Ashly Burch 'Heartbroken' She Won't Play Chloe In Life Is Strange Prequel

As the longest strike in Screen Actors Guild history chugs on, video game voice actors are making painful career sacrifices to show solidarity with their union. 234 days into the strike, after Microsoft announced Life Is Strange: Before The Storm, fans immediately sussed out that award-winning voice actress and SAG-AFTRA member Ashly Burch will not reprise her original role as the rebellious teen Chloe.

Shortly after Microsoft’s E3 presentation, Burch, who has voiced Aloy in Horizon Zero Dawn and Tiny Tina in Borderlands 2, said that Square Enix had decided to go with a non-union actress.

“I’m pretty heartbroken,” Burch told Kotaku. “It feels sort of like you were forced to put your kid up for adoption.” Burch’s performance as Chloe in the original Life Is Strange earned her the “Best Gaming Performance” award at 2015’s Golden Joystick Awards. She will stay on the prequel project as a writer and consultant.

In October 2015, SAG-AFTRA members voted to strike strike against 11 video game companies, including EA, Activision and Take 2. Video game voice actors comprise a large part of the union and since early 2015, several had been in negotiations with games companies over better compensation.

“Nobody becomes an actor in order to not act,” Phil LaMarr, who sits on SAG-AFTRA’s interactive negotiating committee, told Kotaku. LaMarr, an experienced film, television and voice actor, had voiced Aquaman for Injustice 2prior to the strike (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment is one of the publishers that SAG-AFTRA is currently striking). LaMarr said he is disappointed that, if negotiations remain on hold, he wouldn’t be able to reprise the role if there’s DLC or future Injustice games.

Ashly Burch

“Fortunately, there are a lot of companies that have looked at what we’re asking for and said, Oh yeah, that makes sense,” LaMarr said. “There are a lot of games we’re not able to continue working on, but there are a lot of new games, too.”

Primarily, these voice actors want residuals—post-release payments dependent on game sales. The strain placed on voice actors’ voices when characters die, are injured or run screaming into battle seriously impacts their well-being, SAG-AFTRA has argued. That, and the fact that game publishers’ desire for absolute secrecy often leads them to obscure what game voice actors are even working on, can make these gigs particularly tough, the union says.

Since the strike began, SAG-AFTRA has signed agreements with over 30 game companies covering over 40 games.

No voice actors have broken the strike. So when Burch was approached by Square Enix about voicing Chloe in the just-announced Life Is Strange prequel, she had to make a difficult decision.

“When the strike happened, you know there will be sacrifices you have to make,” Burch said. “This particular one is genuinely pretty difficult for me. It wasn’t one that I was anticipating. This is my sacrifice, and it’s a big one.”

Burch feels that SAG-AFTRA’s demands are reasonable, not just for her and her colleagues, but for up-and-coming voice actors, too. The strike persists, she said, so SAG-AFTRA can ensure that anyone involved in the industry will be safeguarded.

But that doesn’t mean hearing another woman voice Chloe doesn’t hurt. Chloe, a deeply flawed and endearing character with whom fans have developed a strong connection, is the main character’s best friend, a blue-haired, angry girl who, Burch said, “in her core, desperately wants to feel safe, loved and lovable.”

Burch said that voicing Chloe wasn’t just a gig but also an act of self-care. Burke said that as a teenager, she resembled Chloe a lot. “I broke off a little piece of my soul when I did the first Life Is Strange and put it in Chloe,” Burch said. “Playing Chloe turned out to be a tremendously personal experience for me, an almost cathartic experience.”

When asked for comment, Square Enix referred Kotaku to a blog post that stated, in part: “Ashly Burch, Chloe’s original voice actor, makes a welcome return to the family this time on writing duties. . . It’s great to have her writing dialogue for a new younger, 16 year old Chloe, this time voiced by extremely talented actress Rhianna DeVries.”

Resident Evil Revelations 2

Burch isn’t the only voice actress to report some bad strike-related news during E3. Canadian voice actress Alyson Court, who has played Resident Evil’s Claire Redfield throughout five of the game’s iterations, posted a YouTube video on Monday explaining that she would not be returning for Resident Evil 2’s newly-announced remake, although she featured in the original.

Court said the producer for RE2’s remake did reach out about a year and a half ago, but later, she said she was informed that the role would go to a non-union voice actress. Court is not a member of SAG-AFTRA, but Canada’s ACTRA, which, in solidarity with US union actors, is also refusing struck work. Capcom declined to comment to Kotaku for this story.

