Welcome to Wednesday, gamers. I’m not playing anything lately, but I did watch a two-hour analysis on Pathologic, so I hope that counts for something. Here’s the news:
Bobby Kotick Says Sony Is Ignoring Him 🙁
Remember on January 17 when Microsoft subpoenaed Sony to aid in their defense against the FTC? And when Activision Blizzard’s CCO Lulu Cheng Meservey tweeted out a baffling line of argument about how the success of HBO’s The Last of Us adaptation, which is based on a Sony game, proves that the Microsoft/Activision Blizzard merger wouldn’t be a monopoly, because Sony still exists?
Hi @FTC — did you catch last night’s episode of The Last of Us? It was incredible.
No wonder the show is breaking records. It’s a true blockbuster, watched by tens of millions.
If you haven’t already, you should check it out. You may be particularly interested in the fact that pic.twitter.com/MhcT0DmOsM
— Lulu Cheng Meservey (@lulumeservey) January 30, 2023
On February 7, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick stated in an interview with FOX Business that although beloved war crime simulator Call of Duty won’t become an Xbox console exclusive after the merger, “Sony’s not on the phone to us. In fact, they’re not returning our phone calls. And so I think one of the things that’s surprising to us is, this is the time where ordinarily we’d be talking about the future and new opportunities together for partnership.”
The fight over Call of Duty was one of the major concerns for the United Kingdom’s Competitive Markets Authority, which noted that a “small number of key games, including Call of Duty… play an important role in driving competition between consoles.” The CMA investigation, which began in September 2022 has “provisionally concluded” that the Microsoft bid would harm competition in the gaming industry and “could alter the future of gaming, potentially harming UK gamers, particularly those who cannot afford or do not want to buy an expensive gaming console or gaming PC.” The CMA released a list of (note: link will download a PDF) possible solutions that would convince them to give the go-ahead to the merger, which hilariously includes un-merging “the Activision segment and the Blizzard segment of Activision Blizzard, Inc.”
Sony has responded to Microsoft’s FTC subpoena by (note: link will download a PDF) filing a motion to limit its range, claiming that the subpoena is both wide-reaching and, in response to the request for performance reviews for Sony leadership, “obvious harassment.”
I applaud Sony for their apparent pettiness because I also wouldn’t pick up phone calls from the company trying to drag me into court to prove that their bad idea is in fact, a good idea.
Dragon Age: Dreadwolf Gameplay Leak
(Light spoilers for Dragon Age: Dreadwolf follow.)
On February 4, a Redditor shared alpha gameplay and information they purportedly received from a playtester before the playtester was “shuffled to another project.” Although they did not share the 20 minutes of gameplay, they did include some screenshots and a brief gif to prove legitimacy. I’ll summarize the important parts—namely, that at least some part of the game takes place in the Grey Warden fortress of Weisshaupt; the combat is (finally) good, drawing inspiration heavily from the 2018 God of War; there doesn’t appear to be direct party control anymore; and the hair looks “glorious.” The screenshots and gif have been removed from the original Reddit post, but have been preserved in tweets… from an account which has since been locked:
dragon age dreadwolf leaks //
gonna put the video underneath this tweet too pic.twitter.com/3NhpJy3hYv
— penti-mint (@mintsoir) February 5, 2023
The information seems to corroborate an earlier insider scoop revealed by Insider Gaming.
EA has not responded to either leak, but maybe we’ll get another teaser trailer out of this.
In other news…
The Witcher 3’s next-gen vagina upgrades were “unintended” according to a developer response to Kotaku, and the result of “community-sourced mods not created by CD PROJEKT RED.” A patch is expected to come shortly.
If you’re looking for some witchy games to feel the magic while not giving money to a certain someone, the itch.io “Trans Witches are Witches” might be up your alley: a collection of 69 games and zines, all themed around witchcraft.
Assassin’s Creed developer Jean Guesdon has announced his departure from Ubisoft Montreal. Guesdon had been creative director on an undisclosed game.
December Cuccaro (she/her) is an MFA graduate from the University of Nevada, Reno and a member of the 2021 Clarion West cohort. When not rambling about video games, she writes about sapphic werewolves and sad necromancers searching for friendship.