DGB 05.2022 SOURCES
Massive news this morning as Bethesda has done something both standard and simultaneously still surprising. They’ve delayed not just one, but two major releases, Redfall and Starfield, into 2023.
That means that the Xbox Series X/S is left without arguably its two biggest exclusives for 2022, as it was relying on both of those to arrive this year, with Starfield confidently projecting a November 11, 2022 release date as soon as it was announced. Redfall was supposed to arrive in September of this year.
Electronic Arts announced that the Dead Space remake will arrive on January 27, 2023.
"Developing this remake has been a lot of fun for us at Motive, as we’re true fans of the franchise and want to treat it with the respect it deserves," senior producer Phillippe Ducharme said. "It’s been equally exciting to see players' reactions as we’re taking them on this development journey with us.
"We’re making great progress on our road to hitting alpha and we’re happy to announce that the game will be launching in January next year. We can’t wait for players, both old and new, to see how we've elevated the original experience in the remake to be just as impactful for this generation."
Netflix released the first teaser trailer for their upcoming Resident Evil television series, seemingly set in its own continuity different from the game series, previous film franchise, or most recent movie Resident Evil: Welcome To Racoon City. Resident Evil premieres exclusively on Netflix July 14th.
AMC has thrown its hat into the ring of video game adaptations, with a series based on the action-adventure game Alan Wake in the works.
Sam Lake, the Creative Director of Remedy Entertainment, the Alan Wake developer, revealed the news during the game’s 12th anniversary celebration on Thursday. In addition to sharing updates on new titles and an upcoming remaster, Lake shared that “AMC, the wonderful, wonderful home for absolutely brilliant TV shows has bought the rights for Alan Wake.”
He continued: “We have been collaborating on making a TV show happen. Nothing more to share at the moment, but we will certainly let you know when there is something to announce.”
Sony is reportedly working on a Horizon Zero Dawn series with Netflix, according to a report from Japanese tech and software analyst David Gibson. The news comes the same day Sony Pictures presented its 2022 business segment briefing, though the Horizon series is not mentioned in the presentation documents.
Following a delay from 2021, Daedalic's "cinematic stealth adventure" game The Lord of the Rings: Gollum will officially arrive on September 1st, the company announced today. The game will explore the untold story of Gollum during the first few chapters of The Fellowship of the Ring. We don't have any new footage of the game in action yet, but the latest cinematic trailer (released December 2021) gives us an idea of the sort of stealth gameplay expected.
Developer WB Games Montreal dropped a new Gotham Knights video showing gameplay for Nightwing and Red Hood, two of the four playable characters. It’s somewhat in-depth, highlighting both heroes’ combat skills, the game’s various modes of travel, and some unlockable gear. The studio also gave an update on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the action-RPG where Batman is dead, revealing that they have been canceled for quality reasons.
Gotham Knights has experienced some development issues aside from its previous generation issues. The game was pushed to this year from its original 2021 date. The studio has since confirmed the action-RPG will land on October 25, now only for PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S.
Lucasfilm Games, Electronic Arts, and Respawn Entertainment revealed a surprise teaser for the highly-anticipated sequel at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim 2022 today, as well as its name: Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.
In addition to this, EA released a companion press release.
“Even before completing Jedi: Fallen Order, our team had a vision of how to carry the adventure for Cal, BD, and the crew into the sequel,” said Stig Asmussen, game director, Respawn. “For Jedi: Survivor, we are working in lockstep with Lucasfilm Games to build on the legacy of Jedi: Fallen Order. We’re leveraging advanced technology to create more dynamic Jedi combat and cinematic storytelling to expand on Cal’s story as he matures and survives during the dark times. We can’t wait to share more about the game with the world later this year.”
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor picks up five years after the events of Jedi: Fallen Order. Cal must stay one step ahead of the Empire’s constant pursuit as he begins to feel the weight of being one of the last remaining Jedi in the galaxy. Accompanied by his trusty companion BD-1, Cal will meet and ally himself with an array of unique and interesting characters on his journey. Jedi: Survivor will expand on the series’ dynamic combat in new and innovative ways. In order to survive, Cal must learn new skills and grow his connection with the Force.
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor will be available in 2023 and is being developed for Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5 and PC.
