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    This Week In Gaming 11-6-18


    Lana Polansky reports about working conditions using past events, developer stories, company statements, and other reports to discuss the usual tactics companies have to exploit employees, how companies make use of angry gamers against developers, and how the now frequent exposure to this has helped to unite more workers. Writing on Games on the story told through the gameplay of Red Dead Redemption, SAG-AFTRA agreement opens doors for indie games, Undertale creator releases part of a new game and shares thoughts on what it is like making a game after Undertale, current and former employees sue Riot for discrimination, Blizzard teams with publishing partner and second largest gaming company in China for mobile Diablo title leading to both expected disappointment and this weeks gamer tantrum, Miguel Penabella on lessons learned from games like Carmen Sandiego, Richard Moss on how bad crediting hurts the industry and history, more.



    Gaming News (Announcements, previews, release dates, interviews and writing on upcoming games, DLC and game updates, company and developer news, country news, tech, mods)


    Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct 11.1.2018


    Check out the final Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Direct before the game's launch featuring exciting new game info delivered by director Masahiro Sakurai.


    Inside Control, Remedy's mind-bending shooter where anything seems possible



    Something has invaded The Oldest House. An evil force known only as The Hiss. And it's up to you, Jesse Faden, director of the Federal Bureau of Control, to defeat it. But that's not the only strange thing happening in this top secret government facility.


    Deltarune Chapter 1 is the free and surprising start of a new Undertale saga



    The dust is now settling on Undertale creator Toby Fox’s grand Halloween surprise. Disguised as a spookily-themed survey for a possible future project, Deltarune – a free, hours-long comedy RPG and first chapter in a new Undertale story – was foisted upon an unsuspecting internet. It was accompanied by a polite note asking that people don’t discuss it openly until 24 hours had passed. Now I can share my thoughts on what it is, and what is yet to come. Beware – from this point on, (hopefully mild) spoilers await. I’d suggest going in blind and playing it for yourself first.


    I feel like I should address what I think people will think before the game comes out.


    New Kingdom Hearts 3 trailer brings Tangled’s Rapunzel and Flynn Rider into action


    A new trailer for Kingdom Hearts 3 shows off the Kingdom of Corona from Tangled, home of Rapunzel and Flynn Rider.


    Battlefield V - Official Launch Maps


    In Battlefield V, you’ll fight through the unexplored settings of World War 2 on maps that will challenge your squad in epic multiplayer experiences. Learn about the battlefields of France, Holland, Norway, and North Africa. Battlefield V is out worldwide November 20.

    Battlefield 5 launches with patch notes totaling over 22,000 words


    Battlefield V has had a variety of betas in the last few months, and DICE says plenty of changes are coming to the final release based on player feedback. How many? Enough to fill 22,653 words. That’s novella length – for reference, Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is over 23,000 words.


    Let's Play Mutant: Year Zero - Road to Eden


    Watch Johnny guide a pig and a duck around a post apocalyptic wasteland in this Mutant: Year Zero - Road to Eden gameplay


    Phoenix Point features gruesome new mutant beasts in its latest trailer


    Even in the midst of a genre renaissance, Phoenix Point remains the tactics game I’m following closest, thanks to its mutating monsters, Valkyria Chronicles-esque shooting and X-COM Apocalypse inspirations. Snapshot’s game (directed by original X-COM lad Julian Gollop) is really starting to take shape now, and the upcoming third early access build for backers will include an early version of its global strategic layer. Take a look at its shooting, its monsters and its strategic interface in the new trailer below.


    The new trailer for horror game Man of Medan reveals its spooky curator


    I've played the demo for Supermassive's horror game Man of Medan a couple of times now. If you've heard of the PS4 game Until Dawn, it's a similar mix of attractive young people falling afoul of ancient spooky happenings while things jump out at you. Now there's a new trailer that shows off its Rod Serling-style narrator, as well a look at the game's boat-based horror.


