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Taylor Swift Is Making Another Political Statement on Instagram

If you thought you’d seen the end of Taylor Swift’s highly charged political posts, think again: Political Taylor is back, and this time she’s taken to Instagram to double down on her ask that her fans vote in the midterm elections.

On Saturday (October 21), the singer uploaded a series of photos to her Instagram stories, all reposts of her fans mobilizing at the polls over the last few days. With 22 photos in total, Swift’s Instagram story sends a big message: The star is not backing down on using her social platforms to voice her political views, even if that means losing a few conservative male fans along the way.

Even Katy Perry—who’s previously had her disagreements with Swift—has taken notice of the the change in Swift’s previously mum stance on politics, telling Variety at the amfAR Gala on Thursday that “she’s setting a great example.”

Many of the photos that Swift uploaded to her to Instagram story this weekend feature first-time voters, which only further proves the star’s major social influence. Other posts show fans voting in the singer’s home state of Tennessee, and all include personalized notes from the star.

“I love reading your stories on why voting matters to you,” Swift wrote on one repost. “I’m so grateful to get to hear them.” Check out some of the singer’s Instagram story reposts, here below:

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This weekend’s reposts come on the heels of the singer’s recent decision to speak out about voting in her home state of Tennessee. On October 7th, the star posted a lengthy Instagram message explaining why she’s been notoriously apolitical—until now.

“I’m writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I’ll be voting in the state of Tennessee,” she wrote. “In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now.”

She then switched the focus to her fans—many of whom are now legally able to cast votes in their respective states—imploring them to educate themselves on the candidates running in their districts and asking that, no matter what their political views, they make their way to the polls this fall.

“Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway,” Swift wrote. “So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count.”

While this decisively political statement was Swift’s first, it appears appears to have had a massive impact on her fanbase, with Vote.org noting a spike in voter registration (65,000, to be exact) in the 24 hours following Swift’s Instagram call-to-action. The star followed up this post with a second political statement at the AMAs, using her award acceptance speech as an opportunity to say: “I wanted to make a mention of the fact that this award and every single award given out tonight were voted on by the people. And you know what else is voted on by the people is the midterm elections on November 6. Get out and vote. I love you guys.”

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Harold And Kumar Director Danny Leiner Is Dead At 57

Director Danny Leiner, who made such fun comedy hits as Dude, Where’s My Car and Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, has died at the age of 57. The director had been fighting cancer for some time before his passing.

Danny Leiner’s brother, Ken, spoke to THR about his brother’s passing, noting that Danny Leiner died at his home on Thursday, October 18. He was at his home in Los Angeles at the time of his death.

During his career, Danny Leiner took on gigs in both television and on the big screen. He’s probably most known for his directorial work on Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, a movie that propelledJohn Cho and Kal Penn into stardom and grossed $24 million during its original theatrical run. That flick went on to spawn two sequels, Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay and A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas.

In the television world, Danny Leiner directed episodes of Gilmore Girls, Everwood, The Sopranos, The Tick, Felicity, Freaks and Geeks. The Office and Party of Five. Danny Leiner’s final directorial gig was for the short-lived ABC series Selfie back in 2014. That gig reunited Leiner with John Cho, who had previously starred in Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle.

John Cho, who most recently headlined the film Searching, took to Twitter after the news broke to share memories of his time with Danny Leiner, calling him “a great dinner companion.”

In addition to his directing work, Danny Leiner also worked as a producer in Hollywood. His producer pal Ross Putman also paid tribue to his friend on a post on Facebook, giving some sound advice about what fans of the director should be doing with their weekend. He said:

A memorial service is expected to come together in Los Angeles sometime in the near future, although details have not been set yet. Our thoughts go out to Danny Leiner’s family and friends during this difficult time.

Midnight, Texas Is Back For Season 2, With Plenty Of Changes

After a long wait, Midnight, Texas is returning to NBC just in time for the Halloween season. While much of the main cast is coming back, there are definitely going to be some major changes heading into Season 2. Fans may have heard the show is losing a couple of big characters (if you haven’t, surprise!), but in fact the direction on the series has changed quite a bit as well.

