Two years later, Darkest Dungeon is completely different for the better

Darkest Dungeon’s newest DLC isn’t quite like anything else in the game prior. The expansion, called “The Color of Madness,” is a clear homage to an H.P. Lovecraft story—“The Colour Out of Space”—in a game already full of such homages. But it also incorporates a whole new style of endless mission into Darkest Dungeon’s grueling grind.

Also, there are aliens.

Like the story on which it’s based, “The Color of Madness” starts with a comet crash landing into a farmstead. The impact spreads strange, slimy crystals across the surrounding land and its inhabitants, morphing them into a new enemy faction called Husks. Husks aren’t particularly tough but make up for their weakness with numbers. “The Color of Madness” mostly plays out as an endless, wave-based horde mode, granting better rewards the longer a single team survives the thronging masses. And if your team dies? It’ll just be temporarily lost in time and space, keeping its items and progress without that pesky perma-death.

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2018’s “Board Game of the Year” will be announced Monday

Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our weekend look at tabletop games! Check out our complete board gaming coverage at cardboard.arstechnica.com.

On Monday, board gaming’s biggest international prize will be announced. The Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year) is awarded by a jury of German game critics, and it traditionally goes to a lighter, family-style game. The more recent Kennerspiel des Jahres goes to a more complex and strategic game. (See our take on the shortlists from 2017 and 2016.)

Earlier this summer, the jury released a shortlist of three titles in each category. As we wait for the winner to be announced in a couple of days, here’s a quick look at the nominees in both the Spiel des Jahres and Kennerspiel des Jahres categories. Several of these games are currently hard to get in the US, but all should be widely available in English later this year.

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2001 in 70mm: Pod bay doors look better than ever, still won’t open

If I’m deep-down honest with myself, the reason I love 2001: A Space Odyssey is the same reason I love most Stanley Kubrick films: because I love watching people and things move inevitably from Point A to Point B.

He’s done it with spaceships (2001), armies (Barry Lyndon), trenches (Paths of Glory), Big Wheels (The Shining), leapfrogging (Full Metal Jacket), and walking the streets of New York (Eyes Wide Shut). Ars Senior Editor Lee Hutchinson once told me that, growing up, he was so fascinated with the docking sequence from 2001 that he would watch it over and over again on VHS.

Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

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First Invader Zim movie footage revealed, looks gloriously weird

Nickelodeon

After vague teasers and announcements, Nickelodeon and Jhonen Vasquez have finally taken the wraps off the first Invader Zim made-for-TV movie, which is still currently in production.

The demented brains behind the series appeared at this week’s San Diego Comic Con with a new trailer in hand, which also confirms the film’s full title: Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus. However, this video footage is still labeled as a “teaser,” since pretty much all of its dialogue and sound effects are silenced in favor of a musical score.

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Disney confirms Guardians director fired over years-old tweets

James Gunn, the sardonic and openly vulgar writer/director behind both successful Guardians of the Galaxy films, has been removed from any future Marvel Studios projects, Disney confirmed on Friday.

The House of Mouse went one further and confirmed why they severed ties with Gunn: Twitter posts dating back as far as 2009.

“The offensive attitudes and statements discovered on James’ Twitter feed are indefensible and inconsistent with our studio’s values, and we have severed our business relationship with him,” Disney chairman Alan Horn said in a statement on Friday.

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Sean Murray breaks his silence on No Man’s Sky’s development, launch

The last time Hello Games’ Sean Murray spoke to us, or anyone else in the press, he was still in the pre-launch, hype-building phase for the incredibly ambitious, procedurally generated universe exploration simulator No Man’s Sky. Then the game launched. The summer 2016 release drew some critical praise but also loud, sometimes virulent Internet criticism saying the launch version didn’t live up to the pre-release promise.

Murray and Hello Games have gone quiet since, keeping their heads down and focusing on building and releasing numerous updates that have layered plenty of important new features onto the launch version of the game. With the upcoming release of No Man’s Sky‘s multiplayer-focused “NEXT” update, Murray has finally broken the studio’s radio silence, giving wide-ranging interviews to Waypoint, The Guardian, Eurogamer, and GamesRadar about the game’s past, present, and future.

Too much hype?

First off, Murray told Waypoint that he “never really wanted to talk to the press. I didn’t enjoy it when I had to do it. I think that was super obvious watching me doing interviews.” Keeping quiet and silently working on the game over the last two years, on the other hand, means that “this is the happiest I think we’ve ever been, as a result,” Murray said.

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A new run of The Clone Wars is coming to Disney’s streaming service

Disney

As someone born in the mid-1970s, it’s sometimes hard to wrap my mind around Disney’s stewardship of the Star Wars universe. Being born into the world a few months before what we now know as A New Hope meant waiting a long time between new chapters of this amazing story set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Beyond the original trilogy, that Christmas special, and two Ewok movies (that I am sure got cinematic releases in the UK but which were also TV specials here in the US), filling in the back stories of the Empire and the Rebellion was something kids did for themselves with the wide array of toys so many of us spent so much time playing with.

These days it’s hard to swing a womp rat without hitting some new Star Wars property or other. Such has been the cadence of new theatrical releases that, in the wake of a box office performance by Solo that was merely “fine” rather than “exceptional,” people were even talking about the idea of Star Wars fatigue! Well, add one more new thing to the list. At this year’s Comic-Con, a panel on the ten-year anniversary of The Clone Wars animated series ended with a surprise: a new season of 12 episodes has been commissioned to run on Disney’s streaming service (which launches next year).

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Unfriended: Dark Web wardrives straight into the bad-tech-film toilet

“Dude! This is darknet!”

That quote, taken from new low-budget horror film Unfriended: Dark Web, might be all you need to decide whether to buy a ticket. Indeed, this film’s obsession with technical legitimacy inevitably falls into Hollywood pitfalls, because there’s no getting around the trickiness of pacing an entertaining, cheesy film while simultaneously getting the computer details correct.

In spite of a few silly quotes, however, U:DW does a decent job stitching its computer and Internet content into the general plot—which is good, since the whole film is seen from a single Macbook’s desktop POV. This clever conceit returns from the original and surprisingly solid Unfriended, and at its best, U:DW does an even better job of showing how to frame a film from this unique perspective.

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