Cinemark Customers Not Required to Wear Masks When Theaters Reopen

Movie theater chain Cinemark will “encourage” but not require its customers to wear face masks when they reopen their cinemas later this month despite the ongoing threat of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cinemark intends on reopening in four phases, starting June 19, with its theater employees required to wear face coverings.

During an analysts call this week, Cinemark CEO Mark Zoradi said: “We have been intensely focused on developing enhanced health and safety protocols, understanding that these factors will weigh heavily on the confidence and peace of mind of our employees, guests and community as we reopen our theaters.”

Zoradi added, “Of course it depends on a continuing positive movement, relative to the decline of COVID-19 and the government restrictions being reduced across the country.”

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TheWrap reports that Cinemark will implement social distancing at the box office and concessions stands, be vigorous in cleaning and allow for ticket buyers online to physically distance themselves from others when selecting seats.

Cinemark also promises to “supply hand and seat cleaners for guests, stagger movie times to reduce foot traffic and join other companies, like Amazon, in screening staff before their shifts,” according to FOX Business. “It will also run an initial maximum seating capacity of 50 percent with six feet between patrons.”

Why is Cinemark not requiring its costumers to wear face coverings when the CDC says the virus is spread when people do not wear masks or observe social distancing?

As Collider suggests, a big reason for Cinemark to not require patrons to don masks is concessions, which account for a huge portion of a theater’s revenue.

Exhibitors have to share half their ticket sales with the studios so they make most of their money off concessions. Thus, if moviegoers are wearing masks then they’re probably less likely to buy food and beverages.

Would you feel comfortable attending a theater that didn’t require face masks? Let us know in the comments.
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Tunnelbear VPN Review

Based in Canada but subtly owned by McAfee (a fact not mentioned on its website), TunnelBear is a low-cost, freemium virtual private network that will give you privacy in a pinch. But what is the cost of its convenience? We paid for TunnelBear’s full version to put it through its paces. And while it might be the best VPN for some, it’s certainly not for everybody – especially if you’re going to use the service for high-bandwidth activities like Netflix or gaming.

Design and Features

A very simple, aesthetically pleasing VPN, TunnelBear operates on a range of desktop computers and mobile devices, with MacOS, Windows, Android, and iOS apps to keep users’ data protected. Cute and colorful, TunnelBear’s apps may be easy on the eyes, but they are essentially just giant on/off switches overlaid on global maps of its servers. Yet TunnelBear’s iPad and Android tablet apps (a nice touch, rather than just phone-ports) give away its game: The company’s VPN service doesn’t really meet the demands of desktop usage, despite the fact that it’s got plugins for the Chrome, Firefox, and Opera web browsers.

image1

But for mobile data privacy in a pinch, Tunnelbear is worth keeping tucked away in one of your mobile device’s folders, if only because it will let users protect 500 megabytes of data for free. The company will also award one gigabyte of additional data to users who tweet about the service, which can be used on up to 5 devices.

Promoting unlimited bandwidth (for its paid users), no throttling, no buffering, and servers in 23 different countries, TunnelBear does what users expect it to – it keeps users’ browsing and location information private. In fact, another nice touch in TunnelBear’s service is the reassurance it provides by annually publishing independent security audits of its apps.

TunnelBear’s most recent audit, published in November 2019, found a dozen security-related items of note – two that were listed as “critical” and four that were highly vulnerable – but all of which TunnelBear says it has since addressed. One byproduct of the annual report, the penetration testing company notes, is that with each passing year TunnelBear appears to have gotten more secure.

TunnelBear defaults to AES 265-bit encryption, which is the strongest you can get, and promises to not log any user browsing data or personal information. It also has a “vigilant mode” designed to block all unsecured web traffic if its service somehow gets disconnected.

Performance

TunnelBear was tested, along with its competitors, by gaging the service’s performance in both the afternoon and evening. The testing was conducted on an iMac running TunnelBear’s MacOS client, measuring not only the machine’s download and upload speeds while using the VPN, but also its responsiveness by pinging various games’ servers while it was engaged. Finally, we put TunnelBear to the test by playing the games with the VPN as well as streaming content over Netflix to see how well the video renders.

Afternoon Latency

Both in the afternoon and evening, TunnelBear performed much more slowly than competing VPNs, a consistent result for the service. On average, TunnelBear’s download speeds were about 70% slower than speeds without using a VPN in the afternoon, and almost 75% slower in the evenings. Upload speeds were similarly impacted. In the afternoon, upload speeds were around 75% slower while using TunnelBear, and they were around 40% slower, on average, in the evening.

