennial.”

Salinger reportedly kept writing long after he stopped publishing in 1965, which has fed rumors about unknown stories — and even a novel — awaiting exaltation. Yet almost 10 years after his death in 2010, the silence continues. The New York Public Library is planning a special exhibition of manuscripts, letters, books and artifacts for October 2019, but no new work is expected to be revealed there.

The tomb raiders can’t be put off forever, though. The copyright on “The Catcher in the Rye” expires in 2046. Even before that, it could fall into the hands of trustees who feel less beholden to the author’s prohibitions. As one legal scholar noted, “Their emotional commitments, principles, and financial interests may diverge over time.” Indeed, large amounts of money have a way of encouraging such divergence. In 2013, a CPA in Forbes estimated that the J.D. Salinger Literary Trust could be sitting on material worth $50 million, and as Holden knows, “People are always ruining things for you.” It wouldn’t be shocking if someone eventually tried to bend the trust’s restrictions and exploit the canon’s maximum value. Then we’d finally see “Catcher in the Rye” starring Tyler Posey, “The Glass Family” series on HBO and the thrilling Broadway musical “Zooey!”

Don’t think it won’t happen.

All Salinger wants on his 100th birthday is to be left alone, but that’s the only thing he still can’t have.

Ron Charles writes about books for The Washington Post and hosts

Book World: A new book about cancer offers something rare – realistic hope

|     Sharon Begley     |

THEY sure don’t do human studies like they used to. After a young physician at New York Hospital named William Coley lost a patient to cancer in 1890, he began combing through hospital records for clues about who had survived the usually fatal disease. Reading one case, Coley noted that the patient’s seemingly miraculous cure followed a raging strep infection that appeared to melt away the man’s head-and-neck sarcoma.

Intrigued, Coley got a chance to test his hunch (no ethics board’s approval or patient’s informed consent required!) the following year, with a man suffering from a neck tumour and given only weeks to live. Coley “basically winged it,” journalist Charles Graeber tells us in The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer.

The good doctor injected the patient first with a little bacteria and then with a lot, at one site on his body and then another, and finally with bacterial toxins collected from a corpse (“the good stuff, potent and fresh,” Graeber reports) and shot right into the ghastly tumour.

After suffering near-lethal fevers, the patient rallied. His tumour seemed to break down before Coley’s eyes. Although infection-causing injections killed two of Coley’s next 12 patients, the doctor was convinced: If the immune system can be unleashed, it will kill tumours.

Coley was 100 years ahead of science’s understanding of the immune system. He was dismissed as a charlatan, and once he started bottling and peddling his cancer-fighting toxins, he was also called a snake oil salesman. Generations of oncologists and cancer biologists either heard nothing about Coley’s observations or lumped them together with cancer quackery.

Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer by Charles Graeber. – TWELVE

Immunology became a vaguely disreputable backwater in cancer research. Stalwarts like Steven Rosenberg kept it alive, but they seemed to epitomise the cycle of soaring hopes and dashed dreams: interferon, interleukin-2 and other immune-boosting drugs came – were fleetingly heralded – and mostly went.

It took an immunologist, not a cancer biologist, to crack the code. James Allison realised it wasn’t that the immune system needed boosting. Instead, molecules on tumour cells that thwarted the immune system needed to be disabled. Allison figured out how to disable those molecular brakes, or checkpoints, and allow the immune system to rip: His discovery led to the first approved ‘checkpoint inhibitor’ cancer drug, in 2011, and won him a share of the 2018 Nobel Prize in medicine.

If you read about cancer discoveries in the media and have a good memory, you are likely to react to the title of Graeber’s book with a lot of eye rolling and maybe some understandable anger.

Despite decades of cancer “breakthroughs” – potent chemotherapies and molecularly targetted drugs – roughly 600,000 people in the United States (US) die of cancer every year.

But Graeber makes a persuasive case that cancer immunotherapy has earned the b-word. With checkpoint inhibitors like Allison’s, which target the molecular brake called CTLA-4, followed by inhibitors of brakes called PD-1 and PD-L1 and then genetically engineered T cells called CAR-Ts, once-hopeless cancer patients are actually achieving something physicians have been loath to utter: a cure.

Breakthrough is full of gripping stories of white-knuckle experiments, of mice that lived, of pioneers who had to wrangle fellow scientists into investigating the interaction of the immune system and cancer. These determined few valiantly fought a cancer hierarchy that viewed the whole thing as a dead end.

Gatekeepers at prestigious science journals rejected research papers in the stubborn belief that the immune system can’t attack cancer – data be damned. Eventually, the data could not be denied. Graeber deserves credit for telling stories of both the successes and the failures of immunotherapy. Graeber meets the goal of every writer: to leave the reader wanting more rather than less. There are very few places in this brisk account where you slog through more biochemistry than you ever wanted to see in several lifetimes.

This chapter of the cancer immunology story still needs writing, as do other tales of the research and the scrambling – and catch-up-playing – of multiple drug companies.

For now, Graeber has given us a riveting account of science that truly deserves an accolade that has been all too frequently awarded, but almost never actually achieved, in cancer research: Unleashing the immune system on tumours is indeed a breakthrough.The Washington Post

The Best Books We Read in 2018

‘Tis the season for best-of lists, and this year we had plenty of delightful books to choose from. Here are 17 of our favorites from 2018.

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

This National Book Award finalist beautifully weaves together the early days of the AIDS epidemic in Chicago and 2015 Paris in two unforgettable twin storylines.

One Day in December by Josie Silver

Follow a pair of star-crossed lovers over the course of a decade in Reese Witherspoon‘s new book club fave, a smart, funny spin on the classic boy-meets-girl-in-a-bus-stop tale.

