Content note: discussion of racism, and mentions of transphobia and death.
Welcome back to Get Your Game On! My name is Zainabb and we’re back to our regular programming of terrible gaming news! This week, I started up Cozy Grove and was delighted to see that autumn has arrived on my island, with the leaves starting to turn brown and gold and new critters for me to collect. I expect I’ll be spending much of my September amongst my ghostly bear friends—here’s hoping a nice start to autumn for you all, too.
Here’s this week’s gaming news.
Wizards of the Coast Finally Apologises for Racist Hadozee Content
Wizards of the Coast has (finally) apologised publicly for some of the content featured in its newest campaign, Spelljammer: Adventures in Space. Specifically, some gamers highlighted that descriptions and illustrations of the Hadozee, a primate-like race first introduced in 1982, were, uh, super racist.
Is it okay for me to call the Dragon game racist now? Because the Hadozee are fucking atrocious and the fact that this was released is unconscionable. pic.twitter.com/1hY2K25fGR
— 🧙🏿♂️Nightskin GM Kendo💀 (@KendoMakesFilms) August 30, 2022
TW: Racism, Minstrel Shows
The first Hadozee depicted is *literally* in a famous minstrel pose. I will thread images if you're unfamiliar. (White) DMs, players, please take this as a moment to evaluate the relationship your games have with colonialist voyeurism. https://t.co/Yf8kJe7NTW
— katie mae 🧃 #death2divinity (@okkatiemae) August 30, 2022
Wizards of the Coast quietly updated the Hadozee content on digital versions of the campaign, significantly stripping down the original copy in order to remove all of the racism. Two of the original images have also been removed from the entry. It then took Wizards at least another day to release a statement on the issue, leaving some players disappointed that it took the company so long to address their concerns.
Apparently the hadozee lore has been updated on DnD Beyond to remove the racist parallels in it. Heck, they fixed the glide mechanic.
This is good but I would love to have not learned this from a YouTube video and instead an announcement from WOTC that they recognized the issue.
— 𓆤Logan He/Him ✊🏿✊🏾✊🏽🏳️🌈𓆤 (@LogantheDM) September 2, 2022
In its statement, Wizards acknowledge that the Hadozee content was “offensive” and not “properly vetted” before the new campaign went to publication. The statement does not explicitly acknowledge that this content featured racial stereotypes but did acknowledge that Dungeons & Dragons has used character descriptions that “are painfully reminiscent of how real-world groups have been and continue to be denigrated.”
The company confirmed that the digital campaign has already been updated and that physical reprints will be changed too, although the existing physical book won’t be recalled. While Wizards commented that “[they] are committed to making D&D as welcome and inclusive as possible,” this is a massive blunder that feels difficult to overlook, especially considering that the company has previously been criticised for an allegedly racist and anti-Black working environment. This content would have been reviewed by a team of writers, editors, developers and consultants yet still made it to publication, suggesting an ongoing lack of commitment to anti-racism at the organisation.
I love this community but I can't help but notice how efficient we are at holding PoC accountable for their wrongs vs their white counterparts.
I love this community but I can't help but notice how efficient we are at holding indies accountable for their wrongs vs WoTC
— The Noir Enigma – Lord of the Uppies (@TheNoirEnigma) August 31, 2022
In other news…
Steam has removed Domina from its store after the game’s developer posted patch notes last week that consisted almost entirely of transphobic hate speech. This post comes after the dev’s Twitter account was banned for misogynistic and anti-mask tirades, which resulted in a slew of negative reviews on Domina‘s Steam page. Please note that the link above contains screenshots and descriptions of anti-trans and misogynistic hate speech.
AeternoBlade 2 studio Corecell has accused publisher PQube of withholding funds from a minimum guarantee payment. In a statement on Twitter, Corecell alleges that this conflict resulted in the termination of their publishing agreement with PQube, but that the publisher continues to profit from sales of AeternoBlade 2 in Europe. PQube has responded with allegations that Corecell never addressed “significant quality issues” raised by the publisher, but that PQube was willing to pay the full guarantee for the game.
Senior Kotaku writer and editor Michael Fahey passed away on September 2 after battling health issues for several years. Fahey’s coworkers have written a loving obituary for the longtime Kotaku contributor. Earlier this year, his family launched a fundraiser to help with living and medical costs. If you’d like to support Fahey’s family, you can do so here.
— Fahey (@UncleFahey) September 3, 2022
Following leaked information, Ubisoft has confirmed that its next Assassin’s Creed game will be subtitled Mirage. The game will be set in 9th Century Baghdad and star Basim, an assassin originally introduced in Valhalla. To be honest, as beautiful as I expect the game to look, I’m nervous to see how Ubisoft will handle the setting given the Orientalism in previous Assassin’s Creed titles (and also because apparently Basim is technically a reincarnation of Loki? Like, the Norse god Loki??). Anyway, more information will be released on September 10.
Assassin's Creed Mirage is the next Assassin's Creed game.
— Assassin's Creed (@assassinscreed) September 1, 2022
Chinese publisher NetEase has bought Quantic Dream, making the French studio NetEase’s first in Europe. Quantic Dream will continue to operate independently and, unfortunately, under the leadership of David Cage and Guillaume de Fondaumière, who have previously been accused of fostering a toxic and misogynistic workplace.
The Pokémon Company is suing a popular Chinese mobile game called Pocket Monster Issue for 500 million yuan (approximately £62m or $72m). It claims the game is a clone that features similar character and level designs to Pokémon.
The UK Competition and Markets Authority has finished its initial investigation of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. It concluded that the deal would result in the “realistic prospect of a substantial lessening of competition” in the market, and will now proceed with a second, more in-depth review.