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Gaming Roundup – Broken Destiny

Hello! Welcome to the latest Geeky Brummie Gaming Roundup!

This week, Destiny 2 breaks down, Troy Baker strikes back, Shawn Layden steps down, and a few new games came out!

DESTINY 2 ISSUES

Bungie have had a bit of a nightmare week with Destiny 2. Due to the decision to launch the free-to-play version of the game (New Light), a new expansion (Shadowfall), and a Steam release (with cross-save functionality) all at the same time, Bungie faced some problems.

Every big online launch encounters teething issues, and at first, this was what Destiny players dealt with. There were long queues, slow connections times and drop-outs, as you’d normally expect a huge influx of people to cause for an online game. But it swiftly became clear there was more to come.

After only a few hours, some players reported being kicked from their game and being unable to reconnect. Others reported glitches, like not being able to fire weapons or collect items. This was compounded by a series of WEASEL, BEAVER and BUFFALO errors, and the game was taken down for unscheduled maintenance. Side note: this is the first time I’ve heard those terms, and now I’m so pleased that Destiny’s error messages are named after animals, but that’s beside the point.

It seems that the issues have been resolved, but for a few hours, new and returning players of Destiny weren’t having a fun time. Perhaps in future Bungie might want to consider spacing out major launches like this a bit more?

TROY BAKER VS GEARBOX

It’s been reported before about Borderlands 3 and their woes with voice actor disputes, from Claptrap’s original VA complaining about both pay and an alleged assault, and Troy Baker mysteriously not returning to play Rhys from Tales from the Borderlands. Baker has been pretty cagey about the reasons for not returning, stating some disputes but staying quiet on the details.

Well it seems he’s had enough of being polite, as this week he revealed that Gearbox didn’t want to hire him on union terms, and he walked. With unionisation becoming an increasing concern in the games industry, it makes sense that this is such a hot button issue, and for Baker, this seemed to be non-negotiable.

Gearbox have denied this, even backhandedly making a statement that they somehow “made” Baker successful due to his work with them in the past (seemingly referencing WWII shooter Brothers in Arms, which gave Baker his first lead role in a game). However, SAG-AFTRA have backed Baker on this one, stating that they tried to sit down with Gearbox and negotiate union terms but were rejected.

What makes this situation so odd, however, is that some of the voice cast who are in Borderlands 3 – such as Ray Chase, Ashly Burch and SungWon Cho – are also union members but took the work anyway. It may be likely that Baker was in a better position to walk away and find work elsewhere, but the others couldn’t afford to.

It’s just an odd situation that compounds the claptrap surrounding Borderlands 3 and Gearbox in general, especially with a recently-closed lawsuit alleging executive Randy Pitchford had been embezzling funds (which he has been cleared of), and a still-ongoing case from a composer about using Duke Nukem music without his permission in an anniversary release.

Sort it out, Gearbox!

SHAWN LAYDEN STEPS DOWN

In a surprise announcement, the head of Sony Worldwide Studios, Shawn Layden, has stepped down from his position. The news was announced in a tweet earlier this week, although no reason has been given for his departure.

Layden has served with Sony since 1987, working in their communications department before transferring over to PlayStation as the system arrived on the scene. He became head of Sony WWS last year following a reshuffle that brought the regional divisions of Sony Computer Entertainment under one umbrella.

It’s not known who will replace him, if anyone, but if Nintendo and Fox’s recent appointments are any indication, I look forward to President Nathan Drake running Sony in the near future.

DEATH STRANDING GOES TO CHVRCH

When we did our Music of the Decade special a few months back, I selected Every Open Eye by CHVRCHES as one of my album choices. I also admitted that the only reason I knew about the band in the first place was because they made the ending song for Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst.

Well, they’re at it again, as Hideo Kojima and CHVRCHES have both revealed that they’ve collaborated, and the band’s new single, Death Stranding, is quite obviously the theme song for, uh…Death Stranding. It further proves that if Hideo Kojima has had a picture taken with anyone in the last couple of years, then they’re in Death Stranding somewhere, as the band had shown up in a tweet of his back in March.

You can listen to the song right now on all good streaming services, and I think it’s quite good. Maybe not as good as their Mirror’s Edge song but still good!

NEW RELEASES

First in new releases this week, we have an appropriate game to kick off the spooky season – Ghostbusters: The Video Game Remastered, for PC, PS4, Xbox One and Switch. This is a remastered port of the Ghostbusters game that launched for PS3 back in 2009, which features a story penned by Dan Akroyd and Harold Ramis and performances from the original cast. It was a decent game, although not without its flaws, but I’d recommend you give it a look if you’re a Ghostbusters fan.

Meanwhile, Sony have Ready Set Heroes, a multiplayer title for PS4. You take your team into procedurally-generated dungeons, gathering loot and power-ups. But the catch is, there’s also another team doing the same thing, and the raid ends with the two teams battling it out for the right to take the treasure home. It’s got a vibrant art style and looks set to be pretty fun.

The big release of this week is Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Breakpoint. Sadly, all the talk surrounding this game and its cast of ghosts isn’t in the same as Ghostbusters, as these ghosts are actually soldiers. Significantly less interesting. But if you like your Tom Clancy stuff, you’ve probably already played the beta and gotten a sense of whether or not this is your jam by now. Just be warned, it’s monetised to all hell.

GAME OF THE WEEK

Game of the Week this one is cheating slightly, as it got a release for Apple Arcade a couple of weeks ago, but this week it’s getting a PC and Switch release. Neo Cab is the second Game of the Week this year about a taxi driver solving mysteries, but this has some extra layers to it. You see, this game is set in a dystopian near future, where self-driving cars have taken over traditional taxis, and your protagonist is trying to stay afloat by keeping her passengers happy through the right dialogue choices, so she can get a good rating and stay in business. All while trying to figure out the mystery of her lost friend. It looks stylish and intriguing and for that I feel it deserves Game of the Week.

And that’s it for now! See you next week with more news and releases from the world of video games!