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Guitar Hero goes Live in SA

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Two new gameplay modes, GH Live and GHTV, usher in the new era of music games as Guitar Hero Live arrives on store shelves today

Guitar Hero, the pop culture phenomenon that captured the hearts of 40 million players across the globe, has been reninvented and is now available at retail stores nationwide with the completely reinvented.

The new game, Guitar Hero Live, has been developed by FreeStyleGames, the studio behind DJ Hero and DJ Hero 2. It introduces a radically improved guitar controller, hundreds of songs and two brand new ways to play: GH Live, a first-person point of view where you play in front of a real crowd that reacts to how you perform, and GHTV, the world’s first playable music video network.

“Guitar Hero is one of the most beloved gaming franchises of all time, and now, after years of research and development, it’s back, totally reinvented, and better than ever with Guitar Hero Live,” said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing.

“The experience of being up on stage, in first person, playing in front of a live crowd that responds to your performance in real time, will put your heart in your throat. And GHTV, which lets you play along to your favorite music videos will keep the game fresh with a continuous stream of new content. We’ve poured our hearts and souls into Guitar Hero Live and we can’t wait for fans to get their hands on it. It’s going to be awesome.”

Each mode of the game delivers a new take on the music game genre. GH Live is a live-action experience that delivers the emotional roller coaster of being on stage, with players performing in a real band, in front of real crowds, who react in real time to how well or poorly they play.

Shot live with musicians performing in front of real crowds, GH Live delivers the raw excitement and stage fright that comes with owning the stage in front of thousands of cheering – or jeering – fans.

GHTV is a 24-hour playable music video network that lets fans play along to a continually-updated collection of official videos, from the newest releases to old hits. GHTV will launch with hundreds of songs and will continue to grow, with new songs added weekly, serving as an ever-expanding source for music discovery. Fans can play along with different channels of music or choose to play one of hundreds of songs on demand.

They can play solo or with their friends in local head-to-head multiplayer, and online against other players trying to master the same song. By plugging in a USB mic, players can sing along to the music in both GH Live and GHTV with lyrics displayed on screen.

GHTV also includes Premium Shows, which highlight premium playable content such as live concert footage and debut music videos in the platform. Fans can also experience the GHTV premiere of the Avenged Sevenfold Premium Show, including playable concert footage recorded at the band’s recent headlining performance at England’s Download Festival. Players will be awarded with a custom Avenged Sevenfold themed note highway and player card.

Activision is also giving fans a chance to get in the game by submitting clips of themselves performing Ed Sheeran’s hit song, “Sing”, through the musical.ly app. Winners will be featured in a world premiere music video that will be playable in the game. Fans can visit www.guitarhero.com/ghtvstar for more information.

Guitar Hero Live introduces a new guitar controller that features six buttons: two rows of three buttons that better reflect the way people naturally play and deliver more fun for players of all abilities. This simple innovation makes it easier for beginners to play and harder for veterans to master. Additionally, fans can sing along in the game, with lyrics on screen, adding another way to play together in the same living room.

Guitar Hero Live takes a fresh take on the music styling of rhythm games. The tracklist includes hundreds of songs at launch, including the music of The Rolling Stones, The Black Keys, Queen, Green Day, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fall Out Boy, Pearl Jam, Bruno Mars, Weezer, Iggy Pop, Alt-J, Jet, ZZ Top, Rage Against the Machine, Megadeth, The Strokes, Royal Blood, Ed Sheeran, and Gary Clark Jr. The full list, which will be continually updated, can be found at https://www.guitarhero.com/game/artists.

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Netflix to make SA series

The world leader in streaming movies has announced the first South African production to join its Originals roster.

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World leader in entertainment streaming services Netflix this week announced its first Original series in Africa, with South African series Queen Sono.

The news comes immediately in the wake of local rival Showmax announcing it’s first original drama production. In this context, it heralds a new phase in the evolution of streaming video-on-demand in South Africa.

The action-packed series follows Queen Sono, the highly trained top spy in a South African agency whose purpose is to better the lives of African citizens. While taking on her most dangerous mission yet, she must also face changing relationships in her personal life. The series will be created by Director, Kagiso Lediga and Executive producer Tamsin Andersson.

South African actress, Pearl Thusi, will star as Queen Sono, with the character having been created with her in mind. Thusi is also known for her performance in the romantic dramedy, Catching Feelings, available on Netflix.

Pearl Thusi stars as Queen Sono in Netflix’s first original series in Africa.