Calypso by David Sedaris

The witty Sedaris never disappoints, and his latest collection takes on aging and family (and aging family) in an entirely new and welcome way.

Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman

Obsessed with all things Bachelor? This is your ticket behind the scenes of every rose ceremony, champagne toast and fantasy suite. Read at your own risk—you’ll never watch the show the same way again!

Related: The 5 Books Bill Gates Wants Us All to Read This Year

My Own Words by Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Notorious RBG has an amazing life story, and she set out to tell it in her first book since becoming a Supreme Court justice in 1993, a collection of writings and speeches gathered by RBG and her authorized biographers, Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams.

A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

The debut release from SJP for Hogarth, the imprint spearheaded by Sarah Jessica Parker, made a big splash and landed a powerful message in a year full of polarizing conversations about immigrants and refugees.

Related: 7 Must-Read Books to Spend Your Holiday Gift Cards On

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

A 20-something blonde decides to drug her way through the angst of living just months before 9/11 in this remarkable (heavy!) new novel from a rising literary star.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

This knockout novel tackles the hard truths of race, mass incarceration and the American Dream, all wrapped up in one tangled marriage you won’t be able to look away from. It was an Oprah’s Book Club Pick for a reason!

Related: The Best Books Coming to TV in 2019

Circe by Madeline Miller

An epic work of fiction that spans thousands of years, Circe has all of the mythical madness and godly infighting you could want, and then some.

Grist Mill Road by Christopher J. Yates

For fans of dark, intense plotlines, we can’t recommend this one enough—just don’t read it in the dark.

Educated by Tara Westover 

The power of an education shines in Westover’s memoir of overcoming her incredibly harsh upbringing in favor of academia.

Related: Tara Westover Shares How She Overcame a Brutal Upbringing to Rise to the Top of Academia

Becoming by Michelle Obama

The former first lady opens up like never before in the memoir that’s been heralded by many as one of the best White House books—and it’s the top-selling book of 2018!

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

What’s not to love about a sweet, thoughtful romance featuring a heroine who agrees to be a last-minute fake wedding date after a to-die-for elevator meet-cute?

Whiskey in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon

Southern or not, you’ll swoon over the Oscar winner’s lifestyle-guide-meets-cookbook-meets-essay-collection, featuring Witherspoon’s best buttermilk biscuit recipe, tips for hot-roller usage and more.

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

Many thrillers have been called “the next Gone Girl,” but this one lives up to the hype—and we hear it’ll come to the big screen in 2019.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara

For real-life thrills and chills, we recommend this in-depth true crime search for the Golden State Killer, who was fortuitously found just months after the book’s publication, written by the late wife of comedian Patton Oswalt.

In Pieces by Sally Field

The former star of Steel Magnolias and Forrest Gump tells her own story, in her own words, in no uncertain terms.

Related: Sally Field Opens Up About Surviving Sexual Abuse and Thriving in a Male-Dominated Field

First Look at Guillermo Del Toro’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

We have our first official look at the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark movie. Guillermo del Toro has been working to bring the beloved horror book series to the big screen for quite some time and, even though he’s only producing, that dream will finally be realized in 2019. Now, we have our first look at the movie adaptation in the form of a behind-the-scenes image that was taken during production.

On its own, the image isn’t all that revealing. We see a group gathered outside of a house that looks old and questionable, which we suspect is the film crew as equipment is visible in the shot. The fact that it’s pitch black outside and a big foggy doesn’t help matters. While specific plot details, in terms of what short stories from the books may be explored, haven’t been revealed, we know that Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark will center on a group of young teens who are investigating a wave of horrific deaths that have started to plague their town. Nothing bad ever happened to anyone who was investigating a strange murder and found themselves in a scary looking house at night, right?

The movie is based on the works of author Alvin Schwartz who wrote a trilogy of books published between 1981 and 1991. The trilogy consists of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones. All three books combined contain more than 25 horror stories, many of which are based on real-life folklore and urban legends that were exhaustively researched by Schwartz. The trio of books has sold more than seven million copies worldwide since their initial publication. The popularity of the books coupled with the current hunger on the part of moviegoers for quality studio horror flicks positions this as a big potential hit.

Related: Guillermo Del Toro’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark Finally Moves Forward

The cast includes Zoe Colletti (Wildlife), Austin Abrams (Tragedy Girls), Gabriel Rush (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Michael Garza (Wayward Pines), Austin Zajur (Kidding), Gil Bellows (The Shawshank Redemption), Lorraine Toussaint (Orange Is The New Black), Natalie Ganzhorn (The Night Before Halloween) and Dean Norris (Breaking Bad). Andre Ovredal, whose previous credits include Trollhunter and The Autopsy of Jane Doe, is in the director’s chair. Daniel Hageman and Kevin Hageman of The LEGO Movie fame penned the script with Guillermo del Toro.

Even though Guillermo del Toro isn’t directing, having him involved following his Best Picture Oscar win for The Shape of Water bodes well for the project. With any luck we’ll be getting a teaser trailer for the movie sooner rather than later. Lionsgate is set to release Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark on August 9, 2019. On that date, it will be competing directly with Disney’s adaptation of Artemis Fowl, another beloved children’s book, which comes from director Kenneth Branagh. Be sure to check out the first image from Fandango below.

Comic Book Reviews for This Week: 12/26/2018


Welcome to this week in comic book reviews! The staff have come together to read and review nearly everything that released today. It isn’t totally comprehensive, but it includes just about everything from DC and Marvel with the important books from the likes of Image, Boom, Dark Horse, and more.

