Schreier on Ubisoft, Rocket League goes F2P, Star Wars MMO, more

JULY 22, 2020

Daily Gaming Update

Transcript
How’s it going everybody, Adrian Simple here and welcome back to The Gaming Observer for Wednesday, July 22nd. I hope you’re having a great day, and I hope you are looking forward to some video game news, cause that’s what you’re going to get…right now.
 
Alright so we’ve got the latest expose from Jason Schreier, the noted journalist who has uncovered issues at many companies around the world, and he’s even written a book on it. This time around, its Ubisoft with a number of troubling things being talked about throughout the company, which actually ties in with a number of changes they made recently. Much of the article focused on the Chief Creative Officer, Serge Hascoet, who had been with the team since 1988, and was often viewed as a permanent fixture of the company. Unfortunately, he was accused by dozens of people for being inappropriate or straight up harassing women, and he surrounded himself with men who did the same thing. That was just the tip of the iceberg, there was also a number of instances of racism, homophobia, fatphobia, and again physical harassment throughout the company. This includes numerous different studios in different parts of the world, at all levels of hierarchy. Schreier wrote this, “current and former employees say Hascoet enabled bad behaviour by fashioning the editorial quarters into a sort of frat like the one in Animal House.” And again, this editorial team we’re talking about are the people who are responsible for every game that the company put out, with Hascoet at the top. And this culture that they created is the reason for a number of issues present in Ubisoft games, particularly why there hasn’t been very many women protagonists, if any at all. Every iteration of Assassin’s Creed since Syndicate has had the developers try to have a female protagonist, when the people on top stepped and claimed that women protagonists don’t sell video games, which is of course objectively false. Hascoet is also the reason why Ubisoft games are so creatively similar, with the open world checklist. Well, after a bunch of these accusations hit the public a few weeks ago, the company has been shaken up. Hascoet is surprisingly kicked out, though a number of people have gotten promotions who have been accused of similar things, so it’s not a complete win. Nonetheless, I do encourage you to read the article on bloomberg.com, it’s a great read, and gives you some insight into why a developer’s culture could influence the game you are playing.
 
Rocket League is now going to be free to play. That’ll be kicking in some time this summer, coinciding with its launch on the Epic Games Store, and no longer for sale on Steam, though obviously you can still play it there if you own it. This isn’t a totally surprising move, especially considering the fact that Epic Games acquired the developer Psyonix late last year. Pretty cool news, I love that game.
 
Star Wars the Old Republic is an MMORPG originally released in 2011, and it is now available on Steam, previously exclusive to Origin. The game is free to play, though there is some monetization in there, and based on the reviews it certainly appears as though it’s a formidable MMO. So feel free to check that out now that it’s available to a larger swath of people, and certainly I look forward to seeing even more games from EA heading to Steam.
 
Okay rapid fire news items here. First of all, the game Blasphemous is going to adding a New Game + on August 4th, which will have the usual stuff but also a new quest line, new bosses, and items. Next, Pokemon-like MMO Temtem has gotten a major update to the game called Kisiwa Island, adding new creatures, in-game chat, a new island, and a guild-like system. Next, Risk of Rain 2 is going to be officially launching out of Early Access on August 11th, which will bring some more content to the game as well. And finally fighting game Fantasy Strike is also now free to play everywhere that its available, with the option to pay for additional game modes. Always nice when a game become just more accessible like this.