Fallout 76 Fans are Upset at a Bag

…and with pretty good reason, all things considered. An item included with the Fallout 76 Collector’s Edition has drawn the ire of those who purchased the bundle over the construction of a bag, which appeared to be made of a higher quality material than what was actually received.

fallout 76 collector's edition

Pictured above is one buyer’s snapshot of the bag in question, which was described in the promotional material as being a canvas bag but ended up being made of “cheap nylon.” The bag was part of several items in the CE, which came to a total of $199 in cost.

Making matters worse, Bethesda announced on Twitter that it has begun issuing compensation in the form of 500 Atoms, the game’s store currency. That’s approximately $5, which is reportedly enough to get you an in-game door and have 200 Atoms left burning in your pocket. The store does sell a character skin that’s toting an actual canvas bag, but that costs 700 Atoms.

Why the bait-and-switch? According to Fallout’s Twitter, it’s a matter of material supply. “Unfortunately, due to unavailability of materials, we had to switch to a nylon carrying case in the Fallout 76: Power Armor Edition,” reads a tweeted response.

This response is from one player’s account of their experience with customer support, which explained that the canvas bag was a “prototype” and that “we aren’t planning to do anything about it.” Bethesda apologized to the customer in question, stating that the support member is a contract employee and not directly employed by Bethesda. “The support response was incorrect and not in accordance with our conduct policy,” agreed the company.

Our Thoughts

Who knew that one company would screw up so royally with a bag. A bag! That most rudimentary of suitcase pieces! We would expect more out of a AAA studio, both in terms of construction, communication and response to the matter.

Sources: VG247, Eurogamer

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Rapper Plans to Sue Fortnite over Dance Emote

If the moves used in some of the Fortnite Battle Royale dance emotes look familiar, you’re not alone. One such person who has taken notice is actually a rapper who plans to bring Epic Games to court over the matter.

fortnite battle royale dance emotes

Rap artist 2 Milly has announced his intent to take Epic Games to court over the matter of the Swipe It dance emote, which looks move-for-move like 2 Milly’s Milly Rock. Where the rapper takes difference with Epic is the fact that his moves are being sold for money without his consent.

“They actually sell that particular move. It’s for purchase. That’s when I really was like… oh nah, this can’t go on too long,” said 2 Milly. “I don’t even want to bash them for all the millions. I just feel like I have to protect what’s mine.”

2 Milly’s legal complaint holds no legal precedent, which could make any action he takes a challenging proposition. Regardless, the artist is reportedly willing to try.

The rapper’s complaint is not unique, as other rap artists like Chance the Rapper and BlocBoy JB have brought up their aggravation over their dance moves being used in Fortnite without due credit. Even actor Donald Faison of the sitcom Scrubs has had his moves stolen, with one dance routine performed in the show once more copied move-for-move without compensation.

“That’s what y’all are thinking, right? Somebody got paid? No. No. I did not,” said Faison. “Somebody stole that s**t, and it’s not mine any more.”

Epic Games was contacted for comment by the source of this story, but there has been no response at the time of this writing.

Our Thoughts

There’s certainly a line between “inspired by” and “wholesale ripping off of”, and these emotes certainly do look a lot like carbon copies. Ideally, anyone involved in legal scuffles between themselves and Epic Games can come to a conclusion without things getting publicly ugly…but we agree that some compensation to these artists appears to be due.

Source: GamesIndustry

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Cliff Bleszinski Quits the Gaming Industry via Twitter

Some folks seem to build their entire existence through Twitter, so perhaps the end of CliffyB’s career via the social media platform isn’t a huge surprise. However, Bleszinski appears to have indeed confirmed that he is out of the gaming business, so this certainly doesn’t seem like a hyperbolic eruption.

cliffyb's career

The entire matter kicked off when a newly-created Twitter account issued a tweet to voice their dismay that the FPS LawBreakers had not refunded their money. Bleszinski replied to the tweet directly in a pretty frustrated manner.