“We are excited to be working with Kagiso and Pearl, to bring the story of Queen Sono to life, and we expect it to be embraced by our South African users and global audiences alike.” said Erik Barmack, Vice President of International Original Series at Netflix.

“We are delighted to create this original series with Netflix, and are super excited by their undeniable ability to take this homegrown South African story to a global audience. We believe Queen Sono will kick the door open for more awesome stories from this part of the world” added the director and executive producer of the series, Kagiso Lediga.

The series is due to start production in 2019.

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Showmax shoots its first local drama

Showmax has completed filming its first commissioned drama, as it builds out its roster of original content.

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The Girl From St Agnes, Showmax’s first original drama, wrapped on 28 November 2018 after filming in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands and Johannesburg. The eight-part whodunnit premieres on Showmax on 31 January 2019. It is the second series in a programme designed to build out its roster of exclusive, original content.

As Netflix takes hold as South Africa’s preferred streaming video-on-demand service,  Showmax owner MultiChoice has made a string of strategic announcements designed to take the DStv paid satellite broadcasting service into the streaming era. Original content is critical to this strategy, as Netflix is on track to become the world’s biggest movie studio.

Showmax is available in 70 countries.

Photographer: Patrick Toselli

“Our first Original – last year’s light-hearted comedy Tali’s Wedding Diary – had the most successful launch day of any series on Showmax ever,” says Candice Fangueiro, head of content at Showmax. “This is a complete change of direction: The Girl From St Agnes is a dark murder mystery that will keep you guessing and taps into the current conversations in South Africa about #metoo and teen sexuality.”

At St Agnes, a prestigious all-girls boarding school in the Midlands, a popular and beautiful student is found dead at the base of the old mill. Fearful of the scandal it might cause, the school is quick to declare the death of Lexi Summerveld a tragic accident.

But drama teacher Kate Ballard doesn’t believe it. On the night of her death, an upset Lexi had been trying to contact her, and Kate had ignored her. Now wracked with guilt, Kate attempts to piece together the terrible truth.

The more she investigates, the more Kate realises that she didn’t know Lexi or the school at all. Behind the imposing walls of St Agnes, Lexi’s killer won’t be the only person exposed…

Newcomer Jane De Wet was handpicked to play Lexi by legendary South African casting director Moonyeenn Lee (Tsotsi), who’s been nominated for two Emmy Awards in the last three years, for The Looming Tower and Roots.

Kate is played by Nina Milner, who modelled for Vogue Germany and at Paris Fashion Week last year and most recently starred in Troy: Fall Of A City as Penthesilea, queen of the Amazons.

Jane and Nina are joined by an impressive supporting cast that includes internationally recognised South African talent like Robert Hobbs (District9), Tyrone Keogh (24 Hours To Live), Tessa Jubber (Wallander), Karl Thaning (Dredd) and Shamilla Miller (Troy: Fall Of A City) opposite local favourites like Celeste Khumalo (The Queen), Richard Lukunku (Happiness Is A Four-Letter Word), Zakeeya Patel (High Rollers), Graham Hopkins (The Lab) and three-time South African Film and Television Award (SAFTA) winner Jerry Mofokeng (Heist, Tsotsi), not to mention hot new talent like Paige Bonnin and Tristan de Beer.

The Girl From St Agnes is being produced by Quizzical Pictures, winners of the SAFTA for Best Drama for six of the last eight years, as well as a Peabody. Producer Harriet Gavshon, Quizzical Pictures’ managing director, is drawing on her own private school experiences, which sparked the original idea for the show. This is the first time Harriet has produced a series, rather than just executive producing, since 2009’s Hopeville, which won Best Drama and Miniseries at Rose d’Or, was nominated for an International Emmy, and was a finalist at Monte Carlo.

Catharine Cooke, who won this year’s Best Director In a TV Drama SAFTA for iNumber Number, co-directed the shoot with Cindy Lee, a commercials director helming her first drama series, having previously worked as the social media director on the Emmy-winning Black Mirror. Double SAFTA winner Gillian Breslin (Umlilo; 4Play: Sex Tips For Girls) is head writer. This makes Girl From St Agnes a rare TV series commissioned, produced, written and directed by women.

“What links Girl From St Agnes, Tali’s Wedding Diary and the other Showmax Originals in the pipeline is our aim to work with the best South African talent and be the home for brave, quirky and at times edgy local stories you wouldn’t find anywhere else,” says Candice. “Creating new characters that audiences come to love and follow is an incredibly rewarding experience and we want to establish a platform for more ‘Tali’s’ across varied genres.”

All eight episodes can be binged on Showmax from 31 January 2019.

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