This week Paul and Rani talk big news and review Death’s Door and Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights
Tag: umurangi generation
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.
Freeplay 2021 Awards
Freeplay is Australia’s largest celebration of Australian independent games, and each year displays a diverse array of games, made by developers from all walks of life. This year, the Freeplay Award was granted to Umurangi Generation by Origame Digital, a first person photography game set in the future.
Some other finalists includes:
- Webbed by Sbug Games for Excellence in Design
- A Long Goodbye by Dana McKay for Excellence in Narrative
- Neon Cyborg Cat Club by Edwin Montgomer for Experimental Game Award
- Completely Stretchy and Uncomfortably Sticky by Daniel Ferguson for Excellence in Visual Art
- The Lighthouse At The Edge Of The Universe by Ella Lim for Non-Digital Game Award
- The Snowgardens by Anthony Cristiano for Student Game Award
- Mealmates by magicdweedoo for Excellence in Audio
- UNDER A STAR CALLED SUN by Cecile Richard for Micro-Game Award
- Before We Leave by Balancing Monkey Games for Across The Ditch Award
WitcherCon is Almost Here!
Fans of the books, games, and show will be able to come together for all things Witcher at WitcherCon, a digital convention taking place on July 9 on Netflix, YouTube, and Twitch.
Fans are being warned that there will be no new game announcement, however there is plenty to look forward to, such as a deep dive into the making of the games, the Netflix series, merchandise, and behind-the-scenes footage. In addition, there will be interactive panels with people involved in the creation of The Witcher, with never-before-seen reveals, and explorations into the lore and the world of The Witcher.
Real Life Dogmeat Passes Away
Fallout fans are probably well aware of Dogmeat, the canine companion who helps and backs up the player through thick and thin. A brave and capable German Shepard, its no secret that Dogmeat is held fondly in many hearts.
The real life inspiration for the Fallout companion, River, has sadly passed away. Fallout 4 senior designer, Joel Burgess, tweets:
“Dogmeat is a tether. He grounds you in the world, will always stand by you, lead you to your family, and anticipate your needs. He wants you to be safe and happy.
In other words, he loves you.
And if love is River’s legacy, I am contented.
Rest in peace, big girl.”
River had won an award for her role in Fallout 4, and true to Dogmeat’s companion role in the game, she had a major role as a companion to developers.
And now for some upcoming game releases!
- Ender Lilies: Quietus of the Knights (PS4, PS5)
- A Plague Tale: Innocence (PS5, XSX, Switch)
- Watch Dogs Legion: Bloodline DLC (PC, PS4, PS5, XSX, XBO)