The long-awaited PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S version of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt once again has a release window. The new edition, which is also coming to PC, is expected to arrive in the last three months of the year, according to CD Projekt Red. It will be a free upgrade for those who own the respective last-gen version on PC, PS4 or Xbox One.
The news comes a month after CD Projekt Red delayed the current-gen version of the game indefinitely. Its in-house team took over development of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt — Complete Edition from Saber Interactive (which handled the Nintendo Switch port of the base game) around that time. Now, presumably after assessing how much work needs to be done, CDPR is confident it can get the upgraded version out this year.
The recently announced 2022 Call of Duty entry, Modern Warfare II, now has a release date of October 28th, as revealed in a short teaser from Activision and Infinity Ward.
Exclusive from WINDOWSCENTRAL.COM
For a few years, rumors have persisted that Microsoft was exploring building some form of streaming stick to offer Xbox Cloud Gaming via a more affordable dongle, similarly to Chromecast and Google Stadia. The first hint was Project Hobart. More recently, a code name "Keystone" appeared in an Xbox OS list, lending fire to rumors that Microsoft was continuing to explore additional hardware for the Xbox lineup.
We can now confirm that that is indeed true, and it pertains to a modernized HDMI streaming device that runs Xbox Game Pass and its cloud gaming service. Microsoft is, however, exploring additional iterations of the product before taking it to market.
In a statement provided to Windows Central, a Microsoft spokesperson described its commitment to lowering boundaries to Xbox content via low cost-hardware, while acknowledging that the existing version of Keystone needs a little more time to bake before going live.
Electronic Arts is reportedly pursuing acquisition and merger opportunities with "a number of different potential suitors".
That's according to Puck (£), which yesterday revealed that EA has been "persistent in pursuing a sale" with a number of companies, including Amazon, Apple, Disney, and NBCUniversal, "emboldened in the wake of the Microsoft-Activision deal".
“In recent years, as media companies have taken greater interest in the rapidly growing gaming industry, [CEO Andrew Wilson] and Electronic Arts have held talks with a number of different potential suitors, including Disney, Apple and Amazon, sources with knowledge of those talks told me,” Puck reporter, Dylan Byers, wrote.
It's unclear if a deal is currently in negotiation, but the reporter hinted that a deal with NBCUniversal had progressed the furthest, before breaking down last month after parties were unable to agree on structure or price.
Square Enix is selling off its three major Western game studios along with the associated video game properties — which includes big names like Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, and Thief. The studios and properties are set to be acquired by Embracer Group for an estimated $300 million; following regulatory approvals, the acquisition is set to be finalized between July and September of this year.
In total, Embracer is acquiring Crystal Dynamics, Eidos-Montreal, and Square Enix Montreal, which amounts to “1,100 employees across three studios and eight global locations.” In terms of game properties, the company will be the steward of brands including Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Thief, and Legacy of Kain, “along with continued sales and operations of the studios’ more than 50 back-catalogue games,” according to Embracer. Among other games already in development, Crystal Dynamics recently announced that it’s working on a new Tomb Raider title.
Embracer is a quietly huge publishing group, which operates more than 100 studios including the likes of Borderlands developer Gearbox, Saber Interactive, and THQ Nordic. It also owns comics and entertainment brand Dark Horse. Embracer says that, when the deal with Square Enix closes, it will have a total of 124 internal studios and 14,000 employees.
One of the biggest takeovers in the history of the gaming industry is complete — Take-Two now owns Zynga. The companies announced the $12.7 billion acquisition in January. The two sides have cut through all the red tape and, after shareholders gave the thumbs up last week, the deal is done.
Zynga has joined the likes of Rockstar Games and 2K under Take-Two's umbrella. As s result of the deal, Take-Two now has a bigger stable of well-known mobile and casual gaming franchises, including Words with Friends and Farmville. Among the games Zynga is working on is Star Wars: Hunters, a free-to-play arena shooter for mobile and Nintendo Switch that's supposed to arrive this year.
Quality assurance workers at Activision Blizzard studio Raven Software have voted to unionize, becoming the first group to do so at a major gaming publisher in North America. The National Labor Relations board counted the ballots on Monday — 19 workers voted in favor of the union and three voted against. Two ballots were challenged, though they weren't sufficient enough to affect the result. There were 28 eligible voters and no void ballots.
