Disney Kills Iconic Dragon After Fire, Show Delayed Until 2024

Disneyland Park’s popular Fantasmic! special effects show is delayed until 2024 following an April incident where its Maleficent dragon animatronic caught on fire. The Snow White animatronic will not return when the show resumes next spring, though Fantasmic! will continue to prominently feature a battle between Mickey Mouse and the dragon, Theme Park Insider reports.

After the April 22 fire, which appears to have been caused by errant fuel leaking from the dragon animatronic and reportedly resulted in no injuries, Fantasmic! was initially only meant to be closed through Labor Day. Disney officials have not elaborated on why its Disneyland closure was extended, but a version of the show is currently still running at Walt Disney World’s Hollywood Studios park; Kotaku reached out for comment.

What is the Fantasmic! show?

An “incredible nighttime show,” as Disneyland puts it on its website, Fantasmic! opened in 1992 in a burst of light, fireworks, and adults singing musical theater on a riverboat. In it, Mickey has an elaborate and incredible dream featuring “memorable scenes from Disney classics,” Disneyland says, until Maleficent pulls him into a nightmare with “enhanced special effects, state-of-the-art projections, and superb pyrotechnics.”

Of course, these superb pyrotechnics are precisely what turned decades of delighted screams into astonished silence in April as Maleficent became a 45-foot tall flaming effigy of U.S. gluttony. Enhanced special effects, state-of-the-art projections, and pyrotechnics? Come on, pick one.

Despite the fire’s appearing to melt off all of the dragon’s plasticine skin, shutting down a wide swathe of Disneyland park, and allegedly collapsing an entire stage area, some Disney fans are angry that the 27-minute show won’t be returning as soon as they thought it would.

“Well, this certainly is going to put a damper on my winter SoCal trip,” said one disgruntled Theme Park Insider commenter. “Do I even bother with Disney for a third day?”

“What we had: Maleficent robot balloon. What I’m hoping for: Maleficent made of drones,” said another commenter.

Disneyland has so far only made vague statements about wanting to deliver “the best possible show for our guests,” and, aside from its 2024 return date, the future of Fantasmic! is uncertain. If I may offer an idea, I’m imagining it offers fewer opportunities for mass evacuation.


New Like A Dragon Trailer Turns Kiryu Into A Stylish Super Spy

On Friday, Sega revealed the second trailer for its latest upcoming Yakuza game, Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name, which sees longtime series protag Kazuma Kiryu take on the role of a gangster super spy with Spider-Man gadgets and explosive cigarettes at his disposal.

The Man Who Erased His Name, which takes place between Yakuza 6 and Yakuza: Like A Dragon, follows Kiryu as he assumes the identity of a secret agent named Joryu after faking his death to protect his adopted children at the end of Yakuza 6. Apparently, Kiryu does a piss-poor job of keeping his new identity a secret, and winds up getting involved with a rival yakuza family that knows his past and is threatening to harm his children at the Sunflower Orphanage. I hope these goons aren’t within grabbing distance of a bike rack, because they’re in for a world of pain threatening those orphans.

Read More: Yakuza: Like A Dragon: The Kotaku Review

Unlike Yakuza 7’s turn-based action, The Man Who Erased His Name will focus on action-based combat and will have two fighting styles: Yakuza style and Agent style. While Yakuza style sees Kiryu perform his typical street brawler fighting moves, Agent style will let Kiryu use new super-spy gadgets like rocket boots, explosive cigarettes, and Spider-Man-esque wires to take down thugs. You can see them both in the new trailer.

Sega / Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio

Aside from showcasing some scenes from the game’s melodramatic story, The Man Who Erased His Name’s will also see the return of many of the series’ light-hearted mini-games, which will include playable retro Sega titles like Sonic the Fighters, new karaoke songs to sing, as well as revamped cabaret club side-quests. However, instead of managing dates for customers like in previous games, players will instead go on dates themselves in a semi-live-action format similar to the internet chatroom and gravure photoshoot minigames from Yakuza 6 and Yakuza Kiwami 2. The game will also let you customize Kiryu’s outfits before he hits the streets by having him wear a fedora and shades for the first time in the series as well, which is rad.

