Wowza, folks. There is nothing like watching a bad company profess to the world how bad they really are. This week gives us front row seats as we watch Activision Blizzard (or whatever they’re called now) take a truly horrifying situation and make it exponentially worse. This is… well this is incredible to watch as a bystander. But other than that, there’s some realy cool stuff that went down this week.
EA Makes A Penalty Kick
To start the week off, EA started with a bold choice: Let’s take PES, one of our bigger selling games, get rid of the long standing name and make it a free-to-play football game called “eFootball”. It’s… um, certainly a choice that they made. Sure, football games these days sure start to blend into each other, but this is certainly a choice made to push the microtransactions that we know EA will push into players faces every second they can. This is bound to make the PES fanbase mad as heck, but EA will continue to not care even one second about what their fans think. I’m entirely certain that this point that the real CEO of EA is just a giant dollar bill who longs to be with as many of its siblings as it can manage.
Ubisoft announced early this week that there would be a new Tom Clancy game revealed in the coming days. Of course people immediately hoped that Sam Fisher would be coming back in some way or another, but I think we all know how this is going to end. In a move that surely made Tom Clancy’s ghost cry oceans of tears, Ubisoft announced XDefiant, one of the blandest, samey-est games in recorded history. It’s a free-to-play hero shooter that I’m not sure I could care less about. Look, I’m not saying that this genre already feels massively overpopulated, but this looks like a game that will come and go in a matter of months. Just having “XD” in your title feels like such a reach to get connection with some forgotten age group feels hard to wrap my head around. This will come out eventually and it’ll get mediocre reviews and we’ll all move on. Whatever.
The 3DS And WiiU Begin The Long Walk To Full Death
Alas, all good things must come to an end, and it looks like the WiiU and 3DS are about to start the path to their last moments. Earlier this week and announcement was made stating that on January 18th of next year you will no longer be able to purchase games with a credit/debit card. Now, you can still use PayPal and pre-purchased eShop points, but the direct purchase through bank cards will no longer be available. This might not seem like a big thing for most people, but it wasn’t too long after Nintendo did this for the Wii that the Wii Shop was shut down permanently. What does this mean for the rest of us? Well, it means that if you want stuff that’s digital only you might want to get on those digital purchases now rather than later. That or learn how to pirate all the good stuff. Just saying….
Activision Is Terrible
The ENTIRE STATE OF CALIFORNIA has filed a lawsuit against Activision for what they refer to as “Frat Boy Culture” happening at their headquarters in the Golden State. For the super specifics, you can’t go wrong getting the heavy details here at Bloomberg Law, but the tl;dr is that between the massive mistreatment of women and generally terrible behavior of executives and men at the company (and it’s pretty REALLY bad) are just the beginnings of what are addressed in the lawsuit. The responses from Activision have been… pretty awful, honestly. It’s like every time you think that the bar has been placed pretty low to clear, Activision and their executives find a way to slither under that bar and even burrow into the ground a bit. It’s gross, it’s uncomfortable and it makes me want to see the entire company burn to the ground. I know that that means the loss of jobs and a blow to the local economy, but there’s no reason this should be going on in 2021. Activision, you ruined Guitar Hero as a series but gave us some nice remasters of Spyro and Crash Bandicoot, but this is gross. History will remember you for your 300,000 Call of Duty Games and mountain of Skylanders Toys. Fix this or be crushed to dust.
Also, this isn’t just a lawsuit that a few people came forward with, this is the result of a TWO YEAR investigation by the California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). It’s a BAD TIME.
An Attempted Cover Up In Two Parts
So Activision is run by sleazy butt clowns who need to be brought down, but they’re not down and out. A crisis like this means that they need some GOOD PR to get people forgetting about the horrible atrocities they’re subjecting their employees to so WHAT’S FIRST ON THE LIST?
Crash Bandicoot apparently. That’s right, Activision and Toys for Bob are releasing the Crash Bandicoot Anniversary Bundle: The Crash Bandicoot N. Sanity remakes, Crash 4: It’s About Time, and Crash Team Racing: Nitro Kart all in one $50 pack! What a deal, you say, remembering that by now you have already purchased all of these and have played them! On a lighter note, this is a ballsy move on their part as they know that not only will this smooth over the flaming dumpster fire that is their legal situation, but it’s 5 HD remastered/remade games for $10 less than the Mario 3D All Stars collection that only had 3 games. Clever move.