Recently, CinemaBlend was able to talk on set in New Mexico with various cast members, along with new showrunners Eric Charmelo and Nicole Snyder, who shared plenty of details about the changes to expect in Season 2. As it turns out, even the direction of the series will be changing somewhat from the first season.

The NBC show is a take on a series of books from Charlaine Harris, who also wrote the books HBO’s True Blood series. Ahead of Season 2, NBC would like Midnight, Texas to be a little closer to the author’s other series. Well, at least as much as network TV will allow for, with Eric Charmelo noting the network gave the team very specific orders for its second season:

Making it soapier, more sexy, salacious, scarier, more along the lines of True Blood. Those were the marching orders. It feels more serialized for sure. Last season the show was trying to find its legs and there were monster of the week elements. We still have that peripherally but, you know, the relationships take front and center this season.

Eric Charmelo and Nicole Snyder were signed on as the new showrunners on Midnight, Texas after Monica Owusu-Breen left ahead of the second season to head the new version of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, a transition Midnight, Texas actress Parisa Fitz-Henley called “really seamless.” With the new showrunners, there will be other new opportunities, as Snyder also said the writers and the creative team were striving to move away from the more story-of-the-week episodes, as well.

The other changes may be even more noticeable to fans of the first season of Midnight, Texas. It was revealed earlier this year that Yul Vazquez, who played Rev in Season 1, and Sarah Ramos, who played Creek, will no longer be series regulars on the show. Fans of both characters will be able to see each in a limited capacity, and series lead Francois Arnaud, who plays Manfred in the NBC drama, spoke out about what to expect from the change in terms of Manfred and Creek. Per the actor, whose character will be dealing with demon goo oozing from the ears, Creek will be moving on from their relationship in the new episodes, but the story should make a lot of sense:

For sure there’s that toying with the idea that the evil comes from within. It’s about not only vanquishing demons in the outside world but within yourself. I mean, she’s been through a lot in the first season, with her brother being a psycho and her dad being a psycho apologist. So, she’s not thrilled at having to deal with a boyfriend who is sick with demon cancer. She also has different professional aspirations. She doesn’t want to be a waitress in a one-stop town for the rest of her life. I think, you know, in the books, Creeks character is loosely based on Charlaine Harris herself. She’s an aspiring writer and she wants to study literature. At one point Manfred considers going with her to Dallas and allow her he can pursue her dreams, but things always keep him in Midnight. She’ll be there, back and forth.

Still, not everything will be changing in Midnight. The Midnighters will be facing new threats in Season 2, because if we learned anything from Season 1, it’s that the town of Midnight, Texas is prone to supernatural threats and other weird shenanigans. Despite the changes, showrunner Nicole Snyder wants fans to know that there will be continuity between Season 1 and Season 2. She told CinemaBlend and other reporters that losing main cast members will actually be a boon to the series.

[Losing cast members] opened us up to new characters, new storylines. We still wanted to service the things that were set up at the end of the season, like the trickling of demon residue from Manfred’s ear and the hotel being open, but it really allowed us to brainstorm how to bring people to Midnight and more big bads. It gave us a little more room.

If you remember at the end of Season 1 of Midnight, Texas, Manfred was able to defeat Colconnar, a demon who wreaked havoc on Midnight and several of the characters, including Fiji, who Colconnar had kept an eye on. Fiji and Bobo ended up getting together in one of the steamiest scenes in Season 1, and Olivia and Lemuel ultimately decided to get married at the very end of the season. It would have been an idyllic ending, had there not been more to come.

In fact, things were not copacetic for long. Manfred started bleeding out of his ear, in a move that Francois Arnaud affectionately has been calling”demon cancer,” as noted above. As it turns out, that wasn’t the end of stuff the show wanted to tease ahead of Season 2. A new hotel is coming to Midnight, and even though the show has changed hands, fans will get to see both of those storylines play out during Season 2. New characters played by Nester Carbonell and Jaime Ray Newman are also joining as the proprietors of Midnight’s hotel. Carbonell told me that he came to Midnight to “heal,” which should take the series in a different direction than Charlaine Harris’ novels and we’ll learn more once the new series premieres.

