Major decisions been made, including the decision that has now appointed me, Elvie, to host another Get Your Game On this week! It may be a change, but games news itself never really changes its own momentum—for better and for worse—so here’s what has been going on this past week.
The U.S. Department of Justice Resumes Investigation of Blizzard’s Esports Leagues
While Jeff Kaplan, having left the company back in 2021, was probably busy relaxing and celebrating his 50th birthday this past week, Activision Blizzard has been undergoing an antitrust probe. Inquiries into the Overwatch and Call of Duty esports leagues began back in 2021 and were initially believed to have been settled, but the U.S. Department of Justice has renewed the investigation due to the company’s failure to respond to some requests. This includes an increase in the company-wide salary cap.
Meanwhile, the first round of bargaining conversations and unionization motions have started for both the Game Workers Alliance and Blizzard Albany shop respectively.
Yoshi-P Had to Hit a Word Count Talking About the (Lack of) Diversity in Final Fantasy XVI
In a very enlightening and thorough interview with IGN, director Hiroshi Takai, localization director Michael-Christopher Koji Fox, creative director Kazutoyo Maehiro, and producer Naoki Yoshida sat down to discuss expectations and background with the upcoming Final Fantasy XVI.
A particular talking point from the interview has been magnified, in which Yoshida (often affectionately referred to as Yoshi-P) crafted a long-winded response when pressed about the upcoming title’s diversity. Overall, Yoshida seems to have conveyed, in many, many words, that the team did not prioritize diverse character designs during the development of Final Fantasy XVI. The response was undoubtedly disappointing to many, especially since Yoshida is credited with not just the upcoming Final Fantasy XVI but also the overall ongoing success behind Final Fantasy XIV—a game filled with monsters, elves, and bunny people.
Square Enix Continues to Disappoint in Other Ways
Fans who may have heard of a new Square Enix trademark find themselves aghast, not due to a new take on an old horror series, Parasite Eve, but yet another reveal of the company’s foray into NFTs. It is still unclear what project Symbiogenesis exactly is, but Square Enix is certainly not backing down when it comes to fully committing to adding NFTs to their pipeline.
Meanwhile, Embracer Group shuts down Onoma. Embracer has cited that this is a cost-cutting measure as they work on a new IP. Onoma was a recent rebranding of Square Enix Montreal—which happened only a month ago.
Star Ocean fans also aren’t getting great news overseas, as the latest entry in the series since a long while, Star Ocean 6, isn’t yielding strong sales numbers in Japan.
In other news…
There is more and more evidence that the new and improved edition of Dwarf Fortress is very real, and is definitely coming out—on December 6th, even! I had the fortune of chatting with Tarn Adams when news of the modern remake had just broken.
A Candy Crush drone-powered light show flooded the New York City skyline to commemorate the game’s 10th anniversary—and no one wanted it.
IKEA issued a cease and desist against Jacob Shaw, an indie game developer who has created a game with a setting that shares a strong likeness to the major furniture retailer.
In a bizarrely similar suit to the IKEA situation, an Amsterdam hotel is trying to take legal action against their alleged presence as a game map in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
Hideo Kojima stands his ground and has made a statement firmly saying he has no intentions of ever selling his studio, despite alleged astronomical bids.
Litigation over Disco Elysium-creator ZA/UM continues to be messy, with a new report suggesting that the termination of some of the core employees was actually due to workplace misconduct. Robert Kurvitz, one of the lead creators behind Disco Elysium and one of the departed employees accused of misconduct, filed a lawsuit against the studio in response to his termination and the termination of several other people from the studio. The hearing is currently scheduled for later this month. The ousted employees have not yet offered a direct rebuttal to this latest report by ZA/UM, but Kurvitz and former head artist Aleksander Rostov have posted their own press release that discusses financial duress they claim they were put under.
Lastly, the new mainline Pokémon game is coming out next week (November 18th!), and the new trailer is forcing all of us to listen to Ed Sheeran against our will.
Elvie somehow finds bliss in purposefully complicating the art of storytelling and undertaking the painful practice of animation. If you see her on Twitter at @lvmaeparian, she is doing neither of those things. She currently helps with managing the socials to ensure that the secret recipe will never be revealed.