    Diablo: Immortal feels like a Diablo game, just not one that’s for me


    Diablo: Immortal has potential, thanks to its lore and setting (between Diablo 2 and 3), and it looks and feels like Diablo 3, all in the palm of your hand. The gameplay is admittedly impressive, and the usual smash and grab of Diablo is still fun. But Diablo: Immortal also feels like an imposter. It isn’t for me, but maybe it’ll be for the many millions of smartphone owners who don’t play games on PC or console. If it brings more players to the beloved Diablo franchise, then at least we can all have a beer together when Diablo 4 is finally ready for release.


    Thing is, Diablo Immortal is surprisingly good. I played through the BlizzCon demo and it feels like Diablo - and that's coming from someone who plays both on PC and console. There are caveats but I'll go into those further down, because I got the chance to speak to Blizzard about Diablo Immortal at BlizzCon.

    Blizzard faces hellish backlash after BlizzCon Diablo mobile reveal


    The backlash kicked off on social media and websites such as reddit as soon as the announcement was made, with universal criticism of the game and Blizzard from those who were watching online.


    While such an announcement was never going to bring the house down, the way that many fans have reacted to even the idea of the game has been awful, resulting in some of the most cringeworthy “gamer” moments I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen a lot of those.


    Diablo Immortal should be huge in Asia

    NetEase is the second largest gaming company in China with 14.8 percent of the market, only trailing Tencent, which holds 51.4 percent (as of March 31, 2018). The third ranked company only controls 2.5 percent. This isn’t the first time that Blizzard has teamed up with NetEase. The duo have been in business together for about a decade to bring the former’s titles to China, including StarCraft II, World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Hearthstone, and Diablo III.


    Other threads on the subreddit accuse Blizzard of “killing” Diablo, call the game a “slap in the face,” and justify being disrespectful to Blizzard employees, while people on Diablo’s official forum call for boycotts and petition to get Immortal canceled. There have also been accusations that Blizzard is removing dislikes from Diablo Immortal’s cinematic and gameplayer trailers—which currently have 215,000 and 132,000 dislikes on YouTube, respectively—but others have suggested that the number fluctuations are an algorithm issue or an adjustment after multi-account votes were removed. Unsurprisingly, Gamergate subreddit Kotaku In Action has also lent its considerable numbers to the more culture-wars-adjacent and conspiratorial elements of this backlash wave—in effect, amplifying them.


    Speaking with IGN at BlizzCon, Blizzard’s Wyatt Cheng responded to the community reaction to Diablo: Immortal’s announcement, as well as the accusations that it’s just a reskin of a previous NetEase mobile game.

    Sources: Blizzard Pulled Diablo 4 Announcement From BlizzCon

    The reactions could have been very different. Blizzard changed its BlizzCon plans for Diablo at some point in the last couple of weeks, those people familiar with goings-on at Blizzard said. One of those people told me that the Diablo team wasn’t yet ready to commit to an announcement, as Diablo 4 has changed drastically over the past four years and may continue to change further. (We’ve heard it’s gone through at least two different iterations under different directors.)

    The Long Journey To The Fantastic Tetris Effect


    Tetris Effect is the next game from Enhance, the game studio run by Tetsuya Mizuguchi that created Rez Infinite and Lumines Remastered.


    Cyberpunk 2077's sidequests 'could affect the main story'



    Sidequests and the main quest are "all interwoven".


    New Gameplay Today – Overkill's The Walking Dead


    Game Informer's Andrew Reiner, Jeff Cork, Ben Hanson, and Dan Tack dive in head-first to the new co-op The Walking Dead from the developers behind Payday 2. The game is out today on Steam, with Xbox and PlayStation 4 versions coming in February 2019.


    Warcraft 3 Is Getting Remastered


    It’s no Warcraft 4, but Warcraft 3 sure looks good remastered in 4K. Warcraft 3: Reforged is coming out next year to remind everyone where World of Warcraft came from.

    Warcraft 3: Reforged is more than just a remaster of Blizzard’s classic RTS


    From cross-game compatibility to an updated story, Reforged goes beyond a graphics overhaul


    Sunset Overdrive listing appears in SteamDB



    Insomniac's open world Xbox exclusive looks even more like it's hitting PC.