Asked for comment, Court sent Kotaku a new video explaining her disappointment. “It’s one thing to make a decision to replace me for a creative choice—and I totally get that,” she said in the video, “but if the only reason they chose to replace me is because they wanted to go non-union, it’s petty, it’s disrespectful.”

Moto X Play to Get Android Nougat Update Soon, Moto India Confirms

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The phone was launched back in 2015
  • The company has not provided a specific release date
  • Moto X Play comes with a 5.5-inch full-HD display

It seems like the Moto X Play will be getting the Android Nougat treatment, as the company’s India chapter has confirmed that the update should be coming to the smartphone in near future. While the company has already rolled out the Android 7.0 Nougat update to its Moto X Force, it also launched Moto C and Moto C Plus smartphones with Android 7.0 Nougat.

In a tweet posted on Monday, Moto India said, “Nougat will come to the Moto X Play soon.” However, the company has said that it is currently unable to provide a “definite release” for the update. Notably, the company has not mentioned whether it will be rolling out Android 7.0 Nougat or straight away upgrade the Moto X Play to a higher (Android 7.1.1) version. The phone was launched back in 2015 in India at Rs. 18,499.

Moto X Play to Get Android Nougat Update Soon, Moto India Confirms

In terms of specifications, Moto X Play smartphone features a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) display offering a pixel density of 403pppi. It also features Corning Gorilla Glass protection.

The smartphone is powered by a 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 octa-core processor coupled with Adreno 405 GPU and 2GB of RAM. In terms of optics, Moto X Play comes with a 21-megapixel rear camera which has an f/2.0 aperture and CCT (Colour Correlated Temperature) flash with dual-LED modules.

The rear camera features Phase Detect Auto-Focus (PDAF) and can record 1080p HD video at 30fps. The Moto X Play houses a 3630mAh battery and weighs just 169 grams.

Apart from Moto X Play, Moto G4 and G4 Plus smartphones started receiving the Android 7.0 Nougat update last year while the Moto Z Play started receiving the update back in February this year.

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Plex App for Android Will Now Let You Play Files Stored on Your Phone

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Latest Plex update will play mostly any video file on Android
  • You won’t need a third party app to play videos
  • App will fetch metadata for your media file

Popular media server Plex has just brought a major update to its app for Android. You can now open and play pretty much any video file stored on your Android device or SD card, and you no longer have to play it through a third-party player. The company says that with this update, you will no longer face the problem of opening video files stored locally.

Plex App for Android Will Now Let You Play Files Stored on Your Phone

The latest update for Android will now let you play local video files including .MP4s, .MKVs, .AVIs, .WMVs, and .WMDs, among other formats, within the app. The Plex app for Android already lets you scheduled live TV recordings, offering a DVR-like function, and with this new update, the app has a stronger case to take on apps like VLC.

The ability to open practically any video format will come in handy as users may sometimes find themselves downloading files from torrent sites that can be difficult to play on mobile. In addition to locally stored files, the latest update also lets you open files stored in third-party apps like Dropbox. You can also open video files from the Web browser, Downloads app, or a file explorer app.plex android update playback plex

Notably, the Plex app will also automatically fetch metadata for your media file. If the file is recognised, the title, artwork will show. It is able to do this by matching the videos based on the filename and other details. But sometimes there could be an error in getting the right details for the video. In that case, you can tap on the three dot icon below the video and select the ‘Unmatch’ option to hide the metadata.

Most of the playback controls will be available when playing a local file, like pausing, skipping or stopping the tracks. The update (v6.0) is rolling out to Android phones and tablets and can be downloaded via Google Play, and will come soon to the Amazon App Store.

Minecraft Nintendo Switch Cross-Platform Play Uses Xbox Live Sign In; Could Explain No PS4 Support

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Nintendo Switch Minecraft users will have to sign in with Xbox Live
  • This is needed for Minecraft cross-platform play
  • It could explain Sony’s reluctance to support it

According to Mojang CEO Jonas Martensson, to use Minecraft for cross-platform play Xbox Live is required even on the Nintendo Switch. In an interview with Pressfire.no translated on popular gaming forum NeoGAF, he stated that Nintendo has agreed to this and have been “pretty pragmatic and understanding.”

“We’re tying everything together with Xbox Live. So you log in with Xbox Live…,” he trailed off, further being pressed by the website if this would include the Nintendo Switch to which he said:

“Yes. That’s pretty unique as well! But everyone that’s in on this, all the platform holders, have been pretty pragmatic and understanding of that what we’re trying to do is create a good experience for the players. We needed a good system to connect everyone, and Xbox Live is a good system.”

