Tag: Activision

Blizzard Entertainment CLO resigns, Melbourne Earthquake & Game Deals.


Bliz
zard Entertainment CLO resigns
.
Claire Hart the Chief Legal Officer of
Activision Blizzard’s Entertainment announced her resignation this week posting on her LinkedIn saying After more than three years at Blizzard Entertainment, I have decided to move on to my next adventure. The past three years have been full of unexpected twists and turns, but I feel honored to have worked with and met so many great people at Blizzard and across the Activision Blizzard businesses. Claire Hart doesn’t make any comment about whether her resignation is anything to do with the very public and ongoing harassment lawsuit with Activision Blizzard.

An update on that lawsuit the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has reportedly launched a widereaching investigation into Activision Blizzard, they will be looking into how the publisher dealt with the multiple allegations of sexual harassment, abuse, and toxic behaviour. California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed this lawsuit back in July. They also subpoenaed several of Blizzard’s higher executives including the CEO Bobby Kotick. It would appear that the SEC (Security and Exchange Commission) have started asking Blizzard to hand over various documents. These include personal files of those higher ups. A spokes person from Activision confirmed that there is indeed an ongoing investigation and that the company is cooperating with the SEC.

Gaming deals!
If you
are looking for awesome deals on games now is the time with sales
rolling out before the Christmas period. Amazon have a bunch of good prices for PS4/PS5 such as;

  • Deathloop now $79 (down from $99.95)
  • Death Stranding: Director’s Cut $69 (down for $79.95)
  • F1 2021 now $56 (down from $99.95)
  • Far Cry 6 $72.90 (down from $99.95)
  • Ghost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut $99.95 (down from $124.95)

There is also a bunch of deals going for Xbox console games such as;

  • Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate now $44.98 (down for $89.95)
  • NBA 2K22 now $80.90 (down from $109.95)
  • Star Wars Squadrons now $14.98 (down from $59.95)
  • Watch Dogs Legion now $30 (down from $99.95)
  • Nintendo Switch lite is also down to $259 from $329.95
Melbourne’s Earthquake disrupting gameplay.
The 5.9
magnitude earthquake in Melbourne
caused quite some disturbance this week however did inject some funny moments into people’s lockdown. Former Carlton player Brendan Fevola was playing Call of Duty he tweeted out saying I’m sitting here playing Call of Duty on the PlayStation with me headphones on and my whole screen started shaking, my PlayStation nearly fell off. It would appear that many game players and streamers experienced moments of fear for their gaming gear during the earthquake. If you have a story to share about nearly losing a console or PC with a lucky save message us on Facebook @ZEDgamesau we’d love to hear about it.

This week in gaming releases;

September 23

  • Diablo 2 Resurrected [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO, Switch]
  • Embr [PC, PS4, XBO, Switch]
  • Flewfie’s Adventure [PC]
  • Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries [PS5, PS4]
  • Medieval Dynasty [PC]
  • Sable [PC, XSX, XBO]
  • Sea of Thieves Season 4 [PC, XSX, XBO]

September 24

  • Death Stranding Director’s Cut [PS5]
  • Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot [Switch]
  • Lost Judgment [PS5, XSX, PS4]

September 28

  • Chernobylite [PS4, XBO]
  • Ghostrunner [PS5, XSX]
  • In Sound Mind [PC, PS5, XSX]
  • Lemnis Gate [PC, PS5, XSX, PS4, XBO]
  • New World [PC]
  • Outer Wilds: Echoes of the Eye DLC [PC, PS4, XBO]

September 29

  • Guardians of Hyelore [PC]
  • Insurgency Sandstorm [PS4, XBO]

 

Activision Blizzard Served, Amazon’s New World Bumps Through Beta & An Aussie Takes Independent Games Festival’s Grand Prize

Activision Blizzard Served
On July 20th the State of California filed a lawsuit with the Superior Court against Activision Blizzard after an investigation beginning in 2018 into the company’s “frat boy” culture. The lawsuit alleges many sexist workplace issues, as well as several itemised accounts of serious allegations of sexism and harassment against women and people of colour.
In response Activision Blizzard released a statement calling the lawsuit “irresponsible behaviour from unaccountable State bureaucrats…” this was mirrored by Blizzard’s Chief Compliance Officer Fran Townsend’s internal email calling the lawsuit “distorted and untrue… factually incorrect, old and out of context…” However, since the release of the lawsuit Activision Blizzard employees have come out corroborating with the events described in the lawsuit.
The fallout of which has resulted in a petition signed by over 3200 current and former Activision Blizzard employees calling for recognition of the seriousness of the allegations, repercussions to those who dismissed them, and a safe space for people to speak out. Current employees are also staging a walkout to demand changes in the current leadership.
In response Activision CEO Bobby Kotick issued a public statement apologising for their behaviour and hiring an external law firm for confidential reporting and to review their workplace policies.

