Confirmed: Season 4 of Telltale's 'The Walking Dead' game will be finished

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It’s official: Skybound Entertainment will release the final episodes in Season 4 of Telltale’s The Walking Dead.

Skybound, for those who don’t know, is the publishing label co-founded by The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman. The company’s been a longtime partner on Telltale’s series, and even formally announced an intention to finish the series after Telltale closed down in September.

The early October announcement noted that Skybound would endeavor to “work with members of the original Telltale team to finish the story in a way the fans deserve.” But the company shared no further details at the time, and all’s been quiet ever since.

Until now. Skybound confirmed its plans in a Monday post on the company’s website. There are still lots of questions to be answered — notably including which former members of Telltale are signed on for the gig — but it locks in what fans have wanted to hear: The final two episodes will see the light of day.

Here’s the full announcement:

Thank you for your patience while we worked with Telltale to take control of TELLTALE’S THE WALKING DEAD. It’s been a ton of work logistically and legally to get us to a place where we’re able to roll up our sleeves and get to the actual work. After Telltale shut its doors, the game was, unfortunately, unable to be worked on and hence the release dates of Episodes 3 and 4 have been delayed. But, we’re excited to let you know that many of the talented, passionate team members who originally worked on the game are resuming development efforts today!

Soon, we will be announcing release dates for the two remaining episodes. It’s likely that previous seasons of the game may be unavailable to purchase for a few days as we transition—but don’t panic!—we’ll have everything back online ASAP. If you already purchased Season Four, you will NOT have to pay again; future episodes will be available to download as soon as they are released via your original point of purchase.

Please continue to check back here on our Skybound site for future updates on the game!

A few things to note here.

That first line, about Skybound working with Telltale to “take control” of the series, is important. The now-shuttered company is in the process of liquidating its assets, as discovered on Nov. 14. So it’s probably more apt to call this series “Skybound’s The Walking Dead” now.

Less clear is who’s actually building these final episodes. Skybound’s announcement notes that “many of the talented, passionate team members who originally worked on the game are resuming development efforts.”

That’s great. Telltale’s closure was very sudden and the layoffs left this large group of people out of work and with no safety net. Of course there’s creative value in having that same team — or as much of them as possible, since some have since moved on to other jobs — finish what they started. But it’s also just the right thing to do.

Who is it though? Stories of poor working conditions at industry mainstays like Rockstar Games and Riot Games (Telltale too) blew up in 2018. Fans of video games are more interested than they’ve been before in the wellbeing of the people who make the games we play. So having more specifics on that would be great.

That’s not a knock on Skybound, to be clear. It’s clear the publisher is just getting started on this journey, and there’s a good chance that many of the specifics are still being ironed out. But across two announcements now, Skybound has emphasized its interest in working with the former Telltale team. Hopefully the next one goes further.

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'Avengers: Infinity War' comes to Netflix on Christmas Day


Ever since the premiere of Avengers: Infinity War, there’s been a looming question: when is it coming to Netflix? Right in time for some holiday viewing, it seems. Netflix has revealed that the star-studded superhero flick will be available to stream on December 25th. Yes, you too can pay tribute to Stan Lee while you’re recovering from the family feast. Just be sure to put your blinders on if you haven’t seen the movie yet — this is a Marvel title that can easily be ruined if you’re not careful.

It’s also one of the last chances you’ll have to see a recent Marvel movie on the service. Disney plans to stop offering its superhero flicks to Netflix after Ant-Man and the Wasp. From then onward, it’ll likely save Marvel blockbusters for its Disney+ service launching in 2019. Think of this as the swan song for an era when you could find the latest Marvel TV shows and movies in one place.

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You can now sync Chromecast with Google Home speakers

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Starting today, Google is allowing Chromecast owners to add the streaming device to speaker groups along with Home speakers. The addition of the dongle to the Home ecosystem will allow you to queue up a song, playlist, podcast or audiobook and have it play in sync across all of the speakers and Chromecast-connected devices in your home.

XDA Developers spotted the functionality in Google’s Preview program that gives an early look at upcoming features. Google confirmed to Engadget that the capability is starting to roll out to users today. The feature makes good on Google’s promise to integrate Chromecast into speaker groups, which can be set up through the Google Home app. Now devices that connect with Chromecast, including televisions, can be added to a grouping. When a TV with Chromecast is synced to a speaker group, the display will show song information on screen, atop a rotating selection of background images.

