NaraVara's recent activity

  1. Comment on In 2020, I can no longer abide the 100-hour RPG in ~games

    NaraVara
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    You saw a statement about procedurally generated filler content being bad and concluded that means I just want linear, guided experiences. That is the alternative you articulated. Don’t pull this...

    That's not my alternative. I don't have an alternative.

    You saw a statement about procedurally generated filler content being bad and concluded that means I just want linear, guided experiences. That is the alternative you articulated.

    Don’t pull this sophistic BS where you pretend you don’t have a perspective just so you don’t have to defend the implications of what you’re saying. It’s a lame tactic to always be on offense that is extremely transparent and makes it hard to maintain an assumption of good faith.

    seem to be want games to be entirely narratively driven or not at all, nothing in-between.

    How do you take a statement where I explicitly call out a game for doing a good job at enabling emergent story telling through game mechanics and decide that means it must be all or nothing? This makes no sense in the context of anything I said.

  2. Comment on In 2020, I can no longer abide the 100-hour RPG in ~games

    NaraVara
    Link Parent
    Why is your alternative to “linear and guided” by default a repetitive Skinner box? This is a failure of imagination on your part and a willingness to maintain low expectations of game developers....

    Why is your alternative to “linear and guided” by default a repetitive Skinner box?

    This is a failure of imagination on your part and a willingness to maintain low expectations of game developers. Games like Diablo or any rogue like offer non-linear play styles and even procedurally generated that actually offers challenge and engagement every step of the way instead of just padding game length.

    A game like Crusader Kings offers incredible scope for emergent storytelling with basically no guidance whatsoever. Dream bigger!

    1 vote
  3. Comment on In 2020, I can no longer abide the 100-hour RPG in ~games

    NaraVara
    Link Parent
    Hold up Bioshock TWO!? The first one I might grant, but 2 was extremely derivative and uninspired. As for 1, basically lightning in a bottle and the gameplay loop itself started to wear thin in...

    Hold up Bioshock TWO!? The first one I might grant, but 2 was extremely derivative and uninspired.

    As for 1, basically lightning in a bottle and the gameplay loop itself started to wear thin in the last few hours despite it being pretty short. There is no way it would have been made better by stretching it from a 10 hour game to 20 or 40.

    Same with any CoD game. You can run through them in about 4 hours. Is there any additional value you get out of the story or gameplay loops by stretching them further? Their single player campaigns are as long as they need to be to serve up a few Michael Bay set pieces and leave you to it. If you enjoyed it, you can just play them again instead of having the development time spread out over more gameplay, which will only result in less play testing, less inspired design, and less varied or interesting levels.

    4 votes
  4. Comment on In 2020, I can no longer abide the 100-hour RPG in ~games

    NaraVara
    (edited )
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    Fallout 3 was mostly formulaic and connected by looooong stretches of wandering around repetitive and uninteresting environments doing lots of nothing. It's not quite as bad as the radial quest...

    Fallout 3 had plenty of side quests that offered more perspective on the world.

    Fallout 3 was mostly formulaic and connected by looooong stretches of wandering around repetitive and uninteresting environments doing lots of nothing. It's not quite as bad as the radial quest system they put into Skyrim, but it was very padded. The "more perspective on the world" was pretty thin gruel. I made my point about Witcher elsewhere in the thread.

    4 votes
  5. Comment on In 2020, I can no longer abide the 100-hour RPG in ~games

    NaraVara
    (edited )
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    Witcher 3 had plenty of time-sinks, like the whole crafting system. They bothered to tie an actual story to them, but very little of it actually ties into the overarching themes or central plot of...

    Witcher 3 had plenty of time-sinks, like the whole crafting system. They bothered to tie an actual story to them, but very little of it actually ties into the overarching themes or central plot of the game in any way. They actually foster a lot of Ludo-narrative dissonance where the sense of urgency of the main plot is constantly undercut by the fact that your main character is running a bunch of errands for people and investigating question marks on his map.

    In other words, it was a very good implementation of a fundamentally flawed gameplay paradigm. It was good enough to paper over the flaws, but doesn't make them stop being flaws. The core gameplay loop was not engaging enough to actually carry through the full length of the game. This becomes especially clear if you play the core game and all the DLCs all the way through.

