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DGB S3E2 SOURCES


We realize many of you have been anticipating news around the project that we’ve been calling The Last of Us Online. There’s no easy way to say this: We’ve made the incredibly difficult decision to stop development on that game.


We know this news will be tough for many, especially our dedicated The Last of Us Factions community, who have been following our multiplayer ambitions ardently. We’re equally crushed at the studio as we were looking forward to putting it in your hands. We wanted to share with you some background of how we came to this decision.


In ramping up to full production, the massive scope of our ambition became clear. To release and support The Last of Us Online we’d have to put all our studio resources behind supporting post launch content for years to come, severely impacting development on future single-player games. So, we had two paths in front of us: become a solely live service games studio or continue to focus on single-player narrative games that have defined Naughty Dog’s heritage.


We are immensely proud of everyone at the studio that touched this project. The learnings and investments in technology from this game will carry into how we develop our projects and will be invaluable in the direction we are headed as a studio. We have more than one ambitious, brand new single player game that we're working on here at Naughty Dog, and we cannot wait to share more about what comes next when we’re ready.



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FROM THE VERGE.COM


E3 is dead for good.


While the video game industry had already largely given up on E3 — once the largest video game trade show in the industry and the biggest video game showcase event of the year — there was always the chance it would return after multiple years of cancellations. However, in a statement to The Washington Post, E3’s organizer confirmed that the show is permanently canceled.


“We know it’s difficult to say goodbye to such a beloved event, but it’s the right thing to do given the new opportunities our industry has to reach fans and partners,” Stanley Pierre-Louis, the CEO of the Entertainment Software Association, the nonprofit trade organization that ran E3, told the Post.



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It's startling to think The Day Before was once the most wishlisted game on Steam, given how fast and spectacular its fall from grace has been. Earlier this month, the game launched to scathing reviews from critics and players alike, panning it as a shallow, empty extraction shooter that was nothing like what its developer Fntastic originally promised. Just four days later, Fntastic announced it was shutting its doors, with the developer claiming that it "lack[ed] the funds to continue". A few hours after that, the game was pulled from sale on Steam, though the actual servers remained online.


For those players who could still access it, the fate of the game itself has remained uncertain. Until now. Earlier today, The Day Before's official Twitter account posted a statement confirming the game will be shut down next month. "We regret to inform you that the development company Fntastic has officially ceased operations, and as a result The Day Before will be retired and the servers will be turned off on 22 January 2024."



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Activision Blizzard has been the subject of scrutiny for several years now, due to its alleged “Boys’ Club” corporate culture. And now, The Wall Street Journal reports the embattled gaming company will pay roughly $54 million to settle a 2021 gender discrimination and harassment lawsuit—the same lawsuit that seemingly prompted Microsoft’s landmark $69 billion acquisition of the Call of Duty and Overwatch publisher that was finally greenlit in October after an 18-month legal battle.


In a statement to Kotaku, an Activision Blizzard spokesperson shared further context on the settlement:


We are gratified that we have reached an agreement with the California Civil Rights Department (CRD) today, as the CRD has now announced in a press statement. We appreciate the importance of the issues addressed in this agreement and we are dedicated to fully implementing all the new obligations we have assumed as part of it. We want our employees to know that, as the agreement specifies, we are committed to ensuring fair compensation and promotion policies and practices for all our employees, and we will continue our efforts regarding inclusion of qualified candidates from underrepresented communities in outreach, recruitment, and retention.


We are also gratified that the CRD has agreed to file an amended complaint that entirely withdraws its 2021 claims alleging widespread and systemic workplace harassment at Activision Blizzard. As the CRD acknowledged explicitly in the agreement, “CRD is filing along with a Proposed Consent Decree a Second Amended Complaint that withdraws, among other allegations and causes of action, the Fifth Cause of Action – “Employment Discrimination – Because of Sex – Harassment.” As the CRD also expressly acknowledged in the agreement, “no court or independent investigation has substantiated any allegations that there has been systemic or widespread sexual harassment at Activision Blizzard.” In addition, the CRD has acknowledged that no court or independent investigation substantiated any allegations that “Activision Blizzard’s Board of Directors, including its Chief Executive Officer, Robert Kotick, acted improperly with regard to the handling of any instances of workplace misconduct.”


According to a December 18 report from Inverse, Activision Blizzard will pay around $45 million into a fund to be split among women who worked for the developer between October 2015 and December 2020. An additional $10 million will be used to cover the CRD’s legal fees.



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It is now official: In a farewell message to employees, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has confirmed that he will be leaving the company.


Kotick's future with Activision Blizzard came into question almost as soon as Microsoft announced its intention to acquire the company back in January 2022. The decision appeared to be all but made after that deal was finally closed, as Kotick said Xbox boss Phil Spencer had asked him to stay on as CEO "through the end of 2023," which isn't generally the sort of timeline you announce if you're expecting to stick around. But today's message makes it a done deal.


"As my last day leading this company inches closer, I marvel at how far the talented people at our company have come toward realizing the great potential of games," Kotick wrote. "You have transformed a hobbyist form of entertainment into the world’s most engaging medium. It has been the privilege of my lifetime to work alongside you as we broadened the appeal of games.


"Perhaps the most important part of my job has been to help bring talented people together, provide the best resources possible, and foster an environment that encourages inspiration, creativity, and unwavering commitment to excellence. I cannot adequately express the pride I have in the people who continue to contribute to our success and all those who have helped throughout my 32 years leading this company."