Which, coincidentally, happens soon. After more than a year in hiatus, Midnight, Texas returns on Friday, October 26 at 9 p.m. ET. NBC has had good luck with genre programming during its Friday night schedule with Grimm being an the most notable of those Friday programs. Coincidentally, there’s a reboot of that show reportedly in the works at NBC, as well. If you’d like to see some of the network’s other offerings this fall, take a look at our full premiere schedule.

Blended From Around The Web

 

Meghan Markle Has Cut Back on Her Royal Tour Appearances

Last week, the Duchess of Sussex embarked on her first royal tour with her husband, touching down in Australia for a PDA-filled schedule full of public outings, engagements, and events. The tour, which comes on the heels of Meghan and Prince Harry’s recent announcement that the couple are expecting, has been pretty full-on (to say the least)—so Markle’s decided to reduce some of her commitments. (Hey, even duchesses need self-care.)

According to the Daily Mirror‘s Russel Myers, the Duchess has chosen to “cut back” on her public appearances, taking some time to rest. “After a busy program, The Duke and Duchess have decided to cut back The Duchess’s schedule slightly for the next couple of days, ahead of the final week and a half of the tour,” he tweeted.

Initially, Meghan had been scheduled to appear in Sydney on Sunday morning alongside Prince Harry to present medals at the Invictus Games. Instead, she made the decision to stay home, allowing herself a break ahead of the next leg of her royal tour.

Hello!‘s Emily Nash also reported that she learned the Duchess was “feeling fine but resting,” and that she is “just trying to pace” herself.

On Friday, Meghan gave her first pregnancy update, explaining that pregnancy felt a lot “like having jet lag,” a discomfort Meghan has tried to combat on her royal tour through early morning yoga.

Since landing in Australia, Meghan and Prince Harry’s full calendar has included everything from opening the Anzac Memorial for fallen veterans, stepping out on Bondi Beach and cheering on the teams at the Invictus Games.

During Sunday morning’s medal ceremony, Harry confirmed his wife was doing well but simply “resting back at home.”

“Being pregnant takes its toll,” he went on.

According to People, Meghan is reportedly still planning to make other scheduled appearances—and she made it back out on Sunday afternoon to hang with kids at a reception hosted by Australia’s Prime Minister.

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PHOTO: STEVE CHRISTO

There’s no shame in speaking up when things get to be a little much, especially when you’re not feeling well (and/or are pregnant!). Props to Markle for stepping out of a busy schedule to take the time to feel better. Now, back to her incredible tour outfits

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8 New TV Shows and Movies to Watch the Week of October 21, 2018

Halloween might just be around the corner, but that doesn’t mean there are only new horror TV shows and movies premiering. There’s a whole slate of fresh material, ranging from comedy to drama and, yes, a few creepy things mixed in between. Here are the eight things to keep an eye on this week:

90 Day Fiancé: Season six of this explosive reality TV series about couples from different countries aiming for fiancé visas begins tonight. 8 P.M. ET on TLC

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: The CW’s slate of DC Comics programming beefs up even more beginning this evening, when a new season of Legends of Tomorrow premieres. 9 P.M. ET on The CW

The Guest Book: Season two of this anthology series is arguably even funnier than the first. This time around, we’re centered on a beachside manor that has a new, whacky guest checking in every day. 10 P.M. ET on TBS

Bodyguard: Game of Thrones heartthrob Richard Madden stars in this British series about a bodyguard assigned to protect a politician who’s responsible for the terrorist attack he just helped thwart. Streaming on Netflix

Heathers: The premiere of this controversial reboot is tonight. 10 P.M. ET on Paramount Network

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Kiernan Shipka steers the ship of this darker, demonic retelling of Sabrina, which is based on the graphic comic-book series. Streaming on Netflix

Suspiria: Another remake! This movie, based on the ’70s classic, centers on a girl from Ohio (Dakota Johnson) who travels to a Berlin dance studio unaware of the fact it’s ran by witches. In select theaters

Christmas at Pemberley Manor: This is just the first of Hallmark’s many, many Christmas movies airing this year. Why not start early, am I right? 8 P.M. ET on Hallmark

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The Minefield of Talking With Your Children About Sexting

The Minefield of Talking With Your Children About Sexting
Photo: Brian Stauffer

It’s a parent’s nightmare: Your teenage daughter tries to charm her latest crush by sending him a revealing photo of herself—and is devastated when he forwards it to dozens of classmates. Or you learn from an older sibling that a suggestive photo of your younger daughter is circulating online.