The review blurbs you’ll find contained herein are typically supplemented in part by longform individual reviews for significant issues. This week, however, we’ve decided not to do longform reviews given that it’s, you know, the day after Christmas.

Also, in case you were curious, our ratings are simple: we give a whole number out of five; that’s it! If you’d like to check out our previous reviews, they are all available here.

And with that, on to the reviews — which are listed in alphabetical order, but first by DC, Marvel, and the rest of the publishers.

Slide 1 of 2Marvel #1

First of all, can I just say how refreshing it is that a wedding issue in the big two actually saw the two advertised characters tie the knot? The wedding in FF is sensational and packs every ounce of joy that you’d expect from this book. It is a very, VERY long issue, but the pacing helps it move pretty quickly, and the dialogue is second-to-none. Fantastic Four continues to be one of the most marvelous books around. — Charlie Ridgely

Rating: 5 out of 5

There’s nothing inherently wrong with Superior Spider-Man; the art is solid, the colors pop nicely, and the dialogue is well-written. But this new Otto Octavius is honestly just hard to buy as a protagonist. He’s bent on saving the world, but you never quite believe him. The megalomaniacal tendencies of the character make him a drag as the lead of a series, and that makes this book sort of a chore at times. Spider-Man should be a whimsical experience for a reader, and this is anything but. — Charlie Ridgely

Rating: 2 out of 5

Uncanny X-Men #7 is quite a change of pace compared to previous issues. The issue only features a handful of the young X-Men students, rather than the multitude of mutants from the rest of the series so far. The extra breathing room allows for the issue to provide some much-needed nuance to the young X-Men’s arc, which has up until now been little more than generic teen angst. It comes to a head fight and moral debate between Armor and Pixie that, like much of the rest of the series, feels like an attempt at returning to a classic X-Men them that doesn’t quite get beyond going through the motions. The quiet is welcome in a series that has been so much cacophony so far, and hopefully, the sense of focus will carry through the final act of “Disassembled.” — Jamie Lovett 

Rating: 3 out of 5

X-Force just got the band back together, and the reunion is getting off to one heck of a start. Granted, this X-Force is a little different than what you’re used to, what with Kid Cable and Deathlok on board, but the changes are what make the team fresh. The contrasting personalities of Cable, Domino, Warpath, and the rest of the group nails that fresh but familiar balance, and we’ll take more of Ed Brisson’s hilarious Deathlok as much as we can get him. The book’s humor was a pleasant surprise, as was Dylan Burnett’s stylish visuals. The narrative isn’t anything X-Fans haven’t seen before, but if Brisson can make the team this entertaining every issue, you’re not going to mind. — Matthew Mueller 

Rating: 4 out of 5

Slide 2 of 2Other Publishers #1

Bone Parish continues to craft a deeply interesting narrative, one that can go from high-octane set pieces to intimate moments with relative ease. There are some new elements introduced in this issue that could mean major things in the series’ long-run, although it’s unclear exactly what those are. But either way, Bone Parish never ceases to be an emotional and thrilling read. — Jenna Anderson

Rating: 4 out of 5

Robert Kirkman and Scott Gimple have really created something unapologetically brutal here, but the crassness more often than not just gets in the way. There’s a compelling tale of espionage throughout DIE! DIE! DIE!, and the tale of three brothers is demented to say the least but is equally as riveting. The crass humor that pops up in between though often falls flat or is at best wholly unnecessary, and just feels like someone going blue for the sake of it rather than for any meaningful reason. If it can trim some of the fat, this series will finally find its stride.  — Matthew Mueller

Rating: 3 out of 5

This series has been following some of the earlier days at the BPRD and as a result, less focus is put Hellboy himself and instead, Trevor and company receive the spotlight. This issue, in particular, includes virtually no action as various agents at the BPRD lay the groundwork for future operations and missions. If you’re looking for a page-turning, blood-pumping action thriller, this isn’t it. — Adam Barnhardt

Rating: 3 out of 5

This issue forgoes the format that Man-Eaters has already established, instead bringing to life a sort of in-universe magazine about the big cat attacks. The end result is unbelievably clever, with the men-targeted ads and articles being much more than meets the eye. Sure, this issue does essentially step away from Maude and company, which might be a little frustrating after the cliffhanger of last issue, but the larger world of Man-Eaters is all the better for it. — Jenna Anderson

Rating: 4 out of 5

Marvel Action Avengers is the perfect solution for fans looking to give Marvel’s most powerful team a shot. The group is made up of Marvel’s biggest hitters and at least in the first issue requires little to no prior experience with the characters to get up and running. Writer Matthew K. Manning delivers a light-hearted tone throughout that doesn’t sacrifice a compelling narrative for the sake of humor, and artist Jon Sommariva’s kinetic designs and action sequences also manage to impress. If you’re looking for the perfect way to introduce a new MCU fan to the Avengers, this is your dream come true.  — Matthew Mueller

Rating: 4 out of 5

BBC – Culture – Arts and culture stars who died in 2018

Nicolas Roeg

Nicolas Roeg was a cameraman on Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, among other 1960s evergreens, before he co-directed Performance (1970). With that background, it was perhaps inevitable that the Londoner’s own films would be visually striking, and that close-ups of Mick Jagger pouting in Performance, Donald Sutherland yelling in anguish in Don’t Look Now (1973), and David Bowie lounging before a bank of television sets in The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) would adorn countless book and magazine covers. (Angelica Huston’s grotesque make-up in The Witches (1990) was quite something, too, hence it has furnished countless children’s nightmares.) But Roeg did a lot more than design memorable images. Always experimenting with what cinema could do, and what other art forms couldn’t, his psychedelic dramas splintered time and warped reality, mixing the sensual with the ethereal. Watching any of his films, you never know what you are going to see next. He died on 23 November at the age of 90. NB

