Archived News:

Monday, Jul 26, 2021

Splitgate Delayed

1047 Games announces it is delaying the official launch of Splitgate from June 27th into August. More than two million players have checked out the free-to-play multiplayer portal shooter in the couple of weeks since it entered open beta, and word is the beta will stay online as it is tuned to handle capacity. In a case of more money, more problems, this is being funded by an additional investment of over $10 million. Here's word:
Free online portal shooter Splitgate will remain in open beta into next month as 1047 Games has delayed the game’s official launch in the wake of 2 million players downloading the game and flooding the Splitgate servers in the past 14 days. The game’s open beta will remain online as the team works to scale server capacity to handle the exponential growth of the player base.

Splitgate was set to officially launch on July 27th across PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, providing a completely overhauled gameplay experience to its veteran PC players and introducing the unique twist of ‘portals’ to classic arena gameplay available to console players for the first time. 1047 will update the pre-release beta version on Tuesday with some of the planned launch content while 1047 continues increasing server capacity.

Activision Blizzard Staff Sign Lawsuit Letter

Jason Schreier reports that nearly 1,000 current and former Activision Blizzard staff have signed onto a letter to management decrying the company's response to the lawsuit over a culture of abuse "abhorrent and insulting." Here is the body of the letter from the story on Bloomberg:
We call for official statements that recognize the seriousness of these allegations and demonstrate compassion for victims of harassment and assault. We call on Frances Townsend to stand by her word to step down as Executive Sponsor of the ABK Employee Women’s Network as a result of the damaging nature of her statement. We call on the executive leadership team to work with us on new and meaningful efforts that ensure employees -- as well as our community -- have a safe place to speak out and come forward.

We stand with all our friends, teammates, and colleagues, as well as the members of our dedicated community, who have experienced mistreatment or harassment of any kind. We will not be silenced, we will not stand aside, and we will not give up until the company we love is a workplace we can all feel proud to be a part of again. We will be the change.
Continue here to read the full story.

Assemble CEO: Who I Don't Want as a Customer

In a post on Reddit, Assemble Entertainment founder and CEO Stefan Marcinek draws a line in the sand, saying the company is only concerned with serving customers who are like-minded on the topic of open-mindedness. Marcinek acknowledges this approach can hurt a company's bottom line, and does not care. In fact, the post suggests those who aren't in agreement can still return previously purchased Assemble games:
If you are one of those people who can't accept others because they don't fit your worldview, because they are gay, lesbian, bi, trans or queer, who considers people with different skin color, religion, or ancestry than your own to be foreign or abnormal, who can't stand them or even insults them, in what way ever, or who is incapable of respecting women and is violent; who votes for "parties" that are disgusting and inhuman, supports them, sympathizes with them or is active as a politician for them (yes, I’m referring especially to the AfD in Germany), then I want to make this perfectly clear:

I don’t want you as a customer!
I don’t want to see you at our events or conferences. Neither as a visitor nor as a speaker!
I don’t want to have anything at all to do with you!
Continue here to read the full story.

Evening Interviews

Op Ed

Assassin's Creed Valhalla Siege of Paris Next Month

A post on the Ubisoft Website has details in a new Title Update 1.3.0 for Assassin's Creed Valhalla that will go live tomorrow. In addition to updates, balance changes, and bug fixes, this patch also paves the way for the upcoming Siege of Paris expansion. Word is the add-on will arrive on August 12th, so you still have time to pick out a beret for the occasion. Here's a Sigrblot Season Free Update for the patch, and here's more on the expansion:
Today, Ubisoft announced that Assassin’s Creed® Valhalla’s next major expansion, The Siege of Paris, will be available on August 12. In addition, Season 3, Sigrblot Season, features exclusive rewards and activities accessible to all players. The Sigrblot Festival is live this Thursday, July 29 for all players until August 19.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla’s second expansion, The Siege of Paris, will release on August 12. Set in Francia, this new adventure will set Eivor on a dangerous path full of gripping questlines across the Frankish countryside, towards one of the most infamous conquest battles in Viking history. Players will get their hands on new weapons, abilities, gear, and skills to take on new enemy types. The Siege of Paris will also mark the return of Infiltration Missions, directly inherited from long-time, fan-favorite Black Box Missions. Here, players will have the liberty to choose the best way to eliminate their designated target. The Siege of Paris will be available for all Season Pass** owners or as a separate purchase for $24.99 by all owners of the main game.
Continue here to read the full story.