Evening Latency

Measuring TunnelBear’s responsiveness using online game servers proved to be similarly underwhelming. In the afternoon, TunnelBear’s pings from Fortnite, League of Legends, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive were 71 milliseconds, 6 milliseconds, and 108milliseconds slower, respectively. In the evening the results were worse: 70 milliseconds, 56 milliseconds, and 189 milliseconds slower, respectively, than connecting without a VPN.

Download Upload Averages

Despite TunnelBear’s speed deficiencies, the service worked fine streaming Netflix. Connecting through a Switzerland-based TunnelBear server from the U.S., the streaming service functioned as well as could be expected, displaying the fast-moving action scenes from Extraction with limited motion artifacts or pixelation.

Purchasing Guide

TunnelBear’s pricing may be attractive to users who want VPN protection, but don’t want to pay a lot for it. As mentioned above, the service offers a freemium plan that can give you a bit of privacy without having to pay. But in addition to plans for single users, the TunnelBear sells “Teams” plans that cost $ 5.75 per user, per month. Individual plan pricing varies. A one-month subscription to TunnelBear costs $ 9.99. Paying for a year of TunnelBear costs $ 51.51, but it brings the monthly rate down to $ 4.29. The best value is a three-year subscription which costs $ 3.33 per month, or $ 120 upfront.
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LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga Gets a Special Steelbook Case

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Preorder Bonus

steelbook-star-wars-lego-skywalker-saga

No universal preorder bonuses come with the game, but if you purchase it at Best Buy, you’ll get an exclusive steelbook case for free. It’s designed to look like a LEGO Han Solo encased in carbonite, which it pretty neat.

Preorder LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

PS4

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Xbox One

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Nintendo Switch

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PC

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga is the biggest game yet in the sub-series. It lets you play through the stories of all nine main films, with overhauled levels from the previous games. You don’t have to play them in order, either. The whole thing is laid out in an open-world format, and you can hop around from planet to planet at will, dropping into whatever scene you feel like playing from any of the films.

You take control of characters like Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Rey and Finn, as well as villains like Darth Vader and Kylo Ren. Combat has been upgraded with a combo system, as well as enemy health bars replacing the old one-hit-kill fights.

Since LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens was the last game in the series, The Skywalker Saga represents the first time The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker have appeared in playable LEGO format. Check out our LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga preview for more details.

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Chris Reed is IGN’s shopping and commerce editor. You can follow him on Twitter @_chrislreed.

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John Boyega’s Black Lives Matter Speech and Lucasfilm’s Response

Star Wars’ John Boyega delivered an impassioned speech Wednesday in London during a Black Lives Matter protest over the recent killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers. During his speech, Boyega noted that his activism might hurt his career but that it’s a price he’s willing to pay. However, Lucasfilm has since come out in support of their Star Wars lead, declaring him a “hero” that they stand with.

“Look, I don’t know if I’m going to have a career after this, but f*** that,” Boyega shouted to a crowd of fellow protestors assembled in London’s Hyde Park.

Hoarse and deeply moved, Boyega declared, “I need you to understand how painful it is to be reminded every day that your race means nothing — and that isn’t the case anymore, that was never the case anymore. We are a physical representation of our support for George Floyd.”

Boyega’s most recent employer, Lucasfilm, declared him “our hero,” promising that “Lucasfilm stands with John Boyega.”

John Boyega isn’t the only Star Wars actor to take to the streets and join the protestors. The Mandalorian’s Pedro Pascal participated in a march in Los Angeles this past weekend, documenting it on his social media accounts.

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Project CARS 3 Promises to Be More ‘Democratic, Welcoming, Supportive’

With Fast & Furious Crossroads arriving in August, the news today that developer Slightly Mad Studios will have a second driving game due out in the same season comes as somewhat of a surprise.

However, while Project CARS 3 will ultimately have little in common with its Hollywood-inspired stablemate, Slightly Mad has added a variety of features to its traditional, hardcore racing sim to make it more accessible to newcomers.

[ignvideo width=610 height=374 url=https://www.ign.com/videos/2020/06/03/project-cars-3-4k-announcement-trailer]

“We’ve gone to great lengths to make what we do and what we love about sim racing much more democratic,” director of production Pete Morrish explained to IGN in the lead-up to Project CARS 3’s announcement. “Much more welcoming; much more supportive.”

