For a Gore Prosperous Tomorrow

2020 Epilogue IV- Mass Media
The 2020 Epilogue: Pop Culture and Mass Media

Pop culture and mass media found thmselves in a bit of an odd shifting point this year. While there were growing changes that came from a second wave of #MeToo along with the potential rumors of problems for Big Tech, everything was going on as normal. Movie theaters enjoyed a good year of big hits and block busters, especially for the superhero films with Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame and Justice League. The end of Christopher Nolan's Star Wars trilogy also helped brought some new life to the series as new stories were told in filling up the cracks such as between Episodes III and IV, continuation of stuff in the old past and so on. Disney seemed to begun returning to stride with the success of Elfking and rumors were ciculating that they may buy the X-Men film rights back after a decline in popularity and quality for them. Many people were looking forward to the potential new films, video games and other works of fiction coming out or continuing such as serieses coming over in 2020.

However, COVID-20 changed everything. Film theaters shut down, productions grounded to a halt for live action shows and to a lesser degree in animation and adjustments had to be made for this. This meant that the films that came out before the virus coming out in late May were largely spared, with Memorial Day being the last big day before the matters dried significially to say the least. Television meanwhile found themselves having to adjust to deal with such, some going over to reruns and using it to try and marathon some shows in order to maintain viewer watch. Video games meanwhile varied. Japanese development slowed down becsuse of the unused to working from home though some Western ones fared a bit better, especially independent ones. However, the new launch titles would become a massive boon as they would be viewed as good time sinks to help people occupy themselves during their time.

Despite this, the film industry still released some pretty good films that would be notable. Video game-based films seemed to continue their path to potential with the Sonic The Hedgehog film that outstandingly well. The plot focused on Sonic the Hedgehog and Dr. Ivo "Eggman" Robotnik (played by Jim Carey) meeting when Mobius suddenly appears on Earth (Mobius being a continent that seemingly vanished over in the Pacific). Sonic explores the open world and befriends some humans while dealing with Robotnik, here a government scientist. Another film was surprisingly a DCEU film in Manhunter of Mars, a prequel that showned the origins of J'onn, the Manhunter of Mars and his nemesis in Commander Blanc. Many were surprised by the subtle racial undertones over the interactions of the Green and White Martians along with how J'onn was betrayed by his brother, M'aal before the world would be put in danger. However, the big surprise came in none other than the post-credits, which revealed that the capital city of Mars survived the calamity, with the set-up being none other than the next foe in a mysterious computerized alien known as Vril Dox who noted the capturing of the city. Another film that was a surprise hit was Trolls World Tour. It served as an experiment in streaming cinema-first films into homes for a fee for a day. It showed a potential alternate to going to movie theaters and one that made em nervous. The film itself was fascinating, but also served as a subtle critique on pop music's tendences to copy other styles, but also on hard rock music's tendencies for overexposure. Beyond that, many films would end up being pushed toward later, either for 2021. Others would end up being released over on Netflix; either special films released there or on other streaming sites. However, there was an observation that this did lead to a lack of prominent films. Various indie films and foreign films would be noticeable. One was Parasite, a dramatic Korean film examining the divide between the rich and the poor and lauded, especially after its delays. As such, many saw this as an opportunity to explore either classics they haven't paid attention before or some new obscure stuff. Television has been doing well

Video games meanwhile would get quite a large successful boost, at least those release in the holiday season of last year and now those of the Spring of 2020. The Nintendo Switch in particular brought many new hits that many were surprised were coming for them. One of the big names was Animal Crossing New Horizons, a new Animal Crossing game focused on developing your island town, up to crafting furniture and even landscaping, public places and so on, with free downloads promising new stuff in the future. Super Mario Maker 2 brought plenty of new goodies, tips and tricks and thus had it become a successful sequel over to the original Super Mario Maker. Luigi's Mansion 3 was a welcomed sequel that had the younger brother journey a haunted hotel to save his brother and friends. However, none other was more beloved than that of the newest Super Smash Bros game, that of Super Smash Bros Ultimate. And they brought back everyone. Every playable character from the past iterations would reappear and even beyond the return of various characters that haven't been seen since Melee, there was several new characters for them to enjoy. These included the Inkling of Splatoon, that was showncase in trailers with others were Isabel of Animal Crossing, Simon of Castlevania, Byleth of Fire Emblem Three Houses and Agnès Oblige of Bravely Default. However, to further fuel fan excitement, there was the news that there would be Smash DLC, much like there was for Super Smash Bros Duels. And in fact, there was an opportunity to get the "zeroth" DLC character for free as a taste for those who were quick on the draw, that being the "mascot" of Nintendo LABO, LABO man, who many took as the "quirky" character of the game. There was even a season pass available to get the five DLC charactes that would be coming. Future announcements brought joy, such as Pokemon Sword and Pokemon Shield announced for the holiday season of 2020.