    This War of Mine: The Last Broadcast DLC tackles truth and consequences in November


    The second 'Stories' expansion tells the tale of a radio operator in a war-torn city.


    Ubisoft is removing blood, gambling, and sex references from Rainbow 6 Siege and fans aren't happy



    For "compliance" in Asian territories.


    Here are Ashe’s abilities in Overwatch – her ult adds a seventh hero to your team


    Ashe made a spectacular debut as Overwatch’s 29th hero during the BlizzCon opening ceremony, making her presence known in a new animated short. Blizzard has lifted the veil on the abilities of this Damage hero, and her ult is one of the most unique in the game – it summons Bob., a robotic companion who basically serves as a seventh hero for your team.

    Overwatch McCree Animated Short: Reunion - BlizzCon 2018


    The newest Overwatch animated short focuses on McCree.

    Overwatch’s designers worked backwards from the animated short to create Ashe and BOB


    Overwatch’s newest hero, Ashe, is actually a playable duo – she’s always got her burly sidekick B.O.B. at her side. But one of the most unique things about Ashe is that she was created for the Reunion short first, and Blizzard’s designers worked backwards from there to make her and B.O.B. into in-game characters.

    Overwatch has six new heroes in development, and one might be Echo


    Overwatch’s latest cinematic short, Reunion, introduced us to the new gunslinging hero Ashe, the latest addition to the game’s growing roster. But Overwatch’s developers say they have six more heroes in the pipeline – and one may have appeared alongside Ashe in the latest video.


    Warframe | Fortuna Official Update Trailer - Coming This Week


    Welcome to Fortuna, Outworlder. Explore the frigid landscape of Venus populated with new Corpus threats, subterranean mysteries and an ecosystem on the brink of destruction.


    SAG-AFTRA's new agreement opens doors for small-budget and indie games



    A groundbreaking new SAG-AFTRA agreement for low-budget and indie game productions has been unveiled, providing a one-size-fits-most framework for employing unionized actors—from mo-cap actors, to voice actors, to singers.


    Junichi Masuda likely stepping away from director role on future Pokemon games



    After Let's Go!, Masuda to allow "younger generation" to steer the series


    Current And Former Employees Sue Riot Games For Gender Discrimination



    The lawsuit alleges that, “like many of Riot Games’ female employees, Plaintiffs have been denied equal pay and found their careers stifled because they are women. Moreover, Plaintiffs have also seen their working conditions negatively impacted because of the ongoing sexual harassment, misconduct, and bias which predominate the sexually-hostile working environment of Riot Games.” Riot violated California’s Equal Pay Act and law against gender-based discrimination at the workplace, the complaint argues.


    Hate Speech on Live ‘Super Chats’ Tests YouTube



    A spokeswoman for YouTube, owned by Alphabet Inc.’s Google, said the company donates to charity the proceeds from any Super Chats that violate its hate-speech policy.


    Final Fantasy XV lead designer Wan Hazmer details new studio Metronomik



    Studio co-founded with Street Fighter V artist Daim Dziauddin aims to raise the profile of the Malaysian industry with debut project No Straight Roads


    Why Reporting a Red Dead Redemption 2 Leak Cost a British Website $1.3 Million



    The video games media reports on leaked information all the time. So why, when British website Trusted Reviews published details from a leaked document about Red Dead Redemption 2 in February of this year, did it end up paying out over a million dollars to charities as part of a settlement with publisher Take-Two Interactive?


    Esports News


    This year’s League of Legends championship lives up to the title of “best Worlds ever”


    Ahead of League of Legends’ World Championship tournament, Riot made a series of balance changes to its MOBA that seemed awfully familiar. A spate of buffs to champions that have been seen time and again on the game’s biggest stage were rolled out. Kog’Maw, Jarvan, Tahm Kench, and Thresh were all granted improvements that I was sure would cement them as contested picks across the tournament. I was wrong.

