So What’s Christie Golden Doing?

/equip_tinfoil_hat

So I’m possibly reading too much into something small, but I stumbled across a rather intriguing story last night. It seems Christie Golden has suddenly moved to California so that she can work at Blizzard’s main offices for a secret project that will last until October.

The Emerald Dream in World of WarcraftI’ve been a pretty big fan of Christie Golden’s for a while now, as both an author and a person. She’s written a number of excellent tie-in novels for Blizzard’s various games, and I have had enough sporadic contact with her over the years to determine she is a pretty excellent person. Therefore, the news of her doing more work with Blizzard excites me.

But what’s really intriguing is the question of just what she’s doing there. While I’m not an expert, I have done some research on the process for how authors produce tie-in novels for Blizzard, and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t normally require actually working at the Blizzard offices for months. Why would it?

Again, I might be jumping the gun, but my mind has turned to the possibility that she may be writing an entire game. It would explain why she needs to be in close proximity to the development team(s).

But what game?

Christie Golden has the most history with the Warcraft universe, but I’m not sure things quite add up for her to be working on WoW. It seems a bit early for them to be designing the plot of the next expansion in detail, and the continuous nature of WoW’s story doesn’t mesh with the temporary nature of her job at Blizzard.

Given she is in theory only there for a few months, I would think she’d be working on something with a clear beginning, middle, and end. A game that can be finished.

The Spear of Adun's Solar Core in StarCraft II: Legacy of the VoidThe only other Blizzard franchise she’s worked on in the past is StarCraft, so perhaps she could be writing a new mission pack. Blizzard’s said they were moving on from story content for StarCraft II, but they could always change their minds.

However, I see no reason she must be limited to franchises she’s already worked on.

We do know something is in the works regarding Diablo, though whether it’s an expansion, Diablo IV, or some kind of spin-off is anyone’s guess. I have a little bit of trouble picturing someone as sweet as Christie Golden working on a series that’s basically all torture and brimstone, but then I remember how dark some of her past writing has gotten, and it doesn’t seem quite as far-fetched.

The possibility that really intrigues me, though, is that she could be working on Overwatch, either a story mode within the current game or entirely new title in the same universe that focuses on story instead of PvP. There’s clearly a strong desire for such, and the Overwatch universe seems the perfect fit for her emotive, character-driven style of writing.

Regardless, I hope it is a new game she’s working on, because any game written by Christie Golden is a game I want to play.

Review: Into the Badlands, Season One

Into the Badlands is something my father discovered while perusing Netflix and then recommended to me. Without much else to watch between episodes of iZombie, I decided to give it a try.

The logo for Into the BadlandsIt’s a strange show. It’s some sort of post-apocalyptic Western kung fu… thing, set in a far-flung future where the civilization we know is a distant memory. The land is ruled by ruthless barons, aided by their armies of “clippers,” which are sort of like samurai without the honour.

The story focuses on Sunny, a weary veteran clipper in service to a cruel baron, and M.K., an orphan boy with a mysterious power. Fate causes their paths to repeatedly cross as Sunny’s master prepares for war with his rival, a revolutionary known as the Widow.

It’s a pretty unique mash-up of genres, and certainly the concept holds a lot of potential, but the problem with Into the Badlands is that it isn’t very good.

That’s pretty much it. It’s mediocre in almost every way imaginable. None of the characters are all that interesting or likable. The plot’s pretty unsurprising. It’s often silly and illogical — I like how they were able to preserve the technology for cars and X-rays, but not guns.

All the absurdity of the show would be fine if it weren’t determined to take itself so deadly seriously. Into the Badlands has all the ingredients for a fun, light-hearted action-adventure, but it’s trying to be a serious drama. It has no whimsy, no self-awareness, and no sense of humour.

The Widow in Into the BadlandsThe shortness of its season doesn’t help matters. Season one is just six episodes, and it’s a pretty complicated story, so I’m not sure there’s really time to develop anyone or anything enough. On the other hand if the season had been any longer I might not have made it to the end. At just six episodes there wasn’t much to lose by sticking it out.

I suppose the acting is not bad — I actually rather like the guy who plays Sunny; he’s got some gravitas — but the writing is so weak that the cast’s talent is largely wasted.

Really the only thing it’s got going for it is that it’s a very visually appealing show. If all you want is to see good-looking people in really cool costumes doing extravagant wire fu moves in front of pretty backdrops, this is the show for you.

If you want anything more than that, move on.

Overall rating: 5.9/10

As an aside, has it occurred to anyone how inaccurate the show’s title is? The story is about trying to get out of the Badlands, and the “Badlands” appear to actually be quite fertile and clement.