Blizzard did something interesting as the second part of this, and I’m still figuring it out in my head and heart. Apparently Blizzard had planned on an update for the public test build of Overwatch that would have dropped on July 22, just a few hours after this whole thing went public. The update was going to include a new map: Malevento, but was pulled and all plans to release the game publicly on all servers on August 17th have been halted. Was this a move on Blizzard’s part to not help covering up the lawsuit? Was this Activision stopping them? Who knows, but I want to see this place BURN.
Nintendo Down Right Insults Us
Remember last week when I said that Nintendo was looking into ways to making Switch Online more fun and worthwhile to its fans? Remember that small beam of hope? Because Nintendo felt like taking a hot steaming dump on top of that statement on Wednesday when they announced three new SNES titles coming to the online service. The headliner: CLAYMATES. That’s right, Claymates, the extremely forgettable, ridiculously un-fun platformer that has been commented by speedrunners as “[he] tried to pick up this game, but gave up the dream because it was too frustrating, so I tried to picj this game up, but gave up because it was too frustrating, and then [the runner here] picked up the game and I told him to give up, because this game is terrible”. Claymates is a bad time from the perspective of a person whos goal is to play the least amount of Claymates as possible. It’s not a good time. So, what else do we have to round out this update? Jelly Boy, a UK exclusive that looks like the game you would leave at a rental store if there was nothing else to play, and Bombuzal, another game you would not look at twice if you had to spend a weekend at grandma’s house. This was… painful. Especially where Japan got Shin Megami Tensei If, which is the precursor to the Persona AND SMTV IS COMING OUT IN A FEW MONTHS. COME ON.
Also, if you’re gonna give us awful clay-based games from the SNES at LEAST give us the satisfaction of Clayfighter and Clayfighter 2: Judgment Clay. A man like me could use a visit from the Blob and Icky Bod Clay. Give it to us, you COWARDS.
A Long Lost Treasure
Alright, this one hits closer to home for me because I know one of the guys who worked on getting it in the hands of the people. Two folks on Twitter, Echoes (@Yottoresan) and Zen (@realZen64) were some of the brilliant minds behind the Super Mario Movie extended version and they have been looking for something beautiful and long lost in the internet world: Literally anything involving Mother 64. For those of you in the dark, Mother 3 (the game Lucas in Smash Bros is from) started out as an N64 game with some pretty crazy development stories. For YEARS we have only had second hand images and recordings of what people saw from a single demo from the fabled Spaceworld 1997. That is… until Zen found something insane: a CD with videos from the event where Mother 64 was announced. After some tense work, an auction was won and the CD was delivered.
This week, for the first time since the actual event, NEW FOOTAGE of Mother 64 was being watched live by two of the series largest mega-fans and the reaction is INCREDIBLE. This is one of the coolest things to happen for games preservation in YEARS, so my hat goes off to Zen and Echoes for finsing and preserving one of the coolest bits of lost game history. Now Nintendo… give us the DANG GAME.
And now, my new favorite segment
The Rest Of The Garbage: Turbo Round
- Kingdom Hearts: The Entire Story is TWENTY BUCKS on PS4. Seriously, if you want that game, now is the time.
- Video Game Music was headlined as the music in the FREAKING OLYMPICS. Frogs Theme! ROBO’S THEME! Bless these Olympics (before another super spreader event kills us all)
- Valve says they can’t find games that DON’T work on the Steam Deck! That’s insane!
- Dead Space is getting a Remake for real! There was a trailer!
- Did you remember a game called Elite Squad? NEITHER DID UBISOFT! It’s dead now.
- Vaporeon is now the mascot in Japan’s Water Day. Righteous.
That’s it folks! Ubisoft decided to try and be the worst video game company out there next to EA and Riot, but they’re working EXTRA hard to get that crown. Nintendo slapped us right in our mouths and asked us to be grateful for it and EA went full Scrooge McDuck on us. WHAT A WEEK!
Let’s hope next week gets a little bit lighter than all of this. Earthbound? Is Earthbound on Switch happening?