Death Stranding Sells 5M

An interview with Jay Boor on GamesIndustry.biz talks with the head of publishing at Kojima Productions about Death Stranding. Jay discusses plans for the upcoming Director's Cut of the walking simulator. He also reveals Death Stranding has now sold over five million copies across PC and PlayStation 4:
"With Death Stranding being the first title developed out of Kojima Productions, from a sales perspective, it has performed quite well," he says. "As of March 2021, Death Stranding has sold through over five million units worldwide on PlayStation 4 and PC."

Who Owns Failbetter?

A podcast transcript and a post to the Weather Factory Website by Alexis Kennedy follow-up on the news from almost two years ago alleging "predations and abuses" by the Weather Factory and Failbetter Games co-founder. Alexis discusses the effect of being "cancelled" by the backlash, offering his side of the story. Though he doesn't believe it was an organized corporate effort, he alles the accusations originated Failbetter Games, his former company. Or is it actually his former company? One of the topics here is Kennedy's belief his contract to sell Failbetter was not properly executed, so he may still actually be majority owner of the company. Here's a bit on this epic Failbetter:
(ii) But here’s the kicker… the contract was never actually executed. I queried a few of the details on the day I left (like giving up my moral rights as author), and my co-founder and I agreed to come back to it later. Then we never got around to completing the process (because good terms, total trust, etc). I forgot this. For years, I forgot this. But when I looked a few months ago, I didn’t have a signed contract, and when we pestered them, Failbetter eventually grudgingly admitted they didn’t either.

So (fancy corporate lawyer has confirmed), I’m still probably, technically the legal owner of Failbetter; and their rights to their core technical and creative IP are shaky. Also, everyone still on the board of Failbetter might be guilty of a corporate crime that carries a two-year prison sentence. Possibly me too. (I also owe Failbetter 360K GBP – about a half-million USD – which is more of a bummer).
Continue here to read the full story.

Chris Metzen on Activision Blizzard Lawsuit

A tweet from Chris Metzen has the developer's reaction to the lawsuit against Activision Blizzard. Chris admits his response to the allegations against his former company should have come sooner. He says:
We failed, and I'm sorry.
To all of you at Blizzard — those of you I know and those of you whom I've never met — I offer you my very deepest apologies for the part I played in a culture that fostered harassment, inequality, and indifference.

There is no excuse. We failed too many people when they needed us because we had the privilege of not noticing, not engaging, not creating necessary space for the colleagues who needed us as leaders. I wish my apology could make any kind of difference. It can't.
Continue here to read the full story.

More on Steam Deck Framerates

Following a statement suggesting gamers should expect 30fps performance from the upcoming Steam Deck handhelds, Valve's Pierre-Loup Griffais tweets a clarification (thanks IGN). Pierre calls 30fps a "floor" target:
The "30 FPS target" refers to the floor of what we consider playable in our performance testing; games we've tested and shown have consistently met and exceeded that bar so far. There will also be an optional built-in FPS limiter to fine-tune perf vs. battery life.

Out of the Blue

So in addition to having an eight year-old PC that's overdue for an upgrade, due to my recent accident, I am also celebrating the global computer chip shortage by looking into buying a car. Sometimes you win and the timing of your needs syncs up properly with current events. And then there are times like these. Ouch.

Obituary: 1960s civil rights activist Robert Moses has died.
Obituary: R.I.P. Dieter Brummer.

Well-Timed Round-up
Thanks Ant and Neutronbeam.

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Science

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Follow-up

The Funnies

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