    Invictus Gaming wins 2018 League of Legends World Championship


    China’s Invictus Gaming beat out Europe’s Fnatic in a 3-0 sweep to take home the Summoner’s Cup at the 2018 League of Legends World Championship in Incheon, South Korea.


    Serral becomes first non-Korean to win StarCraft 2's biggest prize



    Joona “Serral” Sotala has become the first non-Korean to win StarCraft 2's most prestigious tournament, the World Championship Series (WCS).


    Eight Nations Face-Off In This Weekend’s Overwatch World Cup



    In Overwatch, as in soccer, there’s annual league play and international World Cups. This weekend belongs to the second. Before OWL’s second season gets underway, teams from around the world will represent their nations at BlizzCon in the Overwatch World Cup. It’s one of the game’s most entertaining events for all the same reasons people love the soccer World Cup: it’s messy, unpredictable, and often full of “holy shit” moments that professionalized teams are trained to stomp out at all costs.

    Blizzard’s Overwatch League is making big changes with player wellness in mind



    Season 2 will have more teams and fewer games


    Valve is running an Artifact 'preview tournament' to show off its built-in tournament system



    The tournament starts soon, and the system will be available to all players when Artifact releases.


    “You are truly sportsmen”: Danish prime minister kicks off CS:GO tournament



    The prime minister of Denmark kicked off the opening of the BLAST Pro Series Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament this weekend, congratulating the competitors and calling them “true sportsmen.”


    Crowdfunding News (not sharing everything I find, just ones that look interesting, have known talent behind them, and a chance to succeed)


    Sluggish Morss: Pattern Circus


    A dark sci-fantasy adventure made from clay.


    Content I found interesting this week (interviews, recommendations, think pieces, history, music, culture, design, art, documentaries, criticism, etc)


    Worse than Scabs: Gamer Rage as Anti-Union Violence



    The games industry uses an arsenal of tactics to suppress and exploit its workers, above and beyond general mismanagement. These tactics include industry blacklisting, outsourcing, precarious contracts, wage theft, and various internal forms of abuse and harassment, especially to more vulnerable employees (women, LGBTQIA+ people, non-white workers). That word, “mismanagement,” might be used to let the industry off the hook, but if anything its commonality should be even more of an indictment.


    How bad crediting hurts the game industry and muddles history



    They're our best — and often only — record of the human labor that goes into game development, serving not only as a reminder that games are made by people — sometimes lots of them — but also as a tool for developers to advance their careers.


    Devolver Digital co-founder talks about how crunch affects indie studios



    Devolver work with indie studios all over the world, which can make that difficult. Especially when the personal touch is needed, as Struthers explained. "I'm not joking, sometimes one of us or two of us have jumped on a plane to go to another country to effectively take people out to eat and have a night off," he said. "We're not pressuring [developers to crunch] at all, in fact we're trying to push them in the other direction—which is have a normal balanced life.


    Martin Amis on Space Invaders: how games criticism was born



    Long since out of print, the novelist’s 1982 guide to the nascent gaming scene is a vivid snapshot of a long-lost world – and is about to be republished


    The challenges of making indie games according to Tequila Works, the minds behind Rime



    What's next for the Madrid-based developer?


    One Twitch Streamer Is Fighting Racism With A Chicken Emote



    “Oh,” Xmiramira said in reply, “a wild cock has appeared.” Now her community’s entire anti-shithead defense system is built around that line.





    Like many, I owe my introduction to videogames to a group of savvy women with aspirations for the then-underexplored field of educational games. As Abigail Cain wonderfully details in her history of The Learning Company, developers Ann McCormick, Teri Perl, and Leslie Grimm, together with Warren Robinett of Adventure fame, formed the company in 1980 with funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Education. The three women all held doctorate degrees, and they launched the company with Robinett in the hopes of advancing personal computing as an educational tool. Alongside successful entries like the Reader Rabbit and ClueFinders series, The Learning Company later published Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? after Brøderbund Software’s initial release of the game in 1985. Brøderbund founders Gary and Doug Carlston were inspired to develop the trivia-like game based on their childhood habit of quizzing each other facts from the almanac. Together with their sister Cathy Carlston, who was essential to educational outreach that made the game a household name despite sexist trades press that downplayed her role, the siblings aggressively promoted Carmen Sandiego as a teaching tool for schools. But what exactly are the lessons to be learned from such educational games as Carmen Sandiego?


