Hello and welcome to GYGO! I’m Kael, your local rain lover, and yesterday I went for a walk in a summer storm just to feel what it is to be a frog. Unfortunately that pleasant image has little to do with this week’s news, which left me feeling all kinds of skeeved out. I’m gonna go drink some tea and listen to an Animal Crossing soundtrack for a bit, but you go ahead and read on.
Allegations Continue to Rock the Fighting Game Community
EVO Online 2020, the online edition of the world’s biggest fighting game event, was canceled after sexual misconduct allegations were leveled at its former president and co-founder Joey Cuellar. Cuellar was accused of predatory behavior towards young boys in a Twitlonger post recalling his actions in the ’90s and early 2000s fighting game scene. Numerous game companies pulled out of EVO following the accusations. Eventually, the entire 2020 online event was canceled, and co-founder Tony Canon was named the new CEO. EVO announced Cuellar has been relieved of all responsibilities.
Re : Mike Z in Bunny's DMs, but also just in general pic.twitter.com/QVpf8FR4Xz
— Battle Bun 🔜 RIPTIDE (@battlebunnybun) June 29, 2020
Meanwhile, the lead designer for Skullgirls, Mike Zaimont, was accused of behaving inappropriately towards women in the Skullgirls community. This, and an attempt to make humor out of George Floyd’s murder, lead to Skullgirls event organizers calling for his removal from commentary positions. It’s easier to call than enforce, because there’s no central body for the Skullgirls competitive community. That being said, Combo Breaker (a huge event for Skullgirls) has already responded by banning him from next year’s event.
Ubisoft Restructures in the Face of Misconduct Accusations
Following accusations of misconduct among male staff, Ubisoft announced changes to address workplace toxicity. Changes include appointing a head of workplace culture and a head of diversity and inclusion, changing the misconduct reporting process, and changing some of the all-white, all-male editorial team. Not all of these changes have been put into practice yet, but Lindwine Sauer was appointed to head of workplace culture. Two members of the editorial staff (who were under investigation for misconduct) have also been removed from the team.
Kongregate Leaves Flash Games Behind
This morning I was laid off by Kongregate with zero notice (I found out by direct deposit). If you or anyone you know is looking for a hard worker with experience in project management and games publishing please let know. Please RT for visibility, this is the worst time for this
— an american gay in canada (@Sage0fForest) July 1, 2020
Adobe is ending support for Flash this year, and game aggregates who’ve built themselves up on the platform are having to change. In the case of Kongregate, which hosts over 120,000 Flash games, it means closing their doors to new submissions. Starting this month Kongregate will no longer allow new Flash games to be published on their platform. Instead, the company is focusing on internal development of non-Flash-based games.
This coincides with layoffs at the company (some without notice), which is less than great considering the global pandemic and job market.
Drama Continues in the Cutthroat World of Competitive Donkey Kong
Billy Mitchell is back at it again, and this time he’s suing Twin Galaxies for defamation. His argument is that the organization (which tracks high scores in gaming communities) neglected their due diligence when they removed his scores from the record in 2018. This is following accusations that he used an emulator instead of a genuine cabinet arcade to achieve his scores.
Twin Galaxies responded with a motion to dismiss. Mitchell’s case revolves around the eyewitness testimonies he says Twin Galaxies refused to take into account when reviewing his scores. Twin Galaxies noted that none of the testimonies were submitted with his original scores, which is allowed as part of the verification process. Further complicating matters is the fact that one of the testifying parties is claiming that he only did so under duress after Mitchell threatened to sue him.
In other news…
This isn't a "Fuck 2020" moment. This is a "we need to pay attention to mental health" and "we need better resources in the gaming/streaming community" moment. Yes 2020 SUCKS, but that's even more reason for us to recognize and combat the stigmas around mental health. RIP BYRON
— djWHEAT (@djWHEAT) July 2, 2020
Former World of Warcraft streamer Byron Berstein, known as Reckful online, passed away this week. Fans gathered in-game at Stormwind Cathedral to mourn together, creating an impromptu vigil reportedly in the thousands. Reckful’s career on Twitch is almost as old as the platform itself, and though he was banned from WoW in 2014 he was still considered one of the game’s top players.
Tabletop RPG Lancer withdrew from ENnies award consideration this year. They did so in protest of the 2017 naming of RPG module Blood in the Chocolate winner of the award. The ENnies stand by their decision, citing the popular vote that gave Blood in the Chocolate the win. In a post disavowing the module, Blood in the Chocolate creator Kiel Chenier stated that it “relies on gross colonialist racist depictions of BIPOC, and contains sexual assault that’s used for little more than shock value,” and that he regrets accepting the award in the first place.
DM’s Guild was accused of holding a double standard for queer artwork. The accusations come from Oliver Clegg, who wrote Curse of Hearts, a Dungeons & Dragons module featuring “a house full of gay vampires.” Some of the artwork in Curse of Hearts is sexually suggestive, which prompted DM’s Guild to remove it from the platform. In a Twitter thread, Clegg pointed out other suggestive content allowed to remain on DM’s Guild, and pointed out that Curse of Hearts might not have been censored so quickly if it didn’t include queer content. DM’s Guild stands by their decision, but is working with Wizards of the Coast to create a set of content guidelines that can be enforced uniformly across all of their content.
A follow-up: https://t.co/dlBfY7XDQo pic.twitter.com/nT50EuCxsk
— Dungeon Masters Guild (@dms_guild) June 30, 2020
Thank you, everyone, for being patient with us the past couple days. I have a small update for you about what's been happening behind the scenes (alt text available for screen readers). – Lysa pic.twitter.com/EoVDP2safN
— Dungeon Masters Guild (@dms_guild) July 2, 2020
(Side note: I hope Clegg gets the module back up somewhere because I am INTO it.)
Discord is pivoting away from games and towards a more general audience.
Apple Arcade, the subscription gaming service, cut the contracts of multiple developers in the middle of a pandemic. The company reportedly cited a need for games that generated engagement.
Crucible, the multiplayer shooter released by Amazon Game Studios, was pulled back into closed beta after launch. Those already playing can continue to do so, but the creation of new accounts is limited.
The Westworld creators are heading a Fallout show through Amazon.
Kaity Kline writes about how The Last of Us Part II’s take on Judaism is refreshing and relatable.
Clear your calendars and quit your jobs because Ooblets finally comes out in early access on:
⚠️👉👉 July 15th, 2020 👈👈⚠️
THAT'S SO SOON!!
🌿 Epic & Xbox 🍄 pic.twitter.com/25gM4Uw1Rt
— Ooblets (@ooblets) July 1, 2020
Ooblets is coming, baby!
A genderless eldritch beast bound to mortal flesh. Interests include games, gardening, magical realism, and the complete restructuring of America’s political and economic systems. Frequently orders too much food at restaurants. Tweets @unnnez.