“Parents take it personally and wonder, oh my God, why would my kid ever do that?” says Robbye Fox, who runs parenting workshops in Kensington, Md.

As more teens get involved in sexting, parents’ worries about the trend are mounting even faster. Some teens circulate sexually explicit selfies or videos, or capture and forward screenshots from intimate Instagram photos or FaceTime video chats.

As upsetting as this topic can be, parents should navigate it carefully. Those who react by erupting in anger or trying to control their adolescents’ behavior online risk shutting down communication altogether, research shows.

It’s better to be proactive. That means talking with children as young as 9 about preserving their privacy online and coaching them on how to avoid becoming either a victim or an active participant in abusive sexting.

More than one in four teens under 18 have received sexts. Nearly 15% have sent them. This is happening more with the increasing use of smartphones, according to a 2018 review of 39 studies of a total of 110,380 teens. Some 12% have forwarded sexually explicit images without the subject’s consent, and 8.4% have been victims of such behavior. The review, published in JAMA Pediatrics, surveys studies conducted in the past decade.

Coerced sexting by aggressors who pressure or manipulate their victims can be harmful, triggering guilt, shame and embarrassment. While boys are sometimes bullied or shamed over sexting, girls are more likely to be victimized.

Sexting also appears to be a gateway to future sexual activity. Teens who have sent a sext are 32% more likely to have had intercourse a year later, according to a 2014 study led by Jeff R. Temple, a professor and researcher at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

All the sexting doesn’t mean sexual activity among teens is also increasing, however. The proportion of high school students who have had intercourse has fallen to 40% in 2017 from 48% in 2007, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the proportion of 15-to-19-year-olds who have had oral sex with someone of the opposite sex has fallen among girls to about 46% in 2015 from 54% in 2002, and to 51% from 55% for boys in the same period, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Still, sexting does make teens’ preoccupation with sex more visible to adults.

Parenting educator Robbye Fox helps parents understand why some teens react impulsively when they receive a suggestive photo.
Parenting educator Robbye Fox helps parents understand why some teens react impulsively when they receive a suggestive photo. Photo: Lynne Ticknor

Parents often blame themselves for failing to instill morals. They shouldn’t, says Ms. Fox, a college consultant and parenting educator who specializes in teens and technology at Parent Encouragement Program, a nonprofit. “It has nothing to do with whether your child is good or bad or how you raised them,” she says. Many children and teens simply don’t yet have the developmental ability to control their impulses, regulate their emotions or exercise sound judgment, she says.

“Sending a picture to the love of your life when you’re 13 years old seems like a great thing to do,” Ms. Fox says. She encourages parents to remember how they felt at the same age.

Also, social media and dating apps tend to lower the psychological obstacles to intimacy. With repeated exposure, sexting starts to seem normal to teens.

Many teens who receive or send sexts are normal adolescents. But parents should take it as a prompt to talk with them about healthy relationships and safe sex, says Dr. Temple, who has co-written several peer-reviewed studies on the topic.

Parents can still influence teens’ behavior. But those who respond in a controlling, authoritarian way risk driving teens underground, research shows. Many adolescents use such tools as password-protected photo-storage apps that look like calculators to hide sexts from parents and others.

Eight Ways Into a Tricky Conversation

  • Start discussions early about the risks of sexting.
  • Stress that it isn’t OK to pressure someone into sexting, or to let others pressure you.
  • Remind your child that once an image is sent, she can’t control or retract it.
  • Explain the possible legal consequences.
  • Talk with teens about sexting situations they might face, and safe responses.
  • Offer books to instill healthy views of sexuality.
  • Talk to your children about what a healthy romantic relationship looks like.
  • Before taking a teen’s phone away, try first to teach him to use it responsibly.