    My informal test of this sort of thing is to think about how likely am I to want to replay the game once I finish it. Very often I want to experience the story again, but the side-quests and gophers things are almost never worth the time to do twice. Witcher's real strength is when they introduce the good side-quests. They give you lots of great ones right up at the start, at some key points in the middle, and right as the climax of the story comes in. It does a good job of making you forget about how much empty filler there is when you get through it. You need to take a bird's eye view of how you've spent your time before you start to notice.

    5 votes
  6. Comment on In 2020, I can no longer abide the 100-hour RPG in ~games

    NaraVara
    (edited )
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    The depth and richness of a game is, more or less, fixed. The only question is over how much time it's going to be spread out. You can get your peanut butter on a slice of toast or spread out over...

    Don't you dare fuck with long, rich RPGs or I will come to your house and steal all of your casual games.

    The depth and richness of a game is, more or less, fixed. The only question is over how much time it's going to be spread out. You can get your peanut butter on a slice of toast or spread out over an entire loaf. 100 hour games are richly padded with purposeless, procedurally generated content rather than engaging gameplay.

    9 votes
  7. Comment on The new dot com bubble is here: it’s called online advertising in ~tech

    NaraVara
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    I went to a friends' wedding and his wife was an editor at a major (Condé Nast imprint) fashion magazine and all her friends were from print and online media. When I told them I was a data analyst...

    I went to a friends' wedding and his wife was an editor at a major (Condé Nast imprint) fashion magazine and all her friends were from print and online media. When I told them I was a data analyst they looked at me like I was some kind of wizard. It was a very weird feeling to have all these extremely attractive and fashionable people holding court with me like I was the coolest person in the room.

    But it turns out they basically live and die based on metrics, and everything I read about the metrics they use are really dumb. Just chock-a-block full of validity issues and seriously tenuous assumptions being made before conclusions can be considered generalizable. It's insane. Assumptions are never checked or validated. It's like they just wanted to find some way to prove or measure a thing and as long as they have any measurement they go with it because they assume bad metrics is better than no metrics. But that's wrong. . . bad metrics can very easily be worse than none at all. Gut instincts might lead you wrong or might lead you right as a matter of chance, but actually bad metrics can easily drive decisions that are always off the mark. Taking a chance on being off is preferable to that.

    But none of these people really understand data (or even the theoretical limitations of statistical inference). They just want a nerd to tell them what the situation is and they don't want to hear caveats. Caveats make you sound like a little pussy bitch bro! You gotta be more confident! Ugh. . .

    15 votes
  8. Comment on If Universal Basic Income would be introduced, how would you stop prices from rising uncontrollably? in ~finance

    NaraVara
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    Why? This is functionally just an additional layer of bureaucracy. Now instead of just finding a thing that needs to be done, you have to have an office that decides what's needed. That office now...

    I'd be happier if the government is giving those funds to orgs that already engage in those activities, rather than paying people directly.

    Why? This is functionally just an additional layer of bureaucracy. Now instead of just finding a thing that needs to be done, you have to have an office that decides what's needed. That office now needs to go to a procurement office to define and scope a contract. That contract then has to go out for bid to get responded to by various organizations. Those organizations now have to employ teams of government contract response specialists to speak towards how they are the best at fulfilling the scope of the contract.

    Next thing you know, you're selecting executors of the contract who are really good at writing proposals and overseeing their projects' for legal and contractual compliance rather than actually doing the thing you set out to do.

    Now since the goal is to just keep people busy, this isn't all bad. You've created a bunch of--previously unnecessary--jobs in procurement, requirements specification, contracting, legal, sales and capture management, technical writing, etc. But those aren't exactly the kinds of "fulfilling" or "socially beneficial" work you said you were interested in.

    I have a hard time trusting government 'competency' at anything other than sending large numbers of checks around. I like them as a paper mill and nothing more.

    Why though? This is just ideology. What is this based in? Have you worked with or for the government in any capacity before?