    Assassin's Creed Odyssey presents a ‘softer’ version of slavery



    Assassin’s Creed Odyssey attempts to address the historical nuance of a slave’s status through a series of quests. Its presentations are universally sympathetic. In some cases, they’re downright positive. Scheming cultists who mistreat or acquire slaves are exceptions, not the standard. It’s true that slavery in ancient Greece often operated differently than similar systems in the American South. Unfortunately, since Odyssey is a game about kicking mercenaries twice your level off cliffs and not a history book, we aren’t given the information necessary to understand how and why these differences emerged. Without this context, Ubisoft’s representation of the relationship between slave, master, and Greek culture falls into a Twilight Zone of grinning, apologetic slaves and noble masters that only becomes more disturbing over time.


    Glory Visits The House Without Walls



    In my misspent youth, I once wrote an essay, for some course or another, about E. A. Poe’s short story The Fall of the House of Usher. Reader, I will not lie: it sucked. It sucked to write and it sucked to read, primarily because I felt that I was not doing justice to what was, at the time, my favourite short story in the world. My argument was competent but bland, my secondary sources worse than useless, and my conclusion amounted to surrender. Usher, I wrote, refuses to resolve itself into a stable and coherent interpretation; the story suggests that it might be about vampires, or sentient fungi, or depression, or abuse, or the unspeakable crimes of prestigious noble families, but does not settle on any of these things, and then just ends abruptly. It’s not that you can’t squeeze any meaning from it, but rather that it suggests an excess of meanings, none of them any better than the next.





    The producer of Square Enix’s newest release, The Quiet Man, Kensei Fujinaga, says that he believes if one video game can change a person’s mind, then video games can change the world. How interesting then, that his game, the first to the best of my knowledge to feature a deaf protagonist, takes every ridiculous and damaging belief people have about deaf people and employs them.


    'Red Dead Redemption 2' Is Defined By Its Rough Edges



    From reported labor abuses to a total dedication to its languid frontier fantasy, 'Red Dead Redemption 2' is messy as hell.


    Red Dead Redemption: Story Through Gameplay


    Support the show on Patreon - http://patreon.com/writingongames

    In which, given the recent release of its sequel, I discuss how the original Red Dead Redemption sells its narrative and themes directly through your interaction, and how I believe the writers/developers end up utilising the notion of player agency in a way that ended up being remarkably forward-thinking.


    Blizzards Best Mechanic // HeavyEyed


    patreon// https://www.patreon.com/heavyeyed

    I can't stop playing World of Warcraft and something they've done recently that I love, is Mythic Plus. Mythic Plus might be one of my favorite mechanics introduced into any game, so I wanna talk about why that is.


    Good Game Design - Spider-Man: Attention To Detail


    Insomniac's superhero hit on the PS4 is one of the best selling games of 2018, and for good reason! It let's you "feel like Spider Man", whatever that means. Let's talk about it! Mild spoilers I guess?


    The Story Behind Heretic's Cheat Codes − Codex


    If you'd like to support the development of these videos, consider becoming a patron! https://www.patreon.com/codexshow

    Codex is a video series that demonstrates the effects of cheat codes in classic video games, while discussing their origin, and their impact on the culture of gaming.


    Filming our Half-Life Documentary


    Hey! I just spent the past 2 weeks flying around America talking to people about Half-Life for an upcoming documentary. Let's chat about it.


    Things I Missed From Previous Weeks


    The Story Of Super Mario Bros. 3: 30th Anniversary Retrospective - Gaijillionaire’s Club - GTV


    GTV 67 "The Story of Super Mario Bros. 3" The most influential game of the Famicom / Nintendo Entertainment System is now 30 years old!


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