Montserrat Caballé

Barcelona was innately linked to the repertoire of soprano superstar Montserrat Caballé – as her birthplace; as the location of the prestigious Liceu Conservatory where a wealthy family funded her vocal studies; and as the title of her 1987 crossover smash duet with Freddie Mercury (who praised Caballé’s voice as “the best in the world”). Yet the whole world was her stage, and she had established her global presence by the mid-1960s – reportedly earning a 25-minute standing ovation for her stand-in lead performance in Lucrezia Borgiaat Carnegie Hall. Caballé earned lavish praise as the embodiment of a bel canto ideal, but she was also unafraid to confront conventions, and the exquisite scale and expression of her voice also evoked an extraordinary lightness and control. Her catalogue amassed accolades including several Grammys, and revealed unexpected twists, from her legendary recitals of Verdi, Bellini and Donizetti, to multi-genre collaborations including Vangelis, Johnny Hallyday, and Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson; she soared in every setting. She died on 6 October aged 85. AH

Hubert de Givenchy

“Fabric is the most extraordinary thing. It has life,” said Hubert de Givenchy. “You must respect the fabric.” The French fashion designer was known for his stunning, sculptural dresses, and was the creator of the ‘little black dress’. He had many glamorous and notable clients, including Jackie Kennedy, Greta Garbo, Maria Callas, Marlene Dietrich and Grace Kelly. He was a master of understated elegance. Born into an aristocratic family in Beauvais, northern France in 1927, he went on to study at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and then worked for avant-garde designer Elsa Schiaparelli. In 1952 he opened his own fashion house, Givenchy, and became known for his progressive, innovative designs. He met actress Audrey Hepburn in 1953 during the shooting of Sabrina, and he went on to design the black dress she wore in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Hepburn soon became Givenchy’s close friend, his muse and a major proponent of his fashion. In 1954 the prêt-à-porter collection was launched, and in 1958 he created the iconic ‘Balloon coat’ and ‘Baby Doll’ dress. In 1969, he launched a menswear line. He sold his business to LVMH in 1988. In later life, Givenchy lived in the Château du Jonchet, a restored historic castle near Paris, with long-time partner, the fashion designer Philippe Venet. He retired from fashion in 1995. “Life is like a book,” he once said. “You have to know when to turn the page.” He died on 10 March 2018, aged 91. LB

Charles Aznavour

The diminutive yet grandly debonair Charles Aznavour brought a quintessential French identity to global pop culture, in deep-rooted ways; one of his formative gigs as a young singer-songwriter was even supporting Edith Piaf at the Moulin Rouge. As he established his success, Aznavour would regularly be described as “the French Frank Sinatra”; he balanced a showbiz presence (joining the likes of Liza Minnelli onstage) with a self-deprecating charm – and a particular grace and bittersweet spirit at the heart of his work. Even English-language classics such as She, The Old-Fashioned Wayand What Makes A Man were steeped in the emotive story-telling of French chanson. His rich filmography also reflected his range, including 1979 Oscar-winner The Tin Drum and Atom Egoyan’s 2002 drama Ararat(which reflected Aznavour’s Armenian heritage). When Aznavour died, tributes included President Macron pronouncing him one of the most significant “faces of France”; he remains one of its most unmistakable voices. He died on 1 October at the age of 94. AH

Philip Roth

He may have decisively set down his pen with the publication of his 2010 novel, Nemesis, but Philip Roth’s death earlier this year still registered as an immense loss to literature, especially coming a time when his cautionary 2004 novel, The Plot Against America, feels so eerily prescient. The son of first-generation Jewish-Americans, he was born in Newark on 19 March 1933. His teen years informed Portnoy’s Complaint, his first commercial success, but he made his debut a decade earlier, in 1959, with the fearless Goodbye, Columbus, a novella and short stories that ruffled as many feathers with its descriptions of faith as Portnoy would with sex. Roth, a baseball lover with a peerless work ethic, also brought his wry, steely intelligence to bear on masculinity, class, and identity. In late middle-age, a tumultuous chapter featuring prescription sedatives, a quintuple heart bypass and a bitter divorce ushered in his richest creative period, producing the likes of Sabbath’s Theatre, I Married a Communist, and The Human Stain – all provocative, quintessentially great American novels with universal reach. Roth was arguably the best writer not to have won the Nobel Prize since Tolstoy. He died on 22 May, aged 85. HA

Aretha Franklin

The Memphis-born Queen of Soul’s reign was a truly extraordinary one, throughout a career that spanned nearly six exceptional decades (she recorded her 1956 debut album aged 14). Aretha achieved millions of international record sales, including countless classics – Respect, (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman, Chain Of Fools, Rock Steady and Spanish Harlem to name a few of her solo numbers – and numerous accolades including 18 Grammy Awards. She drew deeply from her gospel roots, and she created a soundtrack for world history (performing at both Martin Luther King’s funeral in 1968, and Obama’s inauguration in 2009) and everyday heartbreak and joy. Even now, it does not feel right to refer to Aretha’s voice in the past tense, because it always sounds so fantastically, vitally in the moment. She died on 16 August at the aged of 76. AH

