Content note: mention of death.
Welcome back to Get Your Game On! My name is Zainabb and I’m your host for this week. Recently I’ve been navigating a difficult and extended flare so I haven’t been gaming as much as I’d like. I did finally start Stardew Valley but immediately became overwhelmed and I was also put off by its (extremely limited and ableist!) disability representation so I, uh, have not returned to it yet. Instead, I’m back on my The Sims bullshit and rebuilt my main family’s house for the third time this year!
You know what’s less fun than building virtual magical cottages? This week’s gaming news. Let’s take a look, shall we?
Kojima Productions May Sue Those Who Spread Misinformation about Shinzo Abe’s Assassination
This week, Hideo Kojima was falsely connected to the assassination of Japan’s former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, after a racist “joke” circulated on 4chan. The “joke” then made its way to Twitter, where it was eventually shared as fact by a far-right French politician, who accused the far-left of planning the assassination. Since then, news outlets in Greece and Iran have also shared this misinformation.
Now, Kojima Productions says it may take legal action against those who continue to share the false accusation. In a tweet about the issue, the company stated that it “strongly condemns the spread of fake news” and does not “tolerate such libel.”
#KojimaProductions strongly condemns the spread of fake news and rumors that convey false information. We do not tolerate such libel and will consider taking legal action in some cases. pic.twitter.com/fDi0FR9kB0
— KOJIMA PRODUCTIONS (Eng) (@KojiPro2015_EN) July 9, 2022
In other news…
For this year’s Disability Pride Month, Microsoft has added new avatar items, gamerpics and profile themes for Xbox consoles, as they continue to make strides on accessibility in video games. The available designs represent a variety of disabilities, including invisible disabilities, and mobility aids, like wheelchairs, as well as the disability pride flag. Unfortunately, Microsoft seems to be the only large company acknowledging Disability Pride Month, highlighting just how far gaming has to go before it can be truly accessible and inclusive.
This #DisabilityPrideMonth I just wanted to recount the times I went to work events and they were inaccessible
1. Charity event – only accessed by 2 flights of stairs
2. Charity event – only accessed by stairs. also on a boat
3. Convention – Creator area up 2 flights of stairs
— Radderss ♿ 🌈 | ➡️ TwitchCon EU (@RadderssGaming) July 5, 2022
It's #DisabilityPrideMonth! Quick reminder that we have this playlist of 35 conference talks by disabled people discussing their own lived experiences of gaming & accessibility –https://t.co/7XVm9xnWqt#gamedev #indiedev #DisabilityPride
— GAconf (@GA_Conf) July 3, 2022
Following on from last week’s layoffs, GameStop has fired its CFO and laid off another round of employees, although the exact number hasn’t been confirmed. The cuts appear to be at GameStop’s office in Grapevine, Texas and at its magazine, Game Informer.
E3 expects to return next June with an in-person conference in Los Angeles. The Entertainment Software Association, who runs the event, is partnering with ReedPOP, the company behind similar conferences including PAX and New York Comic Con. While there will be “digital showcases” as part of the event, it doesn’t seem like there’ll be hybrid or digital attendance options but further details are yet to be confirmed.
Blizzard also hopes to run BlizzCon in-person next year, with president Mike Ybarra stating that the company is “committed to bringing back BlizzCon” in 2023. Last year’s conference was cancelled amid allegations of sexual misconduct, abuse, and toxic working conditions at Activision Blizzard.
Speaking of which, Activision Blizzard staff are planning another walkout on July 21, 2022 to push the company to provide suitable healthcare, fully remote work, and assistance with relocation to safer states and countries. The demands specifically aim to protect women and LGBTQIA+ employees, and their families, following the passing of anti-abortion, anti-trans, and anti-queer legislation in many states across the USA, with further legislation targeting other marginalised groups likely to follow.
In light of the recent attacks on the civil liberties of our employees, the employee-led Committee Against Sex and Gender Discrimination has scheduled a walk out action on July 21st, 2022 (1/17)
— ABetterABK 💙 ABK Workers Alliance (@ABetterABK) July 6, 2022
Finally, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is now taking a look at Microsoft’s deal to acquire Activision Blizzard to ensure that the purchase would not be “anti-competitive.” The CMA’s investigation is similar to the FTC’s and the two are expected to exchange notes.
Kazuki Takahashi, the creator of Yu-Gi-Oh was found dead off the coast of Okinawa, Japan. Takahashi was 60 years old. The Japan Coast Guard and police are investigating his death, which seems to be the result of a snorkeling accident.
Now that Final Fantasy 14 players can travel to other worlds, some gamers are preventing access to Balmung, which is known for its extravagant (and erotic) roleplaying groups. These players, who stay on the Balmung server, want to stop “tourists” from getting involved in their scene (ah yes, weirdly xenophobic gatekeeping, my favourite gaming pastime). Meanwhile, real-life billboards in Texas that advertised a nightclub in Balmung have been taken down following concerns that the billboards could breach Final Fantasy 14‘s terms of service. There were also worries that the ads did not clearly explain that erotic roleplay (ERP) occurs at the nightclub, and that the advertisement could provoke Square Enix into placing stricter restrictions on modding and ERP.
Later this year, Supermassive Games will release the next installment in their Dark Pictures series, titled The Devil in Me. The horror game seems to be inspired by so-called “torture porn” films like Saw and Hostel, and it’ll star Jessie Buckley. The Devil in Me will be released on PC, PlayStation 5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One. You can watch the trailer below.
A remake of 2012 Xbox action game Lollipop Chainsaw is in the works, with many of the original development team returning for the project. Further details are yet to be announced but the game’s expected to release in 2023.
Zainabb Hull is an editor at Sidequest, a freelance writer and videographer, and sort-of artist. They’re also a trans, queer, and disabled brown femme. They tweet into the void at @ZainabbHull.