Welcome to Get Your Game On! I’m your host, December, and uh… would you like the good news first or the bad news? Just kidding, it’s all bad! Sorry, here it comes!

Microsoft Lays off 10,000 Workers, Including Bethesda and 343 Industries Employees

One year after its announced plan to acquire Activision Blizzard and just a few weeks after the recognition of the ZeniMax Workers United/CWA union, Microsoft announced the start of a planned 10,000 layoffs, beginning with at least 878 workers at Microsoft’s office in Washington. Notifications started on Wednesday, January 18th, and will be finalized by Q3 according to CEO Satya Nadella—sometime between July and September this year. Although exact numbers are not known at the moment, Bloomberg reports that job cuts have also affected Bethesda Studios and 343 Industries, which resulted in now debunked rumors spreading that 343 Industries would no longer be developing the Halo series.

Former Halo Infinite developer Patrick Wren, who left 343 Industries shortly before Infinite’s launch, took to Twitter to publicly criticize the layoffs as the result of “incompetent leadership”:

The ZeniMax Workers United/CWA union representatives have stated that they are in touch with Microsoft and that “the company recognizes its obligation to bargain over proposed layoffs of CWA members:”

Fandom Lays Off Workers Across GameSpot, Giant Bomb

During a surprise all-hands meeting, Fandom CEO Perkins Miller announced 40 to 50 editorial staff cuts across gaming news outlets GameSpot and Giant Bomb, both of which were bought by Fandom in October 2022.

Fandom has so far declined to offer a statement to any outlet regarding the layoffs.

War Thunder Fans Discuss Sensitive Military Documents on Their Forum… Again

Free-to-play combat-based MMO War Thunder has an interesting relationship with restricted and/or classified military documents. Although Anton Yudintsev, founder of War Thunder’s developing studio Gaijin Entertainment, has stated that the dev team does not look at these documents, citing legality issues, users of the War Thunder forums have repeatedly uploaded sensitive materials to the forums to discuss the accuracy of the in-game models. The first offense was a Challenger 2 tank document uploaded to the forums in July 2021, then a French Leclerc document in October 2021, then the details of a Chinese tungsten penetrator, a vehicle-penetrating projectile, in June 2022, and then, within the span of one week, three separate leaks have occurred. On January 16th, a flight manual for the F-16 fighter jet was posted; on January 18th, documents for the McDonnell Douglas F-15E Strike Eagle were posted; and then on January 21st, documents for the SU-57 stealth fighter. Is this just nerds being nerds and fighting to be right about in-game accuracy, or a damning sign that our military intelligence is not as secure as it should be?

(It’s both.)

And speaking of gamers uncovering questionable security practices…

Holy Fucking Bingle: TSA Investigating No-Fly List Leak by Trans Hacktivist/Pokémon Fan

A Swiss hacker known as “maia arson crimew” leaked an older version of the TSA’s No-Fly list after finding it in a regional airline’s unprotected server. She announced her discovery with a picture of a Sprigatito plushy in front of the list:

More details can be found on crimew’s blog.

In other news…

Factorio, which has never gone on sale in its 7 years on Steam, has politely announced a price increase from $30 to $35 due to inflation. A fan-favorite indie game, the news has been surprisingly well-received due to Wube Software’s transparency and advance notice regarding the increase.

BioWare lost another veteran employee on Monday, January 23rd as Dragon Age and Mass Effect writer Mac Walters announced his departure from the studio after 19 years. Walters was named as the production director for Dragon Age: Dreadwolf in January 2022. Walters is the latest in a long line of casualties: Casey Hudson and Mark Darrah left in 2020, and Darrah’s replacement Christian Dailey left in February 2021. May the Dread Wolf take you, indeed.