Read More: Bringing Yakuza’s Kiryu Back In Like A Dragon 8 Is Silly

The butt-end of the new trailer also revealed that The Man Who Erased His Name will include a playable demo of the next, next entry in the series, Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth, which’ll see Kiryu and Ichiban Kasuga as dual protagonists. A clip from LaD: Infinite Wealth shows Ichiban in handcuffs, likely for the public nudity we witnessed in the Summer Game Fest trailer, before an older Kiryu breaks him loose.

Like A Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name is slated to come out on November 9 for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and Windows.


Dragon Age, Mass Effect Fans Worried About The RPGs’ Futures

BioWare announced on August 23 that it wouldn’t be showing off any updates for Dragon Age: Dreadwolf and the upcoming Mass Effect game at EA Play Live, much to the disappointment of fans waiting for a glimpse at the latest entries in the beloved RPG franchises. Alongside that came the announcement that the company will restructure itself in order to meet the needs of its upcoming titles, and fans quickly went from disappointed to concerned that this restructuring, which laid off 50 BioWare developers (including some who had been with the company since 2003’s Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic), would affect the development of both games.

Although BioWare general manager Gary McKay wrote that the layoffs won’t affect the development of the aforementioned titles and were necessary to create “exceptional story-driven single-player experiences” in a blog post, fans were more troubled than comforted by his words. A large part of that concern stems from the fact that Dragon Age: Dreadwolf’s development has already dealt with delays and high profile departures, while the upcoming Mass Effect is still only in early development. To make matters worse, these firings come following a wave of layoffs back in June 2022, when BioWare outsourced the development of its Star Wars MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic to Broadsword studio.

Read More: Dragon Age And Mass Effect Studio Lays Off 50 Devs, Claims Games Are Unaffected

So, the August 23 news gave Mass Effect and Dragon Age fans quite a bit to worry about, which led them to voice their ongoing concerns on social media.

“I’ve been a pretty strong proponent of ‘let’s all stay calm, it’s alright, let’s not jump to doom’ for a lot of BioWare-related negative news over these past years. But this…Whatever it means, whatever it may or may not end up affecting with game development, at the end of the day this is deeply saddening,” Rather_curious_lass wrote in a reply to the news that Dragon Age writer Mary Kelly had been laid off on the r/dragonage subreddit. “On a personal level, it’s just really damn disheartening to see such talent and passion that helped make me and many others fall in love with the world, get fucking laid off.”

“Honestly, not sure what to make of it all. I was content to let them (BioWare) cook. But getting rid of senior staff with nothing said to suggest a release any time soon maybe it is an utter disaster,” Turinsday wrote in a separate r/dragonage thread. “Even if writing was done for Dreadwolf, you’d think someone of Kirby’s stature would be working on DLC or hopping over to Mass Effect, future DA concepts, etc. A Sad day.”

“Fifty people losing their jobs [and] no dates set for DA4, I hate to say it but I’m completely losing faith in BioWare and I feel like we’re never actually going to see this game or the next Mass Effect,” ShutUrBigBazoo wrote on Twitter. “You don’t let people go with big-name games in production.”

“That is not good news,” Indy_Power replied on Twitter. “You can spin it as restructuring, or meeting budget needs. We’ve seen layoffs within the gaming industry and how it has later led to studio closures. Nobody downsizes when they have two big projects.”

“Tell Gary McKay that Dragon Age and Mass Effect shouldn’t be named as such going forward if you are laying off the great individuals who helped put them together. You laid off the woman who wrote the damn Chant for crying out loud,” MrEverything__said on Twitter. “Wake up BioWare. This is disgraceful.”

Mass Effect and Dragon Age are both massive IPs with legions of dedicated fans—their sequels are almost guaranteed to earn BioWare tons of cash, so layoffs naturally raise eyebrows. Time will tell whether the “restructuring” will actually yield the results McKay claims it will or if it’ll be remembered as yet another string of unnecessary layoffs from a beloved video game studio. Neither sequel has a release date or window just yet.


Like A Dragon Gaiden Won’t Include a Key Feature At Launch

Like A Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name, the upcoming spinoff in Sega’s Yakuza series, is set to release on November 9. But unlike several recent games in the franchise, it will not launch with an English dub version. Instead, English audio will come to the game in a post-launch update. Sega has yet to announce a specific date for the patch.

