Hey, everyone! This week was… kinda weird, on a lot of levels. Doing my research for this weekly curatorial piece felt kind of like I was cognitively ping-ponging back and forth between being shocked, disappointed, made vaguely uncomfortable, and yet unable to pull away from the big stories of the week. So, without further ado, let’s dig in.
Resident Evil Showcase: Demo or Thirst Trap?
My colleague Zainabb already reported on this last week, but the Resident Evil showcase on the 21st did more than just give us a release date for the newest, entry, Village (Which is May 7th, by the way). In addition to dropping a new “visual demo” called Maiden and showing off a new anthology battle royale game, the showcase also stoked the fire’s of the internet’s obsession with the upsettingly tall vampire antagonist of RE8, Lady Dimitrescu. I found, like, the tamest tweet possible, because of my delicate Midwestern Protestant sensibilities:
Gee, I hope the 2.72 m tall scary lady from Resident Evil 8 doesn't awake something in me pic.twitter.com/nqOKfZPzXm
— TORGY (@tabletorgy) January 17, 2021
If you’re wondering, Ash Parrish from Kotaku actually calculated how tall this vampire woman is, and the result comes in at a towering eight feet. I’m a hardcore Resident Evil fan, so I am both befuddled and delighted at this turn from the goopy bayou horror of the last game into a more polished Gothic vibe. I’m also so excited to see what gymnastics have to happen to get this whole thing to fit into the lore.
Corporate Magical Chairs and… Listening to Customers?
So, the internet’s incredible fascination with large women aside, there was some interesting corporate stuff going on this week as well.
First, the very successful remake developers behind both the new versions of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and the Crash Bandicoot trilogy, Vicarious Visions, have been fully merged into Blizzard Entertainment:
Vicarious Visions (THPS 1+2) has been merged into Blizzard
— Nibel (@Nibellion) January 22, 2021
It’s unclear at this juncture how they will be used, but it’s admittedly a little disappointing that a studio capable of putting out such polished products that reinvent beloved childhood nostalgia might now become an Overwatch asset farm.
But the reward for earning the ire of gamers everywhere this week handily goes to Microsoft, who attempted to roll out a price increase for XBox Live Gold subscriptions, in what is widely considered an attempt to get more people to switch over to the new Game Pass Ultimate offering.
The news of this increase, which is a bit weird in the way it scales pricing for longer subscription purchases, was so poorly received by gamers that within twenty-four hours, Microsoft had entirely reversed its position:
Today was not great. We always try to do our best for you and today we missed the mark.
We hear you, and we’re reversing our Xbox Live Gold pricing updates.
— Xbox (@Xbox) January 23, 2021
They also went so far as to remove Gold requirements for free-to-play multiplayer experiences.
Finally in corporate shenanigans, PC Gamer reported this week that some of the composers for the popular indie platformer Celeste haven’t seen royalties in almost two years. This news comes as more industry professionals are beginning to speak out against the music label in charge of the game’s music distribution, Materia Collective, who responded in a tweet:
We've heard your concerns and we apologize sincerely for the incident. Moving forward we recognize the importance of resolving this swiftly and fully.
All delayed payments will be made by mid-February and we are fixing the issue so this won't happen again. pic.twitter.com/veKYko38us
— Materia Collective (@MateriaColl) January 18, 2021
Hopefully everything is on the level and the artists will be fairly compensated soon.
Mega Franchise Woes
To close this week, a few small pieces of news about beloved IPs that have hit production snags.
First, the Uncharted film, which has been in development for an entire decade, has seen yet another release delay due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic:
Tom Holland's Uncharted film delayed until 2022 https://t.co/K2wCsmeaTz
— Eurogamer (@eurogamer) January 22, 2021
Changing franchise gears, Marvel’s Avengers has fallen deathly silent about update and expansion plans following a lukewarm reception upon release. In July they announced Hawkeye as a DLC character, but as Forbes reports, a lot of time has passed with no new information.
Emma is a PhD candidate in Rhetoric and Composition who studies how play impacts learning. Her words have also appeared in Critical Distance and Unwinnable. When not writing, she enjoys passing the controller between friends for runs of Silent Hill. She can be found @kostopolus on Twitter.