“I paid my employees, their 401ks, and their health care – even months after the studio folded. I didn’t take a salary myself for two years,” wrote Bleszinski. “I get you’re sad, but god, this kinda s**t is another reason I am NEVER making another game.”

When asked by GamesIndustry whether or not this was a simply heated moment or if he was genuinely finished with game dev, Bleszinski simply replied with “I’m done.”

Our Thoughts

If nothing else, this should provide some interesting fodder for Bleszinski’s current book. In all seriousness, though, we do feel bad for Bleszinski a bit. While it still seems like this is a moment of hot-headedness, it also does seem pretty earnest and conclusive.

Source: GamesIndustry

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Call of Duty SWATer Faces a 20 Year Prison Sentence

Tyler Barriss, who you’ll recall was a Call of Duty SWATer responsible for the death of a Kansas man last December, is facing the consequences of his “prank” in the form of a potential 20-year prison sentence.

call of duty swater

Barriss, whose SWAT call got 28-year-old Andrew Finch killed by a police officer in Wichita, Kansas, has pleaded guilty to not only that incident but other swatting calls and bomb threats. Targets of his phone-based rampage included the FBI headquarters, the FCC, 16 different states in the US, and Canada.

U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren offered to give Barriss a 20 year prison sentence if he directly apologized to the Finch family. There could be concern about how earnest said apology ends up being, as Barriss took advantage of an improperly installed update to a kiosk from jail that let him post several bragging tweets, including a threat to SWAT again and claims that he was “an eGod” and had “swag” in prison.

The two other men involved in the Kansas death – Shane Gaskill and Casey Viner – are also facing charges.

Barriss’ sentencing is set for January 20.

Our Thoughts

Clearly, Mr. Barriss is without a sense of empathy or moral compass, so we’re extremely skeptical that any apology from his mouth would actually carry a grain of truth. It’s unfortunate it has come to this point, but we sincerely hope that a truly stiff prison sentence will deter others from performing the same “prank.”

Source: TechCrunch

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Amazon Releases a GameOn Tournament Extension for Twitch

Watching people play games – multiplayer or otherwise – on Twitch is fun enough, but now there’s a little something from Amazon GameOn that hopes to bring viewers directly into the broadcast in a quick and easy way. The GameOn Tournament extension for Twitch lets broadcasters easily create live tournaments to bring folks into their livestreams in what could arguably be seen as a more meaningful way.

gameon tournament extension

The extension, specifically called GameOn Tournament Organizer, lets casters put together a live tournament in their chosen game with the selection of a few options and then open up said tournament to let viewers play along.

The extension currently only works on a select variety of GameOn-enabled titles, including battle royale title The Darwin Project and tactical RPG Tactical Monsters Rumble Arena among a few others. The extension should expand to other titles, with Devolver Digital’s survival MMO SCUM to next include integration of the Organizer.

The idea, according to the press release, is to drive up viewer engagement for the Twitch caster and ramp up impressions of participating games. “GameOn Tournament Organizer allows influencers and players to be more connected by actually playing the game together, which leads to more players downloading Tactical Monsters,” said Camex COO Michael Tseng. “With this extension, I will be able to keep a constant connection with my viewers,” reads FaZe Clan member Dirty’s testimonial.

Our Thoughts

The idea behind this particular extension is pretty interesting indeed, and having a way for streamers to fold their viewers into a live game definitely is a big draw. However, we would love to see this extension’s support grow to even bigger games. Ideally, work on that is being done to make that happen sooner rather than later.

Source: press release

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Rockstar Staffers Speak Out Against RDR 2 Crunch Backlash

If our Twitter feed is any indication, the arguments on both sides of the Red Dead Redemption 2 crunch argument are pretty heated. Now, a number of Rockstar employees have stepped forward with their own experiences about working for the developer in an apparent attempt to provide more context to how things are done.

rockstar employees

A couple of anonymous Rockstar staffers have reached out to VG24/7 with private messages of their experiences at the studio. One dev admitted to only doing “minor crunch” to see RDR 2 released and expressed annoyance at the general public’s view of the studio.