Later in the interview he goes on to say that Nintendo has been “very open when it comes to working together” and the process of incorporating Minecraft cross-platform play on the Nintendo Switch has been “very smooth.”

Minecraft Nintendo Switch Cross-Platform Play Uses Xbox Live Sign In; Could Explain No PS4 Support

Over the week, Sony has been on the receiving end of criticism for not supporting Minecraft’s cross-platform play functionality. This would have ensured all consoles, mobile devices, VR, and PC can all play together online. If this does require an Xbox Live account to sign in, it would add to Microsoft’s tally of daily active users, essentially driving its business forward.

Understandably, Sony wouldn’t be interested in exposing its consumers to Microsoft’s ecosystem, which could explain Sony’s Jim Ryan using a rather flawed defence that essentially harks back to Nintendo’s overprotectiveness in the 1980s and 1990s. Martensson stops short of saying this when asked, rather replying with the more diplomatically acceptable “you’d have to ask them [Sony].”

 

This isn’t the first time Sony has been unwilling to bring cross-platform play to the PS4 with football meets cars multiplayer title Rocket League not getting the nod for Xbox One versus PS4 play.

“We’ve been doing that with PS3 and PC, PS4 and PC most recently with Street Fighter 5 and Rocket League and other games. That’s nothing new for us, in terms of working with developers and publishers to allow cross-platform play between PC and PS4,” said Sony Worldwide Studios’ Shuhei Yoshida to Eurogamer at the time.

“Because PC is an open platform it’s much more straightforward,” Yoshida continued. “Connecting two different closed networks is much more complicated so we have to work with developers and publishers to understand what it is they are trying to accomplish… We also have to look at the technical aspect – and the technical aspect could be the easiest. We also have to look at policy issues and business issues as well.”

Eventually Rocket League was made playable for PS4 players to play with those on the PC and not against Xbox One owners. It will be interesting to see if Microsoft is open to a similar arrangement for Minecraft.[“Source-ndtv”]

Google Play Now Has an 'Android Excellence' Section With Curated Apps and Games

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The lists in the section will be refreshed quarterly
  • Android Excellence can be found in revamped Editor’s Choice section
  • The section promotes the content that follows Google’s guidelines

Google has introduced a new section in Google Play store called ‘Android Excellence’. This section is meant to promote apps that have great design, performance, or follow the best practices given by the search giant itself. The newly introduced Android Excellence section can be found in the revamped Editor’s Choice section and promotes content and provides recognition to the apps that follow “best practices,” as per the company.

The move comes a week after Apple announced that it’s completely revamping the App Store with iOS 11 to place greater focus on manual curation of apps, with daily updates in the form of lists, developer stories, and more.

“The new collections will showcase apps and games that deliver incredible user experiences on Android, use many of our best practices, and have great design, technical performance, localisation, and device optimisation,” Google said in its blog post.

Google Play Now Has an 'Android Excellence' Section With Curated Apps and Games

Google says that the Android Excellence collections will be refreshed quarterly. Currently, some of the notable mentions in the first round Android Excellence Games include Hitman GO, Pictionary, Riptide GP: Renegade, and Toca Blocks. On the other hand, some of the noteworthy names in Android Excellence Apps include Evernote, Memrise, Pocket, and Skyscanner.

As the lists will be refreshed after a considerable time, it might not be the best place to find great new apps or games but the entries that make this list are likely to get abundance of promotion and exposure. This is likely to prove as a great incentive for app developers to follow the guidelines provided by Google for Android apps.

Google Play Now Has an 'Android Excellence' Section With Curated Apps and Games

HIGHLIGHTS
The lists in the section will be refreshed quarterly
Android Excellence can be found in revamped Editor’s Choice section
The section promotes the content that follows Google’s guidelines
Google has introduced a new section in Google Play store called ‘Android Excellence’. This section is meant to promote apps that have great design, performance, or follow the best practices given by the search giant itself. The newly introduced Android Excellence section can be found in the revamped Editor’s Choice section and promotes content and provides recognition to the apps that follow “best practices,” as per the company.

The move comes a week after Apple announced that it’s completely revamping the App Store with iOS 11 to place greater focus on manual curation of apps, with daily updates in the form of lists, developer stories, and more.

“The new collections will showcase apps and games that deliver incredible user experiences on Android, use many of our best practices, and have great design, technical performance, localisation, and device optimisation,” Google said in its blog post.