Amazon’s New World Bumps Through Beta
After delaying the release for over a year, this week Amazon opened its new game New World for the closed beta testing to those that either pre-ordered the game or were invited through a sign-up. Amazon celebrated with New World’s real-time combat MMORPG managing to accumulate over two hundred thousand concurrent players during weekend play and fairly positive feedback, but was hampered by some severe teething issues.
The most major of these was the reported bricking of EVGA RTX 3090 graphics cards. The bricking was theorised to be caused by frame rate spikes in menus and the resultant voltage spikes that fried the card. While Amazon stated that “We have seen no indication of widespread issues with 3090s…” they did release a patch to cap the frame rate of menus within 24 hours of the first reported issue. EVGA has also confirmed it will be replacing affected cards, with return forms reportedly already containing a specific “New World” category.
The beta of New World is scheduled to end August 2nd with the release date set for August 31st 2021.

Aussie Takes Independent Games Festival Grand Prize
The IGF took place on the 21st of July to celebrate the achievements and innovations of independent game developers. This year there were over 500 entries for the 8 major awards with over 60 games shortlisted for the awards and more than half of those nominated for one or more of the eight award categories. This year’s winners were:

  • Arrog, the hand-drawn enigmatic adventure puzzle game from Hermanos Magia and Leap Game Studios, won the Audience Award.
  • Vessels, the space narrative adventure from Local Space Survey Corps, LLC., won Best Student Game.
  • Teardown, the destructible voxel world game from Tuxedo Labs was awarded for its Excellence in Design.
  • Blaseball, an online absurdist-horror fantasy baseball league game from The Game Band, took the Nuovo Award.
  • Genesis Noir, an explorative adventure game, was developed by Feral Cat Den, with sound design by Skillbard, took out the awards for both Excellence in Audio and Excellence in Visual Art.
  • And finally, Umurangi Generation, created by Lismore developer Origame Digital, is a first-person photography game and took both the award for Excellence in Narrative and the Seumas McNally Grand Prize.

Now for some upcoming game releases.
Scare yourself silly with Draft of Darkness, a roguelike horror deck builder, or reflect with No Longer Home, an indie game about letting go and saying goodbye, both coming to PC on July 30th.
On August 3rd, grab some friends for Rocket Rumble, a space racing brawler, coming to PC. Or try your hand at the 25 second time looping FPS Lemnis Gate, also being released on the 3rd and coming to PC, PS4 & 5 and Xbox One and Xbox Series X.
Lastly Starmancer, the interstellar construction and management sim from Chucklefish, is coming to PC on August 5th.

Friday news

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Queensland Government has passed complimentary legislation allowing R18+ rated games to be legally sold in Queensland. The changes to the legislation were enacted at a federal level in January and were passed by all other states and territories at the same time.     The delay means that Queensland was officially the last western territory to create an adult rating for video games.   The first R18+ rated game expected to hit the shelves will be God of War: Ascension for the PS3.

 

A lawsuit filed against Activision by Guns N Roses frontman Axl Rose has been thrown out of court. Rose filed the claim in 2010, stating that he licensed the song “Welcome To The Jungle” to Activision for use in the game Guitar Hero 3 on the condition that the game did not feature former Guns N Roses guitarist Slash, or his new band Velvet Revolver.  When Guitar Hero 3 was released, not only was Slash in the game, he also appeared on the cover, and the soundtrack contained three Velvet Revolver songs.   The judge dismissed the lawsuit because it was filed too late, almost three years after the release of the game.

 

Rayman Legends has been delayed for a second time. Originally slated to be a launch title for Nintendo’s Wii U late last year, the game was previously delayed until April but has now been pushed back again and is set for  release in September this year.   First announced as a Wii U exclusive, it’s been revealed that the cause for the delay is so that the game can be simultaneously released for the Wii U,  the XBox 360 and the PS3.

 

Ron Gilbert, the creator of Monkey Island, will open the first ever Australian Penny Arcade Expo in July this year. Gilbert will deliver a keynote address on the first morning of the expo, which is commonly known as PAX and is being held in Melbourne.  This year will mark the first time that PAX has been held outside of the United States.

 

Journey, the acclaimed PS3 exclusive, missed out on a Grammy award. It was nominated in the category of Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media but lost out to the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.  Journey is the only game to have ever received a Grammy nomination.

 

Candi’s Quickies:

Brett Ratner, director of the Rush Hour films and X-Men 3, has signed on to produce a television series based on Farmville.

 

Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka, founders of  Bioware (responsible for Dragon Age and Mass Effect) are set to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Game Developers awards next month.

 

A Youtube app for the PS3 has been released in Europe and Australia.  The app will allow users to view their subscriptions and control the app using a smartphone or tablet.

