Backlash Leads Developer to Go Silent, Speed-Running Controversies Revealed, & Charity Bundles Raise Money for Abortion Rights

GDQ speedrunner banned after admitting run was faked
A speedrunner from the recent Summer Games Done Quick 2022 event has admitted he faked part of his run. Mekarazium, a Russian speedrunner, has admitted that a recent run of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance’s Blade Wolf DLC was faked using pre-recorded footage. The confession came after several views noticed strange things about the run, including an absence of keyboard sounds. “I’ve done an actual bad thing, and I shouldn’t have done this on the event…I acted selfishly and I haven’t put more time thinking about others. I am sorry for doing the thing I’ve done. Truly.”

GDQ has now removed the run from their Youtube channel as well as banning Mekarazium from all future events. As well they released the following statement: This is absolutely unacceptable and attempts to undermine the integrity of the speedrunning community that we love and support. The exact result they desired was unclear from the document, but it is clear that they believed we would not be willing to speak out about their behavior. However, we believe it is in the community’s best interests to know why this run was removed by GDQ. We have removed Mekazarium’s runs from our YouTube archive and will not permit him to run in the future.”

 

Return to Monkey Island creator will no longer talk about the game following abuse
Recently we were shown a trailer for Return to Monkey Island, a follow-up to the first and second Monkey Island games headed up by Ron Gilbert. Unfortunately, the trailer spurred a great level of negative conversation leading him to announce he would no longer discuss the game online. Much of the negative comments came from people who disliked the games new art direction – a slightly cartoony departure from its predecessor’s style. Ron Gilbert had previously defended the game’s new look saying, “Return to Monkey Island may not be the art style you wanted or were expecting but it’s the art style I wanted”, but it was not enough.

“I’m shutting down comments,” Ron Gilbert said “People are just being mean and I’m having to delete personal attack comments. It’s an amazing game and everyone on the team is very proud of it. Play it or don’t play it but don’t ruin it for everyone else. I won’t be posting anymore about the game. The joy of sharing has been driven from me.” He finished off with saying “Whatever you want Monkey Island to be, I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that making this a chore rather than a joy for the devs is the quickest way to ensure it won’t be anything for anybody.”

 

 

itch.io has launched a bundle for abortion funds
Itch.io has created another in its long line of charity bundles supporting topical causes. So far, the bundle has raised almost $200,000 for abortion funds. The bundle contains over 750 games from over 600 creators available for a minimum donation of $10. Estimated value is over $3k.

The bundle hopes to provide support for those affected by the recent overturning of Roe V Wade in America. The page reads: “100 percent of the proceeds from this bundle will go to the National Network for Abortion Fund’s Collective Power Fund, which moves money directly to abortion funds across 20+ US states, with a particular focus on the South and Midwest (where it is often most difficult to get access to abortions),”’

 

And that’s all, this week, in gaming news!

Activision Blizzard Goes Free-2-Play, Minecraft Gets Family Friendly, and Nintendo Direct Mini Goes Big


Activision Blizzard’s Free-To-Play News
Earlier this month in an Overwatch press release, it was revealed that the new evolution would be going free-to-play to commit to “…an always-on and always-evolving era… for many years to come.” Since then it has been revealed that they will be going against the model announced at BlizzCon 2019, where Overwatch prime and Overwatch 2 could play together. Rather, that because the monetisation model will now be free-to-play, the release of Overwatch 2 on October 4 will replace Overwatch. The Overwatch development team have confirmed that “Content unlocked in Overwatch will automatically carry over…” and matchmaking ratings will not be reset.
In other news, the release of free-to-play Diablo Immortal in China, possibly its biggest market, has been delayed by NetEase at the last minute. It is speculated that this is not due to the newly found hidden mechanic of upgrading legendary gems pushing the average monetisation cost to max-upgrade a single character to over $500,000, but rather a Weibo post from Diablo Immortal’s official account which translates to “Why isn’t the bear stepping down…” This account has been banned from making further posts and hosting company NetEase could see further restrictions by the government which would affect other Blizzard titles distributed by NetEase in China such as Warcraft and Overwatch.

Minecraft gets the banhammer out
Microsoft has upgraded Minecraft server moderation powers with in-game chat reporting coming to Realms and private servers to Java Edition in the 1.19.1 update. Players will now be able to report in-game chat text for violations of Minecraft’s Community Standards from within private servers. These reports will be reviewed by moderators, who will have the power to ban accounts permanently from online play, and may expand to the marketplace and Minecraft Earth. Players may lose access to their own worlds, as per Bedrock-edition Xbox bans. Reviews of bans will be available with players able to submit a case review if the ban does not infringe on Minecraft’s Community Standards, invalidate the End User Licensing Agreement, or break the Terms and Conditions.