Robert Indiana

A leading proponent in the Pop Art movement, Robert Indiana designed the Love print as his Christmas card in 1965 (the logo had previously appeared in poems and a painting). It became one of the most recognisable artworks of the 20th Century, featuring in paintings and sculptures as well as some 330 million postage stamps. According to Indiana, he only received a fee of $1000 for the stamp design – he called the design the 20th Century’s “most plagiarised work of art”, keeping a collection of knock-offs in his home. But he was happy to recreate it with the word ‘hope’ for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008, donating all proceeds from the sale of reproductions to the campaign and raising more than $1m. Born Robert Clark in New Castle, Indiana on 13 September 1928, he moved to New York in 1954, becoming lovers with the artist Ellsworth Kelly two years later and adopting the name of his home state. Indiana described himself as an “American painter of signs” – yet his work resounded far beyond the surface; one curator has argued that he inflected Pop Art with “the darker side of the American dream”. He died on 19 May, aged 89. FM

VS Naipaul

Sir Vidia Surajprasad Naipaul snagged almost every literary prize worth winning, including a Nobel, but he could be a divisive figure and death has yet to diminish that. He was born in rural Trinidad on 17 August 1932 to Hindu parents of Indian origin. His father, a journalist, had a passion for Shakespeare and Dickens and stoked a fiery literary ambition in his son. After leaving the Caribbean in 1950 for Oxford, where he tried to commit suicide, Naipaul published his first novels while still in his mid-20s. In 1961, his masterpiece, A House for Mr Biswas, appeared. Autobiographical and keenly comic, its themes of identity, exile and post-colonialism recur throughout his writing. Having by then made his home in London, a questing rootlessness sent him roaming across India and Africa, resulting in travel books full of challenging, often unflattering views. He fanned the flames with a high-handed, irascible manner and a sometimes dubious attitude towards women, but his brilliance as a stylist endures. He died on 11 August, aged 85. HA

Mark E Smith

Fired-up; frequently caustic; weirdly poetic – Mark E Smith was the real-deal indie music anti-hero. Smith formed The Fall after seeing the Sex Pistols’ infamous Manchester Lesser Free Trade Hall gig in 1976 (which also triggered the post-punk formation of Joy Division, The Smiths and Buzzcocks); he remained the only constant in The Fall’s raucous career (largely because he repeatedly sacked his bandmates). His death at 60 followed a long period of illness from lung and kidney cancer, which had also forced Smith to cancel gig dates. His legacy rages on vividly, through a 31-album catalogue with The Fall, from 1979’s Live at The Witch Trials, through artful highlights like 1988’s I Am Kurious Oranj (created as a collaboration with dancer Michael Clark), to 2017’s New Facts Emerge, as well as collaborations with the likes of electronic act Mouse On Mars (as Von Südenfed) and Gorillaz. His attitude and diatribes were uncompromising and deeply scathing of mainstream trends, but they were also smartly witty and surreally funky enough to earn him massive love(-uh!) – and a brilliant 20ft tribute mural on the side of a chip shop in his Prestwich hometown. He died on 24 January, aged 60. AH


Sridevi – born Shree Amma Yanger Ayyappan – was only 54 when she died, but it’s a struggle to think of any other actor who accomplished as much. She appeared in her first Tamil film as a four-year-old child, and acted in three further languages before moving to the Hindi-language world of Bollywood, aged nine. She went on to become Indian cinema’s first female superstar. Reserved and private when she wasn’t performing, she held nothing back when the cameras were rolling. Whether she was lighting up the screen with knockabout comedy or steamy dance routines – see Mr India (1987) for some unforgettable examples of both – no one was more vivacious or expressive. She also used her popularity to change the industry, insisting that her characters were strong independent women, and that she had the same screen-time and pay as her male co-stars. After she married producer Boney Kapoor in 1996, she stepped away from Bollywood, and she didn’t return until shortly before her death. She died on 24 February, aged 54. NB

Neil Simon

Back in August, Broadway dimmed its lights in tribute to Neil Simon, the Pulitzer-winning playwright, screenwriter and memoirist long hailed as its king. Born in the Bronx on 4 July 1927, Simon escaped to the cinema as an escape from shyness and warring parents during his Depression-era boyhood. By his mid-20s, he was writing for Syd Caesar’s TV show, and in 1961, he made his Broadway debut with Come Blow Your Horn. It took him three years and 20 rewrites – an uncharacteristically slow start to a career that would be defined by prolificacy. His first real hit, Barefoot in the Park, came just two years later, and at his peak, he had four shows running on Broadway simultaneously. “It’s got to be funny almost every 15 seconds,” Simon once said of his oeuvre, that nevertheless grappled with love, divorce, sibling rivalry and ageing. The Odd Couple, one of his many plays to be embraced by Hollywood, established a dominant theme: seemingly incompatible duos trapped together. While his later works sometimes seemed dated, Simon’s bittersweet humour remains accessible, poignant and above all hilarious. He died on 26 August, aged 91. HA

Kate Spade

Kate Spade was synonymous with fashionable New York in the 1990s. The US designer and businesswoman was the founder and former co-owner of the brand Kate Spade New York, which created sophisticated but functional handbags. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, she studied journalism and then worked in the accessories department at the fashion magazine Mademoiselle. She and her husband Andy Spade spotted a market for stylish accessible bags, and founded the company in 1993. The business soon expanded into other product lines, including homeware. The bags were simple and elegant, and marked a shift in accessories towards more affordable luxury. The business was partially sold in 1999, and the rest in 2006. In 2016 she and her husband launched a new footwear and handbag brand called Frances Valentine. The couple had one daughter, Frances. Editor-in-chief of US Vogue Anna Wintour said of the designer: “Her bags came to encapsulate a decidedly Manhattan moment in time,” adding that it was impossible to walk a block in the city without seeing one. Spade died on 5 June, at the age of 55. LB

