Hello, and welcome to GYGO! I’m Kael, you local hacker extraordinaire, and I spent most of this week embodying a robot spider in Watch Dogs: Legion. When I wasn’t digging through the files of virtual authoritarian governments I also looked around the real world for some games news (and, you know, worked and stuff). I hope you enjoy!

Virtual Influencer Seraphine May Be a Real Human After All

The Seraphine saga continues. This time a League of Legends player who goes by Stephanie accused Riot of basing the new League of Legends character off of her. This follows last month’s backlash from people who took issue with Riot fabricating a parasocial relationship and mental health crisis as part of Seraphine’s advertising campaign.

I think it’s best to read Stephanie’s accusations in her own words, but to summarize a few of her points: she dated a developer at Riot around the time of Seraphine’s creation, the man allegedly stated that he wanted to incorporate inspiration from her into various projects, the character and her appearances are pretty similar, some details and dates from Seraphine’s backstory have connection to dates in Stephanie’s life. Stephanie says she hasn’t been able to enjoy the game since noticing the similarities and is deeply distressed by the way the character was revealed.

Riot denies that the character is inspired by any real person. Riot employee Jeevun Sidhu, a senior game designer who states he worked on Seraphine on Twitter, had previously claimed the contrary. He stated that Seraphine was inspired in part by @riotwhiskies on Twitter, who has his name next to a ring emoji in her Twitter bio. Of course, many people worked on the character, and it’s quite possible more than one source of inspiration slipped in regardless of corporate intentions.

Voice Actors Can Be Sleazy Too

Voice actor Quinton Flynn (Axel in Kingdom Hearts, Raiden in the Metal Gear series, among others) was accused of sexually harassing his female fan base this week. A community of Twitter users centered around the anonymous account @BewareQFlynn is sharing anecdotes and screenshots of explicit conversations between them and Flynn. The community describes a pattern of Flynn offering intense praise and interest, requesting and sending (often unsolicited) sexual messages, and then ghosting the fan.

BewareQFlynn describes the manipulation pretty concisely in this tweet.

Separately, James Arnold Taylor (English language voice actor for Final Fantasy X‘s Tidus, among others) was accused by ResetEra user wishbone of posting “racist & covid conspiracy theories on Parler“. Parler, I unfortunately learned while writing this post, is described by the Anti-Defamation League as a social networking site “which has become increasingly popular among conservatives, [and] has also attracted a range of extremists.” Wishbone points to two “echoed” posts on Taylor’s Parler account, one in support of the conspiracy theory that the coronavirus was created in a lab, and one that suggests he won’t be watching the NFL in response to player’s protests against police brutality. Taylor responded to call the ResetEra post slander, despite it largely quoting his own social media posts.

Fans Panic Over Another Cyberpunk 2077 Delay

Cyberpunk 2077 caused panic among fans this week after temporarily removing the December 10th release date from their Twitter page. Many took this as a sign another delay was imminent. Personally, if it means less crunch for the developers, I wouldn’t mind seeing it delayed. CD Projekt Red clarified in an IGN interview that the removal was simply part of them updating assets to reflect the recent December 10th date and that everything is still on track.

In Other News…

The PlayStation 5 is out this week, and it sure is big. In an interview with Washington Post, designer Yujin Morisawa stated that he originally designed it even bigger. Early in the design process, he had no idea what space requirements the system would need, but knew that heat management would be a priority for the powerful system. It was the engineering team that told him that they didn’t actually need so much space for airflow. The interview has some more interesting tidbits about his design reasoning if you’re interested.

Xbox, meanwhile, seems to be following a different design philosophy. I’m going to be 100% honest—I’m from the northwestern United States and don’t actually know what a Bojangles is, but some people seem really into the branded Xbox Series X they’re hosting a giveaway for.

Apex Legends game director Chad Grenier affirmed that Apex would not be subjecting its developers to crunch. The Twitter post came in response to a group of fans vocal complaints at the speed of content releases compared to similar games.

Supergiant Games, creators of Hades and Pyre, drew praise from fans after clarifying their licensing policies. Supergiant explicitly allows “making and selling limited, hand made merchandise inspired by our games” but draws the line at mass producing or hosting items on large retailers like Amazon or Redbubble without a licensing agreement. This largely means that small creators selling art prints, handmade cosplays, et cetera, are free to do so. It’s great to see a development team embrace their fandom like this, and I hope it becomes a trend in the future.