Google Play Now Has an 'Android Excellence' Section With Curated Apps and Games

Google says that the Android Excellence collections will be refreshed quarterly. Currently, some of the notable mentions in the first round Android Excellence Games include Hitman GO, Pictionary, Riptide GP: Renegade, and Toca Blocks. On the other hand, some of the noteworthy names in Android Excellence Apps include Evernote, Memrise, Pocket, and Skyscanner.

As the lists will be refreshed after a considerable time, it might not be the best place to find great new apps or games but the entries that make this list are likely to get abundance of promotion and exposure. This is likely to prove as a great incentive for app developers to follow the guidelines provided by Google for Android apps.

Moto Z2 Play Launch Teased, OnePlus 3T to Get Android O, Yu Yureka Black to Launch Soon, and More: Your 360 Daily

HIGHLIGHTS

  • iPhone 8 dimensions tipped at 143.59×70.94×7.57mm
  • Oppo F3 Black Edition will be auctioned on June 3
  • The Samsung Notebook 9 Pro runs Windows 10

Moto’s new ‘bold phone’ announcement on Thursday will most likely be the Moto Z2 Play, a phone that’s been extensively leaked in the past. The most recent leaks tip the smartphone looks very similar to its predecessor and will continue to support Moto Mods.

For specifications, the Moto Z2 Play is said to come with a 5.5-inch full-HD display and be powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 626 processor coupled with 4GB RAM. The phone is said to pack 64GB storage and come with expandable storage support via microSD card.

OnePlus 3, 3T will receive Android O update

Here’s some reassuring news for current OnePlus 3 and 3T owners. The company’s CEO has announced that above mentioned smartphones will receive an update to Android O, however we don’t have a timeline as to when this will actually happen. OnePlus seems committed to its flagship offerings as this will be the second major update for the phones, following Android Nougat.

Yu Yureka Black launch set for Thursday
Yu Televentures appears to be gearing up for a new launch this Thursday and the phone in question is the Yu Yureka Black. The company has been creating a lot of hype around this and has now confirmed that the phone will be exclusive to Flipkart. We don’t know many details about the phone yet as not much has been teased nor leaked so we guess we’ll just have to wait to find out.

Moto Z2 Play Launch Teased, OnePlus 3T to Get Android O, Yu Yureka Black to Launch Soon, and More: Your 360 Daily

Panasonic Eluga I3 Mega launched in India
Panasonic has taken the wraps of its brand new smartphone called Eluga I3 Mega, priced at Rs. 11,490. The phone features a 4000mAh battery, 5.5-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) IPS display and is powered by a 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MTK6735. It will run Android 6.0 Marshmallow and sport a 13-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front camera.

Apple MacBook lineup refresh expected at WWDC 2017
Looking to buy a new MacBook? It would be wise to hold off on your purchase for now as according some recent information, Apple might just refresh the entire lineup next week, at WWDC 2017. The indication comes from Apple’s own online store as delivery times of the 15-inch MacBook Pro have now been delayed to June 5-June 6 which is one day after company’s WWDC keynote. This is a departure from the usual delivery period of either the same day or in 3-5 business days.

iPhone 8 dimensions and renders leaked
In more Apple news, we have have the purported dimensions of the upcoming iPhone 8.Renders have also been leaked alongside, and the iPhone 8 is seen being compared to the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S8, and Samsung Galaxy S8+. As for the display on the new phone, LG is reportedly eyeing OLED display orders from Apple next year and is already setting up the necessary infrastructure for mass production.

Freedom 251 maker Ringing Bells MD Mohit Goel granted bail
The man behind the infamous ‘cheapest smartphone in the world’ has been granted bail by the Allahabad High Court. Mohit Goel, Managing Director of Noida-based Ringing Bells which ‘made’ the Freedom 251 smartphone was arrested in February after Ghaziabad-based Ayam Enterprises alleged that Goel ‘defrauded’ the company of Rs. 16 lakh.

Oppo F3 Black limited edition smartphone launched
Oppo launched its F3 smartphone earlier this month and now, the company has announced a limited edition version that’s available in Black. Oppo, being the official sponsor for the Indian Cricket team is launching the Black Edition to commemorate the commencement of the ICC Champions Trophy. This new edition will be auctioned one day before the India vs. Pakistan match this Sunday.