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2022 did not end particularly well for our favorite hunk of burning PC gamer Henry Cavill. After leaving The Witcher to return to the big screen as DC's top-dog superhero, the Superman project fell apart, his old job was gone, and he was very suddenly looking for something to do. But there was one bright spot: After all of the above had unfolded, Games Workshop confirmed that Cavill was set to head up, and star in, a Warhammer 40,000 "cinematic universe."


In case you'd forgotten, Cavill is a big 40K fan. He spent time in Covid quarantine painting Warhammer miniatures; he talked about it during Netflix's WitcherCon in 2021; he once interrupted an interview to explain the difference between Warcraft and Warhammer; he even had a cameo of sorts in the Total War: Warhammer 2 DLC The Warden and the Paunch. It's fair to say that his fandom is deep and legitimate.


We haven't heard much about Henry's post-Witcher doings since the Warhammer project was announced, but progress is being made. Games Workshop announced today that the "full agreement" with Amazon Studios has been signed, and now it's time to move on to the next part: Specifically, "working out all the creative details with our partners and getting the first script written and into production."



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Announced during The Game Awards, Arkane’s next game includes vampires, but it isn’t a Redfall sequel. Instead, the studio is making a Blade game that it says will be an “immersive third-person” adventure.


Arkane Lyon and Bethesda’s new Blade game stars Eric Brooks as the famous half-man, half-vampire who uses his abilities to hunt down vampires and protect the world from their evil nonsense. Coincidentally, this year is Blade’s 50th anniversary, with his debut in The Tomb of Dracula #10 hitting in July 1973.


Bethesda describes Marvel’s Blade as a “mature, single-player, third-person” game that will be set in Paris, France. In the trailer, we see a Paris that appears to be under lockdown, with citizens being ordered to remain indoors after the sun goes down. Blade, meanwhile, is in a barber shop getting his beard trimmed by someone who seems nervous to be working on the famous vampire hunter.


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Hideo Kojima revealed that film and television production company A24, whose previous projects include Midsommar and Everything Everywhere All At Once, is collaborating with Kojima Productions on the Death Stranding film project.


The Death Stranding film was announced in 2022 with a promise to bring "new elements and characters" to the world of Death Stranding. Details haven't been revealed, but Kojima suggested that it won't be a direct game-to-film translation. 


"I made Death Stranding to be a game, and games are games. There's no real need to turn them into films," Kojima said shortly after the film was announced. "So in a way, the Death Stranding movie is taking a direction that nobody has tried before with a movie adaptation of a game."



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Call of Duty will apparently be back in Black Ops for the next two entries. A new report claims that the 2025 installment for the FPS franchise will be a Black Ops 2 sequel set in the year 2030. What's intriguing about the dates (on top of Mason being obsessed with the numbers) is that the 2012 game had, at the time, a futuristic 2025 storyline.


Insider Gaming talked to multiple sources about the Black Ops 2 sequel, which is reportedly codenamed Saturn. The original intent was for this 2025 game to only feature remade multiplayer maps from Black Ops 2, but supposedly now the idea is to mix these old locations with totally new arenas. The change might be because of bad feedback to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 only offering remakes of maps from 2009's Modern Warfare 2 at launch.


Call of Duty 2025 is still roughly two years away from release, so specifics could obviously be altered. But for the time being, Insider Gaming says the Black Ops 2 sequel is expected to have a rebuilt movement system, Pick-10 customization for multiplayer, and round-based Zombies.


Meanwhile, Call of Duty 2024 is reportedly a Black Ops title focusing on the Gulf War and set in the 1990s. This game--which hasn't officially been unveiled--will apparently feature old maps, too. A leak suggested the game would see the return of WMD from Black Ops and Grind from Black Ops 2. However, it may be the case where the latter is now attached to 2025's Call of Duty instead.



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Kratos is going to Valhalla in a free DLC for God of War Ragnarök that will see the angry dad fight through waves of enemies in a roguelite structure. The update will come to PlayStation 5 and 4 on December 12.


The mini-expansion will take Kratos on a “deeply personal and reflective journey” in the hall of dead heroes. There, players will embark on a new adventure that revolves around mastering combat challenges with what developers Sony Santa Monica describe as “brand new elements inspired by the roguelite genre.”



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Here’s your Game Award 2023 winners and losers:


Game of the Year

WINNER - Baldur’s Gate 3


Best Game Direction

WINNER - Alan Wake 2


Best Adaptation

WINNER - The Last of Us


Best Narrative

WINNER - Alan Wake 2


Best Art Direction

WINNER - Alan Wake 2 


Best Score and Music

WINNER- Final Fantasy XVI, Composer Masayoshi Soken


Best Audio Design

WINNER - Hi-Fi Rush


Best Performance

WINNER - Neil Newbon, Baldur’s Gate 3


Innovation in Accessibility

WINNER - Forza Motorsport


Games for Impact

WINNER - Tchia


Best Ongoing Game

WINNER - Cyberpunk 2077


Best Community Support

WINNER - Baldur’s Gate 3


Best Independent Game

WINNER - Sea of Stars


Best Debut Indie Game

WINNER - Cocoon 


Best VR/AR Game

WINNER - Resident Evil Village VR Mode


Best Action Game

WINNER - Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon


Best Action/Adventure Game

WINNER - The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom


Best RPG

WINNER - Baldur’s Gate 3


Best Fighting Game

WINNER - Street Fighter 6


Best Family Game

WINNER - Super Mario Bros. Wonder


Best Sim/Strategy Game

WINNER - Pikmin 4


Best Sports/Racing

WINNER - Forza Motorsport


Best Multiplayer

WINNER - Baldur’s Gate 3


Most Anticipated Game

WINNER - Final Fantasy VII Rebirth



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