While Nintendo was the one who benefitted alot here, there were plenty of other games that were to be enjoyed. Persona 5 Royal was delayed once more so it could get an equal global release for the Nintendo Switch, Playstation 5 and Xbox X, though they noted they had the opportunity to try and do further tweaking of the game. However, perhaps to try and make up for it, the spin-off game Persona 5 Scramble came out early in 2020 for the Switch, PS4 and Xbox One with a port for the PS5 and XBX coming later. Furthermore, many standout games came out before or during the pandemic: DOOM Eternal served as just as good a sequel to the precedessor, the long-awaited remake of Final Fantasy VII came out and stunned everyone, Ghost of Tsushima brought plenty of attention, the unexpected treasure in Half-Life ALYX created a massive bombshock for eveyrone at the potential for a Half-Life 3. This and so many more games were to be coming out and brought plenty of enjoyment to people during these times, especially whe COVID came. Other big hits included the indie scene such as Ori and the Will of the Wisps and Shantae and the Seven Sirens. Online gaming continued to keep going and bringing enjoyment. World of Warlock remained popular along with new games such as Overwatch II being announced to come out, Fortnite becoming very prominent moreso and so on. Indie games in development would continue on as their developers could get a bit more help due to some being "self-employed" or very small businesses.
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Unlockables *=Veterans not from OTL **=ITTL Newcomers

Donkey Kong
Samus Aran
Zero Suit Samus
Fox McCloud
Captain Falcon

Princess Peach
Banjo & Kazooie*
Princess Zelda

King K. Rool*
Meta Knight
King Dedede
Joanna Dark*

Toon Link

Ice Climbers

Mr. Game and Watch
Diddy Kong

Rosalina & Luma
Wii Fit Trainer
Little Mac
Bandana Dee*
Mega Man
Mii Fighter
Mii Swordsman
Mii Gunner

Cloud Strife

Solid Snake

New Arrivals
Simon Belmont
Princess Daisy
Agnes Oblige**

Season Pass DLC I
0- Nintendo LABOman
1- Joker [Persona]
2- Dragon Quest Hero [Dragon Quest]
3- Min Min [ARMS]
4- Terry [Fatal Fury]
5- Shantae** [Shantae]
Awesome love the pop culture update. Can I ask how would the Star Wars trilogy end? Also was Avengers Endgame the same as OTL?
I had no idea given it would be done by Christopher Nolan, but likely with Kira continuing on the legacy with a new way of the Force.

Endgame would be different given the characters and lack of
time travel. It would have Spidey leading the New Avengers along with some others. Not as many casualties and Steve and Natasha get married. Not sure if the Stones would be used, but maybe by Adam to show off their power or its used by the original Avengers seperately and linked using a Unimind via Adam Warlock.

What other questions? :)
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What is the state of the following franchises:

-Call of Duty
-Medal of Honor
-The Elder Scrolls
- Call of Duty: Likely entered a bit of a hiatus. It probably entered the break after Black Ops or Modern Warfare III. They might do a World War I edition for 2019 to try and mix things up.

- Battlefield: May end with Battlefield 3 or 4 with the shooters drying up faster or at least demanding more creativity so they may go into something of a hiatus and produce fewer games as well.

- Medal of Honor: The 2010 one would probably be the final one and doing the least successful of these three above.

- Fallout: Well, given the cultural shift, we may still get Fallout 4, but possibly not Fallout '76. I am not sure if they would release another game. Perhaps they may release another spinoff instead of Fallout '76. Probably still a multiplayer game though becasue the tonal shifts means it'd require more time and effort, it'd probably be better. Either that or go in a more radical direction . Either by making a spinoff occurring in an unexpected location and theme (maybe turf wars in New York City or maybe set in Atlanta and exploring racial developments). I don't think they'd do a reboot of the franchise (least in 2020 anyways.)

- The Elder Scrolls: Probably pretty close to OTL.

I appreciate these questions and will try and answer them as best I can! :)
I had no idea given it would be done by Christopher Nolan, but likely with Kira continuing on the legacy with a new way of the Force.

Endgame would be different given the characters and lack of
time travel. It would have Spidey leading the New Avengers along with some others. Not as many casualties and Steve and Natasha get married. Not sure if the Stones would be used, but maybe by Adam to show off their power or its used by the original Avengers seperately and linked using a Unimind via Adam Warlock.

What other questions? :)
Awesome TTL's Endgame sounds great
Final Fantasy ITTL.
Final Fantasy is likely the same up until Final Fantasy XIII. Sony is doing worse than OTL, especially since Xbox having SEGA on their side means they take more of a bite out of Sony's Japan influence than in OTL. This influences Square Enixto begin mending fences with Nintendo faster out of pragmatism, hence why Geno could appear in Super Smash Bros Duels.

XIII doing mixed reception and Sony's decline may have them consider releasing Final Fantasy XV on a Nintendo console as well. Of course, this likely meant Nintendo giving a bit of help toward the development and some added time, meaning Final Fantasy XV would come out a year later than OTL. Of course, the extra development time and help likely helped out in making the plot more interesting. Final Fantasy XV would also likely get a port to TTL's Nintendo Switch. As such, Final Fantasy XVI won;t come out for a while.
Did the new version of Dune come out ITTL?
Hmmm... tricky with Dune. On the one hand, there's a strong possibility that it would be like OTL and comes out in 2021 with COVID-20 causing problems.