“It’s been pretty frustrating seeing it portrayed as a hellish place to work – it’s really not,” reads the message. “We’re rewarded very well and crunch is never mandatory.”

Another employee has gone on official record on Twitter with their two cents.

“During the dev. of RDR I sometimes worked 50 hours during the week. This was on and off for a few months. And by on and off I really do mean off. Some weeks I just worked a flat 40 and there was zero issues with this.

“I’ve been at R* for 6 years and I have never worked, or been asked to work, anywhere remotely close to 100 hours in a week.”

Still another anonymous Rockstar employee’s message suggests that this experience seems to vary from department to department.

“Not every studio gets paid overtime. We certainly don’t. The average from all departments makes OT not look too bad but I’ve done 50+ hour weeks as standard since I started. Even if there is now work, we are told to come in every weekend anyway.”

The influx of first-hand accounts comes by way of a newly relaxed social media policy enacted by Rockstar, which now lets employees talk about their time in the studio. As for Red Dead Redemption 2 itself, the game’s launch trailer has just gone live, which you can see below.

Our Thoughts

Considering the amount of opinions that read like they came from flies inside the walls of Rockstar itself, it’s good to have a bit more context from the people who are actually, literally working there. We do hope that this quells some of the rage but also doesn’t stop the push against exploitative working practices. Especially for an industry that doesn’t have a proper union.

Sources: VG247, press release

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Hot Wheels Set Lets You Play Rocket League IRL

I love watching Rocket League as an esport and always like to envision what it would be like to spectate a match of vehicular football in real life. Unfortunately, real life Rocket League isn’t quite here yet, but a Hot Wheels Rocket League set is coming that lets you play a form of the game with toys, which is pretty darn close.

hot wheels rocket league set

The Hot Wheels Rocket League RC Rivals set isn’t just a mouthful of a toy name, but also a way for folks to play a form of IRL Rocket League. The set comes with two remote control vehicles, a ball, and an Arena Mat to duel on. The cars themselves are controlled via free downloadable smartphone apps that are available on either iOS or Android.

In addition, the set will include DLC codes for the Rocket League game: a Hot Wheels Goal Explosion; a Hot Wheels RC Rivals Topper that features the toy in action; and two RC Rivals Decals for the Battle Cars that are featured in the set.

This unique collectible will be available at Amazon, Walmart, GameStop and Target in North America this coming November 1st, and will set you back a cool $179.99.

Our Thoughts

Okay, so there are a few things that just can’t translate to real life terribly well, but this method of bringing Rocket League into meatspace is a pretty darn good trade-off. Seriously, it’s actually pretty cute.

Source: official site

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Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime Steps Down

There’s a changing of the guard over at Blizzard HQ. Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime, who has been a part of the game developer and publisher for over 27 years, is officially stepping down from his position and entering a new advisory role.

blizzard ceo mike morhaime

The announcement was made on Blizzard’s central site, with some parting words from Mr. Morhaime and confirmation that his duties will be turned over to World of Warcraft’s J. Allen Brack. The announcement also features some words from Brack as he humbly takes his spot in the big chair.

“When we started Blizzard we just wanted to make great games. What we realized is that the games we create are really just a framework for communities and human interaction,” reads Morhaime’s farewell. “You have given me the inspiration and drive to pour my heart and life into what I do. I literally couldn’t have done any of it without you.”

“To be chosen to lead Blizzard into the future is both a huge honor, and a tremendous responsibility,” reads Brack’s statement. “I feel a deep sense of gratitude to Mike. His work on some of our industry’s most iconic games is the reason I came to Blizzard.”