Essential Phone to begin shipping next month
Hailed as the ‘father of Android’, Andy Rubin’s new smartphone called Essential Phone will start shipping next month. This was revealed during an interview with Walt Mossberg. The phone is said to ship with an AI assistant and a new OS called Ambient OS. It will also have today’s flagship specification onboard and is available for pre-order in the US starting at $699.

New product launches from Computex 2017
At the annual technology trade show in Taipei, Taiwan, companies from all around the globe gather under one roof to show off their latest products. Microsoft shed more light on its upcoming Mixed Reality (MR) headsets from partner brands like HP, Acer, Dell, Asus, and Lenovo.

Asus announced a slew of products including the ROG Zephyrus, which is being touted as the ‘world’s slimmest gaming laptop with a GeForce GTX 1080’ inside. After looking at it, we have to say that the design looks very similar to Acer’s Predator Triton 700, which was unveiled only last month. The company also announced new tablets like the ZenPad 3S 8.0 and the new ZenPad 10.

Samsung announced a new Windows 10 laptop called the Notebook 9 Pro with support for its S Pen stylus. The laptop will be available in multiple configurations ans is said to be made available later this year.

YouTube for Android gets redesigned
After being tested for about a year, YouTube’s new redesigned layout is finally official. The new design repositions the navigation bar, earlier placed at the top of the screen, to the bottom half just like on the iOS counterpart of the app. The redesign is claimed to allow for easier navigation within the app.

AMD details Ryzen Mobile, Threadripper, Radeon Vega, and Epyc at Computex
At the ongoing Computex trade show, AMD made several announcements including Ryzen desktop and mobile CPUs, Threadripper enthusiast CPUs, and Radeon Vega graphics processors and its new Epyc platform for servers. All desktop Ryzen processors, including the upcoming budget-oriented Ryzen 3 lineup, have been certified as Oculus VR ready.

Twitter now filters Direct Messages from people you don’t follow
Popular social networking app, Twitter, has added a new feature Direct Messages (DMs) that will now filter DMs from people not followed by users. DM’s from such people will be stored in a “Requests” section, in the new Messages tab inbox in the iOS and Android app.

Microsoft, Qualcomm partner to bring Windows 10 to Snapdragon-powered laptops
At Computex 2017, Qualcomm and Microsoft announced the new Snapdragon 835 Mobile PC Platform, capable of running Windows 10. No specific time models, prices or time frames have been disclosed, but the companies have previously stated that they will ship products later this year. Prices for such products is expected to be around the $700-800 mark.

E3 2017: Sony's PlayLink for PS4 Will Let You Play Games Using Your Phone

HIGHLIGHTS

  • PlayLink lets you play games on your PS4 via a smartphone
  • Titles vary from crime thrillers to quick-fire quizzes
  • PlayLink titles include That’s You!, Hidden Agenda

At the ongoing E3 2017 in Los Angeles, California, Sony announced some of its most anticipated games for PlayStation for the year including God of War, Spider-Man and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, to name a few. Console titles aside, the company also introduced PlayLink, which allows users to play games with family and friends using their smartphones and tablets.

PlayLink is aimed at creating a fun, interactive way to play games in a social setting. Based on a video Sony released showcasing the feature, PlayLink requires a smartphone or tablet, a TV, and a PlayStation 4 console, which, when set up, lets you and your group of family or friends play interactive PlayLink titles.

E3 2017: Sony's PlayLink for PS4 Will Let You Play Games Using Your Phone

“PlayLink games turn your smartphone or tablet into a versatile controller – you can swipe, pinch, drag, tilt, rotate or even snap selfies and draw crafty doodles, depending on the game. No matter which title you choose from our PlayLink collection, it’s guaranteed to be a slick pick-up-and-play experience,” Sony said in a blog post.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cadj8hWApE8?ecver=2]

PlayLink titles range from crime thrillers to quick-fire quizzes. In one of the videos, for example, you see a group of people playing That’s You! – a quiz-based app that “challenges you and up to five friends to get personal and find out what you really think about each other.” This will be one of the first titles for PlayLink and will be available for PlayStation Plus members for free starting July 4.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDAxfMpriAU?ecver=2]

Another video shows a crime and narrative-based game called Hidden Agenda that allows up to six people to join in. The game requires the players to make tough, quick decisions as the story progresses, which will also influence the way the game moves forward.

Sony sees PlayLink as something that can come in handy during social gatherings as well as rope in new players to video games. It also reminds one of Jackbox Games’ Party Pack multi-platform social games. Some other PlayLink titles that can be expected soon include Knowledge is Power, Frantic, and SingStar Celebration.