Per XDA Developers, all generations of Chromecast devices should be compatible with the feature. Smart displays including Google’s own Home Hub and the LG Xboom WK9 will be able to be added to speaker groups in the coming weeks, according to VentureBeat. Earlier this year, Google made it possible to pair bluetooth speakers with the Home app to add voice control across your sound system.

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DC Universe's 'Young Justice: Outsiders' premieres January 4th, 2019


DC Universe finally has the premiere date for its first show after Titans. The company has announced that Young Justice: Outsiders‘ third season will reach the streaming service on January 4th, 2019. The teaser clip says precious little about the continuation of the story, but it does offer a peek at a sinister alien planet.

The timing is rather appropriate. With Titans episodes releasing on a weekly basis, Young Justice will conveniently debut right when DC Universe subscribers are looking for something else to watch. That could keep them attached to the service while DC builds up its original video catalog.

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Pandora's on-demand music now streams on Alexa devices

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Amazon Alexa’s repertoire of on-demand music services appears to be growing by the day. Hot on the heels of Tidal’s support, Pandora has enabled Premium streaming on Alexa-equipped devices like Amazon’s Echo speakers. You no longer have to be content with Pandora’s radio feature — you can access your playlists and play albums like you would anywhere else. You can set the service as your default music option as well. It’s not quite complete when Personalized Soundtracks support is “coming soon,” but you otherwise won’t be hurting for choice.

Amazon now supports multiple large streaming music services beyond its own, including Deezer and Spotify. While this won’t help much if you’re deeply invested in Apple or Google services, it’s evident that Alexa is becoming the go-to assistant for people who want options for their voice-controlled music.

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The best speakers and DJ gear to give as gifts

There are people who like music — and then there are folks who can’t get enough of it. For the latter, the standard speakers and gear just won’t do. Luckily, our holiday gift guide has the equipment the music-obsessed person in your life needs. The Sonos One shows that smart speakers aren’t just for voice assistants — they can be for audiophiles as well. If you know a music lover who is always on the go, the UE Boom 3 and Megaboom 3 Bluetooth speakers offer top-notch sound that can travel. For people more interested in making music than listening to it, the Traktor DJ app for iPad is a professional-grade DJ app that doesn’t require the pricey equipment, or you can set them up to sample just about anything with the PO-33 K.O! from Teenage Engineering. Find all that and lots more in our full guide!

All products recommended by Engadget were selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company, Oath. If you buy something through one of our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Check out the full list of selections in our 2018 Holiday Gift Guide here!

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Podcasts were my friends when I had none

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Welcome to No Shame November! This week we’re diving into the pop culture we love that society tells us we shouldn’t.

Alone in my apartment, chewing on cheap takeout lo mein, rocking the same sweatpants for a fifth day in a row—again. Six months after finishing my bachelor’s degree, this was how I found myself: a post-grad poltergeist haunting my New York City abode like a metropolitan Boo Radley. Isolated. Lonely. Things had gotten bad.

My life hadn’t always been this bleak. As a senior in college, I had lived with my two best friends, Sarah and Ellie, a pair of girls more akin to criminal accomplices than sorority sisters. For ten glorious months, we inhabited Apartment 1012 with reckless abandon, setting off smoke detectors, rescuing stray cats, and pissing off just the right number of resident advisors.

At the end of the year, when the tassels were turned, our diplomas handed out, and that hole in the wall spackled, the three of us had a long ugly cry as we prepared to go our separate ways. Sarah was staying in Atlanta, Ellie was going back to England, and my move to New York would be underway in minutes. It was the end of an era with no clear reunion in sight and the pain that came with that realization was excruciating.

But, as my parents loaded the last of my belongings into our Nissan Altima and we began the long trek north, I became hopeful. Bright lights, big city! New York was the home of the Sex and the City gals, Entourage’s insufferable douche squad, and the now-imprisoned Seinfeld gang. If TV had taught me anything, it was that Manhattan was filled with hip young adults practically begging to banter with you at the local coffee shop.

Even in the world’s ninth largest city, making friends as an adult really, really sucks.

Turns out: nope. Not at all. Even in the world’s ninth largest city, making friends as an adult really, really sucks. (Like House of Cards Season 6 meets Parks and Rec Season 1 level sucks.) In the “real” world, you can’t just share a map at orientation, tag along to a last-minute party, or sign-up for a free club to make friends. You actually have to work at meeting anyone.