    It seems like the threat of AI is that it'll displace people faster than we can find them new work.

    No, the threat is that you concentrate so much market power in the hands of so few people that we will live in a de-facto feudalist system. There might be more work for people to do eventually, but there is absolutely no guarantee that this work will bring in enough money to sustain what we would consider a "decent" or "dignified" standard of living. For most of human history there were wide chasms between haves and have nots. The idea of a middle class was an invention of the New Deal and it depended on a specific mechanisms for labor to extract and retrain the fruits of their productivity from management. Once that system broke inequality ballooned. Once you completely demolish the market power of labor it will reach a crisis point.

    2 votes
  9. Comment on If Universal Basic Income would be introduced, how would you stop prices from rising uncontrollably? in ~finance

    NaraVara
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    It's not hard to keep at all. When all else fails you can just pay people to dig ditches and fill them in again. It's not a good use of the labor, but it's a use. A jobs guarantee is basically...

    It's the word 'guarantee' that sticks in my craw when it comes to jobs programs. That's a really difficult promise to keep even in a stable market

    It's not hard to keep at all. When all else fails you can just pay people to dig ditches and fill them in again. It's not a good use of the labor, but it's a use. A jobs guarantee is basically harnessing the power of bureaucracy to expand to meet the needs of an expanding bureaucracy, and use it for something productive.

    I don't particularly trust government to handle the creation aspect as well as the market either. Seems like the market has a much better chance at creating jobs that serve a purpose.

    This is just an article of faith that's not really rooted in anything. What's more it doesn't logically jive with the premise behind a UBI, namely being that AI will obviate the need to employ people. If the problem is that there just won't be enough jobs, then it is necessarily the case that the market isn't going to be able to create purposeful work for people to do.

    This is why I favor the social wealth fund framework. In that case, you can literally just nationalize the industries that produce and develop AI and consequently make all of society a beneficiary of AI productivity rather than whichever rich people happen to own all the robots. If the robots are owned by a trust that represents the commons, then you solve the problem of a handful of robot owners being our overlords. People would just rent AI time with the proceeds going back into the commons as a dividend payment.

    You don't need to care about efficiency or productivity at all with a jobs guarantee (though you might want to just to make them not feel like miserable slogs). You just need to keep people occupied. They can hunt for and dig up invasive species. They can fix and build out hiking trails. They can plant trees, "re-wild" public lands, fix urban blight, or clean up superfund sites. You can keep people one all and pay them to do various temp projects like working as poll workers.

    Remember, the point isn't to allocate labor here, it's just to provide a failsafe/fallback social insurance program. You can have plenty of slack in the day or have very flexible schedules for people based on need (like if they have family care obligations). The only objective is to put money back in the market for the unemployable without constraining output.

    2 votes
  10. Comment on If Universal Basic Income would be introduced, how would you stop prices from rising uncontrollably? in ~finance

    NaraVara
    (edited )
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    The issue isn't that people who "don't need it" are getting it. It's the macroeconomic effects of increasing consumption while constricting supply that will bring in inflationary pressure that...

    The issue isn't that people who "don't need it" are getting it.

    It's the macroeconomic effects of increasing consumption while constricting supply that will bring in inflationary pressure that will fall disproportionately on the most vulnerable people. I don't actually care who gets it, the issue is what the money gets spent on and what kind of economic behavior it will encourage. In this case, the concern is that it could encourage behavior that will hurt the long term prospects of the poorest people while not really helping the middle class very much at all and not soaking the rich nearly enough to have a meaningful effect on inequality.

    Better functioning universalist programs that can move wealth downwards would be things like a jobs guarantee, a social wealth fund/dividend, or paying people to make specific productive investments like going to school, building a house, or starting a small business. You want to prod people towards being able to maintain financial security for themselves instead of fostering indefinite dependency on an income scheme that encourages people to "check out" of the formal economy while not actually giving them enough income to make substantive changes to their material circumstances.