Nintendo Direct Mini goes Big
Nintendo had a Direct Mini Partner Showcase June 28 announcing several new games coming to the Switch in the next year. Some notable announcements were…
Return to Monkey Island is coming to Switch as a console exclusive. The highly praised and long awaited game from the original developer and writer Ron Gilbert, Return to Monkey Island was announced as “launching first for consoles on Nintendo Switch this year.” So, while no release date has been set, it sounds like Switch players will be first to walk the plank.
Persona 5 is finally coming to Switch. After being announced at the Microsoft and Bethesda Games Showcase this year as coming to PC, Xbox, and Game Pass October 21st with Persona 4 Golden and Persona 3 Portable coming in the future, Switch fans were feeling left out. But after rumours swirling around for years, it has finally happened. The Switch port for Persona 5 Royal has been confirmed to be releasing the same time as Xbox, leaving only those with a Steam Deck and Switch able to go portable with this JRPG.
Oh yeah, and Portal 1 & 2 are now out on Switch, so that’s also a thing that happened.

This week in game releases
On Thursday June 30 comes comedic adventure cross space combat game The Galactic Junkers to PC, Xbox One and PS4. The 30th is also day of the DLC’s, where Cuphead gets The Delicious Last Course for PC, Xbox One and Switch, Monster Hunter Rise gets Sunbreak for the Switch, and Outriders gets the Worldslayer “Upgrade” for PC, Xbox, and PlayStation.
And Friday July 1st the EA Sports Racing Sim F1 22 comes to PC, Xbox, and PlayStation. Also on the 1st, the 8-bit collection Parasite Pack containing 2D platformer Flea! and the grid-based challenge Tapeworm Disco Puzzle is coming to Xbox, PlayStation, and the Switch.

Ni No Kuni Bots, Destiny Cheats, Star Wars Bugs and more!

This week in gaming news…

Ni No Kuni Cross Worlds Has A Bot Problem
Cross Worlds – the latest instalment in the Ni No Kuni franchise – launched last month, the mobile spin-off MMO is the fruit of a licensing deal between Level 5, creators of Ni No Kuni 1 and 2, and Netmarble, a mobile game and blockchain developer. The game is notable for being one of the first mainstream game titles to feature cryptocurrency integration, in this case the game has a play-to-earn model where in-game currency can be exchanged for Netmarble’s cryptocurrency token Marblex. The feature had mixed reactions in online communities and a month after release the doubts seem to have been vindicated as players report long queues to log in due to massive numbers of bots farming for cryptocurrency. Netmarbles announced a bot purge this week and players on Reddit have expressed that queues have now largely disappeared, it remains to be seen if the solution is permanent or not.

Destiny Cheat Creator Agrees to Pay US$13.5M
TorrentFreak has reported that the creators of cheating software for long-running shooter Destiny 2 have agreed to pay US$13.5M in damages to settle a lawsuit brought by developer Bungie. The original suit named two companies and one individual as well as a number of unnamed individuals alleged to have contributed to creation of the cheating systems. The named individual, Robert Nelson, is the owner of both companies and has accepted liability for creating software that infringed on Bungie’s copyright. Destiny 2 players have long been familiar with cheaters using third-party software to gain an unfair advantage in competitive game modes and this is only the latest in Bungie’s saga of legal action against hackers.

KOTOR 2 Switch Bug Prevents Finishing the Game
Classic Star Wars RPG Knights of the Old Republic 2 came to Switch earlier this month in a port developed by Aspyr Media and soon after release players reported a bug where the game would crash after an essential story cutscene leaving them unable to complete the game. While it wouldn’t be the first game-breaking bug to make it to release in a console port, it is rather embarrassing for a game that was already ported to mobile phones 2 years ago.

Tony Hawk Says No THPS3&4 Remaster
Famous skater Tony Hawk has stated in a livestream that following the success of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 as remastered by developer Vicarious Visions there were plans for the game’s 3rd and 4th entries to receive the same treatment. Unfortunately these plans fell through when Vicarious Visions, still riding the success of their remasters of Crash Bandicoot, Tony Hawk, and Diablo II, were merged into Blizzard and renamed to Blizzard Albany. According to Hawk and Senior Designer Andy Gentile Activision started to seek other developers after the merger but couldn’t find anyone they trusted with the series. Activision’s hesitance is understandable as the last time they handed the franchise to a new developer was for Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 in 2015, a title that was almost universally panned by critics and led to the collapse of the studio that developed it and Activision losing the Tony Hawk licence.

Upcoming Releases
On June 23rd Deliver Us The Moon comes to PS5 & Xbox Series X and Sonic: Origins comes to PC, Playstation, Xbox & Switch. On June 24th AI: The Somnium Files – nirvanA Initiative releases on PC, PS4, Xbox & Switch, Capcom Fighting Collection releases on PC, PS4, Xbox One & Switch, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes comes to Switch, and Madison comes to PC, Playstation & Xbox Series X. On June 28th Fobia – St. Dinfna Hotel and MX vs ATV Legends both release for PC, Playstation & Xbox.

Sentient AI, People Hate Diablo, Grammy Awards for Games, and NOT E3.

Is LaMDA Sentient?