The crippling isolation that hits some after-college transplants like me is one symptom of a larger phenomenon; you probably know it as “post-graduation depression.” Exactly what it sounds like, post-graduation depression is the rise of mental health issues some face after leaving college. One day, you’re bee-boppin’ along with your steadfast friends. The next, you’re sobbing while knocking out that ninth viewing of RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 7, really taking care to savor the credits this time around. (May I say, once again, well done Production Assistant #4. You mastered the craft.)

Identifying the cause of this loneliness wasn’t particularly difficult for me. Many of my friends were coping with the same troubles in different cities and a number of solid online resources helped me sort out where my despair was coming from.

Solving it, however, was a bit trickier. At first, I attended every happy hour, acquaintance-hosted housewarming, and workplace meet and greet I could find. I was perky, persistent, and, above all else, present. But slowly, as the months passed and “my people” remained absent, I gave up. 

Well, that is, until I met Karen and Georgia. 

“Stay sexy and don’t get murdered!” I shouted those words at the top of my lungs, in unison with my newfound best friends, every Monday and Thursday with ritualistic fervor for weeks. No, the three of us weren’t crowding around my kitchen table drinking wine, practicing some bizarre self-affirmation/devil worship. I was usually cooking or tidying up while Karen and Georgia, thousands of miles away, remained unaware that their pre-recorded words were slowly mending my wounded soul.

My Favorite Murder, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark’s bi-weekly true crime/comedy show, was the gateway that launched my podcast obsession. As I explored the depths of Spotify, seeking more voices to fill the quiet moments of my day, Karen and Georgia were joined by Chuck and Josh of Stuff You Should Know. Soon after, I met Paul, June, and Jason of How Did This Get Made? 

Then came Aaron Meinke of Lore, Michael Barbaro of The Daily, Sarah Koenig of Serial, Phoebe Robinson of Sooo Many White Guys, and, perhaps most fittingly, John Moe of The Hilarious World of Depression.

All of these people were folks who I could get to know fairly intimately, depending on the podcast, who showed up reliably and had real interest in whether I was joining them—if only to sell me another shipment of HelloFresh. 

At the end of the day, it’s okay to be alone, but you don’t have to be lonely.

Somehow, I had found my way out of the terrifying darkness that greeted me upon first arriving at adulthood and was back to my life in Apartment 1012. Sure, Ellie and Sarah still weren’t there to teach me to not microwave plastic or hug me after a long day. But, I was once again filling the solitary corners of my life with the words, ideas, and compassion of interesting people who cared if I was listening.

At the end of the day, it’s okay to be alone, but you don’t have to be lonely. While TV characters, film heroes, and even my beloved podcasters can never serve as substitutes for complete friends, the worlds they open up can remind you of all that is still out there to explore, making what seems like a small life, so much bigger than you could ever imagine. 

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Samsung's LED movie screens deliver more cinematic punch

To the surprise of many, Samsung last year unveiled a cinema LED screen that’s ten times brighter than a projector. But it’s been hard to actually see one, as they’re installed in just a few cinemas around the world. Recently, Samsung demonstrated the screen (now called the Onyx Cinema LED) with the European film lab Éclair in Paris, and I had a chance to get a look at it. With its incredible brights and extreme blacks, the LED movie screen was impressive, but it’ll take some work to convince filmmakers, theater owners and movie-goers to adopt it.

Samsung will market three versions, depending on the size of the theater: The 5-meter (19 foot) version I saw will run at DCI 2K (2,048 x 1080), while the 10-meter (34 foot) and 14-meter (50 foot) models will run at DCI 4K (4,096 x 2,160). Those are standard cinema projection sizes, but the screens will support wide or flat DCI and other resolutions with letter-boxing.

They are also compatible with various flavors of HDR, which enhances the image thanks to a peak brightness of 300 nits, including Dolby Vision and Éclair (the latter is what I saw in Paris). “The Samsung Onyx screen is one of the most powerful pieces of equipment that allows us to display HDR content,” Éclair General Manager Pascal Mogavero told Engadget.

The screens support 3D technology and should handle it better than projectors because of the higher brightness levels, which can hit 500 nits on the 4K screens. Because of that, the picture will look less muddy and you’ll see fewer motion artifacts and blur than with regular projectors.