Yong Yea, the new English voice actor for protagonist Kiryu Kazuma, revealed the news on his official Twitter account, saying:

Since Like A Dragon: Gaiden is a few weeks away and many may not know about this, [I] thought I should let you know the English dub will not be available on the November 9 launch date and will release as a post-launch patch (no official date yet). Hope you’ll look forward to it!

Like A Dragon Gaiden, which takes place between Yakuza 6 and Yakuza Like A Dragon, follows Kiryu as he assumes the identity of a secret agent named Joryu after faking his death to protect his adopted children at the Sunflower Orphanage. Now Kiryu… er, I mean Joryu, has a swath of new gadgets like explosive cigarettes, rocket boots, and Spider-Man-esque wire to beat up thugs and swing around the city. Hopefully, after Kiryu is finished having fun with his whole 007 license-to-kill persona, he’ll find time to make things right with that family he left behind. Yes, I’m still mad about Yakuza 6’s finale.


Read More: Hands-On: Like A Dragon Gaiden Brings Super Spy Silliness To The Yakuza Formula

Longtime fans of the Yakuza series have become accustomed to playing its games without an English voice track. Only recently have players been able to experience the Yakuza series with an English dub, with games like Like A Dragon and its spin-off series, Judgment. The last time the mainline Yakuza games had a proper English version was with the original U.S. release of the first game on PlayStation 2, where Hollywood actors like Michael Madsen and Mark Hamill voiced Kiryu Goro Majima. While that combination sounds amazing on paper, it wasn’t remarkable enough for Hamill to remember having played Majima, let alone recall what the Yakuza series is even about. Here’s hoping Like A Dragon Gaiden leaves a better impression.

Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name (GameStop) will come to PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, and Xbox One on November 9.

Like A Dragon Infinite Wealth Has An Animal Crossing Game Mode

A Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth screenshot shows Ichiban playing the guitar.

Pay no mind to the horrifying mascots in the background.
Screenshot: Sega / Kotaku

During today’s Xbox Partner Preview, a showcase for Microsoft’s upcoming third-party games, we got a new look at Sega’s next Yakuza adventure. No, not Gaiden, the other one: Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth. Instead of showing off dual protagonists Ichiban Kasuga and Kiryu Kazuma kicking all kinds of street punk ass across Hawaii, today’s trailer pumped the brakes and gave us a peek at its madcap new Animal Crossing-inspired game mode.

Infinite Wealth’s new Happy Resort Dondoko Island mode will have you managing your own island resort. Like Nintendo’s cozy 2020 life simulator Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you can go fishing on the beach, customize the island’s buildings and furniture, and have Ichiban craft special DIY projects. The similarities between Dondoko Island and AC:NH don’t end there. DonDonki Island will also let you forge friendships with the island getaway’s many outlandishly dressed tourists while you manage the island’s influx of funds and infrastructure just like Animal Crossing’s Tom Nook.

Here’s the trailer:


Dondoko Island may provide Ichiban and company some much-needed reprieve from the melodrama of his crime-riddled life, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have to sock a couple of uninvited guests along the way—this is a Yakuza game after all. Along with making sure everyone is having a good time on the island, you’ll also have to defend it from intruders.

This isn’t the first time the Yakuza series has turned a Nintendo game like AC:NH into its own game mode. In fact, Yakuza: Like a Dragon had Mario Kart-esque and Pokémon-inspired stints in the form of Dragon Kart Racing and Sujimon, respectively. Aside from providing players with a fun alternative to punching fools, these minigames were also a great way to earn a bunch of cash to purchase health items and upgrades for the main campaign’s challenging boss fights.

A Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth screenshot shows Ichiban showing off a chair he built.

Screenshot: Sega / Kotaku

But not everything is about the money. Sometimes you just need to sit back, grab a guitar, and sing karaoke in front of a roaring bonfire. Catch a vibe, if you will. I can already see myself ignoring Infinite Wealth’s main quest to sink countless hours into perfecting my island fortress. Speaking as a longtime Yakuza enjoyer, January can’t come soon enough.

Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth launches on January 26 for PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and Windows.


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