Howdy and welcome to Get Your Game On! How have you been? What have you been playing? I’ve been playing Super Mario 3D World, which is a delightful couch co-op even if I spend most of my time sending Peach off of ledges to her doom. I’ve also been playing a lot of real-life Tetris after moving a few weeks ago, and, to be honest, I prefer the digital version! Anyway, here’s all the news (digital or otherwise) you might have missed last week.
New Updates From Avalanche Software on Hogwarts Legacy
First, we have an update to one of the stories Zainabb covered in last week’s Get Your Game On. In late February, it came to light that the lead designer of the upcoming Hogwarts Legacy game, Troy Leavitt, ran a reactionary YouTube channel full of anti-social justice, anti-women, and pro-Gamergate videos. Last week, Leavitt announced his departure from Avalanche Games, the studio behind Hogwarts Legacy. Neither Avalanche nor WB Games, the game’s publisher, have made any statement on the controversy.
I know this is just shocking but the lead designer of Hogwarts Legacy is Troy Leavitt, a far right YouTuber who used to make anti-fem and pro GG vids: https://t.co/kDNm9ri9zH pic.twitter.com/w3dDy0YXe4
— Liam Robertson (@Doctor_Cupcakes) February 20, 2021
In other Hogwarts news, Jason Schreier reported for Bloomberg that Hogwarts Legacy developers plan to include trans-friendly character creation options. Though this is a necessary step toward making video games more inclusive, it’s worth noting this doesn’t change the fact that J.K. Rowling continues to make transphobic comments on massive platforms afforded to her because of the Harry Potter franchise’s success. Even if she is not, as Hogwarts Legacy‘s website claims, “directly involved in the creation of the game,” she still benefits from its existence. I mean in no way to diminish the efforts of developers fighting for inclusivity, but despite Avalanche and WB Games’ careful attempts to distance themselves from Rowling, Hogwarts Legacy cannot be disentangled from the hateful, bigoted views of its creator.
Microsoft is One Step Closer to Acquiring Bethesda
Both the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the European Union (EU) have approved Microsoft’s $7.5 billion deal to acquire ZeniMax Media, a deal Microsoft first announced back in September.
ZeniMax Media is the holding company that’s probably best known as Bethesda’s parent company, though it also owns id Software (Doom), Arkane Studios (Dishonored, Deathloop), MachineGames (Wolfenstein), and Tango Gameworks (The Evil Within). All told, the deal brings the number of game studios under Microsoft’s belt up to 23, making it one of the biggest acquisitions in gaming history. Microsoft also owns Xbox, though the company said it would honor upcoming PlayStation 5-exclusives Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo.
Over the past few weeks, you may have seen an uptick in news about non-fungible tokens (NFTs), or “cryptoart.” Like the cryptocurrency boom of a few years ago, some are touting it as a way for artists to get paid fairly. However, as Everest Pipkin points out, there are a number of problems with the technology. Their post provides is one of the best-written explainers of cryptocurrency I’ve read, and it provides great context on cryptocurrency’s background and problems if you’re wondering what the big deal is with NFTs.
— everest (@everestpipkin) March 3, 2021
Fall Guys developer Mediatonic announced it is joining Epic Games. In an FAQ about the acquisition, Mediatonic said it plans to maintain current gameplay and community features, and that Epic’s support will help the studio improve the game while bringing it to new platforms.
What does this mean? I'm glad you asked!
— Fall Guys 4041 🤖 SOON (@FallGuysGame) March 2, 2021
In another update on last week’s news, The Sinking City developer Frogwares published a blog post elaborating on their call for players to not buy the version of The Sinking City currently on Steam. The post details serious accusations against The Sinking City‘s former publisher Nacon. Frogwares’ blog post says that Nacon stole and hacked the game’s source code and that the version available on Steam is the hacked, pirated version. The Eurogamer article in the tweet linked provides a lot of context regarding Frogwares and Nacon’s ongoing legal battles.
The Sinking City dev accuses publisher of pirating the game and tricking Steam into uploading it as long-running legal row gets even messier https://t.co/vNJGv9STQY
— Eurogamer (@eurogamer) March 1, 2021
Activision Blizzard has hired Frances Townsend, a George W. Bush-era terrorism adviser who advocated for raising the terrorist threat level during the 2004 election, as its executive vice president for corporate affairs. According to the Wall Street Journal, Townsend will oversee compliance and public policy.
You will be able to violate the Geneva Conventions in new Activision Blizzard games, as the company has just hired an expert on the matter. https://t.co/uyjHk1H7tJ
— Can You Violate The Geneva Conventions? (@ViolateGeneva) March 3, 2021
Following the indefinite delay of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2, developer Hardsuit Labs laid off most of its staff.
Hardsuit Labs lays off staff after removal from Bloodlines 2 https://t.co/q5oOPzEK3q
— Gamasutra (@gamasutra) March 2, 2021
Tabletop RPG author Zak Smith, who multiple women have accused of abuse and rape, is suing Gen Con for defamation (among other things). Smith is arguing that Gen Con irrevocably damaged his career by banning him in 2019. Following the accusations, Wizards of the Coast also removed references to Smith from its 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons handbook.
interesting lawsuit .. Zak Smith, banned by Gen Con ("the largest RPG trade show") & publicly called out, asserts defamation & related claims against the conference and its owners https://t.co/90YerBu7vF pic.twitter.com/ElOY8zopzW
— venkat b (@VBalasubramani) February 9, 2021
And finally, move over Lady Dimitrescu, there’s a new monster in town. (Just kidding, there’s surely room for both in the hearts of monster lovers everywhere.) Dead By Daylight recently announced a new killer: a K-pop idol turned murderer called The Trickster who was developed in partnership with idol Kevin Woo (U-KISS) and BTS producer DJ Swivel. Naturally, the internet is… excited. I have included the most safe-for-work tweet I could find.
— Yanima (@YanimaDbD) March 6, 2021
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.