Stan Lee

By the time Stan ‘The Man’ Lee died, he had lived to see the characters he co-created dominate not just his chosen medium of comics, but cinema and television, too. The roll call of those characters is, to use one of his favoured adjectives, amazing: Spider-Man, the Hulk, The Fantastic Four, Thor, Iron Man, The X-Men, Daredevil, Doctor Strange, Ant-Man, and more. Almost as amazing is that Lee dreamt up nearly all of these Marvel superheroes in the early 1960s. Then and now, they are as human as they are superhuman. Spider-Man is a nerdy teenager, the Hulk a frustrated child; the Fantastic Four is about family dynamics, the X-Men is about school dynamics. And all of his superheroes are outsiders – a condition that Lee, as the son of Romanian-Jewish immigrants, understood only too well. This June also saw the death of Steve Ditko, the visionary artist who co-created Spider-Man and Doctor Strange. You could call it the end of an era, except that the Marvel era rolls on. As The Man said, “Excelsior!” He died on 12 November, aged 95. NB

Penny Marshall

The woman born Carole Penny Marshall in 1943 in The Bronx, New York might be best remembered as one half of the beloved TV duo, Laverne & Shirley, but it’s as a trailblazer for women in the film industry that she deserves the most credit. Along with her co-star Cindy Williams, the characters of LaVerne DeFazio and Shirley Feeney made their debut on the hit US TV show Happy Days in November 1975, playing dates for Fonzie and Richie. The wisecracking pair were such a hit that a spin-off series soon ensued, running from 1976 until 1983. Marshall directed several episodes of the programme and in 1986 she made her debut feature film, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, which starred Whoopi Goldberg. With Big (1988) starring Tom Hanks, Marshall became the first woman to direct a film that made more than $100m (£79m) at the US box office. She went on to direct Awakenings (1990), starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro, which was nominated for an Academy Award for best picture. Along with Jumpin’ Jack Flash, female protagonists featured in several of Marshall’s films, including A League of Their Own (1992), about an all-female baseball league, and Riding in Cars with Boys (2001). Known for her warmth and sense of humour, tributes to Marshall included one from her former husband, Rob Reiner, who wrote on Twitter: “She was born with a great gift. She was born with a funnybone and the instinct of how to use it. I was very lucky to have lived with her and her funnybone. I will miss her.” And from her co-star Williams, with whom she had remained friends until her death, simply “I Love You, Partner.” Penny Marshall died on 17 December, aged 75. RL

Pete Shelley

Pete Shelley embodied punk spirit with heart, guts and soul. Born Pete McNeish in Lancashire, Shelley co-founded punk/new wave upstarts Buzzcocks with Bolton college mate Howard Devoto (then Howard Trafford). Buzzcocks had intended to debut as support for the Sex Pistols’ infamous 1976 Manchester gig (organised by Shelley and Devoto, and attended by the likes of Mark E Smith); they actually hit the stage at a later date, also scoring success with their independently released EP, Spiral Scratch. When Devoto left to form Magazine, guitarist Shelley took over as Buzzcocks lead vocalist and main songwriter, fuelling smart and sparky late-70s classics such as Orgasm Addict, What Do I Get, Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve), and Everybody’s Happy Nowadays. Shelley was innovative, fearless and funny; he was married twice, but warrants respect as a queer icon (his electro-tinged 1981 solo hit Homosapien was initially banned for its gay references). He remained vitally creative, reuniting with Devoto on 2002’s Buzzkunst collaboration and the reformed Buzzcocks (including 2014 album The Way). Shelley died aged 63 at his home in Talinn, Estonia; his catalogue endures as the work of one of Britain’s sharpest songwriters. He died on 6 December, aged 63. AH

Tom Wolfe

Journalist and novelist Tom Wolfe was known as a contrarian and a dandyish dresser, often to be seen around Manhattan in his dapper, trademark three-piece white suit, starched collar, white shoes and hat. Born in Richmond, Virginia, he was encouraged by his mother to draw and write. In New York in the 1960s and 70s he became one of the pioneers of the New Journalism. He was a brilliant satirist, who delighted in puncturing the pretensions of others, and he had a great flair for trend spotting, inventing idioms such as ‘Radical chic’ and ‘the Me Decade’. Wolfe’s prose style was extravagant and inventive, and he was known for his verbal dexterity and unorthodox punctuation. From 1965 to 1981 he wrote nine non-fiction books, including the acclaimed account of the 60s counterculture, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. The Right Stuff (1979), a non-fiction account of the first Nasa astronauts, won the National Book Award and was adapted into an Oscar-winning film. His 1987 novel The Bonfire of the Vanities was a wide-ranging satire on the vanity, greed and excess of the 1980s. A runaway best-seller, the novel told the story of unscrupulous bond trader Sherman McCoy, a self-proclaimed ‘Master of the Universe’. Wolfe subsequently wrote several more novels including the 1998 best-seller A Man in Full. In 1978 he married Sheila Berger, the art director at Harper’s magazine, and they had two children, Alexandra and Tommy. “He is probably the most skilful writer in America,” wrote William F Buckley Jr in National Review. “I mean by that he can do more things with words than anyone else.” He died on 14 May 2018 at the age of 88. LB

Miloš Forman

In 1967, Miloš Forman directed The Fireman’s Ball, a low-budget, 71-minute farce shot in a Czechoslovak provincial town with a cast of locals who had never acted before. The next time he made a film in his home country, it was 1984’s Amadeus, a sumptuous, 161-minute historical extravaganza that would win a shelf-load of Oscars. But as different as they might seem, Forman’s films all shared the mocking, anti-authoritarian attitude that he developed while growing up under Soviet rule. The most acclaimed of them is One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), which won Oscars in five of the main categories: film, director, adapted screenplay, actor and actress. But Forman’s love of misfit rebels with a cause, and his suspicion of the establishment, extended to The People vs Larry Flint (1996), Man on the Moon (1999), and beyond. He died on 13 April, aged 86. NB


