As the year draws to a close we’ve got more than enough news to tide us over until everyone gorges themselves on gaming goodness this winter. And with COVID-19 waning around much of the world, 2022 looks set to deliver some absolutely crazy eSports events.
This week’s headlines from the world of video games and eSports include Activision finding themselves in the spotlight of controversy (after seemingly endless cycles about Blizzard’s workplace culture) while Amazon’s surprise-hit MMORPG, New World, slows things down a bit once again to fix the game’s somewhat janky economy.
We’ve also got some news about how Activision plans on dealing with Call of Duty cheaters...permanently…as well as how one former Bungie composer was finally brought to heel by a court order instructing him to tell people to “delete” some music files he didn’t have the rights to publish.
We’re sure that’s gonna work out.
There’s some news on Capcom’s upcoming blockbuster Pragmata (not good news) and some updates on Halo: Infinite’s multiplayer (some very good news).
After that, we’ll close this week’s update out with a look at Rockstar’s massive faceplant with the GTA Trilogy and its issues as well as the recent announcement that League of Legends was releasing a fighting game.
Activision Now in the Spotlight for Toxic Workplace Culture According to New Accusations
It looks like Activision is not going to escape the scrutiny that its sister firm Blizzard has faced. The other part of the two-part corporation known as Activision-Blizzard is also no stranger to controversy though that tends to rear its head most often in the eSports cheating and “what to do about it” section of the news.
Now it looks like Activision maintained some pretty questionable ties with some employees that should’ve been let go a long time ago...say when they started signing off on emails with 1-800-ALLC*CK. How that didn’t set off a thermonuke in HR we’ll never know but here we are talking about it so maybe Activision is playing the any news is good news angle of press relations? And to beat it all, this isn’t the only headline we’ve got this week featuring them, though our other story is more of the traditional variety alluded to above.
Amazon’s New World Presses Pause on In-Game Economy to Address Balancing Issues
Well, everything was off to a good start and, for an MMORPG, that’s saying something by itself. Sadly, this tale has gone the way most of these massive affairs do: It’s all become a cluster you know what. First, players complained about the grind. Who doesn’t complain about grind in games? To be fair, it’s somewhat expected even in this genre. But then came the infamous item duping scandal that continues to plague New World - and utterly shatter the in-game economy in the process. Imagine spending tons of time playing the actual game only to discover that hardcore breaking the game not only gives you everything you could ever need but also saps out nearly all of the fun in the process. Of course, Amazon is quick to release updates and, with time, hopefully the New World can recover from these initial missteps.
Call of Duty May Ban Cheaters Forever...from All Call of Duty Games
How do you tackle cheating in eSports if you helm one of the world’ biggest, most-popular franchises? If you’re Activision, you consider leveling up your ban hammer from temporary, to game-specific, to forever.
That’s exactly what they’re proposing as a solution for handling cheaters in Call of Duty and it has more than a few people riled up. For one, it’s pretty unforgiving. Beyond that, however, it could really put a roadblock in building out CoD as a major eSports by cutting off talented but otherwise ethically challenged players at the knees. Can’t we all just forgive and forget? Apparently not, because once you wrong Activision, they want that memory to burn forever, leaving nothing but the ashes of the cheater’s eSports career.
“We have made changes to our security enforcement policy for Call of Duty: Vanguard. Extreme or repeated violations of the security policy – such as in-game cheating – may result in a permanent suspension of all accounts. Additionally, any attempt to hide, disguise, or obfuscate your identity or the identity of your hardware devices may also result in a permanent suspension. Permanent suspensions for security infractions may now apply franchise wide, including Call of Duty: Vanguard as well as any past, present, and future titles in the Call of Duty franchise.”
Former Bungie Composer Ordered to Tell People to Delete Music He Uploaded
Copyright and ownership can be really tricky subjects, unless you’re under contract. Then the ownership structure is pretty clear. So you can only imagine when, as one former Bungie composer did, you’re going to get into some pretty hot water if you release someone else’s IP, especially if it is for free. Well, that’s what Marty O’Donnell did with a bunch of music he made for Bungie that was subsequently not used.
He got upset, released it to the public anyway, and was eventually ordered by the court to stop doing all of this. Plus, he needed to release a video telling people that downloaded the music to, well, destroy those files. It’s questionable whether the court that issued this directive is aware of what the Internet is and how it functions but, needless to say, it’s sort of like Pandora’s box if everyone had access to the contents inside said it.
Capcom’s Pragmata Delayed Until 2023
Delays are never good unless it’s Cyberpunk 2077... then most of us will agree that a few more were in order. Perhaps to avoid that fate or make its game that much more compelling, Capcom is delaying the much-anticipated though still relatively mysterious Pragmata until 2023.
Starring a girl that lives on the moon (at least from what we can tell), the one salient feature of the title seems to be its Kojima inspiration that it wears proudly on its sleeves. Naturally, saying a game is inspired like Hideo Kojima is perhaps both very specific and extremely vague so who knows what this will mean. It looks like we’ll have to wait until 2022 to get some more info on what to expect from Pragmata in 2023.
Halo: Infinite Multiplayer Drops Early
It’s always nice to get things early and Halo fans got just that with an early release for the Multiplayer mode in Halo: Infinite. The full campaign mode will have to wait until December 8 but, until then, there’s more than enough to do if you love one of Halo’s calling cards. Though technically still in beta, early word on this title is really, really positive.
A tweet from November 15th detailed everything players need to know about the transition from beta to live game:
“Season 1: Heroes of Reach officially begins today. All of your Battle Pass progression, Spartan customization, and shop purchases will carry over from the beta to the full release of #HaloInfinite.”
GTA Trilogy Issues Forces Mea Culpa From Rockstar
Did the modders do it better? According to GTA fans, it looks like the answer is a resounding “yes.” Rockstar’s collection of PS2-era Grand Theft Auto games with a fresh coat of paint went over pretty miserably with a bunch of folks due in large part to the somewhat strange choices made during the “remaster.”
Basically, the quality expected from Rockstar wasn’t there and the publisher acknowledged as much in an apology on their website. To rectify the situation, they’re going to give people access to the PC versions of the three games included in their original state for free. In addition, Rockstar will put resources towards fixing and updating the remastered trilogy to bring it up to player expectations.
“We will be adding the classic PC versions of Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas back to the Rockstar Store shortly as a bundle. Additionally, everyone who has purchased Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition for PC from the Rockstar Store through June 30, 2022, will receive these classic versions in their Rockstar Games Launcher library at no additional cost. We will update everyone as soon as these are back in the Rockstar Store.”
League of Legends Developing a Fighting Game
League of Legends has an assist-based fighting game coming out. Developed under the name Project L, this title is taking an “easy to learn but hard to master” approach to gameplay according to developers.
“We also talk a little about one of our top priorities for the game: to build the absolute best in netcode that you can get in a fighter. Of course we’re starting with rollback as a foundation, and we’re adding in existing tech from Riot like RiotDirect, which does a great job at minimizing ping for League of Legends and VALORANT,” according to Riot Games’ Tom Cannon.
That's all for this week folks. Make sure to subscribe to get the Ultimate Gaming Newsletter delivered to your inbox every week. Check out our Discord, here, to participate in tournaments, events, and start making money in eSports!