Avengers, Lovestruck, and Remedy!

AUGUST 11, 2020

Daily Gaming Update

TGO Daily
TGO After-Show

Not today! (Sad fact: I had to record the main show twice because of a crash 🙁 )

Transcript

How’s it going everybody, Adrian Simple here from The Gaming Observer and welcome back your daily news update for Tuesday, August 11th. Now folks, today was not a very big day for news, there wasn’t incredible amount, so today is going to have a fair amount of discussion as well. Let’s take a look.

First thing I want to talk about today is the new Avengers game coming from Crystal Dynamics, published by their parent company Square Enix. We found out recently that one of the characters in the game, Spiderman, is going to be exclusive to the Playstation. A lot of people weren’t happy with this. Some people thought it was because Sony had the exclusivity rights to Spider-Man in video games, myself included, but they actually don’t, they only have the movie rights. Obviously there’s some kind of association there because of the Spiderman video game that was previously exclusive, but he did not need to be exclusive for Avengers. Spiderman wasn’t the only thing, there are actually a bunch of missions and cosmetics that have been given timed exclusives on Playstation. And now, what we’re hearing in the news today, is that there’s even more exclusive cosmetics, but for probably things you didn’t expect. For example, if you are a certain customer of a phone carrier, like Virgin Mobile. Or if you purchase something from the tech company Intel. Or if you buy a certain pack of chewing gum. I don’t know about you, but I hear all of this, and it just plummets my excitement for the game. The marketing is totally interfering with what this could have been, especially from a studio who just succeeded so well with the Tomb Raider reboots. I hope the game is good, even though the previews haven’t been stellar, but I’ve gotta say this is a serious lesson in how not to hype a video game before it comes out.

Alright here’s a nice story from the business side of gaming. I talked about it a few weeks ago, there is a mobile app called Lovestruck, developed by Voltage Entertainment. It’s a visual novel collection. And they hire just under two dozen writers to push out all of the stories that they have. Well, those writers were drastically underpaid, well below the industry standard, and they decided to strike. That ended up hitting a lot of headlines because Voltage responded extremely harshly, saying that these writers had no right to collectively bargain, and that they would begin looking for new people to hire in those roles. Well, just a few weeks later, it’s been announced that these writers have in fact not been fired, and successfully bargained their compensation to go from an average of 3.5 cents/word to 6.5 cents/word. As Vice puts it, “Strikes uncommon in the video game industry, where workers are not unionized, despite plenty of evidence they are overworked and underpaid.” I think the actions of these folks who weren’t actually unionized, but acted as a union anyway, just speaks volumes about how necessary unions actually are in this industry. Especially when you have companies like Activision Blizzard where the C-Suite takes tens of millions in bonuses while their employees can’t make rent. So a happy story coming out of Voltage, and I hope it inspires other workers who need it to do the same.

Remedy Entertainment released a blog post this past weekend talking a little bit more about their games and how they connect. In fact, what they are calling it is the Remedy Connected Universe. Their latest game Control is getting a new expansion, and this will be the first major event in the Remedy Connected Universe, because it includes Alan Wake. I think this is so cool, and also incredibly smart. You look at the success of something like Marvel, where everything is connected, and people can interact across multiple entries of a universe, people get excited about that. The creative director at Remedy says that they’ve been planning this for over 10 years, slowly building up a universe of games. I don’t know how many narrative-driven games have really pulled something like this off, but I very much am looking forward to how it works out for them. Especially if they are going to integrate Quantum Break in somehow, because I thought that game was great.