    If we were talking a UBI that was in the $30k a year range then we might be onto something transformative. $12k a year with a concomitant reduction in other public services ain't gonna do it. The other public services are likely to be adding far more social value and improving peoples' wealth (in the form of social and collective goods) than the extra $1,000 a month in spending money. For a poor neighborhood a $200,000 community center can do a whole lot more than giving 200 of them $1,000. $2,000,000 worth of public housing would do those people a lot more good than defraying their rent by $1,000 a month. You're missing out on all the economies of scale on spending that would actually improve community and civic life.

    And then there's all the fundamental economic issues causing poverty that the UBI doesn't address, meaning the benefit of the UBI will disappear. The economy is structured to empower large businesses and the financial sector to reliably extract wealth from working people and vulnerable parts of society. If you don't address those fundamentals, UBI won't do anything. It's just more raw material to be extracted from them rather than resources for them to build wealth.

    3 votes
  11. Comment on If Universal Basic Income would be introduced, how would you stop prices from rising uncontrollably? in ~finance

    NaraVara
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    I have a bachelors in political theory and a masters in economic development policy. I've worked as an advisor for municipal governments' urban economic development committees and targeted...

    But I don't think either of us are experts?

    I have a bachelors in political theory and a masters in economic development policy. I've worked as an advisor for municipal governments' urban economic development committees and targeted community lending for financial services companies' social responsibility units.

    But that's mostly moot. You don't need to read a list of experts, you just need to follow the logic being explained.

    2 votes
  12. Comment on If Universal Basic Income would be introduced, how would you stop prices from rising uncontrollably? in ~finance

    NaraVara
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    Why do you think we're obligated to do a UBI scheme if it's demonstrable that theoretically it's unlikely to achieve any of its stated policy goals, may exacerbate other existing economic problems...

    But you're throwing the baby out with the bathwater here.

    Why do you think we're obligated to do a UBI scheme if it's demonstrable that theoretically it's unlikely to achieve any of its stated policy goals, may exacerbate other existing economic problems we have, and will be taking resources away from programs and initiatives that have actually been shown to work?

    Most of the evidence to date is for the majority of people using the money reasonably and it increasing quality of life across the board

    What evidence is this? All I know of is the Alaska permanent fund (which is not heartening BTW), a tiny pilot program in Finland where they feel like it hasn't really done much that you couldn't have accomplished with more targeted credits or tax credits, and the fustercluck of citizenship dividends in some of those Emirati countries that basically run on slave labor, which I'm not sure is a model we want to emulate.

    A similar goal could be achieved better through something like a social wealth fund or dividend. Because that way, we have a defined contribution program that actually creates a stake in overall performance rather than a process for handing out scraps from the billionaire table while dismantling the welfare state. But even that would have to be implemented carefully. As in, the dividends of the fund MUST go straight to people. If you start using it to fund government spending you create a principal agent problem that pushes people out of paying proper attention to public spending and underfunding future-looking investments in favor of present consumption as the Alaskans are currently doing as they dismantle their public university system.

    1 vote
  13. Comment on If Universal Basic Income would be introduced, how would you stop prices from rising uncontrollably? in ~finance

    NaraVara
    Link Parent
    Economics and policy analysis are pretty well developed fields of social science with tools that can provide fairly reliably predictable explanations. I mean, follow my comments across this...

    I don't think anyone knows what UBI does beyond the first order effect

    Economics and policy analysis are pretty well developed fields of social science with tools that can provide fairly reliably predictable explanations.

    Also, I'm interested in learning about alternatives and there may be experts I should be listening to, but you're not giving me much to go on.

    I mean, follow my comments across this thread. I've walked through the logic and mechanisms behind the unintended negative consequences it is likely to have.

    3 votes
  14. Comment on If Universal Basic Income would be introduced, how would you stop prices from rising uncontrollably? in ~finance

    NaraVara
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    There is some virtue in simplicity, but it sounds like most of its proponents don’t actually understand what it would do beyond the first order effect. You can’t understand everything. At some...

    I like UBI in part because I think I understand what it would do.

    There is some virtue in simplicity, but it sounds like most of its proponents don’t actually understand what it would do beyond the first order effect.

    I would have to understand root causes and what to do about them a lot better to get behind an alternative.

