Content note: mentions of transphobia, harassment and abuse, toxic workplace environments, and suicide.
Hello! Maddi here for this week’s dose of gaming news. Since last we spoke, Horizon Forbidden West and Elden Ring were released, and my household has been spending a lot of time with both. My husband has been taking on every boss he can find in Elden Ring, while I… have been getting my butt handed to me by machines. Let us know what you’ve been playing on Twitter, or, if you’re a member of our Patreon at the Sega Genesis tier or higher, in our Discord! Now, here’s all the news you might have missed last week.
Itch Creators Put Together a TTRPG Bundle for Trans Rights
Following Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s recent attempt to criminalize gender-affirming care for transgender minors, creators on Itch have put together a game bundle to benefit trans advocacy groups. “TTRPGs for Trans Rights in Texas!” is available until early April, and includes nearly five hundred games from three hundred creators. At time of writing, the bundle has raised more than $280,000 of its $300,000 goal for the Transgender Education Network of Texas and Organización Latina de Trans en Texas. TTRPGs for Trans Rights in Texas! is available for a minimum donation of $5.
The #TTRPG Bundle for Trans Rights Texas is LIVE! Featuring 493 games from 300 designers- a combined value of over $2700 for as low as $5. Proceeds benefit @texas_trans and @transtexas.https://t.co/LhltZdGWBD pic.twitter.com/k9gHwTiXeu
— 💀 Rue 💀 Trans Rights Bundle LIVE (@IlanaNight13) March 3, 2022
Activision Blizzard Is Being Sued for Wrongful Death
The family of a former Activision Blizzard employee who died by suicide during a 2017 company retreat is suing the company, alleging that sexual harassment she experienced there contributed to her death. The incident was initially mentioned in the lawsuit the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed against Activision Blizzard in July 2021, though no victim was named. The wrongful death suit was filed on March 3 by Paul and Janet Moynihan on behalf of their daughter, Kerri Moynihan. Their complaint also alleges that Kerri’s boss, Greg Restituito, also lied to investigators and attempted to conceal his sexual relationship with Kerri after her death.
BREAKING: Activision Blizzard has been sued for wrongful death by the family of the woman who committed suicide and was named in the California state agency lawsuit from last July. https://t.co/yqZD5yC9Xt
— Shannon Liao (@Shannon_Liao) March 4, 2022
Activision Blizzard also recently released its 2021 annual report, and it highlights a rather… turbulent (to be tactful) year for the company. The report showed a number of troublesome findings, including the fact that Activision Blizzard is struggling to recruit and retain employees, even though its total staff was larger than in 2020. The report blamed labor shortages, competition, and attrition for the problem, but acknowledged ongoing legal battles and media attention were also likely affecting employee retention.
Additionally, California law requires publicly held corporations to have a minimum number of women directors on their board. For a company with at least six members on their board of directors, the law requires the company to include at least three women. With only two women on their ten-person board, Activision Blizzard was supposed to—but failed to—appoint another woman to its board by the end of 2021. In the 2021 report, Activision Blizzard blamed its planned Microsoft acquisition, which has not been finalized, for its failure to act. Activision Blizzard is also being sued by its own shareholders over the deal.
In other news…
Last week, we mentioned GMG Union members were on strike for better pay and benefits. This week, we are glad to report that after heading back to the bargaining table, the GMG Union has settled on an agreement that includes higher salary minimums, severance pay, parental leave, and trans-inclusive healthcare.
This comes after a low point where G/O Media populated Kotaku’s US site with posts from Kotaku AU.
G/O Media management is so scummy, they're putting posts from Kotaku AU on Kotaku US, turning the Australian writers into scabs against their will. Kotaku AU is an affiliate site owned by a different company. Kotaku US and the rest of the newsroom have been striking since Tuesday https://t.co/p7qEcmVMbu
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) March 3, 2022
Doom co-creator John Romero released a new level (his first since 1994) for Doom 2 to raise money for Ukrainian relief efforts amid Ukraine’s ongoing conflict with Russia. The level is available to download for €5 from John Romero’s online store, and all proceeds go toward the Red Cross Ukraine and the UN Central Emergency Response Fund.
To support the people of Ukraine and the humanitarian efforts of the Red Cross and the UN Central Emergency Response Fund, I’m releasing a new DOOM II level for a donation of €5. 100% of the proceeds go toward these agencies. Thank you. https://t.co/1meRjC0IJZ pic.twitter.com/p0VbjdIofP
— 𝕵𝖔𝖍𝖓 𝕽𝖔𝖒𝖊𝖗𝖔 (@romero) March 2, 2022
And, if you need some levity, (who doesn’t) I particularly enjoyed Gita Jackson’s roundup of all the ridiculous ways Elden Ring employs physical comedy.
Elden Ring is just he funniest game I’ve played in a looooong time https://t.co/CwZsyMw08l
— Gita Jackson (@xoxogossipgita) March 4, 2022
That’s all for this week. Take care of each other out there.
Madison Butler is Sidequest’s self-proclaimed jock editor. She co-founded the blog Critsumption and once got really into powerlifting via Fitness Boxing for the Nintendo Switch. She tweets at @_maddilo.