If you’re a PlayStation 4 owner, a starship has your name on it in Dreadnought’s open beta, available now through the digital shop. I spent the last hour firing rocket barrages at other players (and accidentally into the far reaches of space), and can’t recommend it enough. Dreadnought is slow moving, yet just as intense as any shooter you’ll find on the market. In 20 minutes, you’ll get a good read on whether this unique multiplayer experience is worth your time. If you were in the closed beta, you may want to jump back in to check out the wealth of new maps (including two brand new ones) and PS4 Pro support.
If you are reading this column, I’m guessing most of you are on board with this game. The good people over at Grey Box have given us another deep dive into Dreadnought’s lore and universe building. Below are details on the two new maps, and yet another Hero Class vessel:
Region/Solar System: Cronian System
Moon name/planet: Titan / Saturn
Titan is the second largest moon in the Solar System and is home to the only Enyoan colony in the Cronian System. Titan’s atmosphere was known for the diversity of the organic chemistry, however, terraforming has removed most chemicals to make it breathable by humans. Most of Titan’s lakes have been transformed to H2O. One of the larger lakes, Ladoga Lacus, which is over 100 km in length, has been left untransformed. It serves as a natural liquid hydrocarbon source, originally tapped by Transhumans using massive structures that are maintained by the colonists in city of Ladoga.
“Titan is also the location of the remains of a massive orbital ring built by the Transhumans before the War in 2325, which was subsequently destroyed during the Saturn Attack in 2361 CE. Known as “Ixion,” after the figure in Greek mythology associated with a winged fiery wheel in the celest it was partially resurrected after several surviving “beanstalks” and their orbital stations were reconstructed to function in the capacity of space elevators for the ongoing colonization of Titan. The reconstruction is the biggest triumph of human reverse-engineering of Transhuman technology, when human engineers finally gained an understanding of how to repair the hyperfilament material originally used by the Transhumans to build the “beanstalks” used to anchor the elevators.
Situated at 60 thousand kilometers above the equator of Titan, it was comprised of one geostationary ring, equidistantly supported at 10 and 40 thousand kilometers above the equator by compressive elevator towers, aka Beanstalks, that end in ballast satellites. The entirety of the construct is shielded from meteoroids, space debris, corrosion, weathering, geomagnetic storms, radiation and assorted other deteriorative agents through a physical energy barrier.
All that remain are 4 unstable beanstalks with physical energy barriers that are constantly fading in and out, therefore they cannot support population, although each station has a residential area. The waystation work of loading and unloading is fully automated.”
Map: Ryugu Haven
Region/Solar System: Scum Belt
Moon name/planet: Ceres Dwarf Planet / Astrroid Belt
“Ceres is the largest natural object in the Scum Belt. With a diameter of approximately 945 kilometers, it is also the largest of the minor planets this side of the Neptunian system. Ceres was once a base for the Transhumans during the Great Solar War, until the PCF unit, under the command of Captain Dispel Larrup, successfully invaded it during Operation Stinger in the Asteroid Belt Skirmishes in the year 2352 CE.
After the Great Solar War, Ceres once again became Terra nullius ≈ ready to be claimed by the new pioneers. Retreating PCF fleets had pillaged Ceres of much of its leftover Transhuman technologies. Outlaw scavengers were already taking advantage of the lack of military presence, sifting through the detritus left from the war and camping the dwarf planet’s geysers, waiting for the precious wartime junk expelled in the plumes during the Ceres “spring time.” Some minor projects led by the Martian government of Troja tried to colonize the ravaged planetoid. However they failed due to the isolated location of Ceres deep in the Scum Belt, surrounded by treacherous seas of battle debris and rocks.
Finally Ceres was left in peace, but not for long. In an ambitious attempt to make inroads into the Scum Belt and to exploit the rich natural resources of Ceres, Troja sent a large Akula Vektor expedition to install a remote research lab and a massive drill. They named the base “Ryugu Haven.”
