5 Conclusions - 28/09/18
A regular look at gaming-related stories from the past week or so whereby conclusions are drawn from anything and everything. These may be incredibly well reasoned based on events from the week. Alternatively, they may be highly speculative, drawn from very little evidence. More likely, they will be somewhere in between.
Conclusion One: Telltale’s problems are far from over
The news of Telltale’s closure came as a blow to its 275 employees, but the company’s woes are just beginning, it seems. Rightly disgruntled employee Vernie Roberts submitted a class action lawsuit on Monday against Telltale, for laying them off while ignoring the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act. The Californian version of this act is more stringent than its national counterpart and states that companies who perform mass layoffs need to notify employees at least 60 days in advance. Telltale only provided 30 days’ notice of the studio’s impending closure, so salary and health benefits are only being provided until the end of the month.
If this notice isn’t provided, the financial penalties are vast - Telltale wouldn’t need to pay the state, but rather compensate employees in terms of back pay and benefits for every day that the company violated the WARN Act. With news that sales of the Final Season has been put on pause at the request of the company, this could lead to further financial concerns by peeved gamers who purchased a season pass. The company may be the very incarnation of The Walking Dead right now, but its former staff and players aren’t going to let themselves get trampled any time soon.
Conclusion Two: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
This conclusion comes to you from Ferris Bueller, the teenager who had a day off and in so doing created a twelve year old’s idea of a perfect movie. It really is brilliant and I urge you all to see it, if you haven’t already. The above quote though, one I like to remind myself of periodically as it is so damn relevant, became doubly so in the past week. All because of Bowsette.
Bowsette is a spliced concoction comprising Princess Peach and Bowser. Obviously.
Tracing things back to their origin, or as far as we can get at least, Nintendo showed a new power-up called the Super Crown in their recent Nintendo Direct. This power-up turns Toadette into Peachette, a Toad-ised version of Princess Peach. Twitter user @ayyk92 then shared a comic they drew where spurned Bowser put on the Super Crown, became Bowsette and got it on with Mario. Again, obviously.
Whilst the creation of Bowsette was a little over a week ago, it’s this week the whole thing’s blown up. The world now has a new sexy Halloween costume, Nintendo is unsurprisingly just ignoring the world right now and folks in Japan are petitioning to make Bowsette canon according to Kotaku. Oh, and searches on Pornhub have gone through the roof, says Venturebeat. For the last time: obviously.
Conclusion Three: Super Mario is truly super, proving the impossible possible.
Speedrunning games is a marvel to me. When a game you know and love and think you’re pretty good at just gets utterly destroyed in front of your eyes, with the gamer doing things you could never imagine, the only option is to sit back, jaw agog, and clap.
This week there was a new world record on Super Mario Bros. on the NES. This is a record that will possibly never get beaten. It is as close to computer-assisted perfection as people believe humanity can go. It is the last-second barrier that will be broken. History dictates the words above are probably churlish, but I digress — the point is that everyone should marvel at Kosmicd12 making possible the impossible.
Conclusion Four: Many male gamers are, frankly, dicks
In Total War: Rome II there are female generals because the game, and all in that series, are historically authentic. Apparently, this is a problem for too many gamers (where too many is anything greater than zero). Polygon reports that the game has been review bombed on Steam and the community manager representing the views of Creative Assembly has seen people demand she lose her job.
It’s a game. As stated you can mod the female generals out if you want (you know, if the gender of a fictional sprite is just too much for you to take). Or you can stop playing, in a fit of impotent rage. Or, hey, you can just not buy the game in the first place. But no, the internet just has to shout from behind their handles about something totally unreasonable because that’s what gamers do when there is anything approaching annoying in their game. Not the game developed by a large number of passionate and reasonable creatives for all the world to enjoy. No, their game.
It seems that females being depicted in scanty, suggestive, or vaguely BDSM outfits is fine. Exhibit A: Bowsette, above. But empowering and portraying women in a realistic, accurate, contextualised setting? HORRIFIC.
This kind of misogyny is what stops gaming from being seen as the giant medium it is. Until the fanbase can behave maturely and sensibly, the wider world will never take it as seriously as film, music and other entertainment categories. Perhaps it will never happen until every generation is a gaming generation. In that case, see you in thirty-odd years, yeah? In the meantime, if we can please just stop being dicks, that’d be lovely.
Conclusion Five: Player power will always win
It was always going to come to this. After months of ridiculous posturing, excuses and stalling, Sony has finally decided to allow cross-play for Fortnite and other games on the PlayStation 4. In a blog post, Sony said it had “identified a path towards supporting cross-platform features for select third party content.” This path is a beta for Fortnite which kicked off on Wednesday and which allows PS4 players to play with gamers from other platforms as well as retain the progression and monetary spend.
This move was inevitable in the face of player demand and anger and Sony’s utterly stubborn refusal to get on board with Microsoft, Nintendo, Apple and Android. Their reasoning for not playing ball shifted on an almost weekly basis, whether it was technical issues, lost revenue, or the cost of implementing the platform. In reality, Sony just wanted to stamp its foot and wave its market share around. This move is a big climb-down which they claim was the result of them solving an “issue”, but which anyone reading between the lines could see is simply the result of industry pressure.
However, in a slightly passive-aggressive remark, they also added that the beta will be a proving ground to see that cross-play “is best on PlayStation, while being mindful about the user experience from both a technical and social perspective.” What does this mean? How are they planning on making the experience better on PlayStation? We await the results of their beta, but for now this result, to quote Sony themselves, is for the gamers.