Parents who take a warmer approach, supporting their teen’s independence while coaching them on staying safe, will likely gain more traction.

Begin teaching children about the risks before they get a smartphone or are exposed to online pornography, says Caroline Knorr, senior parenting editor for Common Sense Media. Before they enter their teens, children should understand the importance of keeping their private parts private and refusing any requests to photograph them—no matter how much social pressure they face from boyfriends, girlfriends or other peers.

With teens, explain that sexually explicit images can come back to haunt them if they’re seen by coaches, colleges or potential employers. Explain the potential legal consequences for juvenile sexting offenders, from community service or remedial education under new laws in some states, to child-pornography charges in others.

Michelle Dennedy uses news stories about sexting to raise the topic with her two daughters, ages 12 and 17, and ask them what they think. When she learned last year that a classmate of her older daughter’s was posting sexually suggestive selfies, Ms. Dennedy, chief privacy officer for Cisco Systems in San Jose, Calif., urged her daughter to encourage the classmate to stop.

She also coaches teens to avoid becoming passive participants in abuse. She was driving her daughter and several other middle schoolers to the mall several years ago when she overheard them talking about a female classmate whose sexy photos were being circulated by a boy she liked without her knowledge. Ms. Dennedy pulled off the road, parked her minivan and turned to face the girls, telling them that such behavior is illegal and urging them to intervene.

“Whatever you have to do to help keep that girl safe, you do it,” she told them. “I want you to have each other’s back on this issue from now on.” White-faced with surprise, the girls agreed, and later offered support and encouragement to the victim.

Work & Family Mailbox

Q: Your past coverage of the effects of child care on small children came up at the top of our Google search for information on the topic. We have a toddler we’re eventually planning to put in day care. Has the research been updated?—R. A.

A: More recent studies based on the same large, long-term study released by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development have found child care continues to have small but significant effects on youngsters through high school graduation. The research doesn’t offer specifics on how much child care is too much, but shows both positive and negative effects increasing as a child spends more total hours in day care.

The biggest downside is that more hours in child-care centers through age 4½ are linked to small but statistically significant behavioral problems in children. Those with more time in child-care centers tended to exhibit more behavior problems through sixth grade and more risk-taking and impulsive behavior through age 15. The negative effects dissipated by the end of high school, however, when boys showed no lingering behavioral effects and girls showed fewer risky behaviors and better impulse control.

Time in child care benefits children academically, however. More time is linked to better cognitive and academic skills from preschool through age 15, and to higher class rank and plans to attend more selective colleges at high school graduation. The quality of child care, as measured by children’s relationships with their caregivers and other children and their use of learning materials, predicted better cognitive and academic skills at most ages. It also predicted higher grades and plans to attend more selective colleges at high school graduation.

Write to Sue Shellenbarger at sue.shellenbarger@wsj.com

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A CS: GO Professional Got Caught Cheating During A Tournament And Ruined Things For His Whole Team

Cheating may be a fun pastime in your own private quarters, messing around with games and having fun at your leisure. However, cheating is no laughing matter when it comes to professional esports, and one player found out that the hard way.

According to a report on Eurogamer, there’s a controversy that has boiled over within the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive eSports community after one of the players in the competitive community got caught cheating. Thus, proving that even with a seemingly insurmountable library of skill, some players are still compelled to cheat to win.

The report indicates that during the Extremeland Zowie Asia tournament which took place in Shanghai, China, OpTic India player Nikhil “Forsaken” Kumawat actually began using a cheat hack during the middle of a tournament while OpTic India was playing an intense game against the Vietnamese team, Revolution.

Kumawat was caught using the cheat by the tournament officials, but attempted to wipe it off the hard drive of his computer before being called out on it. However, he just wasn’t savvy enough to get rid of all of the evidence of the hack before he got caught.