Gearbox Refuses Offer To Develop New Call of Duty Game

An interview with a German site called KGN suggests that Borderlands developer GearBox Software have turned down an opportunity to develop a new Call of Duty game. Randy Pitchford revealed that the studio had been requested to develop the popular franchise’s next instalment, but he said no.

Pitchford commented that Gearbox will only develop a game “when we can contribute to an existing brand something new – a kind of unique perspective and a new approach,” (translation from German in Google Translate). He turned down Activision’s offer because he saw ‘no real challenge’ in taking the job, along with questioning the flexibility he might get from the publisher. Considering the franchise has achieved FPS dominance by repeating a similar formula every year, it’s reasonable to assume that Gearbox wouldn’t be allowed much creative influence over a new Call of Duty.

“You have to play by the rules of the series,” said Pitchford. “You have to do what is expected of a Call of Duty [game]. In this I see but no real challenge for us. It would not strengthen our reputation as a studio, it would not be really motivating for our team.”

It would have been a welcome change to see Gearbox develop a new Call of Duty, but Pitchford‘s refusal is neither surprising nor unreasonable.

Review – Blur (360/PS3/PC)

BLUR (PG)

Developer: Bizzarre Creations

Publisher: Activision

Out Now for XBOX360, PS3 & PC.

Reviewed by Razor.
If you’ve ever played a racing game and wished you could suddenly unleash a powerful energy bolt to destroy the car ahead of you, or even if you’ve driven through the C.B.D. during peak hour and wished you could unleash an energy bolt to destroy the car ahead of you, then you will definitely enjoy BLUR.

The main event is “powered-up” racing. You and your opponents race as usual, but at select points around the course you will find different powerups that give you access to various offensive and defensive abilities that you can unleash at will. Sound familiar? Yep, it’s pretty much just like Mario Kart, except instead of Mario and friends racing around tracks like mushroom circuit, it’s Renaults, Dodges, Fords and Volkswagens racing in real-life inspired locations like Hollywood and London.

Now, did I say that this was a bad thing? Hello no! Finally we have a racing game that fills the void between Project Gotham Racing and Mario Kart. I’ve never been a huge racing game fan (though I do like games like Burnout where the emphasis is on fun rather than realism) but some of my most beloved gaming memories have been of dominating my friends at Mario Kart. BLUR gives me the tools to dominate them further.

The real fun is in multiplayer mode. You can play online or LAN against up to 19 opponents, or you can play offline with up to four players on a split screen. However, I found the 20 player races to be more chaotic than I could handle, and I much prefered the smaller races of 10 players.

Powered up racing is the default, but there is also a racing only mode, for people who like to race without the destruction; and an arena deathmatch mode for people who like destruction without the racing. Personally I found the powered up racing to be the most enjoyable of the three modes.

Single player mode is great too. It plays out like a career where you are competing against other computer controlled characters. Each stage sees you completing a certain amount of challenges set by a champion driver who you have to eventually beat to progess. Winning the races is only one aspect of it; you also have to win fans by performing crazy stunts and pulling of mini-challenges within the race. Like most other racing games you have to perform well to unlock all of the courses and cars available.

The selection of cars is surprisingly varied. It’s rare to see such a damage-intensive game with a license to use real car models.
Car brands featured include Dodge, Lotus, Ford, Vokswagen and Toyota; and even more surprisingly: all car models feature realistic damage. So yes, you will see Renaults and Nissans hurtling airborne sideways down the course, leaving shattered glass and twisted metal in their wake. There are also a range of four wheel drive and off road vehicles that fit this style of game perfectly.

Powerups that you can use are slightly more balanced carbon-copies of their Mario Kart equivalent. There’s the bolt which is three unguided shots; Shunt is a homing blast that targets the car ahead (think red shell); Mines are like an exploding banana peel; Shock places energy vortexes on the track ahead of the leading player to slow them down; Barge blasts cars in your immediate vicinity away from you; Nitro is your standard temporary speed boost; shield offers you protection from other powerups and there is also a Repair powerup that you will need A LOT.

Something to be aware of is that the game is pretty hard. Like most driving games, there is definitely a steep learning curve and you may find yourself coming nineteenth or twentieth for the first hour or so. The fact that your opponents are all trying to blow you up doesn’t make it any easier.
So, once again I found myself swallowing my pride and switching the difficulty to Easy while I got used to the car handling.

As expected there are heaps of achievements and trophies to aim for, although BLUR rewards you for non-gaming achievements like posting your results to Twitter and Facebook.

Overall, BLUR is an intense and action packed racer that shines in multiplayer mode. A word of warning: you may want to reaffirm your friendships at regular intervals while playing this game, because you will be trading insults regularly.

We reviewed the XBOX360 version; Blur is also available for the PS3 and PC.