On the subject of Blizzard employees, the company announced that it will be removing the Blizzard Holiday Plan, an end-of-year bonus program that would have seen Morhaime earn over $360k additionally. Instead, participating employees in this bonus program will see their salaries adjusted to reflect the amount this bonus would normally provide. Additionally, a “Morhaime Profit Sharing Plan” is in place that will grant Morhaime a bonus based on Blizzard’s overall profits.

Our Thoughts

So fiscally speaking, Mike will be just fine. Moving away from that, we’d like to thank Mr. Morhaime for his leadership of Blizzard and his hand in seeing the studio’s games come to life. We also would like to congratulate Mr. Brack on his promotion and look forward to seeing where the company goes from here.

Sources: Blizzard website, Gamespot

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Witcher Author Denied $16M in Additional Money by CDPR

The Witcher series and subsequent games like Gwent are big money for CD Projekt Red and the world’s original author Andrzej Sapkowski. It would seem, then, that those big money totals are fueling a Witcher rights dispute between the dev studio and Sapkowski, as CDPR has flatly refused to pay additional royalties.

witcher rights dispute

While Sapkowski initially sold the rights to the Witcher for a lump sum amount, his legal team is now demanding an additional payment of 60 million Polish zlotys – approximately $16 million US – for subsequent games released under the IP. In a demand that was initially privately sent to CD Projekt Red, Sapkowski’s lawyers argue that the lump sum agreement was only for the first game and not additional titles or sequels.

CD Projekt Red has very publicly said no.

“The Company had legitimately and legally acquired copyright to Mr. Andrzej Sapkowski’s work, insofar as is required for its use in games developed by the Company. All liabilities payable by the Company in association therewith have been properly discharged.

“It is the Company’s will to maintain good relations with authors of works which have inspired CD PROJEKT RED’s own creations. Consequently, the Board will go to great lengths to ensure amicable resolution of this dispute; however, any such resolution must be respectful of previously expressed intents of both parties, as well as existing contracts.”

It would seem that the legal counsel hired by Sapkowski is prepared for any extended legal battle that might come out of this demand. “We wish to assure you that the case has been under preparation for a fairly long time,” reads part of the demand. “Even more importantly, both we and the Author are determined and prepared to see this matter through to a fully successful conclusion.”

Our Thoughts

It’s important to bear in mind here that this isn’t an actual legal filing so much as a private missive. That said, it’s interesting that CDPR would publish this demand. Which could mean one of two things: either they’re calling Sapkowski’s bluff, or (more conspiratorially) they’re hoping for a legion of fans to aggressively get on the author’s case.

Source: CD Projekt Red investor site via Rock, Paper, Shotgun

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Seattle PD Creates System to Limit Swatting Incidents

We’ve had the misfortune to report on several swatting incidents over the course of the past few years, and the ever-increasing connectivity of the world seems to be steaming further ahead than efforts by law enforcement to keep pace. However, a new anti-swatting initiative by the Seattle Police Department is looking to change that and hopefully reduce needless injury or worse.

anti-swatting initiative

The new system is similar to Seattle’s existing SMART 911 system, which lets residents register information about their living situations like allergies or other medical conditions to keep first responders informed. This new system, known as Rave Facility, lets people register their household in a database as a potential “swatting concern” location. All information collected is kept confidential.

What this does is provide additional information that dispatch relays to police. Seattle PD will still head to an emergency call, but will also bear the Rave Facility registration in mind when coordinating their response.

The new system is currently only available to residents of Seattle, but should this new measure work, we can perhaps expect other US cities to implement a similar feature. If you happen to live in the Seattle area, additional information on how to join the Rave Facility database can be read here.

Our Thoughts

Assuming that the officers receive additional training regarding these new measures, this database could absolutely be invaluable to protecting innocent people. We hope that this Rave Facility measure works out and that other locations in the US implement a similar system.

Source: Seattle.gov via Eurogamer

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