    You can’t understand everything. At some point you just need to listen to an expert’s take on it. This is like agreeing to homeopathy because it seems to make sense rather than listening to a doctor because the latter uses complicated medical terminology.

    I'm not sure what you mean by decommoditizing essentials, but it seems like commoditizing things is better because they get supplied cheaply in large quantities?

    How is that working out for supplying adequate housing, healthcare, childcare, or education? I’ll spoil it for you and point out that it’s worked terribly. Commodity logic doesn’t work for goods that aren’t easily fungible or that require significant public investment or collaboration to actually have any value.

    2 votes
  15. Comment on If Universal Basic Income would be introduced, how would you stop prices from rising uncontrollably? in ~finance

    NaraVara
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    Link Parent
    No. I pointed out all the ways that the root problems will mean the long run consequences of a UBI will either render the benefit useless or, more likely, make long standing problems worse. Edit:...

    No. I pointed out all the ways that the root problems will mean the long run consequences of a UBI will either render the benefit useless or, more likely, make long standing problems worse.

    Edit: To clarify, the usury example is a good one. Rather than getting people the means to get their heads above water or some seed money to build wealth, you'd be allowing their benefit to get taxed away by loan-sharks. This functionally doesn't help the people you want to help at all and just pays off some of the worst, value destroying forces in the economy.

    3 votes
  16. Comment on If Universal Basic Income would be introduced, how would you stop prices from rising uncontrollably? in ~finance

    NaraVara
    Link Parent
    Same thing that keeps supply from matching demand now. Market based systems don’t produce adequate, affordable housing (or really any goods with long horizons for financing). Every country/city...

    What keeps the supply from increasing to match the new demand?

    Same thing that keeps supply from matching demand now. Market based systems don’t produce adequate, affordable housing (or really any goods with long horizons for financing). Every country/city that actually has affordable middle class housing in economically vital population centers has aggressive subsidized home building programs or fairly libertine zoning laws. The American model for housing is batshit crazy.

    Also, what's wrong with people paying down their debts?

    It doesn’t address anything about the predatory nature of the credit system. It just means your UBI scheme functionally becomes a subsidy for usury.

    5 votes
  17. Comment on If Universal Basic Income would be introduced, how would you stop prices from rising uncontrollably? in ~finance

    NaraVara
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    The factor I mentioned above. Raising the minimum wage means you’re increasing output as well as demand. If someone is paying $15 an hour, that implies a person is doing $15 worth of work an hour....

    Not really an answer (plenty of other comments for that) but a related thought: what's to stop prices from rising if a $15/h minimum wage is introduced?

    The factor I mentioned above. Raising the minimum wage means you’re increasing output as well as demand.

    If someone is paying $15 an hour, that implies a person is doing $15 worth of work an hour. They might be doing that now and the money is being extracted by management or it means management and processes will develop to get $15 worth of productivity out of them. Either way, $15 of production is being generated for the $15 being paid. (It could also mean that all the jobs that aren’t worth $15 an hour will disappear, but empirically that doesn’t seem to pan out unless you’re talking about hard agrarian labor).

    The difference with UBI is you’re creating a disincentive for production while increasing consumption because the income isn’t tied to anything.

    system to guarantee a minimum income by giving $X per year to everyone with no income and slowly lessening the amount as people make money. e.g. One might get $16K if they have no other income source, but if they make $5K working then their mincome amount might be $13.5K for a total of $18.5K from all sources, and at a salary of $32K+ you wouldn't get money from mincome at all.

    This is even worse than a UBI when it comes to creating disincentives to work. Now rather than just making it easier to not work you’re literally making it cost more to earn money than to not earn it. If every dollar I make is tied to a loss in my benefits, you’re functionally taxing the incomes of the working poor at nearly 100%. Why would anyone earn a dollar from a job if they can earn $0.95 from not working a job?

    2 votes
  18. Comment on If Universal Basic Income would be introduced, how would you stop prices from rising uncontrollably? in ~finance

    NaraVara
    Link Parent
    No it doesn’t. Read the last paragraph again. . That’s how tax expenditure works though. Government prints money (or provides money equivalent services) and then constrains inflation by sucking...