On the other hand, the accelerated advancements of the Internet during the Gore era would lead to earlier prominence of Netflix and preference to streaming within the mainstream and as such, tweak agreements to where there's not as much of a race to create your own streaming platform. I imagine Hulu and a few others exist alongside Netflix at least.

As such, they may decide something like a Netflix series may be more viable for the universe of Dune. Ultimately, I think it may still be made into the films given Rubenstein holding thr rights and not sure his thoughts on streaming.
Any other questions or musings on this? I probably missed some stuff or not considered some other things, especially in regards to thing like culture, pop culture, certain businesses and so on
2020 Epilogue V- Big Tech
The 2020 Epilogue: Cutting Down Big Tech

"Big Tech" was one of the most prominent influences in businesses, politics and cultures. While starting out with the rise of computer technologies and hardware, it would grow to encompass software and even interner-based companies in social media, information gathering and redistributing and even video games in some definitions. While it has enjoyed great growth throughout the last few decades, many have come to begin seeing them as potential troublemakers that may need to be dealt with or at the very least, the unscrupulous individuals who run and manage the upper echelons of these companies. It has been nearly 20 years since Microsoft would be forced to split into two companies. One that handled various software such as NetEx browser and MSOffice (formerly Internet Explorer and Microsoft Office respectably) and the other hardware, the Windows OS and later on, Xbox and game-related matters, such as SEGA. As such, many would come to see that such decisions may be needed to applied once more to deal with new technologi, especially with the young generation becoming more prominent in the workforce with a different new Internet and rules.

Many people trace this modern galvanization of legislation dealing with potential "Big Tech" monopolies with the scandal over Facebook and their illict affairs with Cambridge Analytica over sharing user information and it would explode into various questions on freedom, security, permissions and so on. The ideas centered mainly though on securing the rights and freedoms of how the users' data could be shared regarding permission as well as potential monopolies or oligopolies and even certain matters on free speech. As such, the Sanders Administration welcomed the feedback of experts and of various concerns citizens, encouraging other nations and groups like the European Union to do the same, balancing the needs of clamping down on such forces along with maintaining the voice of the people.

Legislation was promoted for consumer rights over the selling of data though it was also on discouraging the practices and aknowledging the possibility of declaring certain social media sites as "public spaces", with the idea of "public" and "private" webspaces being floated around regarding social media. As such, it would lead to First Amendment protections, and many note it would make sense given Section 230, thus protecting the sites from liability. At the same time, there was the concern of hate speech, inflammatory speech and so on, along with the responsability of reporting hostile, threatening or provactive behavior. And of course, the potential distinction between "public" and private" social media spaces (though one report noted some possibilities being size ranges and usage among the list/ ) This part of a broarder move toward the potential implementation of "platform utilities". Of course, this was not as big a concern, namely since while some social media pages are promoted more over others (Myspace and Facebook remaining the big names), they are not an oligopoly nor pushing others out. However, Facebook does remain in risk as many are expecting to see the reversals of mergers and purchases such as WhatsApp and Instagram along with other compensations. As such, some were switching to others, such as the resurrection of Friendster or the rise of Mastodon.

However, there were larger targets, predominantly Google, Apple and Amazon. Amazon was very notable, given its history of dodging large taxes and growing ever larger. The conflict really began when the Sanders Administration blocked Amazon from the purchase of Whole Foods. As such, while they were geared up for conflict against the Sanders' Administration, it would not be enough for them and the treatment of their workers during the COVID-2020 epidemic provided a good starting point to deal with them with anti-trust laws though some have speculated Amazon may try and do so itself to maintain favorable advantages to do so. Despite this, it was clearly that Amazon would no longer be the top and many were wondering what they were going to lose. Some even speculated Bezos may try and cheat the system, resulting in potential arrests if he did. According to some, the biggest loses would come from some of the international companies Amazon acquired with one rumor saying Amazon may spin off their books and audio books section while another rumor believed that the video service of Amazon Prime might be spun off to something else as well

Meanwhile, Google has to deal with its own problems on two fronts. One is the undoing of certain mergers, most likely Waze, Nest, and DoubleClick to restore some comepetition. At the same time, Google alongside Apple are dealing with struggles over against Riot Games over transactions within games and the potential of monopolies regarding the various Appstores within the software. As such, the upcoming court cases would seem like it would side over with Riot and against Google and Apple. Furthermore, other potentials could've been planned and currently being examined. This is not counting the growing cases over in Europe at them for similar practices. The influential reign of Big Technology was entering an area of decline and twilight, at least when it came to upper echelons; the common people were using it more than ever in creative and expressive ways, especially as the COVID-20 Pandemic provided it as a refuge of sorts.