It’s Friday! Or is it? Time is a social construct, so I could tell you it’s Wednesday today, and how could you prove me wrong? It’s Friday because it’s the fifth day this week, but when did this week start? Can’t prove that either, I’m afraid. Well, the calendar in the bottom right corner of the monitor says it’s Friday. Who told the computer that it’s Friday? Anyone could change that display in the settings. What I can say, for certain, is that events occurred and news transpired in this indefinable time period, and it’s been turned into bite-size chunks, here in the round-up…
If you aren’t familiar with The Slammer, let me offer a brief intro. Broadcasted from 2006 to 2014, on CBBC, the children’s talent show was set in a fictional prison for entertainers who have “committed crimes against showbusiness.” However, the incarcerated had a chance to end their sentence ahead of time by performing in the “Freedom Show.” An audience of children would judge their performance, and using a clap-o-meter, the act who was rated the highest by the children would earn their freedom.
In recent weeks, there have been “crimes against showbusiness” that have not gone unnoticed by the world’s public. Like the children in The Slammer, we witnessed their act performed in a “prison,” and our clap-o-meter’s silence was deafening. I, for one, am not sure what I am supposed to feel when immaculately groomed people sing into their phones standing in their wonderfully large homes and/or apartments. The most heinous element of this crime is that they chose Imagine, by John Lennon. Said to be an uplifting song, it sounds like a funeral dirge.
So, suggested songs to sing if you want to cheer the global population up, and are actually not ironically depressing:
- Bitch Better Have My Money, Rihanna
- Homemade Dynamite, Lorde, Khalid, Post Malone, and Sza
- All Star, Smash Mouth
- Mr Brightside, The Killers
- I Love Rock ‘n Roll, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts
- V.3005, Childish Gambino
- Simple Things, Paolo Nutini
- Pompeii, Bastille
- Party for One, Carly Rae Jepsen
Here’s the news.
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 screenshot revealed, developer announces “more to come in 2020”
“The second chapter of the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. saga will be our most ambitious game so far. It will live to the legendary legacy. A lot of you are joining social isolation now. That’s why today, on a very special occasion, we are ready to slightly uncover the mystery of what we are working on,” said developer GSC Game World. The screenshot is very S.T.A.L.K.E.R.-y, with destroyed vehicles stranded in a misty forest and a strange distortion floating in the air. GSC Game World has also assured us that there is “more to come” regarding the project’s development, and it is on track to meet its release window of 2021.
COVID-19 pandemic exemplifies a “huge disparity of job security” in the industry, says Game Workers Unite
Companies like Bethesda, Bungie, Mojang, and Rockstar Games have transitioned to remote working as a result of the pandemic, and Capcom and Square Enix have announced that shipments of their games may be delayed. Moreover, Nintendo has seen stock shortages of hardware and software, and Sony and Microsoft have curbed their network services speeds to “manage download traffic.” Games Workers Unite states that not all companies are coping effectively with the crisis, and that their employees are bearing the brunt of the impacts.
“There’s a huge disparity of job security between different roles, between different parts of the world,” explained the organisation. “The people that are making the games’ production and release happen are going through hell right now—QA testers, events organisers, hard copy packaging and retail staff, workers maintaining servers or shipping of the games, let alone the incredible carers of our office spaces—cleaners, caterers etc. We are hearing stories of layoffs and forced unpaid leave in these sectors and want to encourage everyone to use their voices to call out the companies and regions that are doing this.”
Konami squashes Silent Hill speculations, stating recent rumours are “not true”
Apparently, there were two new Silent Hill games in the works. Konami was said to be developing a soft-reboot of the original game, along with a second game that offered an episodic experience, not unlike a Telltale title. This got a lot of people very excited, but sadly, these rumours have been shut down by the developer. “We’re aware of all the rumors and reports but can confirm that they are not true. I know it’s not the answer your fans may want to hear,” said a Konami US PR representative. “It’s not to say we are completely closing the door on the franchise, just not in the way it is being reported.”
Animal Crossing: New Horizons debut breaks records in Japan, selling over 1.8 million copies
The game has eclipsed the record set by Pokémon Sword & Shield, and is the most successful Switch game in the country since the Switch launched in 2017. Digital sales are not counted in that statistic, and downloads are expected to have been huge, owing to the lockdowns and quarantines in place in Japan. And, the game boosted sales of the Switch, with almost 400,000 systems sold in New Horizons’ launch week.
Breath of the Wild 2 will bring dungeons back to Hyrule, alleges rumour
Rumours are swirling that the sequel will be a much more “linear” experience, and Hyrule is suffering from a “miasmic version of Ganon.” Link will need to cure and heal zones around the world, so the gameplay will be a lot more focused and structured than Breath of the Wild. It may even feature dungeons, an element that was missing from the last outing to Hyrule, which is music to the ears of those who want a return to a classic Zelda game.
BioWare’s next game continues one of its “most prestigious franchises”
Ok. It is possible that the developer is looking for a technical director for Dragon Age 4, which is a game that we already know about and it fits the criteria. However, plenty of people are holding out hope that it’s a return to Mass Effect. Andromeda was a bit of a low note for the franchise, but general manager Casey Hudson said that the IP is “definitely not done.” Combine that with the rumours that Mike Gamble is spearheading a new Mass Effect title at BioWare Edmonton. Combine that with the statement from EA saying that it would be interested in making “exciting remasters of fan favourites.” I hope it’s Mass Effect.
Remedy partners with Epic Games to publish its next two titles
“Remedy is working on two multi-platform games for next-generation consoles and PC that will be published by Epic Games,” announced the developer. “The first project is Remedy’s most ambitious one yet, an AAA multi-platform game already in pre-production. The second is a new, smaller-scale project set in the same franchise. Both games are being developed on Remedy’s proprietary, state-of-the-art Northlight game engine and tools.” These two games are in their infancy, and the company said that it wants to reveal them when they are ready, which might be a little while. However, it’s an exciting partnership, and Remedy joins genDesign and Playdead with its new deal with the Fortnite developer.
Assassin’s Creed actor begins own studio, Silver Rain Games
Abubakar Salim played the protagonist Bayek in Assassin’s Creed Origins, and he’s now founded a new studio with former BAFTA games programme manager Melissa Phillips to tell “stories that will empower players.” Salim mentions Kingdom Hearts, World of Warcraft, and of course, Assassin’s Creed as catalysts for his enthusiasm for games. “These games communicated to me and inspired me, and I’m just wanting to give back,” he said. “I’ve played so many games, I’ve been in games, I got into storytelling through games. So it just felt natural to start a games studio and create awesome content.”
Silver Rain Games hopes to encourage “all sorts of voices” in game development, and Phillips said that this is something that the studio will hold as a core philosophy. “There’s a lot of talk in the industry about having a diverse team, and that doesn’t necessarily mean diversity as people perhaps consider it. Having a wealth of different backgrounds can really make a difference when it comes to building worlds,” she explained.
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