It’s another week of games and another week of games news, and it seems like there’s been a recurring pattern in the industry lately that I can’t quite put my finger on…
The Irony of Disco Elysium Is Not Lost on Anyone
In the ongoing aftershocks of Disco Elysium’s ownership troubles, some reports suggested that the legal disputes between former producer of the game, Kaur Kender, and current leadership at developer Studio ZA/UM have resolved. Members of the former creative team have refuted these claims, declaring that their legal battle with the studio is far from over.
Within the same week, Disco Elysium‘s social media channels advertised a new photo mode element: Collage Mode now allows players to manipulate characters and create scenes to their own hearts’ desires. Commenters were quick to criticize the update given that it coincides with the latest events in the studio’s court battles and that it feels like pinkwashing, as some marketing copy is centered around elevating popular fanon ships of the game.
Create the Disco scenes of your dreams.
Introducing Collage Mode: the new functionality that gives you the creative freedom to stage just about anything in-game.
Available now for PC and Mac players, with console rolling out soon: https://t.co/PTkM4PBmLy pic.twitter.com/3dCZGmGzyQ
— Disco Elysium – The Final Cut (@discoelysium) March 16, 2023
Founding ZA/UM members Robert Kurvitz, Helen Hindpere, and Aleksandr Rostov were all allegedly forcibly ousted from the studio last year, a claim corroborated by Martin Luiga, another former founding member who contributed to the creative direction of Disco Elysium. The game itself is approaching the one-year anniversary of the release of its Final Cut edition.
Shakeups and Layoffs Continue
Emmett Shear resigned from his position as Twitch CEO. Shear had held the position for about 16 years; Dan Clancy will replace him.
In the midst of this leadership transition, Twitch has cut over 400 jobs, citing stalls in revenue. Layoffs at Twitch are but a fraction of a devastating number of layoffs that have occurred under the Amazon umbrella: Amazon has cut over 9000 roles, many of which were associated with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and advertising.
Meanwhile, some ex-Blizzard leaders hope to start from scratch, starting a new studio called Magic Soup Games.
Apex Legends developer Respawn is eyeing expansion, opening a new studio in Madison, Wisconsin to support their flagship title.
Hitman developer IO Interactive has also opened a new studio in Turkey.
Stop Trying to Make NFTs Happen
Meta continues to fumble, planning to cut about 10,000 active roles this year and delisting 5,000 unfilled positions. This is the second of three waves of layoffs that Mark Zuckerberg alluded to several months ago. Many of these jobs were associated with Meta’s attempts to grow its NFT integration on its social platforms, and the company has officially announced that it will be sunsetting these plans.
While it’s telling that NFTs are becoming so unpopular that a major tech company is letting them go, Square Enix is still insisting on pushing out Symbiogenesis, an upcoming NFT game, with the release of a new teaser. Fans of the game Parasite Eve initially speculated Symbiogenesis might be a code name for a return to the horror game, but it was not to be.
In other news…
Actor Lance Reddick has passed away. Although primarily known for many of his on-screen roles, such as Cedric Daniels in The Wire and Charon in the John Wick franchise, Reddick contributed his talents to other mediums, such as providing his voice to the Destiny games series as the character Commander Zavala. He also recently portrayed Albert Wesker in a 2022 Netflix adaptation of Resident Evil.
The TTRPGs for Trans Rights in Florida bundle on itchio is still live! Funds raised through the bundle will go towards organizations responding to the alarming anti-trans legislation in progress in Florida.
Tabletop publisher Chaosium is set to release a new edition of Basic Roleplaying using the Open RPG Creative License (ORC).
🌟 Explore🌟 Create🌟 Play🌟
Basic Roleplaying: The Universal Game Engine is coming in April!
This updated edition of BRP includes everything you need to create your own games using the lauded Chaosium D100 system under the ORC license.
Read more below! #TTRPG #BRP pic.twitter.com/oBv7BZUquR
— Chaosium (@Chaosium_Inc) March 20, 2023
Epic Games has been hit with an over $200 billion fine by the FTC for what the Commission reports as allowing children players of Fortnite to “rack up unauthorized charges without any parental involvement.”
Electronic Arts is shutting down online services for several Battlefield games, which will soon will no longer be purchasable on online storefronts. An earlier version of this announcement mistakenly mentioned Mirror’s Edge was going to be pulled from storefronts as well.
EA has made a correction and does not plan to delist Mirror's Edge after all https://t.co/UfmjLxflAd pic.twitter.com/X8y8xw6KCI
— Wario64 (@Wario64) March 21, 2023
Netflix Games is hoping to continue to expand, adding Monument Valley and its sequel to its library and striking more deals with an exclusive title in the works from Ubisoft.
And while taxes are on all of our minds this season, the UK government is increasing tax relief support for video games.
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.