The NRLB notes that the parties can file objections by May 31st. If it doesn't receive any by then the agency will certify the results and Raven will need to start bargaining with the union in good faith.
“Activision did everything it could, including breaking the law, to try to prevent the Raven QA workers from forming their union. It didn’t work, and we are thrilled to welcome them as CWA members,” CWA secretary-treasurer Sara Steffens said in a statement. “Quality assurance workers at Raven Software are bringing much-needed change to Activision and to the video game industry. At this critical time for the company and its employees, these workers will soon have an enforceable union contract and a voice on the job.”
The Game Workers Alliance provided the following statement to Engadget:
Five months ago, we formed the Game Workers Alliance-CWA on the principles of solidarity, sustainability, transparency, equity, and diversity. Activision Blizzard worked tirelessly to undermine our efforts to establish our union, but we persevered. Now that we’ve won our election, it is our duty to protect these foundational values on which our union stands. Our biggest hope is that our union serves as inspiration for the growing movement of workers organizing at video game studios to create better games and build workplaces that reflect our values and empower all of us. We look forward to working with management to positively shape our working conditions and the future of Activision Blizzard through a strong union contract.
Xbox head Phil Spencer reportedly said he would recognize a union at Raven Software once Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard is complete, according to a recording of a recent all-hands company meeting viewed by Kotaku.
“Once the deal closes, we would absolutely support [an] employees’ organization that’s in place,” said Spencer. “We think it is a right of employees and something that can be a part of a relationship between a company and people who work at the company.”
Microsoft has previously said it wouldn’t “stand in the way” of unionization efforts at the game studio. “Microsoft respects Activision Blizzard employees’ right to choose whether to be represented by a labor organization and we will honor those decisions,” said the company’s corporate vice president Lisa Tanzi in an interview with the Washington Post in March.
A group of 12 Activision Blizzard employees have formed an anti-discrimination committee aimed at combating sex and gender discrimination at the company. Even following the settlement of a September 2021 sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit brought forward by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the group says more action is needed from the video game publisher.
The committee gathered a list of demands which they submitted Tuesday morning to Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, Diversity Officer Kristen Hines and Chief Human Resources Officer Julie Hodges. Over four pages, employees detailed demands such as workers being able to meet with the equal employment opportunity coordinator on diversity and inclusion initiatives, who was appointed as part of the federal sexual harassment settlement. Their other demands include ending undocumented chats with human resources, restricting retaliation against employees who file disputes and the institution of independent investigations around discrimination claims.
One of the demand letter pages is dedicated to demanding private lactation rooms, claiming that previously, “breast milk was being stolen” as fridges were not secure. The lactation room issues were publicized on Twitter last December by former Blizzard senior test analyst Jessica Gonzalez, citing other women at Blizzard who had negative experiences.
“Nobody else on my team had given birth ever since my team existed,” said a former longtime Blizzard employee who told The Post that from 2016 to just before the pandemic started, when work-from-home became the norm, she used lactation rooms that were ill-equipped. She requested anonymity as she is involved in the lawsuit against the company brought forward by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
This employee’s building did not have a lactation room. She had to walk to other buildings on Blizzard’s campus to access their lactation rooms. Access to a lactation room is legally required in California.
Sometimes, in 2016, she would see another male employee making phone calls or taking a nap within the room. And on one occasion in 2019, she said her breastmilk had been taken out of the fridge and left out until it spoiled. She checked one lactation room fridge, and it was being used to store beer.
The employees are asking for lactation rooms that are private for people who are breastfeeding or pumping and that the rooms are only open to people who lactate, locked by a key or code, with a place to store breastmilk. Workers are to receive compensation for their time spent breastfeeding, according to the demands, instead of having to clock out.
Employees are also asking for 12 weeks of paid time off as parental leave and 100 percent compensation during that time, as opposed to the 10 weeks that are currently offered.
“We appreciate that these employees want to join with us to further build a better Activision Blizzard and continue the progress we have already made,” Activision Blizzard spokesperson Jessica Taylor said in a statement. “We have, for example, already upgraded our lactation facilities, waived arbitration, hired new DEI and EEO leaders, and collaborated with employees to make our policies and processes more Trans inclusive, just to name a few issues the letter raises.”