The Onyx screens aren’t gigantic versions of Samsung’s QLED TVs, though. Rather, they’re based on its outdoor display tech that uses individual SMD (surface mount device) LEDs. Each pixel is self-emitting with no backlight, so you can get true blacks simply by turning off individual LEDs. That’s much like how OLED TVs work, and those are beloved by reviewers for their deep blacks.

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Samsung essentially puts the sets together by assembling 256 x 360 pixel cabinets, each about 4 feet across. The smallest model uses 24 cabinets while the largest 14-meter version has 178 of them. The specs trounce any TV, with 16 bits of color (trillions) per pixel and contrast ratios that match the million-to-one levels of an OLED set.

Consistency is another key quality. “We have a linear image that’s as bright in the center as it is in the edges,” said Samsung’s Paul Maloney. “Unlike a projection-based system with a lens, if you have a xenon bulb source in the center, the lens curves so the corners of the screen get darker. The same happens with color. The Samsung LED doesn’t need to be optically corrected.”

On top of that, the Onyx LED emits rather than filters colors, unlike a projector. That means deeper colors can actually be brighter, not darker, generating the high luminance levels needed for true HDR.

The sound, meanwhile, is provided by Samsung’s Harman JBL and installed in a special configuration to accommodate the displays. Harman had to essentially redesign everything as speakers can’t be placed behind the movie screen like they are now. The Sculpted Surround Sound audio systems are also designed to deliver uniform sound to the more sloped seating arrangements required for the screens.

So how is the image? It’s clearly brighter than any projector, and the brightness and contrast are significantly enhanced by the HDR. Samsung and Éclair switched one scene between regular SDR and HDR, and the difference was pretty eye-popping. But films not encoded with Dolby or Éclair HDR certainly won’t look bad — it’s only obvious when you compare them side-by-side.

Colors are punchy and looked accurate. Éclair showed off one scene with the famous Michael Bay-style treatment, with orange-hued skin tones standing out against teal-blue backgrounds. Film directors and colorists will be able to optimize color timing for the screens knowing that subtle shadows will still be visible because of the extra brightness.

Samsung Onyx LED cinema display

I hunted for flaws during the projection, and my nitpicks are few. With the relatively low 2K resolution of the 5-meter screen, it was easy to see blocky pixels on text and angled straight lines. That will probably apply to the 4K displays, too, especially up close, since they use the same cabinets. On the whole, though, the effect is not that bad and is no worse than 2K digital projections I’ve seen. Celluloid film projectors, of course, don’t have “pixels,” however.

I walked back and forth across the screen, and viewing off-angle makes little-to-no difference in color or brightness perception, thanks again to the individual LEDs. I did notice a bit of blooming in a space scene where an extreme-bright area produced a halo-like artifact against a dark area, but I doubt few moviegoers would notice — you’re not going to be walking around while watching a movie, after all.

My opinion is one thing, but I was curious to know what cinema goers and the filmmakers themselves thought. Many folks still haven’t gotten over the transition from celluloid to digital projection, which Quentin Tarantino called “TV in public.” Samsung’s Onyx system takes that even further, as it’s essentially a large, albeit technically superior, TV.

“Some people don’t like it because they feel it will change the filmmaker’s initial intent,” said Mogavero. “If you want to show your movie on a projector, you can still do it. But if you want to completely redesign your movie and think about a completely different way to tell the stories, then you can do that, too. It’s widening, not restricting or corrupting the possibilities.” Several filmmakers, he said, naming no names, preferred the Onyx image after seeing it next to a double-laser projection.

Onyx might be technically superior in many ways, but Samsung and its partners still need to convince movie theaters to install them. The system is more expensive than any projector; though Kayata noted that the price isn’t that far from the fanciest dual-laser projectors. Samsung’s argument is that without a projection closet, cinemas can add more seats, and the new tech could draw ticket buyers who might otherwise stay at home. Samsung plans to have 30 locations installed by the end of the year.

Its best argument for the tech, though, might be aimed at viewers who feel the cinema experience is actually inferior to what they can have at home. “The average consumer just loves to enjoy what they’re seeing,” said Maloney. “We have the likes of Netflix and Amazon doing 4K HDR movies, so these are all things that consumers are used to. All we’re trying to do is present that for them in theaters.”

