What’s up everyone? Hanging in there? I haven’t had much time for gaming this week but I have been immensely enjoying Martha Wells’s Murderbot Diaries in my spare time. Now, here’s what has happened since last week.
Ubisoft Removes Black Lives Matter Imagery Following Backlash
Mobile game Tom Clancy: Elite Squad received backlash following its release last week. The game pits players against UMBRA, a terrorist organization that, according to the game’s website, “operates in the shadows, using violent and morally dubious techniques to obtain and deliver valuable intel.” The introductory cutscene showed an UMBRA member raising a fist, a gesture most currently associated with the Black Lives Matter movement. After players and employees criticized Ubisoft for associating terrorists with people protesting real-life racial injustice, the company apologized and said it would change the video. Earlier this year, multiple employees made sexual assault and harassment complaints and accused the company of fostering a toxic work environment.
The director of this game and manager of the studio behind it is Charlie Guillemot. If that name sounds familiar, it's because his father is Yves Guillemot, Ubisoft's CEO. Charlie Guillemot graduated university in 2014 and became studio manager in… 2014
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) August 31, 2020
Microsoft Has Created a Carbon-Neutral Console
Last September, Microsoft pledged to manufacture 825,000 carbon-neutral Xbox consoles, and in July released an ambitious plan to become carbon-negative by 2030. Though an infographic on Microsoft’s website suggested the carbon-neutral consoles would be part of the upcoming Series X, CNET reported that the devices used for the program were Xbox One X consoles. (The graphic has since been updated.) Still, this is an encouraging step toward a more sustainable future.
Dontnod Released Tell Me Why, Which Features a Playable Trans Character
On Thursday, Dontnod Entertainment, the studio behind Life is Strange released Tell Me Why, an episodic game about telepathic twins Tyler and Alyson. Tell Me Why is the first blockbuster game to feature a transgender protagonist.
The newest DONTNOD game is the result of pushing for better representation, only to have the edges of identities filed down. https://t.co/HvNEJkOr9u
— VICE Games (@waypoint) August 28, 2020
Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is resurrecting Ronald Reagan, though video games thankfully remain apolitical. (This is a joke. Video games, and especially Call of Duty, are deeply political.)
The Wonder Woman 1984 Xbox consoles have some flashy threads.
— Polygon (@Polygon) August 25, 2020
— The Verge (@verge) August 27, 2020
Cultural phenomenon Blaseball went offline in solidarity with striking NBA players.
After an artist called out First Second for underpaying artists for The Adventure Zone graphic novel illustrations and placing their work under excessive exclusivity clauses, the McElroy family and First Second have apologized and promised to amend contracts.
Today we were made aware of the terms of contracts between artists who have been featured in The Adventure Zone graphic novels and our publisher, First Second. These artists were not adequately paid for their work, and their art was put under excessively long exclusivity clauses.
— The Adventure Zone (@TheZoneCast) August 31, 2020
A statement from the First Second team: pic.twitter.com/wL24LscGUa
— First Second Books (@01FirstSecond) August 31, 2020
Madison Butler writes about advertising by day and about video games the rest of the time. She can usually be found crying about Final Fantasy and Nier: Automata on Twitter @madisonrbutler.