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Your September gaming news roundup

After multiple reconnaissance missions, back-alley bribes, and a string of other unmentionable activities, we’ve managed to acquire all gaming intelligence that took place within the month of September 2017. The list that follows contains all information our Lord Editor has deemed fit for public consumption.

If you feel there is something that needs to be addressed or lacking from this list, please let us know in the comments section below and we’ll be sure to deal with you… I mean, your issues.

SAG-AFTRA strike reaches conclusion

For the past year, voice-actors of the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) have organised a strike against eleven major video game publishers (such as Electronic Arts, Activision, Warner Bros. Games).

Now, after an unprecedented 340-day strike, SAG-AFTRA and the major publishers have finally reached a tentative agreement, with the voice actors involved now having the go-ahead to resume working with the companies in question.

The strike addressed issues such as low pay rates, the lack of residual payments after a game’s release, and the lack of transparency about the games and characters the actors are portraying.

One of the most notable recent effects of this was voice actor, Ashley Burch, who portrayed Chloe in Square Enix’s original Life is Strange series, who had to turn down the role in the prequel, Before the Storm, because of her involvement in the strike.

PewDiePie uses racial slur in online game, receives a harsh response

pewdiepie youtube

Earlier this month prominent Youtuber, PewDiePie a.k.a. Felix Kjellberg, received harsh criticism following the use of a racial slur in a livestream of the extremely popular online-multiplayer game, Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds. But this isn’t the first time the popular Youtuber, whose channel by far boasts the largest subscriber-base on the platform, has been accused of or caught displaying the same behaviour.

In response to the massive backlash, the livestream in question was deleted and Kjellberg published an apology video, saying there is “no excuses” for what he did and that “I owe it to myself and to my audience to do better than this, because I know I’m better than this”.

While some appreciated the apology, others weren’t having any of it, not the least of which being developing studio Camp Santo of Firewatch fame, who took action by filing a DMCA takedown of
videos where their work appeared in Kjellberg’s content.

In the words of Sean Vanaman, co-founder of Campo Santo: “He’s worse than a closeted racist: he’s a propagator of despicable garbage that does real damage to the culture around this industry.”

He also went on to say: “I’d urge other developers and will be reaching out to folks much larger than us to cut him off from the content that has made him a millionaire.”

Vanaman’s statements received its own share of praise and criticism, but most notably he became the victim of the gaming world’s latest digital weapon, the Steam Negative Review bomb…

New trend of negative Steam review bombs. Leads to Valve’s new review histogram

It all started, almost humorously, with a plethora of gamers bombarding Valve’s DOTA 2 with negative Steam reviews because “our lord and saviour”, Gabe Newell, has still failed to provide the gaming world with Half-Life 3.

Seeing as Valve is one of the world’s largest video game companies and DOTA 2 one of gaming’s most prominent titles, I don’t think this technique caused them much concern. But the cat was out of the bag. Users had realised that they had a new weapon they could use to wage their digital troll wars. And they did.

Among various other titles, as mentioned above, developers Campa Santo’s Firewatch was victim to this same technique after filing a DMCA strike against Youtuber PewDiePie. As a relatively new and much smaller studio, this had a considerably more negative impact.

To battle this new trend, Valve has implemented the new Steam Review Histogram.

“In the end, we decided not to change the ways that players can review games, and instead focused on how potential purchasers can explore the review data,” said Valve’s Alden Kroll on the matter.

Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds VS Epic Games controversy

battlegrounds,

Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (commonly abbreviated as “PUBG”) is an online-multiplayer game known for its popular game mode, “Battle Royale”, in which up to 60 players are pitted against each other in a battle to the death, with each player aiming to be the “last man standing”.

Last week Epic Games announced a new update for Fortnite, their very own version of the PUBG-inspired “Battle Royale” game mode. This didn’t tickle the fancy of the PUBG developers, Bluehole, especially considering their strong relationship with Epic Games.

Bluehole’s concerns aren’t only limited to the replication of the game mode in question, but the company has also criticised Epic Games for marketing their new update as “PUBG-inspired” without consulting them first.

“We’ve had an ongoing relationship with Epic Games throughout PUBG’s development as they are the creators of UE4, the engine we licensed for the game,” Chang Han Kim, vice-president of Bluehole, said in a press release.

As of yet, no legal actions have been taken but Han Kim did have this to say: “The PUBG community has and continues to provide evidence of the many similarities as we contemplate further action.”

SA Game Jam 2017

From 1-4 September, local Cape Town game studio, FreeLives, hosted and sponsored the second annual ‘SA GAME JAM’. The game jam challenged its participants to create a game within the given time limit, based on the theme of ‘Collections’.

The winner of each category received a generous cash prize (R2500 – R5000), with three of the titles exhibited at this year’s A MAZE Festival in Johannesburg.

Check out our roundup to read more about the winners and their wonderful creations.

South Park’s The Fractured But Whole difficulty level based on race

south park

Earlier this month the creators of South Park: The Fractured But Whole revealed some gameplay of their upcoming title (based on the popular TV show). Much of what we saw had us even more excited about the game’s release, but one controversial mechanic received a lot of attention.

In The Fractured But Whole the difficulty of the game is based on the skin colour of your character (as seen in the picture above). According to the developers, your choice does not alter the challenge of the combat, but you will receive less money and receive harsher treatment from other characters.

This decision was met with divided opinion, with some praising it for its socially and politically conscious satire, and others criticised it for forcing a player to play as a certain race solely because of
their chosen difficulty level.

Author Bio

Wiehahn Diederichs: Columnist
Capetonian freelance writer and photographer. Wiehahn is a lover of stories in all their forms, and has been an avid gamer since he took his first breath. If he is not working or gaming, he either pours his creative energy into his passion for music or plays foosball in some... More