Language Model for Dialogue Applications, or LaMDA, is Google’s system for creating chatbots. Google engineer Blake Lemoine is convinced that it has achieved consciousness, and has broken his confidentiality agreement with Google to show the world transcripts he has with the AI to prove as much. In a statement, Google’s spokesperson Brian Gabriel has said “Our team – including ethicists and technologists – has reviewed Blake’s concerns per our AI Principles and have informed him that the evidence does not support his claims. He was told that there was no evidence that LaMDA was sentient (and lots of evidence against it)”. To read the full transcript of Lemoine’s conversations with LaMDA, click here.

 

Diablo Immortal holds lowest ever Metacritic score

Diablo Immortal is a free-to-play rendition of Blizzards long-running Diablo series, released this month on both PC and mobile devices. Fans have taken to Metacritic to express their rage at the game since its release, leaving it with a score of 0.2. The large majority of complaints against Immortal are being aimed the games microtransaction system, with many players slamming it has having the worst pay to win scheme in the history of mobile gaming. With Diablo 4 having a proper gameplay trailer released this announcement season, it will be interesting to see if the controversy from Immortal impacts the sales.

 

Video Games at the Grammy’s

The Grammy’s have added a category for music in Video Games. The “Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media” award doesn’t have the simplest name, but the goal is to recognise excellence in music made specifically for video games. Candidates going forward will include “score soundtrack albums comprised predominately of original scores and created specifically for, or as a companion to, a current video game or other interactive media released within the qualification period.” This is another step forwards in video games being viewed as a serious form of media. Just a pity they didn’t do it in time for the Wii menu music.

 

Not E3 overwhelms us with announcements

Starting June 2nd with Playstation’s State of Play, we’ve had 2 very full weeks of presentations, with 17 shows in total! That’s a heck of a lot of announcements to go over, with several hundred games shown off! Some notable announcements include Resident Evil updates, Bethesda’s Starfield gameplay, Last of us 1 remake for the PS5, and for Xbox fans in Australia, designlab is finally available! Obviously, it’s impossible to go over everything announced, but if you’d like to know more, click this link to see the full list of announcements!

Rainbows, GameStop, PS5s and Maybe A New Game?

Pride Month Is Here (For Non-Australians)

During pride month, to celebrate our queer communities and embrace it, there are a number of events, parades, and parties galore, and the gaming scene isn’t any different. The Queer Games Bundle makes another appearance in 2022 on itch.io where you can own 588 games for just $60, with all proceeds going directly to the creators of those games.

Tell Me Why is free on Xbox, Riot Games, Fall Guys, and Warframe are having events and added cosmetic items to show your pride and support, and many companies have made statements in support of the LGBTQIA+ communities. So don’t be surprised if your favourite games are looking a bit more vibrant this month.

GameStop Employees Have Stopped

Over the weekend the GameStop in the Gateway Mall in Lincoln, Nebraska was closed as overworked and understaffed employees walked out, putting out an explanation as to why:

“Attention GameStop patrons: we regret to inform you that we all quit, our district manager has no respect for us as employees or as human beings. We have been told by our distinct manager that we were supposed to have had this store achieving sales quotas and running perfectly 6 months ago. Which was 3 months before a lot of us even got hired. Unfortunately, despite the staffs’ best efforts, we are not god.”

The notice also pointed patrons towards other establishments for their gaming needs, stating:

“Spend your money at an establishment that respects it’s employees.”

New Kojima Horror Game

Allegedly early footage of a new Hideo Kojima horror game has been leaked, reportedly a title called Overdose. The footage supposedly shows Mama from Death Stranding wearing a blue dress, but the game doesn’t seem to be Death Stranding 2.

Hideo Kojima has expressed interest in making another horror game, stating that he has ideas that would “make you defecate in your pants”.

Kojima Productions had signed a deal with Microsoft for an Xbox-exclusive title, but there’s nothing solid to suggest it could be Overdose, assuming that Overdose is even a real game.

It Might Be Easier To Get A PS5 Soon

Sony has projected that it will sell up to 18 million sales this fiscal year, with that number based on Sony’s ‘current visibility into parts procurement’.

Last fiscal year Sony sold 11.5 million PS5 consoles, and the year before that was only 7.8 million consoles, so 18 million consoles is not a small number. It remains to be seen whether Sony can achieve that 60% jump in producing consoles and selling them.

And now for some upcoming games!

June 9

  • Green Hell VR (Steam VR)
  • Madshot (PC)
  • Postal: Brain Damaged (PC)
  • Pro Cycling Manager 2022 (PC)
  • Tour de France 2022 (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO)

June 10

  • Mario Strikers: Battle League (Switch)
  • The Quarry (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO)

June 14

  • Jurassic World Evolution 2: Dominion Biosyn Expansion (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO)

June 16

  • Autonauts (PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)
  • Overlord: Escape from Nazarick (PC, Switch)
  • Redout 2 (PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch)
  • Starship Troopers – Terran Command (PC)