Officials began investigating the claim of hacking by checking Kumawat’s computer, at which point he attempted to delete the program, which allowed him to aimbot against his opponents in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. An aimbot is essentially an automated aiming system that auto-locks onto opponents, allowing you to quickly nab fatal shots with just the press of a button.

Kumawat attempted to delete the files while the officials were checking his computer, but in dramatic fashion, the official got physical and grabbed onto Kumawat’s arm, preventing him from pressing the delete file.

Quite naturally, Kumawat was booted out of the tournament, which is typical when a player is caught cheating at an organized eSports event. What a lot of people didn’t expect was that the entire OpTic India team was also disqualified from the tournament as well. This infuriated the owners, which resulted in them firing every single member of the team.

But, it gets worse. Nikhil “Forsaken” Kumawat is now being considered for a lifetime ban from all eSporting events, which would effectively kill his career as a professional gamer.

The video footage captured of him being caught by the officials also doesn’t help matters, since instead of confessing to the crime he attempted to delete the hacks. Take a look:

As pointed out by Eurogamer, this isn’t even the first time that Kumawat has been caught cheating. He was previously banned from tournament play for a brief stint back in 2017 when he was hit with a VAC ban while playing on Steam. A VAC ban only occurs if the Valve Anti-Cheat system flags your account for using cheats. It’s going to be hard for Kumawat to recover from this incident, especially given that he’s already been banned once before for cheating.

Four Huge Valve Games Now Look Better On Xbox One X

Technically there are more than four games, given that one of those games is the Orange Box, which comes with several games in a pack. So, there’s the original Portal that came out back in 2007 for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360, there’s Left 4 Dead, the follow-up Left 4 Dead 2, and then there’s the Orange Box that contains Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episode One, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, and Team Fortress 2.

New Kingdom Hearts III Screenshots Show Off Hercules, Maleficent, And More

With the early 2019 release date for the highly anticipated Kingdom Hearts III coming up on us real fast, Square Enix has been slowly and steadily unveiling new content, characters and locations from the new game. The latest batch of media material features screenshots of popular Disney characters, such as Hercules and Maleficent.

The screenshots were posted recently on the official Kingdom Hearts Twitter account. There’s an entire thread dedicated to the in-game images, featuring Sora, Goofy, and Donald along with the titular hero from the Hercules animated TV show and animated movie from over 20 years ago.

In one shot we see Hercules standing with his father Zeus while Hades looks over his shoulder with a befuddled scowl. Meanwhile, a different picture of Hercules shows him fully grown and actually teaming up with Sora and the gang as they face off against a giant, oozing, lava monster who just so happens to be accompanied by a towering ice goblin. Yet another shot gives us a good look at Hercules’ flexing muscles as he attempts to lift a massive rock above his head.

There’s also another set of screenshots from atop Olympus, and one of these shows Sora ready for battle, while a few more give us a look at Hercules and some of the other cast members from Disney’s animated series.

In one of the Kingdom Hearts III screenshots, we see that Hercules will attempt to get sentimental with Megara. The context of the shot obviously isn’t very clear, but it looks like she’s both scared and hopeful when it comes to her future.

In another screenshot we see that Maleficent makes an appearance in the game, although this version is far less like the one depicted in Disney’s live-action film, Maleficent, which starred Angelina Jolie as the title character, and a lot more representative of the truly cutthroat villainess from the classic, Sleeping Beauty.

Finally, in another set of photos, we get to see the friendly pegasus that Hercules rode in those popular animated titles, and in all his blue-mohawked glory.

You really have to tip your hat off to Tetsuya Nomura and the rest of the crew at Square Enix, because they really seem to have properly captured the look and feel of a lot of the characters from across both the animated and live-action universes that Disney has produced over the decades.

From Toy Story to Pirates of the Caribbean, you can really tell that the artists put their heart and soul in capturing the likenesses of the characters and the locations as much as possible. You’ll be able to experience those worlds for yourself on the PlayStation 4, or the Xbox One, when Kingdom Hearts III finally makes its long awaited debut starting early next year, on January 25th, 2019.