Under the stage name Avicii, the man born Tim Bergling in Sweden conquered the European dance scene in his short lifetime. The musician, DJ and record producer became a household name in 2011 with the single Levels, which peaked at number four in the UK singles chart, spent 20 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for a Grammy in 2013. The international success of Levels catapulted him to fame, and with it came a gruelling tour schedule. Following a previous stint in hospital in 2012, Bergling was forced to pull out of a festival in Miami to have emergency appendix and gallbladder surgery in 2014. Throughout his short but hugely successful career, he collaborated with high-profile artists including Madonna, Coldplay and Rita Ora, and in 2014 Forbes estimated his worth at $28 million. In 2016 Bergling announced that he was retiring from touring, telling The Hollywood Reporter that the decision made him “happier than I have been in a very, very long time”. After his death, his family chose to turn his website into an online memorial to him, writing: “Tim created music that brought people together with timeless memories from all over the world… His music and your memories are forever.” He died on 20 April, aged 28. AC

William Goldman

In the history of Hollywood, there have only been a handful of famous screenwriters who weren’t directors, too. One of them was William Goldman, who scripted a remarkable number of gloriously watchable classics, including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), All the President’s Men (1976), Misery (1990), Marathon Man (1976) and The Princess Bride (1987) – the last two of which were adapted from his own novels. But he is almost as well known among cinephiles for the irreverent tell-all book he wrote about his Hollywood career, Adventures in the Screen Trade (1983). He saw screenwriting as a craft, not an art, and he was pragmatic about throwing out or adding in whatever it took to improve a film. But that didn’t mean his scripts were calculating or formulaic. Whether he was crafting a political thriller or a comic fantasy, his characters’ scruffy humanity and modern ironic wit were as distinctive as the motifs of any director. He died on 16 November, at the age of 87. NB

Dolores O’Riordan

When Dolores O’Riordan hit global fame as the young frontwoman of Limerick alt-rockers The Cranberries in the mid-90s, she struck an ingenue kind of figure: at odds with the blokey posturing of that era’s Britpop and grunge scenes. There was a trilling fragility to O’Riordan’s voice, but also a heart-rending sweetness and power, summoned on sweeping anthems such as Dreams and Linger, songs with increasingly political sentiments (Zombie; Salvation) and solo material. O’Riordan struggled with the brutal intrusions of fame; she was courageously frank about her health issues and personal traumas, and after an attempted suicide in 2013, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In recent years, O’Riordan returned to record with The Cranberries (including the 2017 ‘unplugged’ album Something Else) and plan collaborations, before the shock of her sudden death. Her songs retain a rare resonance: there is the pain of what she endured, but also the beauty of what she created. She died on 15 January 2018, aged 46. AH

Burt Reynolds

Burt Reynolds was one of Hollywood’s most bankable stars from the early 1970s until the mid-1980s, beginning with his breakthrough role in Jon Boorman’s Deliverance in 1972, and continuing through Smokey and the Bandit (1977), The Cannonball Run (1981) and his other car chase movies. After that… well, his trajectory had peaks and troughs, to put it politely, with a hit 90s sitcom (Evening Shade) and a cool comeback (Paul Thomas Anderson’s Boogie Nights in 1997) making fewer headlines than his various bankruptcies and break-ups. But there was no joke you could make about Reynolds that he hadn’t made himself. He owed his early success to his self-deprecating humour as a talk-show guest, and from then on audiences loved the sense that he was a laidback, unpretentious southern guy who was just too manly to take showbiz seriously. “I don’t have any pretensions about wanting to be Hamlet,” he told one journalist. “I would just like to be the best Burt Reynolds around.” And he was. He died on 6 September, at the age of 82. NB

Bernardo Bertolucci

From Before the Revolution (1964) to The Dreamers (2003), Bernardo Bertolucci’s films often featured left-wing radicals, and the films were radical, too: always venturing boldly into new and dangerous territory. The Conformist (1970) – ranked at 77 in BBC Culture’s list of the top 100 foreign-language films – is a brilliant synthesis of psychoanalysis, politics, architecture, sex and violence. Last Tango in Paris (1972) is so scandalously sexual that US film critic Pauline Kael pronounced it a “landmark” and a “breakthrough” comparable to Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. The director’s cut of the sprawling 1900 (1976), starring Robert De Niro and Gerard Depardieu, clocked in at five hours. And the multi-Oscar-winning The Last Emperor (1987) was the first western film to capture the splendour of the Forbidden City in Beijing. One of the giants of Italian cinema, Bertolucci’s reputation had diminished by the end of his life. He died on 26 November 2018, aged 77. NB

Written by: Hephzibah Anderson, Lindsay Baker, Nicholas Barber, Amy Charles, Arwa Haider, Rebecca Laurence and Fiona Macdonald.

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Kima Jones, the Founder of Jack Jones Literary Arts, Is Taking the Publishing Industry by Storm

Jones started Jack Jones Literary Arts in March 2015 and her first clients were Tananarive Due and Dolen Perkins-Valdez. “Of course two of the most respected black women in African-American literature say hey, I want to work with you on my book. It was instant credibility,” she said.

Due knew Jones initially as a writer. Their work had been included in the same anthology, “Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History,” in 2014.

“People forget sometimes Kima is also a writer,” Due said. “Our meeting was really in an artist-to- artist capacity.” But Due was immediately taken by Jones and her planning abilities, particularly after she planned an event for the anthology. So she hired Jones the next year to promote her first collection of short stories, “Ghost Summer.”