According to Morrish, for players tossing up between the excellent Project CARS 2 and the upcoming Project CARS 3, the decision is simple.

“In that situation, when you’ve got somebody in a store – looking at the two copies and thinking which one to go for – kinda by definition they’re not in the initial target market of Project CARS 2, which was very much towards racing fans and simulation heads and people that were fans of motorsport and so on,” said Morrish. “So there are certain things that we’ve done in Project CARS 3 that make the new version the version that that particular person should go for, at the drop of a hat.”

[poilib element=”quoteBox” parameters=”excerpt=It%E2%80%99ll%20let%20them%20find%20their%20position%20on%20the%20continuum%20between%20casual%2C%20mass-market%20racing%20fan%20or%20petrol%20head%20and%20all%20the%20way%20to%20hardcore%20sim%20racer”]“So that person that’s umming and erring between the two versions needs to go for the latest version, because – as an experience – it’s much more their cup of tea, we think. It’ll let them find their position on the continuum between casual, mass-market racing fan or petrol head and all the way to hardcore sim racer.”

The brand-new Corvette C8.R is coming to Project CARS 3.
The brand-new Corvette C8.R is coming to Project CARS 3.

Project CARS 3 will feature a completely new career mode for the series, rebuilt from scratch. It’s pitched as a curated experience, taking players through 10 car classes and introducing upgrades and unique visual customisation options to the series for the first time. That said, the team was quick to stress this new approach to career mode hasn’t come at the expense of the series’ deep racing toolbox.

[poilib element=”quoteBox” parameters=”excerpt=We%20haven%E2%80%99t%20forgotten%20about%20what%20got%20us%20to%20this%20point%20and%20the%20people%20that%20supported%20us%20up%20to%20this%20point”]“We haven’t forgotten about what got us to this point and the people that supported us up to this point,” said Morrish. “So what they know and love about the franchise is there and it’s better than it ever has been before.”

“In the custom event mode all the cars and tracks are available straight away in that mode,” added Joe Barron, marketing and esports manager for Project CARS 3. “So if you’re more on the hardcore end of the scale and the first thing you want to do is turn every assist off and go and race in a thunderstorm in the middle of the night in your prototype or something like that, you don’t have to play through hours of career mode to get there if you want to jump straight into a custom event.”

“And likewise in multiplayer as well; everything is available straight away in multiplayer. The difference is, in the multiplayer side of things, if you don’t own the right car for a specific multiplayer event you can borrow one from the game for that multiplayer event. The only difference there is that you can’t customise or upgrade your car if you’re borrowing it for a one-off event, whereas if it’s in your garage you can do all the tweaking.”

Turning stock cars into race cars is reminiscent of Need for Speed Shift ‘Works Upgrade’ feature.
Turning stock cars into race cars is reminiscent of Need for Speed Shift ‘Works Upgrade’ feature.

IGN was shown a glimpse of some of these upgrades in action, which involves customising livery templates, rims, tyre lettering, and so forth. There will also be the ability to build your own race cars from selected road cars in the game, which sounds like the racing modification feature in Gran Turismo and the ‘Works Upgrade’ option in Slightly Mad’s own Need for Speed Shift.

“With the upgrade system, one of the things we’re keen for people to be able to do is that – if they do latch onto a car that they really like early on in the career – you can carry that through the car classes,” said Barron. “The only thing I can’t tell you right now is which exact cars this applies to but quite a lot of the road cars have full race-spec kits that you can upgrade them with as well, so you can take them all the way up to some of the very top classes in the game.”

Multiplayer has also been overhauled and will include scheduled races (à la Gran Turismo Sport) and proper skill-based matchmaking.

[poilib element=”quoteBox” parameters=”excerpt=In%20Project%20CARS%202%20we%20already%20had%20this%20competitive%20racing%20license%20system%20that%20was%20measuring%20everybody%E2%80%99s%20skill%20level%20and%20safety%20or%20sportsmanship%20level…%20but%20we%20didn%E2%80%99t%20do%20enough%20with%20it”]“In Project CARS 2 we already had this competitive racing license system that was measuring everybody’s skill level and safety or sportsmanship level within the multiplayer side of things, but we didn’t do enough with it,” said Barron. “All that data existed and was attached to everybody’s individual profile; if you were setting up a custom lobby you could set parameters to limit who could join to certain skill levels.”