    Your argument boils down to saying that we're supply-limited and can't make enough stuff for everyone to have enough, so poor people are just going to have to do without like they do now.

    No it doesn’t. Read the last paragraph again.

    Some countries do things like provide stipends for students, artist, entrepreneurs, etc. specifically to get around this problem. The other move is to just decommoditize essentials like healthcare, education, and housing so the prices don't get bid up. But this means the UBI would have to be supplemental to a comprehensive social welfare system, not a replacement for it as it is conventionally pitched.

    .

    Nobody's saying we should fund UBI just by printing money, so richer people will be paying taxes to keep the money supply stable.

    That’s how tax expenditure works though. Government prints money (or provides money equivalent services) and then constrains inflation by sucking out cash via taxation. But if you’re just handing out money without fundamentally changing the economic relationships that allow rich people to extract all wealth in the first place then you’re not actually addressing the root causes behind privation or inequality.

    2 votes
  19. Comment on If Universal Basic Income would be introduced, how would you stop prices from rising uncontrollably? in ~finance

    NaraVara
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    Not really. There are exogenous forces, like geography and zoning restrictions, that constrain housing supply. This is the big issue with UBI. You're increasing demand without increasing supply....

    Competition will still exist and supply versus demand will balance out at some point.

    Not really. There are exogenous forces, like geography and zoning restrictions, that constrain housing supply.

    This is the big issue with UBI. You're increasing demand without increasing supply. In fact, you might even be lowering supply of many low-cost goods and services. This cannot help but raise costs substantially, possibly above the level of income your UBI provides thereby canceling out the value of the benefit. A jobs guarantee is likely to work much better.

    Paying people to produce some kind of value will always be a better move than paying them for nothing. The only way this wouldn't hold is if you have faith that the UBI benefit will mostly go towards productive investment, but based on what we've seen of consumer behavior around other exogenous sources of money this is extremely unlikely. Most likely it will be used to pay down debts, get swallowed up in more rent, or just boost access to credit which is just exacerbating the debt peonage and financialization problems with our economy.

    Some countries do things like provide stipends for students, artist, entrepreneurs, etc. specifically to get around this problem. The other move is to just decommoditize essentials like healthcare, education, and housing so the prices don't get bid up. But this means the UBI would have to be supplemental to a comprehensive social welfare system, not a replacement for it as it is conventionally pitched.

    8 votes
  20. Comment on Martin Scorsese: I Said Marvel Movies Aren’t Cinema. Let Me Explain. in ~movies

    NaraVara
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    Good point on CGI. It's also why most of the truly weird Marvel stuff didn't make it to the screen. When they first announced an Infinity War movie part of me wondered how they would ever do...

    Good point on CGI. It's also why most of the truly weird Marvel stuff didn't make it to the screen. When they first announced an Infinity War movie part of me wondered how they would ever do justice to a page like this. It turns out, they didn't bother. They replaced Thanos trying to impress the literal personification of Death to make her love him by killing half the universe and fighting against abstract concepts to do so with a "Hurr overpopulation is bad!" hero's journey that doesn't stand up to even 5 seconds of scrutiny.

    Very disappointing.

    They watch them for the special effects but don't want to admit it to themselves.

    I don't think it's 100% special effects though. If it was, "Annihilation" would have done way better. So would Tarsem Singh's whole oeuvre. They want the cool special effects, but only of very basic, action-movie things. Anything that's actually creative or mind-blowing doesn't fly. Not even interesting new takes on characters really seem to get through.

    Imagine if they handed Spider-Man to Spike Jonze instead. What a different, interesting movie might we have gotten there? What if they made a Fantastic Four movie, but they had Wes Anderson write it as an actual family drama? You can imagine how fun or interesting that might be, but you know it'll never happen. There is so much fertile ground for interesting stuff to be done with these characters and these properties, but we're never gonna see any of it. Hell, I'd settle for a straight remake of the Fraction/Aja HawkGuy Hawkeye series. You don't even need much CGI for that, you just need to not take yourself too seriously and accept that you can't be all things to all people.

    (The big exception to all this is their willingness to hand Thor to Taika Waititi.)

    1 vote