For Lilliam Rivera, the author of “The Education of Margot Sanchez,” working with Jones was a “no brainer.” The two were in the same PEN Emerging Voices cohort and bonded over being Los Angeles transplants. When it came time for Rivera to choose a publicist, she chose Jones.

“I didn’t have to explain, yes, let’s hit up all these outlets that are geared to Latino markets,” Rivera said. “It was really important for it to be tied to my community, to the people who needed to read the book, and Jack Jones just really understands that.”

“The mission was never just about publicity for me,” Jones said. “I want to work with not just authors, but also publishing houses and presses that are interested in new and profound literature that is taking different risks and challenges.”

When Jones meets with a client, she tries to figure out what they want for themselves. She still hits the same targets as other publicists, such as getting excerpts, interviews and features into newspapers and magazines, but she also creates campaign goals aligned with the client’s aspirations, which often reflect who they are or what they value.

Rich: The Sears Christmas catalog — a book filled with dreams – News – Athens Banner-Herald

As a child and into my teenage years, a singular event announced that Christmas was comin’.

That was on the day in early November each year when I went to the mailbox and discovered that the Sears Christmas Wish Book had arrived. I was so excited.

I’d open the box to find a green or red-covered catalog filled with dreams. It was one of the happiest days of the year as I snatched it out, held it close to my chest, and ran to the house to show Mama. I wish I had a dollar for every hour that, over the years, I spent flipping through its pages filled with Barbie dolls, transistor radios and canopy beds.

I didn’t just browse. I studied it. I wished with all my heart. Over and over, I read the descriptions. I turned pages down and then I would get a piece of notebook paper and write down the toy or other item, the catalog number and the price.

Despite all this research and wishing, I don’t think I ever got one item from the Sears Wish Book.

Now, don’t feel sorry for me because I always got a few good gifts and often things from the Wish Book list — I was beautifully stocked in Barbies, dollhouses, and her clothes — but Mama normally went to town and bought them or Santa brought them.

It’s hard to recall a time when ordering wasn’t today’s press-the-button easy. You had to fill out the order form and send a check or money order (this was before the popularity of credit cards). Mama and Daddy never possessed a credit card in their lives. And they probably wrote no more than seven or eight checks a year, which were primarily for taxes and insurance.

For most of his life, Daddy faithfully went to the phone and power companies every month and paid in cash.

Since I didn’t know where Santa or Mama might be buying my Wish List, it never deterred my enthusiasm for the Sears Wish Book. It is one of the lasting joyful memories of my childhood. I cherished then and now every moment of my Christmas wishing.

The Sears-Roebuck catalog and my people have a long, tangled history. Into the mountains, these catalogs took modern America and household items that they would have never seen anywhere except in the Sears-Roebuck pages. The catalog and the U.S. mail kept them tethered to a world that they could only imagine, one that laid far from the hollers of their reality.

Mama told this story:

She was about 6 years old and her sister, Ozelle, was just over 7. Their daddy had recently announced his anointing by the Holy Ghost to be a preacher in those far-flung mountains filled with churches that only met one or two Sundays a month. A church had called him for his first pastor position so he was going to be ordained in a day-long service that would include a break for dinner on the ground.

Maw-Maw had scraped up enough coins to buy “tams” (berets) for Mama and her sister. She ordered a red one for Mama and a blue one for Ozelle. She put the money in an envelope and it mailed it off. The girls were spinning with excitement. They had never before had anything store bought and to get something from Sears was extraordinary. Every day, they were disappointed when they ran to check the mailbox.

The day of the ordination arrived. Still, no hats. They were heartbroken. Just as they were crawling in the wagon to leave, the postman arrived. With the hats.

“We were the happiest little girls you ever did see,” Mama recalled.

Sadly, this previously great American company is teetering on the edge of financial ruin, close to the end.

My Christmas wish this year is that Sears survives. I wish that with all my heart.

Ronda Rich is the best-selling author of “Let Me Tell You Something.”












‘Gears of War’ Creator Cliff Bleszinski Teases What’s Next

gears of war
(Photo: Epic Games)

Back in November, Gears of War Creator and Unreal Tournament Designer Cliff Bleszinski announced his retirement from video game development. Now, a month a later, the legendary designer is teasing what’s next.

Of course, it’s nothing video game related, which is unfortunate, but to be expected. However, according to Bleszinski, it’s a dream gig of his since he was a young tot.

As you can see, Bleszinski doesn’t divulge any details or even provide any hints on what it could be, but it sounds like we’ll know very soon, perhaps come the New Year. Whatever it is, I’m eager to see Cliffy B back at it and excited again.

For those that don’t know: Bleszinksi shot to the top of the industry during his time with pre-Fortnite Epic Games for his role in the development of Unreal Tournament and for creating Gears of War, one of last generation’s most popular series’, and one of the most popular shooter series of all-time.

Before Epic Games, Bleszinski released his first game in 1991, when he was just 15, called The Palace of Deceit. However, I reckon when the day comes and we look back at Cliffy’s career, it will be his time with Epic Games that define the 27-year-long period.

As you may know, Bleszinski left Epic Games after 20 years in 2012. From here, he opened a new studio dubbed Boss Key Productions in 2014. Then in 2017, the studio’s first game, LawBreakers, released. And it flopped, at least commercially.

LawBreaker’s wasn’t Bleszinski’s last game though, it was actually the short-lived, free-to-play battle royale game, Radical Heights, which was basically a last-minute audible to save Boss Key Productions. The game released to a warm response, but couldn’t get up and running quick enough to save the studio, which shut down earlier this year.

Of course, whatever Bleszinski is doing next, we’d like to wish him good luck. Hopefully he can have as big of an impact wherever he goes as he did on the games industry.