Monday news, part two:
Activision Blizzard executives can't decide whether allegations of abuse are 'disturbing' or 'meritless'
Earlier this week, Activision Blizzard was sued by the state of California over widespread abuse and harassment of employees—specifically women and minorities. The news sparked outrage in Activision Blizzard gaming communities, where players and influencers are organizing in-game protests and cancelling promotional events. Many current and former employees are also speaking out on social media and sharing their own experiences or expressing solidarity with their coworkers.
Earlier today, however, another Activision Blizzard executive sent an internal email with a very different tone. In her email, Fran Townsend, Activision Blizzard's Chief Compliance Officer (and former Bush-era Homeland Security Advisor), immediately attacked the lawsuit, saying it "presented a distorted and untrue picture of [Activision Blizzard], including factually incorrect, old, and out of context stories—some from more than a decade ago."
>> Typical reaction from a polititian, it doesn't matter the reason of the lawsuit, what matters is that they've been "attacked".
Original Dead Space co-creator says he's 'excited' by the remake
Before he co-founded Sledgehammer Games and became known as a Call of Duty guy, Glen Schofield spent his days at EA Redwood Shores, later known as Visceral Games, where he headed up development on the groundbreaking horror game Dead Space. He wasn't involved in the development of either of the sequels, but following the announcement of the Dead Space remake at yesterday's EA Play, he said on Twitter that the series is still important to him, and he's looking forward to what comes next.
The Splitgate crossplay beta is so popular the developers had to take it offline
The free-to-play "Portal meets Halo" FPS Splitgate has been around on PC for a couple of years now, during which time it's struggled to maintain a player base. According to Steam Charts, a reasonably strong launch in May 2019 quickly tailed off to an average monthly concurrent player count of just over 100. Things started to pick up a bit in late 2020, but over the past week the player count has exploded, to the point that it can be very difficult to matchmake into a game.
Activision Blizzard employees denounce corporate statements: 'We are here, angry, and not so easily silenced'
Over 20 current Activision Blizzard employees, including World of Warcraft lead game designer Jeremy Feasel, have publicly criticized the company's response to the sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit filed against it earlier this week. Some WoW developers also stopped work today "in solidarity with the women that came forward," Feasel said.
>> We should take note of their names, to see when they're "let go".
Former Blizzard head Mike Morhaime: 'I am extremely sorry that I failed you'
Allegations of widespread sexual harassment have rocked Activision Blizzard, with a California state agency filing a lawsuit against the publisher that alleges women have faced "constant" harassment and discrimination at its Blizzard offices. On Friday, Blizzard co-founder and former president and CEO Mike Morhaime posted a statement to Twitter apologizing for employee behavior alleged to have occurred under his watch.
>> Chris Metzen has also spoken.
Spate of odd ghost horse incidents plague Red Dead Online
It's often the largest, most feature-rich games that have the funniest bugs. So it is with Red Dead Online, as the recent Blood Money update has broken something... fundamental... about horses.
Genshin Impact is finally becoming a real game by adding fishing in 2.1
A leak from the beta of Genshin Impact 2.1 has revealed that the prominent free-to-play RPG is going to get fishing mechanics. The leak, via several sources but focused around the relatively reputable Genshin Report, says that the 2.1 update will include Watasumi island, part of an archipelago near the mainland, and possibly Seirai island as well. As is often the case with Genshin, these new areas are hinted at or mentioned by previous characters but cannot be visited until the update.
Try to save your crumbling sci-fi empire in the Alliance of the Sacred Suns demo
"A thousand years in the future, humanity's last empire stands on the brink of collapse," reads the intro text for Alliance of the Sacred Suns, which is a really good pitch. The sci-fi grand strategy and 4X hybrid has a new demo out on Steam, which you can play right now, where you take on the job of a new emperor or empress responsible for keeping the disaster that is humanity's future from becoming worse.
>> Here's the demo, in case you want to give it a go.
New Sonic game announcement 'a bit premature' says Sonic Team head
In an interview with 4Gamer translated by Nintendo Enthusiast, Sonic Team head Takashi Iizuka has admitted the announcement was made a little bit early. "We haven't announced a brand new action game for the Sonic series since Sonic Forces," he said, referring to the disappointing 2017 game, "and that caused fans to worry. While it was a bit premature, I wanted to at least take the occasion of the 30th anniversary to announce that a brand new title was in development."
Halo Infinite's first technical preview is coming very soon, maybe even next weekend
It's been a long road to Halo Infinite, but players could be diving in as soon as next weekend. 343 Industries is currently preparing a technical preview for the game's free-to-play multiplayer component, focused on fine tuning the instalment's AI Bots—the first in the series' history.
Sims players are flooding their homes with the new pond tool
The Sims 4's recent Cottage Living expansion introduced a whole host of features—chickens to raise, llamas to pet, lactose intolerant sims—and the ability to flood your whole home, if you so choose. The pond tool, which can be populated with moss, and frogs, and other water creatures, can also simply turn your garden into one big swamp, or your house into one big swimming pool.
Final Fantasy 16 is prioritising English voice acting, hasn't even started Japanese dub
Final Fantasy 16 director Naoki Yoshida has offered some insight into the game's development, including the studio's focus on prioritising its English dub.
While Square Enix traditionally focuses on Japanese voice acting first, Yoshida revealed that they haven't even started recording the Japanese dialogue yet. In a livestream on WasyaganaTV, translated by DualShockers, he said that the English dialogue is specifically being recorded in "British English," with full motion capture.
This game will make you nostalgic for the petty crimes you probably never committed in the 90s
You know when you were a teenager, in the '90s, and you did a lot of petty crimes? Pickpocketing, and scams with fun names, bouncing from place to place as you picked your mark, remembering to call home every now and then? Maybe not, if like me you were a teenager in [redacted] who broke out in a cold sweat whenever those buggy anti-theft barriers in shops would go off because someone looked at them funny—but we've all watched enough wild teen movies that it's kind of nostalgic anyway, right?
The Big Con, coming the 31st of August, lets you relive (or first-time live) that dream, with a flexible approach to being a teenage con artist in the '90s. If you want to get by on being a pickpocket, you can try to just get in the pockets of those high-waisted bootcut jeans. If you want to grift, to commit a little B&E? The world's your oyster—and as the store page points out, pearls are worth a lot!