Steve should have known that civil engineering was not for him when he spent most of his time at university monkeying with his 8086 clone PC. Although he graduated, a lifelong obsession of wanting the Solitaire win animation to go faster had begun. Always seeking a gadget fix, he dabbles in photography, video, 3D animation and is a licensed private pilot. He followed l’amour de sa vie from Vancouver, BC, to France and now lives in Paris.







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Twitter goes incredibly meta for its UK Christmas ad


Twitter has a new Christmas ad highlighting how an infamous case of mistaken identity generates tens of thousands of conversations on its platform every year. It stars user @JohnLewis — no, not the UK department store, but a lecturer at Virginia Tech who shares the same name.

The ensuing confusion has seen Lewis besieged with tweets meant for the retailer and the amusing clip shows him patiently replying to the requests, ranging from queries about stock and references to John Lewis‘ Xmas adverts (which, whether you like them or not, have become ingrained in British popular culture).

Twitter even references the UK retailer’s previous Christmas adverts with a telescope, a miniature moon ornament, Monty the penguin and Buster the boxer. The platform has branded the campaign #NotARetailstore in a nod to the comment on Lewis’ bio.

“I think it’s hilarious that people mistake me for the UK store and I do my best to direct them to the right place,” Lewis told The Guardian. “I see a massive spike in tweets at this time of year and I always watch the John Lewis advert, especially as it becomes a big part of my conversation.”

According to The Guardian, Lewis has had his Twitter handle since 2007 and he claims that John Lewis — which goes by @jlandpartners — has never offered to buy his presence. (Twitter’s rules explicitly prohibit the trading of accounts and “username squatting”). As a result, he gets around 50,000 tweets per year originally intended for the department store. By paying Lewis to appear in the ad, Twitter (which highlights its most popular stories in its Moments feed) is clearly trying to create some viral magic of its own.

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The Morning After: YouTube quietly adds free, ad-supported movies

Legally Blonde

Hey, good morning! You look fabulous.

Welcome to your (shorter!) week! This Monday, we’re talking mystery objects in space, a makeshift laptop from Barnes & Noble and rumors about a midrange Pixel 3. We’re also frozen by indecision over Black Friday sale options. Already.

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Not that this eliminates all the mystery involved.
Strange interstellar object Oumuamua is tiny and very reflective

Oumuamua, the first known interstellar object to visit the Solar System, can’t be all that big. As the Spitzer Space Telescope’s infrared detection couldn’t catch the cigar-shaped entity, it’s likely less than half a mile (2,600 feet) at its longest. The research also found something unusual: It’s extremely reflective, potentially up to 10 times more so than Solar System comets. Just what caused this isn’t certain, though.

A smart keyboard and a charging dock are firsts for the Nook line.
Barnes & Noble’s latest Nook tablet can turn into a makeshift laptop

Earlier this month, Barnes & Noble unveiled the Nook Tablet 10.1, a slate whose main appeal is its sheer value for money — $130 gets you a 1,920 x 1,200 screen and 32GB of expandable storage. Now, B&N is adding a $40 Smart Folio Cover with Keyboard that, for the first time, turns the Nook into a pseudo-laptop. Much like with a Surface or iPad Pro, there’s a physical connector that provides power and data without cables or any Bluetooth complications.

Caveats, obviously.Rumored mid-range Pixel 3 might include a headphone jack

New leaks suggest a mid-range Pixel 3 could be happening, with a 5.5-inch LCD screen, plastic body and a slightly less potent processor. Most notably (for some of you) is the return of the headphone jack. And if the leak is legit, this middleweight model would still pack the imaging skills of the more premium Pixel 3 family members.

Isn’t that like watching them on TV?YouTube quietly offers free ad-supported movies

AdAge has confirmed that the Google video service quietly started adding free ad-supported movies to its Movies & Shows section in October. The roughly 100-title collection largely revolves around older, but notable, movies that are long past their money-making prime, such as Legally Blonde and the original Terminator. However, that makes it an easy fit — studios can rake in some ad revenue (YouTube hasn’t said how it shares ad money) from people wanting to watch a classic during a sleepy afternoon.

Company product management director Rohit Dhawan hinted that companies could well sponsor individual movies going forward. You could watch the first movie in a franchise when its sequel hits theaters, for instance. Whether or not that happens will depend on how studios react.

But wait, there’s more…

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