As one of the first human outposts in space, Ryugu Haven has a checkered history. From pioneer space colony to Transhuman way station to PCF base, this base in the Urvara Crater on Ceres has always been at the center of the action. Named in memory of a near-earth asteroid knocked out of orbit to help terraform Mars, Ryugu Haven has primarily been used as stepping stone into the Outer Solar System. In 2422 CE, Akula Vektor was contracted by the Martian government to harness old Transhuman technology at Ryugu Haven for mining purposes. Due to the immense dangers of navigating the Scum Belt in the postwar era, however, all Trojan endeavors to keep control of the Haven failed. By 2431 CE the first outlaw groups started to claim Ryugu Haven as their own. The most recent incarnation of the Haven as an outlaw mining colony supporting Sinley Bay has been made possible by the “Okeanides”. This secret network of navigation beacons is maintained by engineers from Sinley Bay and allows those with access codes to make it through the Scum Belt alive. A key location within in Scum Belt, Ryugu Haven has become a magnet for outlaws and opportunists, resulting in constant turf wars and skirmishes break out around the outpost.
Hactar Hero Ship
The “Hactar” was the Flagship of General Arius Sykora of the Dead Horde regiment of the Trojan Navy. A zealous anti-Transhumanist, General Sykora is credited with masterminding the first assault on the Okeanide navigation system of the Scum Belt. It is said he was motivated by his hatred of the system’s uncanny tech, created as it was by those his ancestors had fought against in the Great Solar War. He famously lead the charge of the very first fleet of ambitious junior officers and shanghaied desperados in 2440 CE. Sykora and his Dead Horde managed to take out “Zeuxo”, one of the beacons located at the Vesta asteroid family, before local outlaw captains took out the fleet Sykora survived, but his whereabouts is unknown, but it is said that the “Hactar” can still be found prowling the Scum Belt, fueled by its Captain’s desire to purge all that remains of the Transhumans from the Solar System.
Outside of the world of Dreadnought, concern once again looms large over the untitled Han Solo film. Ron Howard coming in to continue (or salvage) the project is good news, and he seems like he’s enjoying the process so far. New doubt arises from a Wood Harrelson interview with Entertainment Weekly, in which he says the film “could be one of the funnier Star Wars movies.” His comment arose when he was discusing actor Alden Ehrenreich’s portrayal of Han Solo. Harrelson says Ehrenreich is a great actor with a great sense of humor, which comes through in his role. Han Solo is often tied to some of Star Wars’ better jokes, but hearing Star Wars described in this light has people worried (me included). These comments instantly bring up thoughts of what directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller may have been doing with the film. They were let go due to unspecified creative differences; including rumors that they weren’t tapping into the true pulse of Han Solo – turning him more into a comedic character than a bona fide smart ass. Perhaps we’re getting worked up over nothing, but for Harrelson to lead with that remark is a little odd. Give us a trailer, Lucasfilm, so we can make up our own damn minds already.
All signs point toward the next Star Wars film, The Last Jedi, flying smoothly into its December launch. The latest development are a series of leaks, beginning with our first look at Supreme Leader Snoke in the flesh (wearing something I didn’t expect), and people getting their hands on the Hasbro action figures early. You can view Snoke here, if you don’t mind spoilers. Some of the action figures that will be on sale on Force Friday II (September 1) can be seen below…including our first 3.75-inch Luke Skywalker from the new films!
It should also be noted that the San Diego Comic Con exclusive 6-inch Black Series figures of Rey, Luke, and Grand Admiral Thrawn will likely be available (in new packaging) on Force Friday II. Leaked shipping reports show these appearing in the first wave, which should be plentiful if it offers similar supplies to what we saw from the last two films. An Elite Praetorian Guard (Snoke’s protector) is expected in wave two.
It also looks like Episode IX might not be sailing as smoothly as anyone would hope, as Jack Thorne has been tapped to rewrite the script penned by the director Colin Trevorrow. Hopefully this works out for the better and Episode IX ends the third trilogy on a strong note.
That’s it for this week, folks. I hope you are happy and well fed, and will be back in seven days for another Science-Fiction Weekly!