#NBI2015Safari: Han Solo vs. Superman

For this week’s screenshot submission for the #NBI2015Safari, I’m giving you all a sneak peek at a surprising piece of concept art for the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII. At this point I’m sure you have all seen the trailer featuring the return of Han Solo. What you may not be aware of is the unexpected Star Wars/ DC crossover that will be featured in the film. SPOILER ALERT: The following spoilers are completely made up. If you’re concerned about learning significant plot points that won’t actually appear in the film, now’s the time to stop reading. You’ve been warned.

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Does this fortress look familiar? That’s right, the last son of Krypton has abandoned earth after an embarrassing defeat at the hands of Ben Affleck and is hiding out on Hoth. Mistaking Chewie for a mutated California Brown Bear, Superman uses his heat vision to make a disturbing Wookie-skinned rug for his crystal palace. As you can imagine, Han Solo is a little upset. Armed with only a blaster and the intestinal tract of a tauntaun, Han sets out to bring justice to the Man of Steel. You may be thinking, “Han Solo doesn’t have a snowball’s chance on Tatooine to defeat Superman,” but don’t be so sure. Remember, the Corellian managed to defeat Boba Fett on accident while blind. What might he be capable of with all his senses in tact when he’s actually trying?

All right, so maybe none of this is exactly what one might call “in touch with reality,” but it is a stunning picture of the Hoth landscape. Hoth is currently my favorite planet in Star Wars: The Old Republic, and this is just one of many screenshots I’ve captured of the planet surface. The color palette is simple but spot on. Of all the winter biomes I’ve seen in MMOs this one is my favorite. You can feel the glare of the sun reflecting off the surface of ice and snow; it is stark, harsh, and indifferent toward the wellbeing of its inhabitants. Below are a few additional screenshots of this Hoth-some planet (I’m so sorry, that was really bad).

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#NBI2015Safari: Hunting Werewolves

There are rumors of werewolves hidden among the people of Aldcroft. Fahd’ali approaches the town with caution, the full moon hidden by fog rolling in from the west. Bow drawn, arrow notched, and daedric companion at the ready he takes a deep, steadying breath before pressing forward. The town is quiet; although it’s several hours until midnight, even the local tavern is lifeless. The only sound is that of the sorcerer’s leather boots padding across the vacant, cobbled street.

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Nearby a door shuts swiftly, startling Fahd’ali. He hears the turning of a lock then all is quiet once more. Before pressing deeper into the town square Fahd’ali closes his eyes, listening for predatory sounds but hearing nothing; only stillness. The air is stale, warm. He slips further into an awareness of his environment, allowing his senses to wander through the palpable tension in the atmosphere.

Suddenly, the howl of a werewolf cuts through the rigid void. The moon, no longer hidden by the fog bathes Fahd’ali in a morose light, plainly marking him as the only living soul foolish enough to be out in the open. Off in the distance the creature howls once more, this time with an eagerness for the hunt. Fahd’ali raises his bow and whispers incantations of wind and lightning.

He is ready; he is afraid.

#NBI2015Safari: A Sylvari Self Portrait

Look, this is probably going to be cheesy, alright? I’d like to tell you that’s not normally to my taste, but truth is I’m still a bit of a romantic. And not just in the rose petals and candlelit dinner sort of way; I love John Cusack blaring Peter Gabriel from a 1980s boom box as much as the next guy, but that’s not what I mean. I’m talking about the idealist, the visionary, the person who wishes the adventurous nature of fantasy was reality. We’re talking Don Quixote fighting windmills style romanticism.

That’s what I see in this screen shot from Guild Wars 2. I hardly ever play the game anymore and yet this picture has become the one I use on Twitter, forums, and here at WordPress as my self-portrait. This picture of my ranger invokes hopefulness, an adventurer peering out at the next leg of his journey. He is eager, anticipating adventure and either blind to or undeterred by the prospect of danger.

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Or perhaps his gaze is one of hesitation and uncertainty. He’s older now and has lost much of the recklessness of youth. Wiser, sure, but also cautious to a fault. He’s experienced enough failure to be a realist despite his propensity toward being a romantic. Nevertheless, the horizon calls, the promise of another adventure on the other side of that massive, stony divide.

That is why I love this screen shot, it evokes so many possible dispositions for the gazing Sylvari, all of which I can sympathize with. Whether his mindset is one of fear or expectation, he looks outward regardless. Signs of growth sprout from his head, green shoots that promise maturation with time. Eventually he will leave this vista and step back on the path of exploration. The only question that remains, how long will he linger and what will his hesitation cost him?