“But now that we’ve got the scheduled races and all the skill-based matchmaking, we’re actually making proper use of that, and that’s going to make a big difference to people being able to jump in from day one, find their level up against the right part of the community for them to be racing against, and improve the quality of racing.”

The Acura NSX.
The Acura NSX before…

Slightly Mad Studios showcased a pair of new locations for Project CARS 3, including Brazil’s Autódromo José Carlos Pace (better known as Interlagos) and a street circuit in Shanghai. Amongst the many, many returning tracks we also spotted a Havana-based track. Shanghai and Havana have been locations in Codemasters’ Grid games in the past, but Morrish explains this is a fluke.

“Hand on heart, it is just coincidence,” he said. “Too little time has passed for any real coalition of our dev and their dev to have taken part. At the moment we’re part of one big family, and there are certain background things, boring HR processes, and stuff like that that we’re beginning to meld together, but the games we’re working on were too far developed to really have any cross-pollination of ideas or any new assets or things like that.”

“The stuff that we were working on pre-acquisition is the same post-acquisition. Future projects, things might be different, but Project CARS 3 is the same game as we started making.

[poilib element=”quoteBox” parameters=”excerpt=Codemasters%20have%20their%20own%20engine%20and%20we%20have%20our%20own%20engine”]“Codemasters have their own engine and we have our own engine. It’s a bit like Unity and Unreal, say; you can’t take stuff from Unreal and stick it directly into Unity, and we’re the same sort of thing. We’ve got a mature tech stack we’ve been working on for 10, 15 years, same as Codemasters. So although they’re throwing around similar things, which are our version of a track and their version of a track, we can’t just suck one out and pop it into the other one.

“But we will be able to share assets more effectively and take advantage of some of the economies of scale that a larger company has and so on. So it’s a positive thing, we think, across both companies.”

...and after.
…and after.

There have also been huge changes to the gamepad handling and improvements to force feedback for wheel users.

“One of the things we’ve spent a lot of time on is adding lots of little details and new features to the way that force feedback works for steering wheel players,” said Barron. “We’ve been looking at each phase of cornering as an individual part of the process, so braking and turn-in: what extra detail can we add there? What extra detail do we need as you get through the curve to the apex, and what extra detail can we put in as you start to put power on again? We’ve made some big steps in that area; as soon as we started compartmentalising it like that we made some big steps on force feedback, which has been really cool.”

“And we’ve really done lots of work to the gamepad handling as well, in terms of how the game reads – in particular – left analogue stick input, and then also making the assists a lot less intrusive on the gamepad. So they’re still helpful, but they become less of a crutch if you’re playing on a gamepad, and it’s easier to gradually turn them off and increase the difficulty, and along with that you’re going to be earning bigger rewards for experience and credits as you do that.”

Project CARS 3 will be available for PS4, Xbox One, and PC later this summer (or winter, for everyone below the equator). If you’re unfamiliar with the series, check out IGN’s review of Project CARS 2 here.

[poilib element=”accentDivider”]

Luke is Games Editor at IGN’s Sydney office. You can find him on Twitter sporadically @MrLukeReilly.
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Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning Seemingly Leaked for August 2020

Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning has seemingly leaked on the Microsoft Store and will apparently make its way to at least Xbox One on August 11, 2020.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning is a remastered version of the 2012’s Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning that was released on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

This remaster appears to include all DLC, including Teeth of Naros and Legend of Dead Kel, and will have “improved graphical fidelity.”

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Amalur’s story is penned by New York Times’ best-selling author R.A. Salvatore and was also developed by Spawn creator Todd McFarlane and Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion lead designed Ken Rolston.

In our review of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, we said “Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning isn’t the perfect game. Its random technical hiccups and inconsistent art style certainly holds it back from even higher levels of greatness. But no matter what you’re looking for, whether it be amazing gameplay, immersive storytelling or perhaps a riveting new world to explore as you fully customize and re-customize your character at will, Reckoning has it all.”

Kingdoms of Amalur was originally developed by 38 Studios and was published by EA. In 2018, THQ Nordic bought the property from the now-defunct studio, although EA still owned the publishing rights. It appears they worked out a deal to make this happen.

[ignvideo url=”https://www.ign.com/videos/2012/02/03/kingdoms-of-amalur-reckoning-video-review”]

Amalur came with a ton of controversy, as the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation filed a lawsuit against 38 Studios founder and ex-Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling and other executives. 38 Studios went out of business following a $ 75 million dollar loan supported by Rhode Island taxpayers.

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Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN who hopes this is also coming to Switch. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.
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